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North Catholic counselor loses job after students get crystals from self-proclaimed witches

North Catholic counselor loses job after students get crystals from self-proclaimed witches
North Catholic counselor loses job after students get crystals from self-proclaimed witches 03:24

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A coven of self-proclaimed witches and crystals with alleged special powers led to a local Catholic high school counselor apparently losing her job. 

CONTINUED COVERAGE: Counselor who lost job after students get crystals from self-proclaimed witches believes she should not have been dismissed

The women who own Elemental Magick in Sewickley identify themselves as witches. Nonetheless, they were invited to speak at a local Catholic high school, resulting in a firestorm pitting Catholic versus pagan beliefs.

The three women say they're Wiccans -- a coven of witches -- and for the past seven years, they've been selling crystals, skulls and scented candles they believe to be imbued with special powers from their store. But contrary to popular impressions, these witches say they conjure no dark forces.

Andy Sheehan: "There's no devil worship going on here." 

Tabitha Latshaw: "No absolutely, we don't believe in that. We worship as Wiccans. We worship nature. So our elements -- earth, air, water and fire -- that's what we worship."

Just before Christmas break, a career and college counselor at North Catholic High School invited the women to speak about starting a small business in front of her marketing class of junior and senior students. All went OK until they gifted each student a crystal.

"That's where we kind of get off the rails," said Michelle Peduto, the secretary for Catholic schools. 

"The students in the class felt that things were off and so they did go directly to the administrators."

Over break, the administration conducted an investigation, consulted with the diocese and sent an email of apology to the parents and guardians advising them to return or dispose of the crystal and advising them to recite the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel to cleanse their homes. 

Michelle Peduto, the diocesan director of education, said they had no place in a Catholic school or household.

Sheehan: "There was an understanding that the crystals had powers and that is antithetical or against church teaching."

Peduto: "It is because as we know our faith is in Jesus Christ and not in objects necessarily. Rosary beads? Yes, but crystals no."

The women said the students were allowed to pick their own crystals, like fluorite.

"We would say this is for increased concentration so if you need help studying, this is your stone," Latshaw explained.

Sheehan: "They've told them to either return it to the school or dispose of it and they're also telling them to say the Saint Michael the Archangel prayer to cleanse their house."

Latshaw: "God made these. They come from the earth. That's all I can say."

But for the counselor, the fallout did not end there. 

"We followed our process and protocol and as of today -- actually, a few days -- she's not with the school anymore," Peduto said. 

KDKA-TV's Andy Sheehan spoke with the counselor involved who said she was placed on administrative leave after the incident and then given the option to resign. She said she had no intention of imparting the beliefs of these women on the students of North Catholic.

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