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.

3 Responses

  1. I don’t think your comments on these cases are particularly balanced.
    It was common in the 80s and early 1990s for abusive parents to go to the media when child protection services intervened, whether abuse occurred or not. It was a fairly effective way for parents to put pressure on child protection services, and some parents still attempt it. These days, journalists are less interested, but it was quite the media fad in the early 90s.

    There have been child protection cases in which parents have lied to the media, and child protection workers have been unable to correct the public record, because they are prevented from speaking to journalists by professional codes of confidentiality. This has been a consistent pattern in multi-perpetrator cases, and Orkney is a good example (e.g. there were no ‘dawn raids’, some of the accused already had children in care and prior convictions for sexual abuse, all the accused had recently moved from the mainland to the island).

    You might note the recent conviction of Trey Bernard, who confessed to ritually abusing a number of children in a satanic cult in a church in Louisiana, America. There was ample evidence for this abuse, including a makeshift satanic “temple”, Bernard’s diaries, his confessions, the confessions of other members, etc.

    Interestingly, two of the children that accused him recanted a year later, and their recantations were actually rejected by the jury. Why? Because the children’s parents were amongst the accused, and when their parents went to jail, the children were then placed with their grandparents – who obviously had an interest in the withdrawal of charges against their own children.

    The jury felt that other family members had encouraged the children to withdraw their statements and claim that they had been pressured into making the allegations.

    I’m not a fan of Lachter and I despise Oglevie, but children can be easily intimidated into withdrawing charges, particularly when those charges are against their own parents.

    The Louisiana case is a perfect example of this, and it involves precisley the forms of abuse that you are so skeptical about – multi-generational sexual abuse in a ‘satanic’ ritual context.

    I hope you keep an open mind about cases of ritual abuse in the future. They are more complicated then the “Private Eye” would have you believe.

  2. For more information on ritual abuse and legal cases, see


  3. Satanic ritual abuse exists all over the world. There have been reports, journal articles, web pages and criminal convictions of these horrific crimes against children and adults.

    There has also been an attempted cover up of these crimes by child pornographers, those with pro-pedophilia philosophies and those defending child molesters in the public or legal arena

    see ritualabuse.us

    or childabusewiki.org

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