Steven Garasai Tari (1971 – 29 August 2013), also known as Black Jesus, was a Papua New Guinean religious figure, leader of a Christian-influenced cargo cult, who claimed to be the Messiah or the Christ. He was convicted of four counts of rape in 2010 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He escaped in March 2013, and remained at large for several months, until he was murdered on 29 August 2013.
Tari's cult, which is estimated to have numbered as many as 6,000, became notorious for its alleged use of "flower girls" who served as concubines for Tari. The girls dress in scant clothing. The first rape/murder accusation against Tari involves the fate of Rita Herman, who joined the cult at age 13 as a personal "flower girl" of the self-styled messiah. According to accusations, in October 2006, Tari and a select circle of his ex-Lutheran aides, along with Barmarhal Herman, the girl's mother and reported "queen" of the flower girls, took 14-year old Rita into a private tent where she was raped by Tari. Barmarhal instructed her daughter to submit, as she and her family would be blessed by Tari and would receive great gifts of material goods and wealth as reward for the ritual. After the rape, Tari killed the girl with multiple knife stabs.
Tari was initially captured in 2005, but escaped prior to his trial with the help of a Lutheran pastor, Logan Sapus. Tari cultivated an honour guard and recruited a new crop of flower girls from the remote villages, promising them blessings of wealth in exchange. Tari enlisted only virgins, reportedly some as young as 8 years old. Tari ordered the destruction of rival Lutheran churches and terrorized nearby villages who would not submit to him. About 50 of Tari's followers, including about 30 flower girls, were rounded up in an operation in June 2006.
In 2007, Tari was captured after rival villagers traveled into his mountain stronghold at Matepi village, in the Transgogol area of Madang Province, and attacked and captured him. One of the villagers climbed into a tree to obtain a cellphone signal and called the authorities. The claims of murder were never tested in court. He argued in his defence that "Those women were flower-girls and this was the work of the minister and permitted by the religion. And I don’t know if the charges laid against me are wrong or right."
In October 2010 he was found guilty of four counts of rape, and sentenced to twenty years in prison.
On 21 March 2013, Tari escaped with 40 other prisoners in a mass breakout from Beon Prison Camp. On 31 August, police reported that Tari had been killed by the villagers in Gal, a small Madang village, two days earlier, after murdering a local woman. national newspapers have reported that Tari was "chopped to death" by the angry villagers.
Tari, pastore luterano mancato, è stato arrestato nel 2007 e condannato nel 2010 a dieci anni di carcere per aver stuprato alcune ragazzine adepte della sua setta di ispirazione cristiana. Le accuse di averle uccise e di aver bevuto il loro sangue e mangiato la loro carne in una interpretazione troppo letterale del Vangelo sono, invece, venute a cadere per mancanza di prove.
A Bible school drop-out who promised his followers prosperity and eternal life, Tari was arrested in 2007 amid sensational claims that he had performed sacrificial killings and feasted on the flesh of his victims. In the event, he was charged only with rape, although rumours of murder and cannibalism continued to dog him.
Hacked, slashed and castrated: How 'cannibal' cult leader ‘Black Jesus’ Steven Tari met his death 02 September 2013