List of satanic ritual abuse allegations

List of satanic ritual abuse allegations

Allegations of satanic ritual abuse have been reported throughout the world, with some proceeding to prosecution and imprisonment. Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States have had several incidents of alleged SRA which received national and international news coverage. Other countries have also had isolated events in which abuse or murder took place with satanic ritual elements, including Argentina and Brazil.


Perth, Western Australia

In 1991, police in Perth linked Scott Gozenton, a self-professed Satanist, with organized child sexual abuse. His lawyer claimed 13 satanic covens existed in the area, holding bizarre orgies involving children, and that Gozenton had been followed and threatened by "coven" members throughout the court proceedings. [cite news | first = David | last = Humphries | title = Child Sex Abuse Linked With Satanism: Police | publisher = Sydney Morning Herald | date = 1991-03-11 ]

Melbourne, Victoria

In 2001, the Melbourne diocese of the Catholic Church acknowledged as "substantially true" allegations that a Melbourne priest took part in Satanic ritual abuse in which a number of deaths occurred in the 1960s, and paid compensation to a surviving victim. [Gary Hughes, Church pays victim of sex and death rituals: Priest's satanic life, Herald Sun, 26 May 2006]

Central Coast, New South Wales

In 1999, two journalists from the Sun-Herald claimed to have seen evidence of the ritual abuse of children. They interviewed six mothers whose children had disclosed experiences of SRA and organised abuse in New South Wales. The children's disclosures were corroborating, although they had never met one another, and they had been able to draw representations of "satanic" ritual sites which were similar to ritual sites uncovered by police on the central coast of New South Wales. One mother stated that her sons remembered being drugged and hypnotised. "He said they dressed in black robes and had eye and mouth pieces cut out," she said. "I know they're pretty dangerous people. I have had warnings outside the house telling me to stop investigations. We're fearful for our lives. The boys never want me out of their sight.". [Miranda Wood and martin Chulov, Evil In The Woods, The Sun Herald, 8 August 1999, p 7]


During the investigation of a Belgian serial killer Marc Dutroux, a number of women approached police claiming to be adult survivors of a network of sexual offenders. [cite journal | first = Liz | last = Kelly | url = | format = pdf | title = Confronting an atrocity: The Dutroux case | journal = Trouble & Strife | volume = 36 | year = 1998 | publisher = CWASU: Child & Woman Abuse Studies website] One witness described of satanic ceremonies with a goal of disorienting new victims, causing them to doubt the reality of their memories and prevent disclosure. [cite web | url = | title = Interview With Regina Lou, Witness XI at Neufchateau | last = Bulté | first = A | coauthors = de Coninck, D | date = 1998-01-10 | accessdate = 2008-08-13]


In the early 1990s, Superior Universal Alignment, an Argentinian-based international cult, was implicated in the ritualistic murders of several children. One of the leaders of the group, Osvaldo Marcineiro, confessed to murdering a number of young children in Satanic rituals, in which the children were tortured, murdered and their body parts cannibalised. A number of prominent citizens were arrested in relation to the murders, and it later emerged that they had paid the cult to conduct the murderous ceremonies. A search on cult member's houses turned up cult registers, guns, hooded cloaks, 100 videotapes of cult ceremonies and satanist publications, including a 200-page book by cult leader Valentina de Andrade called "God, the Great Farce". Brazilian authorities suggested that the cult was connected to Satanic groups internationally. [Todd Lewan, Satanic Cult Killings Spread Fear in Southern Brazil, The Associated Press, 26 October 1992]

In 2003, five members of the Superior Universal Alignment cult in the Amazonian town of Altamira were convicted for the ritualistic murders of three children and the castration of two others. The victims were aged between 8 and 13 years, and they were kidnapped, tortured or killed between 1989 and 1993. Their genitals were removed and used in Satanic rituals by 75-year old village clairvoyant, Valentina de Andrade, the leader of the Superior Universal Alignment cult [Gamini, Gabriella, "Seer for trial in voodoo murders", The Times, 9 September 2003] . De Andrade had previously been sought by police in Argentina and Uruguay prior to her arrest in Brazil on suspicion of involvement in other satanic ritual killings [The Cult Observer (American Family Foundation), Vol. 10 No. 5, 1993] .

Following the castration of victims, two doctors involved in the sect removed the victim's other organs for sale on the international black market [Doctor gets 56 years for Brazil sect killings, 11 September 2003, Reuters News and Five] . Other people sentenced in relation to the murders included a former police officer, a businessman and the son of an influential landowner. The charges related to the murders of three young children and the attempted murder of another, however, victim's families say that there were at least nineteen other murdered children. The cult is based in Argentina and has branches in Holland [More information on allegations of satanic child sacrifice in the Superior Universal Alignment cult can be found at the [ Apologetics Index] ] .


In 2007, a jury at Dublin Country Coroner's court unanimously ruled that the infant found stabbed to death over three decades ago belonged to Cynthia Owen. [ [ Senior Counsel to examine Cynthia Owen's case] . RTÉ, 25 February, 2007.] The Minister of Justice had previously reject a request by Cynthia Owen to have the body of the child exhumed, a decision Ms. Owen did not contest. [ [ Woman will not challenge McDowell decision] . RTÉ, 9 June, 2006.] The inquest was prohibited from assigning blame due to the Coroners Act of 1962 and therefore returned an open verdict. [ Cynthia Owen mother of baby girl: verdict] . RTÉ, 16 February, 2007.] Also, the jury was instructed that the standard of proof was not the "beyond a reasonable doubt" benchmark of criminal trials, but rather the lessor standard of determining whether Owen's claims were true based "on the balance of probabilities". Ms. Owen made claims about a stillborn second child buried in the family garden, but police found no human remains after digging up the plot. [ [ 'Mother' of dead baby welcomes move to exhume] . The Independent, June 07, 2006.] [ [ McDowell will reject request to exhume stabbed baby] . The Independent, June 08, 2006.] Owen's parents, as well as her older siblings, deny her allegations of abuse.

During the trial, Owen provide her account of incest, organised abuse, and satanic ritual abuse orchestrated by her parents involving at least nine other men and her account was supported by her psychologist. [Darren Boyle, [ Alleged Abusers 'still risk'] ] She claimed that her brother and sister Michael and Therese were also abused, a charge that was denied by her older brother and father. Michael disappeared in 2002 and Therese committed suicide shortly after the discovery of his body in 2005; Therese's detailed 37-paged suicide note corroborated Cynthia's account.Jim Cusack, [ A horrifying past that society seems unable to confront] , The Independent, June 11 2006] A friend of Therese's testified at the trial, stating that Therese had spoken to him at length about her sexual abuse in childhood. [Breaking News, [ Childhood sex abuse caused woman's suicide] , inquest told, September 30 2006]

Following the findings of the Coroner's Court, Owen has raised questions regarding the disposal of her daughter's body and the failure of the police to investigate the murder. In particular, she has highlighted the fact that no blood or tissue samples were kept, that the bag and sanitary towels found alongside the murdered child have gone missing, that the records of the first inquest into the murder have gone missing, and that her daughter was buried in a mass grave alongside other infants. Owen claimed that the police knew about the murder and did nothing. [ 'My mother's death robbed me of justice for my baby'] . The Independent, November 08 2006.] She also stated that she felt robbed of justice by her mother's natural and peaceful death.

Owen's father and three of her sisters won the right to appeal the findings of the inquest from the High Court. The family claimed that the coroner was biased toward Owen, shielded her when giving evidence and was selective in the evidence presented to the jury. [ [ Family win leave to appeal Owen verdict] . The Irish Times, 14 May, 2007.] According to recent reports, the case of the murdered child remains the subject of an ongoing investigation by the garda. [ [ 'Mother's surprise that garda probe into infant's death is ongoing'] . The Tribune, April 04 2008.]


In 1998, six adults in Emilia-Romagna were arrested with allegations of prostituting their children and the production of child pornography. The children were also reported to be involved in satanic rituals. [cite news | first = Kevin | last = Buckley | title = Children 'rented out' for satanic sex abuse | publisher = Scotland on Sunday | date = 1998-11-15 | page = 21] In 2002, four people were arrested for "satanism and paedophilia" in Pescara. Police believed that the group may have abused dozens of children in rituals involving bodies stolen from ceremonies. [cite news | publisher = Agence France-Press | title = Italians arrested for satanism and child abuse | date = 2002-10-16 ] In April of 2007, six people were arrested for sexually abusing fifteen children in Rignano Flaminio. The suspects were accused of filming the children engaged in sexual acts with 'satanic' overtones. [cite news | title = Grandmothers arrested over satanic sex abuse at school | url = | last = Owen | first = Richard | date = April 26, 2007 | accessdate = 2007-08-16 |publisher = TimesOnline ]

The Netherlands

In 1989 a group of parents published allegations in a conservative magazine that their children had witnessed SRA and had been ritually abused from May, 1987 until October 1988 in Oude Pekela, a city in the north-eastern province of Groningen, the Netherlands. During the initial investigation, only the non-ritual aspects were reported in the press and investigated by the authorities and the allegations were unconfirmed. In 1989 the conservative Christian news program "Tijdsein" reported allegations that included satanic ritual abuse, to which there was no official response. After attending a conference in which the concept of satanic ritual abuse was discussed, Oude Pekela general practitioners Fred Jonker and Ietje Jonker-Bakker alleged that several children had been abused by unknown men in the context of satanic rituals. This was first reported in a lecture at the Institute of Education of London University and later published in several academic journals in both English and Dutch,cite journal | author = Jonker, F. | coauthors = Jonker-bakker, P. | year = 1991 | title = Experiences with ritualist child sexual abuse: a case study from the Netherlands | journal = Child Abuse and Neglect | volume = 15 | pages = 191–196 | url = | accessdate = 2007-10-20 | pmid =2043971 | doi = 10.1016/0145-2134(91)90064-K] [cite journal | last = Jonker F & Jonker-Bakker I | title = Onderzoek in Oude Pekela | journal = Maandblad Geestelijke volksgezondheid | volume = 49 | issue = 3 | year = 1994 | pages = 251-276] but their findings were heavily criticised by American and Dutch scholars.cite book | last = Beetstra | first = T A | chapter = Massahysterie in de Verenigde Staten en Nederland: De affaire rond de McMartin Pre-School en het ontuchtschandaal in Oude Pekela | editors = Burger P & Koetsenruijter W (Eds.) | title = Mediahypes en moderne sagen: Sterke verhalen in het nieuws | publisher = Leiden, Stichting Neerlandistiek Leiden | year = 2004 | pages =53-69 | chapterurl = | format = PDF | language = Dutch ] [ cite book | last = Crombag | first = HFM | last = Merckelbach HLGJ | title = Hervonden herinneringen en andere misverstanden | publisher = Contact, Amsterdam/Antwerpen Contact | year = 1996 | pages = 183-186] cite journal | author = Putnam, F.W. | year = 1991 | title = The Satanic Ritual Abuse Controversy. | journal = Child Abuse and Neglect: The International Journal | volume = 15 | issue = 3 | pages = 175–79 | url = | accessdate = 2008-06-10 | doi = 10.1016/0145-2134(91)90062-I] [cite journal | last = Wessel | first = I | coauthors = Merckelbach HLGJ | title = Onderzoek in Oude Pekela (2) | journal = Maandblad Geestelijke volksgezondheid | volume = 49 | issue = 5 | year = 1994 | pages = 554-6] National authorities were informed in 1991 and 1992 of the allegations, though no action was taken until the press was informed.cite news | last = Fauwe | first = L | title = Ritueel misbruik van kinderen voor satan | publisher = Het Parool | date = 1993-06-12] [citation | title = Aanhangsel tot het Verslag der Handerlingen van de Eerste/Tweede Kamer der Staten-General | volume = II | year = 1992-1993 | issue = 770] cite book |author=Nel Draijer; Suzette Boon |title=Multiple Personality Disorder in the Netherlands: A Study on Reliability and Validity of the Diagnosis |publisher=Aa Balkema |location= |year=1993 |pages= |isbn=90-265-1361-5 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=] The State Secretary of Justice responded to the allegations by appointing the "Werkgroep Ritueel Misbruik" multidisciplinary workgroup to study SRA in the Netherlands, which produced a report in 1994.citation | author = Werkgroep Ritueel Misbruik | title = Rapport van de Werkgroep Ritueel Misbruik | location = Den Haag | publisher = Ministerie van Justitie, Directie Staats- en Strafrecht | year = 1994 | pages = 65-66 flag|Netherlands | name = in Dutch] The report concluded that it was unlikely SRA had occurred or the allegations were factually true, suggested the allegations were a defence mechanism produced in part by suggestive questioning by 'believing' therapists, and that the stories were contemporary legends dispersed through a network of therapists and patients who were concerned with dissociative identity disorder.

outh Africa

Van Rooyen case

In 1990, Gert van Rooyen and his accomplice were accused of murdering several young girls, ultimately committing suicide while running from the police. [cite news | url = | publisher = IOL | title = The sins of the father: a dark legacy | date = 2007-04-08 | accessdate = 2008-01-23 ] One of the accused's stepson was later himself accused of murdering a Zimbabwean girl in 1991; the same son claimed his father's victims were involved in international child pornography rings, slavery and Satanism ritual, claims which were partly corroborated with further investigation. [cite news | title = Police take down paedophile's "house of horrors" brick by brick | date = 1996-05-13 | publisher = Agence France-Presse] [cite news | last = Clark | first = L | title = van Rooyen spotlight on 'confession' | url = | publisher = Cape Argus | date = 2007-04-08 | accessdate = 2008-01-23 ] The case was so similar to crimes committed by Marc Dutroux that multiple agencies investigated a possible international smuggling ring in prostituted children and body parts. [cite news | title = South African police probe possible body-part smuggling ring | publisher = Agence France-Presse | date = 1996-08-21]

United Kingdom

There have been a number of cases in the United Kingdom in which SRA has been alleged. Some of these cases have garnered significant media attention, and they are listed below.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children document allegations of ritual abuse in 1990, with the publication of survey findings that, of 66 child protection teams in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, 14 teams had received reports of ritual abuse from children and seven of them were working directly with children who had been ritually abused, sometimes in groups of 20. [Libby Jukes and Richard Duce, NSPCC says ritual child abuse is rife, The Times, 13 March 1990] An investigation into SRA allegations by the British government produced over two hundred reports, of which only three were substantiated and proved to be examples of pseudosatanic, in which sexual abuse was the actual motivation and the rituals were incidental. [cite book |author=La Fontaine, J S. |title=The extent and nature of organised and ritual abuse: research findings |publisher=HMSO |location=London |year=1994 |pages= |isbn=0-11-321797-8 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=2008-04-29|url = ] cite book |author=LaFontaine, J. S. |title=Speak of the Devil: allegations of satanic abuse in Britain |publisher=Cambridge University Press |location=Cambridge, UK |year=1998 |pages= |isbn=0521629349 |oclc= |doi=]


The Cleveland child abuse scandal featured allegations of SRA. [Lafontaine, 1998, p. 18]


In 1990 there was a case in Rochdale which around twenty children were removed from their homes by social services who alleged the existence of SRA after discovering 'satanic indicators'. No evidence was found of satanic apparatus' and charges were dismissed when a court ruled the allegations were untrue. The children who were removed from their homes sued the city council in 2006 for compensation and an apology. [cite news |first= Paul |last=Lewis |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= 'Satanic abuse' case families sue council for negligence |url=,,1684205,00.html |publisher=The Guardian |date=2006-01-12 |accessdate = 2007-10-23 ]


In 1990-1991 nine children suspected of being sexually abused by their families and an alleged child abuse ring were removed by social services in Orkney. The abuse was also alleged to involve "ritualistic elements".cite news | title = Orkney abuse scandal victim to sue for lost youth | last = Thompson | first = Tanya | publisher = The Scotsman | date= 2006-09-11 | accessdate = 2007-11-21 | url = ] The parents approached the media and made the case national and international news. In April 1991, a sheriff ruled that the evidence was seriously flawed and the children were returned home. In June, social services successfully appealed the sheriff's ruling, but the case was not pursued to the criminal courts.Fact|date=November 2007

In 1992, the case was subject to an official inquiry. The report found that the conduct of the workers during the removal was proper. [ Clyde, Lord (1992) "The Report of the Inquiry into the Removal of Children from Orkney in February 1991," Edinburgh: HMSO, p 349] However, a 1994 government report based on three years of research found that there was no foundation to the many claims of Satanic abuse.


In Nottingham, a Broxtowe family was charged with multigenerational child sexual abuse and neglect. A 600-page report on the incident concluded that there was no evidence of the claims made by children or corroborating adults. Though the children may have been 'sadistically terrorized', allegations of organized satanic abuse were found to be baseless and the indicators used by the Social Services department were without validity. [citation | last = Thorpe | first = W. | coauthors = Gwatkin, J.B., Glenn, W.P. & Gregory, M.F. | date= 1990-06-07 | title = Revised Joint Enquiry Report | url = | accessdate = 2007-10-23 | publisher = Nottinghamshire Social Services ]


In 2003 allegations by three children in Lewis, Scotland resulted in the arrest of eight people for sexual abuse occurring between 1990 and 2000. A 2005 investigation by the Social Work Inspection Agency found extensive evidence of sexual, physical and emotional abuse and neglect.cite news | first = Alan | last = Crawford | title = Three children on the Isle of Lewis were sexually abused for years | url = | publisher=The Sunday Herald |date= 2005-10-09 | accessdate = 2007-11-13 ] Police investigation resulted in allegations of an island-wide "Satanic paedophile ring",cite news |first= Lorna |last= Martin |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Satanic abuse key witness says: I lied | url =,,1879884,00.html | publisher=The Guardian |date= |accessdate = 2007-08-21 ] though charges were dropped nine months later following an inconclusive investigation.

A key witness who had implicated her family in the abuse and whose evidence was "vital" to the case of satanic abuse recanted her testimony in 2006cite news |first= Howie |last= Michael | title = Police deny putting pressure on 'satanic abuse' witness | url = | publisher = The Scotsman |date= 2006-09-25 | accessdate = 2007-11-13 ] and the media raised questions about the nature of the police interviewing techniques. with a police spokesperson replying that the witness was questioned appropriately and that allegations were made by numerous witnesses.

United States

In the United States, major allegations of Satanic ritual abuse occurred in the Kern County child abuse cases, McMartin preschool trial and the West Memphis 3, which garnered world-wide media coverage.

Jordan, Minnesota

The first such case occurred in Jordan, Minnesota, in 1983, where several children made allegations against an unrelated man and their parents. The man confessed and then identified a number of the children’s parents as perpetrators. Ultimately twenty four adults were charged with child abuse though only three went to trial with two acquittals and one conviction.cite web | url = | title = Supreme Court Collection at Cornell University Law School | last = Scalia | first = Antonin | authorlink = Antonin Scalia | coauthors = Brennan, William, Marshall, Thurgood & Stevens, John Paul | accessdate = 2007-10-23 | date= 1990-06-27 | format = html | language = english ] Despite strong medical findings of sexual assault, all other charges were dropped after the young child witnesses decompensated under the duress of the criminal trial. [cite conference
first = S.
last = Satterfield
title = The legal child abuse in the Jordan, Minnesota, sex ring case
place = Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. Albuguergue, NM
year = 1985

During the investigation, the children made allegations regarding the manufacturing of child pornography, ritualistic animal sacrifice, coprophagia, urophagia and infanticide, at which point the Federal Bureau of Investigation was alerted. [cite book |author=Hechler, David |title=The battle and the backlash: the child sexual abuse war |publisher=Lexington Books |location=Lexington, Mass |year=1988 |pages= |isbn=066914097X |oclc= |doi=] No criminal charges resulted from the FBI investigation, and in his review of the case, the Attorney General noted that the initial investigation by the local police and county attorney was so poor that it had destroyed the opportunity to fully investigate the children’s allegations. [citation | last = Humphrey | first = Herbert | year = 1985 | title = Report on Scott County investigations | location = Minneapolis, MN | publisher = Minnesota Attorney General's Office ] A special commission later reviewed the conduct of the county attorney in dismissing charges against the remaining defendants, noting that it was likely that other charges would have been successfully prosecuted. [Commission Established by Executive Order No. 85-10 1985, quoted in
last = Hechler
first = David
title = The Battle and the Backlash: The Child Sexual Abuse War
publisher = Lexington Books
date = 1988
location = Massachusetts; Toronto
isbn = 978-0669213621
] In response, the county attorney argued that she lacked the personnel to investigate the children’s disclosures of capital crimes, including murder, whilst also managing multiple sexual abuse cases. [cite conference
first = Roland
last = Summit
booktitle = Ritualistic Child Abuse: A report on the seminar presented by Professor Roland Summit for the New South Wales Child Protection Council, Sydney
pages = 14
publisher = NSW Child Protection Council, Australia
date = 1994

Supreme Court Justice Scalia referred to the Minnesota case in his summation on a later case, and stated, " [t] here is no doubt that some sexual abuse took place in Jordan; but there is no reason to believe it was as widespread as charged," and cited the repeated, well-intentioned but coercive techniques used by the investigators as damaging to the investigation. The bizarre allegations of the children, the ambiguities of the investigation and the unsuccessful prosecutions were widely covered by the media. A number of accused parents confessed to sexually abusing their children, received immunity, and underwent treatment for sexual abuse, whilst parental rights for six other children in the case were terminated.cite journal | author = Faller, K.C. | year = 2004 | title = Sexual Abuse of Children: Contested Issues and Competing Interests | journal = Criminal Justice Review | volume = 29 | issue = 2 | pages = 358 | url = | accessdate = 2007-10-23 | doi = 10.1177/073401680402900206]

Hosanna Church, New Orleans

In December, 2007 Austin Trey Bernard was found guilty of in the rape his son and daughter, convicted despite a not guilty plea on the basis of three previous confessions and a detailed diary of his actions. [cite news | title = First charged in devil worshiping rituals convicted | publisher = The Associated Press | date = 2007-12-04 | url = | accessdate=2008-04-13] The allegations came to light upon the confession of one of the defendants. [cite news | last =Grinberg | first =Emanuella | title = Claims of brainwashing, child abuse and a cult-like sex ring to be aired in court | newspaper = Court TV | date = 2005-08-03 | url = | accessdate=2008-04-13] Bernard confessed to sexual abuse of the children as well as satanically-themed ritualistic abuse including the use of animal parts and blood.cite news | last =Ellzey | first =Don | title =Agents graphically describe abuse | publisher = Hammond Star | date= November 30 2007 | url = | accessdate=2008-04-13] The room had been decorated with pentagrams that were partially destroyedcite news|url= |title=Sex Charges Follow a Church's Collapse |author=RICK LYMAN |date=May 25, 2005 |work=New York Times] song lyrics and bible verses.

ee also

* File 18
* Pace memorandum


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