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Australian Media on Paganism

High priest raped me, said woman

9th Nov, 2000 - Herald Sun by JEREMY KELLY

THE high priest of a cult raped a woman and was going to make her the group's human sacrifice, a court was told yesterday.

As leader of the Coven of Loft Lorien, Daniel Thomas Serle was duty-bound to have sex with his high priestess, Melbourne Magistrates' Court heard.

Sen-Det. Rod Seaman of Queensland's Gold Coast child abuse unit told the court Mr Serle, 32, of The Basin, twice raped a woman who was then a member of another Queensland religious movement.

The alleged victim, then 22 or 23, said she was raped by a man she later identified as Mr Serle in concert with a member of the Two Suns group in 1997.

Mr Serle, an Internet expert at a Ringwood business, has admitted to police he was the high priest of the Coven of Loft Lorien.

He denies the offences but has said he would meet members of his group about 20 times a year where he would dress in a long, black robe and hood for ceremonial purposes.

Under questioning from prosecutor Kyle McDonald, Sen-Det. Seaman said: "Exactly what they do I don't know."

Sen-Det. Seaman said the alleged victim had told police she was going to be the group's human sacrifice.

Mr Serle, who was arrested on Monday, is charged with two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault.

Yesterday, he successfully applied for bail.

His barrister, Ern Burrows, told the court the case against his client was weak and relied on the suppressed memory of the alleged victim.

He said Mr Serle was a father of two and a man of impeccable character.

"He welcomes the opportunity to clear his name," he said.

Magistrate Jennifer Bowles yesterday granted bail to Mr Serle on his own undertaking to appear in Southport Magistrates' Court on Monday.

Herald Sun, 9/11/2000


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