The Ritual Abuse Scandal In Britain

Michael Howard


1991 Reviewed & Summarised

(This Article First Appeared In Issue 63 Of The Cauldron)

FEBRUARY: The liberal minded "Guardian" abandoned all its principles and published an astonishing attack on the Craft written by left-wing journalist Beatrix Campbell attempting to link it with so-called "Satanic ritual abuse". Transcripts of interviews with children in the Nottingham case were re-printed. This confidential information had evidently been leaked to Campbell, who is known to be sympathetic to the fundies. The article coincided with a failed attempt in Parliament by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens to make it illegal for children to attend pagan gatherings, Spiritualist Church services, New Age events or psychic fayres.

MARCH: Social workers and police seized nine children from their homes in the Orkneys in Gestapo-style dawn raids alleging "ritual abuse". This claim had originated from the confessions of other children involved in a normal abuse case. It was alleged a hooded, masked and cloaked figure known as "The Master", who also dressed as a Mutant Ninja Turtle, and who was identified as the local vicar, had led dances around a bonfire at a local quarry. Police seized items associated with "black magic" from the parents' houses. These included a book of erotic poetry, and Oriental statue of a couple making love, a letter written to the tooth fairy by one of the children, and a Guy Fawkes mask! A week later the majority of children placed into care in 1990 following allegations of widespread "ritual abuse" on a Rochdale council estate were returned to their parents. In court the police said they had found no evidence and the social services were criticized for their methods. The Rochdale case was followed by an official statement by the Chief Inspector of Constabulary for the UK, Sir John Woodcock, who said the police had absolutely no evidence that "ritual abuse" existed, He said that concern about the subject had been exaggerated and got out of control.

APRIL: The children in the Orkneys case were released by order of the local sheriff. Angry parents besieged the social services department. In Ayrshire ten children were taken into care amid fantastic allegations of human sacrifices and rituals held in a haunted castle, graveyards, and a hot air balloon by parents dressed as clowns! Granada Television's "World in Action" program exposed the methods used by the social services to extract confessions from children. A child psychologist was quoted as saying that these methods were themselves a form of abuse. Police in Aberdeen confirmed they had dropped charges against six adults arrested for "ritual abuse".

JUNE: A doctor in Brighton claimed there was widespread "ritual abuse" in Sussex involving animal sacrifices and "naked circle rituals" in local woods. A police officer in charge of the child abuse unit in Brighton said she was aware of the allegations but had no knowledge of any confirmed case. Media reports suggest leading fundies involved in spreading the "ritual abuse" myth in the UK were being secretly funded by an extreme right-wing American group who believe the British Royal family are international drug smugglers!

AUGUST: Three young sisters were put out for adoption following the allegation of "ritual abuse" by their mother, her boyfriend, and their grandparents. This was despite the fact that the Crown Prosecution Service had found no evidence and were not contemplating criminal charges. "The News of the World" did one of its famous exposes on the Paganlink-Up Gathering, looking for evidence of "ritual abuse", but naturally found nothing. The judicial inquiry into the Orkneys fiasco began with social workers admitting they had ignored guidelines laid down after the Cleveland affair. The social services Director claimed there was a widespread conspiracy among the islanders to cover up the alleged abuse which involved the vicar, local GP, and district nurse.

SEPTEMBER: It was revealed that none of the children in the Orkneys "ritual abuse" case showed medical signs of sexual abuse. "The Independent on Sunday" suggested stories of circle dancing had arisen from a Hallowe'en fancy dress party held by the Brownies at the Church Hall.

OCTOBER: BBC Wales television program "Week In-Week Out" exposed the activities of Maureen Davies, the Rev Kevin Logan, et al, and alleged they had fabricated evidence of "ritual abuse" in North Wales.

NOVEMBER: The trial at the Old Bailey of a gypsy family allegedly involved in Satanic rites and child abuse collapsed after one of the child witnesses admitted fabricating evidence. It was said she got her ideas from pornographic magazines. Two of those accused - who are evangelical Christians and prison visitors - are seeking compensation and taking their complaints to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. One of them said he had been pressurized by the authorities to sign a false confession. The Orkneys inquiry nearly ended when some participants said they could not afford the legal costs without government help. The inquiry is costing £100,000 (A$ 235,682) per week and is expected to last until the end of 1992! Allegations were made that the dawn raids were required because social services received information that parents had threatened to use guns to stop their children going into care. The saga continues...

Two lessons have been learnt from last year's events. Firstly that the ritual abuse myth is not a right-wing conspiracy. Left-wing journalists, so-called Liberal publications like the "New Statesman" and the "Guardian", and even Labor's spokeswoman on child affairs, have supported the fundies. Secondly, while the authorities are wasting millions of taxpayers' money investigating the "ritual abuse" myth and dragging innocent people through the courts, resources are being diverted from catching the real child abusers in our sick society, who sadly include Christian priests and social workers.

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