How Australian Doomsday cult leader lured a 14-year-old girl into sex by posing as the Virgin Mary before fathering her child - and the discovery of old letters that sealed his downfall

Daily Mail, Australia/March 4, 2023

By Megan Norris

In 1993, teenager Stefanie Hinrichs was dreaming of owning a horse, leaving school, and marrying Hollywood heart-throb Keanu Reeves.

But God had other plans for the dreamy 13-year-old.

Stefanie's devout German family belonged to a controversial Doomsday cult led by self-proclaimed Australian prophet William Kamm, then 44.

Kamm was building a new promised land for his followers deep in the bush at Cambewarra, outside Nowra on the NSW south coast.

According to the charismatic guru - known among his flock as 'Little Pebble' - God's divine plans for the schoolgirl involved her becoming his child bride.

Stefanie would be one of Kamm's 84 'mystical spouses,' chosen to immaculately conceive his Holy Seed, and bring forth a new race of people at the end of the world.

But while the other trusting members of his isolated Catholic Order of St Charbel blindly accepted the new world saviour's bizarre story, Stefanie was not convinced the match made in heaven was the blessing she'd been told it was.

She didn't want to marry her portly brother-in-law, who was already married to her eldest sister, Bettina, 19. But in Kamm's strict religious community where everyone believed he spoke for the Lord, the girl was in a quandary.

Warned by her fanatically religious mother that questioning God's will was a sin and that her doubts had been planted by the Devil, she flirted with the idea of suicide, which was also a mortal sin.

'Then William suggested I should write to the Holy Mother for advice,' recalls Stefanie.

'And since we all believed Mary appeared to him and delivered God's messages to him every month, I started writing letters which he promised to pass on when they next met.'

Nine-year-old Stefanie poses in front of her mother's shrine to Mary at the family apartment in Munich. Stefanie is wearing the long clothes worn by Kamm's followers

When the bogus Blessed Virgin first flagged the idea a husband had been chosen for Stefanie she naively assumed God had chosen Keanu Reeves, the man of her dreams.

'It was ages before I realised the husband God had in mind was William, and that I was supposed to conceive 24 children from his Holy Seed by immaculate conception and live in a fairytale castle in Bavaria in his glorious new era,' she says.

Stefanie's family had first met Kamm in Germany in 1987 on one of his global religious roadshows where her pious mother and four siblings, as well as Stefanie, were immediately on his radar.

By 1991, he'd proposed to Stefanie's 17-year-old sister Bettina, spinning the yarn that his Australian wife Ann was about to be stricken by terminal cancer.

But like all Kamm's other crazy Doomsday prophecies, Ann didn't die. She left with the couple's four children after discovering there was more to the relationship between Kamm and their foreign 'nanny.'

The sham correspondence between heaven and earth continued, though the gullible schoolgirl had no idea it was Kamm penning the manipulative replies.

'Dear Mother, you know how I should say "yes" to Our Lord and my mission, well I'm saying "yes",' she wrote in late 1993.

'I hope Our Lord will take that Yes.'

The crafty Kamm advised her not to be hasty.

'The choice of husband is yours dearest child,' he wrote. 'If you say No, you will continue lie as normal as most of our children on earth.'

If Stefanie rejected the marriage, she would not lose her angels, but her happiness would be brief and her life on earth very ordinary.

But if she said yes, Stefanie would have happiness beyond her wildest dreams, the veiled threat eliciting the answer Kamm wanted to hear.

The elaborate charade - which was already working on Kamm's other young disciples - continued, as the phoney Mary seduced Stefanie into accepting that underage sex with him was the Lord's will.

'I know now it was all a trick and that William grooming me to have underage sex,' says Stefanie, now 43.

But by late 1993 God changed his mind about the immaculate conception, just as he had about Doomsday.

In another letter, 'Mary' told the confused teenager she would not be taking the spiritual path to paradise, but the 'natural' path instead.

'It made no difference,' says Stefanie, wryly.

'All roads to paradise led to sex with William Kamm. That was God's will.'

Stefanie was 14 when the perverted guru finally drove her to a motel outside Wollongong where he forced her to have sex with him.

Their illicit sexual relationship continued for the next five years and ended in 1999 when Stefanie, then 19, gave birth to Kamm's son Kilian.

'He said I wasn't to tell anyone he was the father and told me to write on Kilian's birth certificate "father unknown" or I wouldn't get the single parent's pension,' she says.

With hindsight, Stefanie believes it was a scam to avoid unwanted attention from the child support agency who would chase him for money.

It's now believed Kamm sired as many as 20 babies in his cult.

In 2002 Stefanie finally fled the community with Kamm's child after forming a secret romance with a divorced father-of-two she'd met on a telephone dating site.

'When he finally found out who Kilian's father was he was shocked, as he knew William was married to my sister who had six of his kids,' she says.

He was even more amazed when Stefanie told him the sexual relationship had begun when she was 14, and urged her to go to the police.

'Until then, I didn't know that being forced to have sex against your will was a crime,' says Stefanie, who despite her detailed statement had no hard evidence to support her allegations.

But then another young one of Kamm's 'queens' came forward with similar allegations, and a parcel arrived from Stefanie's mother in Cambewarra, bearing some of her personal belongings.

Miraculously, amongst Stefanie's childhood memorabilia, were her painful childhood scribblings, and more significantly Kamm's seductive replies.

The incriminating correspondence provided irrefutable evidence of the underage sexual relationship Stefanie had described to police.

In 2007, the damning letters were enough to convince a jury that he was a liar, a conman and a dangerous predator who had manipulated his trusting flock's beliefs to gratify his desires to have sex with their daughters.

'His letters proved I'd been groomed for months to have a sex with him, and my own writings revealed it was a relationship I had not wanted,' she says.

At the time, Kamm was two years into an earlier five year jail sentence for his sex crimes involving the other underage girl.

Judge Peter Berman, extended his sentence by another five and a half years, to begin in 2009 when his original sentence expired.

Today, Kamm, 73, is a free man though his sleazy writings have returned to haunt him in my new book The Messiah's Bride which lifts a lid on the secret world of the false prophet whose unholy appetite for sex with young girls brought his heavenly dynasty down.

Without Stefanie's childhood scribblings which were dated and detailed - and Kamm's replies - the Crown would have had an uphill battle proving her allegations of underage sex and it's possible he might have got away with it.

But it was all there in black and white for the jury to see, and it ultimately took him down.   

Today, Stefanie has not only relived that dark chapter in her life for The Messiah's Bride, but has forced herself to return to the scene of the crimes with a TV crew.

'It was empowering and helped me reclaim some of the power William stole from me as a helpless little girl,' she says.

Today Stefanie hopes The Messiah's Bride will be a warning story that will prevent other little girls falling into the clutches of one of Australia's most incorrigible paedophiles.

'He's never apologised for what he did to me, and is as dangerous now as the day I met him,' she says.

And despite Kamm's claims his new heavenly dynasty is currently on hold until after the 'second coming', his recent stint behind bars for contacting another young woman in the Philippines suggests otherwise.

In November 2022 Kamm was sentenced to a year in jail for breaching an extended supervision order imposed by the courts to restrict his movements in the community.

But while the young woman was over 18, he had contacted her via his new wife's Facebook account, which is prohibited under the three-year order.

Kamm had already spent a year on remand, which counted as time served, and was released with a resumed order which expires in 2025.

'He won't change,' says Stefanie, who now lives on Queensland Gold coast with her 23-year-old son and is reconciled with the mother who once sacrificed her to a monster.

'He can't be treated and he can't be cured so it's just a matter of time until he does it again,' Stefanie says. 

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