The Most Evil Cult Leader In History? | Roch Theriault | Part Two

(Roch Theriault with some of his followers ''The Ant Hill Kids''. Picture credit:

Continued from part one...

As I mentioned in the previous post, I will be sharing some disturbing details in my coverage of this case so please be aware.

The followers were given meagre rations and if anyone dare eat a little bit too much (no matter if they were pregnant), they would be severely punished. One follower who was pregnant ate two extra pancakes so he broke two of her ribs. He would fly into rages at the least little thing and rambled on and on for hours making no sense but if anyone fell asleep whilst he was talking, he would bash them over the head with a four inch thick club.

Roch was obsessed with the Jonestown massacre which also occurred in 1978, he told his followers that he knew it was going to happen. 

At this time, there was a real fear and paranoia about cults and families of the members of the group became concerned about their young relatives. Roch forbid the followers to have contact with their families but tried to portray the cult to outsiders as peaceful and a big happy family just as Jim Jones (Jonestown cult leader) had done.

Roch was a master manipulator and agreed to go for a psychological evaluation when authorities got involved, he told them that he wasn't leading a cult and that everyone in the group was there out of their own free will. The authorities had their hands tied because they couldn't prove that Roch was a danger to himself or to others and nobody in the group had complained about him. Roch returned to the group and they carried on as before.

One of the female followers expressed that she wanted to leave so Roch instructed her husband to cut off one of her toes, when he refused to do it, Roch shouted at him and said that he would cut off all of her toes if he did not do it.

The date of the end of the world came and went and Roch explained to his followers that it didn't happen because God is on a different time to earth and they believed him. 

A few months later, a couple of articles were published about Roch and his followers, in one they were shown to be a peaceful group who just wanted lo spread love and live healthy lives, and in another, which was printed a little while later, a previous follower had done an interview claiming that Roch wasn't how he appeared to be and the police came back again. 

He did his usual routine of claiming to be a saviour of these young people and would brag about how he had saved them from a life of drugs. Some people fell for his performance and others didn't know what to think of him. He returned to his followers to find that one of the group had passed away and was taken by the authorities for an autopsy which found that no foul play had occurred. 

Towards the end of 1980, a young man with mental health issues came to the group after seeing Roch on TV and trekking for miles. Roch decided that he could be part of the group but that he had to stay in a shed, he would be trusted to chop wood for the fire and look after the 'animals' which Roch nicknamed the children who were not his biologically. The young man was very unstable and should not have been allowed anywhere near children but Roch didn't care.

On the 23rd of March 1980 there was a party which Roch had organised at the cabin for his followers to celebrate his two sons (from his first marriage) coming to stay. Roch forbid the young man to attend. At some point during the evening, the young man became frustrated as one of the children would not stop crying. He picked the two year old child up and punched the infant in the face five or six times. When Roch was informed the next day, he tried to perform a circumcision on the child who was still suffering from the horrific blows to the head he had endured the night before. Roch poured alcohol down the child's throat before slicing off part of the child's penis with a razor blade. The poor child died. 

The events on the 23rd of March differ, the above account was the one that was accepted by the court. Roch's wife, Gisele reported that the child was fine that morning but had some bruising to the face. She claimed that Roch wanted to perform a circumcision and poured alcohol down the child's throat which also contributed to his death. Afterwards the child's body was burned.

For months after this incident, things seemed to have calmed down but Roch suddenly erupted again one night when he insisted that the mentally ill young man who assaulted the child be punished by being castrated. The followers joined in on the mock court scene and found the young man not guilty by reason of insanity but Roch didn't accept this verdict and talked the young man into being castrated.

After the gruesome act (which Roch made sure that the young man had signed a consent form beforehand), the young man bled for a week but managed to recover quite quickly. Roch continued to torture the young man by encouraging his followers to stab him and beat him up, when it looked like the man couldn't take any more and was at the point of passing out, Roch would tell his followers to stop. 

The young man managed to escape to the nearest town and contacted the authorities who descended on the cabin, took the followers into custody and the children away into foster care. They also found the remains of the child and did a thorough search.

At this point Roch was sentenced to two years in prison, two of his followers were given 6 months in prison and received three years probation. Maryse and Solange (two of his female followers) were given three years probation. After the authorities demolished the cabin the remaining followers drifted from one apartment to the other still trying to keep close to Roch. 

When Roch was released in 1984, his followers were waiting for him. He convinced the group that he was changed man and that there would be no more violence. They agreed to go with him and settle on Burnt River (near the town of Lyndsay in Victoria County, Ontario). They rebuilt another cabin and he continued to have sex with the female members who fell pregnant again. 

They were short on money so he encouraged his followers to go into town and steal vegetables. They created jackets with pockets inside to help aid their stealing. He also had one of the female followers prostitute herself to a local farmer in order to get cheese and milk. 

The group began growing and selling fruit, they also made pastry. Their little business venture was proving to be quite successful and Roch (who was now calling himself ''Rock'') named the company ''Ant Hill Kids''.

It was not long until Roch's mood swings flared up again and this time it was because he was bored. He began drinking heavily again and rambling. His followers realising that he had not changed at all and they still lived in fear of him. He would torture his followers for his own sadistic pleasure. He would force the women to strip nude and have mud wrestling fights. He would order a male follower to stand in between the women so that they could punch and kick him.

Roch's treatment of his followers had gotten worse. He would manipulate the women and enjoyed having them fight over him. If anyone tried to leave he have their leg or arm cut off. He'd cover his followers in feces and urinate on them. He'd force them to perform sex acts on each other whilst he watched. He had another male follower circumcised and slashed one of his wives across the throat with a piece of broken glass.

The young children were also sexually abused and tortured. Roch would force a female follower to nail a child to a tree and encourage the members to throw stones at the child. If a child was crying too much, Roch would order a follower to take the baby out and roll the infant in the snow. Another baby who wouldn't stop crying was placed in a wheelbarrow in the freeing temperatures and left there for a few hours, Roch disliked the child who he often had beaten. When he finally gave the order for the child to be checked, the poor baby was dead. 

The cause of death of the baby had been disputed, Roch's friend, who was the coroner claimed that the child died from sudden infant death syndrome. 

Continued in part three...

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Death Row Scot: The Kenny Richey Story: Part Two

Death Row Scot: The kenny Richey Story: Part Three

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 Unsolved : Part Three: The Highway Of Tears & The Disappearance Of Maddy Scott 

Unsolved: Part Two | What Happened To Melanie Melanson? 

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1 comment:

  1. Why did the police not do something or put someone undercover after he was released from prison annd that child would not have died. And I bet Roch was glad that he had someone in the Coroner's office so he can get away with murder and the abuse that everyone was getting from him with all the beatings they had. he is a sick twisted monster. Right to the point and well written as well kitty. I can wait to read part three and four ❤️🌹❤️🌹☕☕