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October 16, 2000

Channeler Won't testify About Confession

   YELM, Wash. (AP) The woman who claims to channel a 35,000-year-old warrior spirit called Ramtha said she can't take the witness stand against a Pe Ell couple accused of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old girl.
   J.Z. Knight said she doesn't remember the confession of voice instructor Wayne Allen Geis and his common-law wife Ruth Beverly Martin, which is said to have occurred about a year ago in front of about 800 stunned students at Ramtha's School of Enlightenment on Knight's Yelm estate.
   Knight said she was in a trance at the time that it was Ramtha who questioned the couple and elicited the confession.
   "There is a being outside of me which is him,'' Knight said.
    Geis, 55, and Martin, 37, face 10 counts of first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor in the case. They pleaded innocent at their September arraignment.
    Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Toynbee said he doesn't think Knight will be called to testify because she doesn't recall the confession.
    "The issue is not whether Ramtha was there,'' he said Monday. "This is really a rape case. I want to keep the trial focused on that aspect.''
    Lewis County deputies were contacted by the school, which is owned and operated by Knight, in November 1999.
    The school had invited the girl now 19 to a retreat after she wrote a letter to Knight earlier that month, charging papers say. In the letter, the girl said Geis who had been giving her acting and dancing lessons had persuaded her to have sexual relations with him and with Martin at his ranch south of Olympia between September and December 1997.
    According to accounts of the retreat in court records, Knight channeled Ramtha, who then called Geis, Martin, the girl and her father to the stage and questioned them in front of the crowd for more than an hour.
    Knight said she had not seen the girl's letter and was briefed on its contents by her publicist. She said she did not tell Ramtha about the letter.
    "Because of his nature, he has an insight into the thoughts of his students,'' she said.
    Knight said she will help prosecutors contact members of the audience.
    Geis and Martin were dismissed from her 3,000-member school, she said. The girl and her father are still members.
    Knight born Judith Darlene Hampton of Roswell, N.M. has said Ramtha first appeared in her Tacoma kitchen 20 years ago. She has parleyed the experience into a multimillion-dollar business including a publishing company, bookstore, clothing store and catalog operation.