GASTONIA, N.C. — Druid Daniel Scott Holbrook, also known as Cú Meala, was arrested Wednesday and charged, according to records, with one count of the “dissemination of obscenities.” As noted by the Gaston Gazatte, 29-year-old Holbrook “allegedly sent [an undercover] detective a photo of a nude child around 8-10 years old.”
TWH has been in touch with the local Gaston County authorities, but have not yet been unable to confirm the reported specifics of the sheriff’s investigation or details of the arrest. What we do know is that Holbrook was in fact arrested Wednesday on the stated felony charge and placed in the Gaston county jail. His bond was set at $25,000.Holbrook is a resident of Gastonia, but is originally from Maryland. He recently took a job at a local Walmart and, along with his wife, is co-owner of Cait Sidhe Designs, a company specializing in “specialize in original artwork, devotional jewelry, and spiritual and ritual supplies.”
Over the past five years, Holbrook has become an up-and-coming leader within Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF)‘s eastern-based communities. He began his own spiritual journey with Maryland-based Cedar Light Grove and then, after moving south, he started Raven’s Hollow Protogrove in 2015. As noted on its site, Raven’s Hollow was conceived when “its founder was told in ritual by the Irish goddess the Morrígan to ‘establish a Druid Grove in honor of Herself,’ in order to bring together the widely decentralized Druid population of the Carolinas, and provide a public space for Pagans of all denominations to feel safe to come and worship.”
After the grove’s establishment, Holbrook reached out to Coru Cathubodua, another Pagan organization uniquely dedicated to the Morrigan. In response, the California-based group sent a gift and a blessing to Raven’s Hollow for their growth and continued success.
Additionally, Holbrook is one of the organizers for the area’s Piedmont Pagan Pride Day event. His grove led the 2016 opening ceremonies. He, himself, hosted a talk on “The Many Faces of the Morrígan: Worship of the Great Queens, Past and Present” and participated on an interfaith panel representing Druidry.
Holbrook’s community efforts did not go unrecognized. In May 2016, he was appointed to the position of Deputy Regional Druid by the Regional Druid Rev. Nancy McAndrew.
Public reaction to the news of Holbrook’s arrest has been heated and varied, from surprise and disappointment to frustration and anger.
Rev. Caryn MacLuan of Maryland’s Cedar Light Grove told The Wild Hunt, “Scott was a member in good standing with our grove for a number of years. We have never known him to be less than honest and ethical at all times. I have spoken to two witnesses of this event and it sounds like a download trojan of some sort. We will wait for the outcome of the legal system before considering further moves.”
Coru Cathubodua issued a reaction, saying, “The Coru Cathubodua stand firmly and unwaveringly against all forms of abuse and predatory behavior. We have not met Mr. Holbrook personally.The ADF’s Raven’s Hollow Protogrove reached out to us based on their devotional focus on the Morrigan. Given that they were an ADF Protogrove, we felt that their values would be in alignment with ours and wished to encourage and support a new group in their devotion. We would never knowingly tolerate or support a child predator and we stand with the community in protecting itself from dangerous and predatory behaviors.”
When ADF’s Mother Grove learned of the arrest, the organization was quick to announce that it would be assessing the situation very carefully. On Nov. 4, the board released this public statement:
It has come to the attention of the Mother Grove that one of our Grove Organizers was arrested a couple of days ago on a single charge of distributing inappropriate material. We pray for the family involved, and we hope that, innocent or guilty, justice will prevail. In the United States, we work under the presumption of innocence until proven guilty; however, the Mother Grove has a responsibility to act accordingly for the protection of its members, and we also will allow the party involved to work through the justice system. This individual has been removed from all leadership positions while they are navigating through the legal system. If the person is found innocent of the charge, they will be allowed to ask for reinstatement if they so desire.
As noted in the ADF statement, Holbrook has been removed from all leadership positions, including his new Deputy Regional role. Additionally, ADF chose to make Raven’s Hollow Protogrove inactive; Holbrook has since closed it down completely.
We were unable to reach Holbrook, his family, or grove members for comment in time for publication.
TWH did learn that, after being taken into custody, Holbrook appeared in court on Nov. 3. He was assigned a public defender and a trial date of Nov. 22. Holbrook posted bond and is no longer being held.
We will continue to follow this story and update you as it unfolds.