Satanism existing in the church seems as contradictory as a KKK member at a new black panthers meeting, but this controversial practice allegedly occurred in the past.
The HBO series True Detective, which had its season finale this past Sunday started some interesting conversations about the occult, its connection to the government and its ability to conceal itself in religious institutions, particularly those that are Christian.
One of the show's characters Billy Lee Tuttle runs a massive evangelical establishment in the rural South comparable to the churches of a Joel Osteen or T.D. Jakes. The case presented in the first season leads to the detectives Marty Hart and Rust Cohle connecting Tuttle to a string of murders, missing persons and even a video-taped child sacrifice. Although he ends up not being the main antagonist, Tuttle's institution provides the perfect cover for some of his more demented family members who kill in their worship of a Satan-like figure named the Yellow King on a regular basis.
'True Detective' writer Nic Pizzolatto seemingly indicated that he might have based the story on a very real case which took place in Louisiana in 2005. He hinted at this in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.
The case centered on Hosanna church in Ponchatoula, LA and its Pastor Louis Lamonica Jr.
Lamonica walked into a Sherriff's Office in a neighboring town in the spring of 2005 to discuss a variety of sexual offences committed within the church he pastored. The crimes included sex with children and dogs. The confession led to the arrest of over nine people that included a deputy sheriff who once lived on the church grounds.
The Christian Post spoke to New York Times Editor Rick Lyman who reported on the case back in 2005 and visited Hosanna Church shortly after the arrests.
"I remember there was all these charges of sexual abuse involving lots of people," said Lyman to CP. "It was a staggering number that seemed weirdly large for that kind of community to have been kept quiet, but that's what the police were saying."
The police discovered a youth hall behind the sanctuary with faint imprints of pentagrams on the floor where the offenses allegedly had taken place. Some of those who were arrested described rituals that took place within the pentagrams and involved cats' blood and people dressed in black robes.
"When I was there, the place was cordoned off with police tape, and the [authorities] took me inside so I could look around this rec-center outback," said Lyman. "Somebody had painted something on the floor, a pentagram or something and the police were saying that this was evidence of satanic rituals."
Authorities' at the time claimed that at least 25 children including boys and girls might have been involved in sex acts at the youth center, in cars and in the homes of two of the people who were charged.
The case eventually went to trial in 2008. Lamonica claimed he falsely confessed to child rape because he was being controlled by a prophet named Lois Mowbray, who was arrested as an accessory in 2005, but never charged by the District Attorney.
The defense also used two former congregants to deny the Satanism practices, and pointed to occult activities developed by Mowbray occurring that centered more on confession of sin that involved vomiting for purification in front of the church. The defense's story did not hold up in court and Lamonica was sentenced to four concurrent life sentences that he is currently serving for the abuse of his two children.