Satanic Abuse Myth: September 2006 Archives

September 24, 2006

Satanic abuse 'witness' forced to lie

Scotland: A woman at the centre of ritual abuse allegations on the Isle of Lewis has told the police that she was not telling the truth. Angela Stretton, 39, who has learning difficulties, said that she had been pressurised into making false allegations during a long series of interviews with police and social workers.

I had lots of meetings with police and social workers. They kept questioning me about different people. It was a different person every day. They had a list of names, including my mum and brother. They said things about taking photos and killing animals and drinking their blood, she said.

At first I said no, they wouldn't do that. But they kept on and on at me. They said I had to tell the truth for the children. I felt really under pressure, so I suppose I told them what they wanted to hear. I just agreed with what was being said.

Stretton also has a history of making hoax calls, but this did not stop the police using here as their star witness to bring rape and child abuse charges against eight people, including a 75-year-old woman.

The similarities to the earlier Orkney case are so surprising it makes you wonder if police and social services on the Isle of Lewis had actually read Lord Clyde's enquiry report. Both cases centred around families where abuse was taking place, of the sadly common sort within the family. But whereas in Orkney, the social workers were much too enthusiastic to take children into care, the Lewis ones seemed reluctant to do so, even though the children were clearly in immediate danger of continuing abuse. They and the police were more interested in uncovering an island-wide satantic abuse ring than the welfare of children.

In Orkney, the main source of evidence was a child from the family where abuse had taken place, who was badly disturbed and awaiting an appointment with a child psychologist. The social workers believed every outrageous claim she made, except when she told them she was making it all up.

Yet the Orkney events happened while the abuser of the children was in prison, having been convicted. In this case, the real child abuser is likely to have got away with their crimes because of the police and social workers' determination to chase after fantasies.

Satanic abuse key witness says: I liedThe Observer, 24th September 2006. See also: Satan-obsessed social workers probedPagan Prattle, 15th July 2004; This is importantPagan Prattle, 11th July 2004.

September 11, 2006

The journalist's craft

United Kingdom: Someone at the Hackney Gazette is confused. They've got out the box labelled Magnetic Poetry: Bog-standard stereotypes, but they can't quite make them up into the article they want. What is a hack to do? Write it anyway, regardless of the facts, perhaps? After all, that's what the Newham Recorder did.

KIDS at risk from black magic rituals are to receive their own Hackney Town Hall officer dedicated to their protection.

Hackney Council is recruiting a community partnership officer to work with faith and community organisations across the borough as part of a new government drive...

...Three people were jailed as a result and a specialist police team was set up to combat child abuse linked to African witchcraft.

That should scare the readers. But look closely, the story is really about children who are abused, not by practitioners of magic, but by people who think the kids are witches. Not that you'd be able to tell that from the report.

Ritual protectionHackney Gazette, 11th September 2006; See also Making ConnectionsPagan Prattle, 4th September 2006.

September 4, 2006

Making conenctions

United Kingdom: Private Eye has noticed some interesting goings on—attempts to connect 'Adam', the torso of a Black boy found in the Thames and the abuse of children believed to be possessed or witches, with the Satanic abuse myth. What's more, a familiar name has popped up: that of Valerie Sinason, who makes a living convincing screwed up women that their problems are caused by ritual abuse, of which they have no memory.

All of this coincides with a lot of publicity surrounding a government report, Child Abuse Linked to Accusations of “Possession” and “Witchcraft” (originally released in June this year), which found the phenomenon to be more widespread that you might think, not restricted to Evangelical churches serving recent African immigrants:

The belief in “possession” and “witchcraft” is widespread. The UK is not alone in seeing cases of this nature; cases have been reported worldwide. The children discussed in this report came from a variety of backgrounds including African, South Asian and European.

Bartholemew has analysed the article in depth, and SAFF has reproduced it on their web site (it's not on the Private Eye site, alas), so I will quote just a single paragraph, which sums it all up nicely:

The abusers involved (mainly carers rather than parents) were predominantly evangelical Christians—but they also included Muslims—who all believed in possession by evil spirits and exorcism. They were categorically not—and in fact were quite the opposite of—Satanists sexually abusing and sacrificing children during black magic rituals. The researchers received no evidence or even anecdotal reports of child sacrifice. They did identify a real and deeply unpleasant problem of child abuse by adults acting in the name of religion. Meanwhile the case of Adam remains unsolved. Maybe the murder involved some form of horrific ritual. Maybe the child was mutilated to disguise his identity—as has happened in rare cases elsewhere. But the simple answer, despite the attempts to use the case to defend a more general belief in satanic abuse, is that no one knows.

Satanic Abuse, Ritual Killings, and Exorcism: Private Eye Explores the ClaimsBartholomew's notes on religion, 2nd September 2006; Satanic PanicPrivate Eye (republished by SAFF with notes and additional links), 1st September 2006; Stobart, Elinor, 2006, Child Abuse Linked to Accusations of “Possession” and “Witchcraft” [PDF]. Department for Education and Skills Research Report No. 750, London.

See also: Fanning the flamesPagan Prattle, 29th June 2005; Media in moral panic shocker!Pagan Prattle, 26th June 2005; Old myth, even older clothesPagan Prattle, 11th June 2005.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Satanic Abuse Myth category from September 2006.

Satanic Abuse Myth: August 2006 is the previous archive.

Satanic Abuse Myth: November 2006 is the next archive.

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