Christina Teresa Zerby

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Techi with brother Ricky Rodriguez in Canada (1992 - 1994)

Christina Teresa Zerby (born March 19, 1979) is the daughter of Karen Zerby and Michael Sweeney (aka Timothy Concerned), and step-daughter of David Berg. She is also the half-sister of Ricky Rodriguez. Known throughout Family publications as Techi (more recently, Keana, and other pseudonyms have included Chris, Tessy, and Terry), her legal name, likeness and location have long been closely guarded secrets — as is the case for most members of World Services.

In May 1982 The Family published a book written by Techi's nanny, Dora Techi, entitled Techi's Life Story. Portions of it were later ordered destroyed (see pubs purge).

During her early teenage years she was the subject of the Techi Series of internal publications, which helped lead to mandatory Open Heart Reports for many Family children.

In 1987, in a Family-produced book titled Heaven's Children, David Berg published sexual fantasies about Techi (see Berg on Incest).

[edit] Pregnancy

Techi is married to Nat (SGA; not his legal name; son of Paul Theophilus) and they have a son named Trevor who was born on January 7, 1996 in Texas, USA.

In his 2007 book, Jesus Freaks: A True Story of Murder and Madness on the Evangelical Edge, Don Lattin reported on allegations that the father of Techi's child was an older man and not her husband but also noted that Techi herself "vigorously" denied this in January 2005 (Editor's note: The "older man" or "Frank" is Swiss national, Hans Frey):

Another voice yet to be heard is that of Christina Teresa Zerby, also known as "Techi." Born March 19, 1979, Techi is the daughter of Karen Zerby and the late Michael Sweeney, a devotee known in the family as Timothy Concerned. Of the four children who got the closest look at "Life With Grandpa," including Ricky, Davida, and Merry Berg, Techi was the only one who has remained loyal to The Family. In 1987, the year before The Family says it instituted a firm policy against child molestation, The Family prodcued a comic book for children, entitled "Heaven's Children," in which David Berg fantasizes about having sex with Techi as young teenage girl.

Techi herself gave birth to a son, Trevor, when she was just sixteen years old. Several former members close to the Unit said the child was fathered by an older Swiss devotee who has since left The Family. Techi herself vigorously denied that claim in an email in January 2005: "I am married to my husband of nearly ten years, and my nine-year-old son is his," she wrote. "I am a grown woman living my own life. I think it's childish to even bring up things like this, which can serve no good purpose and only cause pain."3

Those making the allegation, including Don Irwin, say the issue is important because it shows that there was still sexual activity between adults and underage girls in the inner circle of The Family well into the nineties.

"Techi arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia [from Portugal] pregnant with a child," Don Irwin said. "The cult leadership lied to their membership saying that she got pregnant from a teenage boy in Vancouver. That was not what happened."

Irwin says he knows the real father of Trevor. On top of that, Irwin said that his own father, Ralph Keeler Irwin, legally changed his name to "Robert William Zerby" to make it easier for him to bring the pregnant Techi back to Canada.

"They encouraged the boys in that location [Vancouver] to have sex with her immediately upon her arrival. Trevor was born very quickly and not a full nine months after her arrival."

Irwin also said Techi told him that she thought "there was nothing wrong" with "a fourteen-year-old having sex with adult men."

  • Source: Lattin, Don. Jesus Freaks: A True Story of Murder and Madness on the Evangelical Edge. New York: HarperOne, 2007, 187-188.

In Not Without My Sister, Celeste Jones, who lived with Techi and Karen Zerby, wrote:

[describing a telephone conversation with Rick Rodriguez in early January 2005]

'You know, I feel so bad for Techi," I told him. 'When I was there in Mama's Home she lacked any desire or ambition. She didn't take care of her appearance, her room was in an appalling state, and she always seemed so depressed.

Davidito choked up. 'But you should have seen her before they broke her. She was so full of life and was a completely different person.'

He talked about the Techi Series and blamed his mother for destroying her mind. He also told me something even more shocking. The father of Techi's son was unknown and she had said officially that it was between two older teen boys, but Davidito told me that he believed that the father was most likely Frank, an older man in his late thirties. I had met Frank in Mama's home when I first arrived, but he left shortly after.

'What makes me the most angry is that it was our own mother who tried to entrap and control her. Techi wanted to leave the Home because there were no other young people, so our mother arranged for Frank to have dates with her. She was barely sixteen. And you know what the hardest thing about it is? Frank was my friend. It's just so fucked up.'

[...]

I talked with Elixcia about what Davidito had said about Techi and Frank, and she confirmed that she knew about it. I got Frank's email address and wrote to him, asking him to come clean and answer these charges. He never replied.

Instead Elixcia got a frantic call from Frank, who now lived in Switzerland. He had a new life outside the cult, a good job as a businessman and admitting his past would be devastating. He could not do it.

What a coward, I thought.

  • Source: Celeste Jones. "Is Justice a Dream?" in Jones, Celeste, Kristina Jones, and Julianna Buhring. Not Without My Sister. London: Harper Element, 2007, 356-357,360-361.

[edit] Writings by Christina Zerby

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