Yesterday morning I woke up to read the news: "'White witch' who raped and abused young girls over three decades jailed". The story, in the Manchester Evening News, shocked and appalled me. I felt I should blog about it, but didn't immediately know what to say. I did share the news story on Facebook, with the comment: "Why pagans have to worry about sexual predators in our midst."
And, of course, we do. As one person who replied said: "Just goes to show there are horrid people in all walks of life. One should never trust blindly where children are concerned."
The man in the news story lived in a part of the UK a long way from my home city of London, and I had never met him. But, over the course of the day, I read on Facebook that some pagan friends of mine did know him. Comments ranged from people who had no idea and were shocked, to those who said they had always thought he was creepy, to a very small few who knew the victims and who asked for our thoughts to go out to them.
I am glad this man has been jailed and is somewhere he cannot hurt another child, but it does stand as a warning to be alert. As another friend of mine commented: "There are bad people out there, and religion/gender/race/political views have nothing to do with it. Bad is bad."
But I do feel that pagans, as a community, probably do need to be more alert to the risks sexual predators pose.