Pagan Community Notes: ADF; Kenny Klein; Witchcraft Museum, and more!

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Kenneth Klein's arrest photo.NEW ORLEANS —  Pagan musician Kenny Klein was sentenced to 20 years in prison after his request for a new trial was rejected. As previously reported, Klein, who was first arrested in 2014, was convicted in April on 20 counts of child pornography charges. According to local reports, the judge called the case difficult, saying “Any type of incidents involving juveniles, particularly as it relates to child pornography, are not good.”

After his conviction, Klein’s attorney requested a new trial on the grounds that the court had made numerous errors in several of the pretrial rulings. Criminal District Judge Byron C. Williams rejected that request after receiving an flurry of letters from both his supporters and his opponents. Williams told local reporters that he did not find any credibility in the arguments requesting the new trial.

Williams sentenced Klein to 20 years on one count and five years for each of the other counts, to be served concurrently. Klein will also pay a $2,500 fine and, after serving the sentence, be required to wear an ankle monitor for the remainder of his life. Neither Klein’s attorney nor anyone from the prosecutor’s office responded to requests for comment in time for this story.

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GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF) responded to news of member Scott Holbrook’s hearing, which was held last month. Holbrook was arrested in November on charges of disseminating obscenities. He pleaded no contest to the charges, avoiding a lengthy jury trial.

When the hearing had concluded, ADF said that it did not “automatically ban people with convictions from membership, as we believe everyone should have access to our church and public worship.” It also noted that, while the organization does have strict policies regarding leadership positions within its organization, Holbrook was no longer in a such position and that the didn’t “anticipate him holding one in the foreseeable future.”

When the details of his hearing were made public last week, ADF issued a new response. Once again, they did not ban his membership, but they made a stronger statement regarding his ability to resume a leadership role in the organization.

Discrepancies between public statements made by Mr. Holbrook and information contained in the publicly released court transcript from his conviction were cause for immediate concern. After careful consideration of the information available and with regard to our current policy concerning convicted and registered sex offenders, the ADF Mother Grove has unanimously voted to indefinitely ban Scott Holbrook from holding any position of responsibility in ADF locally or nationally.

The ADF Mother Grove board added, “ADF leadership remains committed to protecting our members and the organization and considers actions resulting in the exploitation of children to present considerable risk.”

We have reached out to DA’s office for more information on the court hearing, but have not yet heard back. We will continue to update you with any new developments on this story. 

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BOSCASTLE, England — The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, located in Boscastle, Cornwall, has publicly distanced itself from the Pagan folklorist Carolyn Emerick. A spokesperson stated, “The Museum […] does not accept extreme views which align the morally repugnant politics of the far right (anywhere in the world) with folkloric custom and practice. Nor can it recommend writing which originates in circles which debate Facism[sic] and conflates it with Pagan belief and magical practice.”

In response, Emerick has accused the museum of launching “a witch hunt” against her. Not at all deterred by the museum’s actions, she said in a tweet, “I write about my ethno-cultural heritage because I love it. Because I love it, I will fight for it.”

The museum, whose focus is on witchcraft, magic, and British folklore, has since removed all links or references to her work from its various sites.

In other news

  • The Sidhe Brewery, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, closed its doors early this year, after nearly two years in operation. According to local reports, brewery co-owner Kathleen Culhane is currently looking to rebuild in a different location under a new name. She reportedly will be launching crowd sourcing campaign to make to that happen. We will bring you more on this story in the coming month.
  • Ellen Evert Hopman has launched a Patreon account to support the production of her upcoming film, Priestess of the Forest – A Druid Journey. Based on three of Hopman’s books, the film will begin shooting this summer in Massachusetts. She hopes to film in Ireland in the coming year. The film stars Elyse Poppers and Robert Brettenaugh.
  • Ninth Wave Press, the publishing arm for the Sisterhood of Avalon, is looking for submissions for a new anthology devoted to the Welsh goddess Arianrhod. Editors are looking for both written and visual works. Specific requirements and deadlines can be found on the website.
  • Pagan Unity Festival gets underway this week in the “rolling hills of Tennessee.” The child-friendly outdoor event begins Thursday and runs through Sunday.
  • Following that festival further north in western Massachusetts, EarthSpirit Community will be holding its annual Rites of Spring event, beginning May 24.

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