Little Pebbles cultists smother on the yoghurt in bizarre 'bam bam' ritual

Mainichi Daily News, Japan/December 4, 2007

A carnally kooky cult with raunchy rituals and a German founder doing a long stint in an Aussie prison following a kiddy sex conviction are now making ripples with nipples in Japan, according to Flash.

Members of the Akita Prefecture-based Little Pebble willingly get their gear off for the weekly magazine and perform their ritual sex, with the scenes involving yogurt being generously smeared over the genitals and lots of mutual licking described in graphic detail by the magazine.

Heading Little Pebble in Japan is Hiroshi Sugiura, who calls himself Father Jean-Marie in the cult hideout he shares with another two men and two women.

"As long as there are no obstacles, I try to have 'correct sex' with a follower at least once a day," Sugiura tells Flash.

What Sugiura refers to as "correct sex" is non-coital relations, which the cult leader carries out with a female follower he calls "Clara."

"The Virgin Mary told me to hug the nude Clara," Sugiura says.

"Clara" is short for Clara Josepha Menendez, the name 35-year-old Yumi Abe adopted when she joined the cult.

"At first, I never dreamed I'd become involved in something like this," she tells Flash, which notes that despite any misgivings she may once have had about the cult, her active and eager performance in its sex ceremony suggest they are not too strong now.

Japan's Little Pebble draws its roots from the Order of Saint Charbel, a religious group German immigrant William Kamm formed in rural Australia in the mid-1980s. Kamm, who calls himself The Little Pebble, has been in jail for the past few years serving sentences for having sex with underage girls. Sugiura says he was once a member of the Order of Saint Charbel.

"After I graduated from high school, I tried to enter a monastery, but was told that I had too much love for the Virgin Mary, so I went off to university and studied theology instead," he says.

Mimi Hagiwara, a former women's professional wrestler and now a missionary in Hiroshima, was once closely linked with Sugiura, but is quick to dismiss any current connection.

"There was a time when we worked together in the past, but their views were so different, they soon went their separate ways," an agent for Hagiwara tells Flash. "She had so many fights with Sugiura. Ms. Hagiwara has absolutely nothing to do with him."

Lawyer Masaki Kido has plenty of reservations about Little Pebble, too.

"There's no doubt that the Order of Saint Charbel is a doomsday cult, but at this stage Little Pebble hasn't done anything bad along the lines of Aum Shinrikyo or the Unification Church. Nonetheless, there is an antisocial aspect to the cult, with its destruction of family units and sex ceremonies, so I think there is a need to worry about what it could get up to from now on."

A 58-year-old woman living in the Kansai Region has just left Little Pebble and is not too keen on talking about it too much.

"It's over," she says, the weekly saying she appears to be scared of something when talk of the cult comes up. "I have nothing to say about it."

But even Sugiura, who claims to have prophetic abilities, is not too upbeat about the future of the cult in Japan.

"I'm going to be arrested and taken away for something I won't have done," he forecasts for Flash. "And I'll be killed after I get out of prison. I don't know who by, but I'll be killed."

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