Date: 01/Jun/95 13:56 From eanderso@acs.ucalgary.ca Subject: McMartin North: child abuse f

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Date: 01/Jun/95 13:56 From: Elizabeth Anderson From eanderso@acs.ucalgary.ca Subject: McMartin North: child abuse fiasco in Martensville SK (fwd) This is a good summary of this case; please write, as suggested, if you feel that the government should hold an inquiry. Clay, btw, is the man who called me a satanist. McMARTIN NORTH: The Day Care Centre / Child Abuse Controversy in Martensville Saskatchewan. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it. We did not learn from McMartin or Little Rascals or from any of the other Witchunts. An almost exact replica has occurred in Canada. Marjaleena Repo is the best source of information on this case. work telephone (416)922-7867; message manager (306)244-9724; home fax (416)466-0374] She runs the Community Awareness Project (CAP) [306) 244-0606 which is currently concentrating on this case. She has literature available for a modest charge, including: - four of her articles or letters to the editors of various newspapers - Lees, David "Martensville..." Saturday Night May 1994 - Laframboise, Donna, "Let Story of Abuse Come Out", Toronto Star 7/3/94 - McGovern, Celeste, "Martensville Witch-hunt...", Alberta Report 7/3/94 - Roberts, David "The Martensville Horror" Globe and Mail 2/19/94 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martensville is a small community 10 miles North of Saskatoon Saskatchewan, on the Canadian prarie. The crisis began on 1991-SEP-26 when Debra Gagnier noticed a skin rash on her 2.5 year old daughter's perineum; the mother suspected sexual abuse at the baby sitting service run by Linda Sterling. A rookie police constable, Claudia Bryden, was assigned the case. She is herself a survivor of childhood abuse. A doctor found that the rash was not indicative of abuse. Corporal Rod Moor, a Sakatoon City Police officer with no specialized training in child interviews, demonstrated his self-taught techniques to Bryden. Travis Sterling, the son of the baby sitter was interviewed and arrested. The child was then interviewed by Bryden and Moor. Video tapes show a very intrusive and manipulative session; thegirl finally admitted that a man had touched her. Bryden distributed copies of "The Secret of the Silver Horse" to mothers of children who went to the baby sitting service. The usual intensive and lengthy interviews of an increasing number of children followed. Therapists involved were from the MacNeill Clinic, a provincially funded mental health facility. One therapist was Rod Butler. They invited all of the parents contaced by Bryden. Checklists of abuse symptoms were distributed at the meeting. Children told stories of Rod, Linda and Travis Sterling taking them blindfolded and gagged, on terrifying rides to a place called the Devil's Church - a square blue building out in the country with jail cells. They said that they were raped, confined in cages, penetrated with axe handles and vibrators, whipped, thrown naked into freezers, thrown naked outside during winter (Saskatchewan winters are dreadfully cold). The children talked about witnessing a ritual murder, a child's nipple being bitten off, drinking of blood, a body dumped into an acid bath, a dogg stabbed to death and its eyes poked out. One of the children claimed to have had an axe handle forced into his anus! A child drew a picture of the vibrator used; it had blue ends and a white centre. (The police actually had found a vibrator in the Sterling's home. It was cream coloured. However, when it appeared on TV, the lighting made it appear to be blue and white). There were suggestions of pornographic pictures being taken and Satanic rituals. A total of two women and seven men were eventually charged: -Rod Sterling husband of Linda, age 46 -Linda Sterling wife of Rod, age 46, operator of a baby sitting service -Travis Sterling son of Rod & Linda; prison guard -Darryl Ford previous Martensville police chief -Ed Revesz Martensville police officer prior to Ford -Jim Elstad Martensville police constable, 5 yr experience -John Popowich Saskatoon police officer, corporal -? Sabourin RCMP officer -a juvenile The Sterling family received 60 charges, later reduced to 45. Included were sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, unlawful confinement, intercourse with a minor, attempt to render a boy incapable of resistance by suffocation. Travis was found guilty of 8 charges; his parents and the police were found not guilty on all charges. The investigation and trial covered 2.5 years. An expert witness for the prosecution, Dr John Yuille of Univesity of BC, stated in a confidential report that the interviews were flawed: leading questions were asked; rewards were offered to the children for giving the right answers. A defence expert witness, Dr, David Raskin from the Canadain Police college in Ottawa was even more critical. There was no physical evidence to support the charges. None of the children showed any physical signs of abuse. Two public meetings were held with anti-cult "experts" as speakers. An area group "Committee Against Ritual Abuse of Children" which includes Rev. Colin Clay, Wendy Kasford & Julia Beirsteker have been actively promoting the "Satanic Panic". Public hysteria remains at a high level in the town and surrounding area. There has been considerable pressure by the media and others to have the provincial government conduct a public inquiry; so far, they have refused. A recent survey showed that 60% of the public want an inquiry. A book by David Lees "Can You Remember? The Martensville Child Abuse Investigation" is to be published by HarperCollins. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- There is a second Saskatchewan ritual abuse case which has not received much publicity; it has been eclipsed by Martensville. It started in a foster family and eventually involved seven women and nine men. The children testified in a closed court that they saw their parents and other adults killing and eating babies and burying the remains in the back yard. They were forced to participate in sexual acts with adults, children, bats and other animals. They were mutilated, burned, forced to eat eyeballs and feces, and forced to drink urine and blood. No hard evidence was found. Four were convicted. Currently, the four are appealing and 12 others are suing the Departments of Justice and Social Services, police, theapists and prosecutor for malicious prosecution and negligence. The Globe and Mail (Toronto's "national newspaper") is expected to have an expose of this case in its Saturday June 10 issue. I will digest the article and post it. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ It is all disgustingly familiar. An army of victims is left behind: dozens of children with disturbing (false) memories of horrendous abuse; many adults impoverished by legal costs and with demolished reputations; a community and province terrorized by fear of Satanists under every rock. Why can we never learn from the past? ************************************************************************** You might send a letter to Bob Mitchell, Minister of Justice of Saskatchewan, Legislative Bldg, S4S 0B3. He is the one stonewalling an inquiry. His telepone number is (603)787-5353. The optimum time to send comments would be BEFORE the June 10 article. We badly need an inquiry to expose the incompetence and victimization and make future repeats less likely. ------------------------------//-------------------------------- The Ontario Centre for Religious Tolerance disseminates accurate information on minority religions & exposes religious hate prop- aganda. 473 Kingsdale, Kingston ON Canada K7M 8A3.(613)547-6600

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