A child and a bear
The abuse lasted for years including rape and whippingsiStock

Members of a religious group in New Mexico have been arrested over allegations of child smuggling and rape. More than 100 counts of criminal sexual penetration were brought against four individuals.

Deborah Green, Peter Green, Joshua Green, and Stacey Miller of the Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps were all arrested on Sunday morning (20 August) by Cibola County police .

The group are designed to spread Christian ideals throughout the world and are based at Fence Lake in Cibola County, west of Albuquerque.

According to Sheriff Tony Mace, the police force began investigating the group in 2016 when two members approached them after escaping the commune.

"The children were trained not to talk to law enforcement or to hide from law enforcement," Mace said.

They reported that children who became sick or unwell, were left to be treated by God.

This lead to the death of Stacey Miller's 12-year-old son who died of flu in 2014.

Koat Action News reported that the boy wan't given any medical assistance, even when pus started leaking from his forehead and he lost his ability to speak and move his right side. He was buried on the property and no one reported his death.

Miller has since been charged with neglect resulting in the death of a child.

Deborah Green was charged with the sexual assault of a minor and child abuse. Investigators said that in 2001, she sexually assaulted her daughter's 5-year-old girl who had been smuggled into the country from Uganda.

The girl told police that she had been regularly whipped and treated like a slave and was raped by Deborah's son-in-law Peter Green until she was aged nine.

Peter is now charged with 100 counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor.

Sheriff Mace said: "Knowing that these individuals are in custody now... it's a heavy weight off of my shoulders."

A total of 18 children are still living at the commune but police said that they didn't see any evidence of continued neglect or abuse.