Could the Phoenix Goddess Temple be a front for a prostitution house? Phoenix police detained 16 people connected with the unusual temple that purportedly incorporates sexual acts with its religious practices, reports The Arizona Republic.
Although charges have not yet been announced against those detained, it is likely that police questioning is connected to allegations that the temple is a front for prostitution. The search warrant was issued on Wednesday, and police have questioned five men and 11 women thus far.
The Phoenix Goddess Temple was previously located in Scottsdale but had to relocate to its present location due to zoning issues. During its time in Scottsdale, local police had also investigated neighbor complaints that it was actually operating as a prostitution house. However, Scottsdale police were never able to verify the allegation.
The temple's proponents, on the other hand, state that its purpose is to connect spirituality and sexuality through sexual healers and tantric teachings, according to Tracy Elise, the temple's "mother priestess."
The temple's practices are likely under fire for encouraging visitors to make a "financial offering of support" for the services they receive, which include "Whole Body Healing" and "Fantasy Role Play." Donations range from $204 to $807, according to azfamily.com.
Under Arizona law, anyone who knowingly works at a prostitution house is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. Those who operate the prostitution house are guilty of a class 5 felony. However, police have not stated what charges the 16 men and women taken from the Phoenix Goddess Temple for questioning could face.
- Find a Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney (FindLaw)
- Police Raid Goddess Temple (Phoenix Business Journal)
- Prostitution (FindLaw)
- Phoenix Vice Squad Busts Taxi-Driving Prostitution Ring (Phoenix Criminal Law News)