M.V.M.O. SATANIC RITUAL ABUSE (SRA) HOAX
ISLAND OF LEWIS, SCOTLAND
Aftermath of the arrests
Aftermath of the arrests:
On 2004-JUL-13, the Western Isles Council called in a group of
independent social work officials to review the handling of this case. The
Council issued a statement which said, in part:
"The council had agreed last
November that this would be the procedure following the end of the recent child
protection case. As one of the initial stages of the process, the council has
invited the Social Work Services Inspectorate (SWSI) to play a role in
independently analysing the involvement of the local authority and work will
start on that later this week. The SWSI report will come back to the Child
Protection Committee next month which will make recommendations for any further
Council leader Alex MacDonald said: "This is in line with the council's aim
of continuous development in delivering responsibilities for children's
The residents of the island remain divided.
Rosie Waterhouse of The Guardian
quotes a mother of two small children said at the local pub: "There must have
been something in it; the police must have had evidence to make arrests."
"Angus" believes that most islanders want the all the accused to leave. He said:
"These charges of pedophilia and child sex rings have brought the island into
disrepute." Commenting on SRA, he said: "I don't believe in that rubbish
myself. But we all knew the Campbells were white witches [a.k.a
Wiccans]. We all heard this was what the neighbors
were saying before they moved to this part of Lewis."
Ian Campbell, one of
the accused men, said:
"The way we were as a family has changed. I find it
hard to be close to the kids like I used to be. I can't hug them like I used to.
Even now I worry that holding my daughter's hand in the street is going to be
interpreted as something different. To be called a pedophile, it's like a
sickness inside. I have lost control of my life and I have become very angry. I
was also very frightened. When the police were interviewing me about devil
worshipping, animal sacrifice and the Satanic stuff, they just believed it was
true. It was like a 17th-century witch hunt. If this had happened then, Penny
and I would have been burned at the stake." 2
2004-OCT: Information about an accuser: An investigation by Stephen Breen of the newspaper "Scotland on Sunday" blew
the case wide open -- ironically on 2004-OCT-31 -- Halloween. He wrote:
"A woman whose claims of Satanic child sex abuse helped put eight people
in the dock had a history of making false allegations, which was known to
police, Scotland on Sunday can reveal."
"Angela Stretton was the key police witness in the Lewis abuse case which
collapsed this summer with charges against all the accused being dropped."
"An investigation by this newspaper has revealed that Stretton was convicted
making false allegations of child abuse in 1987, and that Scots police were
aware of her track record of false claims before deciding to press charges."
"Last night, several of the accused - some of whom are suing for compensation
demanded to know why they were dragged through the courts by social workers
police on the evidence of a discredited witness....."
"Police documents seen by this newspaper show that Stretton told police that
Satanic rituals were used in the abuse, and that adults were filmed having sex
with children. The evidence included lurid claims of drinking blood, orgies, and
Scotland on Sunday reports that Stretton was fined 100 Pounds in 1987 after
admitting in court that she make hoax calls to emergency services involving
allegations of incest. 3 The
Northern Constabulary said that Stretton had also made claims that resulted in
others being convicted of criminal offenses. 4
2005-OCT: Social Work Inspection Agency
report issued: This report covering the Lewis Island cases was actually
released to libraries across the UK in August. However, after some of its
contents were leaked to the press and a legal challenge from the Western
Isles Council, the copies were recalled and the issuance of new copies
was delayed until October. The Agency concluded that:
Three young girls involved in the case had
been neglected, physically abused, and sexually abused.
The BBC stated that: "Social work
inspectors said those dealing with the case lacked expertise and that
the children should have been removed from their home much earlier."
Alexis Jay, the agency's chief inspector,
said: "We found evidence of physical abuse, emotional abuse and
neglect as well as symptoms and behavior which strongly suggested sexual
abuse. We believe that all these three children were repeatedly sexually
The report found that information was
shared among various professionals who were involved with the children.
However, it was not acted upon.
The report makes 31 recommendations. 5
Scanning the entire 162 page report, we found
no references to topics which were to become the foundation of the police
investigation. Words such as "satanic" "occult" "pagan" or "wicca" do not
appear anywhere in the report's text. In an appendix, at page 148, we found one instance where a teacher
that reported that one of the children said she knew "bad people" and
described being "tied up by family friends." It is unknown
whether this refers to some children's games, or whether it refers to abuse
and molestation by adults. Also, on Page 102 of the
report, there is a reference to one of the mothers describing "...abuse
of her children and others as part of various rituals conducted by numbers
of adults." There do not appear to be any other reference to ritual
abuse elsewhere in the report. However, there are questions in the report whether her
statement can be regarded as meaningful.
Appendix 5 contains an extensive bibliography
which includes a 1984 article by R.C. Summit on "The child sexual abuse
accommodation syndrome." That paper had been based on earlier research
into interview techniques that should be used on children in cases of suspected sexual
abuse. Subsequent studies showed that those same interview techniques had often led
to false accusations. The syndrome has since been abandoned by child care workers,
child psychologists, and police interviewers everywhere, except perhaps in
Lewis Island and similar isolated communities. We were surprised to see the syndrome surface again in the 21st
We suspect that one or more social workers or police
officers involved in the Lewis Island cases was a strong believer in
Ritual Abuse (SRA). Further, she or he lumped religious Satanism, Paganism and
Wicca together and assumed that all were perpetrators in SRA. Although the
SRA hoax was
widespread in the 1980s and early 1990s, it has long since been exposed as a
hoax elsewhere in the world. Thus, in the Island of Lewis during 2003, a child protection case
involving child sexual abuse had morphed into a search for Wiccans, Witches
and Satanists who were guilty of ritual abuse.
Because of the discredited child interview techniques used on the children,
all of the their disclosures are now suspect and probably cannot be used in a
court case. The adults responsible for the sexual abuse of the children will
probably never be tried for their crimes. Meanwhile, for the foreseeable
future, the community will probably continue suspect the falsely accused of
committing ritual abuse.
"An inspection into the care and protection of children in Eilean Siar,"
Social Work Inspection Agency, 2005-AUG, at:
http://www.swia.gov.uk/ This is a PDF file. You may require software to read it. Software can be obtained free from:
R. C. Summit, "The child sexual abuse
accommodation syndrome," Child Abuse and Neglect, (1984) 7, Pages 177-193.