William Kamm, also known as "The Little Pebble" (born 1950 in Cologne, West Germany), is the founder and leader of a religious group in Australia. He served 9 years of a 10-year prison term after being convicted of the rape and assault of a teenager.
Kamm is the leader of a religious group called the "Order of St Charbel" named after the Maronite saint Charbel Makhlouf The order claims to be part of the Roman Catholic Church. But the Maronite Church and the Holy See do not regard the group as being part of Roman Catholicism. The Order of St Charbel is considered as a Christian sect and a fringe religious grouping.
Kamm's order is sacramentally cared for by Malcolm Broussard, a former diocesan parish priest from Texas, who in 2003 was consecrated a bishop in Bavaria. His episcopal ordination was not authorised by the Roman Catholic Church and resulted in his automatic excommunication. Broussard had already been suspended, on 20 September 1989, for abandoning his priestly assignment and was not a priest "in good standing". Broussard has ordained many of the men in the group to the priesthood, most of them not taking the traditional promise of clerical celibacy. He ordained Kamm as a deacon on 16 May 2004.
Rejection of priestly celibacy
Kamm claims the Latin Rite rules of obligatory celibacy do not apply to him, not even if finally declared "pope" sometime in the future; nor does it apply to the priests of his order. His critics say that this rejection of normative church discipline proves the illegitimate and fraudulent nature of his revelations and religious order.
Polygamy, mystical marriages and sexual assault charges
On 14 October 2005, Kamm was sentenced to five years in prison with a non-parole period of three-and-a-half years for a string of sexual attacks including aggravated sexual assault on a 15-year-old girl. He claimed that she was one of his 84 mystical wives.
The assaults occurred when the girl was living within Kamm's Order of St Charbel, a community (living in a compound) near Nowra, New South Wales. Kamm claimed to have received advice from the Virgin Mary that the girl should be chosen as one of 12 queens and 72 princesses who would all become his wives, with whom he would spawn a new human race after the world was cleansed and burnt by a ball of fire. Kamm himself continues to defend his polygamy, claiming to believe that Mary has instituted him to be the "new Abraham" spawning a numerous people. Kamm's letters and diary entries to the 15-year-old girl, which were made public during the court session, display an explicit sexual style and were major evidence in his prosecution.
Kamm was also found guilty in May 2007 of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault in relation to another 15-year-old girl. In August 2007, after losing an appeal on his original sentence, Kamm was re-sentenced to a total of 15 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 11 years. He was due to become eligible for release on parole on 13 April 2013, but was refused. In November 2014 parole was granted.
Papal aspirations and prophecies
Kamm has declared that he will take the name "Pope Peter II" as a future Pope. He was also noted for a series of unusual reputed prophecies which were never fulfilled (including the start of World War III). Kamm claimed that Pope John Paul II, who remains widely venerated throughout Kamm's movement, would consecrate Kamm a bishop and appoint him as his official and sole successor to the papacy. When this prophecy was unfulfilled on Pope John Paul's death in 2005, Kamm quickly issued a press statement, saying "heaven clearly changed its plans" and declaring, that they would accept Pope Benedict XVI as legitimate Roman Pontiff. They claim prophecies have changed and stated that Kamm is to be the successor to Benedict XVI, instead of to John Paul II as previously claimed. One of Kamm's claims is that Pope John Paul II will rise from the dead and reappear on the surface of the world again to fight evil along with Benedict XVI and possibly to appoint Kamm.
Personal life and release from prison
Kamm was married to Bettina Kamm. His former wife, who reportedly lives at the St Charbel compound near Nowra, condemned him but said followers still revered him as their prophet. They have a son (born 1999) from the relationship.
Investigative journalist Graeme Webber authored a biographical work on Kamm titled A Wolf Among the Sheep: How "God's Prophet", the Little Pebble Became a Womanising Millionaire Cult Leader.
Kamm was conditionally released from prison in 2014 after serving nine years of his 10-year sentence. Conditions specify that he may not have unsupervised contact with people below 18. Since his release, Kamm married for a third time, to a woman who was a long-time member of his religious community. Media reports speculate that Kamm is believed to have fathered more than 20 children during his days as a cult leader.
In a statement upon the release of Kamm from prison in 2014, the Maronite Catholic Bishop of Australia, Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, stated in a media release dated 17 November 2014 that "William Kamm and his so-called "Order of St Charbel" have no connection whatsoever with the Maronite Catholic Church. He was excommunicated from the Catholic Church on 10 June 2003, and therefore cannot receive any sacraments of the Church, or exercise any ministry or function within the Church. His teachings and movement are repudiated by both the Maronite Catholic and the Roman Catholic Church."