William Kamm

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William Kamm, also known as "The Little Pebble" (born 1950 in Cologne, West Germany), is the founder and leader of a religious group in Australia called the "Order of St Charbel" (or sometimes referred to as "The Community") named after the Maronite saint Charbel Makhlouf.[1] The Order of St Charbel is considered as a Christian sect and a fringe religious grouping.[2] His religious order claims to be part of the Roman Catholic Church, but the Maronite Church and the Holy See do not regard the group as being part of Roman Catholicism.[3] He was released from prison after serving 9 years of a 10-year prison term for the rape and assault of a teenager.[4][5]

Controversies[edit]

Conviction for sexual assault charges[edit]

On 14 October 2005, Kamm was sentenced[6] to five years in prison with a non-parole period of three-and-a-half years for a string of sexual attacks including aggravated sexual assault on a 15-year-old girl. He claimed that she was one of his 84 mystical wives.[7] The assaults occurred when the girl was living within Kamm's Order of St Charbel, a community (living in a compound) near Nowra, New South Wales. Kamm claimed to have received advice from the Virgin Mary that the girl should be chosen as one of 12 queens and 72 princesses who would all become his wives, with whom he would spawn a new human race after the world was cleansed and burnt by a ball of fire.[8] Kamm's letters and diary entries to the 15-year-old girl, which were made public during the court session, display an explicit sexual style and were major evidence in his prosecution.[9]

Kamm was also found guilty in May 2007 of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault in relation to another 15-year-old girl. In August 2007, after losing an appeal on his original sentence, Kamm was re-sentenced to a total of 15 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 11 years. He was due to become eligible for release on parole on 13 April 2013,[5] but was refused.[10] In November 2014 parole was granted.[11]

Papal aspirations and prophecies[edit]

Kamm was also noted for a series of unusual reputed prophecies which were never fulfilled (including the start of World War III). Kamm claimed that Pope John Paul II, who remains widely venerated throughout Kamm's movement, would consecrate Kamm a bishop and appoint him as his official and sole successor to the papacy. When this prophecy was unfulfilled on Pope John Paul's death in 2005, Kamm quickly issued a press statement, saying "heaven clearly changed its plans" and declaring, that they would accept Pope Benedict XVI as legitimate Roman Pontiff. They claim prophecies have changed and stated that Kamm is to be the successor to Benedict XVI, instead of to John Paul II as previously claimed. One of Kamm's claims is that Pope John Paul II will rise from the dead and reappear on the surface of the world again to fight evil along with Benedict XVI and possibly to appoint Kamm.[12]

Personal life and release from prison[edit]

Kamm was married to Bettina Kamm. His former wife, who reportedly lives at the St Charbel compound near Nowra, condemned him but said followers still revered him as their prophet. They have a son (born 1999) from the relationship.[13]

Kamm was conditionally released from prison in 2014 after serving nine years of his 10-year sentence. Conditions specify that he may not have unsupervised contact with people below 18. Since his release, Kamm married for a third time, to a woman who was a long-time member of his religious community. Media reports speculate that Kamm is believed to have fathered more than 20 children during his days as a cult leader.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Di Luaro, F; Through a Glass Darkly: Collected Research, Sydney University Press, 2006, ISBN 978-1-920898-54-0 p296
  2. ^ The Daily Telegraph, Australia: Sects in Australia: Fringe religious groups that have left their mark on the nation
  3. ^ Excommunicated "mystic" on trial over new abuse charges; B. Doherty, “Mourning the Death of Our Faith”: The Little Pebble and The Marian Work of Atonement 1950-1984, Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society 36 (2015), 231-273.
  4. ^ a b News.com.au: Child sex offender William Kamm’s parole conditions end
  5. ^ a b "Cult leader jailed for more sexual abuse". The Age. AAP. 24 August 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Judge punishes doomsday prophet". The Age. AAP. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  7. ^ Religious Leader Charged with Sexual Assault, abc.net.au.
  8. ^ Morton, J; Lobez, S (2011). Kings of Stings: The Greatest Swindles From Down Under. Victory Books. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-522-85859-4. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  9. ^ Graeme Webber (2008). A Wolf Among the Sheep: How God's Prophet the Little Pebble Became a Womanising, Millionaire Cult Leader. KeyStone Press. ISBN 978-0-980-52120-7. Retrieved 12 November 2014.[page needed]
  10. ^ "Sect leader Little Pebble's parole to be refused". ABC News. Australia: ABC. 15 February 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  11. ^ Aurebach, Taylor (12 November 2014). "Victims' pain as 'The Little Pebble' William Kamm rolls out of jail". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  12. ^ Snow, R; Deadly cults: the crimes of true believers, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003, ISBN 978-0-275-98052-8 p110
  13. ^ The Daily Telegraph Australia: Victims’ pain as ‘The Little Pebble’ William Kamm rolls out of jail

External links[edit]

Sydney Morning Herald article from 2018