Cult leader loses child sex conviction appeal

A self-proclaimed prophet known as Little Pebble has lost an appeal against his conviction for sex crimes involving a 15-year-old girl he courted as one of his “12 queens and 72 princesses”.

William Kamm, 56, was sentenced to five years’ jail in 2005 for kissing, fondling and having sex with the teenager who had been living as part of a religious community he established at Cambewarra, near Nowra, on the New South Wales south coast.

The crimes occurred in the early 1990s and the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal today dismissed Kamm’s appeal against his conviction and his sentence, which he sought to argue was excessive.

Justice David Hodgson said Kamm told his followers of a “prophecy that there would be a new holy era when he would have 12 queens and 72 princesses who would assist in bringing forth his children, who would be called an immaculate race”.

The religious leader also wrote a letter to the girl to say she was to be one of his wives, said Justice Hodgson, sitting with justices Michael Grove and Carolyn Simpson.

Kamm’s grounds for appeal included the jury should have been dismissed because of a note it had sent to the judge during the trial.

The jury had notified the judge Kamm’s sister-in-law was seen “mouthing” words from the public gallery, which were then repeated by a defence witness.

Justice Hodgson today ruled the judge had acted properly by asking the jury to draw no inference from what they suspected was the coaching of a witness.

Justice Hodgson also said part of the case against Kamm had centred on whether the kissing was indecent.

“In my opinion the sexual connotation of the act was indicated by … using the appellant’s tongue,” the justice said.

“It was also relevant to the question of indecency that the appellant was a religious leader … he was 43-years-old and married, whereas the complainant was a 15-year-old schoolgirl.”

Kamm is also awaiting sentencing following a separate guilty verdict on sex charges related to a different underage girl.

Judge Peter Berman will hear sentencing submissions on August 3.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday July 9, 2007.
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