Sexual Assault, Wicca, and Consent

Local media in Ohio are reporting on the arrest of Daniel Hess and live-in girlfriend Lacey Day for the sexual assault of a 15-year-old family member. NBC affiliate WTAP noted that Hess and Day admitted to the sexual acts, and that according to police deputies the victim seemed to be there willingly. Hess allegedly told police that the sexual acts were part of the Wiccan faith.

“We’ve been conducting the investigation for about the last two weeks. It came to our attention through another public service agency within the county,” said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks. Upon his arrest, Hess maintained the assault was a result of his religious beliefs, according to the sheriff. “The guy sort of alluded to the fact the reason he did it was his belief in Wicca,” Mincks explained. [...]  Regardless of what religious belief a practitioner has, it does not justify the assault of a child, say officials with Washington County Children Services. ”It doesn’t matter what kind of religion it is. In America, in Ohio, in Washington County, it is illegal to sexually abuse a child,” said Alice Stewart, intake assessment supervisor with Washington County Children Services.

Sheriff Mincks went on to say that Hess “indicated and justified, or tried to justify what he had done by his belief in Wicca which is a form of witchcraft, or the practice of witchcraft.”

There are a lot of different issues to unpack here. First, let’s reiterate that no mainstream Wiccan organization condones this behavior. No Wiccan group that I know of, whether eclectic or traditional, engages in sexual threesomes with under-aged family members as part of its rites. No matter how precocious or willing that family member was, the law in Ohio clearly states that 16 is the age of consent, and no coven that I’ve encountered encourages breaking the law in order to engage in sexual acts with a minor. Further, if we accept that these sexual encounters were indeed a part of their religious practice, Hess and Day could be charged with a third degree felony.

“However, the preceding statute, Section 2907.03, specifies that sexual conduct between anyone under 18 and a teacher, administrator, or coach of the school they attend, a cleric, or other person in authority, is punishable as a felony of the third degree. 2907.03 Sexual battery. (A) No person shall engage in sexual conduct with another, not the spouse of the offender, when any of the following apply: [...] The other person is a minor, the offender is a cleric, and the other person is a member of, or attends, the church or congregation served by the cleric.”

So, if this truly was a Wiccan ceremony of their design, the consequences for Hess and Day could be far more severe than if the incidents had been purely secular in nature. No doubt more details, and explanations, will arise during the trial.

To close, as I did during the John Friend scandal, I want to reiterate my call for Wiccan and Pagan organizations to be more proactive, and use painful moments like these as times of clarification and outreach.

“Wicca’s roots, its core, is in sacred union. Many over the years, both detractors and adherents, have called it a “sex cult” or a “fertility religion.” This can lead to some taking liberties that ignore our ethical base, our commitment to sacred trust, our belief that “as above” is at one with what’s “below.” It can lead to people like Friend misusing the currents of both Wicca and yoga for his own gratification. [...] This is not the time to hope it “blows over,” but a time for our leaders to engage in powerful outreach on what Wicca is, what its ethics are, and what our stance is on Friend’s behavior. If we don’t, we run the risk of others doing it for us, quietly, with whispers, insinuations, and misinterpretations.”

This call to outreach isn’t for the sake of media outlets in Ohio, but for the young people who may be out there being “groomed” as we speak to believe their route to power, to control, to acceptance, comes through sexual activity with a coven, grove, circle, or kindred leader. Those who blur the boundaries of power and responsibility to engage in sexual gratification with minors are repugnant, and we have a special responsibility to speak out against those who sully the names of our sacred traditions, who twist the psyches of those they hold spiritual authority over. I hope this latest incident act spurs us into reiterating what our sexual ethics are in a manner that leaves no excuse to those who would twist or abuse the decentralized non-hierarchical nature of our faiths and community for their own purposes.

About Jason Pitzl-Waters
  • Zan Fraser

    Wow- really powerful stuff; kind of major- thanks very much for this piece, Jason. As America kind of has some issues with sexuality, and as Wicca and Neo-Paganism are sex-positive (indeed, holding sexuality to be sacred), Pagan Sacred Sexuality is going to push conservative buttons, and folks like these do not help. It would be useful if there were some sort of forum- such as a Pagan Anti-Defamation League, or something- that could issue clarification, education, and rebuttals in cases such as this; or at least, many, many Pagans: please contact the relevant news organizations, to explain about the difference  between “mainstream” Paganism and folks who go off the tracks like this.

    • Anonymous

      Yet, that is inherently difficult with a non-centralized belief system. True, there are, as Jason pointed out, no mainstream traditions that do this, but do we want a Gardinarian telling an eclectic what is and isn’t okay? I don’t think we really need a centralized group to tell the media “No, we don’t break the law when it comes to sex, even if we like it more than you do.” And as Jason pointed out, these morons might have dug themselves into a deeper hole by claiming religion.
      Checking the source article, every comment is how much this offends pagans. There’s no “burn the witch, the devil is among us” comments. I take that as a very good sign. For now, however, only time will tell… 

      • Mia

        They said “Wicca” specifically as the religion, not Paganism in general. Since Wicca IS a defined tradition with some texts, it has some do’s and don’ts that can be expressed and clearly stated to non-Pagans. It’s one of the more organized religions in Paganism.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        In the comments to the WTAP article there’s one person trying to sell Wicca=Satan and getting criticized for it. Not bad for 16 comments.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=601178231 Jason Mankey

        There is no tradition using the term Wicca that engages in practices like this, end of story.  

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UADALMDNYYU5CCNCAHQQIU665U happydog

           Well, the Frosts talked about something like it in The Good Witch’s Bible, back in the 1970s. Of course no modern tradition endorses anything like that, and there’s some doubt about whether the Frosts ever did it, or whether they just wrote about it.

          • Anonymous

            This makes for an interesting problem, though. It is hard to state unequivocally that a practice is entirely out of line with a religion when the practice is endorsed in writing by one of that religion’s public figures. Whether said figure actually engaged in the practice is moot. Indeed, the possibility exists that these sickos were inspired by the Frosts’ writing to do exactly what they did. If that is the case, all the protestation that this has nothing to do with Wicca seems pretty hollow, even if it certainly is true that there is far less child molestation going on in Wicca than in, say, Catholicism.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            The point is what our practice is today, not the writings of (relatively) early pioneers.

            Lot slept with his own daughters to perpetuate his line after his wife was turned to salt. Abraham was ready to sacrifice his only son Isaac because God commanded it. Samson tied burning brands to animals and loosed them toward an enemy encampment. All of this is Biblical but no present Biblical tradition practices it.

          • Anonymous

            Baruch, there’s a big difference between something that happened (if it happened at all) thousands of years ago vs. modern practice and what someone wrote not even 40 years ago and modern practice. 

          • Anonymous

             Baruch: the Frosts are hardly distant, mythical figures. They have a blog for crying out loud. http://gavinandyvonne.blogspot.com/

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I remember being young. Forty years ago was ancient history.

          • Guest

             As far as it was possible to do, since there was supposedly articles and comments in the Green Egg and other publications back in the day, people reacted to the Frost’s chapter saying it was out of line, and unendorsed, even condemned.  The Frosts themselves took it out of later editions in reaction to strong criticism.
            I think that barge has sailed by. A newbie pagan is unlikely to read pre-1977 Frost “Wicca” or think that anything but atypical, unless they encounter people who would use any excuse for abuse and incest.

          • http://ianphanes.livejournal.com/ Ian Phanes

             Having owned “The Witch’s Bible” by the Frost, I have analyzed what that text said on this subject very carefully.

            The standard coven ritual involved sexual penetration by random heterosexual partners.

            They stated that Witches should initiate their children into the coven at age 13.

            They gave specific instructions on making two wooden dildos (one smaller and one larger), with instructions for using the dildos to prepare a virgin girl for sex.

            They stated that the coven should require all initiates to sign a release acknowledging that illegal activities were part of the practice before receiving initiation into the coven.

            Thus, they did specifically mandate sex between 13-year-old children and random adults–which would include the parents.

            This issue was the main reason I removed it from my library–so that no one would think that I was supporting or even condoning that.

          • Anonymous

            I feel a little ill. Thank you for letting us know what it actually says, but I’m sorry that it exists.

          • deerwoman

            If I’m not mistaken, don’t the Frosts also identify their belief system as monotheistic, which is counter to most other self-identified Wiccan traditions which generally adhere to at least a duotheistic or “soft” polytheistic perspective? I thought I recalled that their particular brand of “Witchcraft/Wicca” was inconsistent with most others on multiple fronts, including the repugnant rituals you describe above.

          • deerwoman

            I just found a post from the Frosts via the blog link provided above. In it they claim that their book does not promote the molestation of children.

            In another post they claim The Good Witch’s Bible never promoted sex with persons under the age of eighteen:
            “We admit that there may be some confusion about the initiations. We did
            state quite clearly in “Good Witch’s Bible” that no one under the age of
            eighteen (18) should be initiated.”

            Unfortunately I do not have a copy of the book to verify one way or the other, but I’d be curious to see what people have been “misinterpreting” according to the Frosts.

          • Briar

            The Frosts also talk about sex with underage/young individuals in the guise of “educating” those individuals in the ways of sex.  This is in the book called “Being a Pagan”.  I was so offended and horrified that I returned the book and spent my money on something else.  

          • Darcie

            I recall quite clearly back in the late 80s/early 90s, the Frosts wrote in a Pagan magazine about this topic saying they did not practice the sexual initiation of children with wooden dildos any longer. They claimed they got the idea from anthropological research and stated, “Don’t blame us, blame the anthropologists.”  The reason I remember so clearly is that I was an anthropology student at the time and the blaming of anthropologists REALLY stuck in my craw.  For the record, I never came across any culture with this practice, although there are plenty of diverse sexual practices out there.  Plus anthropologists don’t tell Westerners to adopt practices out of their cultural context, particularly when those practices break the law. 

          • Mekong603

            “Frostian Witchcraft” was also monotheistic for a while and completely ignored, neglected, or had no use for a goddess. I’d argue that they aren’t “Wiccan” and are pretty far removed from most modern forms of Western Paganism.

  • Adriancolumbia

    This is not what we uphold as belief or practice and I hate that the coverage is focused in sexual assault as a pagan practice. I live in the N.KY area and its so conservative. Pagans must be very careful about who they are out to and in what situations. For example, employers have requested individuals to atop wearing a pentacle yet allow others to wear crosses. I wish the victim healing from this blatant sexual manipulation. Sadly this will create more backlash on pagan parents, communities, and festivals in this already censored area.

  • Odinowlfather

    3, 7, 9, 21 A person should 21 years of age for the Great Rite so be it Ordain

  • http://www.facebook.com/meghan.elison Meghan Elison

    It’s times like this I’m glad there isn’t a centralized movement to damage with this kind of crazy kook press. On the one hand, it’s abhorrent that some people think all Pagans are like these two. On the other hand, it means stories like this can’t get too amplified, because we’re still too small and obscure to make much fuss about. 

  • Anonymous

    Sadly, I’ve run into my (un)fair share of certain males who believed that Wicca was akin to some sort of sex cult, and that any female Wiccan was fair game. There’s a certain sort of man who uses Wicca and ‘initiation’ and allegations of ‘special secret rituals’ to lure in young and vulnerable women. I hope that the Wiccan community at large remains aware that predatory people like this do exist. They populate all faiths- not just Wicca; chuches also have problems with people like this- and use their perceived authority to harm vulnerable people.

    • http://ianphanes.livejournal.com/ Ian Phanes

       This is not only men.  I’ve personally known one woman who used Craft initiation to manipulate someone who was younger than her son to have sex with her.  As it happened during the summer he turned 18, I don’t know if he was legally an adult when it happened or not.  Either way, it was abusive.

  • http://sari0009.xanga.com/559083265/dualism-polarization-polarism-gigo/ Karen A. Scofield

    Sexual abuse of minors crosses all cultural, religious, financial, racial and other boundaries. Sexual abuse rates across the board are horrendous in modern societies but there are steps to protect children from abuse. Both are discussed in the following link. The link is from a credible and useful source.

    http://www.d2l.org/site/c.4dICIJOkGcISE/b.6035035/k.8258/Prevent_Child_Sexual_Abuse.htm 

    Identity wars. Traditional profiling. They invite prejudice against entire interests, races, religions and cultures that have nothing to do with truly informed child abuse prevention. Worse, they tend to realllly take the focus off of protecting children and others from abuse in an informed manner.

    One has to wonder about anyone that uses religious identity culture wars to do that…

  • Guest

      ”It doesn’t matter what kind of religion it is. In America, in Ohio,
    in Washington County, it is illegal to sexually abuse a child,” said
    Alice Stewart, intake assessment supervisor with Washington County
    Children Services.

    I also don’t know any reputable covens or magical groups that initiate anyone under 18 in the US.
    Joining a coven is an ADULT’S CHOICE, and therefore you have to be an ADULT FIRST.
    These are child predators disguising incest under the guise of religion. There are a lot of good people who are pagan, and none of them support this behavior. Many of them would be livid – they were abused themselves within the guise of mainstream religions, and oppose strongly any form of clerical/religious sexual abuse from any group.
     Since Wicca (in the general) has such a variety of teachers and angles of teaching, some will trick other people into sex with crap like  “join my coven, let me.. “teach” you…”* and vulnerable people will fall for that.
    *There are many variants from the know-nothings that pretend to be teachers that predate on n00bies – including “let me help you Awaken as an Otherkin” “want to learn some Tantra?” etc.

    I’ve been pagan for around 15 years and am familiar most of the major groups on the East Coast. And I repeat, I don’t know any reputable covens or magical groups that initiate anyone under 18 in the US. What the victim encountered was just plain wrong.

    • Anonymous

      “Many of them would be livid – they were abused themselves within the
      guise of mainstream religions, and oppose strongly any form of
      clerical/religious sexual abuse from any group.”

      I would like to point out that, IMO, teaching your child to loathe and fear contraceptives and sexually-active gay people constitutes sexual abuse just as much as child rape.  It’s taken me most of a decade to de-program myself.

      • Guest

        Those viewpoints demean and weaken people, and so do those that view women like they can be seen (under enough cover) but shouldn’t be heard and can’t bless the Sacraments.
        But I don’t know if all that is as bad as child rape by clergy. People try to say words are just as bad as physical attack, but I think usually in the latter they are combined and the latter leaves deeper scars (mentally, and of course only the one leaves physical.) 

        • Anonymous

          I agree that they are not as serious as rape, but they DO cause people to make bad sexual decisions, and those decisions can scar just as badly, if only mentally.

          And just because one is not as bad as the other, does not prevent both forms of harm from being of the same kind.

          • Guest

            They are bad and harmful and such can take years to heal from.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Someone who self-liberates abruptly from a sex-negative upbringing can go self-destructively far in the other direction and wind up with a nasty STD or a life-script-disrupting pregnancy. That’s physical scars from mental abuse.

          • Anonymous

            Even more “fun” is working through weird misinformation about sex AND damn near everything else.  It came as a shock to me to realize that YEC was SO far disconnected from reality that the teacher at a conservative Baptist college thought I was nuts for not already knowing how evolution works.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    “This call to outreach is[...] for the young people who may be out there being “groomed” as we speak to believe their route to power, to control, to acceptance, comes through sexual activity with a coven, grove, circle, or kindred leader.”

    Perhaps that sentence should end with the word “activity.” If Pagans are going to gin up an outreach to vulnerable youngsters, why limit the scope to our religions? or religion in general? Girls get “groomed” in high school. We believe that sexuality is sacred, not a bargaining chip or a route to popularity; that a girl’s body is a temple of the Goddess. If we’re going to broadside the public with our sexual ethic, why not exploit this teachable moment with something that might come out of a Pagan sex-ed curriculum if there were such a thing?

    • Zan Fraser

      Wow- I am really liking this as an idea: it’s jumping on the wagon, grabbing the bull, being proactive- like you say, broadsiding the public, with our own Pagan point-of-view rebuttal. A Pagan sex-ed curriculum. How brilliant. I love it. 

      • G Kevin Mark

        Maybe use the Unitarian Universalist “Our Whole Lives” (OWL) program as a template?

  • Ursyl

    I hope the authorities remember that particular law and apply it in this case.

    Anyone local there able to point that one out? Make clear that it’s another member of the Pagan/Wiccan community suggesting it?

    • Leea

      as I suggested to Jason-letters to the editor of local and regional newspapers can be very effective at getting our views known when this happens. His article is brilliant, and I suggested he send it as a “LTTE”. Should be able to google local papers for anyone wanting to do so.

  • Hps Capcer

    I have 1 word 4 them CHILD MOLESTERS…we live in 2012 not the 600 or 1600…Get a grip on life people….call them what they are….and don’t hide behind religion….it does not matter what religion…Molesting is all wrong in all religions…common sense went out the window with these 2….

    • Gharrison14

      ‘CHILD MOLESTERS’ – errrrrr …….. 2 words.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zaracon Larry Zaracon Sodders

    a pedophile is a pedophile regardless of religious affiliation , It is my hope that these people see the full force of the law. 
    as an old policeman I had the opportunity to deal with quality individuals such as these folks, And It still burns my soul to think of this horrible act being perpetrated on children.
    May the healing Energy of the Goddess /God , be shown to this young girl .
    Father of three Daughters -Zaracon

    • blackflame

      Pedophiles are NOT equal to child molesters! As a pedophile, I don’t go around looking for children to grope and do other unseemly things to. There is a very clear difference here, and I would just hate having to correct people about this. Pedophiles are not child molesters by definition. Pedophiles will protect a child to keep their innocence while molesters will corrupt that innocence.

      Sorry, but I needed to say that.

  • Leea

    Jason-maybe you could send this post as a “letter to the editor” of their local newspaper? Might help overall, as well as to warn any other kids they could have been grooming…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728865973 Crystal Groves

    Man.  I really hate when religion is brought into stuff like this :(   Condolences to the victim.

  • Anonymous

    I already have,made a comment on the story. Being proactive is so easy with the internet, you can do so anywhere in the world. I take part in newspapers all over the world, I can interview Pagans just about anywhere, be it Hungry Australia, South Africa. Now I live out in the deserts of southern New Mexico. If I can do it here, in the middle of nowhere, anyone else can do it as well.If Pagans want to be respected it is time to give up making excuses and to act like people worthy of respect. But please and think before you speak out, keep your facts straight and makes to keep you emotions under control, now one is going to pay attention to a wild emotional rant.

  • Zan Fraser

    This is a little off the specific topic of These Particular Wiccans, but- one thing that strikes me about both this story, and the Kirk Cameron-infiltrating-an-ADF-Druid-Ritual story is: they both are reported in media (in the Cameron Case, on CNN, right?)
    I’m wondering where to find visible Pagans in the media, at this point? Pagans, say, able to counter such stories, in a visible media way?
    No movement goes forward without visible people in it; at some point, we are going to need Pagans open and available to the media.
    One thing about some of the earliest modern Witches- Gerald Gardner, Alex Sanders, Sybil Leek- is that they made themselves available to media sources as spokespeople for modern Witchcraft (which movement later turned into Neo-Paganism at large).
    I have the feeling that if Sybil Leek were here today, she would be flying out to Ohio, to start talking to Ohio News, No, look, here’s how ETHICAL Wiccans look at these things.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sebastian-Rowan/100001948571107 Sebastian Rowan

    I copy and pasted some of this post, as a wiccan I was appalled to open my newspaper and read this, and I do plan to cite this site, as well as several other comments I have saved from my social sites, when I go to the newspaper office and demand an article on what wicca is all about, and that we in no fashion condone this behavior.

  • No Bod E

    I’d just about be willing to bet that they thought they could hide behind religious freedom to get away with this crime. Look at how long Warren Jeffs used his brand of religion to basically rape young girls.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/73WYVJX4ZTBEQFVISYU74QIXZ4 Cathryn

    “Wicca made me do it.”  It’s not often that this court reporter hears a new one, but yes, this is a first.  But really, it is just a new version of a tired old theme I heard repeatedly in criminal court.  The perp is not to blame!  They’re out to railroad him.  He doesn’t have a problem with his temper and being violent; the police think so, but they’re mistaken.   She was fussing at him, and he just couldn’t take anymore; he only lost it for a minute.  (Both of these examples are from cases I’ve reported.  And they’re representative.)  It goes on and on, sometimes one after the other on a given day in criminal court which, thank Goddess, I rarely have to do anymore.  I’m sure any prosecutor worth her salt would do some self-educating about Wicca and hammer any “Wicca defense” to pulp in about two minutes of closing argument. 

    That said, I swear that I can hear the fundie Sunday School teachers rubbing their hands at this news.  It is simply inevitable that those who already dislike Paganism for their own half-baked reason will take this as fodder.  Sigh.

    Kudos to Jason, though, for pointing out the importance of our own ethical obligations here.  In addition to clear and repeated statements that underage or coerced sexual acts have no place in genuine spirituality of any stripe, we need an ethic about reporting such acts.  I have heard some very concerning statements by Pagans regarding reporting criminal behavior or warning about it, e.g., maybe that’s something the victim is supposed to learn from; we don’t help or interfere until it’s asked for.  Someone who knows or strongly suspects activity involving minors may also hesitate to report because of misplaced loyalty to a group or leadership.  These are ethical issues that need to be part of any ethical guideline or rule.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/73WYVJX4ZTBEQFVISYU74QIXZ4 Cathryn

       BTW, it’s Cathryn Meer Bauer. Do not know why only my first name is listed. 

  • Anonymous

    “The guy sort of alluded to the fact the reason he did it was his belief in Wicca,”No.  NO NO NO.  This is not how you do the whole divine-sex thing.  At all.  In fact, this is not how you do sex EVER.

  • http://twitter.com/Fae_EM Fae EdwardsMiller

    As Jason noted our religion(s) is(are) more sex positive then most – therefore we’re going to always have a lunatic fringe who engage in risky or illegal sexual contact.  The critical thing we can do is to repudiate these people loudly, quickly and often.

    Failure to loudly distance themselves from extremists is what’s hurting moderate Islam in the US and Europe.  We should learn from their experience.

  • http://sonneillon-v.livejournal.com/ Sonneillon

    Hrm.  When it’s Wicca, the media is all, “AND HE’S A WICCAN!!!111!!!ELEVENTY!”  When it’s Christianity, they’re all, “So-and-so, a fine, upstanding member of hir local (insert denomination here) congregation, was said by friends to have ‘excellent character’ and be totally incapable of the acts zie is accused of.  And though we are supposed to be more or less neutral, our framing and phrasing throughout this article will demonstrate that we agree.”

    It’s nice, though, that the authorities don’t seem to be the ones sensationalizing it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sebastian-Rowan/100001948571107 Sebastian Rowan

    This is my local news and I am asking everyone to please let the editor know how we as a whole feel about this…….. Jennifer Houtman, Publisher/Editor, Phone Number (740) 376-5401,                                    Email:  jhoutman@mariettatimes.com 

  • Carmelking73

    I’m a witch and sex NEVER plays a part in Wiccan/witchcraft rituals. We do celebrate fertility, but sex only occurs behind closed doors as a private act between two consenting adults. Children and sex should NEVER be used in the same context. Children are pure and innocent and should remain so until adulthood. Bastards like these, and many more are snatching our children’s innocense.

    • http://ianphanes.livejournal.com/ Ian Phanes

       I’m a witch and sex NEVER plays a part in Wiccan/witchcraft rituals.

      That statement is appallingly inaccurate.  Anyone who has read any reliable book on any tradition of British Traditional Wicca knows that the Great Rite may be performed as sex between consenting adult initiates.  In most lineages, it may also be performed in a symbolic form, but that doesn’t mean “NEVER”.  My understanding from a local Alexandrian 3* is that, in his line, the Great Rite must involve actual sex for the 3* initiation.  Certainly, that’s how he was elevated to 3*. 

  • Morrison043

    It doesn’t matter what kind of religion it is. In America, in Ohio,
    in Washington County, it is illegal to sexually abuse a child,”  UNLESS YOU ARE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

  • Anonymous

    Even though I agree with efforts at outreach and education about Wicca, I wonder just who might carry out such efforts. And in the name of, on the authority of, just which aspect, element, Trad, organization, of Wicca.

    Part of this problem is that Wicca has, over the decades, grown, diversified, and, in some ways, become much much more diffuse in its overall content. In addition, Wicca has always been rather contentious about who has what authority over whom.

    What I’m getting at is that 99% of all Wiccans could say “We don’t do that! It’s obviously wrong and illegal!” And 1% could say “But in our religion, we do! and they can’t tell us different about OUR Wicca!”

    Let me be clear, religion does not excuse crime.

    But spokesfolks from one denomination may not always be able to speak for adherents of another and different denomination.

    • Thelettuceman

       Religion doesn’t excuse crime and, as Jason pointed out, the penalty for this being classified as a “religious” incident is higher than if it were an act of secular sexual misconduct.

  • Salem_witch

    What the hell? Wiccans do NOT perform sexual acts on minors! This guy has NO IDEA what Wicca is! If he did, he’d know the #1 rule: harm none. There are ZERO Wiccan traditions that allow that type of behavior. It’s things like this that gives Wicca a bad name- always coming from a person who doesn’t know a thing about it

    • http://ianphanes.livejournal.com/ Ian Phanes

       Please read my comment upthread about the Frosts’ book “The Witch’s Bible.”  Unfortunately, one of the earliest published ritual books did mandate sexual acts with minors.

  • Luthaneal

    This is just one reason why Wicca does not initiate anyone under the age of 18.  Higher in some cases.

  • Hermgirl F

     “The guy sort of alluded to the fact the reason he did it was his belief in Wicca,” 

    Well, no, it wasn’t his belief in Wicca, it was his belief in the idea that he was entitled to have sex with a minor.

  • http://thesatyrsthicket.blogspot.com Nicholas Farrell

    Some things are just inherently wrong regardless of religious tradition or what someone wrote decades ago.

  • http://thesatyrsthicket.blogspot.com Nicholas Farrell

    Like it or not, Wicca needs a face to give to the public, otherwise the public will give Wicca one, and it won’t be pretty.

  • http://www.facebook.com/silverpanthra Cheryl Bouton Jones

    I would say that most likly they had the Gavin Frost Book The Good Witch’s Bible. A revew from a Fellow Amazon says it as well as I Ever could “By 
    S. parker “Ian Corrigan” (Madison, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
    This review is from: Good Witch’s Bible (Paperback)
    When this book came out in the early 70s, it was considered abject nonsense by the few folks who had any actual knowledge of Wicca in those days. The Frosts came out of nowhere, appropriating the term ‘Wicca’ for their own version of what religious witchcraft might be. Their synthesis bore almost no resemblance to the traditions of Wicca, either in ritual or theology, and certainly not in the grotesque suggestions about the sexual upbringing of children. It was a different age in those days, as ‘swinging’ emerged as a lifestyle and many folks hoped for a real revolution in sexual mores – too bad the Frosts chose to add their wacky ideas to something that they chose to call ‘Wicca’.
    This book was an embarrasment in 1972, and it’s an embarrasment now. It should be ignored by anyone interested in learning witchcraft or wicca.”

    Given this explanation I can tell you that in this book, it calls for this behavior and it is given as normal and detailed Rites. It is total Garbage. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/SpiritusArcanum1 Spiritus Arcanum

    Ultimately it is up to the larger community to stand in the face of those who would use any faith as an excuse for their distorted and base desires. Lest, the misguided minority be seen as the majority. But of course, the mainstream media just loves an opportunity like this. Sex and Witchcraft always makes for a big headline.

    • http://thesatyrsthicket.blogspot.com Nicholas Farrell

      Sometimes, I wonder if we too readily put them together ourselves, sex and witchcraft. Often we may do something in celebration of fertility, crack jokes about sex and circle, and in other ways correlate the two. Not to say that we shouldn’t, but that sometimes this is how it can be seen to those not part of this particular path, and what we might do to change the situation?

  • Kilmrnock

    Wiccans in general need to disavow, distance themselves from this couple . It has to be made perfectly crystal clear that sex with minors is not part of any Wiccan ritual . As a former Wiccan i understand and know that sex is generaly only used symbolicly , only in groups of adults . It’s general Wiccan policy that coven members must be over the age of 18 to participate in anything.Even though these freaks claim to be Wiccan , this type of thing reflects on the Pagan community as a whole .Nonsense of this nature needs to dealt with and difused before any further damage is done . I personaly would like to see statments from COG and other prominant Wiccan organisations on this matter. We shouldn’t play the same games the Catholic hierachy did when dealing with child abuse involving clergy, meaning this needs to be dealt with directly and destinctly.       Kilm

  • Malaz

    Jason,

    This piece is so succinct, so well phrased, you should email it to every major news network you can find.

    Imagine, using Wicca to justify this kind of behavior…(vomits…)

    M


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