A heartbreaking custody case that has been in litigation for years has ended in tragedy. Rachel “Rev. Magdalen” Bevilacqua’s son was absconded while on a visitation to the child’s father, and subsequently she was barred from all contact with her son after photos of her at an adults-only Subgenius event were submitted by her son’s father as proof that she was an unfit parent. The original judge in the case called Bevilacqua “perverted” and “mentally ill” before stepping down under a growing scrutiny of his actions, and the father drew out proceedings for as long as possible in hopes of wearing Bevilacqua down. Now an appeals judge has ruled against Rachel Bevilacqua, giving custody to the father.
Rachel Bevilacqua with her son.
“After originally being scheduled for June 22, the decision of the appeals court in the case of Rachel Bevilacqua (Reverend Magdalen) has been announced. In a brief two-page announcement, the court has awarded custody of her son to the father. Stating that the father “deserved” custody of Magdalen’s son, the court declared that the father’s home would be his primary residence, and the matter is being referred back to family court to arrange for visitation rights for Rachel. The decision cancels a number of paragraphs of the decision of Judge Eric Adams, in January 2007. However, it does not remove Judge Adams’ order for Rachel to remove all SubGenius materials from her home. Even though her son is no longer in her custody, she still cannot keep any SubGenius materials in her own home, except for a specially designated ‘office’.”
It is unclear what will happen at this point, Bevilacqua is mired in over 70,000 dollars in legal bills (click here if your interested in helping her out with those bills), and she may not be able to afford appealing to a higher court. No official statement by Bevilacqua has been made at this time.
Whatever the final outcome, this case has been emblematic of the ongoing issues Pagans and other minority religions face in divorce and custody cases. Often what a judge doesn’t understand (or approve of) will be used against a parent in court, leading to situations like Bevilacqua’s. The only real recourse in cases like these is to slowly educate the public, form coalitions, and fight like hell to be given equal treatment under law. Until then, we are left with mockeries of justice like this custody case, where a mother in punished for her associations.