Culture News

Operation Goddess Temple: Six More Suspects in Custody

As of this afternoon, six more people sought by police after the September 7 raid on Phoenix Goddess Temple are in custody.

The temple, where practitioners claim to provide spiritual healing sessions for monetary "donations," was raided on suspicion of prostitution after a six-month long undercover investigation by the Phoenix Police Department's vice squad.  

Eighteen people, including "Temple Mother" Tracy Elise, were arrested and charged with various offenses, including controlling an illegal enterprise and prostitution. 

Thirty-three indictments total were brought down, and authorities said last week that more arrests and charges would follow. 


Last week, two more suspects were arrested and indicted: 28-year-old Rachel Laird, and 52-year-old Darlene Whelihan. 

On Monday, Mary Rub, 50, (pictured left) was also arrested. 

Phoenix Police Sergeant Steve Martos said the remaining individuals being sought had promised they'd surrender today, but only three did: Danetta Motley-Smith (33), Elisabeth Liden (31), and Kendra Jones (33).

Sergeant Martos says the remaining individuals will be sought by Phoenix Police.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea