Kenny Klein convicted on child pornography charges

Terence P Ward —  April 7, 2017 — 188 Comments

NEW ORLEANS — An Orleans Parish jury found musician and Blue Star priest Kenny Klein guilty of child pornography charges yesterday. The verdict was for possessing one count of pornography involving a juvenile under the age of 13, and 19 counts of possession with intent to distribute pornography involving juveniles under the age 17. When he is sentenced Apr. 20, the penalty could be from 105 to 420 years in prison if imposed successively.

When news broke of Klein’s arrest in 2014, it rocked the Pagan world. Many who knew Klein or were familiar with his music or books made calls to allow a verdict before presuming his guilt, but were largely excoriated for it. Others took the Pagan community as a whole to task for failing to protect children in a subculture where many link nudity and sexuality directly to sacred practice. Books, workshops, and organizations focused on consent culture and abuse prevention came to the forefront.

Kenneth Klein's arrest photo.

Kenneth Klein’s arrest photo.

While it took years to bring this matter to trial, once the proceedings began it was over and done with in just three days. Jurors began their deliberations around 5:30 p.m., and returned the verdict at 9:15 that night. Many cases of this nature end in a plea bargain and are never brought to trial.

The trial was unusual even for those outside of the Pagan community; jurors were shown the videos in question, which is extremely unusual in that jurisdiction.

“Discs containing the contraband videos were hand-carried to and from the courthouse by a DA’s office investigator in a locked case, and after conclusion of the trial were placed into court custody under seal,” according to one report. Jurors “appeared visibly disturbed” while viewing the material.

Klein has maintained his innocence throughout, but not with a consistent story. A state trooper testified that he initially claimed he’d downloaded the pornography as research material for a planned Huffington Post article, which still would have violated state law.

There is no recording of that conversation, but two phone conversations he had with fiancee Lauren Devoe were. In one he told her he’d been arrested “for having underage pornography on my computer, which you warned me about,” and in another he said, “I was downloading a bunch of stuff and some of it apparently had teens in it.”

The defense strategy may have been undermined by those conversations, because it hinged upon Klein not knowing the files were there in the first place. According to attorney Bradley Phillips’ theory, they were downloaded to his laptop by or on behalf of his ex-wife, Tzipora Katz, who left the Pagan community after their divorce and only reemerged after these allegations surfaced.

Police officers testified that their investigation stemmed from detecting searches from a particular internet protocol address for “PTHC,” an initialism which is short for “pre-teen hardcore.” Once the location was ascertained, officers swooped in for an arrest, and collected several pieces of technology. One, a Toshiba laptop, had the offending videos deeply buried in a location not typical for the file-sharing program involved.

The investigator told jurors, “It was buried under several files. There was a user folder, then a folder named K, then a folder named Documents, then a folder named Fairies, then a folder named Titles, and then a folder named Basic. And when you opened that Basic folder, that’s when you could see the child pornography. The location that it was in was different from where it normally would have arrived from the file-sharing program.”

Katz, who toured with Klein as “Kenny and Tzipora” while living in a bus and helping to start Blue Star covens from coast to coast in the 1980s, was subpoenaed as a defense witness, but clearly not a friendly one. In addition to questions about her computer skills and connections to hackers, Katz was asked about her sexual practices before and during the time the two were married, and the occupations she held during their marriage.

Katz was a founder of Blue Star, and is credited together with Klein for the order’s early growth. She dropped out of the Pagan community, she maintains, because allegations she and her children made against Klein at that time were not believed, and they felt unwelcome as a result.

Jurors also heard from two adults in their 30s who were sometimes in Klein’s care as children. While what they described took place in another state and decades earlier, the testimony was allowed to establish a predilection for observing children engaging in sexual acts. Those witnesses recounted both being molested and directed to perform acts upon each other in his presence.

While one prosecutor described Klein as “sick” and “twisted” in closing arguments, his attorney maintained that no evidence had shown he knew the files were on the computer, leaving open the possibility that someone else put them there. Jurors apparently did not find that theory the more credible.

Lauren Devoe, Klein’s fiancee, testified on his behalf during the trial. She provided a written statement in response to a request, saying:

“Today I am devastated by the travesty of Kenny’s conviction. This case was not about child pornography, it was about accusations from nearly 30 years ago that were disproved in a court of law then. Kenny’s rights were violated every step of the way and he bravely stood up and said ‘no’ every step of the way. Kenny Klein is the bravest person I have ever known and I am proud of him for fighting through the most horrific experience I have ever been a part of. Most people would not have had the fortitude or will to walk this path. I am proud to stand by his side.”

On the other hand, while Tzipora Katz was unavailable for comment, her daughter did provide a statement. Mae Pax said:

Over 20 years ago we tried to speak out as a family against the countless horrors and abuses Kenneth W. Klein visited upon us for a decade. Almost nobody wanted to believe it or listen to us. Almost nobody wanted to face the reality that there was there a monster in their midst or that the way the Pagan community at large is structured could invite monsters like him into their world. We were ostracised, shunned, and called liars. ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ was the rally cry. Well…

You. Were. WRONG!

I sincerely hope that in the wake of this verdict your community takes a good long, hard look in the proverbial mirror and considers the ramifications of clothing-optional events where children will be present, as well as the concept of normalizing sex as a conduit for magic. As it stands, the Pagan community is to sexual predators what a damp cloth in a warm, dark place is to mold. If you think there weren’t others who were hurt, you’re wrong, and if you think putting Kenneth W. Klein behind bars will stop it from happening again you’re foolish! This will never end until the safety of the weakest among you is put ahead of your selfish desires.

Among Klein’s contributions to modern Paganism was the book The Flowering Rod, in which he explored the role of men within the movement. It is no longer in print.

No response was received to a request for comment made to Klein’s attorney. As the Blue Star order is non-hierarchical, attempts to identify an authorized spokesperson were unsuccessful. Calls to the district attorney’s office were not returned by press time.

Terence P Ward

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Terence P Ward is a moneyworker, journalist, Hellenic polytheist and convinced Friend who lives in the bucolic Hudson Valley with his wife, five cats, and multiple household shrines.
  • Mae Pax

    Ms DeVoe is incorrect. Our accusations were never disproved in a court – we never GOT our day in court because 20 years ago prosecutors were even more reluctant to put children on the stand in sexual assault cases than they are now. The testimony provided by me and my brother during this trial was to show that the defendant has a history of viewing children engaged in sex acts; that he was, still is, and always will be a monster who preys upon the weak. And that is exactly what we proved in this trial. I do not deny nor apologize that my testimony helped make this case for the State of Louisiana, but know that the crimes he committed against me and my brother will never be fully addressed by a court of law. This is the best we will get, and it is good enough.
    – Mae Pax

    • Damiana

      Congratulations to you, and commendations for taking a stand by taking the stand. I continue to wish you and your family the best.

    • Nicole Krieger

      I believe you and wish you the strength and courage to get through this.

    • DruidofParadise

      Thank you for your bravery, and your refusal to stay silent about this monster. I am absolutely mortified that he was in our midst for so long. I hope that every day he spends behind bars brings him a new understanding of the ramifications involved in breaking one’s oaths.

    • Don D. Davis

      Mae,

      Thank you, your Mom and Jo for bravely standing up to your abuser. 25 years is way too long for justice to be served. Your story, unlike your abuser’s, never changed. The physical and psychological pain you all endured can never be mitigated by this verdict. However, the sweet feeling of vindication will be enough to carry you through the rest of your lives. I’m glad to call you Chosen Family. Blessings and Rest Well!

  • Damiana

    I wonder if his fiancée will dump him?

    • Folcwald

      Based on her statement above, I’d guess no. The phone recording seems to indicate she knew about the child porn before he was arrested, so I’d hazard to guess she is an enabler.

      • Damiana

        You may be right. But we will see what gains if he’s sentenced to do real time. She’s got her whole ahead of her, and he doesn’t. But dang – can you imagine her moving on and having kids?

        • Folcwald

          The thought saddens me. At best, her judgment is impaired. At worst, she is the same kind of monster as Klein. Children should be nowhere near her.

          • Damiana

            I agree. But that doesn’t mean she won’t have kids :-/

  • ChristopherBlackwell

    MS DeVoe is far worse than just incoorect. The prosecutor brought out the fact that Klein called her after the arrest and that the police recorded it, with Klein telling her the reason for the arrest and that she had warned against keeping porn. So she knew from about the porn before the arrest and had warned him against keeping it on his computer. The police might do well to investigate her. Of course they may already be doing that.

    • Damiana

      I wonder if she had a legal responsibility to report him if she knew about his interest in child porn? Probably not.

      • ChristopherBlackwell

        I wonder about that myself. But then I can not even imagine a woman that would want to marry a man into child porn.

        • Damiana

          I can’t, either. And yet, she’s all over the Internet discussing their partnership.

  • kenofken

    “I sincerely hope that in the wake of this verdict your community takes a good long, hard look in the proverbial mirror and considers the ramifications of clothing-optional events where children will be present, as well as the concept of normalizing sex as a conduit for magic….”

    I’m sorry, but NO, these things are not responsible for Kenny Klein’s behavior or that of other predators. Ritual and festival nudity have been part of our culture from day one, and long may it ever remain so. There is nothing about it which is inherently wrong or unsafe or dirty or which constitutes any sort of invitation/justification for harassment, sexual abuse or child predation. The burden is not on us to try to conform to some sort of buttoned-up world designed around creating a temptation-free zone for predators. The burden is on them to contain themselves, to get help for their disorders, or to get locked away.

    There is likewise nothing wrong with “normalizing” sex as a conduit for magic. It IS normal and is one of the most effective working methods. Provided that it is used by truly consenting adults who are aware of the (several) pitfalls in suck workings, it’s nobody’s else’s business, and it’s not something we need to fix or do any sort of soul-searching about. Those who think that sex and body positive values are to blame for sexual abuse should take a good hard look at how the problem has shaken out in the Catholic Church, Orthodox Judaism or Islam before suggesting that we adopt their morals and sensibilities. They’ve had rampant problems, and it’s clearly not because of libertine theologies or praxis.

    That’s because sexual abuse and harassment are about power far more than sexuality. To the extent the Pagan community or any other community becomes a fertile hunting ground for predators, it is because they have developed a culture of denial and willful blindness to patterns of obvious inappropriate behavior. The solution lies in creating cultures of safety and transparency and accountability, not in telling Pagans to “dial it back” or put some clothes on.

    • Very well said!

    • Don D. Davis

      Ken,

      I agree that “Dialing it back and putting some clothes on” is not any kind of solution in addressing sexual predators in our midst. We have to be vigilant in giving victims a safe and non-judgemental space to report their abuse. Then we need to bring in and cooperate with the proper authorities in investigating and properly prosecuting the allegations. No passes. No matter how “beloved” the person is in the community.

      The other side of the equation is equally prosecuting people proven to have made false allegations. It’s a minority but it does happen and people’s lives are ruined as much as they are when the allegations are true.

      So, no easy “magickal” solution to this. Intuition and discernment from the grownups in charge are the first line of defense in keeping our festivals and events safe and healthy places to celebrate our Neo-Pagan Spirituality — Skyclad or Not.

      • Damiana

        Really? How do you know that one falsely accused’s life is ruined “as much as they are when the allegations are true”?

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          In both cases they lose, through malign actions of others, a piece of themselves that they only slowly, or never, get back.

        • Don D. Davis

          Yes. I won’t expound any further. The person was legally and scientifically exonerated but had lost their job, family and never was able to have any status in their community afterwards.

          • Christian Day

            Don – the falsely accused are necessary collateral damage to some folks in their zeal to remove predators from our midst. While I’m all for their removal, I defer to Increase Mather in his “Cases in Conscience” letter that essentially ended the Salem’s Witch Trials of 169:

            “it were better that ten witches go free than one innocent person be hanged.”

          • “Remember to scream my name when you’re getting raped.”

            – Christian Day, after posting a woman’s name to Facebook and telling her he hoped her stalker found her.

          • Christian Day

            Really, Kenaz? You’ve never said anything in anger that you’ve regretted? Nah, you’ve been publicly attacking people for years and I doubt you regret a word. Would that we could all be so noble as you.

            Either that you’re just bitter because you know I stopped carrying all your books at our shops—the number one booksellers of such books in two states—once we found out that you’d gone from houngan to racist and folkish asatru practitioner. I would much rather be known as someone who loses his temper and says something stupid than to be known as someone who wakes up every day believing in racism.

          • Meg

            How many times does Christian need to apologize for making a comment said out of anger? He donated money after this comment was made to show his remorse. What he said was wrong and he has long made up for it….unlike you being a racist and living in hate. Saying things out of anger due to people attacking him is one thing. Saying things out racist ideals and hatred is another. If you are going to throw stones, expect boulders to be tossed back at your glass house and shattering towards you. Stop trying to stoop so low to drag Christian’s name through the mud yet again out of jealousy and anger that your success is minimal in life.

          • Alan J Sheridan

            And how does bringing that up contribute anything of value to the current conversation? After the public and private apologies Christian made over that incident, it’s time to let the issue go.

          • Damiana

            Yep. Not easy to forgot that “faux pas”.

          • Christian Day

            Keep living for me, Damiana. I’ll keep living for me too. At the end of the day, every time you come to this site, it’s our business you see advertised in the right column.

          • Damiana

            Your words were memorable. But you – not so much.

          • Christian Day

            From my vantage point, it seems as though you can’t separate the two. I like to think that everything I do is memorable. 😉

          • Damiana

            Yeah, you and Charlie Sheen have that in common.

          • Christian Day

            And you still remember that incident as well. Definitely one of my more lucrative endeavors. 😉

          • Christian Day

            I mean, this is a news story about Kenny Klein, whose conviction I’m as pleased with as anyone, and I make a comment about how we deal with situations like this and I can rely on you and Kenaz and others like you to make it all about me. Someday, my detractors may finally understand how much this type of thing plays into my successes.

          • Damiana

            You’re the moron making it all about you because that’s what you know how to do – that’s clearly what we can rely on. Well, that and how much fun we have making fun of you.

          • Christian Day

            That’s rich. I merely commented about the situation. You and Kenaz made it personal to me. Clearly making fun of people is all folks like you know how to do, since you’ve been rude to everyone you’ve interacted with on this thread other than the racist. I’ll live not being liked by a racist sympathizer. I’ll cry a few tears in my pool and sip a nice cocktail. You still have no idea how much your special kind of adoration actually helps my bottom line.

          • Christian Day

            I mean, I could sorta say you’re among my personal shills in a way, Damiana. We’re an advertiser here. The more traffic your participation and discussion, however negative, generates, the more money we make from our ad. It’s funny how that works, isn’t it? Oh well. Our lifestyle doesn’t come cheap so I certainly appreciate even your contribution. 😉

          • Christian Day

            It also bears mentioning that I neither posted her name nor reported her, with the false assumption of the latter being her reasoning for messaging me with a death curse. Much as I have no desire to die, that didn’t justify stooping to her level (or worse, depending on which tragedy one considers worse). If you or Damian’s or anyone else wishes to make that slice of time your impression of me, you are more than welcome to do so. It’s no skin off my nose. I thought that would end my career. It didn’t. Not even close. In fact, while I will always regret losing my temper on that way, it only raised my profile and my income. Such is the nature of publicity. But coming from a racist who gets up every day thinking that it’s ok for Heathenry to be a “whites only” religion, I’m happy to be me and not you, Kenaz, because I know what I said was wrong. You, unfortunately, will never understand just how egregious your beliefs actually are.

          • Damiana

            You really have no idea if their ruination was comparable to the loss of sex crime victims.

    • I will not take my daughter to clothing-optional Pagan events because I have no reason to suppose the community will protect her from predators. If you are going to have ritual nudity, you have a corresponding responsibility to keep out the people who are just there for Teh Boobies — or, worse, for a chance to see naked children. (And yes, those people exist). You can repeat “ritual nudity is not about sex” until your face turns blue: that doesn’t change the fact that there are attendees for whom it IS about the sex. And until you acknowledge that you’re going to have a continuing stream of Spanky McWankers who come to Pagan events looking for live peep shows.

      I’d also note that I’ve seen a great deal of pressure on Pagans (particularly nubile young Pagan women) to put out because “sex is wonderful and positive and if you don’t want to have sex with me it’s only because of your Christian conditioning.” There’s a difference between “normalizing” sex and teaching vulnerable young women that they need to make their bodies available to anybody who asks them for sex or a grope or a hug, or any other behavior which makes them uncomfortable. Right now that message is getting buried in an avalanche of “sex is good, sex is wonderful, if you don’t want to have sex there’s something wrong with you.”

      I looked forward to taking Annamaria to Pagan festivals when she was born. That is no longer happening: our reasons have little to do with Klein’s conviction and everything to do with the way the community ignored complaints and covered for Klein for 25+ years. I suspect this conviction will end with a bunch of back-patting and congratulations about how we got that evil Kenny Klein, while other predators and creeps continue to get a pass for their behavior.

      • Don D. Davis

        EXACTLY, Kenaz! This paradigm has to change. We can no longer give passes to ANYONE that has had reported and confirmed abhorrent prrdatory sexual behavior at an event.

        “NO Means NO!” Should be a policy that is vigorously enforced at our gatherings. It someone has to tell anyone “NO!” more than once, especially pertaining to sexual propositioning, then the person not taking NO! for an answer is ejected from the event immediately. If the offender refuses to leave or becomes combative, they leave the event in a police car. Being drunk is not an excuse. Having a bad day is not an excuse. “Oh, that’s just the way he/she is!” is not an excuse. You don’t take “NO!” for an answer — you’re outta here and may never come back.

        • Exactly.

          “American pagans are less inhibited than most of our neighbors. We may show flesh in more varieties than you have ever dreamt of, we may talk and ESPECIALLY sing about sex, but the boundaries are still clear. Just because someone arouses you doesn’t mean they are interested in sex with you. Even if they do show you more body parts than you’ve ever seen outside a bedroom.

          We hug. We cuddle. We may even kiss. But that doesn’t mean we allow just any fingers or faces into our nether regions. That doesn’t mean you get to cop a feel. When you ask for sex, it’s always the other person’s choice.”

        • ChristopherBlackwell

          I would go a step

          further teach our sons that even maybe means no. Even yes can be changed to no at anytime. No boy, or man is entitled to sex, if it is not what the girl, or woman wants completely voluntarily. That goes for even being in bed and nude. A boy, or man is always fully in control of himself, no matter what the conditions.

      • Nicole Krieger

        Do you think there would be a market for a tamer, families event? Something that was clearly advertised as such? Would you go?

  • Dana Corby

    Uh, a bit sloppy, not to mention disrespectful, to refer to Dr. Tziporah Katz simply as ‘Katz.’ If you’re going to write an article by the cut-and-paste method you still need to edit it.

    • Tauri1

      “The root cause of the abuse they and so many others– including me — have suffered is patriarchy, the societal belief that women and children are the property of the adult males in their lives.”

      In the 18th and 19th Centuries, married women were considered the legal property of their husbands. Single women, on the other hand, were free to be whoever they wanted to be. I’d also like to point out that that belief was codified in the marriage ceremony where the father “gave” away his daughter to the groom. Basically what that shows is that the bride was the father’s “property” and when he hands her over to the groom he’s giving his “property” over to another man.

  • Christian Day

    Terrance Ward writes: “Many who knew Klein or were familiar with his music or books made calls to allow a verdict before presuming his guilt, but were largely excoriated for it.”

    Terrance, there was also a middle ground. I personally found Mr. Klein repugnant the two times he came into my shop and sent his books back to the publisher. However, I also made it clear that I would not make a final judgment until there was a conviction and that yes, in American law, we are innocent until proven guilty. I was still excoriated for it and even accused of being is defender—something I find so bemusing given the fact that I didn’t like him and he made it quite clear that he didn’t like me.

    However, I stand by my statement about innocence until proven guilt. With all due respect to Mae Pax, those of us standing up for due process are simply not wrong. Those of us to whom either Kenny Klein or Tzipora Katz are but letters sprawled across a computer screen are simply not in the position to decide who is telling the truth in such cases. Yes, there should absolutely be safety measures in place to at least corral a person who is under such suspicion but I think we must be careful in allowing the courts to do their jobs. Nearly every male Pagan leader I have ever met (and even a few females) has had this particular black mark hurled at them in the Court of Public Pagan Opinion™, including myself—and anyone who knows me personally knows would laugh at this since they know that I don’t even like being in a room with children. But it doesn’t stop it from being said by anyone in Pagandom with an axe to grind because it’s an easy weapon.

    So, I think the question becomes, how do we create measures that can encourage victims to come forward and to safeguard those individuals in Pagan spaces while also allowing for due process to take its course. I do not think we should blame the victim but I also think that we must make sure that individuals actually are a victim. Alan Dershowitz, in a 1992 speech about the Salem Witchcraft trials of 1692 crime said that “No crime should be so great that even innocence is not a defense.” He was right, and boy did #Pizzagate show him firsthand the power of his words when he himself had that shadow cast on him without evidence.

    Yes, we need to listen more, but that does not mean we must believe without question if we have no way of knowing whether something said to us is true. While only 5% of reported sexual assaults are false, I’m quite sure that a far greater number of them reported only to the court of public opinion are. Of course the number of falsely reported assaults are false. Those who are lying know they will have a higher bar to reach in a court of law than they ever will in the court of public opinion and so you don’t see Comet Ping Pong being hauled in front of all the courts in the land but rather decided by vicious online conservative cadres. Should we automatically believe those victims too? Is there no story too crazy that it cannot be believed? Frankly, as the victim of childhood physical (though thankfully not sexual) abuse and the son of a woman who was greatly abused by her spouse, I place my greatest ire against people who do lie to hurt people in court and in public opinion because the greatest victims they have are actually the victims of abuse. When people lie about their so-called abuse, whether it be sexual or simply middle of the night phone calls that never happened (*caugh*), they make it far harder for the masses to believe and accept the possibility that someone is a real victim. I suffered from that as a child. My mother suffered from it as an adult. It is why I think there’s a special place in hell for people who lie about being abused.

    As for the sexuality in Paganism, I think that’s a difficult question. Witchcraft, in particular, has a strong fertility component. How do you remove that from who we are without no longer being who we are? I don’t attend Pagan festivals so I don’t have enough experience to know, but my guess is that Mae Pax may be right in that they may need to tone it down a little. While the Great Rite is an important part of Witchcraft, it doesn’t have to be performed in front of a tent where children walk by.

    Finally, I am in no way suggesting we can ignore these dangers in our midst and I for one am quite grateful that we will never have to lay eyes on this predator again and that his victims, including Tzippora, Mae, and Joe, are finally free from his ability to harm them beyond the emotional scars already inflicted. But I also think that we must use wisdom and sound judgment in such conflicts. We do not want to brand potential victims as liars without proof. Nor do we want to brand people as victimizers without proof. I think we must, as a community, recognize that most of us are not in the position to judge these things and that there must be a way to forward this to the authorities. Yes, we all know how flawed our justice system is, but what we clearly do not know in our community is just how flawed our court of public Pagan opinion is. I can’t turn my computer on without seeing someone roasted on the stake day in and day out. With 5,000 Facebook friends, I have no idea which conflicts are groundless and which are not. I’m not in the position to be able to. I think we can find mature and sound ways of addressing accusations of abuse without resorting to mob justice and, yes, I think our country’s principle of innocent until proven guilty makes sense and I would hate that someone would have to be falsely accused of a crime—say, Witchcraft maybe—in order to agree with me.

    • Christian Day

      my ‘h’ key is screwing up so pardon the typos.

  • First, I’ve no doubt that Mr. Klein was guilty.

    Years ago there online there was a well-meaning (but naive) effort to create a sexual code of ethics for pagans. I joined to make sure that it wasn’t going to be too onerous. The names of the others involved aren’t important. When the code was mostly finished, I suggested that we include something about how sometimes people lie about rape. The Duke lacrosse team case was still fairly recent. While rape is a terrible thing and should be taken seriously, accusations about rape don’t necessarily prove rape.

    Honestly, I also knew a couple of men who had been convicted as sexual offenders who hadn’t actually been sexual offenders.

    Anyway, those in the group discussed it back and forth. We pretty much agreed that women sometimes lie about rape and the code needed to take that into account. We added one small paragraph that said accusations of rape didn’t necessarily mean rape.

    When we opened up the talk to others, that bit about rape lying was flamed. We were told that there was no possible way that women could lie about rape and that that the very idea proved that we weren’t serious.

    Yeah, I’m the guy who derailed it without meaning to. That’s why I am not mentioning the names of the others involved. I’m owing the action, although I still think I was right. The whole effort quietly vanished and the people involved never mentioned it again. Except me, when I sometimes make a point.

    Personally I have two hard and fast set in stone practical sexual rules. The first is consenting adults only. The second is if you promised to be someone’s one-and-only, you are off limits.

    But yes, false allegations exist. It’s one of the very few justifications that I see for police. Rape and sexual assault are terrible things and should be investigated, confirmed, and punished. But accusations do not equal fact. There have been more than enough high profile cases to show that, particularly in our universities.

    I have not met Mr. Klein. A higher profile doesn’t tell me about character. It doesn’t tell me about honor. And it certainly doesn’t tell me about sexual behavior and ethics.

    There is certainly a strong sexual element in some forms of magick. And that’s one of the very few things where I agree with Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, Christians have screwed up society with their attitudes confusing sexuality, nudity, and love.

    I’m a childless unmarried male, so I usually stay out of conversations about raising kids. I also believe that you can’t childproof the world, you can only worldproof your kids.

    And since my insomnia is not going to let up, I think I will go find some breakfast.

    • Damiana

      What sort of expertise or experienced training do you have in the area of knowledge of sexual assault crimes, advocacy for survivors or specific, informed knowledge about false accusations? What about the expertise of the others who worked on this project?

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Why does Neowayland need any of that expertise to validate a personal anecdote about a well-intentioned effort at setting social norms that blew up in discussion?

        • Damiana

          I never said he needed it for his anecdotes 🙄

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Does he then need it to assert that false accusations exist? I became a conscious feminist in 1969 (meaning I had been an unconscious one theretofore) so I witnessed the proliferation of so-called “myth” memes in the 70s and 80s, of which the leading one is the “myth of the false rape accusation.” I hope “Do you have expertise?” does not mean “Have you drunk the Kool-Aid of the officially proclaimed myths?”My own anecdote: Another meme of that era was the “myth of the mistaken-identity accusation.” Around the time that that one was getting traction, a man was accused of rape by two different women. The man was a cop, and to one of his fellow cops this didn’t smell right, so the latter did a little research (much more tedious back then) and found the file photo of a known serial rapist who looked an awful lot like the accused cop. He showed the photo to both accusers and asked, “Is this the guy?” and got told words to the effect of “Of course, I told you so!” And justice was done. It was in the papers.These myth memes are an impediment to justice, which should not depend on the accused being a cop or benefitting from having a buddy who’ll watch his back. I realize such memes arise from the inarguably horrible experiences of individual women, but generalizing them is like doing the same for ethnic groups when one has been a crime victim, something I had to work on for myself after a hold-up.

          • Damiana

            If he had any real expertise he wouldn’t have immediately put such an emphasis on false accusations, either in this conversation or in that group.

          • So only experts are allowed to contribute to the conversation about such a sensitive topic?

            Okaaaaaay.

          • Damiana

            Wow, this mansplaining in this thread is amazing.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Another attempt to deviate or dissipate the discussion. I would suggest the amount of obsolete Kool-Aid jargon is amazing.

          • Damiana

            Oh, the mansplaining is clear.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Have you really no better rebuttal than “mansplaining?” Have you never been schooled in what is honest and what is dishonest in debate? You are not showing a very persuasive profile of the virtues of the expertise you are hawking.

          • I’m just amazed that apparently you believe that only experts should contribute.

            Me, I have simple ideas. Consenting adults. Don’t mess with kids. Don’t break your promises.

            How’s that for best practices?

          • Damiana

            🙄 Simplistic when you try to implement that in a festival or any other event with a lot of attendees.

          • It depends on if you are starting before the fact or not.

            Would you run criminal background checks before letting someone in? Would you require a ten-thousand dollar bond?

            What happens if a nasty type gets though? Will the experts blame the “system?” Or will the attendees get some of the blame?

          • Damiana

            Anyone with expertise in this area should call out your misguided emphasis on false accusations.

          • Why?

            Are you saying that false accusations do not exist?

            Are you saying that because someone made an accusation, they are automatically beyond reproach and scrutiny?

            These are questions that it looks like you want to avoid.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            And what is your expertise to make such a statement?

          • Damiana

            Decades of working with sex crime victims, sexual assault survivors, working with law enforcement on harm reduction strategies in lower income communities and among sex workers; working profesionally with children in small and medium size organizations; managing child care providers, organizing, training and supervising volunteer children’s educators.

            All of the above have organizational principals and best practices, including the prevention of exploitation and sex crimes.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            So all of that expertise tells you that bringing up the fact of false rape accusations is inadvisable in a draft of a sexual ethics statement — not in the initial interview with a rape victim, not in caring for children, but in a general statement of ethical principles? I would suggest that this expertise has alienated you from some basic principles of American justice. Severely alienated, to judge by the accusatory tone with which you entered this thread.

          • Damiana

            Nope. Nope and nope. That’s for the cops, prosecutors, jury be courts to decide, not for those shaping policy for festivals to give such an emphasis.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I would have to read the words that NeoWayland caused to be inserted into the draft policy to judge whether they pre-empted the rightful roles of those in the justice system. I don’t have them in front of me and I’m confident neither do you. But the force of your words suggests that any mention of these basic justice concepts in a general ethics statement is to be ruled out. Again, baleful traces of 70s/80s Kool-Aid.If you want to erase this impression — and I doubt I’m the only one who holds it — knock off the “mansplaining” and “you and your ilk” buzzwords and try to gin up some respect for the people you’re talking with.

          • Damiana

            You and your ilk are too busy mansplaining to even really pay attention. It’s unsurprising. He was part of a group working on a voluntary code of ethics, and it got derailed. If they’d sought, revived and implemented help from experts they likely would’ve been more successful.

          • And would those experts have accepted that sometimes people lie about being raped? What provisions would they have made? What process would they have set up to protect people from false accusations?

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            If the experts they might have approached were as arrogant, hostile and dogmatic as you, I doubt they would have contributed all that much.

          • Damiana

            My attitude is exactly in response to the bullshittery of false accusation emphasis. None of you are my clients, nor have any of you adequately addressed the false accusation emphasis. You’re deserving of my attitude. But no matter my attitude, I’m still an expert, and you aren’t. Moreover, I’ve helped shape numerous policies and I’m not alone in my disgust of the false accusation emphasis. When people approach us about policy and almost immediately bring up fake accusation emphasis, it’s a red flag.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            The matter of false accusation was hardly immediate. NeoWayland’s purpose in joining the drafting group was to make sure it was in there — an afterthought, not immediate. Your failure to grasp this does no good whatsoever for your claim that your expertise lends insight, and reinforces an impression that you are desperately throwing up topics, jargon and anti-male stereotypes because you can’t really defend your position cogently. (Yeah, I know, more mansplaining…)

          • For various reasons, there was only one person who was writing the statement of ethics or code of ethics.

            It wasn’t what I would have written and it wasn’t written the way I thought it should be (it was WAY too long for one thing).

            But I am the one who suggested something on false allegations. That I own.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I’d be proud of it, even if it did cause a fatal dust-up. Sometimes you have to stand on principle.

          • I can’t say I’m proud, but I do think I acted honorably.

            Maybe that is just my conceit talking.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            You acted in defense of basic principles of justice. That’s honor, not conceit.

          • Thank you.

          • You’re trying to apply the standards of a criminal court — you must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and if you can’t you must declare the offender innocent. But a Pagan festival or circle is not a criminal court. They lack the resources available to law enforcement; they have no subpoena power to compel witnesses to testify; most importantly, they can do far less real damage to the accused than a criminal court can. Being shunned from a community sucks, but not nearly so bad as spending decades behind bars.

            In a general statement of ethical principles, a simple “we take accusations seriously and will do our best to take appropriate action when you come forward with a complaint” covers all of your concerns. Talking about “false allegations” only serves to discourage real victims from reporting.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I am not applying the standards only of a criminal court, but of justice generally, in a schoolyard or a Pagan circle. I think your suggested language is OK and I have no idea what language NeoWayland deployed.Let me be clear about one other thing: I do not suggest that Pagan circles or festivals substitute themselves for the court system.

          • Christian Day

            So does actually making false allegations.

            And it’s more than just community shunning that happens to these people. Some who have been falsely accused lost a lot more than that. I consider myself quite blessed at the number of bizarre things I’ve been falsely accused of over the years and the fact that I’m still doing what I love to do, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard to go through.

            Innocent until proven guilty is an important standard. Why should any of us feel like we should be judge, jury, and executioner when we’re not qualified to be?

      • I don’t.

        I won’t speak for the others, that is another reason I didn’t mention names.

        But I do know that false accusations occur. And not just about rape. There are some people who use false allegations to get power over. That’s been happening for longer than humans have had societies.

        I didn’t say it happened in this case.

        But we should acknowledge that is does happen. Especially before we hand out Moral Proclamations From On High.

        Nudity is not the problem. Sex is not the problem. Sexual acts with children ARE the problem.

        Don’t mess with kids. Consenting adults.

        I specifically said “Rape and sexual assault are terrible things and should be investigated, confirmed, and punished.”

        But I also said “…accusations about rape don’t necessarily prove rape.”

        We owe it to Lady Justice and ourselves to find a balance between the two.

        • Damiana

          It’s clear you’re an amateur because you hastily brought up false accusations. That’s almost always the sign of an amateur. It’s highly unlikely that you and the others were adequately equipped to create any sort of viable policy.

          • I’m an amateur that reads the news. I specifically mentioned the Duke lacrosse team case that happened shortly before the code of conduct project. Literally false accusations about something that physically could not have happened. Sex on a broken glass topped table and miraculously no one had cuts?

            Or the infamous 1 in 5 statistic that has been disproved so many times.

            As I said if there has been a rape it should be investigated, confirmed, and punished.

            I’m not going to take anyone’s unsupported accusations as proof that a crime has been committed. That’s not how the American justice system is supposed to work.

          • Damiana

            Exactly why you and your ilk shouldn’t shape or implement policy.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            This statement brings to baleful life the allegory I made earlier about this response to the crimes of individual men and the racist response to the crimes of individual members of an ethnic group.

          • Damiana

            You and your allegories don’t really matter if you’re not shaping festival policy or doing anything real to prevent sex crimes.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I’m doing neither. I’m attending to the level of discourse on The Wild Hunt, which your misandrous, dishonest-debate comments are seriously degrading.

          • Damiana

            You’ve all degraded yourselves and the import of trying to prevent the sorts of crimes and behaviors that Klein became known for with your emphasis on false accusations.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Codswallop. None of this thread has defended Klein. Yet another red herring from the honest-debate amateur. Or should I say the dishonest-debate expert?

          • Damiana

            Quit twisting my words. I never said you defended him. Reread my comment.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            OK, let’s set aside the word “defended,” though it seemed awfully close to me. You said that we were straying from the cause of preventing such crimes by an emphasis on false accusations. Codswallop one more time. We are all concerned with that, but we are not doing it in a way you approve. That does not mean we wish it any the less. And the emphasis in terms of word count is due in part to your contributions.Actually, I suspect that you do think, on an emotional level, that we are defending Klein, and that that impelled you to jump in with your red herring about expertise, and that when you couldn’t support that logically you started using “mansplaining” as a substitute for “dissenting” as a smoke screen.

          • Klein got away with his antics for 25 years because the community decided his “honor” — his standing in the community — was such that he couldn’t possibly be a danger to young women. They decided “there are two sides to every story,” then proceeded to ignore the other side. They spent more time worrying about protecting Klein’s reputation from “false rumors” and “witch wars” than worrying about the harm he might be doing to the community’s most vulnerable members. In other words, doing exactly what you and NeoWayland have been doing since this conversation started.

            I’m sure you’ll come up with some kind of outraged denial of this, but that’s fine. I’m not here to convince you that your attitude is a problem: my goal is to convince those who will listen that it is a problem.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            If you’d checked the thread you’d’ve seen I modified the post you’re objecting to, after a challenge from Damiana.

          • There’s such a thing as presumption of innocence.

            Basically accusations are not enough.

            I could accuse you of stealing $7.69 billion. Absent proof, you won’t stand trial on my mere word. Police would have to establish that a crime did occur, and that you had the means, motive, and opportunity. Of course catching you with massive piles of currency would help…

            What makes rape such a unique crime that these rules of justice don’t apply?

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            This is in response to your final question. Rape, like other forms of one-on-one assault, is unique because it is often one person’s word against another’s. Even the presence of DNA evidence leaves ambiguous the question of prior consent. There’s no paper trail. So it’s a tough crime to prosecute.But some people get so caught up in the world of rape response that they lose track of general justice concepts. Not all, but some. Look at the leading forms of expertise Damiana cited. That’s where you’ll find people like her, where they deal with similar cases, talk to each other and reinforce such attitudes. It’s not a personal flaw so much as an occupational hazard.

          • You keep talking about the Duke lacrosse case. How many similar cases can you recall within the Pagan community? How many Pagans have gone to jail because of rape allegations which were later proven false? (Not, “I knew him and he would NEVER rape a woman: besides, the women who accused him were all drama queens looking for attention” but later exonerated in a court of law).

            Nobody is asking you to take unsupported accusations as proof. We’re asking you to assume that somebody who comes forward with accusations of sexual misconduct is assumed to be telling the truth until proven otherwise.

          • My point was and remains that false accusations have happened. We should consider that.

            This is something that is beyond any “pagan community.”

          • Yes, you’ve spent a couple dozen posts talking about false accusations. In a couple of those you have grudgingly admitted that rape sometimes happened. You’ve also made it clear that “false rape allegations” in your world mean “I don’t believe this man was a rapist even if a judge and jury believe he is.” So your points, and your character, have been made abundantly clear.

          • I never denied rape happens.

            I said that some people lie about rape.

            Please don’t presume speak for me. You do it badly.

          • Sir, you speak more poorly for yourself than I ever could.

          • Think so?

            I’m a writer. I make a decent living at it.

            In my Corporate Clone days, I used to give the occasional seminar. I was pretty well paid for that.

            This isn’t about how I say it. It’s that you disagree with what I say and can’t find a sound reason to dispute it.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            NeoWayland’s posts on the subject are mostly in response to Damiana’s objections. If she won’t let it go, why should he?

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Elsewhere in this discussion you have spoken of rape culture as a general phenomenon affecting the Pagan community. Now you are trying to build a wall between them to keep out the problem of false accusations. This is not consistent.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            We’re asking you to assume that somebody who comes forward with accusations of sexual misconduct is assumed to be telling the truth until proven otherwise.This is subordinate to the principle of innocent until proven guilty.

          • This isn’t a criminal court: this is an administrative action taken to protect the community. Instead of starting out with the idea that “women sometimes lie about rape allegations” assume the woman is telling the truth. If further investigation reveals she is lying, go from there. If further investigation reveals the person she pointed the finger at could not have been the responsible party, go from there. If further investigation reveals she made the whole thing up to get attention (something which apparently happens frequently in the world between some peoples’ ears), go from there. And support her when and if she decides to get police involved, rather than trying to talk her out of it or automatically assuming she is doing this out of hostility for the Pagan community.

          • Christian Day

            People like you have made it clear that I can never assume that anyone is telling the truth.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            You’re conflating awareness of false accusation as a possibility, and assuming it ab initio or trying to talk the complainant out of it. Not the same thing.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I regret to say, Damiana, that these are the words of someone in the grip of the “myth of the false rape accusation” meme. It’s like saying only an astronomer can tell you that Saturn is not the only planet with rings. A demand for expertise in this context is a deflection, a way of bringing the discussion to a halt or sending it off in a different direction. We get enough of that from the new Administration. I’m glad to say it is not the recurrent feature of feminist discourse it was in the 70s/80s.

          • Damiana

            Nope. Expertise is clearly needed in setting policy for pagan events. Its not a deflection, it’s crucial. It’s not hard to get assistance with it. Even your comments further demonstrate this need.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Being an expert in some fields, I am no foe of expertise. But that is not what you are calling for. You seem to be after a de-emphasis on simple concepts of justice, and throwing shade (as you just did on me) on any who don’t agree with you.

          • Damiana

            The throwing shade is because as soon as you start emphasizing false accusations, you’re shown to be an amateur. The fact that his group was so easily derailed demonstrates that they weren’t adequately equipped.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Circular reasoning, another dishonest debate tactic. It takes experts to deal with false accusations, so anyone who does so out of justice concerns is an amateur and should shut up, because it takes experts.His group was easily derailed because people who think like you do are as vocal as you are.And if concern for things like circular reasoning and red herrings in debate is mansplaining, I’ll cop to that too.

        • Damiana

          Sadly, you really are an amateur. It’s too bad that your group didn’t seek real assistance in putting together best practices and workable policies.

          • Let’s be absolutely clear about what you are saying.

            Do you mean that an accusation of rape is undeniable proof that the rape happened?

            Do you mean that if someone is accused of rape, that person is not entitled to a trial?

            Most importantly, do you mean someone accused of rape does not deserve a defense?

          • Damiana

            Nope, nope, nope. You clearly are not someone who should be creating sex crime prevention policies for any organization.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Because Neowayland takes the rights of everyone concerned into account?

          • Damiana

            Nope. More mansplaining from you.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            If talking about even-handed distribution of rights is mansplaining, I’ll cop to it. You, on the other hand, are damaging the reputation of feminist discourse by reviving the “Women as the Only Tribe that Counts” memes that plagued it in decades past.

          • This is coming across a lot like “I’m right and you’re wrong so shut up!!!”

            Is this your message?

          • As nearly as I can tell, your one disagreement with what I said is that we should accept that false allegations do occur?

            Care to enlighten?

          • Coming up next: Christopher Lee in The Straw Man.

          • Didn’t you hear? It’s really The Fugitive with Harrison Ford.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            You know, it took Damiana quite a few comments to reach a position where she was making absolutely no sense. You have beaten her record by a mile.

    • Don D. Davis

      NeoWayland, your words hit a home run! —

      “I also believe that you can’t childproof the world, you can only worldproof your kids.”

      Best statement I’ve heard to date.

      • I wish I could claim credit for that one.

        The first mention I’ve seen of it in print is in the novel The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith.

        There are rumors in libertarian circles that it goes back much earlier, but no one is sure how much.

      • Damiana

        No. Family-friendly events need to do their part to ensure child safety.

        • And based on numerous incidents, it is abundantly clear the event organizers are not doing that.

          • Please define “numerous.”

            Seventeen events at every festival?

            One event every other festival?

            Four events every nine festivals?

          • Twenty-five years of predation on the Pagan and Renfaire communities while organizers and active members sat back and pooh-poohed reports of inappropriate behavior is “numerous.”

            The number of posts you’ve spent trying to derail the conversation about rape survivors by yammering about some imaginary tide of phony rape accusations is “numerous.”

            The number of reasons why people like you are the reason I won’t bring my daughter to Pagan events is “numerous.”

          • Assuming you’re talking about Klein, you have a witches dozen over twenty-five years. That isn’t numerous.

            Except you and I both know there are more.

            Somehow you think that when I say some people lie about rape, you think I am defending Klein. I’m not.

            The number of posts I’ve made here and the number of reason you disagree with me have nothing to do with that.

          • When somebody says over and over “Black men rape White women” — a statement which is factually true, as is “White men rape White women” or “Asian men rape Polynesian women” — most people will assume they have a rather unhealthy obsession with the subject and are trying to cast aspersions on Black men.

            When somebody says over and over “Women sometimes lie about rape” — a statement which is factually true, as is “Women sometimes lie about their age” or “Men sometimes lie about their military service” — most people will assume they have some underlying issues about women.

            You mentioned that you knew several men whom you believe were wrongly convicted of rape: apparently you think your judgment in the matter more accurate than that of a judge and jury. I remember another “false rape” allegation wherein the guy complained “She consented to it then had second thoughts when she sobered up.” Most people believe that consent implies the ability to consent, and that having sex with somebody who is obviously drunk, and who would not have agreed to it were she sober, is rape. And so I’m seeing “false” allegations being described as “I believe the convicted rapist over his victims” and “All I did was screw her when she was drunk.” Neither of which I find to be particularly compelling examples.

          • The only reason I keep mentioning that some people lie about rape is because some people keep saying something like “No they don’t” or “That’s not as important as rape.”

            If you are not happy about that, you’re one of the reasons it keeps happening.

            I did my big post, I said what I wanted to say. I was perfectly content to leave it at that.

            As for my judgement being better in these two cases, yeah, that sometimes happens too. And not just to me. The system and courts aren’t perfect, sometimes people get crushed.

          • Damiana

            If they had been this discussion wouldn’t be occurring. It’s likely be more focused on Klein’s conviction and maybe what the rest was happened with the rest of the child porn ring.

          • Excuse me, but you are just as responsible for this discussion as anyone else. I said two things, everything else I said was in response to someone else. It’s what I do, it’s how internet forums are supposed to work.

    • If you were talking about ways to prevent theft at Pagan gatherings, would you need a section explaining that some people lie about theft for malicious reasons? Or would you assume that most people who report stolen items are doing so because they believe their items were stolen, not because they wanted to get attention or had a mental disorder or were angry at the person they were accusing of theft?

      At the risk of mansplaining, I think that is what Damiana is getting at. We take most crime victims at their word, even though we know there will be an occasional situation when they are wrong or even flat-out lying. But when we start talking about sex crimes suddenly there is this idea (spoken or unspoken) that a lot of rape charges are fraudulent. And that makes many rape survivors afraid to come forward — they feel, with some justification, that they will be put on trial by the community and condemned while the perpetrator walks free.

      • As I said, there had just been one very high profile case in the news where the allegations were false.

        I also said I knew a couple of men who had been convicted for something that they did not do. And yes, they were imprisoned and yes they had their lives ruined.

        There are fraudulent rape charges. We see it in the news all the time. I can think of about nine cases in the last dozen or so years off the top of my head.

        • We all seem to agree that there is a problem with sexual misconduct in the Pagan community, and that most of those incidents are getting swept under the rug. I have seen no evidence that Pagan men are regularly getting sent to prison because lying women falsely accuse them of rape. Yet every time we start talking about a very real problem which is damaging the lives of many innocent women, the discussion gets sidetracked into concerns about theoretical false rape accusations which might happen and which could damage the lives of innocent men. And so we’re blocked from helping real people in real danger. You can think of “about nine cases” of false rape accusations in the past dozen years. How many real cases of rape went unpunished in that same time and how many real rape survivors went unheard?

          You are talking about men you knew whose lives were ruined by “false” rape allegations. I wonder how you know those allegations were false despite a jury determining otherwise. You want to remind us that sometimes women lie about rape. Do you think that rapists always tell the truth? Kenny Klein just spent several days telling a jury a vindictive bitch set him up on child porn charges: I’m betting he would happily repeat the story to you even now if you asked. Are we to list him among those falsely convicted?

          I would note that the Pagan community can shun somebody accused of sexual misconduct: they can bar him from festivals they run, remove him from their membership rolls, and cut off contact with him. Sure, this can be painful and emotionally traumatic — but nowhere near so painful and traumatic as decades in prison. Yet whenever the subject comes up there’s this loud insistence that we must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty — a standard more properly associated with criminal court. Given that the consequences in this case are considerably less harsh, I submit it would be more appropriate to act based on a preponderance of evidence.

          We also may want to frame the question in terms of “proven” or “unproven” rather than true or false. There are many cases of sexual misconduct which are clear-cut. There are others where it comes down to he said/she said. Instead of assuming “she must be lying,” it might be better to say “we lack the evidence to determine exactly what happened.” And if we start seeing repeated incidents where a whole bunch of “she saids” are aimed at one “he said” who claims innocence, we might start to wonder why it is that High Priest Grabherbythepussy has so much trouble with women accusing him of sexual misconduct. And to speculate that there might be something more going on here than a vast conspiracy of Lying Wenches Who Lie.

          • No.

            I think most people, pagan or not, are basically good. I do not see widespread sexual misconduct. I see some. As in occasional. That doesn’t make it any less devastating.

            I also do not see the “rape culture” that some claim the U.S. is and always has been.

            As for the “theoretical” false rape accusations, they aren’t theoretical. The nine cases I referred to were high profile cases mostly on university campuses. It didn’t help that the the U.S. Dept of Education reinterpreted Title IX so that universities were required to investigate accusations of rape, despite not having the facilities to do so. Often those cases resulted in hearings meant the rules of evidence didn’t apply, where the accused couldn’t face their accuser, were denied counsel, and could not appeal. These were just the cases I remember from the news.

            I knew the people involved. In these cases, these specific men had a history of telling the truth while these specific women often lied. And while I will agree that rapists can and do lie, so do people who falsely allege rape.

            The pagan community is not a monolithic block. Individuals are free to associate or not associate with who ever they choose for what ever reason. That includes the color of somebody’s socks.

            From my very first post on this thread, I said I had no doubt Klein was guilty.

            I am not saying that all women lie about rape, I said that some people do. I said that in the name of Justice we need to acknowledge that. We need to consider the honor of the people involved and not the seriousness of the charge. And then we should look at the evidence.

          • “Rape culture” is the reason Kenny Klein was allowed to prey on the Pagan and Renfaire communities for 25 years. Among other things, it is the idea that false rape allegations are more prevalent, and a more pressing concern, than sexual predators. It is the idea that your friend absolutely, positively CAN’T be a rapist because he’s a great guy and because that woman accusing him is a lying slut. It’s the idea that nine cases of false accusations in 12 years (one every 15 months or so) are more important than thousands of real rape cases every month. And it’s the idea that the “honor” of the people involved — a nice way of saying “their reputation in the community” — should be considered before we look at the evidence.

            In other words, pretty much everything you wrote in a post wherein you said “I also do not see the “rape culture” that some claim the U.S. is and always has been.”

          • Pardon, but the US does not have a rape culture.

            Rape culture is what is happening now in countries where an unaccompanied female is considered fair game. Unfortunately that is spreading to certain European neighborhoods.

            Comparing the U.S. to that is a bit like comparing fresh fruit to fertilizer.

            One of the best predictors of future behavior is past behavior. So if someone has a history of lying, I think they or more likely to lie in the future. If someone has a history of treating the people around them badly, that means they’ll probably do the same.

            Don’t define my words for me. If you are unsure, ask and I will help.

          • So all those women talking about their fears of being raped, and all those women who have survived rape, are just whiners because women have it worse in other countries?

            So your personal feelings about a woman’s character trump the opinion of a judge and jury in a trial held in a legal system you uphold as the gold standard for how we should address rape and sexual assault?

            Keep on explaining how rape culture isn’t a thing. You’re doing a far better job than I could ever do of proving that it is.

          • I am not denying that rapes occur.

            I am not denying that rape culture exists.

            I am saying that the U.S. is not a rape culture.

            I am also saying that some people lie about rape.

            You’re welcome to disprove these statements.

            If you can.

          • Damiana

            You gotta love that a man is trying to say that there is no rape culture in the US. What an asshole!!

          • Madam, you don’t know what rape culture is!

            What’s more, you demean the experiences of women and children who do suffer living under rape cultures by comparing yourself and your experiences to them.

            You’re not helping them, all you are doing is guilting people into giving more privilege.

            Please, if you do nothing else, stop exploiting their experiences for your agenda.

            Oh, and if you are going to comment on what I write, don’t you think it’s only polite to address your comment to me?

          • Damiana

            Well put.

        • Damiana

          We don’t see it in the news “all the time.” I’ve dealt with false accusers. They’re not all that common.

          • I didn’t say they are common.

            I said they exist.

            I’m saying that there have been a number in the news over the last few years.

          • Damiana

            You nee to reread your words. Maybe edit your comment if you no longer agree with your own assertion. You said, “all the time.” I said false accusations weren’t “all that common.”

          • Perhaps I should have said I see it more often in the last couple of decades.

            I do know that since the DOE incentivized it, it happens more often.

          • Damiana

            Really, you know that for a fact? Please post the sources for those facts.

          • You mean other the Duke lacrosse team case that I’ve mentioned several times? Because it happened shortly before the code of ethics thing and was a major reason why I made my suggestion.

            One good place to start would be FIRE, thefire (one word) dot org.

            Or you could just run an internet search. My search engine is Duck Duck Go, but yours should produce results.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Every single criminal case that goes to trial has built-in procedures to guard against false accusation. Some of them are in the Bill of Rights. Frequency of occurrence is no reason to diminish concern over it.When I was a newly minted feminist a major demand within the movement was that rape be treated as seriously as any other crime. Trying to make rape an exception to basic principles of justice is not the way to do that.

          • Damiana

            That’s exactly why I don’t enhance it – it’s the job for investigators and prosecutors, not those structuring ethical rules of festivals.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            That’s your opinion. Mine is different.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        In a theft, your initial report would be “My purse is missing.” In a rape you are pointing the finger at one person. The latter calls for broader treatment of justice concepts.No one here has said that “a lot” of rapes charges are fraudulent, only that some are, and immediately damaging to the accused.There are many reasons why rape survivors don’t come forward; from what I’ve read it’s primarily the need to relive the experience at trial under cross-exam. I would suggest that another reason is those 70s/80s memes to the effect that they can’t get justice in a patriarchal trial system.

        • So how many women need to deal with sexual misconduct in silence and alone in order that the community may avoid falsely tarring some poor hypothetical Pagan man with an undeserved rape charge?

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Ideally, none. I’m not sure how you’re putting these ideas together. I don’t take the least bit seriously that open discussion of false accusations subverts the ability of rape survivors to secure justice.

        • Damiana

          In a theft, that’s not necessarily your words. Your words might be,”Kenny Kleinman took my purse.” Or, “My purse was stolen and here’s a description of the stranger who stole it. He was chatting me up earlier,” etc.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            All very true, but it doesn’t go to the point I was making. There has never been a meme in the Pagan community that accusations of theft are never, ever false; so the utility of a note that false theft accusations are taken very seriously is sort of pointless.

          • Damiana

            Stupid

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            And here I thought you were making progress at disagreeing agreeably.

      • Damiana

        Thank you, Kenaz.

        • My pleasure. I didn’t want to speak on your behalf, but I have seen this argument so many times and have seen so many efforts to address a real problem derailed by this idea that we must protect men from some imagined epidemic of Lying Liars Who Lie who are just waiting to get back at evil penis-bearers.

          • Damiana

            The return and rise of the prioritization of concern for false accusations is an unnecessary and potentially dangerous distraction. It shouldn’t be a priority.

          • I disagree.

          • Damiana

            Of course you do. But then again, you’re no expert.

          • But I am human and I think rape and sexual assault are despicable.

            Are you really saying that in order to have an opinion on human behavior, I have to be expert?

          • Damiana

            Your silly straw man argument you’re trying to get me to accept is your silly straw man. It wasn’t even a good try.

          • *shrugs* It wasn’t me that started commenting on your posts.

            I accept that you don’t see false allegations as a problem, much less something that should be considered.

            I disagree.

            For some reason I don’t pretend to understand, apparently that is a personal insult to you.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Concern for false accusations has never been absent from the justice system or those seeking justice. Finding it in a discussion such as this is hardly baleful; it is a natural subtopic.

          • How on Earth did you get that from anything I have written on this thread?

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            IMHO he isn’t. He’s just as tied to this meme as Damiana, who at least has the excuse that development of this sort of attitude is an occupational hazard in the places where she’s honorably worked.

          • I’ve dealt with this stuff before.

            The really silly thing is that I bet they would agree with most of what I’ve written on sex (neowayland dot com slash sex has most of the important stuff). I’m particularly proud of the Taboo piece that I wrote after Gavin Frost passed.

            Much to my surprise somehow over the years I turned into an unofficial pagan sex advisor. Maybe it’s because I was willing to talk and I did it mostly from a ethics standpoint and not a “gotta get me some” standpoint.

            Fair warning, some of my posts from this thread make the first entry there.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Kenaz, I don’t know how old you are, but I lived as an adult through the 70s and 80s, and the attitude that you are passing off as an evil whimsy were very, very real. Just as real was the collective blind spot among decent feminist women and men that this couldn’t possibly be part of feminism, which evidently has not fully receded. An anecdote: To make this point to a very decent, very feminist UU congregation, I had to read to them from Andrea Dworkin’s famous essay that begins “Men love murder” with the substation of Blacks for men, to wake them up to the idea that this was hate literature flowing through the women’s movement under color of feminism.

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  • ChristopherBlackwell

    We Pagan claim to believe that women, and girls areas valuable as boys, and men, now we need to act like we mean it That requires boys, and men, as well as girls and women be taught it and support it. Men have to take full responsibility for everything that they do, and stop trying to pass the blame on to others. Sorry, but boys will be boys is a cop out, not even worthy of a boy, much less a man.

  • Damiana

    Who are the Blue Star people that reputedly protected him? Are they still active in the Pagan community?

    • Those are excellent questions.

      • Damiana

        I know that lots of people don’t like to name names, but if his supporters were public in their stance, I figured why not ask.

    • When the news of Klein’s arrest first showed up on Wild Hunt, 3* Blue Star Priestess Artemis Spinoza threatened Tzipora Katz with legal action for speaking out and tried to gaslight Jo Pax (Klein’s son) by telling him that Tzipora had implanted those memories of molestation in his head. She remains a member of Blue Star in good standing.

      Tina Bindman, a 3* Priestess in Blue Star, testified on Klein’s behalf in his trial and claimed Katz had lied about the molestation in the early 90s when she left Klein. She remains a member of Blue Star.

      Many Blue Star members contributed to Klein’s legal defense fund and to the SLAPP lawsuit he filed against Katz in New Jersey to silence her. They remain members of Blue Star. Then there are the members who covered for Klein for 25 years, intimidating complainants into silence or calling them liars. They are still there and still active in the Pagan community.

      Fish rots from the head and there’s plenty of rot in Blue Star to go around.

      • Damiana

        Thank you for letting me know. I appreciate you taking the time.

        I wonder if they are still convinced he’s innocent in the child porn case and the crimes against his family.

        • I honestly do not know how they feel at this point. There is a point where loyalty to a friend becomes willful blindness, and a point where willful blindness becomes aiding and abetting. Every Blue Star member is going to have to decide for themselves where those points are and where they land on each one.

          • Damiana

            It seems a reckoning may be at hand for some of them.

          • Right now all I’m seeing is a lot of back-patting and consolations being given to the poor Blue Star members who had No Idea of what Kenny Klein was. So I’m guessing we will be replaying this sad scenario a year or two from now with more women coming out to describe their experiences and more coveners who are shocked, just shocked to discover that HP Lecherous was capable of being what everybody in the community knew he was.

          • Damiana

            Now I’m curious about how frequent and how obvious his perviness was to those around him between the time he split from his family and when he was arrested three years ago.

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  • Nicole Krieger

    Why are rape and extreme crime being discussed as the gold standard for inappropriate behavior at a festival? There are plenty of perfectly legal behaviours that are not appropriate around little kids and that most people are not going to want to expose their kids to.

    Maybe what needs to happen is a clearer distinction between adult and family gatherings, with the latter being tamer