Possible Court Case over Orkney Satanic Panic

Staying with Private Eye, news (p. 29) of a possible court action emerging out of the 1991 Orkney “Satanic Panic” that led to nine children being taken into care by social workers and a number of adults – including the local church minister – accused of ritual abuse. The case is to be brought by “MW”, who was eight years old in 1991 and came to the attention of social workers due to an actually abusive father:

MW was…said to have given social workers the story of widespread ritual abuse; but she has maintained that she was told to copy a picture of a satanic circle supplied by her interviewer. In taped interviews, MW has said that there was no ritual abuse.

MW has been spurred into action by a documentary that appeared British TV in August 2006, entitled Accused:

She was distressed after a key RSSPC social worker opened old wounds by insisting that abuse had taken place.

That would perhaps have been social worker Janette Chisholm, who blithely dismissed the fact all of the supposed victims – now adults – insisted that the “ritual abuse” had not occurred as evidence merely of “denial”. Another social worker featured in the programme perhaps gave away a bit more than he intended to when he admitted bitterly that he and his colleagues had been unprepared for an articulate media campaign launched by the accused parents. MW, who was subsequently abused by foster parents and who left school without qualifications, now wants “an apology and redress”, and she hopes the courts will grant her legal aid to pursue her claim. MW was not included in an apology and compensation package given to the other children because she was in care already.

Back in 2006 it was also announced that families accused of Satanic abuse in Rochdale in 1990 had decided to sue, but there hasn’t been anything in the public domain since. Around the same time, Kyle Sapp in California told reporters that he had been coaxed into lying about Satanic abuse at the McMartin Preschool in the early 1980s. I blogged on all this here.

As it happens, the same issue of the Eye also carries a letter (p. 14) from San Diego psychologist Ellen Lacter, who had written in to defend the work of Valerie Sinason, whom the Eye had criticised in the previous issue (I blogged this here). Lacter praises Sinason for standing “up for victims of ritual crimes when others have been intimidated into silence”. I noted on Talk to Action some months ago that Lacter considers her “mentor” to be Steve Oglevie, who was at the centre of a 1989 incident in Idaho in which the discovery of a dead baby led to a Satanic panic. In 2006 Oglevie was named as a co-defender in a case brought by Donna Marie Krahn, a Canadian woman who claims that she was made to believe that she had been Satanically abused.