Sunday 22 May 2022 02:31 AM Florida high school band leader ran 'cult-like' group at his farm trends now
A bandleader and guidance counsellor at Leesburg High School in Florida resigned amid an investigation after the pair were accused of operating a 'cult-like' group for students that masqueraded as a bible study group.
Former bandleader Gabriel Fielder owns a 13-acre farm on the outskirts of Leesburg, 40 miles north west of Orlando.
Fielder would entertain groups of students on his land, where the teenagers were forced into manual labor and ordered to pay tithes to Fielder, reports The Daily Commercial.
The group was known as The Elder Council. Fielder founded the group in 2018.
Gabriel Fielder joined Leesburg High School and was the leader of the school's Swarm of Sound band
Leonardo aka Lenny Finelli is also accused of sending inappropriate messages to a male student
Working with Fielder in running The Elder Council was Leesburg guidance counsellor Leonardo aka Lenny Finelli.
Online records show that Finelli and Fielder registered a non-profit in Leesburg named The Elder Council Inc. in November 2019.
The whistle was blown on the pair's operation when Finelli was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a male student.
Finelli allegedly share inappropriate texts with the teen in September 2020 and then dated him when the student turned 18 in November 2021, reports Click Orlando.
Fielder owns a 13-acre farm on the outskirts of Leesburg where forced students to perform manual labor
According to one former member of the cult, Fielder would often speak about the apocalypse and attempt out of body experiences
The pair's relationship lasted for three months.
That student told his therapist about the activities on Fielder's farms. The therapist then went to school authorities.
A former member of The Elder Council described the group's activities to The Daily Commercial: 'He told us basically that he had such a close relationship with God that it was very, very, very rare and uncommon for him to get things wrong. And his thing was, ‘If I’m wrong, then God’s going to correct me, you guys don’t need to correct me.'
The former member said that after a while, Fielder began to attempt to control