Ricky Rodriguez : biography
Ricky Rodriguez (25 January 1975 – 9 January 2005), aka "Davidito" (legal names: "Richard Peter Rodriguez", "Richard Peter Smith" and "David Moses Zerby"), was a former member of the Children of God (COG), now known as The Family International (TFI), who committed a murder-suicide in 2005.
Adulthood and murder-suicide
When Rodriguez grew to adulthood, he married Elixcia Munumel, and together they separated from TFI in 2001. Shortly after this, Rodriguez wrote an article on the website MovingOn.org — by Ricky Rodriguez, 2002-06-04; accessed 2007-06-06 in which he described David Berg's deviant sexual activity involving a number of women and children.
In September 2004, after separating from his wife, Rodriguez moved to Tucson, Arizona, and worked as an electrician. According to accounts by his friends and relatives, he moved there because he heard his mother had visited and he wanted to find her, her location being secret even to him, because he had spoken out about his childhood.
In January 2005, he arranged a meeting with a former associate of his mother's who was involved in his childhood sexual molestation, Angela Smith (formerly Susan Joy Kauten), and stabbed her to death in his apartment. He then drove to Blythe, California, where he shot himself in the head. He released a to be distributed to friends, family, and former members explaining his actions. According to an article in the New York Times, in the video he said he saw himself as a vigilante, avenging children like him and his sisters, who had been subject to rapes and beatings. "There's this need that I have", he said. "It's not a want. It's a need for revenge; it's a need for justice, because I can't go on like this."
Childhood and sexual abuse
Rodriguez was born in Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. He was the natural son of Karen Zerby and a local hotel employee there whom she "Flirty Fished". He was considered to be the adopted son of David Berg, Zerby's partner and leader of the COG, although no official adoption ever took place. Rodriguez later developed a deep-seated resentment towards Berg and Zerby, due to the sexual abuse he had suffered as a child. His sister Christina Teresa Zerby (aka Techi), whom he grew up with and who is still a member of The Family, does not hold the same views.
The group published a childcare manual called The Story of Davidito on xFamily.org in January 1982, which described the education, home life, and care of Rodriguez. The 762-page book also included at least a dozen photographs depicting the child engaged in sexual activity with his governesses, particularly Sara Kelley (also known as Sara Davidito or Prisca Kelley). The COG later ordered this book to be heavily sanitized and, eventually, destroyed completely. In the late 1990s, it was reprinted in heavily sanitized form. Copies of the original still exist in the collections of former members, some of whom have provided them to law enforcement agencies.
Child sexual abuse
In a 1994 interview with David Millikan regarding the incidents recorded in the "Story of Davidito", Rodriguez, who was still a member of TFI at the time, said, "People feel that the sexual activities I had, occurred so much more than it really did. They believe it had a bigger emphasis and played a greater part than it did. If they think my early life revolved around sex it's going to seem very weird, but I know this wasn't the case, so it was not such a big deal to me". Millikan also writes: "I pointed out to him that under most legal definitions of sexual abuse, Sara and the other women who participated in sex with him would be found guilty".
A book titled Sex, Slander and Salvation Lawrence Lilliston wrote:
However, when Lilliston attempted to submit his conclusions as testimony in a child custody case involving TFI in the UK, presiding judge Lord Justice Sir Alan Ward stated:
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