(MyFoxBoston.com) – A Mass. prisoner has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Correction and a prison superintendent claiming he has been denied access to items, including but not limited to ritual oils, herbs, teas, robes, medallions, colored pens, and cakes, which are necessary to properly exercise his Wiccan faith.
Daniel LaPlante, who is currently serving a life sentence at MCI-Norfolk for the murder of a Townsend woman and her two children, claims both the DOC and MCI-Norfolk Superintendent Gary Roden have refused to allow him the ability, time, place, and manner to work his magic, perform his rituals, and cast the spells his Wiccan faith requires.
LaPlante's attorney says his client is a sincere Wiccan follower and says none of his client's requests are poisonous or could be considered narcotics.
According to court documents, LaPlante is unable to worship during the Cycles of the Moon and on Esbats because he has been denied 121 necessary items.
While LaPlante is allowed access to certain Muslim oils, he has allegedly been denied access to 36 additional oils which are used to dress candles, anoint energy centers of the body, and consecrate power objects. Wiccan followers believe the oils can drive away negativity, break hexes, and protect against enemies.
In addition to the oils, LaPlante is requesting he have access to 23 different types of herbs. The special herbs, including patchouli, witch grass, and mace, are also said to have powerful properties.
Another critical part of the Wiccan faith is tea, specifically 16 different types. The teas allegedly "banish turmoil, calm nerves and fears, and promote health, strength, and clarity."
LaPlante is also asking he be granted access to certain medallions which are used to identify those serving a specific function or role within a ritual. For example, the Crescent Moons medallion is used to designate the High Priest while the Thor's Hammer medallion is used to designate the "anchor of the center."
In total, nine medallions have been requested; however, the lawsuit clarifies that the medallions would not be LaPlante's property, but rather property of the prison.
In addition to oils, herbs, teas, and medallions, the lawsuit states Wiccan followers also need a certain type of cake each month. The cake is needed to "excite the senses." In January, carrot cake with frosting is required, and in February, chocolate cake with frosting is a must; however, LaPlante is asking the defendants to use a less liberal interpretation of the term "cake."
Within the Wiccan faith, followers use a Book of Shadows to memorialize their rituals, spells, and ceremonies, and in order to properly execute those tasks, LaPlante needs colored pens, preferably red, blue, green, orange, black, yellow, and purple, the lawsuit says.
LaPlante also requested 10 different types of fruits and nuts, baking soda, black salt, flour, honey, molasses, oatmeal, sea salt, and sugar. He is also requesting outdoor space versus the prison basement in order to perform certain Wiccan rituals, as well as a communal meal on feast days.
LaPlante is acting as his own attorney in the lawsuit.
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