PORT ST LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - Was a bizarre religious ritual going on inside a Port St. Lucie home? Richard Nazareth is accused of playing God and forcing his two young children to act as his disciples and do drugs.
His son and daughter, spending the weekend with their father, came home to mom telling her about the bizarre religious rituals they were allegedly forced into.
Dad is now facing two counts of child abuse. "The allegations, in the report, they mirrored a very unorthodox behavior," said Port St. Lucie Police Officer Tom Nichols.
Police say it all went down in mid-March. Nazareth, who tells police he doesn't have a job, picked the kids up from school on a Friday. And, police say, that was the last routine thing that happened that weekend.
The children, both younger than 11, were allegedly forced to drink wine and eat bread, their father apparently telling them it was the body and blood of Christ and they were celebrating his purchase of a brand new church.
That night Nazareth also forced his son to smoke marijuana, according to reports. "Whether he thinks it right, wrong or indifferent, there are laws that protect children," Nichols said.
An arrest affidavit says he kept his kids up until 4 in the morning. The next day, police say, he brought them to a friend's house where things took a bizarre and troubling turn for the worse.
According the arrest documents:
- He also spit in the bottle and added a 'drop' of beer
- He used this mixture to bless the house
- He made both the children drink the mixture from the bottle
"Most parents are role models to children, and with some of the allegations made, the father's behavior is rather questionable," Nichols concluded.
The children's mother says she's happy her ex was arrested. Nazareth has since bonded out. He remains unreachable; however, he told police this is all made up and just retaliation from the children's mom.