Child rights crusader faces lawsuit

Melbourne, Australia - A SECRETIVE international society linked to the occult is using Victoria's religious tolerance laws to sue a Melbourne anti-child abuse activist.

Ordo Templi Orientis has started a suit against psychologist Reina Michaelson over internet claims it is a pedophile cult.

Documents submitted to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal claim Dr Michaelson wrote an internet article linking the society to pedophilia, satanic rituals, and animal and child sacrifices.

Ordo Templi Orientis national officer David Bottrill and member Brent Gray claim Dr Michaelson has vilified and misrepresented the society, which has a base in Gardenvale.

"What is contained on the website could incite hatred and lead to violence against members of the OTO," they said.

Dr Michaelson, who won a Young Australian of the Year award in 1997 for founding the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program, said she was not the author but could attest to the article's truth.

"The document . . . that is the subject of the complaint describes the illegal ritual abuse of a young man," she said in a letter to the Equal Opportunity Commission, which referred the society's complaint to the tribunal.

Dr Michaelson, who also runs Bravehearts Victoria, said the society's text, The Book of the Law, advocated illegal activities.

"Verses talk of blood rituals using children, eating flesh, the sacrifice of a child, the killing and torture of others and uninhibited 'love' without restraint," she said.

"I contend that the beliefs of the OTO are not lawful religious beliefs."

Dr Michaelson, who is overseas, said she would contest the claim when she returned in July.

Ordo Templi Orientis, founded in Germany in 1902, does not actively recruit or advertise.

Members follow the religion of Thelema, as taught by occultist and mystic Aleister Crowley.

Their Australian website says it is dedicated to securing the liberty of the individual, taught through a series of initiation rites.

Mr Bottrill declined to comment on the case.

Ordo Templi Orientis has also filed a religious vilification claim against NSW man Dyson Devine, alleging the article was published on his website.