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Title: Ritual-crime, occults on rise nationwide

Source: Newport News Daily Press, Jan. 15th, 2011

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Ritual-crime, occults on rise nationwide
Newport News police seminar fights back against occult crime

By Allison T. Williams, atwilliams@dailypress.com | 247-4535

10:50 p.m. EST, January 15, 2011

If you think vampires are figments of television and novels, think again.

Thanks to HBO's hit vampire television series, "True Blood," and the Twilight series of novels and movies that center on teenage vampires, law enforcement agencies nationwide are seeing an upswing in ritual and occult-related crimes, said Don Rimer, a retired Virginia Beach police officer and an international expert on occult crime.

More than 100 people — mostly police officers from across Hampton Roads and central Virginia — turned out for Rimer's seminar Saturday about how occults can impact teenagers. The presentation, sponsored by the Newport News Police Department, also helped educate officers about the influences that satanic, gothic, and vampire groups can have on teens.

"Occult crime happens all over the world and it's growing," said Rimer.

Holly McPherson, spokeswoman for the Newport News Police Department, said she wasn't aware of any occult-related crimes in that city.

Rimer, who consults with police departments, said the last major investigation he assisted with on the Peninsula was in September 2007 in which Jonathan Barron – a self-proclaimed vampire – was kidnapped from Huntington Park by acquaintances he met through a Norfolk store that caters to Wiccan and pagan activities.

Barron was taken to Colonial National Historic Park in York County where he was beaten, stabbed, had his hair set on fire and was injected with silver thermal compound and Barbicide disinfectant through a marinade needle. He also was hit by a car before being left for dead.

Barron survived and four people, including a man who was described as a werewolf in court, pled guilty to felonies and are in prison for their respective roles in the assault.

Others who experimented with the gothic lifestyle fared worse, Rimer said. Virginia Commonwealth University freshman Taylor Behl died from asphyxiation in 2006 while having sex with her boyfriend, Benjamin Fawley, a man she met on a gothic dating website, Rimer said. Fawley is now serving 30 years for second-degree murder.

"Fantasy role-playing like Dungeons and Dragons … and vampire gaming are alive and well," said Rimer. "There are people who take gaming to another level, one that results in deaths and suicides. In the world of gaming, there is evil."

Vampire gaming, in particular, will often lure people, then send them out on a quest that involves blood or sex, sometimes with deadly consequences, said Rimer.

Parents need to be involved and take a hands-on role in their children's activities, Rimer said.

Also, there is an increase nationwide in churches that practice satanic worship, including the Church of Satan, Rimer said. The Church of Satan, which is recognized by the U.S. government and military, has said it plans to grow, he added.

Several James City police officers said they felt Saturday's training will make them more observant when it comes to routine patrolling and when dealing with teenagers.

Behavior signs a teenager may be involved in occultic, ritual crime:

Suicide attempts

Frequent runaway

Alienation from family

Bizarre cruelty, especially to animals

Fascination with death


Secret messages/diary
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