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Convicted Prostitute Who Leads Sex-based Religion Takes Kids On Nature Hikes

December 14, 1992

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) _ A convicted prostitute and self-anointed priestess of a sex-based religion volunteers three days a week at a nature center taking children on hikes.

Mary Ellen Tracy, priestess of the Church of the Most High Goddess, offers her time at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center, 35 miles north of Los Angeles.

″I think I’m competent to do the job,″ said Tracy, 50, who holds a master’s degree in environmental science. She underwent an 11-week training program for the job, she said.

Tracy and her husband, Wilbur, drew worldwide attention after their 1988 arrests and appearances on television talk shows when she told of having sex with up to 2,700 male converts to their beliefs.

They say their church is based on an ancient Egyptian religion in which new members are required to have sex with a priestess and then make a cash donation.

Frank Hovore, natural areas administrator for the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, said he had received no complaints since she began working.

Some parents said they were concerned, however.

″I don’t want my kids anywhere near her,″ said Tammy Damon. ″I don’t want her leading my kids on hikes. I don’t even think I want her talking to my kids.″

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