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Ritual abuse

The "Paul Ingram" ritual abuse case, Olympia, WA

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bullet "This inmate is innocent. There has never been any credible evidence that he led a satanic cult that murdered 25 babies. There has never been any credible evidence that he abused his children. Paul Ingram is simply the victim of Washington State‚€™s most successful witch-hunt." Tom Grant 10

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Paul R. Ingram of Olympia WA was charged and convicted on 6 counts of 3rd degree child rape involving his two daughters. He pleaded guilty to all counts, and received a 20 year sentence. He attempted to reverse his plea, but was unable to do so. Ingram appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court for permission to withdraw his guilty plea; his appeal was rejected. He unsuccessfully applied for a pardon. He was finally released from prison on 2003-APR-8, after having served. Many investigators believe that he is not guilty of any of the counts; further, they believe that the child rape never happened.

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The case:

The 1988 charges against Ingram caused an absolute sensation among people who follow ritual abuse cases. This was the first known instance of a person actually pleading guilty to Satanic Ritual Abuse. Ingram was a sheriff's deputy in Olympia, WA, and local official in the Republican party.

At the time of the accusations, Ingram's older daughter, Ericka, was 21 years of age; her sister, Julie, was 18. Ericka had made an accusation which had arisen from discussions at a church camp. She had accused a man of attempted rape in 1983, but the police investigation revealed that he had only given Ericka a ride and had put his hand on her knee. In 1988, she attended a Pentecostal youth retreat for teenage women called Heart to Heart. A woman with prophetic and discernment powers told her that she had been sexually abused by her father. Ericka had no memories of such abuse, but went into counseling with a therapist who used Recovered Memory Therapy to attempt to restore abuse memories that had been repressed. She was able to recover memories of Satanic Ritual Abuse involving her father which started when she was about 5 and continued until one year previously. Later she remembered that the abuse continued until just before she left home. She recalled that she had caught a sexually transmitted disease from her father and had been treated for it by two doctors: one in California and the other in Olympia.  In 1985, Julie had claimed to have been sexually abused by a neighbor. The prosecutor dropped the charges because of inconsistencies in Julie's stories. In 1988, she disclosed long term abuse by her father. The sisters accused their father and his "poker buddies" who played a game every week at the Ingram home. One of the buddies was a vehicle mechanic who worked for the state; the others were mostly fellow police officers. Both sisters left home. Paul was then arrested and interrogated by his fellow police officers.

Ingram attended the Church of Living Water. They taught two religious concepts that were to cause him incredible problems later:
bullet That Satan can cause a person to commit terrible acts, and then wipe their memory clean afterwards.

bullet That any memories that he recovered would be accurate. God would prevent him from recovering false memories.

Over time, with the use of sleep deprivation and interview techniques verging on hypnosis, the interrogators convinced Ingram that he suffered from multiple personality and had repressed the memories of the abuse. He believed that he had brought up his daughters to always tell the truth. He concluded that he must be guilty, but that Satan had wiped the memory from his mind. During the interrogation, he confessed how he might have done these terrible crimes, but maintained that he had no memory of having actually done them.

At various times during the interrogation, he recovered images of killing a cat and murdering a prostitute.

Various sources report that:
bullet His daughters recalled that her mother Sandy had taken a relatively passive role in the abuse.

bullet Erica allegedly recalled details of Satanic ceremonies in which 6 to 8 month old babies or fetuses were sacrificed. She remembered being being forced to have sex with animals while her mother joined in. She believes that she was present at 850 Satanic rituals which included about 25 infant sacrifices. She recalls becoming pregnant, being tied down to the table, aborted with a coat hanger. She recovered a memory of watching the Satanists chop up the fetus and eat it. But she was unable to remember any of the words to the Satanic chants, or even whether she stood or sat during the almost 1000 rituals.

bullet Julie and Erica both recalled having become pregnant and having abortions. They claimed that they had scars all over their body from the years of abuse.

bullet Julie accused one of her father's friends, Jim Rabie of abusing her. She was unable to recall any tattoos or scars on his body. But Jim has a "rope like, 3 inch [wide] keloidal [large, red] scar" across his chest - the result of a massive electrical shock that nearly killed him 20 years previously. Julie said that she never changed clothes in the school locker room and always wore a T-shirt over her bathing suit, because she was so self-conscious about her scars. A medical exam showed no evidence of abortions and no marks on either daughter except for Ericka's small scar which was caused by an operation to remove an ovarian cyst (some sources say inflamed appendix).

bullet Julie had told her mother that the father's assaults had ended five years earlier. After having been informed about the statute of limitations, she changed her story, and told police that the last assault was three years previous.

bullet Ericka had originally said that the abuse ended in 1975. But she later told police that she had caught the STD from her father in 1987.

bullet Paul confessed to cutting the bleeding heart out of a live cat, to killing a prostitute in Seattle in 1983, and to being involved in the Green River killings. The Green River Task Force studied Paul‚€™s statement, but found nothing that matched the facts of the case. 10

bullet The sisters drew maps of Ingram's back yard where they remembered the bodies of the sacrificed victims were buried. The police excavated the yard but found no evidence of bodies or of disturbed earth. 10


At one point, a forensic archaeologist, Dr. Mark Papworth, said to Undersheriff Neil McClanahan that there was no evidence:

"On this one occasion I said, 'Neil, there‚€™s no evidence. None at all. Zero.' And he said to me. 'If you were the devil would you leave any evidence?' and, I, my hair stood on end and I realized at that point there was no talking to him beyond that and I excused myself." 10

The prosecutors hired Dr. Richard Ofshe to help them with the case. Dr. Ofshe is a world-class memory researcher, and a specialist in the tactics of coercion. He has studied Chinese Communist brainwashing techniques and recruitment methods of political groups and religious sects. He began to suspect that Ingram was delusional. Ofshe designed a test: he confirmed with Ingram's son and two daughters that at no time had their father forced them to have sex with each other. He asked their father whether he had done such an act. He also denied it. Dr. Ofshe then asked him to go back to his cell and think about it. Ingram did this. He entered a trance-like state, generated a detailed scenario about how he might have forced his children to have sex with each other, composed a multi-page confession, and signed it. 8This convinced Dr. Ofshe that Ingram was delusional.

There is a second independent proof that Ingram's recollections were not real memories. When he described one of the abuse scenes, an interrogator asked him what time the rape took place. In his mind, he "zeroed in" on one of the perpetrator's arms and read the time off of his watch dial. Data simply cannot be obtained from old memories in this way. (Recall an event last year where many people were present; now try to zero in on someone's watch and read the time). Ingram's "memories" were simply fantasies created to satisfy the interrogators; they were unrelated to real events.

The prosecution wisely decided to ignore all of the Satanic evidence and simply charge Ingram with 6 charges of rape. Including the Satanic abuse would probably cause the prosecution credibility problems. Ingram entered a plea of guilty in order to minimize his daughters' pain. He was convinced that he must have abused them as they described, even though his memories were unclear. He did not want to force them to go through the emotional strain of a trial. The prosecution proudly proclaimed that they had uncovered "the first ritual abuse investigation that has been confirmed by an adult offender involved directly with the offenses in the nation's history".

Jim Rabie and Ray Risch, two of his poker friends, were released from jail after having been incarcerated for 158 days. Charges against them were dropped. The reason given was that Ingram's two daughters were too traumatized to testify. Years afterwards, the men still lived in Olympia, and many of the townsfolk considered them to be guilty. Jim Rabie had a business in which he supplied lobbying services in support of law enforcement; it went bankrupt. Unfortunately, by the time that Dr. Ofshe issued his report which showed that these memories were false, Ingram had already confessed to the crimes. When Ingram finally figured out that his "memories" were of events that did not happen, he attempted to reverse his plea. But laws in Washington state prevent a person from changing a guilty plea. Paul Ingram has written several letters to his church: the Church of Living Water. He asked them to meet with members of the Ingram Organization which is trying to have him released from prison. He allegedly had not received a reply.

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Later developments:

In 1994, Lawrence Wright wrote a riveting series of articles about the Ingram case in the New Yorker magazine; these were subsequently published in book form. 1 He received an award from Northwestern University for his reporting. Carol Burns, a resident of Olympia WA has created a documentary videotape about the case. 2 The Washington State Pardons Board heard a submission from Ingram, his son, memory experts Dr. Elizabeth Loftus & Dr. Richard Ofshe, the Sheriff of Thurston County, Gary Edwards, and author Lawrence Wright. He remained in prison in Delaware for 14 years. Being a former police officer, he would not have been safe if he were incarcerated in a Washington State prison.

The Board's decision was delivered on 1996-DEC-13th in Olympia, WA. The 5 member panel voted: 2 against recommending parole, one for parole and one abstention. The Chairperson did not reveal her vote.  He spent his time in prison teaching literacy to other prisoners, and revamping the Delaware correctional facilities' computer systems. During the summer of 1999, Paul's father died. He was not allowed to attend the funeral. His mother died on 2003-JAN-2. He was released on 2003-APR-8, at the age of 57, and relocated to Spokane, WA. He has been offered jobs in Maine, Colorado and Oregon. But because Paul is a sex offender, other states are unwilling to take him. The Spokane Police Department issued a news release which assumed that Paul Ingram was guilty of the charges against him. 9 They referred to him as a "Level III offender" -- the most dangerous kind. They stated that:

"The Department of Corrections has determined Ingram is not amenable to treatment....He will be supervised by the Department of Corrections for the next 12 months....Because of his history, Ingram is considered to be a high risk to re-offend."

The police sponsored a neighborhood meeting on APR-15, "in response to resident concerns..." Dan Brailey, founder of the Ingram Organization, attended the meeting. He said that he was "floored by people and their emotions." He said that one woman was worried because Ingram had been a law enforcement officer. She asked the group what would prevent Ingram from putting on a McGruff outfit and luring children into his house. The police have published his approximate location, thus almost guaranteeing harassment by a frightened public. He cannot travel without first obtaining permission. He must meet with an officer from the sex offender unit five to ten times a month, and enroll in a sex offender treatment program. Station KXLY, the local ABC affiliate, has given Ingram positive coverage and pressed for an investigation of his case. Mark Fuhrman, a well known retired police detective, devoted one of his two hour radio shows to the Ingram case, during which he interviewed  Dr. Ofshe, Dan Brailey, and a co-defendant Jim Rabie. Fuhrman also doubts Ingram's guilt.

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  1. An excellent www page devoted to the Paul Ingram case is at:
  2. Lawrence Wright, "Remembering Satan", Knopf, New York NY (1994) Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  3. Carol Burns, "Crimes of Imagination". This is a documentary videotape that uses extensive excerpts from the audio tapes made during Paul Ingram's interrogation. Cost for the tape and annotated transcript is US$32.00. Available from Carol Burns, 4311 Cooper Pt. Rd. NW, Olympia, WA 98502
  4. Debbie Nathan & Michael Snendeker, "Satan's Silence", BasicBooks, New York NY (1995), P. 170
  5. Mark Pendergrast, "Victims of Memory", 2nd Edition, Upper Access Books, Hinesburg VT (1996)
  6. Daniel Brailey, Founder, Ingram Organization, PO BOX 7465, Spokane WA, 99207. E-mail: Web site:
  7. Marla Williamsand Susan Gilmore, "Inmate makes a last bid to clear his name", Seattle Times, 1996-JUN-6. Available at:
  8. A web site which deals with trances is at:
  9. "News Releases," Spokane Police Department, 2003-APR-21, at:  This is a temporary listing.
  10. Tom Grant, "Imagining Satan,", 2003-MAR-31, at:

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Copyright © 1996 to 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2013-NOV-14
Author: B.A. Robinson

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