New Orleans musician Kenny Klein was arrested Tuesday morning on 25 counts of possessing child pornography. Mr. Klein was a frequent guest of Pagan gatherings, such as last year’s Sacred Harvest Festival in Minnesota.
*This article has been updated.
Louisiana State Special Victims Unit began investigating Klein after receiving a tip he was downloading child pornography. A search warrant was granted and police found a large number of sexually explicit videos and photos of children under the age of 13. Mr. Klein admitted the computer the material was found on was his and that he used the computer to download and share child pornography.
Reaction from area Pagans has been largely shock and anger.
“I’m so angry about this, I wish I had never met him at [Sacred Harvest Festival],” said Emma Lauren.
Klein is an elder and a High Priest in the Blue Star Wicca tradition and is credited with turning Blue Star from a local coven into a full tradition with covens across the country. The Twin Cities area hosts a Blue Star Wiccan coven.
Klein has also written several Pagan books published by Minnesota based Llewellyn. Other publishers include Immanion Press, Delphi Press, Siento Sordida and Knickerbocker Circus Publishing.
Harmony Tribe, the organization responsible for producing Sacred Harvest Festival issued this statement: “Harmony Tribe is deeply disheartened to learn of the arrest of one of our proposed guests for the 2014 Sacred Harvest Festival, Kenny Klein. We hold the safety and the comfort of our guests above all else. As a result of the arrest and the pending investigation against Mr. Klein, he will not be appearing as a guest for our 2014 festival as formerly planned.”
Immanion Press, publisher of Klein’s Book The Flowering Rod issued this statement: “Immanion Press is shocked and dismayed to learn that Author Kenny Klein has been arrested for Child Pornography. As a publisher and as contributers to the Pagan community, we don’t condone such behavior. We feel that any author (regardless of who publishes them) is a role model and representative of the Pagan community and as such needs to always remember that how they behave effects the perceptions of the pagan community by the world at large and also effects the safety of our community.”
Immanion also stated, in a blog post, that they are pulling The Flowering Rod from their catalog. ” At Immanion Press we do not believe in knowingly supporting acts of behavior that violate the Pagan community or how it is represented to the world by our authors. We are committed to publishing books that help the communities we are a part of, but we also believe that any author is a role model and should behave accordingly.”
Llewellyn Worldwide, publisher of three works by Klein, said, “Llewellyn is deeply disappointed to learn of the allegations against one of our authors. The situation is regrettable but we cannot comment on allegations.”
Anne Newkirk Nivin, with PaganSquare and Witches & Pagans magazine said, “We are alarmed and saddened this morning to hear that prominent Pagan Kenny Klein was arrested in New Orleans on Monday on 25 counts of possessing child pornography. Kenny’s blog at our site at PaganSquare has been suspended until his trial (and should he be convicted or plead guilty, permanently.) As publishers and members of the Pagan community, we strongly condemn any form of predatory behavior towards our most vulnerable community members — our children — and support the work of law enforcement and the criminal justice system to root out, prosecute, and punish these crimes.”
As this story broke early, PNC-News does not yet have responses from the organizations mentioned in this article. When we get those responses, we will update this article.
Editor’s Note: I spent time with Kenny Klein during last year’s SHF and at other Pagan gatherings over the years. I found him to be funny and polite. Although every person is innocent until proven guilty, his admission of guilt speaks strongly.