State records shed light on ‘cult-like’ secret society operating at Leesburg High School

LEESBURG, Fla. — Channel 9 is learning more about an alleged “cult-like” secret society operating within Leesburg High School involving both faculty and students.


Records show it was started as some kind of religious group by two school employees and a few former students.

READ: Leesburg band director, counselor accused of operating ‘cult-like’ secret society within school

Gabriel Fielder has requested a chance to resign in lieu of termination after a report was made to Leesburg police by a former student who said he was “a member of a secret society at Leesburg High School called the Elder Council.”

The student said it was a cult-like group led by Field. Others also referred to it as a cult to Channel 9.

State records show Fielder and a guidance counselor named Leonardo Finelli started a nonprofit group in 2019 named Elder Council, Inc.

READ: Student drawings of Nazi party, Hitler displayed in Osceola County high school under investigation

It’s described in part as setup for “not-for-profit missions and teaching activities for the greatest evangelical Christian church globally.”

Before Elder Council dissolved in February, it was registered at a 13-acre site in Marion County near Ocklawaha, the home of Fielder.

READ: Dean accused of sexually battering child after late-night workout at Marion County middle school

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Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.