(AUTHOR’S NOTE: FOR THIS WEB SITE POSTING, I HAVE REMOVED ALL IDENTIFYING NAMES AND LOCATIONS [INDICATED NOW BY SQUARE BRACKETS],
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October 20, 1997
ASSESSMENT OF THE SATANIC ABUSE ALLEGATIONS IN THE [name deleted] CASE
Stephen A. Kent (Ph.D.)
Department of Sociology
University of Alberta
In late January 1997, barrister and solicitor [name deleted] of [location deleted]’s Ministry of Justice, Family Law division,
contacted me about the possibility of examining satanic abuse allegations that appeared in one of her cases. She had obtained my
name from an Edmonton Police Service officer who (at the time) worked on the “Cult and Occult Crime” desk of the Edmonton
Integrated Intelligence Unit, and with whom I have worked closely for several years. After I accepted the offer, [the solicitor]
lent me three spiral binders of reports, statements, etc. involving the family of [the mother]. Each of the binders that I
received already was subdivided by numbered subdividers. Subsequently [the solicitor] sent me copies of additional information,
which for purely administrative reasons I refer to as “binder 4.”
METHOD OF ANALYSIS
[The solicitor] requested that I do the following:
1) analyze the satanic statements in an attempt to assess their reliability (i.e., do the children always speak about
their alleged experiences with satanism in a consistent manner);
2) analyze the satanic statements in an attempt to assess the validity of the reports (i.e., are the children telling
the truth); and
3) locate, if possible, these accounts within a broader social context.
In order to meet these requests, I proceeded in the following manner.
First, I read through all three volumes (along with the additional information), and identified pages containing satanic
activities or beliefs.
Second, I consecutively numbered [in square brackets] all of the pages in the volumes and additional information, beginning with
the number “1” in each of the binders’ sections. (For example, binder number “1” contains twenty numbered subdividers, and I
began the first page in each of these twenty divisions with a square-bracketed , then , , etc.
Third, after I finished reading, I returned to the marked pages and photocopied them along with the rest of the pages of the
particular reports or statements in which they were located.
Fourth, in an attempt to see how family members’ accounts of alleged satanic abuse fit with accounts in scholarly literature, I
extracted the ten most common occurrences reported by thirty-seven people alleging “ritual [i.e., satanic] abuses in childhood”
as reported in an academic article published in the journal, Child Abuse and Neglect (Young et. al, 1991: 183). These occurrences
1) sexual abuse;
2) witnessing and receiving physical abuse/torture;
3) witnessing animal mutilation/killings;
4) death threats;
5) (forced) drug usage;
6) witnessing and forced participation in human adult and infant sacrifice;
7) (forced) cannibalism;
8) marriage to Satan;
9) buried alive (in coffins or graves); and
10) forced impregnation and sacrifice of own child.
These occurrences, moreover, are consistent with dozens of accounts of alleged ritual abuse that I have heard. I used them as the
initial basis through which to organize the satanic claims in this case.
Fifth, because of the particular content of the [name deleted] case, along with the type of reports that we have in it, I added
nine other categories:
14) prayer to satan/the devil;
15) possible sources of accounts;
16) professionals’ reports mentioning satanism;
17) artifacts and symbols;
18) pornography and prostitution;
19) religious influences on the mother and children;
In my analysis, I alphabetized these 19 occurrences and categories, and then typed material from the sources under these
sections. I placed the same quotes under different sections if their content warranted. I was able to enter all of the material
on satanism that I found under at least one of these general headings.
Finally, I read the material that I had entered under each occurrence or category and devised subheadings that allowed me to
organize the quotes with greater precision. In this report, I refer to the material by Roman numeral section number, then the
letter designating the subdivision, followed (in most cases) by the paragraph number. (For example, ‘Section II.A.1′ refers to
C.’s first statement about an altar in the Artifacts and Symbols section of the statements that I organized.) This organization
of material is appended as a 32 page document entitled “ALLEGED SATANISM IN THE [name deleted] CASE–Children’s Statements,
Foster Parents’ Reports, and Professional Evaluations.”
Because I did not have access to any of the primary people who are the focus of this case, I approached my assessment task as one
of document analysis. Indeed, I am quite comfortable analyzing documents, having worked in archives and research libraries in
various locations in Canada, the United States, and Great Britain. Following leads that I gleaned from an academic article
entitled “The Interpretation of Documents and Material Culture” (Hodder, 1994: 400) I asked of the court material a series of
questions that I would use in any document assessment.
First, are the accounts reliable? That is, did the people who produced the accounts speak about their alleged experiences in a
consistent manner? In order to reach a determination of reliability, I look at such factors as internal coherence or
consistency–do any of the parts contradict? Do they always portray people or events in the same manner? Likewise, I attempt to
ensure that conclusions follow from premises via evidence. In this case, I assume that the conclusion is that [the mother] and
adults with whom she associates have put her children at extreme risk, and she is likely to continue to do so. This conclusion
must unfold from evidence that she and these adults have involved the children in destructive satanism. Were the conclusion not
to unfold from the premise via solid evidence, then I would have no hesitation to say so. My reputation as an academic and an
individual depends upon integrity, and, in a case such as this one, people’s safety and well-being are at stake.
Second, if the documents appear to be consistently reliable, then I ask whether they present a valid or truthful account of what
went on. In order to reach a determination of validity, I look at such factors as the location of the events within the context
of natural scientific laws. If, for example, the events only could have happened if they violated gravity, then their validity is
damaged severely. Next, I ask whether the accounts violate social scientific knowledge. Do people do these things? Furthermore, I
seek triangulation–that is, I seek supportive evidence from unrelated sources (including both people and material objects).
Finally, I test alternative explanations. Do other interpretations exist that may explain what happened?
1) Are the accounts reliable? Did the people who produced the accounts speak about their alleged experiences in a consistent
Regarding the reliability of C.’s and S.R.’s accounts on all issues and people related to alleged satanism, the answer is “yes.”
They consistently represent themselves and their sisters as victims at the hands of adults (including their mother) who subject
them to harmful and (to use one of the girl’s words) scary practices related to satanism. Admittedly C. and S.R. only discuss
some alleged incidents once, but other topics they discuss several times, always in the same manner. They always portray [Ron] as
a person preoccupied with bloodletting, violence, sexual assaults, murder, and satanic practice. Their accounts about
bloodletting, for example, are internally coherent, with no internal contradictions among their numerous accounts. Likewise,
their portrayal of [Ron]’s alleged sacrificial activities remain consistent, and both girls discuss his “sacrifice room.” Despite
the admittedly bizarre nature of their accounts, C. and S.R. presented their information consistently.
My initial determination (that their accounts were consistent) was reinforced when I looked at the issue of the conclusions
following from the premises via evidence. If in fact [the mother] and other adults with whom she associated put her children at
risk by exposing them to destructive satanic practices, then it is reasonable that her eldest children would have the kind of
information that they have. Moreover, it also follows that the children would be as traumatized and dysfunctional as they appear
to be. Since these alleged incidents involved many adults over an extended period in several locations, then it seems reasonable
to expect that they would continue in the future were her children to be under her care. Indeed, it also appears reasonable that
mere contact with her (through visitations, etc.) would continue to frighten the children because of what she reportedly allowed
them to go through.
In sum, the documents present a reliable and consistent account of severe abuse related to satanism. The girls present several
bizarre events, practices, and people in a consistent manner. An investigator, therefore, could take any single account and not
find material in it that contradicts other accounts located in other documents.
2) Having established that the accounts about satanism in the documents are consistently reliable, Do the documents present a
valid or truthful account of what went on? Especially because I am examining an aspect of a case involving satanism, I am
especially alert to see if the events that people describe require supernatural explanations. With three very minor exceptions, I
concluded that the C.’s and S.R.’s descriptions of events did not violate natural scientific laws. I noted, however, that C.
said, “You can call the de[vil] and he will come,” but she made this statement in the context of allegedly describing what [Ron]
and his group did. She herself did not claim to do so. I also noted that she said that [Ron] and his group put deer antlers
between the ears of a dog, and further stated that after one abusive incident half the dog’s head was gone. Certainly this
alleged description stretches credulity, but I can imagine sadists trying to affix horns to a dog with strong epoxy. Moreover,
mention of half the dog’s head missing occurred in a foster parent’s notes, and perhaps C. said that half the dog’s hair was
missing. In any case, C. did not mention the half-missing head in the account that she wrote for psychologist [name removed].
Finally, I doubt whether cuts to C.’s fingers could have caused her to bleed enough to half-fill two chalices, but the chalices
could have been partially filled with red wine that C. mistook for her blood. These three “natural law violations,” however, do
not diminish the fact that all of C.’s and S.R.’s other information is plausible from a natural science perspective.
The issue of triangulation–or getting supportive evidence from unrelated sources–is vital in cases involving intergenerational
satanic allegations, yet it is almost impossible to do so. If the satanic events took place at all, then they occurred quite some
time ago. Furthermore, perpetrators under investigation likely would destroy evidence once they learned of officials’ interest in
their harmful activities. In this case, like so many others, what additional physical evidence that does exist (i.e., body scars)
is sufficiently ambiguous that officials cannot evaluate it definitively.
Worth noting is that I failed to locate (what appear to be) satanic videos that S.R.listed, but this failure must not be taken as
disconfirmation of her claims of knowing about them. Although I checked lists of pornographic movies for the years 1996, 1995,
and 1994, these videos may exist as underground films that would not show up in lists of studio-produced videos. It appears, for
example, that [mother] and [boyfriend] allegedly were plugged into an underground pornographic movie network in [city name
One small but extremely important piece of evidence, however, confirms at least the broad claim of the girls, which is that they
were exposed to destructive satanism. Remarkably, this evidence comes from [the mother] herself. When describing to a social
worker what it felt like to enter a Catholic Church, [the mother] said that “at first it was like going into Satan’s House….”
Her statement seems to indicate that she was in a house devoted to satanism, and it implies that Catholicism’s altar, robed
priest, chalice, communion service (involving the body and blood of Christ), and statues reminded her of satanic rituals.
Does Intergenerational, Ritual, Satanic Abuse Exist?
From a social science perspective, I asked whether the girls’ accounts violate existing knowledge. First and foremost, I
addressed the question about the reality or falseness or intergenerational, ritual satanic abuse. Admittedly an intense debate
rages over its existence, with academics taking polarized views. The fundamental point, however, is that nothing in social
scientific knowledge prohibits intergenerational satanism from occurring. For example, two British researchers examined twenty
cases which contained allegations that children were involved in ritual sexual abuse, and part of their conclusion was that
“false allegations of ritual sexual abuse occurred in three-quarters of the cases.” The remaining part of their conclusion,
however, was that “true allegations” of ritual sexual abuse occurred in one-quarter (five) of the cases (Weir and Wheatcroft,
1995: 491). In one of the cases in which the allegations of ritual satanic abuse were true:
A 27-year old man pleaded guilty to a large number of sexual offenses against children and was sentenced to 14 years
imprisonment. During the investigation, he admitted that, together with his wife, sister-in-law, and her husband,
they had involved their own and other children and teenagers in sexual abuse during satanic rituals. The other adults
corroborated his evidence and were also charged and convicted. The adults gave details of perverse sexual activities
that had taken place over several years. The perpetrator had discovered that his sister-in-law shared an interest in
the occult and together they gradually introduced their spouses to satanic rituals using the paraphernalia of the
black mass. Sexual activities between the couples soon spread to involve initiation rites involving their children
and the subsequent involvement of their children in sexual activities (Weir and Wheatcroft, 1995: 496-497).
Courts, therefore, are well advised to take seriously the plausible accounts of children, because they may be speaking about real
Sexual Fetishes: Bloodletting and Vampirism, Coprophagia, Urophagia, and Gerbilling
The bizarre behaviours that C. and S.R. describe–bloodletting, vampirism, and apparent feces and urine fetishism, exist is
social scientific literature. Gerbilling does not exist in academic literature, but its discussion is widespread in popular
culture. Bloodletting and vampirism, for example, were the focus of Richard Noll’s 1992 book-length psychiatric analysis, which
indicated that “clinical vampirism often involves a combination of sexual activity and blood drinking, and the act of drinking
blood is sexually arousing, making clinical vampirism a sort of sexual blood fetish” (Noll, 1992: 15). C.’s and S.R.’s accounts
of both “bloodletting” (Section III) and “vampirism” (Section XIX) are consistent with this clinical interpretation, as well as
consistently reliable among themselves. Of the twelve accounts in the “Bloodletting” section, only two (Sections III.A.1 and
III.G.1) do not involve bloodletting for ceremonial purposes. Both of them, however, describe punishments that [Ron] allegedly
inflicted on C. and [the mother]for their involvements with Christianity. The other ten accounts discuss satanic chalices that
[Ron], [David], and [the mother] used to collect blood for ritual consumption. C. even did her best to describe a chalice during
a police interview (Section II.B.2). Finally, the two accounts of cannibalism that C. alleged (and which likely referred to the
same incident) presuppose consumption of the victims’ blood (Section V.1,2).
Less numerous were the children’s discussion of topics related to vampirism, but, again, the accounts consistently linked blood
with sex and satanism. One vampire account claimed that [Ron] consumed the blood of sacrificial victims (Section XIX.D.1).
Another (second-hand account) reported that [Ron] and [Bob] bit T. while wearing satanic garments (Section XIX.F.1), and that
[Ron] cut C. while having sex with her and licked her blood (Section XIX.E.1). Taken together, the two girls and their care
providers produced 17 specific mentions of bloodletting or vampirism, with only two of them discussing “cutting” as a form of
punishment. It is difficult to image that they could collude together, or even suffer the same external influence from the media
or caregivers, in ways that provide adequate alternative explanations for these tales. More likely is that the children went
through events that at least approximate what they reported.
Coprophagia–the eating of feces–is a variant of the sexual fetish known as coprophilia, the love of one’s excrement. A 1995
study in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy described a case of “coprophagia in a nonpsychotic adult of normal intelligence”
involving a man who ingested his feces while masturbating (Wise and Goldberg, 1995: 272, 273). What C. and S.R. described,
however, involved ingestion of [Ron’s] and others’ feces as part of satanic rituals (Section XVIII.A.1-4). Since satanic worship
involves various degrees of boundary-breaking of society’s taboos, the incorporation of feces into proscribed rituals is not as
improbable as it first sounds. Accounts by researchers who believe in the reality of ritual satanic abuse mention the inclusion
of excrement-ingestion as part of satanic practice (for example, Coleman, 1994: 248), and one therapist wrote about her
experiences treating a 5 year old ritual abuse survivor in an article entitled, “‘Daddy Eats Poo'” (O’Driscoll, 1994).
The ritual chaos that satanists likely create also may explain the three accounts of urine consumption (urophagia) that C. and
S.R. provided. Existing psychiatric literature on urophagia is scarce (see Denson, 1982; Collacott & Cooper, 1995), but once
again its probable inclusion in satanic rites would not be surprising Indeed, many of the unverified satanic abuse claims that I
have heard from alleged victims involved urine consumption, often with participants mixing it with other substances.
Even gerbilling exists as a sexual deviance, if not in social scientific literature then certainly in the far corners of popular
culture. It is a sexual deviance in which a live gerbil is placed in a tube and then inserted into someone’s anus in order to
feel the internal scratching by the animal. While the practice has attained urban myth status, with no credible accounts of it
extant in academic or medical literature, it appears in many World Wide Web pages as well in a recent tabloid publication, the
National Enquirer. An article on homosexuality among movie stars stated that Richard Gere “just can’t shake gay rumors sparked by
a bizarre–and false– story about using a gerbil in a grotesque sex act” (Rodack, Hitchens, and Throop, 1997: 25).
In summary, a social scientific perspective allows me to conclude that all of the bizarre fetish behaviours that C. and S.R.
describe are plausible. A ritualistic satanic framework would make the performance of these sexual deviations even more likely,
since it would sanctify, or attempt to give religious meaning to, dramatic normative violations (see Kent, 1993: 364).
Rituals, Artifacts, and Symbols
C. and S.R. mention, between them, at least ten ritual artifacts–humanly-made items that have significance within satanic abuse
settings. When viewed together, this assembly of artifacts makes a compelling case that these two young people were exposed to,
and forced to participate in, satanic rituals. I will take each of these artifacts and place them within a plausible setting of
symbols, ‘satanic meaning’ and ritual use that will demonstrate the significance of their appearance in the children’s accounts.
The “book with the devil on it” (Section II.C.1) that S.R. claims to have seen in a secret cupboard of [David’s] may have been a
ritual book, called a Book of Shadows or a Grimoire by practising occultists (see, for example, ‘Cassiel,’ 1990: 104). A book of
this nature can serve various functions, ranging from a diary where practitioners record their rituals and their results to a
reference source or prayer book containing appropriate rituals, chants, and actions for particular settings. Similar functions
may have been served by “the scroll” that C. appears to have drawn in a note to the psychologist (Section II.L.1). In any case,
it seems certain that any written material would have been in opposition to Christianity, since C. told a foster parent, then
wrote for [the psychologist] that [Ron] cut [the mother]’s wrist(s) after learning that she read the Bible (Section XVI.A.1,2).
The alleged rituals that the children witnessed or forcibly participated in involved: 1. sexual deviations and abuse (Section
XVIII); 2. animal torture and killing (Section I.A); 3. blood-drinking (Section III); 4. human killing (Section VIII) that
occasionally produced disturbing sounds of the alleged murders being committed (Section VIII.B.1) and, afterwards, “a terrible
smell” (Section VIII.D.1; F.1); 5. human blood-drinking (Section III); and 6. cannibalism (Section V). In addition, C. implies
that she may have been involved in an alleged 7. ritual marriage to Satan (Section X.C.1,2).
Some of these alleged rituals took place with the mother wearing a black dress and the girls wearing black clothes, sometimes
sexually inappropriate ones (Section II.F.1). Allegedly for at least one ceremony, some of the children wore outfits that made
them look like stereotypical devils (with horns and tails [Section II.F.1]). [Bob] and [Ron] reputedly wore black lipstick
(Section II.F.3). The frequency that the colour black appears in satanic accounts likely stems from satanism’s preoccupation with
death, which (in our culture) that colour symbolizes. By contrast, [Ron] supposedly had a red suit that had ceremonial
significance (Section II.F.2). About this colour a modern source notes that “scarlet [is] the colour of the life-blood” and a
“scarlet cloak [is] the colour of life” (Valiente, 1978: 103)–the very force that several of the alleged ceremonies denied their
Rituals allegedly took place at various locations, but the most dramatic one appeared to have been in the [name deleted] area
that C. called “the sacrifice room” (Section VIII.D.1). This room supposedly contained the heads of murdered babies, and nearby
supposedly were locations where [Ron] buried bodies. Possibly this location was the same one that S.R. identified as the cabin or
shack outside of [the city] that had a “sacrificial room” (Section VIII.F.1). In any case, the alleged perpetrators presumably
were the ones who painted stars or pentagrams (which are traditional satanic symbols) on the walls in blood in a sacrificial room
(Section VIII.D.1). One of the two statues in the [location deleted] house “looks like a devil with a tail” (Section II.G.1).
When a ceremonial group supposedly met in [Ron]’s room, they “dumped powder everywhere” (Section II.A.1), which, I speculate, may
have been part of establishing a magickal [sic] circle or area in which to operate (See Buckland, 1987: 43, 57-60). The terrible
smell associated with the alleged murders could have been some form or incense.
C. reported seeing an altar (Section II.A.1,2), and she also spoke about two black candles on either side of a red one sitting
atop an altar (Section II.A.1,2). No universal meaning exists about these colours for candles, but the two colours appear in
various contemporary discussions of (alleged) satanism. One recent source states that “[r]ed and black are the colours of
satanic, violent cults” (Smith, 1993: 132), and another source indicates that “[c]hildren are taught that certain colours,
especially the combination of red and black, have magical significance” (Coleman, 1994: 248; see Gould, 1992: 212). I assume that
the colour red in satanic practice seems to be associated with both blood (i.e., life-energy) and sexual energy, but colours may
have particular meaning to particular practitioners.
C. indicated that both [Ron] and her mother,[name deleted], had chalices (Section II.B.2; II.E.1-3), and S.R. indicated that
[Ron] cut her and made her bleed into “a small bowl” (Section II.B.1). In at least one occasion, [Ron] supposedly chanted what he
probably thought were magic[k] words or incantations over a concoction of urine, feces, and powder (Section XVII.F.1). Taken
together, the altar(s) with candles, chalices containing blood, a probable ritual book, possibly a satanic statue, and the
availability of human flesh were the ingredients of a satanic black mass, which is a reversed form of the Catholic mass
(‘Cassiel,’ 1990: 48-49; Lyons, 1988: 44-61). Because of the reversed, mirrored symbolism between a satanic mass and a Catholic
one, [the mother]’s initial reaction upon entering a Catholic Church and feeling that it was “like going into Satan’s House”
(Section XVI.B.1) now becomes intelligible.
Conclusion: The Children Likely Experienced Satanic Rituals
The apparent reliability and validity of C.’s and S.R.’s stories, combined with the selection of artifacts that they name and the
contexts in which people apparently used these items ritualistically and sexually, lead me to the conclusion that adults had
placed these two girls in circumstances of satanic abuse. I cannot come up with any viable alternative explanation for the
evidence. The elaborateness of the accounts, the consistency with which the girls recounted the information, and the range and
scope of the deviant acts that they describe, make it highly unlikely that either C. or S.R. were repeating stories that they
picked up from either the media or well-intentioned but leading and directive adults (e.g., foster parents, social workers, or
teachers). Woven together, their accounts have an insidious logic that, in my opinion, even most adults would not understand or
be able to construct. It seems next to impossible that these young women could have intentionally or unintentionally fabricated
the tales. I certainly expect many details to be off, due to the nature of memory as a reconstructive process that may be
influenced by trauma. The overall dimensions, however, of their information are highly plausible, as are almost all of the
I offer this conclusion cautiously, since I shy away from stating beyond a doubt that ritual abuse occurred in this case. Alas,
we lack the kind of definitive external evidence that would allow other social scientists to reach a similar opinion beyond the
shadow of a doubt. In the case of these two girls, however, the shadow of a doubt is very small, since the depth and weight of
their evidence is so compelling. I wish that it were otherwise, since I am saddened that these children almost certainly have
gone through the events that they describe.
Stephen A. Kent (Ph.D.)
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