The group’s leader at Lisburg High School in Florida resigned amid an investigation after he was accused of running a “cult” group for students who pretended to be a Bible study group.
Gabriel Fielder allegedly invited teenagers to his 13-acre farm on the outskirts of Leesburg, 40 miles northwest of Orlando, where high school students were forced to do manual labor to prepare for the approaching apocalypse, according to Fielder.
The band’s leader also reportedly ordered the teenagers to pay tithes – mandatory donations to the church – to his group known as The Elder Council, according to The Daily Commercial.
It is reported that they were forbidden to tell their parents about the group if they thought it was a “cult”.
Gabrielle Fielder joined Lisburg High School and was the leader of the school group Swarm of Sound
Worked with Fielder in the management of the Council of Elders, established in 2018, an advisor to Leesburg Leonard, aka Lenny Finelli.
Online records show that Finelli and Fielder registered a non-profit organization in Leesburg called The Elder Council Inc. in November 2019.
The whistle blew about the couple’s surgery when Finelli was accused of improper relationships with a student.
Finelli allegedly shared inappropriate texts with the teenager in September 2020 and then met with him when the student turned 18 in November 2021, according to Click Orlando.
Fielder owns a 13-acre farm on the outskirts of Leesburg, where students are forced to do manual labor
According to one former cult member, Fielder often talked about the apocalypse and attempts to get out of the body.
The couple’s relationship allegedly lasted for three months.
This student told his therapist about activities on Fielder’s farms. The therapist then went to the school authorities.
A former member of the Council of Elders described the activities of The Daily Commercial: “He told us mostly that he had such a close relationship with God that he was very, very, very rare and unusual when he went wrong. And his opinion was: “If I’m wrong, God will correct me, you guys do not need to correct me.”
The former participant said that after a while Fielder started trying to control elements of the teen’s life while speaking languages and trying to have out-of-body experiences.
Leonardo, aka Lenny Finelli, is also accused of sending inappropriate messages to a student
Gabriel Fielder registered The Elders Club as a non-profit organization in Florida in November 2019
This included using the Life360 app to monitor their location.
Fielder reportedly told students that the purpose of the physical work was related to a future apocalypse.
He told the participant, “Don’t describe it that way because your parents aren’t open to all this yet. They will think we are a cult. ”
Fielder’s online biography, when he ran for a seat on the Lisburg City Council, quotes his words: “I believe we were created to be creators, not consumers. By teaching and guiding people to be self-sufficient, you free them from dependence on others and improve culture individually. ”
The former participant told The Daily Commercial that members of the group began to break away from Fielder in 2021, leading to the dissolution of the Council of Elders.
Those who were distracted from the group were called witches.
Neither Fielder nor Finelli will be charged against the Council of Elders. Both resigned during an investigation in May 2022.
Officials from Lake County schools were adamant that the club was not sanctioned by the county and no school meetings were held.
In documents about Fielder’s resignation, he cites the reason for leaving school as a job search outside of education, and Finelli says he is leaving for “personal reasons.”
Finelli also noted in his statement that he did not show up for work for four days while under initial investigation.
An unnamed former participant told The Daily Commercial: “I was shocked to think that I could be in a sect and that in my life everything was completely wrong. But I don’t even know if he understood how much he harmed us all. I don’t think he does. And I honestly don’t believe it was malicious. “
Gray Owens, communications coordinator for Lake County schools, said in a statement that the group was not affiliated with the school district and that the meetings did not take place on school grounds.
According to Fielder’s LinkedIn page, he graduated from the University of Florida and the University of Florida, where he studied education and music. Fielder attended Lisbon High School, which he graduated from in 1997.
Fielder began working at Lisburg High School in August 2002. He lists his responsibilities: “Serves as a board member of a nonprofit, developing and implementing music curriculum, web design, event planning, budget coordination, travel planning, fundraising and music training.”