A year ago I blogged about a legal battle involving the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) chapter in Melbourne, Australia and a paper written by Dr Reina Michaelson, founder of the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program. Michaelson had written a paper in which she implicated the O.T.O. as part of a Satanic child-abusing underground network. The O.T.O. took her to court and eventually reached a settlement in which Michaelson agreed to withdraw the paper and all false claims concerning the organization (check out the disclaimer at the bottom of this page).
“Phillips Fox ultimately succeeded in showing the document had no factual basis, with CSAPP and the original author being forced to formerly withdraw their allegations. Lovett said both PILCH and the client were very pleased with the settlement, arrived at in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, human rights division last week.”
But the troubles didn’t end here. The Michaelson paper, along with loads of conspiratorial rantings concerning the O.T.O. and child abuse made it onto the web site of Vivienne Legg and Dyson Devine. The Melbourne O.T.O. took them to court as well, and in July a judge ordered them to take the material down. They refused, and contempt proceedings went forward.
“On 27 July 2007 Legg and Devine were found guilty of religious vilification and ordered to remove the offensive materials from their website. They failed to do this and contempt proceedings were initiated. To ensure their appearance before the Tribunal four police officers from Victoria travelled more than 1500 kilometres to New South Wales where Legg and Devine live, and brought them to Melbourne. Released on bail overnight with orders to appear the next day, they failed to take the opportunity provided by VCAT to comply with the Tribunal’s orders and on the morning of Wednesday 28 November 2007 Judge Harbison found that their contempt was deliberate. She sentenced Legg and Devine to nine months imprisonment with no minimum period.”
Both of these cases were heard under the Religious and Racial Tolerance Act of 2001, a somewhat controversial measure that outlaws “vilification” of religious (and racial) groups (it should be noted that Australian law concerning the concept of “Free Speech” is entirely different than in the U.S.). Most of the controversy of this new act lays within the definitions of “vilification” versus criticism or “telling the truth”. While this has tripped up previous high-profile cases brought under this act, in this case, the writings concerned show unrestrained vilification and outright fabricataions concerning a religious order.
“From everything that I have been told by Mick, the cult appears to be the Order Templis Orientus (Illuminati), operating in Australia … As a child Mick was forced to attend blood-rituals, where animals and small children were sacrificed and their blood and organs consumed. Mick was required to clean up the blood after these rituals. The children and babies were street children or were taken from orphanages, so that they could not be traced and no-one would know, or care, if they went missing. The rituals were spoken in Latin and were clearly satanic. The rituals took place at various locations, including Goldtown. Mick and other children would be driven to the rituals in the boots of cars.”
Though the American-hosted site remains up, this is a clear win for the O.T.O. in Australia. It remains to be seen if the site will ultimately be taken down (to avoid further jail time for contempt), or if Legg and Devine will try to set themselves up as martyrs in their cause. At the very least it has surely given pause to the practitioners of Satanic Panic, who routinely slander and vilify new religious movements as “fronts” for their imaginary baby-killing cults.