Today marks the fifth anniversary of the murder of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey at the hands of members of the Your Black Muslim Bakery cult. It's also been a year since Yusuf Bey IV was convicted on three counts of murder, including Bailey's, after a protracted trial that began with jury selection more than six months earlier. Today, a woman who had previously only been identified in legal papers as Jane Doe I, comes forward for the first time in a new piece by the Center for Investigative Reporting, detailing the years of sexual and physical abuse she suffered at the hands of Yusuf Bey Sr., including being raped by him innumerable times in her childhood and bearing three of his children, starting at age 12.

Her name is Kowana Banks, and her story paints a grim and disgusting picture of what life was like inside the bakery-cult starting in the late 1970s. She ended up there at age 8 because her father had met some of Bey's associates in prison, and brought his children to live in the compound near 59th Street and San Pablo Avenue. Banks' father eventually abandoned his children and gave up custody to Bey, who continued to rape Banks throughout her teens. In part, she blames Alameda County authorities and hospital workers who did nothing to intervene as she and other girls at the bakery repeatedly gave birth to babies at young ages.

Banks met a man she was romantically interested in in 1988, and when Bey found out, he ordered other women at the bakery to beat her. She managed to escape for good, and has now been married for 18 years.

Then, in 2002, her 18-year-old daughter, fathered by Bey and still living at the bakery, informed her that Bey was trying to molest her, which prompted Banks finally to go to the police. She ended up pressing charges against Bey, and her anonymous testimony led to his arrest for felony rape and assault three months later. He posted bail, and ended up dying of cancer the following year before facing a jury.

In the excellent video above, Banks seems at peace with the past, and the bakery that once gave a home to many poor black people in Oakland, even though it was headed by a charismatic monster.

[Center for Investigative Reporting/Bay Citizen]