RITUAL ABUSE CASE
Dale Akiki was a 36-year-old man in 1991 who was employed as a naval supply worker.
He also volunteered at Faith Chapel in Spring Valley CA as a Sunday school
baby-sitter and helper. He was accused by children at the church of abuse. The first
Deputy District Attorney assigned to the case decided that there was not sufficient
evidence to prosecute the case. There are allegations that the grandfather of some of the
alleged victims is a prominent citizen of San Diego who had financially supported the
District Attorney, Ed. Miller. After a alleged personal meeting with Miller, the case was
reassigned to Deputy District Attorney Mary Avery who brought charges against
During an extensive series of therapy sessions, the children began to tell stories of
Akiki mutilating and/or killing a baby, an elephant, [!] a giraffe and rabbits in their
presence. They also said that he had kidnapped them, taken them in his car, raped them,
dunked them in feces-filled toilets, sodomized them with curling irons and toy firetruck
ladders, forced them to play naked sex games, hung them upside down, threatened them with
guns and knives, urinated on them, and assaulted them with blood torture rituals. All of this abuse allegedly occurred during a
series of 90 minute Sunday school classes. Actually, the available time to transport and
abuse the children would have been less than 90 minutes, because considerable time would
have been needed to clean up the children and to calm them down so that they would not
have been hysterical when their parents returned. None of their parents or the Sunday
school supervisor observed any abuse. Sodomizing young children would have had to have
left massive telltale evidence of abuse. But no physical evidence was ever introduced at
Due to a genetic defects, Dale is developmentally handicapped, his chest is concave,
and his head is unusually large. He is unable to drive. He does not own a car and has no
license. 43 counts of child abuse were laid. Other adult co-conspirators were accused but
Akiki spent 30 months behind bars waiting for a trial. After a 7 month trial, the jury
deliberated for 7 hours and acquitted him of 35 charges involving dozens of children. The
jury lashed out at the prosecutors for bringing the case to trial in spite of the complete
lack of physical evidence. It was the longest and most expensive trial in San Diego
history. Six months later, District Attorney Ed Miller was turned out of office after
receiving only 11% of the popular vote. Public backlash over ritual abuse cases has been
blamed for his defeat. With 23 years of service, he was the longest serving District
Attorney in the history of California.
Like so many other cases alleging ritual abuse of multiple children, the Akiki case was
fueled by a public panic. One additional likely factor was Dale's appearance, which might
have triggered the parents at the Sunday school into believing that he had abused their
The 1993-1994 San Diego Grand Jury report included an analysis of the Akiki case. They
||[Child] "therapists were not only trying to treat the children but they were
also attempting to be criminal investigators." The prosecutor had asked the
therapists to "provide more disclosures of abuse." A consensus exists
among experts in child interview techniques that the therapy and investigative functions must
be kept separate.
||At least one therapist coached the children's parents to use an "empty chair"
routine at home so that the "child could accuse Dale Akiki and act out her anger
toward him in effigy...The pressures on the children were enormous."
||The San Diego County Ritual Abuse Task Force actively promoted their belief that
the ritual abuse of children was widespread in the area. They
contributed greatly to the public hysteria over this issue. Many members of this group
played major roles in the Akiki case: they included the head of the Child Abuse Unit who
originally assigned the case, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case and
several of the therapists. "Selection of the therapists was directed by the
prosecutor who provided the list of [publicly funded] CAPF therapists from which parents
chose. The list contained people who had compatible beliefs. In addition, these therapists
were asked by the prosecutor to attend a ritual abuse seminar in Orange County in order to
become more knowledgeable about the occult.
||There was "blatant disregard" by of therapists to follow sound
interviewing procedures when working with children.
No ritual abuse was ever found in the San Diego area. In fact the Grand Jury concluded:
"There is no justification for the further pursuit of the theory of satanic ritual
child molestation in the investigation and prosecution of child sexual abuse cases."
||to discontinue the use of the Interagency Investigative Team Protocol developed
by the MV/MP [Multi-Victim, Multi-Perpetrator] Ritualistic Abuse Task Force
||refraining from the use of the theoretical concept of Satanic ritual child molestation
as the basis of criminal prosecutions.
Of course, all of these recommendations came too late to prevent Dale Akiki's two and a
half years of imprisonment for crimes that never happened. And they came too late for the
many dozens of children who are now suffering from false, implanted memories of the most
horrendous forms of sexual abuse.
Dale and Sharon Akiki's brought a civil lawsuit against San Diego County, Faith
Chapel Church, 9 therapists, Children's Hospital, businessman Jack
his wife Mary Goodall. The action was settled out of court in 1995-JAN. The county's share
of the settlement, which is believed to be less that 40% of the total award, was $768,750.
Dianne Jacobs, the Board of Supervisors chairperson for the County commented: "This
good faith, out-of-court settlement is a sensible alternative to protracted litigations.
It is in the best interest of the Akiki family and all parties involved, and avoids what
surely would have been a lengthy and costly court fight."
Reappearance of the hoax:
After eight years of relative peace, allegations of ritual abuse and Satanic
Ritual Abuse have once more surfaced in the San Diego area. The International
Conference on Family Violence is an international meeting which was expected
to draw 1,500 social workers, therapists, prosecutors, defense attorneys,
doctors, nurses and police. It was held in San Diego during the week of
2002-SEP-29. Three agencies are organizing the conference, including Children's Institute
International (CII), the group that diagnosed 360 children as having been
ritually abused in the McMartin Preschool case. There
are dozens of "conference collaborating organizations" involved in the
conference, including: the California Attorney General's Office; the
American Bar Association; the American Academy of Pediatrics; the
American Psychological Association; the SDSU School of Social Work;
and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Two sessions at the
conference will focus on promoting the concept of ritual abuse.
Local District Attorney Paul Pfingst has expressed concerns that this widely
attended and influential conference would feature workshops on ritual abuse. He
has seen no evidence that such cases exist. He said: "This theory was
completely debunked in the early '90s. It created so much harm in San Diego and
across the country, and to see it even start to emerge again is very
disturbing....If someone wants to go back to teaching that
Satanic ritual abuse claptrap, we're going to have a serious discussion
about whether law enforcement in San Diego should respond and expose it for what
The conference program states that "Ritual abuse cases are coming into the
system through the accounts of adult survivors, in child-custody disputes, day
care and isolated neighborhood cases." Robert Geffner, conference director,
said that ritual abuse is recognized as valid by "most people in the field."
He defended the inclusion of the workshops. He said: "Our goal is to address
certain controversial topics instead of suppressing them under the rug."
One workshop, "Psychotherapy and Ritual Abuse Survivors," was led by
psychologist Ellen Lachter, marriage-and-family therapist Mary Battles, and a
ritual abuse "survivor." They consider "ritual abuse as a
prevalent problem in Western and other cultures."
Another workshop, "Childhood Ritual Abuse," was be led by Jeanne Adams
of Ogden, Utah, a ritual abuse "survivor," Dawn Mattox of the Special
Victim's Bureau, Butte County, CA, District Attorney's office; and Anne Hart
of the agency, "Mothers of Lost Children." The conference program states
that Adams will discuss "the cult experience and the governmental mind
control experimentation used on children."
Jeffrey Younggren, a Los Angeles clinical psychologist had warned state
officials in the early 1990s that ritual-abuse allegations constituted a hoax.
He said that the two workshops appear appear to "tarnish what otherwise looks
like an excellent conference....It's amazing to me that this ritual-abuse stuff
never seems to go away."
||Laura Mecoy, McClatchy News Service, "Backlash Builds Over Abuse Claims; The
Public is no Longer Buying Ritual Cases", San Jose Mercury News, 1994-JUN-13.
||Carol Hopkins, Apple Boycott 2nd Press Release", Posting to the Witchhnt
mailing list, 1995-NOV-28. See: http://user.aol.com/doughskept/witchhunt/apple_boycott.txt
||"San Diego's Local Scene", San Diego Daily Transcript, 1995-JAN-31.
||Mark Sauer, "Abuse or unfounded fear? Either way, talks to delve
into ritual child
torture," The San Diego Union-Tribune. 2001-SEP-21, Page E-1.
Copyright © 1996, 1997, and 2000 to 2002 incl., by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2002-OCT-1
Author: B.A. Robinson