The leaders of a church where sex is an integral part of its rituals has sued Los Angeles County to overturn pandering and prostitution laws.
Mary Ellen Tracy, head of the Church of the Most High Goddess, filed the lawsuit in an effort to legalize the meetings of her church. Tracy, also known as Sabrina Aset, and her husband, Will Tracy, were convicted in 1989 of running a house of prostitution and she was convicted of one count of prostitution for activities related to the church. Mary Ellen Tracy was sentenced to one year in jail and Will Tracy to six months.
“We do have sexual rituals, but these are things that have been handed down from ancient times,” said Mary Ellen Tracy, who claims her church has roots in ancient cultures.
Although the Tracys had argued their case in 1989, they filed the lawsuit based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision giving a Florida church exemption from an ordinance outlawing animal sacrifices. They also cited a 1988 California Supreme Court decision overturning the pandering conviction of an Encino producer of pornographic films.
Assistant County Counsel Richard Townsend said: “I doubt very seriously that anything has happened from a legal standpoint that would materially change the finding that her activities are unlawful.”