As of October 4, 2009, the case has been dismissed and custody of Reverend Magdalen's son has been awarded to her. This appears to mean that after over three years of legal wrangling and over $100,000 in costs to her, Magdalen, her husband, and her ex-boyfriend are back to the status quo. That, plus she is still the only SubGenius officially banned from keeping SubGenius materials in her home, where her innocent son might accidentally come across them and become corrupted into the corrupt, obscene, decadent SubGenius cult that got his Mom into trouble in the first place.
|After custody was initially awarded to the father on July 6th, 2007, a month of wild, chaotic, unexpected developments unfolded. See: Reverend Magdalen Part 2|
After things had settled down throughout the summer of 2008, the ashes were stirred once again in August of 2008. See: Reverend Magdalen Part 3
The best media articles on this case:
Transcript of the February 3, 2006 hearing: Adobe Acrobat document
March 19, 2007: SubGenius Cult Mother Fights For Child Custody
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The latest news can be found here: Reverend Magdalen Part 3
The story began when Magdalen and her husband, Lord Jesus Christ (a.k.a. Steve Bevilacqua), had a domestic dispute. This is something that happens to many married couples, alas; more importantly, this was their own private business. In fact, it's still their private business, and we wouldn't be hearing about it at all, if something else hadn't happened to cause this case to be exposed to public view.
Magdalen's ex-boyfriend used her domestic dispute as an excuse to file for sole custody of their son. The boy (whose name is being kept private) had been living with her for his entire life; however, after filing a request in Orleans County Court, custody was transferred to him. Magdalen herself has posted copies of the custody filing documents on her blog, at rbevilacqua.blogspot.com (scroll down about two-thirds of the way down the page to see them). But even so, this is still a personal affair and none of our business.
What is our business is what happened after Magdalen contested the custody filing. To counter the accusations of her ex, she filed affidavits that offered a different view of the situation in question (you can read these documents at our page of Magdalen Affidavits). However, the fun really started when her ex used photos of her at our sacred X-Day gathering in an attempt to prove she was an "unfit mother" and unable to care for her own son. The story of what happened next has already become legendary. Magdalen describes it in her own words:
When word of this made it out onto the Net, people went ballistic. After learning of this via the Bulldada Newsblog, the webmaster of Bartholomew's Notes on Religion wrote a piece on it for his own blog. From there it made its way into Boing Boing – and that's when the word spread far and wide.
Since the news broke, people have been asking Magdalen to post the actual transcripts of the court proceedings, so that they can read Judge Punch's words for themselves and verify that she was speaking the truth. The transcripts of the case were to become available by March 6th. However, for the entire week since March 3rd, Magdalen has been absent from the Internet, and she has not been able to make the transcripts available.
The reason for Magdalen's absence (and the lack of the transcripts) became clear as of Thursday, March 9. On that day, I learned that the judge had ordered Magdalen to cease all communication on the Internet regarding her son. This was not a written statement – the judge had verbally ordered her to remain offline, and no written order was available. Magdalen stated that even though the order was verbal, the court considered it to be an official order from the judge, and so she has had to remain offline since then. This has kept her from updating her blog.
However, as of March 15th, Magdalen had obtained legal representation from none other than the law firm of Lipsitz Green Fahringer Roll Salisbury & Cambria, LLP. (This firm includes Larry Flynt and Marilyn Manson among their clients.) Magdalen's legal team is challenging this order. When the order is overturned and she is online again, she will have quite a story to tell.
On March 26th, the court transcript of Reverend Magdalen's testimony on February 3 was made available online. (This transcript included only her testimony in front of Judge Punch; it did not include the statements of her ex-boyfriend. The entire transcript, including this testimony, was made available online about two weeks later.)
(This file does not contain the judge's outburst and final ruling with the alleged "pervert" and "mentally ill" statements, though it does have some interesting parts. The entire transcript, including the complete text of the previous link, is available here: www.box.net/shared/eruimij43v )
On March 27th, it was announced that Judge Punch has recused himself from the case, when Rev. Magdalen's case made TV news (briefly):
From the story:
Please note this does not mean Magdalen has won the case (yet), or that the case has been settled or dismissed. It is being re-assigned to another judge, who will be from a completely different county. Magdalen is hopeful that the new judge will be one who treats the case with less bias and more neutrality, as judges should.
April 7th: The transcript previously made available contained the text of Magdalen's deposition on February 3, 2006. The entire transcript of the proceedings is now available, and can be downloaded in .PDF format from here:
April 20: On April 19th, Magdalen had her appearance in court in front of a new judge, with a new legal team. We were hoping things would be wrapped up in that single day. That didn't happen, but there is still good news to be had. She wrote an update to her legal case, which can also be found on the newsgroup alt.slack. Judge Eric R. Adams of Batavia seem to be fair and impartial – which is the best kind of judge to hope for in a case of this sort.
Magdalen's next (and hopefully last) court appearance will take place on June 26th (re-scheduled from June 12).
June 28th: The custody trial has taken three days (Friday through Tuesday), and Magdalen is exhausted. Still, despite its length, there is very little to report. There have allegedly been no hysterics, no bombshells, nothing unexpected, and nothing stupid to report. Apparently the trial has gone by the book and proceeded in an orderly fashion. This is being taken by Magdalen's friends as a good sign. Rev. Nickie Deathchick confirmed this lack of events in a message posted to alt.slack: "I have been in contact with Magdalen and Steve this week. Indeed, nothing terribly important to report. But there may be some very, very, very interesting transcripts available sometime in the future."
|Update, July 5th, 2006:|
Reverend Magdalen's new custody hearing had originally been scheduled for June 12th, but it was postponed until June 23rd. What was originally planned as a two-day hearing was extended to five, and it's still not over at this time. The case is scheduled to continue on July 20th.
The good news is that Magdalen's legal team has been earning their fees. Judge Adams appears to have more of a sense of humor than Judge Punch did, as he has been accepting the humor in such statements as "No, this is NO joke, NO parody" (from page 13 of the Book of the SubGenius).
The bad news is this: because her ex-boyfriend's lawyer is a personal friend, he is receiving his legal assistance for free. This means that they are free to use every delaying and stalling tactic in the book to extend this trial as long as possible, so as to run up massive legal costs for Magdalen. Magdalen's husband was on the witness stand for three full days of cross-examination, during which the Church of the SubGenius was examined minutely. (Jesus had to assist the court stenographer with the proper spelling of such SubGenius Elder Gods as NHGH and G'Broagfran.) These Scientology-like tactics have succeeded in bringing Magdalen's legal costs to exceed $50,000.
Reading between the lines, we can only assume that the opposition is acting out of desperation. Their insistance on using the Church of the SubGenius in the trial – again, after doing the same thing five months ago – suggests they have nothing else to work on, so they are once again trying to bring up the argument of an evil, Satanic sex cult.
Meanwhile, X-Day took place during the week of June 28th through July 5th. Aside from the Escape Vessels of the Sex Goddesses failing to show up once again, this was one of the most enjoyable, exciting, and Slackful X-Days of all. (A number of events were held especially to honor Judge Punch, and we are waiting to see if photos of these events end up in the court case.) Unfortunately, Jesus (Steve) was unable to attend X-Day due to his business commitments – this trial has put such a strain on him, he actually had to work on the Fourth of July. His presence at Brushwood was sorely missed, because if there's anyone who deserves rest, relaxation, and Slack in this affair, it's him.
As before, transcripts and other documents will be made available online as soon as possible. Until then, I ask you to read the documents currently available, and to accept my word that I am presenting this as truthfully as possible. (The court is not allowed to release transcripts until the legal proceedings have finished. Due to the time necessary to transcribe the court documents, transcripts may not be available until around September.)
IMPORTANT: The brave and hardy administrators of Taphouse IRC (the official IRC network of the Church of the SubGenius) have begun a fundraiser for Magdalen's legal fund, by producing T-shirts with a goat head logo and the quote "Why a goat?" (as was repeated by the original judge in this case). These shirts are being sold for $20, of which $8.10 of every sale will go directly to her legal fund. All help is appreciated, and every little bit helps. The URL for the fund-raiser is:
(At X-Day, a special T-shirt autographed by Magdalen was auctioned off for $120, with the entire amount going to her legal fund. This shirt was purchased by none other than Pat "The Man" Volkerding, the man responsible for Slackware!)
July 23: Magdalen states, "Court ran out of time again, and we are adjourned until August 11, and then again for August 23." In regards to the case being repeatedly dragged on: "…there's nothing you can do about that, that's a regular-type lawyering strategy."
September 19: There has been little development over the past month: the opposition has repeatedly called for delays and postponements, with little actual progress being made. Magdalen writes today: "Basically, court is supposed to finish this Friday (September 22). We go Wednesday afternoon and all day Friday, and then we're supposed to finish." We can only hope this is the final end to the court proceedings. If this is so, then it will be at least another two weeks before Judge Adams publishes a ruling.
November 30: Apparently the definition of "two weeks" used in the American legal system is really "two months, or however long we decide to make it." For those who are still following this case: Magdalen is still awaiting the final decision from Judge Adams regarding the custody case of her son. The only news reported has been that the opposition is still attempting delaying tactics, and everyone is simply waiting for the final decision. Magdalen is still in New York, waiting for the outcome of the case – which has now lasted nearly an entire year.
On the plus side, a new published article about the case appeared in the Batavia, NY Journal-Register on November 30: 
January 6, 2007: Reverend Magdalen announced today that she has received a call from her lawyer stating the custody battle has been won. She will rejoin her son on Monday, January 8, 2007. The official judge's decision will be made public then.
Magdalen writes in email: "Well, at only one month late, the decision is finally rendered, and I won! I haven't actually gotten the paper yet, but my lawyer has it and he read me the highlights over the phone."
Boing Boing reported the news story on Thursday night, January 11th (). By the next day, the blogs had picked up the good news. Unfortunately, just as word was spreading about Magdalen's victory, an unexpected turn of events took place.
January 12, 2007: As is often the case in these situations, a last-minute emergency has arisen. Reverend Magdalen writes:
"I went to pick [my son] from school yesterday. I wrote and telephoned the principal, Mr. Matt Penrod ( Mpenrod@lyndonville.wnyric.org ), emailing him a copy of Judge Adams’ Court Order giving me residential custody, and informing him I was coming to get [my son] and not to let Jeff take him. As I was driving to the school to pick [my son] up, I telephoned to double-check. Mr. Penrod informed me that he had allowed Jeff to take [my son].
"[My son] and Jeff were missing until this morning, when Jeff returned [my son] to school. It was the most frightening night of my life.
"The reason Jeff did all this is that there is a Stay hearing today. It’s just like when the Presidential election happened and Antonin Scalia ordered Florida to stop counting votes. Basically, Jeff has asked an Appeals Court judge to stay the order of Judge Adams, and they are going to decide on that this afternoon. For some reason, Jeff thought that this Stay hearing gave him the right to do what he did, or so he claims. He is wrong, of course, but he still got away with it. The police looked for them all evening and didn’t find them.
"The Stay hearing starts at 3 PM and I’m fighting to have [my son] with me at that time, because I’m afraid that if the stay is denied, Jeff may take off with [my son] again just like last night."
|January 12, 2007 – Magdalen writes:|
"I just got the call from my lawyer that the appeals court judge has granted a Stay of the order granting me custody. I never actually got to enjoy that custody during the 30-some hours it was in effect, because the school let Jeff take [my son] and hide him overnight.
"The Stay is conditional on the case being heard at the earliest opportunity, which is in May 2007. Until that time, Jeff's order of Temporary Sole Custody issued by Judge Punch on December 23, 2005 in an ex-parte hearing of which I was not informed, remains in effect.
"The appeals court judge did order expanded visitation for me, so that it will be the standard every-other-weekend visitation rather than the restricted 8-hours per week I've been living with.
"Please let the people know about this, it's really hard when I keep getting all these congratulations in my inbox."
January 13th: Rev. Ivan Stang provides an update for Magdalen: "This last judge decided that although SubGenius isn't a real devil cult, but is 'art,' it is nonetheless the kind of art that will somehow be harmful to a child. (I suppose art like video games or cop shows is harmless compared to, say, a SubGenius book on the top shelf.)" Rev. Stang's complete message to alt.slack can be read here: 
The text of Judge Adams' decision on January 5th, 2007, was made available online on January 21st. It can be downloaded at this location:
The text of the Stay order placing this decision on hold has not been made available yet; however, Magdalen's lawyers have stated it will be made available shortly.
The judicial decision includes commentary on the personal life of Magdalen and her husband that, quite frankly, I still believe is none of our business. However, the commentary on the Church of the SubGenius is quite interesting: it suggests that Judge Adams is suspicious of our Church, as he refers to SubGenius writings as "drivel." But, reluctantly, he did not find anything in it that has had an adverse affect on Magdalen's relationship, or on her son.
In a surprising twist, Judge Adams has ordered Magdalen to remove all SubGenius literature, books, pictures, etc. from her home. This, apparently, is in order to protect her son from the awful SubGenius influence – or, more precisely, because the son's father does not want the boy exposed to our evil cult. (However, Magdalen is allowed to set up her own "office" with SubGenius paraphernalia. Although the decision doesn't say this, I suspect the judge would allow it as long as the office is locked.)
March 10: In a new appeal for funding, Rev. Ivan Stang reveals that Magdalen's custody case has cost her and her husband approximately $73,000. Additional funding is needed, because she is now required to hire a new lawyer (though still from the same law firm) to represent her at her upcoming custody hearing – which is now scheduled for June 2. Magdalen is short by $2,000 for the new lawyer's retainer. Rev. Stang's appeal for assistance can be read on the newsgroup alt.slack at this link: 
For the second year in a row, the verdict is expected to be made just around the time of X-Day. Coincidence…or conspiracy?
March 12: The pledgie.com donation site has raised over $2,000 for Magdalen's legal fund in under two days! Heartfelt thanks to everyone who donated!
June 8: Magdalen confirms the hearing was moved up to May 21 and did in fact occur on that date. We're now waiting for the verdict, which will be released live in real time online, on June 8 at 3:00 PM, at:
…except that, yet again, the announcement has been delayed. Magdalen writes: "Well, we all waited expectantly for the decision to come out on June 8, but the court decided to "hold it over to the next term", which means they'll be releasing it, supposedly, the Friday two weeks after June 20, which puts it squarely at July 6. They did not inform us ahead of time they were doing this, and in fact it's not really legal, as the law says they have to decide in 30 days. But this does happen from time to time, my lawyer says, and there's nothing we can do. Oh yeah and they might decide NOT to hold it over to the next term but instead release their decision at a random time between now and July 6. So it's like they're saying, have fun checking the website every day to see if maybe today is that random day that probably won't even happen!"
|Update, July 6th, 2007:|
After originally being scheduled for June 22, the decision of the appeals court in the case of Reverend Magdalen has been announced. In a brief two-page announcement, the court has awarded custody of her son to the father. Stating that the father "deserved" custody of Magdalen's son, the court declared that the father's home would be his primary residence, and the matter is being referred back to family court to arrange for visitation rights for her.
The decision cancels a number of paragraphs of the decision of Judge Eric Adams, in January 2007. However, it does not remove Judge Adams' order for Magdalen to remove all SubGenius materials from her home. Even though her son is no longer in her custody, she still cannot keep any SubGenius materials in her own home, except for a specially designated "office."
Upon conferring with her lawyer, Magdalen wrote a brief statement and posted it in her blog: Blog entry for July 14, 2007
The actual .PDF document of the court decision can be seen here:
Please remember that this case has cost Magdalen over $70,000, and she is in need of any donations to her legal fund that can be given. If you wish to donate to her legal fund, please click here:
|An unexpected development has occurred, and was made public on July 23, 2007. See: Reverend Magdalen Part 2|
IMPORTANT: Because Magdalen has a new legal team, donations to her legal fund are to be sent to a new address. Based upon consultation with her lawyers, the original estimate of the cost of her defense was approximately $20,000 US; however, legal stalling tactics by the opposition have driven this to over $70,000, with more still to come. This number is still in flux. (Because the biological father supposedly has "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome," he has never had to work and is a trailer-court welfare case. His lawyer is a personal friend who is representing him for free.) Paypal donations can still be sent to email@example.com. Checks or other payments can be mailed to the attention of: