Sex offender cult leader wants to go home

A paedophile cult leader is fighting to return to his commune after making a claim about why he is no longer a danger to underage girls.

A paedophile cult leader is on the verge of being allowed to return to his commune despite a a cache of women’s underwear being found in the self-styled prophet’s home and a judge rejecting claims he was impotent.

William Costellia-Kamm, the self-proclaimed leader of the “Order of Saint Charbel” who calls himself “Little Pebble”, is fighting in the Supreme Court to be allowed to return to his “holy land” on NSW’s south coast.

Justice Stephen Campbell on Thursday flagged that he was set to grant him his wish to be allowed into his commune at Cambewarra, near Nowra, however final orders would not be made until next week.

The 70-year-old was in 2005 convicted of the aggravated sexual assault of a then 15-year-old girl in 1993 and sentenced to five-and-a-half years’ jail

Then in 2007, he was convicted of a further five counts of aggravated sexual assault against a teenage girl, who was 14 and 15 at the time of the offences in 1994 and 1995.

He was sentenced to a further 10 years in jail before he was released on parole in 2014.

Both of his victims were female followers who were told they would be among his 12 “queens” and 72 “princesses” who would help him repopulate a “royal dynasty” after the second coming of Jesus.

Among his other claims were that he could communicate with Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

In a judgment handed down in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday, Justice Campbell said that Costellia-Kamm still harboured many of his beliefs, maintained his innocence and had raised the prospect of a High Court appeal against his convictions.

When he was released from prison, he was placed under an extended supervision order, which blocked him returning to the Cambewarra commune.

He has also been subject to a series of interim supervision orders, which are due to expire on April 7.

The State of NSW has applied for him to be subject to a further five-year order, arguing he remained a high risk of reoffending.

Their lawyers also said there was evidence he suffered from a narcissistic personality disorder and – disorder, which is described as recurrent, intense sexual fantasies or urges involving inanimate objects, children or nonconsenting adults.

However Costellia-Kamm has opposed the state’s application.

He argued that while he still believed he should take 12 “queens” and 72 “princesses”, he was told by God that he should only do so after the second coming.

As well, he said that due to his advanced age and a stroke he suffered in 2018, he now suffered from erectile dysfunction.

However, Justice Campbell said that he had presented no evidence of his impotence.

“Bearing in mind where the onus lies and the standard which attends its discharge, I confess that I remain highly sceptical of the defendant’s claim of erectile dysfunction or impotence due to the effects of his stroke,” Justice Campbell said.

Costellia-Kamm also argued that his flock – which he once claimed numbered half a million worldwide – was now as few as 27, many of whom where elderly.

Justice Campbell said he held “concern” over evidence relating to a young woman who ran away from her New Zealand home in November 2019 to live with Costellia-Kamm and his followers.

After telling her parents of her plans to move to the Cambewarra to “study” and “pray”, at the age of 18 she without their knowledge caught a flight to Australia to live with the cult leader’s third wife.

When police were called to his Sydney residence in December 2019, following reports of a distressed child, they found the teenager dressed in a white dress and a red robe and clutching a child’s toy.

Police established that she was over 18 at the time and therefore Costellia-Kamm was not in breach of the order.

A large amount of her underwear was later found in his room during an inspection by authorities.

Justice Campbell said the episode “suggests the defendant has an ongoing interest in recruiting young women.”

He said that he proposed to order a further three-year ESO.

However was considering allowing Costellia-Kamm to return to his commune on the south coast.

According to proposed orders, he would be allowed to live at Cambewarra but would be prevented from visiting any other dwelling within the commune.

Justice Campbell described it as both “impracticable” and an “infringement of the defendant’s liberty, which cannot be justified by the need to control the risk”.

He ordered both parties to return to court next week to make submissions on the proposed conditions.

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