Police arrested 18 people during Wednesday’s raid at the Phoenix Goddess Temple. So far, 33 people have been indicted, most of them are employees
One of the accuses says he is a spiritual warrior and a healer at the temple where he works, MyFoxPhoenix.com reports.
“To be raided in my church … it’s really sad to see what things have come down to,” said 23-year-old Alex Averill.
Averill is in jail, accused of selling himself for sex at the church.
“I say people call me what you will, but at my church, I’m labeled a practitioner. At my church, I’m labeled a shaman,” he said.
“We’re being wrongfully imprisoned and we did nothing wrong,” says Jamie Baker. “We are a church and it is a religion.”
Holly Alsop says, “I think it’s religious persecution plain and simple.”
“I came to Arizona because I believe in the practice. I believe in the separation of church and state. I’m mystified I can’t believe that grand jury believes there is enough evidence to have us here,” says Alsop.