12 chosen as Kamm's wives: court

IllawarraMercury.com/August 7, 2003
By Erin O'Dwyer

Followers of religious cult leader William "Little Pebble" Kamm believed teenage girls chosen to be his wives could become pregnant by immaculate conception, a court heard yesterday.

A second young female follower yesterday accused Kamm of sexual assault, saying she believed she was his "spiritual wife" chosen by the Virgin Mary.

The woman, now aged in her 20s, told Nowra Local Court she was just 13 when she was chosen to be one of 12 "queens" who would marry Kamm and bear his children.

The court heard the woman told a television interviewer from Channel Seven's Today Tonight program that the community believed in modern-day immaculate conception.

The interview never went to air.

"At the time it was assumed that (immaculate conception) was happening ... it was assumed within the community that it was a spiritual relationship," the woman said under cross-examination yesterday.

The woman is one of two former followers who have accused Kamm of sexually assaulting them when they were teenagers living in the cult's compound at Cambewarra, near Nowra.

Kamm, 53, has pleaded not guilty to nine charges, including one count of sexual assault and three charges of indecent assault.

The court heard yesterday Kamm sent the woman more than 20 love letters, in which he invited her to be his queen and called her names such as "butterfly", "wife number three" and "love princess".

The woman told the court she was just 13 when Kamm first kissed her in his office.

"It was my first kiss and I was stuck in a chair and I was scared and afraid so I didn't move," she said.

She said afterwards Kamm would pick her up from TAFE or drive her to Wollongong, and fondle her breasts or touch her leg as he drove.

She said he also kissed her in the compound's chapel or in her bedroom.

On one occasion in September 1993 he assaulted her as they sat in a car parked in one of Nowra's main streets, she said. She alleged he kissed her as he pushed his hand up her skirt and touched her vagina.

"I didn't know what was happening ... I was stuck in the seat again and I didn't know what to do".

During evidence yesterday, the woman painted a picture of a religious community in which Kamm saw visions of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, and received messages relating to his followers and the world.

The court heard young girls wrote letters in notebooks to the Virgin Mary and received answers written by Kamm.

It heard Kamm bred jealousy between his queens, who called him names such as "Knight", or "Knight in Shining Armour".

The woman said when Kamm told her they would "make love soon" she thought it was "something spiritual". She later withdrew from Kamm, and left the community.

The court heard the woman and her sisters first told their parents of the alleged assaults in 1998, because they wanted their parents to leave the community.

They made allegations to police four years later.

The hearing continues today.

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