Thursday, March 27, 2014

Kenny Klein Arrested for Child Porn

Waking up today I expected to groggily drink a glass of water and then down several cups of caffeine followed by an acceptably healthy breakfast and a car ride to work. I never expected to wake up to the news that Kenny Klein - pagan author and musician - has been arrested and charged with 25 counts of possession of child pornography.

In what seems to be an open and shut case, Klein was arrested yesterday morning at 7:00am after a tip-off to authorities regarding his online activity:

Kenneth Klein, 59, was arrested around 7 a.m. at his home on the 2800 block of Carondelet Street. Detectives in the State Police Special Victims Unit began investigating Klein in February after receiving a tip about his online activities. Upon executing a search warrant of Klein's residence, they discovered on his computer a large volume of explicit photos and videos involving minors under the age of 13 engaging in sexually explicit activities, according to an arrest report. Klein admitted to detectives that the computer was his and that he had used the computer to share and download the explicit material, the report says.

When I look to our pagan leaders for statements, what I find is disturbing. Peg Aloi's article on the issue has a quote from her friend and fellow Patheos blogger, Lilith Dorsey who said this:


I had several heated discussions with him about appropriating various elements of my religion, New Orleans Voodoo, while he was not an initiated member of the tradition. Perhaps this is just the tip of the iceberg of his bad behavior.

Dorsey is also the Patheos Pagan blogger who seemed to have a single-minded crusade against AHS: Coven this past year. I find it deplorable to use a disgusting situation to further some message on New Orleans Voodoo misappropriation. It seems apropos of nothing and opportunistic, but that's getting away from the topic.

The reason I include the Dorsey quote is because this is not a time to start a "Kenny Klein wasn't a real Pagan" discussion, which seems to be the direction of social media as I begin browsing the interwebs this morning. Believe me, when the media becomes aware that Klein is pagan, they will be doing enough assumptive journalism without us getting involved in a brand new entry of Witch Wars: How Fast Can We Distance Ourselves From Kenny Klein Edition.

I worked with children for years. I have a great love for children and feel fiercely protective of the innocence of childhood. From my work as a peer counselor in high school to my time in the juvenile court system and my years as a Juvenile Officer, I feel I have spent much of my life working to preserve the sanctity of childhood. When I hear of someone violating that sacredness, the level of anger inside of me knows no bounds.

I own some of Klein's books, and I've recommended them on my podcasts. My first thought was to burn the books, but burning books is something I disagree with. I then thought about taking them to Half Price Books, but I don't want any money from his name. Do I take them to a library? I feel like his work is now tainted; that any knowledge I gleaned or ideas I got is retroactively dirty. I supported a man who possessed and distributed child porn. And I am disgusted.

My hands are shaking writing this post. I feel no sympathy for what Klein is going to go through. He is making his living from being a Pagan author and musician, which cannot be that lucrative. Needless to say, the little bit of living he was able to make is going to disappear. I cannot fathom a Pagan gathering or venue that would welcome him at this point. And, if there is one, I most certainly would not support them.

Too, this is the first time during my tenure in the Pagan community that I recall something like this happening. A prominent Pagan figure committing a truly heinous crime. Our community is small. For our faults, it feels familial. And, then, this.

I feel that something has been violated. Something personal and something communal. Klein has brought something into our community that other communities have dealt with for decades. Preachers caught cheating on their wives. Priests and altar boys. The list goes on. But, our community is small, and we had the moral high ground because 'real Pagans would never do that'. Well, a Real Pagan Really Did That. What do we do now? Where do we go from here? And how will we respond when the media circus comes to town?

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

106 comments:

  1. I'll take the books if you just have to get rid of them. hate the crime, thats good. But the books still hold value.

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    1. Sorry, no. I will not be doing some Kenny Klein Giveaway on his books. I will decide what I want to do with them, and then do that. But I'm not giving them away online.

      FL

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    2. Whilst cleaning, I came across two of his books and my husband and I - him a child abuse survivor, and neither of us fans of Kenny, whom we had met on multiple occasions and who was an absolute jerk to us and many other people - took great pleasure in ripping them apart and throwing them in the trash. He was a creep and he's been doing this for 30 years.

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    3. Disagree that the books hold value despite his crimes. I can look the other way on some personal transgressions as no one is perfect. I will not do that on someone supporting the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. If I had any of his books, I'd be in the same boat Fire Lyte is.

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    4. Fire Lyte - It is sad what this person has done is true. I am totally against child abuse. On a different note, I have also experienced in the Deep South a leader making false claims. If this leader does not agree with you, she would make false accusations that you have molested her child. She would spread these rumors (but never make a police report) and ruin your reputation within the community. Another slap to the Pagan community for power.

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  2. I have met him off and on since 1993. Was a witness to a melt down between him and then wife Tzipora, and heard all the gruesome details of their relationship. He is and always was a dick. His religion has nothing to do with that.

    What should shock you is the number of people who have always had uneasy feelings about him, or worse knew first hand of his bad behavior and never did or said anything. I am appalled at my own lack of response to accusations about him back in the early 90's but I was young and stupid and didn't want to hurt our community.

    We should be asking ourselves - can we prevent this from happening again?

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    1. How to prevent this from happening again and not making any else endure what my family had to do alone should be the ONLY thing that the community along with healing.
      Blessings,
      Tzipora

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    2. HARM NONE, LET IT BE WHAT IT WILL. HARM NONE Includes YOUR SELF & CHILDREN. Do NOT Defend this man or Behavior. It is common to look up to people for what they CLAIM to teach... BUT DO THEY LIVE IT? I am a watcher, and have learned by example. I CALL ALL PEOPLE THAT WERE, AS CHILDREN, AFFECTED BY THIS MAN AND ANY OTHERS WHO CLAIM TO FOLLOW THE PATH OF LIGHT!!! You come from the love of thousands, YOU are SACRED and YOU are Loved. I am sending Love to all the Victims affected by this kind of behavior today. I am with you! 1111 TT

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    3. I met Kenny many years ago. Knew of him through a friend who had been in coven with him. What blows my mind is that people who knew him say they are "shocked" by this. Seriously? I didn't know him but there were always stories of his interest in underage women. Young women who complained about him and were told, "Oh he's an Elder, dear" and their complaints brushed off. How safe can anyone feel at Pagan functions if we do not question, hold accountable and DO something about inappropriate or down right illegal behavior?

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  3. I second the above comment. Except I was a 12 year old girl when I met him in the early 90's when I witnessed all this come up the first time. I am as far from shocked and surprised as a person can get. I just pray to all the gods of justice that the charges stick this time.

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    1. They Will. We as the children of this community have had enough of the fake teachers and predators who claim to follow the path of spirit and magic. YOU ARE SACRED AND YOU ARE LOVED! Harm None, Let it be what it will. HARM NONE INCLUDES YOURSELF & CHILDREN! Children grow up to be adults... Its not acceptable behavior to harm a child in any way. Educate your children, Teach them They are Sacred,... As Is Their Body & Sexuality. I for one have NO PROBLEM standing up for ANY ONE AFFECTED By This Behavior. Be Well Beautiful Creatures! 1111 Jt TALIN Weese.

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  4. I've been having discussions about this topic with several people/groups this morning, and I am amazed at how many people are defending him (I am not surprised, as there are still people out there defending the Frosts and inviting them to festivals). Someone shared a story about one of Klein's (alleged, for the sake of legalities) victims, to which I responded,

    "I've heard similar comments from other people today. I think it's really time for us as a community to think about why victims have not felt comfortable speaking out. No one wants anyone to be falsely accused, but neither do we want people to suffer because victims do not feel able to speak out, either."

    We need to be doing better as a community if people are afraid to speak out.

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    1. Yes Kris, People are afraid they will be out casted, Looked down upon, ridiculed for speaking out when they are victims of abuse. OUR Community will be stronger for this. I CALL ON ANY ONE AFFECTED BY THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR AS CHILDREN TO COME FORWARD NO MATTER WHAT PATH YOU FOLLOW OR COMMUNITY IT IS IN. Remember, YOU are SACRED & YOU are LOVED! Be Well. Talin. 1111 TT

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    2. If you were a victim of any of KK's actions, the police in New Orleans are more than willing to hear you now. They are in the process of building a very strong case but any additional information that goes to his character (or lack of) and tendencies to be inappropriate with young children can and will be used.
      Tzipora

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    3. I have met Kenny multiple times at NY state pagan festivals, he was always surrounded by young, underage girls and I knew nothing good would come of that. As for the Frosts, I refuse to attend any classes or associate with them. I know they have been invited to the summer festivities in NY state and I do not agree with it!

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  5. I've met him a few times at various festivals over the last 5 years and never liked him, He was always a dick and always seemed to gravitate towards the areas where teens were hanging out in. I had mentioned that a few times and the people either agreed with me that there was something incredibly off about him or said "Oh that's just Kenny".

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  6. I am disgusted that he would act in such a way, and I'm sure that this is the end of his career (and some well-deserved jail time with all that entails). I met him on several occasions, and he struck me as someone who was quite knowledgeable. He wasn't an ass to me, but maybe that's because I kept the conversation to the subject of his books.

    I understand your conundrum about owning some of his books, Fire-Lyte, as I own some of them, too. Personally, I look at knowledge as this, just knowledge. The fact of the matter is that the money we spent on his books has already been spent. His books contain knowledge, and that knowledge is separate from his disgusting personal behaviour. I look at it in a scientific manner (no surprise there). If a scientist had published a groundbreaking paper, say, on the Yellowstone magma plume, and it was later discovered that that person was a child molester, his works wouldn't be thrown out with the bathwater. I certainly won't be purchasing anything more of his, but that doesn't mean I will discard that which I already own. Knowledge has no moral attachments one way or the other, it just is.

    Personally, however, I'd like to coat that sorry asshole in honey and stake him out in a fire ant bed.

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    1. I'm sorry, but you can't compare Klein's books to a groundbreaking scientific paper. At least not his faery ones - they're folklorically incorrect. He adds in more sex and murder than is already there, which is saying something. And there's a lot of already skeevy and very ick stuff regarding young women in his faery books, where he sexualizes them or focuses overmuch on 'blooming sexuality'. When it comes to his books on faeries, they're not 'just knowledge'. They're part of the the grossness too.

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    2. I agree with Daoineile, it's a false equivalency, at best, to compare Klein's work to a scientific study that just happened to have been done by a despicable person. Even if we don't consider all the egregious inaccuracies in his alleged "knowledge", the book recently dropped by Immanion/Megalithica, The Flowering Rod, in its first edition specifically bore the subtitle "Men, Sex, and Spirituality" and the back cover copy blurb makes statements of the book being on sexual ethics in the pagan community. I'm sorry, but in light of this news, consulting Kenny Klein, even in book form, on sexual ethics would be akin to asking Westboro Baptist to write resources for queer youth.

      Scientific studies are valuable because their results can be replicated and further studied, regardless of who made the first breakthrough. But writings about spirituality need to be weighed against those who wrote them, especially when the writer proves to be a despicable human being. Scientific breakthroughs are measured by the amount of objective facts that come from their further study, but spiritual knowledge is measured by how those who profess it live.

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    3. I completely agree and in that original flowering rod are references to sexual "relationships" with all ages being "natural". His self serving bravado and false claims to expertise are inseparable from his writings as his work is what he used to gain access to kids.He directly confessed and justified his behaviour to me and I am happy to say that I called many authorities about him many times. I cannot express the joy of seeing him caught.I am sickened to say that the local festivals that invited him were distinctly uninterested in my reports of his confession and even today are denying that it is really true. So it looks like I need some new directions to celebrate with. Onward and upwards. Blessed Be.

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  7. Thank you for writing this, and thanks to folks for their comments, particularly the anonymous ones. This is why I've been writing a lot recently about sex and ethics in the Pagan community, http://paganactivist.com/2013/10/28/sex-ethics-and-paganism/
    and particularly about the community conundrum we have around what to do when we have someone who is acting "a little creepy" at events. If they've done something illegal and that's proven, that is one thing. But the creepy person at the festival who is known to be a lech but nobody speaks up because they are a Pagan leader...that happens. A lot. And festivals still hire them.

    With few exceptions, whistleblowers get beaten up pretty badly. Which isn't to say that there isn't he said/she said where the alleged victim was making things up to make the other party look bad. It's a complicated mess. I go into the mess a little with a series of posts I've been writing on Pagan leadership and specifically why, in most cases, it doesn't work to call out a Pagan leader on poor behavior. Unless they've done something actually illegal, in most cases, the whistleblower is shot down as just having "sour grapes" or "trying to start a witch war." And yet, there has to be a way to call people out on their poor behavior.
    http://shaunaaura.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/pagan-leadership-and-witch-wars/

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Shauna. I bookmarked your wordpress articles, and look forward to reading them later. I totally agree with what you said about whistle-blowers being suppressed just because a predator is also popular. I have long agreed that we as a community owe it to ourselves (especially our children!) to do a better job at handling people like Kenny Klein. And I sincerely hope this latest scandal is a wake up call for us all.

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    2. Thank you Shauna for speaking out. As a victim (and possibly one of the more infamous ones) I just want to share with you the abuse was one thing. Being ignored and told you were a liar by your community and for the most part summarily kicked out is a much deeper and more complex wound.
      I only hope that this time history does not repeat itself.
      Blessings,
      Tzipora

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    3. I'm so, so sorry for what you went through. None of KK's activity made it to my ears, other than one brief mention by a BlueStar person about "a bad breakup." I myself never met him. But, in the course of teaching workshops on Pagan leadership around the midwest, I hear stories. Story after horrible story.

      And the irony is, my own partner (romantic and teaching partner) when I first started teaching was a womanizing abuser himself. I consider myself a strong person, and when I look back at how much emotional abuse I put up with--and how much I facilitated him being able to hunt for new victims by empowering him as a leader and teacher--I am sick to my stomach. Mark Mandrake, aka, Mark Robert Necamp, is not a pedophile, but he does target vulnerable women.

      Now, by the time he left me (after stealing a large sum of money and cheating on me with students and community members), I had enough of a positive reputation that I was able to speak out against him without getting summarily kicked out of the community. There were people that cut ties with me and sided with Mark. There were people that clicked their teeth and told me I was a hypocrite, teaching leadership and then speaking out against someone. There were people who told me that what I was saying was coming across as the crazy ex with sour grapes.

      Eventually, by his own crappy behavior, Mark started getting kicked out of events all on his own. I backed down from naming him and started just referring to him as "my ex" when I wrote sex/ethics posts and blogs.

      However, just recently he started coming out to events and has started teaching again. This time, I'm not going to back down on speaking out against him. While the harm that Mark does is nothing compared to what many others have done, or what Kenny did to you and your children, he's still a danger to women and to groups.

      I'll be writing more on these topics on my blogs and I hope to heck that something good can come out of this in the form of, how do we actually protect ourselves from people like this instead of covering for them. Thank you for commenting.

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    4. Since this is here under my legal name, I must respond.

      The following information, in quotes is factually incorrect:

      • "stealing a large sum of money"
      • "getting kicked out of events"
      • "recently he started coming out to events and has started teaching again"
      • "does target vulnerable women"

      Shauna and I emotionally abused each other a great deal, and took a private break up into a public forum. It caused a lot of community damage that will never be healed, and I am sorry for that. As someone that is a survivor of sexual abuse and did not have a male role model growing up, and has gone through years of therapy as a result, I am someone that is aware of his issues and works a great deal to transform himself.
      Much of the rest is true. I definitely admit that. The time frame that is mentioned is from a period of almost 4 years ago (I write this in October, 2014). When I realized I had a problem I amputated myself from Pagan community, in the same way that an alcoholic stops going to bars. In the four years since I quit teaching, I have had only one foray into public Pagan life, and that was to assist my wife in a class in 2014. Other than that, I have completely cut my ties with Pagan community and will never put myself in the same situations to hurt others.

      I have never been kicked out of event, but I cancelled the events that I had been previously invited to as a speaker.

      I left teaching because I took the self-responsibility to amputate myself from a situation harmful to myself and others.

      I have never targeted vulnerable women. I have had interactions and relationships with people I thought were responsible, consenting adults. I have been in a committed, faithful, monogamous relationship for the last three years with the person that is now my wife.

      I am very sorry to the people I hurt. There is no way to make it up to them. All I can do is try to call other men out on their behavior so that they can embody an attitude of self-respect and respect the people the women they interact with. I hope to raise my boys into men that will defend women and help usher in a better world based on consent and compassion. Real activism begins at home, and that is where my energy is focused.

      Thank You,
      Mark

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  8. Toss the books in the recycling. I never thought he was as great a researcher as he seemed to think he was, but that's partly just me being BEYOND FUCKING FURIOUS because I know this guy and he has been nice to my 10yr old son. I'm with Natalie on the honey and fire ants. He was oh-so-in-love with New Orleans, let him get chomped by some local invasive fauna a few thousand times.

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  9. Many, many people are saying they knew this about him all along, and that was why they never attended festivals he was invited to. If they are not just saying that to make themselves important in this discussion, I find their behaviour abhorrent. THEY stayed safe, but did not confront the man, and other people's children were potentially endangered? And now they're bragging about their prescience? As it happens, from the very little information we have at present, it seems that he was connected to a ring that accessed and shared pictures and videos of mainly males, all minors, in sexual situations. So unless he photoshopped them, pictures of children, skyclad or otherwise, at festivals, are not relevant. And nobody has yet said, to my knowledge, that KK actually abused children at festivals. If he did, shame on people for not publicising this fact. His predilections are disgusting, but people like me, who are trying to bring facts to bear, are being vilified as apologists, and accused of defending him. The news broke but hours ago. The virtual lynching is in full swing. What does that say about the community? We should be concentrating on opening a safeline for people to report abusers, so the community is not endangered, not on attacking all and sundry.

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    1. I second this. Innocent until proven guilty. Shame on those who are quick to condemn!

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    2. He admitted guilt...that makes the "innocent until proven guilty" fly out the window, because he admitted guilt. No shame on those who condemn a person who SAID he did it.

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    3. I'd really like to know, though, who he admitted guilt to and how this reporter knows about it. It's not in the official press release from the LA State Police. Where did this information come from? As I've said several times today, it wouldn't entirely shock me if the allegations prove to be true, but given the horrible state of journalism and lack of fact checking going on these days, I'm still going to reserve final judgement until he's convicted or pleads guilty in a court of law, not the court of public opinion. https://www.facebook.com/LouisianaStatePolice/posts/828993507117241

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    4. ^ Oops, I should point out that the second Anonymous there is not the same person as the first Anonymous. I simply don't have an account to publish my comments under, so have to do it under Anonymous. Wow, that's kind of confusing for people to read, isn't it? Bad blog comment design...

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    5. I was at festivals with Kenny and was one of those who was uncomfortable around him. Young women were attracted to him, and he didn't send them away. But there were also people watching, whether he realized it or not. Our festival community protects our young people, as many others do. (Another Anonymous)

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    6. Anyone in the world can request a police record as they are a matter of public record. There is no privacy once a person is arrested. A telephone call would be all anyone would need to do, and maybe a formal request in writing to answer the questions regarding to whom he admitted guilt to and how the reporter knows about it.
      But I can also tell you how these things play out. A press release is only a short blurb sent out by the police department just to quickly inform the folks around what has happened lately. An official police record would be on file in the police station. A reporter knowing that police records are too large to be fully contained in a press release would go to the police station and ask to see the record and the notes contained within. The police officers would have asked Mr. Klein whether it was indeed his computer. Mr. Klein being a scumbag, but an honest one, told the truth which was then documented by any and all officers in the room at the time. Those notes will be included within the official police report.

      He didn't have to lie to cover up his behavior, we as a community did it for him and have been doing it for years.

      If the problem is going to be addressed, the community itself will have to realize that the law is an appropriate response to inappropriate behavior by one of our own and not get angry, blame victims, deny the status of the perpetrators spirituality, but stand up and say, "this is wrong and illegal". We are not a law unto ourselves. We do live in a larger society with rules and regulations we all must follow. Then it would be proper and right to go to the authorities who can handle the situation. Communities are going to have to get over whatever conflicts and start talking to one another. Not always to keep tabs on so-and-so but to build a strong community of smaller strong communities instead of the empire building and power bs that still persists to this day. Keep your traditions a secret, I don't care but do respect that secrecy. Just don't keep health issues, mental health issues, legal knowledge, or illegal secrets to your self if they can harm the greater world. Share this information. I bet not just bad news but good news/information/programs can be spread around for the betterment of all of us.
      Anonymous 4

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    7. "Knowing" and "proving" are two entirely different things.

      Why is anyone surprised? All one has to do is read some of the passages from his fairy books to know the guy had an unhealthy attraction for underage girls. Gerald Gardner, the founder of Wicca, was the same and many pagans look up to, and revere, him. Gardner, like Klein, was a dirty old man. The entire reason Gardner claimed witches worshiped "skyclad" was so he could oogle young girls!

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    8. We as a community need to be very careful not to equate the downloading of images with the abuse of children while at festivals. There is no clear information as to the details of this case, except brief reporting from one of the most incompetent police forces in the country. The victims in this case are anyone that has been hurt by this terrible behavior and if there are victims within our community then hopefully they will feel secure enough to ask for help from someone that they trust. In the meantime we as a community will continue to listen and hear anyone that is claiming harm so that we can help them. This has been the policy of festival sites for a long time, and as an organizer I have not heard of a single case where we have ever ignored a claim of harm in favor of reputation or in defense of a perpetrator. In most of the midwestern festival grounds (I cannot speak for all of them only the ones that I current work with) is a process in place and while it is not perfect it is in keeping with the legal system as well as with best practice in the counseling community. Equating Gardener, the Frosts and other cases is not helpful it fans the flames without applying the facts of the case which we do not yet have.

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    9. Your current local community may listen. Declarations of your personal intent are great.
      For years multiple communities within the larger pagan community have not. Now, can we work together on a national and even international scale to ensure this never happens again? Egos, reputations, sacred cows, et. al., will be have to put aside to ensure our people talk. I, for one, would like to see this happen.

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    10. No. As a Strong Pagan Male, I Am here to say that Harming none includes YOURSELF & CHILDREN. In NO Case is this behavior acceptable. What about the countless victims? Shame be on ANY OF YOU who even try to Condone These actions OR Defend Mr. Klein. I am young, but wise. This is just one case of many being brought into the light. Our magical community is being purged of this Garbage. Children grow up to be adults...... What are you trying to say by defending this Man and more so, what dose it say about you!

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    11. @Maegdylyn -- how incompetent is LSP when they caught a guy whose been behaving badly right before the eyes of thousands of pagans worldwide for 30+ years. Those who knew of his abusive and lecherous proclivities and even facilitated his access to continue behaving badly will have to look at their own poor decision making and determine their worth among those "pagan elders." LSP seems to be the only competent organization who saw a perpetrator and got him off the streets before he harmed anyone else.

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  10. What I take from this is a need--community-wide--for people to be able to talk about abusive behavior or even creepy behavior. I talk about this a lot when I teach leadership workshops, because our community has no good mechanism other than "trial by Facebook." Unless the person has committed an actual crime and been convicted. Kenny Klein has been accused of a crime. A crime he admitted to, so a conviction seems likely, but for the moment it's alleged.

    Right now, the primary mechanism to bring up issues ends up as he said/she said. People who have had a Pagan leader/presenter act inappropriately toward them might complain to a festival coordinator, but as with many victims, if someone's in a position of power, they may perceive that they themselves will be ostracized or blamed for speaking out against a local leader. And they aren't wrong. There's also the fear of speaking out against a local leader and causing a community rift or "witch war." And that also happens.

    In some cases there's a clear action. I was at Starwood one year and apparently at the bonfire, a guy was dancing naked and kept brushing up against women. Eventually with his penis brushing up against them. The first couple times it was assumed that this was an accident. When it happened several times and the guy was warned to be more careful, eventually he was escorted off the event premises.

    When my own former partner was hooking up with women in our local community, these women didn't come forward to me until after I'd posted publicly about what he did to me. My former partner is still allowed at some festivals and conferences as a presenter, though (through his own actions) there are some events he's been banned from. What he was doing with women in my community wasn't illegal. He was hooking up with students and other community members, cheating on me and lying to them telling them we were poly, and hitting on women who came to our events and making them uncomfortable enough that they stopped coming to events.

    Me speaking out against him was he said/she said. When other women stepped forward, it became a little more obvious, but, there's still no solid proof, and, what he did isn't illegal. And that's the story I hear over and over. The person who blows the whistle gets blamed for trying to start a conflict.

    Adding further complication to the whole mess is this paradox: Just because someone is abusive, a pedophile, or has another mental illness, doesn't mean their work is invalid. What I mean by that is, Kenny made some beautiful music. And he wrote some books that helped people deepen their spirituality. His illness (pedophilia) doesn't negate that his other work was good, any more than his appropriation of Vodou traditions has anything to do with his pedophilia. It can be really hard to hold a paradox; in our culture, we're trained in stark black and white thinking.

    I know some amazing Pagan leaders and teachers who are abusive assholes. Brilliant at their subject, but harmful to the community. I think the smallness of the Pagan community makes that a really hard paradox to hold onto, particularly because there's also the scarcity mindset of, we only have so many leaders, so many elders and resources, so to kick one out for bad behavior means that one of our few resources is gone.

    It's a whole snarled mess of problems. I am really in favor of finding ways and mechanisms that we can help hold each other accountable so that people who are acting creepy in the way that Kenny seems to have been, don't get swept under the rug like this. But without everyone who ever gets accused of anything is banned from every event ever.

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    1. There is also the factor that at one time, Pagan leaders, especially men, *were* being accused of all kinds of heinous crimes of which they were totally innocent. My own husband had this happen to him; I witnessed it, the women (three of them, friends) were unhinged - one had been in the mental ward several times - and it made his life hell for months. That was 14 years ago and they've admitted since that they lied.

      During the bad old days of rampant witch wars, it was accepted that you would call DSS on someone and and try to get their kids taken away just because you were at war with them. The worse kinds of accusations and allegations were accepted, and many remember those bad old days, and that makes people cautious to come forward now.

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    2. I've just gone through the process of trying to address this in science fiction/fantasy convention spaces and technical spaces and the pushback was intense. I can only imagine it will be worse in our religion with its secrecy. But that secrecy should not make us a haven, or we'll be overrun with creeps. If we do not explicitly exclude predators we will implicitly exclude people I personally would much rather work with.

      I hope that every pagan festival will develop a code of conduct and a plan of enforcement, and that explicit discussions of sexual ethics, power dynamics and accountability become common.

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    3. I think a lot of Pagan groups and events already have codes of conduct (and enforcement plans), but it's like having a law against burglary. People still burgle, and hope they won't get caught. A lot of strides have been made (twenty-five years ago, wife beating was covered up because "it would make us look bad") but people are people. All the pieces of paper in the world won't change that. Vigilance is important. But it's also important that vigilance doesn't cross the line into paranoia or--dare I say it?--witch hunts, either.

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    5. I fought off Klein's advances & enticements when I was 15 & 16 (23 years ago). I can honestly say that when I turned to my coven & the adults in my community, the overall response I received was basically 'Well, he didn't *force* you to do anything. No harm, no foul. Take it as a compliment." There were prominent members among midwest & heartland groups that had been made aware of his behavior & turned their heads. In hindsight, I regret never going to the police, but that was made clear, by members of the Pagan community who knew of my situation, to be an unacceptable option. I wish I would have been a stronger teenager, especially now that I know he has been lurking around all this time. I was also disappointed in the treatment the same leaders gave Tzipora after the break up. Sometimes there is a great deal of truth in rumors, but we are told to ignore them because they are "just rumors".

      This experience is a big reason my children have never been allowed to fully participate in Pagan community gatherings as a whole. I have a strong connection to my faith & religion, but I was let down by my elders when I needed them most & I didn't want my children to ever experience that.

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    6. I believe you. I support you. I understand that you were a teenager and why you didn't report it to the police. I am sorry your coven failed you.

      Are you still on the B* email lists?

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    7. Thanks, Nicole. I was never a member of BlueStar. This took place over a couple concerts in my hometown & during a festival in the neighboring state.

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    8. yes there are firm policies in place at Starwood, there have been for years. These threats are always taken seriously and pursued individually in accordance with best practice in the counseling community as well as with law. Claiming that somehow a pagan event has a higher danger of assault or sexual impropriety is not accurate. Individual cases happen at all levels of society and they are always a tragedy, however to claim that somehow our community is worse due to the nature of its elders is both inaccurate and irresponsible. As a counselor I listen I believe and I support victims in their process. Please forgive the failings of those in the past and help us to create a better safer future by taking part its creation.

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    9. This did not take place at Starwood & all communities are different. And I have actually done quite a bit of community work to better the several Pagan communities I have been a member of over the past 23 years. Unfortunately, the sense of disconnect & mistrust has never fully gone away. Hopefully I have made a difference for others.

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    10. If there was a families-only festival, would you go with your kids?

      I'm thinking it's a festival for kids 0-18 with their parents. There could still be adult-only rituals and workshops, but every adult there would have to be with a kid to go to the festival. So you wouldn't have that singles hook-up scene you have at other festivals. Also, the adults-only events wouldn't be things like "BDSM Balls" (which I've seen at festivals, which I've nothing against, but that's not really what I'm there for).

      What do you think?

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    11. Nikole,

      I am in favor of family-friendly festivals, but I don't think your suggestion would prevent sexual abuse from happening. The majority of child abuse happens at the hands of family members and friends, and I don't know if anyone has done a study on that but I have no reason to believe that the pagan community is any different. Statistically speaking, a child has a stronger chance of being abused in their own tent than by a stranger. Those guidelines wouldn't keep sexual predators out of a festival. It would only keep childless predators out of the festival. Kenny Klein himself is a father, so back in the day, he would have been eligible to attend.

      There's a large number of people in the pagan world who are non-monogamous and attending a family festival doesn't necessarily stop them from being non-monogamous. Whether there's an officially sanctioned event or not, people would still have the opportunity to hook up with others. The existence of consenting adults having sex is not the cause of sexual harassment, abuse, assault or rape. Certainly, some atmospheres are not be appropriate for families with young children, but attempting to remove sexuality from a festival wouldn't stop sexual offenses from taking place.

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    12. Yes, most abusers are family members, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it.

      But the fact is, many festivals have a raunchy atmosphere that is not really appropriate for kids. Even if they bill themselves as "family friendly" there's a merry atmosphere that crosses (legal) lines that people still might not want around their kids. Forget molestation, there's a wide range of behavior that isn't appropriate to display around little kids, that often is at festivals.

      And people SHOULD be able to display it and have their bawdy fun. But not everyone needs to be around that all the time, maybe it'd be nice if there were more other options

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    13. Ah. I think that the issue of exposing children to nudity or sexuality or inappropriate behavior is a different issue than the pagan community addressing how to deal with sexual offenses. To me, this blog post, and the heart of the discussion is about how we as the pagan community deal with sexual predators and sexual offenses so I responded looking through that lens. There is some cross-over with keeping festivals G-rated, but they're not really the same, IMO.

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    14. Dear anonymous who fought off Kenny as a young teenager. You should be so proud! You fought him off and reported him to your community. You are so strong and so powerful, you have nothing to apologise for. The festival and adults who decided that was okay, they are the people who should be apologising and their complicit behaviour is a serious indication of similar deviance. I am so sorry that that happened to you. I think you should be commended for your bravery.

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    15. Dear Anonymous who succeeded in fighting him off,
      Thank you for sharing that here. I know better than most how hard it is to say anything bad about a BNP. And thank you for the kind words about me. It's been 22 years now and I am finally feeling safe enough to come forward and shout my story if I need to in order to be heard.
      My biggest regret is that I was not able to do more at the time. I was shunned by my own tradition and told to go away.
      If you are willing, please do contact NOPD and make a statement of his behavior. I think the case they have is very strong as it stands now, but....if they can show a strong pattern it will make it even easier than his legally obtained by the book signed confession. (I spoke to the arresting officer today)
      Tzipora

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  11. Excuse me, but this is NOT the first time a prominent Pagan has committed a truly heinous crime. Sheinan Bell, aka Argheiadach, Second in Command of ADF at the time, was convicted of molesting a young girl (12 or 13 years old) about 20 years ago. I had personally seen him not take No for an answer from a couple of women, forcibly kissing them or holding them in his lap when they had clearly asked to be released, and had informed him that I would hospitalize him if he continued to do that sort of thing. But here's the worst part: I actually saw him at Starwood afterwards. Here was a CONVICTED child molester allowed to attend an event where hundreds of children were present. He had the nerve to try to say hello to me, I spoke to him just long enough to assure him that I would be alerting Brushwood and ACE staff to his conviction, and that I would be watching. People like this need to know two things: NOBODY has their back, and EVERYBODY will turn them in.

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    1. Hi Jeff!

      Not trying to demean or forget any past crimes by prominent Pagan figures. My sentence read "this is the first time during my tenure in the Pagan community...". My tenure in the Pagan community reaches back about 10-12 years. Anything that happened before that, inside the community, is more or less still unknown to me in regards to crimes committed, etc.

      Thanks for the reminder that this is not a one-off incident, and vigilance is needed!

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    2. Fair enough, Fire Lyte. I should also amend my statement - it has come to my attention that Sheinan Bell actually did NOT attend the full Starwood festival that year - he came and set up his girlfriend's campsite, then voluntarily left. He was, in fact, convicted afterwards and went to prison. I hope this sets the record straight, sorry for any misunderstanding.

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  12. Kenny Klein made sexual advances on me when I was thirteen years old, forcing his hands on me when I was not old enough to consent. I stayed quiet because I was intimidated by his fame in our community. Honestly, it helped me discover a bit about my own sexual identity, for what it's worth. Hopefully his other victims can say the same, since he did seem very experienced.

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    1. Bambi Boy, if your story is true I am glad if you have really not suffered lasting damage from your experience. But some of his victims were much younger than yourself. Anyone who can help keep this man off the streets (and out of the gatherings) needs to do so if at all possible.

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    2. First off, it's not your fault. Second, what he did to you was entirely inappropriate. If you haven't done so already, please consult with the police department in your town and have them instruct you on what to do. If more people come forward, it establishes a behavior pattern. And the judge sentencing him will be more likely to throw the book at him!

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    3. I am so sorry that you experienced this at all. At 13 you had plenty of time ahead of you to learn about your sexuality in a more appropriate way. I am glad that do not appear as damaged as my own children. Moreover, I am sorry that my own attempts at trying to work through the justice failed you and others. And saddened still that I was not believed by enough people to have prevented this from continuing past 1992.
      Wishing you well,
      Tzipora

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    4. Bambi Boy, I posted about my experience in a reply to a post above. I am sorry you went through this, too. **hugs**

      Tzipora, I heard rumors of what you & your kids went through. I am sorry you went through that & that you were not listened to nor believed. I hope you are well these days.

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    5. I believe you and I am so very sorry and I am glad that your abuser is finally in jail. Blessed Be.

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    6. Remember, You are Sacred and You are loved. Thank You for Standing Up. !!! Be Well Beautiful Creature! TT

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  13. As a Pagan for 25+ years, I've always been unhappy with the (seeming) majority attitude that absolutely ANY behavior should be not only allowed but welcomed. I've been happy to finally see just in the past couple years people daring to speak out and question why this must be. Usually it leads to blog drama and debate but at least the idea has been out there. Maybe at least one positive to come out of this horrible story is that the debate will continue and get more traction. This philosophy is probably the main reason I've stayed mostly solitary over the years, and probably keeps others away as well.

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  14. Uh Bambi Boy, what side of hades did you apparate from?

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  15. "Too, this is the first time during my tenure in the Pagan community that I recall something like this happening. A prominent Pagan figure committing a truly heinous crime. Our community is small. For our faults, it feels familial. And, then, this."

    What about the Frosts?

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    1. The Frosts have never been convicted nor charged with any crime. To compare Kenny and his charge with those written in a book is inaccurate.

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  16. Bury the books, let them return to nature.

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  17. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/18/operation-round-table_n_4988828.html
    While there is no direct link I can confirm at present, the timing of this seems a little too close to be coincidence.
    Furthermore, I have seen several references today to past events in which charges were filed against him, but did not stick.
    I am trying to confirm these allegations and will add further information as it becomes available (either to substantiate or refute, as the case may be).

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    1. I can offer confirmation of past events that did not "stick" in the justice system. Lots of evidence.
      Tzipora

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    2. Madame Tzipora, we have never met, but I would like to thank you, and let you know that your standing up and speaking out made a difference. When he confessed to me, his then partner Anna spoke very freely about how her daughters were uptight and screwed up because they would not have sex with Kenny. They lived with their grandfather and refused to visit. She didn't care. There are many women who don't work as hard as you did to stand up for your kids. My mother was one of those who liked to help abusers to her children. So thankyou, thankyou , thankyou. Blessings to you and your family.

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    3. Anonymous,
      I only did what I believed was right and we are doing what we believe is right now. My children are adults and are both so courageous in their speaking about their past. I would love to be in touch with Anna and offer her support. If you could point to towards me and she is willing to connect, I would be grateful.
      Tzipora

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  18. My kids and I have known Kenny for over 20 yrs, we come from a sister tradition to his. We never saw much of him until he moved to New Orleans. He was going to rent one of our houses but his girlfriend was so nasty and rude that we had a fight and did not rent to him. I have heard things over the years but never about kids, and they were always second and third hand. I thank my gods that we had that horrible fight and he was not living in our house. I cannot even think of a decent way to cleanse a home after someone like that has been living there. I wish I could say I am surprised but what I read made sense. Our children are sacred guests in our homes that the gods have given us to raise. He is no kind of priest that would in any way use children like that. I wish I knew who reported him so I could buy them a drink and thank them

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  19. Can we wait until there's a conviction? I admit that it looks bad, but it looked bad for the Duke Lacrosse players, too, and they were completely exonerated.

    Let's just rack the pitchforks and the torches until the legal system has run it's course.

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    1. The episode with the Duke lacrosse players is not even close to the same situation. That started as a she said/they said situation when she filed a complaint, but yes, they were exonerated.

      In KK's case, the police did an investigation before charges were brought. And if the newspaper story is to be believed, he did not contest the police's version of the events. So, not comparable.

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  20. As I read the comments, it's sounding more and more like the pagan community needs more education on what to do in these circumstances. I'm hearing a lot of people saying that they knew something was up, but they didn't want to create waves because the person involved was a big name pagan. I'm also hearing that a lot of people fear retribution from the rest of the community for speaking up. I hate to draw a comparison here, but once upon a time, it was unheard of to make these kind of accusations about a Catholic priest...they were "above all that." And in such a way, many victims were shamed into silence. This was a HUGE problem for me and one of the reasons I left Catholicism. I find it very disturbing that now, in the pagan community, we're coming across another culture where folks in the know aren't speaking up.

    It seems to me, the pagan community needs a lot more education about these issues. Firelyte, when you're ready to do a show about the topic, can you consider talking about the behavior patterns that pedophiles engage in in order to get access to children, win the trust of adults around them, and cover up what they're doing? I get the impression that you've received training on this and would be able to talk about it. In other words, define what grooming is etc etc. I know that this is a disturbing and uncomfortable topic, but I feel that more people need to know these things and be encouraged to speak up if they find that someone else's behavior is not sitting well with them...whether that's to a festival leader, the police, etc.

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    1. Thank you for your considered commentary. I am a counselor that works with the pagan community and there is plenty of awareness within the community as to the nature of these situations. I am one of the festival organizers and so far we do not have anyone that has come forward and asked us to investigate a claim of harm by this individual. We know that he caused harm this is not in dispute, however we cannot act on heresay and after the fact. As organizers we seek to create an environment in which community members feel safe to come forward and ask for help if needed. We also seek to promote long term social currents that promote responsible behavior, anything more is beyond our reach.

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  21. The problem is this issue goes across cultural and religious lines. It is a serious problem that inflicts our community and our nation. People like him need to be outed for the sake of our children. These people come from all walks of life. It should be no surprise that one of the members of our community is one. More and more people need to be more aware how these people operate. Unfortunately too many people think that they are isolated from the problems of the world and it will never happen in there back yard. Well it happened. We need to be more vigilant as a community on these issues. Blessed Be.

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  22. Part of what we are taught as Pagans is to trust our intuition. Many of us rely on our inner voice to guide us in our daily lives, so why do we ignore it when it involves someone within the community? Following a Pagan path (whatever that may be) does not make us infallible. We are not above the law of the land. We also cannot control who is attracted to a Pagan life and thus I encourage every Pagan group out there to devise and enforce a code of ethics, which should be posted at all events. If someone makes another person uncomfortable, that needs to be addressed. I am not saying kick people out willy nilly, as we all know that disagreements and personality conflicts can sometimes turn ugly. Again, we're not infallible. But if everyone involved in a group or event was clear on an absolute NO TOLERANCE policy of inappropriate behavior then that will encourage people to come forward if they feel something is wrong.

    Unfortunately, I have personally experienced something within a group that I no longer belong to. My intuition told me something was wrong, I was extremely uncomfortable, and I did speak up. Sadly, my concerns were met with "That is your ego, not your intuition. You need to examine what is going on with you that would make you intolerant of (name)." and "If you just spent more time with (name) then you will be fine. The issue is with you, not with them." What it boiled down to was the person I approached was not willing to hear what I had to say because the accused was a friend of theirs and they didn't believe them capable of what I believed was going on. Thankfully, I am an adult and was able to come to the conclusion that the uncomfortable feelings were valid and made the decision to discontinue my association with them. For the record, the issue involved a psychic vampire and not a sexual abuser. However, any inappropriate encroachment on your person (body, mind, or spirit) is not something anyone should tolerate in any situation.

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  23. This website has some good information, but it's not conclusive: http://www.wikihow.com/Identify-a-Pedophile. I'm sure anyone with training can add more to this.

    And yes, a lot of this is going with your gut. It something feels off or wrong, say something!!!! (Sadly to say, I have to do this twice in two different contexts, and was told I was right both times). :(

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  24. I want to address the question that's been coming up of how to protect kids and teens in our communities. I wish that we could assume that they would be safe wherever they go. But
they, of course, are not necessarily going to be safe.

    What we can do about this is the same thing we do everywhere; educate our children and consent, rape culture, safety, and risk reduction. Make sure they have buddies who have their backs. Make sure they know that we will believe them when they bring something to us - whether a fear, an allegation, or a concern.

    The Pagan community is not an island unto itself. We are part of the dominant culture because – rail against it as we may – we are of it. So we continue working to create change the same way we have for years, decades, lifetimes.
    
KK is not the first (should allegations be found true) predator to create a circle of support for himself within our community. Unfortunately he's not likely to be the last, either.

    So yes, parents, educate your children. Educate yourselves. Educate each other. And let's listen to one another when we hear the whispers. Let's listen to our own gut instincts. Let's listen to the allegations when they arise, take them at face value, and proceed accordingly.

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  25. Greetings. i was taken by this sentence in the above " I then thought about taking them to Half Price Books, but I don't want any money from his name" An organization that combats child trafficking or exploitation could probably use the $$. It's something I did some time ago when my world view sort of tilted...sold the things that no longer had a place in my life and gave the proceeds to a group of folks doing a whole lot of good in the community.

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  26. I knew KK through the renfaire community, not through the Pagan community. As I was not as prominent a musician as he was at the time, he felt completely comfortable doing everything he could do discourage, disrespect, and bad-mouth me and my music partners. A number of people from whom he had nothing to gain noted that he treated them that way, while we noticed that those who had the possibility of advancing his career all seemed to think he was the sweetest guy on Earth. So while I never suspected him of being a pedophile, I figured out years ago that he was a two-faced asshole. Is it wrong that I feel a bit vindicated today?

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    1. Feeling vindicated is fine. I've been experiencing some of that myself.
      Tzipora

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  27. No, I think it's time to discuss how such things happen and how to prevent them from occurring in the future with the realization that Pagans, not being perfect people, are just as subject as anyone else, to the faults and frailties of people. My son was raped by a Pagan priest who subsequently plead out to lesser charges and spent four years in prison. So I am not without personal experience in similar matters. My focus, though, is on what to do about it. I would also state that for the sake of all parties involved, let the process take its course.

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  28. I am really disturbed that you feel this is the first time this has happened in our community. The "muggles" accuse our community of this practice ALL THE TIME! The sad part is that is does occur.
    Being on the fringe of society is a battleground for predators. They are allowed to hide by traveling the circuit & rumors fade as their distance and time grow. We fail as others have and do, to not investigate these rumors. To hide our heads in the sand is SO typical of human nature. To refuse to believe that evil is among us is to allow evil to grow.
    Educate yourself to the evil around. Do something to uncover it's ugly head. Please don't BS yourself about it. Our community has faults just as others have theirs. Be part of the difference and help awareness grow instead of evil.
    I know firsthand of this happening to young people in our community and do what I can to open eyes & prosecute the evil until it is gone. I heard rumors about a dear friend and wasn't able to do anything about it when I was younger. Sadly the rumor was true and more heinous and evil then rumor indicated. That one incident makes Kenny look like an alter boy in comparison.

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  29. I feel like I should raise my voice in light of all this…
    My name is Jo Pax. This man, Kenny Klein? That is my biological father. It has been some twenty years since I looked to him as a “dad,” and it’s been twenty two since my family left him. I’m not here to speak about what he did to me as a child. I’m not here to speak about the harms he inflicted on my mother and sister. I’m here to talk about what happened after we broke free. After our cries for help, we were lost in a sea of legal shadows and hearsay conjecture. This is about what that man’s influence has done to my adult life.

    So let me begin by explaining the discrepancy in surnames. Jo Pax was not my given name, though I would like to state for the record that my mother HAD intended to name me Joseph. Thanks, “pop.” No, I was born Jesse Klein. …I hate that name… Nothing against the Jesse’s and Klein’s of the world, in particular, it’s just… I always had trouble identifying with it. Jo Pax came about because of a very dark time in my life. Consider it a rite of passage; I forged a new self in the crucible of my psyche as years of repressed memories manifested in terrible ways. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

    The years immediately after my family fled Kenny’s hold were rough. My mother had two mouths to feed, and we got by mostly from the kindness of close friends that stuck by and shelters for battered women and children. They were hard years, but my family got through. Circumstance afforded us opportunities as time went on, and we all did our best to assimilate into suburban life. For those that knew what our life had been up till then, you can imagine the culture shock. For those that don’t? You have to keep in mind that for four years I was homeless. Not just any four years, but from the age of two and a half. Some VERY formative years! All I knew was the Pagan community, stage hands, and guitar cases. So being thrust into the Mighty Morphing Transformer Turtle youth of early suburban nineties? Yeah. I didn’t make friends easily. It wasn’t until I was almost…. Eight, I believe, that the memories of abuse and molestation first surfaced. So! Hands up if you think it was fun being the eight year old with a shaky grasp on social norms and no empathy for the plights of the spoon-fed-well-to-do youths I found myself surrounded by AND was dealing with the first echoes of a “father” that hurt you so badly! Anyone? No? Good. Cause it sucked. Like, a lot. So began a lifelong in-out relationship with the therapist’s chair.

    The worst part? I didn’t understand at the time the full scope of this all. I didn’t know him as Kenny, the spiritual leader. I didn’t see him as Kenny, the famous pagan musician. He was supposed to be my dad. Aren’t dads supposed to, like… Teach you to ride bikes, and take you to martial arts, or fly kites? I still talked to the man, on the phone occasionally, granted all visitations by this point were supervised. I couldn’t reconcile the two worlds in my mind. It broke parts of my head, and caused all manners of fog to form in my memories. For me, it was memories of a man that laughed at fairs and played on stage being collided with hands on my neck or bruises on my mother or… …No. I’ll spare you the worst of the few details I do remember. This. Crushed. Me.

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    1. So let’s fast forward a few years and get into puberty. By now I rarely had any communication with Kenny. My mother had sole custody and I had dealt with enough therapy to know I didn’t like what he did to me when I was younger. (What’s more, any charges against him couldn’t be pursued because of gag orders, or lack of evidence, or Statute of Limitations… …I didn’t comprehend this at the time, mind you, but the price for getting free was my mother had to cut ties with the community at large and live with not prosecuting her abuser.) Through Junior High School and High School, my tentative acumen with what my peers considered normal made for a lonely existence. Despite statistics saying I should have been able to find a relatable friend, the population of the suburbia I found myself settled into, by and large, had no room for the son of Gypsies and even less empathy for a broken family. We’re talking… …Sometime around ’98-’00, by this point. And now? Now I could recognize that we were three, alone against a community that branded my mother’s cries for help as lies and without any support but for our dearest of friends. …And we had been for some time. This broke me in new ways. More therapists helped me with the blurred lines in my head that skewed my views of sexuality, identity, and social acceptability. I’m not saying I was a basket case at this point, but my head was a mess.

      So came High School and all its intricate social complexities. By now I wasn’t speaking to Kenny. In fact, it wouldn’t be until I was eighteen that he tried to contact me again. Also by now I had a grasp on two simple things; Kenny was a bad man that hurt me when I was young, and the childhood I experienced was not normal compared to those around me so I shouldn’t bring it up. Ok, hands up if you think it was fun being in High School and feeling ashamed of your childhood! Anyone? No? Good. Glad you’re still with me. So now all the little cracks in my head and fog in my memory really come to play. By my sophomore year (‘01), it was obvious that I wasn’t going to be the best student or make a ton of friends. By my junior year, I was sexually active and it dredged up new memories. I. Freaked. Out. Fresh hells crept into my dreams and the first of my sleep issues came about. By the time I was a senior I was living with anxiety beyond my coping ability. Then I get a birthday card from Kenny.

      I get it. Mom got full custody and after I cut him off he couldn’t reach out to me until I was eighteen. So of course he was going to. I should have expected no less. …But I didn’t see it coming. Nor did I see the fresh wave of terrors that haunted me every. Single. Night. Faceless demons, bodiless sensations, mind numbing panic. Somewhere deep down in my head, five-year-old Jesse was trying to get through, trying to get attention so he could heal. …But eighteen-year-old Jesse wanted no part of it. That life was ages ago. It wasn’t going to be who he was. It wasn’t going to dictate his future. So I shut it out, forced it down, didn’t want to deal with any of it. By the time I graduated I was having my first blackouts. Chunks of time went missing, and always I came to in precarious positions. Was I telling people about how I’d wake up on the bottom bunk of my bed in my room, the belt from my bathrobe tied around my neck and to the bunk above me? No. Was I alerting my friends and family to lost hours that ended with bruises on my hands or wrists or legs? No. In fact it wouldn’t be until I was nineteen that my family caught me. I came to, about to go to work, apparently, with a fresh bandage on my wrist. …It was later determined that I had gone to town on myself with a safety razor, of all things (very Empire Records)… Ok, Crisis Center time for Jesse!

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    2. Pay close attention to the scene I paint for you, here. Because these are the last moments I let Kenneth Warren Klein have power over my suffering.
      The sterile glow of neon lights reflected off the piss stained tiles and matted walls of the small room I was placed in. Grey walls, dungy air, muffled murmurs from every adjacent room signifying the omnipresent sense of unyielding unease. I was allowed my mother and sister to come sit with me, but I wouldn’t be allowed to leave until a psychiatrist came to see me. …Given the late hour, I had some wait ahead of me. The only thoughts that were comprehensible in my head were of how I got there. How I didn’t understand what happened when I was so young, then to be not heard when I first cried out, then told to be quiet and I’ll be free of this monster, then to have memories haunt me, then to have this man reach out to me again… …I got it. I was crying out for help. I needed to know how to deal with this all. That’s what got me there. However, identifying a root cause and dealing with it are two separate matters. To calm my nerves as I awaited my release my sister provided gum wrappers and crayons to distract me. So was born the first seeds of Jo.

      The years that follow had troubles their own. Another influential male in my life was identified as a pedophile, and my realization of the inappropriate adult-child contact that had been a part of this man’s role in my life brought forward new tribulations for me and mine. Fortunately, I was an old hand at this, now. We cut ties, warned the ones we loved, and moved on. I was in therapy again, and delving into my love of music. Music was my saving grace. What started my junior year of High School with a passing interest in guitar had become, by this point, an obsessive love for my bass. To facilitate this love I sought the support of some friends to create a musical project that was inspired by my scribblings in the Crisis Center. “’Cool Blue’ Joe” became a stage name based off a doodle of a bassist that I keep to this day, and my band became an escape from the nights of endless nightmares. To which, I had gotten a sleep study done, around this point. Got a name put to the condition. Anyone familiar with parasomnia? It’s no bueno. My particular brand comes with night terrors, nightmares that occur in the subconscious cycles of sleep. Nightmares that are magnitudes more intense, bringing thrashing, sweating, and occasionally screaming to my nights. Nightmares that bring out every fear imaginable, but of which no detail will remain in your memory come morning. Better still? The only cure is psychological. That’s right… Gotta clear the cobwebs from your brain to get over this one. On the plus side, post High School life proved more accepting of my broken past.

      My early twenties were blessedly free of much of the world I knew. I grew into my own. I delved into music. My stage name became my identity. “’Cool Blue’ Joe” grew into “Jo Blu Pax.” I liken the transformation to many cultures that enjoy a rite of passage in your early adult years in which you choose a new name for yourself. Shedding the shackles of such severe sorrow that Jesse knew so well let Jo flourish. Bassist, Bhuddist, badass. Pax became my essence, as my life became a pursuit of peaceful existence. My nights were still haunted by unmemorable demons, but my days were finally becoming a life I was proud of.

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    3. Some years back Kenny reached out once more. His bassist dropped out on a few gigs local to me, and he wanted to know if I wanted to fill in. “Wear my steampunk duds on stage.” No lie. …Needless to say, in a fit of blind rage I eviscerated the man in my response. This was the final moment in which he hurt me. Communication with him has always ushered its own panic attack. But as the final waves of anxiety and fear subsided, I stood proud. I told him, without hesitation, that I never wanted to hear from him again. I cut him out of my life entirely. I may not be able to see him pay for his crimes, but I at least could exact my own revenge in my own way. …Keep in mind, vengeance is not what brings me here today.

      Which brings me to the present. My years lived as Jo Pax have not been without trials all their own, but my life has been one I can stand behind. I’m still living with the after effects of Kenny’s hand in my life in the form of parasomnia, but otherwise I’m sound and sane. What’s more, in light of his arrest, I finally feel free. Free to speak, free to express, free from the fears of running into him at a convention or gathering or whatnot. I harbor no resentment to those that failed to hear the cries of me and mine all those years ago. I even harbor no resentment to the man responsible for my suffering. Forgiveness is a funny thing… And I was unable to give it for so long. But now? Now that the world he lives in is seeing him for who he is? Now that the man who flew under the radar for so long is being forced to face his transgressions? Maybe now I can let it all go. Move on. Heal completely.

      This was not easy for me to write, and, in all honesty, is a HIGHLY abridged rendition of my life till now. But the important parts are there. I survived. I grew. I get to end a generational cycle of violence. I get to be proud of everything I’ve done. I get to live a life as my own person, without defining myself by the suffering and misery I was exposed to so early in my life. I want to tell you about all the good that’s come of this;
      I’ve found positive, constructive ways to deal with the legacy that preceded me. Kenny’s anger and violence, behaviors maybe not everyone saw or knew about, stem from a long line of abuse going back at least two generations before him. Instead of letting that turn me into the same kind of monster, I’ve found a peace that can end it.
      I’ve learned how to cope with the tragedies I’ve been through. I’ve healed in so many ways, and am continuing an endless search for self-improvement.
      For those concerned that I may be squandering Kenny’s musical genetics, you’ll be happy to know that I am pursuing a life of luthiery. I shall be attending one of the finest schools of the trade as soon as I can save up the tuition, and will be making a life for myself surrounded by music.
      Above all else… I learned empathy and respect for the suffering of others. And that, above all else, is what I want you all to take from this. Seek out the walking wounded. Hear the cries of the injured. There are going to be shockwaves from this incident that none among us (no matter their talent for scrying) can predict. I may not be part of the community I once was, but I know that where people of like heart and like mind gather, there, too, are the Gods. Be there for those that need help.

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    4. To close out I have a personal request to fulfil, that on part of my sister. If you know who I’m talking about, good. If not, read this anyways. She respectfully requests space. She tried to call out for help twenty two years ago, and cried out for many years to come. Her voice is tired. She is happy to see Kenny being called forward for his actions, but has no wishes to reconnect with the community at this time. Please… Leave her be.

      I, on the other hand, am ready to speak loudly and clearly. I am ready to help those that need my guidance, tell my story to those that need to hear it, and share any wisdom I can learn from the world at large. As I said before, maybe now I can heal completely. I have no resentment over the actions, inactions, words, or silence of the years past. I harbor no ill will to those who still don’t believe my story. I want to help how I can. I want to heal myself and those around me.

      If you do want to reach out to me, I ask that you private message me. And please, be patient. Understandably, these are emotionally tumultuous times, so choosing my words is of the utmost importance.

      Blessed be.

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  30. I know that your story will help many people. For your strength in sharing it, I thank you. Blessed Be

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    1. Which is precisely why I shared it. Thank you for taking the time to read and understand. This is the kind of support that makes it possible for me to raise my voice, now.

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    2. I am moved beyond words at what lies above.my heart bleeds for you Mr Pax....I read these words ..I saw inside your words truth and pain. I was a student of K here in NC. I've held small gatherings here on my land that included K as our speaker....a guest in my home....I saw in Blue Star a path ...one I suppose I was not to follow. At least not by his lead. I was totally floored by this. My experience was by no means what yourself and your family had to endure. I am a survivor of domestic abuse as well....when I read your words I wept for you and your family....I thought of how I was told of how your mother was such a villain....all untrue... as a survivor I experienced the same feelings and knew at once you spoke the truth and so did she.I pray to the gods for your healing and that of the victims.what a fine, intelligent talented man you became. Trial by Fire ....and you not only rose from it ...you soared....may your flight always be blessed .

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    3. Thank you!
      I am sorry to learn you too are a survivor and wish you healing and peace as well.
      Tzipora

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  31. Kenny is not the only one. There is at least one man who is issuing disclaimers about not supporting pedophilia or ebophilia but if you look at his blog, he has sexualized imagery of teens and young boys, and is an adult who is presenting workshops on "Youth Sexuality" at Pagan conferences. I tried to comment on this on a patheos blog and the blogger did not allow the comment to go through. Probably because that adult with the inappropriate workshops, content and emails to underage guys is also employed by patheos.

    Before clicking "like" or defending someone, google. Ask people who've interacted with them who aren't apologists for predators. Sometimes bloggers maintain two blogs, under the same name, with the more acceptable content on one and the more squicky stuff on the other.

    The Pagan community has an ugly history of looking the other way about this stuff until it hits the mainstream news and now it's biting people in the ass.

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    1. If you would be comfortable sharing one on one who that person is, I'd be interested in knowing. ShaunaAura@gmail.com

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  32. sadly (in my opinion) Kenny's bail was lowered to $37,500 and I hear he has been bailed out. My guess is he will get out of town. I doubt he will be very welcome in New Orleans right now, or anywhere else that knows who he is

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    1. If he leaves the state this case goes federal. His first court appearance in April 22nd. We'll see what happens on that day. I don't think he has the funds to hide from federal marshals for very long. He would have to leave the country and to my knowledge he doesn't have the means to do that either.

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  33. Seems to be a lot of mental health issues in the Pagan community in general. Any sort of self empowerment and inflation mixed with lack of self realization in a tradition eventualy leads to spiritualizing the ego. Not only has the european descendants caused so much trouble in the world, but the so called wisdom keepers are bat shit crazy. I speak not for all because there are the few who are doing it right.

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  34. I own a Celtic festival in Northern California and i am a community leader. Years ago we had KK perform music at our festival. I am so disgusted to hear this news. We have very strict ethics at all of our events. Every ritual or workshop has to be all age friendly. Our youth community just want a place to belong and feel accepted. At our events everyone including our vendors look out for each others kids. I raised four kids as a single parent and I will never be apart of a group or ritual where I cannot bring my family or practices that take ones Free Will. I truely believe that this is clean up time in every pagan community.

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  35. My name is Devyn Christopher Gillette, and I am a 3rd degree initiate and elder with the Blue Star tradition of Wicca, active since 1988. On behalf of my associates and the members of the Blue Star tradition, I would to submit to this blog a statement that has recently been reviewed by people from this tradition. Thank you.

    "Since our founding in 1974, the Blue Star Tradition of Wicca has been committed to positive service to the Pagan community. Like most Craft traditions, Blue Star is composed of many independent, autonomous covens and groves, and no individual or organization can speak for the tradition as a whole.
    However, we wish it to be understood that we are committed to the wellbeing of our peers in the Pagan community, and that any act that harms the safety of others, especially families with children, is anathema to the values, principles, and teachings of our tradition.

    "We are deeply grieved at the news concerning Kenny Klein’s arrest. We pray that the investigation and judicial process will lead to truth, and that out of truth will come justice. We pray that all those affected by this issue will find healing and peace."

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  36. And I also am a member of the Blue Star Tradition and I share Devyn's statement.

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  37. I have just read every word written here and have to say that I.m feeling sick,
    I met Kenny a few years ago at a fest at Wisteria that we were both playing.
    At first he was a complete jerk to me, but I guess after he found out who I am and that he might "get something" from me he started to be a lot nicer.
    I feel sick that I actually invited this asshole to play on stage with me.
    He didn't exactly blow me away as a musician, but he was OK. I mean...he played without joy and passion and his timing kind of sucked, but did play with some degree of decent and clever musicianship....
    The following year I was playing Starwood and he was there, not as a performer, but as a vendor. I felt bad for him that he was there and didn't have the chance to perform so invited him mainstage with me at my show. This was the first time I discovered what a total arrogant jerk he was. He was still nice to me, but a total ass to others I really like and respect.
    I discovered after him playing onstage with me there at Starwood that he was taking photos of underage girls there. I didn't know the nature of the photos (and still don't) and whether they were nudes or fashion or whatever...but I have to say...It really kind of creeped me out anyway
    I had never heard any other rumors about him before then, but still...felt compelled to mention it to a few others.

    As a musician I am sort of walking several worlds at the same time. I play pagan fests as well as a really wide variety of non magical venues too.
    I do really love the pagan community and have felt very at home and very close with most of the people I've met within it. I say "most"........
    The thing is though, that there are creepy, sociopathic assholes everywhere!
    One of the things that has always attracted me to the pagan fests, besides the connection to Nature and the awareness of nature as divine, is the sense of sexual liberation and freedom. I guess that might be attractive to assholes like Kenny too.......

    I don't think of myself as a leader within the pagan community at all. At the end of the day...I'm just a guitar player, but I feel the need to say that with the incredible power that this community has to effect those who come into contact with it, either just for one festival or for children who grow up within it....that with great power...most definitely comes great responsibility.

    Kenny's life as he knew it is most definitely over. Even if he manages to skate by and stay out of jail, his life within the pagan community is over...and very rightly so.
    For Kenny's children and all of his other victims.....I so hope you are are able to find the peace and joy you were denied by him as children.
    Jo Pax...I'm not sure if we've met before. Your name does seem familiar to me, but I do hope sometime that we do get that chance. ...We'll talk about music.........

    Brian

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  38. Just now more than a month later I learned of this all. When tonight reading that Kenny Klein was arrested as a pedophile I shot up from my chair and walked about my house pacing and screaming NO, NO! This really cannot be true. I attend Pagan Festivals and had felt honored to attend a few of his classes. For me he was a respected elder in the Pagan community that I looked to for guidance. I even tried to consider that looking at child porn was not the same thing as taking action upon that in real life. I tried. But then........ I read the brave messages here from his son. Thank You Jo Pax for sharing your story. Your sharing matters.
    I

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