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Tax Protesters Charged in Beating of Stanislaus County Clerk : Violence: Federal attorneys say three members of a Modesto group hired an Oregon man to assault the official after she refused to record bogus property liens.

June 27, 1995|From Associated Press

MODESTO — Three members of a tax protest group and an Oregon man were charged Monday with conspiring to assault Stanislaus County's clerk-recorder because she refused to record bogus liens.

The defendants, members of the Modesto-based Juris Christian Assembly, planned the beating of Karen Matthews on Jan. 29, 1994, Assistant U.S. Atty. Carl Faller said.

Five other group members were also charged with conspiring to obstruct the Internal Revenue Service from 1992 to 1995, he said.

The tax protesters demanded in November, 1993, that Matthews remove a $416,000 IRS lien on a home they owned, federal prosecutors said. Matthews refused and was warned that she "would be sorry."

Members of the Juris Christian Assembly demanded that they be allowed to file their liens against IRS employees. Again Matthews refused on grounds that the documents were invalid.

Three defendants--Roger Ardell Knight, George L. Reed and George Kendell Reed--allegedly hired Roger Steiner to assault Matthews and make her comply with the group's demands.

Steiner is accused of traveling from Oregon to Modesto in January, 1994, and beating Matthews at her home. He allegedly ambushed Matthews, cut her legs, back and neck and fired an unloaded pistol at her head several times.

The men were charged with interstate travel in aid of racketeering and aiding and abetting, a federal count punishable by up to 20 years in prison if they are convicted.

Matthews said in a statement, "I am extremely relieved that arrests have been made in connection with my assault of last year. All agencies involved have worked many long months to resolve this investigation. I am grateful to them all."

Before the attack, a fake pipe bomb and cryptic message were placed underneath Matthews' car and a bullet with her name was sent to her, Simon said.

"It's not just a crime against me," Matthews said. "It's really a much broader crime. It's an attack on our whole system of government."

Faller said the Juris Christian Assembly was established to avoid paying federal income taxes.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, the four men and five other group members also were charged with federal counts of obstruction of IRS proceedings, impersonation of government officials and Housing and Urban Development fraud.

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