‘High Priestess’ of Sex Church Guilty of Prostitution
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The priestess of the Church of the Most High Goddess, who wears a red sequin strapless dress and fishnet stockings, insists sex with hundreds of men is her religious duty, but a jury says it’s prostitution.
Known as Sabrina Aset to her flock, Mary Ellen Tracy says she takes part in an ancient, misunderstood Egyptian religion in which sexual rituals put men on the ″path back to the divine.″
But a Superior Court jury wasn’t convinced, deciding after 3 1/2 days of deliberations Friday that Mrs. Tracy, 46, was no more than a prostitute working out of a Beverly Hills home that was a thinly disguised brothel.
″I am not a prostitute,″ Mrs. Tracy said after the verdict. ″I’m very hurt by that. I’m a very sincere and honest person. To be portrayed as some kind of money-grubbing schemer is really devastating.″
Jurors convicted her of operating a house of ill fame and two counts of prostitution. Her husband, Wilbur Tracy, 51, was also convicted of operating a house of ill fame.
They face a possible six-month jail sentence and $1,000 fine on each count when sentenced Thursday by Municipal Court Judge Marion Obera. The ″church″ had drawn more than 2,000 male followers and was born of divine inspiration, Mrs. Tracy said.
The couple have vowed to appeal the misdemeanor convictions, contending their activities are protected by the First Amendment.
″We were found guilty of heresy,″ Wilbur Tracy said.
The Tracys contend that they worship the oldest religion in the world, dating back to 3200 B.C. They said aspects of the religion are found on Egyptian scrolls.
Once a Mormon, Mrs. Tracy said she was ordained as the high priestess by her husband in 1984. Wilbur Tracy said he had been ordained as a high priest that year by a priestess he did not identify.
At various times as many as 10 other women acted as priestesses, all ordained by Wilbur Tracy. The ″church″ is a Spanish-style rented house near Beverly Hills.
The sparsely furnished home had no pews or pulpit. The few wall hangings included posters of movie stars and a framed nude photograph of Mrs. Tracy.
The Tracys advertise in a risque newspaper called the Hollywood Press, in exchange for a column Mrs. Tracy writes for the paper.
Men who want to attend the church phone ahead for an interview with Mrs. Tracy, who decides whether to accept them. She claims to have turned down many men who were insincere about the spiritual aspect of the rituals and ″asked for massages and all kinds of weird things.″
When the men arrive at the church, they take part in a series of rituals that include sexual acts with the priestess that Mrs. Tracy says spiritually cleanses the men.
″What he’s doing is symbolically giving up ... his very all in order to have his sins wiped out,″ Mrs. Tracy said.
The men then leave a ″sacrifice,″ usually money, in a practice that Mrs. Tracy acknowledged ″gave the police a few problems.″
Mrs. Tracy said that before she became a high priestess she had never had sex outside of marriage, but that she has continued to practice her religion with the help of prayer.
″I’ve always been very willing to do what God required, whether to be monogamous or to have sex with a few thousand men,″ she said. ″It really doesn’t matter. I try to be accepting or open-minded.″