A Colorado woman seeking a license to sell medical marijuana wants her guilty plea to prostitution charges thrown out, claiming that she was actually practicing her religion.
Melody Kenyon has sued the city of Fort Collins in Larimer County Court seeking a judicial review of the city’s decision to charge her, a declaration voiding her conviction and damages for civil rights violations.
Kenyon says she engages in the Hindu religious practice of Tantra and was engaging in spiritual communion for a fee with a man who turned out to be an undercover police officer.
She admits that her actions “could be misconstrued as something sexual,” but Kenyon said she was well within her rights as a Hindu.
According to the lawsuit, Kenyon met the undercover Omaha cop April 4, 2012, at a Nebraska hotel, where she touched him with her hair and animal fur and told the agent she would pull out his “energy” of lingam, or penis, with her “energy” of yoni, or vagina.
“’Lingam’ means a stylized phallic symbol that is worshipped in Hinduism as a sign of generative power and that represents the god Shiva,” Kenyon said. “’Yoni’ means a stylized representation of the female genitalia that in Hinduism is a sign of generative power and that symbolized the goddess Shakti and derives from the Sanskrit word for ‘vulva.’”
The officer took off his clothes and laid face down on the bed while Kenyon discussed the practice of Tantra with him, the suit says, and she was arrested by other officers on solicitation of prostitution charges after the undercover agent went into the bathroom.
Kenyon claims she pleaded guilty because she was caring for an ailing spouse at the time and paid a $250 fine.
She thought the case was over until she applied to open a medical marijuana center with a business partner and was denied due to her criminal history and “lack of good moral character.”
Kenyon claims the city’s decision carries the “reek of hypocrisy.”
“The City of Fort Collins engages in [a] continuing series of criminal violations by licensing and undertaking actions in concert with five or more persons.,” the suit claims. “The City occupies [the] position of ‘organizer,’ ‘supervisory position,’ and ‘other positions of management’ of the illegal drug distribution system in that it allows or denies certain individuals the ability to sell marijuana. The City obtains substantial income or resources from its actions in conjunction with the sale of marijuana.”
Kenyon says she’s learned from her arrest and now requires her Tantra customer to sign a waiver that they’re seeking “spiritual counseling,” not sexual gratification, from a minister with the Church of Universal Life.
“Ms. Kenyon has learned from counseling to not bring energy completing into the root chakra because that could be misconstrued as something sexual,'” the suit claims.
Tantra is a style of Hindu or Buddhist meditation and rituals that takes into account the practitioner’s worldly desires, including sexual practices, along with spiritual aspirations.
[Image: Red haired woman meditating in yoga position overlooking mountains, lake and grassland via Shutterstock]