Lux in Tenebris: Thoughts On the Death of Kenny Klein

On the evening of July 11, 2020, three years and six weeks into his 20-year sentence for child pornography, Kenny Klein died in the infirmary of Louisiana’s B.B. “Sixty” Rayburn Correctional Center. Tzipora Katz, Klein’s ex-wife and one of the star witnesses at his trial, announced his death:

I got the call yesterday that the creep died on Saturday evening. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer only a week prior. I cannot imagine the pain he endured in those last days, the loneliness he faced as he died alone. Or how is mother is feeling, now having to bury her second child from the same cancer.

I’m numb and conflicted with the relief of knowing that he can never hurt another person again and the myriad of human rights he was denied while in prison. I’m not yet sure what life without the fear of his retaliation will be like nor what it will be like the next time my doorbell rings unexpectedly and I can breathe easy knowing that he can never again try to sue me and destroy my financial situation. This is all new territory and I’m going to attempt to be kind to myself and focus on my work and my family.

While it’s difficult to top that eulogy, I must admit that I owe Kenny Klein a debt of gratitude. In showing me the corruption within American Neopaganism, he helped me to see the corruption that is devouring our world. And so, to honor that debt, and in recognition of my own sins, I share the darkness that helped me find the Light.

After Tzipora Katz left Kenny Klein in 1992, Kayla Serotte (Artemis Spinoza) was one of the many members who believed Klein when he denied abusing Tzipora or molesting his son and step-daughter. In 1997 Klein sued for custody of his son. In exchange for Klein dropping his claim, a financially pressed Katz agreed to refrain from making public her accusations. Katz and her children distanced themselves from the Pagan community and from the Blue Star Coven she and Klein had co-founded. Those who joined Blue Star afterwards were assured those stories were just rantings from a bitter ex-wife, if they ever heard those stories at all. I heard those stories, and I was thus assured.

I did not believe those reassurances. I avoided Kenny Klein when he presented and played at Free Spirit Gathering. But I never complained as loudly as I could have: I tolerated evil for the sake of a cool festival. After Klein’s 2014 arrest on child pornography charges I deeply regretted my inaction. And when Tzipora Katz and Jo Pax, Klein’s now-adult child, were threatened and gaslit by Serotte, I vowed to take action. And so I put Dr. Katz in touch with the Louisiana State Police, who put her in touch with the Prosecutor’s office.

The Blue Star members who had helped fund Klein’s 1997 custody battle invested in his defense — and in lawsuits meant to silence Dr. Katz. After a Family Court complaint was thrown out, Klein and his supporters launched a defamation suit in Civil Court. This suit would drag on for years and cost Katz some $15,000. And while that suit was ongoing and while the world mourned David Bowie’s passing, Kayla Serotte offered her thoughts on Bowie’s controversial March 1973 dalliance with a 15 year-old groupie who went by Lori Lightning. After dismissing the whole issue as happening “so long ago that nobody in their right mind should give a sheit,” Serotte then went on to describe her own sexual experiences as a minor.

I’ve noticed that the people who are most vehemently on the “David Bowie is a rapist” bandwagon tend to be young un’s. I’m old. I remember the time when it was OK to have sex with anyone, for any reason, no apologies, no worries about a baby throwing your life plan off track, no deadly diseases to worry about…

I’ve always thought that PC was just another word for respectful. The PC police are out in force now. I suppose someone has to protect the little girl children, cuz they sure as heck can’t make decisions for themselves. AMIRITE?…

Did I let anyone manipulate me or use power over me to convince me to fuck them? No. I fucked them because I was horny and I found something in them exciting and compelling. That was true even when I was under age.

Artemis Spinoza, “Let It Go,” Medium, July 12, 2016

Klein’s attorney argued that Katz had placed or had hired somebody else to place the child pornography on Kenny’s computer. They also argued, as Serotte had argued for decades, that Tzipora’s children had been coached by their vengeful mother to destroy Kenny. The first argument fell flat after forensic investigators found no signs the laptop had been hacked — and after Kenny told girlfriend Lauren Devoe in a taped jailhouse call that he had been arrested “for having underage pornography on my computer, which you warned me about.” The second proved unconvincing to the jury which found him guilty of possessing one count of pornography involving a juvenile under 13, and 19 counts of possession with intent to distribute pornography involving juveniles under 17.

Over 20 years ago we tried to speak out as a family against the countless horrors and abuses Kenneth W. Klein visited upon us for a decade. Almost nobody wanted to believe it or listen to us. Almost nobody wanted to face the reality that there was there a monster in their midst or that the way the Pagan community at large is structured could invite monsters like him into their world. We were ostracised, shunned, and called liars. ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ was the rally cry. Well…

You. Were. WRONG!

I sincerely hope that in the wake of this verdict your community takes a good long, hard look in the proverbial mirror and considers the ramifications of clothing-optional events where children will be present, as well as the concept of normalizing sex as a conduit for magic. As it stands, the Pagan community is to sexual predators what a damp cloth in a warm, dark place is to mold. If you think there weren’t others who were hurt, you’re wrong, and if you think putting Kenneth W. Klein behind bars will stop it from happening again you’re foolish! This will never end until the safety of the weakest among you is put ahead of your selfish desires.

Statement of Mae Pax, Klein’s step-daughter, upon Klein’s April 17, 2017 conviction.

Serotte, and Klein’s remaining supporters, may honestly believe that Kenny’s computer was hacked, that Klein’s child and stepchild were brainwashed, that the people who came forth after the arrest to report they had been harassed or molested by Klein were liars. Or they may believe that Klein’s predilections were no great matter. In 1977 Michel Foucault argued that assuming “that a child is incapable of explaining what happened and was incapable of giving his consent are two abuses that are intolerable, quite unacceptable.” His petition to repeal age of consent laws was signed by other leading French intellectuals like Louis Aragon, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida, Louis Althusser, Roland Barthes, Simone de Beauvoir, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari. The Sexual Revolution always saw children as the last frontier: since orgasms feel good why shouldn’t everybody have orgasms?

I cannot tell you if Pagan festivals have become more safe. They have certainly become a good deal less crowded. In the age of Tinder and Grindr, nobody needs to go to a festival for casual sex. And as a Catholic I can hardly point the finger at Pagans for harboring child molesters in their community. But I can say that the Catholic Church has taken steps to address its problems and that Catholic clergy and laity are well aware of the dangers of tolerating evil. I see no evidence that the Pagan community in general, or Blue Star in particular, have taken such steps or gained that hard-won awareness. If Serotte’s friend list is any indication, they dismiss her bullying as “Kayla being Kayla” the same way they dismissed Klein’s behavior as “Kenny being Kenny.”

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