Controversy continues over campground ‘sex’ parties

Published 8:54 pm Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Pike County man criticized by local residents for a “sexual play” festival scheduled at a campground he and his wife own says he will not comment publicly on his personal beliefs.

“If people want to look at my curriculum vitae and see what I’ve presented in different places or look at my bio, I have no need to defend that or not defend it,” said Dr. Patrick Faircloth.

Faircloth, who is a professor at Troy University, said he was not involved in the organization of the Southeastern Dark Ages Festival originally scheduled to be held at the Southern Pillar Campground from March 23-25 and only became involved once a flier including “activity that could be construed as illegal” was brought to his attention.

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“When I became aware of it, I immediately said I’m not in support of this,” Faircloth said, adding he cancelled the festival on March 8.

The fliers promoting the event included information about “sex play” and how “consensual kink” would be monitored during the festival, as well as references to the use of intoxicants during the weekend. “I personally wouldn’t support anything illegal and my wife would never support anything illegal,” Faircloth said.

However, his wife Laurel Faircloth confirmed the campground had hosted the Dark Ages Festival once before. And, according to area residents who have raised public concern about the campground, the couple has hosted other festivals and events celebrating BDSM and other sexual activities at the campground.

The Rev. Keith Reynolds said evidence found online shows “if you’re realistic about it” that Faircloth would have known the nature of the event and what went on there. “All of (these events) are of a sexual nature.”

The campground is located near Spring Hill on County Road 2262. Reynolds, pastor of Spring Hill Baptist Church, has led a social media campaign to expose the activities of the campground and to question Faircloth’s position as a professor at Troy University.

“Looking at all the activities he has done and things he has said, I think there is great reason to be concerned with him teaching and working with kids,” Reynolds said.

Officials at Troy University released a statement Thursday regarding the situation.

“Troy University officials have received no evidence of violations of University policy or of law,” the statement reads. “Any charges or claims will be investigated following procedures established in the faculty and staff handbook and consistent with the laws of the state of Alabama.

The pastor cited various web pages that include a podcast with Faircloth discussing BDSM issues as they relate to mental health and Faircloth’s university bio, which states he has an interest in “BDSM issues.”

Faircloth did not deny the material found online – he said he is not ashamed about the factual things that people can find out about his beliefs – but he also declined to comment further, stating that he felt no need to defend his personal views. “It basically reminds me of the Salem witch trials. People want to find anything they can, any kind of negative thing to try to lay it at your door,” he said.

Reynolds said some Spring Hill area residents and church members are concerned about other events that may be occurring at the campground. Web sites reference an event called “Leather in the Pines,” advertised for 2016 and again for May 2018.  The event is described online as “an annual education conference in Alabama” of which the “primary purpose … is to provide training and education for members of the Leather community, and those who wish to learn more about the Leather community.” According to an online post, the event is scheduled to come again this year, but Faircloth declined to comment on other events held at the campground, saying that he did not want to “fuel hatred.”

“There was a group down here recently planning a pride parade,” Faircloth said. “The people out in this community, if they knew LGBT folks would be here, they’d have the same hateful things to say in my opinion. I’m not going to talk about events that happen or don’t happen here; it’s a private campground and it’s none of their business.”