Prominent Pagan musician arrested on child pornography charges

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.

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Kenny Klein returns to Minnesota – Interview

Kenny Klein is  an author, musician, and an elder and a High Priest in the Blue Star tradition of Wicca.  He will be appearing Aug. 2-4th at Eye of Horus, and at Sacred Harvest Festival Aug 5-11th. I spoke to him by phone from Brushwood in New York state.

You are touring now, but how long have you been a New Orleans Resident?
Kenny :   Before Katrina I would winter there every year, as a lot of musicians do in December- Feb, and then go out on tour. When Katrina hit I was in California. About four years ago I felt the call to go back, and have been there ever since. This is the first time, since 2010 that I actually have a leased apartment in New Orleans! I usually leave in May and don’t return until September. This year I toured in April and May, Came back for an appearance at the “Gryphon’s Nest” a Pagan camp ground outside of New Orleans. Fishbird played there in June, then flew up to a pagan festival outside Wasilla , Alaska, where Sarah Palin is from.  I came back to new Orleans, and then took off for New york in July and will be on tour until September.

You are into your second week at Brushwood?
Kenny : Yes, arrived a week ago today. I come to Brushwood every year as both a presenter and a performer.  Each year i offer about six workshops and a couple concerts. This year we did the kickstarter campaign in order to bring the full band, Fishbird  along to here.  This is the first year we have the full band up here. We are doing something most Pagans have never seen me do. Solo I play acoustic guitar and fiddle and sing. In this band I play electric jam dark Celtic rock .I do this down in New Orleans and now with this live recording Pagans will be able to listen to it wherever they are.

Is this what you enjoy playing?
Kenny : I love it, I have a sensational band. The bass player in the New Orleans band didn’t want to come on the trip, so at first I was bummed, but my life long friend Carl Smith, who used to play bass with “Kenny and Tzipora” back in the eighties  was able to come up from Tennessee and play.  We have our drummer and Rachel Maxann my singer from New Orleans are both up here and we doing some awesome shows here. We have complete one of our main stage shows here and will be doing another one  Thursday. There is a small cafe at Brushwood and we have an independent contract to play at their cafe every day.  People are getting a short mini concert each day, and then the two main stage concerts.

How is the recording going?
Kenny : My newest CD, which I should have at Sacred Harvest Festival, is my concert from last year here, recorded live from the stage. That gave me the confidence to bring Fishbird up here to record for a CD.  Except for the “Griffin’s Nest” a Pagan camp ground performance this spring, this is the first time ever that Fishbird has performed for a Pagan audience.

Then you are leaving the end of the week and headed to Minnesota?
Kenny : That’s right, I have three days of performance and workshops at Eye of Horus (event info at bottom), and then right after the weekend I travel down to Sacred Harvest Festival for the week Aug 5-11th.  There I’ll be offering five workshops and a concert on Friday Night.  At my last appearance ar SHF I connected with some local musicians at the festival, and hope to again.

Tell me about your new book .

Lauren Devoe, my girlfriend, and I just finished a new book for Llewellyn. It is a follow up to Fairy Tale Rituals, called Fairy Tale Magic. The previous book looked at Grimm’s fairy tales and elements that could be culled from them and used to create ritual. This book is looking at non-Grimm fairy tales .  We explore Russian tales like Baba Yaga, Briton  and English tales, like Jack in the Beanstalk and Goldilocks.  We look at the elements of magical theory that are contained in these tales. We touch on Qabala and Tora Magic .  We explore Wicca, Pagan, and Ceremonial magic and how the elements of all these different magical forms can be found in these fairy tales. Lauren, who is an academic librarian at Tulane University did a lot of the research through the university to contribute information and obscure tales that we may not have otherwise found. It will be out next spring  from Llewellyn.

Kenny Klein and Lauren Devoe

Kenny Klein and Lauren Devoe

Do you still practice Blue Star Wicca?
Yes, Iron and Cypress, is our coven in New Orleans. We just elevated to neophyte two students into our coven. This took place, here at Brushwood.  I will also be guest priesting an open Blue Star ritual hosted by Hearth Stone coven of Minneapolis on Wednesday night at Sacred Harvest Festival.

Kenny Klein at Eye of Horus:
Friday August 2nd at 7:30 – Kenny Klein, Live in Concert Tickets $17

Saturday August 3rd
2-3:30pm – Book Signing/Meet & Greet Free Event
4-5:30pm – Grimms Fairy Tales: What Your Mother Didn’t Tell You (mature content) Class $20
6-7:30pm – Lost Secrets of Wicca with Kenny Klein – Class $20

Sunday August 4th 2-5pm: Mojo and Magic in Blues & New Orleans Music – combined double-workshop – Just $30

Kenny Klein at Sacred Harvest Festival Aug. 5-11th  – Workshop Schedule

Nels Linde is a Council Member of Harmony Tribe which sponsors Sacred Harvest Festival, and an initiate of the Blue Star Tradition.