A transgender pedophile currently serving a lengthy sentence at New Jersey’s only women’s prison has filed a lawsuit against the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC), claiming his Wiccan religion is being discriminated against.
Marina Volz, 34, filed the suit on April 28, claiming he is being denied religious accommodations in accordance with his Wiccan beliefs. Wicca is often classified as a new religious movement, having been established in England in the early 20th century, drawing upon a diverse set of Pagan beliefs.
In his lawsuit, Volz alleges that Joy Lynch, the head of religious services at Edna Mahan, has denied the Wiccans the use of a loosely fitting cloak used during “witch coven” gatherings. The NJDOC permits the practice of Wicca in the state’s prisons, and practitioners are reportedly allowed to access the item Volz is claiming he has been denied.
Other Wiccan items allowed by the NJDOC include the Book of Shadows, which contains instructions for magical rituals, a pentacle, incense, three electric or battery-operated candles, and a cup of grape juice as a substitute for wine.
Volz is currently serving a 25-year sentence for a number of horrific sexual crimes he committed against his own 7-year-old daughter.
On May 6 of 2022, Volz, born Matthew, was sentenced on charges of human trafficking, aggravated sexual assault, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child. His charges had stemmed from a 2019 investigation into his conduct after the New Jersey Department of Child Protection became aware he was creating pornography in a home where a child resided.
Volz, along with another trans-identified male named Ashley Romero, had operated a “transgender porn” business in their home through which they produced and distributed fetish content.
A search warrant was executed at the property after it was learned that the child had likely been exposed to sexually explicit material. Electronic devices from the home were subsequently seized, and several sexually-explicit photos and videos of the girl were found after forensic examination.
Volz had been separated from the child’s mother, but traveled to Oregon with Romero to take the child into his custody and transport her to New Jersey in 2018 where he began using her in child sexual exploitation videos. Volz’s horrific pornography scheme was launched just one year after he had served as the Clark College Queer Association president.
Some of the media found by police featured Romero sexually abusing the girl. Romero lived in the residence with Volz and with two other individuals, Sean Allen, who had also sexually abused the girl, and Dulcinea Gnecco, who acted as a domestic servant.
During the trial, prosecutors told the Judge the little girl had been subjected to “a vortex of darkness” after being removed from her mother’s care.
Judge Peter Tober declined to delve into the full details of the case, but noted to the court that she had been subjected to torture-like conditions, mentioning neck collars, a cage in the basement, and sex toys.
“If this was not heinous, cruel and depraved, I don’t know what is,” Judge Tober said, stating that the girl had been taken from her mother “solely for the sexual gratification” of others.
In media coverage of the horrific case, Volz and Romero were referred to as “women” and were addressed using “she/her” pronouns. Volz was also identified as the girl’s “mother” in the Daily Mail and My Central Jersey.
After their sentencing in May of 2022, Reduxx learned that Romero had immediately been sent to the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, but that Volz had initially been placed in the South Woods State Prison for men. Just two months later, Volz was quietly transferred to Edna Mahan but was still recorded as a “male” inmate until this year, when the state of New Jersey updated his inmate profile to classify him as a “female” inmate.
Volz had previously sued the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, claiming discrimination on the basis of his gender identity while being processed following his initial arrest.
According to court documents reviewed by Reduxx, Volz was placed in protective custody in the male unit of the Somerset County Jail prior to his trial for the sexual abuse of his daughter. He would not be moved to the female unit until the next year, after arguing he identified as “female.” The case was settled out of court for $5,000.
Last year, Reduxx spoke to multiple female inmates at the facility who expressed anxiety and fear about the presence of the male inmates in their close quarters.
Miseka Diggs, an incarcerated woman at Edna Mahan, explained that the female inmates were “scared to death” of the men. Under the current policy, the men do not need to undergo any surgery, and Diggs asserts that most of the men are not on hormone replacement therapy. She stated that a majority of women incarcerated at Edna Mahan have past trauma, with many being victims of male violence, and the presence of men in the facility is causing them severe distress.
According to Diggs, women who complain of feeling unsafe are placed in protective custody.
“We can’t express our feelings in fear of being put in protective custody, [which] is like lock-up. If you use the wrong words you will be uprooted and removed from your living quarters. So many women walk around in fear,” Diggs said.
“We feel like we are part of some sick joke. This is a nightmare that we can’t wake up from,” she added. “The women here are traumatized over and over again and it seems as if no one cares about our needs. We feel like second-class citizens with no rights.”
Another female inmate, Dawn Jackson, expressed similar concerns. Jackson is a survivor of lifelong sexual abuse, and explained that the presence of males in the facility caused her anxiety.
“Personally speaking, I have succumbed to a point where I mentally and emotionally cower when in the presence of some of the trans-identified males housed here in prison with me,” Jackson says, “I’ve had to mentally rearrange myself since having no choice… being subjected to live amongst the opposite sex.”
As recently revealed by Reduxx, the state of New Jersey’s policies on gender self-identification in prisons was largely the result of a settlement reached between the ACLU and the Department of Corrections in 2021.
The lawsuit the ACLU launched was on behalf of a transgender male inmate who sought transfer but had been denied. That inmate was anonymized in court records, referred to only as “Sonia Doe.” Reduxx later learned that Doe was in fact Danielle Demers.
Born Daniel Smith, Demers was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office for attempting to sell ammunition and pipe bombs. Demers is a member of the “adult baby” community, in which adults role-play as children during sexual encounters.
Reduxx is your source of pro-woman, pro-child safeguarding news and commentary. We’re 100% independent! Support our mission by joining our Patreon, or consider making a one-time donation.