VICTORIA, Aus. – It was decided Friday that convicted sex offender Robin Angas Fletcher would be released from his court mandated supervision. As we reported in February, Fletcher was convicted in 1998 of five different counts of sexual crimes. After serving his jail sentence, he was released to live in Corella Place, a special community with mandated supervision.
On Feb. 8, Supreme Court Justice Phillip Priest ordered Fletcher’s supervision to be revoked. That decision was challenged by the Secretary of the Department of Justice Greg Wilson, who said that “the offender posed an unacceptable risk.”
However, on Friday the Court of Appeals affirmed the Supreme Court’s ruling and released Fletcher. The justices noted, “The criminal justice system imposes punishment on sex offenders and, in the ordinary course, an offender who has served his/her sentence is entitled to be released.”
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VICTORIA, Aus. — The Pagan community in Victoria, and Australia in general, has continued to watch this case with deep concern. Fletcher has always maintained that the acts for which he was arrested were part of Wiccan ritual.
In reaction to Friday’s announcement, The Pagan Collective of Victoria (PCV) told The Wild Hunt, “We are going to work with other Pagan organisations, such as PAN to put together more safety documentation and to try to start co-coordinating with the community to have more events to help make the community safe.” When asked if they were going to reach out to Fletcher, PCV said, “Absolutely not. He is a dangerous individual to open any doors with, and we don’t want [him] to get a foothold in anyway.”
PCV organizers stressed that they will have more safety information at their events and it “will be holding meeting specifically targeting newbies later this year.”
TWH also reached out to others in the community. However, they declined to comment at this point, stating the need to talk to lawyers before making official or public statements. We will update this story as needed.
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UNITED STATES – Two different Pagans announced last week that they would be running for public office: Cathy (Catt) Moritz and Tasha Rose.
Cathy Moritz is running for a trustee position for her local public library district. In an interview, she said, “I see it as a primary channel to increase community engagement. The library, as our tagline says, is the heart of the community. We have the ability to reach out to everyone, regardless of age, education, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or religion.”
Moritz didn’t think that religion would be an issue in her bid for the position. She added, “Even though it’s a mildly conservative suburb, being on the collar of Chicago provides a fairly liberal base overall.” She believes that her “non-mainstream perspective” might actually help her in the election process, adding that her unique perspective provides her with the ability to be “more understanding and build trust.”
Just to the west, in Minnesota, Tasha Rose is running for a position on the St. Paul School Board. She said, “I am running because as a parent of six children who will be educated in the district in which we live, I see a real need for the voice of an involved parent who understands the issues we are facing.” She believes there is an opportunity with the new superintendent to “entirely restructure our administration for efficiency and to reprioritize children rather than wallets of admin.”
When asked if religion will come into play for the election, she said that it would. “in a few instances it already has. There have been a few mocking comments regarding witchcraft and being a witch. I imagine people are thinking of movie witches in their mockery in doing so. Ultimately, it’s religious bigotry and whatever my religious practice is is inconsequential to having the political will to make sound decisions regarding the education of children.”
In other news
- The Yule trademark application reported on last week has now been classified as abandoned, confirming the intentions expressed by one of the principles of Sage Goddess, Inc.
- Kenny Klein appeared in court last week, purportedly for trial, but that date has again been pushed back. The next trial date, initially set for Mar. 28, was vacated; it is now for Apr. 4. Klein was charged in 2014 with multiple counts of possessing child pornography. The judge did grant Klein the right, over the prosecutor’s objection, to leave the jurisdiction to appear in a New Jersey court for another case.
- The Correllian Nativist Tradition is currently holding a silent online auction. The money raised is used to support the CNT organization over the year. Items donated range from jewelry, ritual items, books, and decor. The auction runs through Mar. 17.
- Author Joanna van der Hoeven has released the audio version of her book The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid. Joanna van der Hoeven, who is the director of the Druid College UK, reads the book herself. She said that recording “explores the wondrous nature of the Druid tradition from a solitary practitioner’s perspective.”
- A New Orleans-based Pagan group is getting ready to host its annual Wyld Fire Beltane Hunt. It is billed as a four-day, three-night weekend of Beltane classes, entertainment, ritual, and camping. It is hosted by New Orleans Lamplight Circle and held in Springfield, Louisiana. The event is a fundraiser for the local Pagan Pride Project, and organizers describe it as “our take on the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.” This year, the event takes place Apr. 27-30.
In Wisconsin, the Pagan Alliance at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh is sponsoring two talks this week as part of the campus diversity education. Monday, Amanda Line will discuss Wicca and Witchcraft and, Thursday, Rev. Selena Fox will share information on Paganism. The events are free and open to the public.
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Correction 3/14/2017: the original article noted that no new court date had been set in the Klein case. We have corrected to reflect the true date of 4/4/2017, as found in the court’s public records.