Sunday, April 29, 2018

OTO Member Wins Defamation Case

David Bottrill, a member of Ordo Templi Orientis in Australia, recently won a defamation case agaist a woman who shared a YouTube video accusing him of belonging to a "satanic and pedophile group." As should be obvious to anyone with half a brain who bothers to investigate, OTO is nothing of the sort. It is a fraternal order of magicians dedicated the system of Thelema, which may be approached in many ways - but which bears no resemblance to the cartoon "Satanism" of Jack Chick tracts.

A man who is a member of a little-known religious order has been awarded $18,880 for defamation after a woman shared a YouTube video on her Facebook page that made claims about him and his religion.

Australian man David Bottrill is part of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) fraternal religious order, which follows the writings of the late British occultist and magician, Aleister Crowley. According to Bottrill, members of OTO in Australia number around 100.

Bottrill claimed Katrina Bailey had defamed him by sharing a video on her Facebook page in mid-2017 that suggested he was a member of a satanic and pedophile group, who used his job to import children into Australia to facilitate pedophilia.

On Friday, the Australian Capital Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) found in Bottrill's favour, saying Bailey had defamed him, and ordering her to apologise, take down the post, and pay $18,880.

The reality is that the only people who think that pedophilia and occultism have anything to do with each other are fundamentalist Christians, who made up phony "Satanism" in the 1980's to persecute members of minority religions. The idea was to get "Satanism" defied as child molestation so they could ban it, and then get all non-Christian religions classified as "Satanism" so they could become the American state religion. The whole concept was misguided, unconstitutional, and never would have worked - but there were those who "had faith" that God would make it happen anyway, and it ruined a lot of innocent lives.

I'll add that I've gotten really tired of this online nonsense over the last couple of years. The reason that people keep doing it is that lurid claims get them lots of attention and pageviews, and so far there have been few real consequences for promoting even outright falsehoods that go so far as to put lives in danger. With the upcoming lawsuits against Alex Jones over the Sandy Hook shooting and this successful civil case in Australia, that tide may finally be turning. Let's hope so.

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Al said...

Some Australian jurisdictions have legislation that prohibit religious vilification and there are now cases in Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory related to the vilification of the OTO and Thelema. These decisions, combined with a number of defamation cases, provide some precedents for others that might face the same vilification/defamation. In the cases Thelema was determined to be a religion for the purposes of the legislation and the OTO a religious institution. The latest cases were run in an administrative tribunal where the fees are low and where it is not as complex as running a case in a Magistrates Court where the rules of evidence and procedure can mean that an unrepresented plaintiff may struggle. If the action is taken in a court and a lawyer is used costs can easily climb. Then, even if the case is won, recovering those costs, let alone the damages awarded can be an issue.

In the previous case mentioned, van Lieshout was found not liable, not because of her long winded submission, but because she did not play an active role as a administrator of the relevant Facebook page.

Scott Stenwick said...

Thanks for the additional info. It is good to know that this sets a precedent that will make future cases easier for OTO members to win.