Abuse Case Shock - +quot;No Satanic Abuse+quot; Manchester Evening News - 25/9/90 By Matt

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Abuse Case Shock - "No Satanic Abuse" Manchester Evening News - 25/9/90 By Matt Finnegan Rochdale's social services chief today said the case of the 20 children who have been made wards of court is not linked to satanism and devil worship. The startling announcement, which came as an emotional reunion was being planned between parents of two children after a three month separation, is set to cause controversy. Social services director Gordon Littlemore distanced himself from earlier allegations that the children had been involved in ritual abuse linked to the occult. His statement astonished critics of the handling of the case, which has become known as the "Satan kids" investigation. Mr. Littlemore said: "We have never used the words satanism or devil worship, and we are not saying that the abuse suffered by the children is because the parents have been worshipping the devil or involved in satanism. "The children have told some strange stories about what has happened to them, and it is in that sense we believe they have suffered ritualistic abuse. They have been involved in a variety of awful activities and appear to have witnessed some awful incidents which have left them very frightened about what happened to them." Labour councillor Kevin Hunt, who has been supporting the parents' fight, said today: "I'm absolutely astonished that the director can make these kinds of statements. "It seems to me that the whole case is falling apart and people are now getting cold feet." SURPRISE One of the solicitors acting for some of the parents, Joanne Kay, said today: "We are dealing with a whole series of allegations, all of which are extremely serious, which will eventually be dealt with by the court. "I am surprised that they are being discussed now." Meanwhile social workers were hurriedly making arrangements for parents to see two children - a boy and a girl aged six and 10 - after the High Court granted them access. The parents will be allowed to hug and play and talk to their children for the first time since they were taken in June.

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