About 25 miles north of the Seattle, Washington area is Island County. Their local newspaper The Whidbey News Times is reporting a disturbing story that could have a negative impact on the local Pagan community. We have a number of national COG members from around that area, and perhaps you might know something more about the case, or the man Daniel Doherty, a former Oak Harbor resident who is charged with child rape in this case. Did he actually have local community ties or was he just an unknown individual taking advantage of the title "Druid."
"Detective Laura Price with the Island County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case after the alleged victim, who is now 21 years old, came to her office and reported the abuse last month.
The woman claimed that Doherty raped and molested her from the ages of about 11 to 19. She said the sexual assaults were frequent, usually one or more times a week.
“He convinced her that she should keep their relationship a secret, and that the sexual acts were part of a Druid religion where they were pleasing the Goddess, Epona,” Price wrote.
The woman claimed Doherty sexually assaulted her every Equinox and Solstice in “celebration,” the report states. He told her that the sex acts “strengthened the bond between Druid teacher and student,” the detective wrote."
Here is what Jason over at The Wild Hunt Pagan blog had to say, and I could not agree more with the sentiment expressed:
"I’d like to take this opportunity to send a message to all young men and women exploring modern Paganism. No real Pagan teacher or clergy will ever demand sex, especially from a minor, in exchange for initiation, or in “celebration” of anything. If you are in a situation, either with an individual, or group, that makes you feel uncomfortable, or pushes your sexual boundaries, get out, alert someone you trust (parent, relative, teacher), and if they transgressed with you sexually, alert law enforcement officials immediately. No matter how wise or powerful someone seems, there is no basis for mandatory ritualistic sex in modern Pagan rituals. Sex, when it happens in modern Paganism, should be with consenting adults, not with self-styled Druids and pre-teens. That isn’t Pagan religion, that’s abuse.
I say this, not merely as a concerned member of the Pagan community, but as a former victim of ritualized abuse within the Pagan community. It is very difficult for me to admit that in a public forum, but I want to stress that this can happen to anyone, and that no person, no matter how smart or clever they think they may be, are completely immune to the mind-games and power-trips that are often the prologue to outright sexual abuse. If you ever feel in danger, get out, get help, and call the police. Don’t let these monsters steal your power, your happiness, or mar your personal connection to the gods."
If anyone from the area knows something about the accused, the case, or can help in any way please do so.
There may be some media blow back against our community so try to monitor, report and respond to that as well.