Inside Children of God cult where 12-year-old girls were put on a sex ‘sharing schedule’

CHRISTINA Babin walked nervously towards the rota pinned to a notice board, wondering which older man she would be made to sleep with tonight.

She was just 12 and one of thousands of kids growing up in Children of God communes in the US, where sick leaders put girls on a “sharing schedule”, offering them to a different man for each night of the week.

The cult was founded in 1968 by David Brandt Berg in California and grew to 130 communities around the world, housing 13,000 members.

Berg convinced them the end of the world was coming and taught them that sex was the way to find God and that “death was the ultimate orgasm.”

Women had to make themselves available to any man who wanted to have sex with them, girls were placed on a sex “rota” from the age of 12 and boys – including tragic star River Phoenix – were sexually assaulted from the age of four.

Even Berg’s own son, Ricky Rodriguez, was brought up by a team of nannies who were encouraged to sexually abuse him “almost from birth.”

Children were also beaten, starved and made to exercise until they passed out in harsh ‘prison camps’.

Now, in a new Discovery documentary on cults, Christina and fellow survivor Jemima Farris have revealed the horror of growing up in the Children of God “family”.

Christina’s mum Elizabeth joined the Children of God when she was just 21.

It was the swinging sixties and the young mum from Louisiana was keen to throw off the shackles of her Catholic upbringing.

Christina’s dad didn’t want to join the cult – but when he refused to go, cult members came and forcefully took Christina off him.

At the camp in Colorado, the children were taught to show unwavering devotion to Berg who they called “Father David” – and were told that all the adults there were now their parents.

Children were not allowed to go to school – instead Berg taught them about sex.

“You would wake up in the morning and they would be playing Father David’s words,” says Christina. “You would go to bed to somebody reading you his writings.”

Jemima – who was born into the cult in Seattle in 1972 after her pregnant mum ran away from her dad – adds: “Every aspect of your life was controlled and monitored, down to how many pieces of toilet paper you used.”

Berg, a married dad of four who had been kicked out of the mainstream church, was obsessed with sex and told followers, “The devil hates sex. God loves it.”

Members were encouraged to imagine they were having sex with Jesus when they masturbated and to chant phrases like: “My pu**y is excited for you, Jesus.”

Women – both married and single – were expected to give their bodies to any man who wanted them and were forbidden to use birth control.

Attractive female members also became “Flirty Fishers” – women sent to seduce influential and wealthy men to raise money.

Initially, the sex was limited to adults but after the birth of Berg’s adopted son Ricky Rodriquez, in 1975, the cult took an even darker twist.

Ricky – son of Berg’s lover Karen Zerby – was to become a “guinea pig” of sexual experimentation and, from birth, Berg surrounded him with a team of nannies who were instructed to “introduce him to sex”.

In 1982, when he was seven, his sick upbringing was documented in an illustrated book called The Story of Davidito, which included pictures of his sexual abuse and was distributed to communes around the world.

Before long a sick edict – known as the Law of Love – was issued at family meetings.

“David Berg’s letter said that anybody could have sex with anybody else regardless of age,” recalls Christina. “I sat in the meeting with everybody else reading that and I knew what it meant.

“It was now time for us children to be part of this.”

In a chilling recording, Berg can be heard telling his followers: “He’s going to advocate child sex? Yes. He’s going to advocate child brides? Yes.”

Jemima was 12 when she was forced to sleep with men.

“You had to make yourself available to men for sex,” she says.

“They taught us it was a privilege. We were placed on sharing schedules, which was a rotation of different men.

Once we had a dress up night and we had a tent with fortune teller who looked into her crystal ball and told you your sexual partner for the night.

“You weren’t allowed to say no. If you said no, they would specifically put you with people you didn’t want to be with.”

Christina recounts her own initiation into sex, at the age of 12.

“A couple came and took me to their bedroom and instructed me in the ‘ways of love,” she says.

“Afterwards I went to the bathroom and was cleaning myself up and feeling bad about myself that I didn’t like it. I thought there was something wrong with my heart and my soul. That I wasn’t right with God.

“We were told that sex was how to show God’s love.”

If the children didn’t comply, they were beaten with a board.

Survivor Dawn Watson recently revealed children were made to sleep with “uncles”, were sent to a “spanking room” for punishment and were shown pictures of naked women nailed to a cross.

The group also set up “prison camps” in Japan, Thailand and the Philippines for teenagers who were considered “rebellious”, who were locked in solitary confinement for weeks, starved and beaten until they “confessed” their sins.

They were publicly spanked with a wooden board and forced to exercise in the blistering sun until they passed out.

Christina was sent to the Philippines with her brother, who was put in solitary for two months for “impure thoughts.”

“They beat him and made him fast,” she says. “Then one day I saw him in the yard. They were making him do Calesthenics but he keeled over and was throwing up. They told him to get up and carry on. And he was a believer. He hadn’t even done anything.”

Christina finally escaped the cult at the age of 19, after meeting a man who was about to be inducted into the sect and marrying him.

But Jemima was 27 before she could turn her back on her “faith”.

“I was terrified to leave,” she says. “They told us that if you leave, you’re going to be drug addicts and prostitutes on the street. I believed 100 percent that God would punish me if I left.”

In fact, she was kicked out for smoking drugs in 2000, and spiralled into addiction. Now clean, she says that she has forgiven the cult members who sexually abused her.

“I try not to blame them. We were all victims, really,” she says today.

Tragically, not everyone lived to tell the tale.

River Phoenix, whose family left the sect when he was seven, went on to be a celebrated actor.

But he was haunted by memories of the cult, telling Details Magazine he first had sex at the age of four but he had “blocked it out”. He also told Esquire, “They’re disgusting, they’re ruining people’s lives.”

On October 31, 1993, at just 23, he died of a drug overdose outside LA’s Viper Room club.

After Berg’s death in 1994, Karen Zerby took over the cult and Ricky left to be an electrician in Tucson.

Haunted by the abuse he suffered, he set out for revenge.

In January 2005, he lured Angela Smith – one of the nannies who had abused him – to his flat and stabbed her to death.

He then drove to California where he shot himself in his car, leaving behind a video in which he says he is a vigilante, avenging children like him and his sisters.

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.”

Although it has a dwindling membership of 1700, the group, now known as the Family International, continues to exist under the leadership of Karen Zerby. It no longer advocates sexual contact with children or corporal punishment.

People Magazine Investigates: Cults began on Discovery Investigation at 9pm on Tuesday