- Peter Petrauske and Jack Kemp were involved in pagan sex ring in 1970s
- Pair abused girls as young as three in bizarre rituals, according to police
By Hugo Gye
PUBLISHED: 09:14 EST, 14 December 2012 | UPDATED: 12:26 EST, 14 December 2012
Two pagans were sentenced to more than a decade in prison today after being found guilty of abusing children in bizarre sex rituals as part of a witches' coven.
Peter Petrauske and Jack Kemp were said to have worn ceremonial robes and pagan paraphernalia while they abused young girls in Cornwall during the 1970s.
Police believe one of their victims may have been as young as three when the abuse started.
The judge described the victims' experiences as 'nothing less than harrowing' as he condemned their 'utterly horrifying' crimes, sentencing Petrauske to 18 years in prison and Kemp to 14.
Convicted: Peter Petrauske, left, and Jack Kemp, right, have been found guilty of sexually abusing young girls
The pair, aged 72 and 69, showed little emotion as they were led from the dock at Truro Crown Court and into custody.
Petrauske, who described himself as the high priest of a white witches’ coven in St Ives, was convicted of one count of rape, one count of aiding and abetting an attempt to rape, and one count of indecent assault.
Kemp was found guilty of indecent assault and indecency with a child.
He was found not guilty of four other sexual offences, following more than 11 hours' deliberation.
'I am satisfied that you have both had a lifelong sexual interest in young female children,' judge Graham Cottle told the defendants during sentencing.
'You were two of the surviving members of a paedophile ring. Together with others whose names have been repeatedly featured in this trial, you were members of a ring that operated in the Falmouth area in the 70s and 80s.
'During the course of this trial some of the evidence in this case in relation to the offences committed against young children has been nothing less than harrowing - it has featured ritualistic sexual abuse of young children.'
Guilty: Kemp, right, had denied the abuse claims and said he was not involved in pagan rituals at all
Witch: Petrauske has described himself as the high priest of a white witches' coven
He added that many of the pair's
victims had little prospect of recovering from their experiences and had
suffered years of emotional problems including flashbacks.
The judge described their offences as 'utterly horrifying', say they were 'terrifying events' involving 'defenceless children'.
'Finally the truth about your lies and your undoubted propensities has caught up with you,' he concluded.
The jury of nine men and three women are still considering their verdicts on several other sexual offences.
Mr Cottle said he would accept a majority verdict on the remaining charges.
Deadly relationship: Peter Solheim, left, who was killed by his girlfriend Margaret James, right, was also believed to have been involved in the pagan sex crimes
Ritual: Solheim, centre, and James, right, performing a pagan ceremony at Merryn stone circle in Cornwall
The pair’s victims gave harrowing
evidence from behind a screen during the three-week trial. They said
they were abused by their tormentors, then given money and sweets to buy
In a dramatic twist, witnesses also
named murdered pagan Peter Solheim and notorious Cornish paedophile Stan
Pirie as among their abusers.
was a 56-year-old parish councillor whose body was found five miles off
the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall by fishermen on June 18 2004.
He had been drugged and mutilated by a machete or an axe, and his girlfriend Margaret James was later convicted of conspiring to murder him, though her accomplice was never discovered.
Pagans: The jury at Truro Crown Court, pictured, heard from victims about the ritualistic sex abuse
The child abuse was only investigated
further by police last year when Kemp was arrested in connection with
another incident, causing rumours to spread around his home town of
Falmouth and prompting the alleged victims of the historic offences to
The other charges include indecent
assault and other sexual offences, and were believed to have been
committed much more recently.
Petrauske was backed up by female
members of the coven who said that while children were occasionally
present, nudity never played a part in the ceremonies. One female friend
also described him as 'a gentleman'.
Kemp denied any involvement in paganism, saying it 'wasn't his cup of tea', and claimed he was the victim of a bizarre conspiracy. He said the girls were wrong to name him in the case.
The jury have retired to consider verdicts on the remaining counts. The two men are set to be sentenced this afternoon.
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