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Charges dropped.
Were the children abused?

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Charges dropped:

On 2004-JUL-1, the charges against all of the adults were dropped. The Crown Office stated: ''Following a thorough investigation by the procurator fiscal and careful consideration of all the available evidence, Crown counsel instructed no proceedings be taken in this case. The procurator fiscal has been in contact with the local social work department and the children's reporter to ensure all relevant information is provided to those authorities responsible for ongoing care of the children." No apology was given to those falsely accused.

Penny Campbell, wife of one of the accused viewed the Crown's action as the worst possible scenario. She said: "It should have gone to court because now our names will never be cleared." Peter Nelson and Penny Campbell stated to reporters that they were interrogated about alleged animal sacrifice and ritualistic ceremonies. Penny said: "They did ask me about animal sacrifices and I think that was the one point when I actually started to laugh. I couldn't help it. It just sounded so ridiculous.'' She objected to the statement issued by the Western Isles Council, which thanked the community for the ''dignified way'' in which it had responded to the case. Referring to the harassment by some in the community, she said: "They seem to have completely dismissed what we have suffered."

The Lewis case appears to be an almost exact repeat of previously discredited SRA hoaxes in Bishop Auckland, Cleveland, Newcastle, Nottingham, Rochdale, Orkey and Pembroke. No evidence of Satanic ritual abuse was found in those cases. All but two of the children involved in these cases were returned home. Those scandals prompted the UK government to commission a study of childhood ritual abuse in 1991. Professor Jean La Fontaine headed a team at Manchester University which evaluated all known recent British ritual abuse cases. She issued her report in 1994, which concluded that:
bulletNo evidence exists for Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) in England.
bulletThree cases involving child molesters were found in which the perpetrators pretended to be Satanists in order to better control their child victims.
bulletUnfounded rumors of SRA had been spread on the basis of dubious information.
bulletSome Evangelical Christians, psychologists, childcare workers, and health-care professionals were held responsible for the myth.
bulletThe SRA myth deflected care and concern away form the real plight of many abused children.

Forensic criminologist Bill Thompson sees many points of similarities to an earlier case that he worked on in the Orkneys. He attributes the Lewis hoax to obsolete and unreliable methods of interrogating young children.

bulletHe is reported as saying: ''I can say without fear of contradiction that they used the same methods and same techniques [in the Lewis case] as they used on Orkney. The methodology is invariably the same....Whatever we think about rape and the failure to convict rapists, the idea of accusing somebody without thorough investigation has to be seriously questioned.''
bulletDuring another interview he is reported as saying: "This is not the first case since the Orkney scandal [when similar accusations of satanic child abuse were made and later dropped] in which the allegations were constructed on the basis of interview techniques that have long been discredited and fly in the face of all the rules that are supposed to define how children and adults are questioned."
bulletReferring to disclosure therapy that was used on the accusing children in this case by the National Children's Home and the social service, he said: ''What has to be asked is whether the guidelines for the interview techniques have been broken?" He suggests that this case is a duplicate of a ritual abuse scare in Orkney which turned out to be a hoax. He said: ''It will be the same methodology. It always is. What it boils down to is a social worker or police officer starts asking leading questions and this then sets off a whole series of speculations.'' 1
bulletHe said that the accusations against the adults, which involved animal sacrifices, snuff
movies, devil worship and child rape, were ''classic textbook Satanic allegations which have been disproved everywhere.'' 2
bulletHe suggested that the police release recordings of the interviews made with the children. He suggests that this is the only way to determine whether the investigators had asked leading questions. Only the release of this information is liable to clear the names of those falsely accused. He said: ''People want to kill them. They will suffer stigma forever. They need a chance to clear their names. Let's suppose it can be proved that the children have been sexually abused, how does that prove the existence of a satanic cult?....Social workers and police have one-track minds in these cases. They were convinced this case was true and were blind to evidence to the contrary. The belief system that led to Orkney is alive and well in Lewis more than 10 years later....[Police and social workers] should have asked themselves if they were leading the children and this should have prompted a review.''  2

The News.Telegraph reported that: "A spokesman for Northern Constabulary said that the investigation was conducted properly. 'In the investigation of such emotive and complex cases, the interests and safety of children is always paramount and as such all avenues of inquiry were rigorously investigated and reported accordingly'."

Vicky Allan, a reporter for the Sunday Herald, wrote: "Certainly, even talking to the Nelsons and the Campbells it seems as if there were many holes in the physical proof that should have been caught prior to arrest. Both families claim not to have been on the island for the entire period between 1995 and 2001 when the abuse was believed to have taken place. The Nelsons, for instance, only moved there in 1997. With the case now dropped, both victims and accused are perpetually suspended in limbo, the accused followed by a cloud of possible guilt which perhaps will never evaporate."

Stornoway Social Services told the formerly accused that they were also abandoning a separate, civil case.

News.Telegraph reported that: "Peter Nelson, 59, one of the men who was arrested and charged, said...[on 2004-JUL03] that he was seeking legal advice to sue the Northern Constabulary for wrongful arrest and Stornoway Social Services department for wrongful imprisonment." He claims that he was charged with offences that were supposed to have taken place in 1995 before he came to the island.

Penny Campbell has founded an organization called False Allegations Action Scotland  She said that" ''Many families are being destroyed by false allegations of abuse made by malicious accusers....[Investigators were] obsessed with an erroneous belief in widespread organized ritual and satanic abuse rings''. This leads to prosecutors repeating ''the same mistakes over and over again.'' 2 Their website has published media accounts from the Lewis Island case from 2004 to 2006. 3

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Were the children abused?

Three young children, all siblings, disclosed that they had been sexually abused. Physical evidence seemed to support this determination. There are suggestions that, as a result of improper interview techniques, they disclosed that the perpetrators were abusive Satanists engaging in animal sacrifice, drinking of blood, and Satanic ritual abuse. As noted above, there are suggestions that the police and child protective personnel may have used direct and repeated questioning of the children. These are dangerous and outmoded interview techniques that have long been abandoned in North America because they so often lead to children disclosing details of abuse which are unrelated to real events.

The Sunday Herald reports that: "according to the transcripts of his police interrogation -- which have been passed to the Sunday Herald -- there is medical evidence that proves that the children in what we must, for legal reasons, call family X, were sexually abused. Those children are still in the care of Western Isles Council social workers and are considered 'vulnerable.' Nobody - at the moment - is facing any charges relating to their sexual abuse." 4

Our hunch is that the children were sexually abused by an adult or group of adults. As a result of incompetent questioning, the children revealed details of Satanic Ritual Abuse which never actually happened. Unfortunately, the children's entire testimony at this point is essentially worthless. Any competent lawyer would make mincemeat out of the government's case, even if the police were actually able to find the true perpetrators. It is probable that those responsible for the child abuse will go free.

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Site navigation:

Home > Conflict/fear menu > Ritual Abuse > Cases > Lewis Isl. > here

or: Home > Hot topics > Ritual Abuse > Cases > Lewis Isl. > here

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Vicky Allan, "We were accused of raping little girls, having orgies, killing cats and chickens and drinking their blood ... it was all lies but they wouldn't believe us," Sunday Herald, 2004-JUL-11.
  2. Neil Mackay & Vicky Allan, "Orkney expert slams Lewis 'sex abuse' mistakes," Sunday Herald, 2004-JUL-11.
  3. "False Allegations Action Scotland," (FAAS) has a web site at: http://www.faascotland.co.uk
  4. Neil MacKay, "I've never done anything, I swear," the Sunday Herald, 2004-JUL-11.

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Copyright © 2004 to 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-JUL-9
Latest update: 2006-APR-28
Author: B.A. Robinson

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