Cult leaders are, as you might imagine, not the best people. However, some are worse than others. Canadian Roch “Moïse” Thériault, leader of the so-called Ant Hill Kids, was one of those people. As with most cults, things started out normal enough, but Thériault quickly became a cruel, tyrannical leader who was eventually strapped with a life sentence.
The Ant Hill Kids banned together in 1977 to listen to Thériault’s motivational speeches. He deliberately crafted those speeches in a way that solidified his position of authority.
He fancied himself a prophet and convinced his followers that he was doing God’s work when he hurt and abused them.
The group made most of its money by selling baked goods, and those who did not bring in enough money were subjected to extremely harsh punishments.
Members were routinely punished with whips or blows from a hammer, and many of these abuses were administered by Thériault. Thériault was also known to hang members from the ceiling and pull out every hair on their bodies.
While those sound terrible, people who tried to leave the commune fared far worse.
Their punishments included breaking their own legs with sledgehammers, sitting on hot stoves, shooting each other in the shoulders, and eating dead mice. To prove their loyalty, Thériault sometimes commanded members of the group to cut off each other’s toes with wire cutters. These extreme forms of abuse led to the death of at least one follower.
Eventually, Thériault’s deranged ways became his downfall.
Gabrielle Lavallée was a follower who had endured insane abuse under Thériault. In the years leading up to her escape, she suffered burns from welding torches on her genitals, a hypodermic needle breaking off in her back, and even the removal of eight teeth. She managed to briefly escape from the cult in 1989, but was brought back. At that point, Thériault proceeded to torture her by cutting off her arm and part of one breast.
After Thériault stopped, Lavallée managed to get away again. That time, she contacted the police.
Officers then raided Thériault’s compound. The madman was arrested and eventually sentenced to life in prison, and he died in jail back in 2011 at the age of 63.
(via Mental Floss)
I think this guy deserved a lot more than he got in the end. Let’s just hope that he’s burning in a very special place right now.