Column: the State of the Union – Where Will They Go?

Almost a year ago, I organized and led a panel at Paganicon called “Pagan Clergy: How to Welcome Sex Offenders and Ex-Felons into Our Communities.” The overall convention theme was Through the Looking Glass: a Journey to the Underworld, so shedding light on marginalized communities within the larger Pagan community seemed appropriate. We do not always see what is beneath in the underworld until we begin looking. As a religious group leader and prison minister, I wanted to see how the larger community would respond to the most frequent question posed by the incarcerated: where can I go to ritual, or where can I find a group once I get out? The panel was a rudimentary attempt to bring together in an unofficial capacity representatives from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP), clergy who serve in prison ministry, and the larger community at Paganicon for a long-overdue discussion on what the reception of formerly incarcerated would be in our community.

Australian Pagans express concern over pending release of convicted predator

VICTORIA, Aus. – In 1998, Robin Angas Fletcher, also known as Timothy Michael Ryan, The Red Druid, and Balin, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment with a minimum of eight years, for a series of sexual crimes committed against two 15-year old girls. Adding to the sensationalism of this already brutal and shocking case were Fletcher’s claims that he was a Witch or Wiccan, and that his crimes were merely an expression of his Pagan religion. Over the years, newspaper headlines have capitalized on this point, referring to Fletcher as, for example, “an Evil witch,” “ a self-proclaimed black magic sex witch,” and “a notorious pedophilia witch.” In the mid-nineties, Fletcher was based in Melbourne, Australia.