PHOENIX - The Mystic Mother of the Phoenix Goddess Temple was arrested again after investigators said they found her posting ads on backpage.com seeking sex in exchange for cash “donations."
Tracy Elise, 51, was re-arrested on December 13, fifteen months after her initial arrest for running a suspected brothel .
Elise insists her church was misunderstood because it combines spirituality and sexuality to help the people who needed love and guidance.
“I’ve done nothing wrong, nothing illegal,” she told ABC15 from jail Wednesday night.
Prosecutors argue that the Goddess Temple was a ruse for prostitution and even though religion was discussed inside the one-on-one “healing sessions,” that doesn’t change the fact that money was expected after sex.
Elise is still awaiting that trial, while roughly half of the other co-defendants have already accepted plea deals.
“Religion has everything to do with it,” Elise said.
She’s hoping to use a ‘freedom of a religion’ defense in her upcoming trial, but on Wednesday two of her co-defendants agreed to keep religion out of it.
“They just want me to go away,” she said. “They want to put me away, silence me."
When asked if Elise regretted her recent healing sessions that ultimately put her back behind bars, she replied, “It’s my soul. It’s what I was born to do."
Court records state an undercover officer recorded his encounter with Elise on October 4 and she said “that $200 would be good for her."
Elise’s attorney reviewed the audio recording and claims she was “describing that her services could be rewarded by a donation. She specifically indicated to the undercover officer that AFTER their encounter he was free to give her whatever he felt to give or nothing at all."
Her attorney went on to write, “as evidence in the audio recording, 99 percent of the encounter consisted of Ms. Elise discussing her religion and teachings about sex."
Elise asks that her supporters visit the Temple’s website, sign their petition, and if possible make a donation to the defense fund.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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