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Australian Media on Paganism

Court told of sex in witchcraft

by Victoria Button, court reporter, 30th May, 1997, The Age



Sado-masochistic sexual practises were not part of modern witchcraft, an authority on paganism testified yesterday in the Melbourne Magistrates court.

Mr Robin Angus Fletcher, 40, of South Caulfield, allegedly drugged, hit, hypnotised, prostituted and sexually abused two 15-year-old girls, telling them they were "destined to become high priestesses of the dark covenant".

But Mr Alan Moyse, 46, a Canberra management consultant and practising witchcraft high priest, said consent and not harming others were central to witchcraft's many forms.

"Eight words the witches' law fulful: An (if) it harm none, do what you will," he said, citing a witchcraft text.

Under cross-examination, he acknowledged some documented "craft" included nudity, bondage and scourging, but stressed these were variously non-sexual, loose and symbolic.

The "great rite" could include a sex act - performed either in "token or in truth" - but with a magical rather than sexual intention, he said.

Mr Moyse, also public officer of the Pagan Alliance Inc., said the alliance did not allow people under 18 to join without parental permission. In his coven, minors would not be allowed to take part in a sexual rite.

In 25 years as a serious student and practioner of paganism, Mr Moyse had never heard of the "dark covenant".

Mr Alistair John Maxwell, a music student and one time pupil of Mr Fletcher, said Mr Fletcher had first mentioned the dark covenant in 1996.

Mr Fletcher had told him it was based on the principle that one could attain spiritual enlightenment just as much by evil deeds as good ones.

"He believed one should act out all one's sexual desires, no matter what they were ina ritual way...He talked of setting up rituals in which one could act out even one's most bizarre desires," Mr Maxwell said.

"He considered himself to be a spiritual master in any discipline."

Mr Fletcher is contesting a committal hearing into 40 charges, including sexual penetration of a child aged between 10 and 16, procuring a minor for prostitution, and conspiracy and incitement to rape. He has not yet been asked to plead.

The Age, 30/5/1997


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