Glasgow, Scotland: On Friday, January 6, 2023, there was a hearing in the High Court in Glasgow concerning the case of 11 people who are accused of sexually abusing children between January 2010 and March 2020 resulting in 43 offenses.
Due to the number of individuals involved in the case, Judge Lord Beckett expressed concern over a possible "unusual level of disruption" and estimated that the full trial could take up to seven weeks.
A number of the defense attorneys agreed to his estimate according to Daily Mail with Advocate depute Kath Harper estimating that the Crown case alone would take up to three weeks to present.
During the hearing a number of defense lawyers raised concerning over a video that had been posted to TikTok which discussed the case ahead of the hearting. According to the Scottish Daily Express, the video clip was filmed outside the court house and included images of some of the accused.
Gary Allan KC called the content "accusatory" and said the video contained "derogatory terms" which he felt were "potentially prejudicial."
Brian McConnachie KC echoed his concerns saying, "We need to speak to this person and tell them to stop what they are doing... There will be some future video uploaded."
Judge Lord Beckett encouraged the Crown to look into the matter acknowledging that the Crown had the resources available to do so, commenting that the public is bound by the same rules as the media concerning what can be published about ongoing court cases.
The case as again been continued until September.
News of the case first broke in August 2022 and more information concerning the matter was released following a hearing that took place in November 2022. As we have previously addressed the accusations presented in the 14-page indictment, we will not rehash that information. Suffice it to say that if you wish to read the previously presented articles, please do so with discretion as some of the information presented is disturbing.
While nothing more than an indictment has been released in part to the public at this point, there are voices beginning to cry "witch trial," linking the case to "Satanic Panic" where it is alleged that people were accused of crimes "that did not happen and which made no sense."
Before addressing the "Satanic Panic" aspect of this stance, let's refocus the lens here for a moment. This is a case where 11 individuals are accused of sexual abuse of children and other serious offenses including attempted murder. These are horrific allegations on their own that dramatically impacted the lives of at least three children.
While it'd be nice to think that abuse of such nature to the point that a charge of attempted murder was brought into the equation was rare, as of this writing there are 15 press releases on Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice program which focuses on the prosecution of cases involving child sexual abuse, which are tagged by a search for attempted murder. (This is after removing the indictment announcements from the original search total of 54 press releases.)
Where people take exception to this case is the mention of the forced use of a Ouija board to summon demons, the accusation that at least some of the accused wore cloaks or masks with horns and the involvement of blood. For whatever reason, the moment anything that resembles possible witchcraft or Satanism is introduced to the picture it becomes outlandish.
Hypothetically, let's say there's a case where a child alleges abuse of this nature at the hands of a Catholic Priest. Somehow, that's totally believable and yet, claim that the perpetrators could possibly be Occultists and immediately it's pish-posh "Satanic Panic" and clearly the kid just watched a bad show or heard a scary story.
Yes, the accusations that these children bring to light sound outlandish on various levels. But before dismissing them out of hand, perhaps there are some things that need to be considered.
How does one's perception of time and space change while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs? How well does one remember details of a high stress situation, such as a car accident? Now, consider how well a child would be able to describe the same situation.
There are medical professionals that are able to conduct examinations and determine what kind of abuses, if any, a child has suffered. Trust the science, right?
There are forensic psychiatrists that are able to sit down with children and discuss what they have experienced. Again, we're all about trusting the science, right?
One would be remiss in failing to address the False Memory Syndrome Foundation in a discussion about "Satanic Panic."
Started in 1992 by parents who were themselves accused of sexual abuse by their child, it was officially dissolved in 2019. While sounding official and scientific even, one thing that cannot be overlooked is the fact that there is no false memory syndrome. A listing for it does not appear in any of the DSMs as it is not a recognized, diagnosable condition.
For those wishing to learn more about the foundation, I'd recommend picking up "The Truth About False Memory Syndrome" by Dr. James G. Friesen. He is someone that had worked extensively with individuals with dissociative identity disorders (formerly multiple personality disorder,) he takes the time to explain the process of working through past traumas in a way that those that have not lived through it can better understand.
It's human nature to want to discount such outlandish allegations of abuse. We don't want to think that people are capable of such atrocities, especially not against children. But you cannot, if you are being honest, discount the number of cases that were all brought to light in the early 80s when young children had no way to communicate with each other and create corroborating stories.
Across the world children were telling of horrific sexual abuse where robes, odd chanting and blood were present. All in an age before the internet. Surely that would make anyone researching this topic stop to ask a few more questions.
The McMartin Preschool case is often a "go to" case for those wishing to debunk the whole idea of "Satanic Panic." After all, the kids were adamant that there was a tunnel system under the school and they never found that, right?
On October 25, 2019 over 300 pages of information on The Finders, a child trafficking network with alleged ties to the CIA was released by the FBI. On pages 47 and 48 of that release tunnels found under McMartin Preschool are discussed and even a map showing two tunnel entrances is included.
In response to an article published in the Los Angeles Times in 1990, Ted Gunderson, one of the investigators on the case wrote in to correct what had been reported saying, "My statements thus far have been clear and concise, and the results of the excavation by the archeologists, geologists and their team simply proved that there were man-made tunnels under the preschool foundation as alleged by the children."
The trial which took place between 1987 and 1990 cost more than $13.5 million and ended with all charges being dropped. According to the inflation calculator, that would be the equivalent of $30.7 million today. But clearly, there's nothing about that amount of money being thrown around by owners of a preschool that would raise any questions whatsoever.
All of this to say that there will always be people out there that want to dismiss such cases out of hand as outlandish and nothing more than an old fashioned witch hunt. Just the same though, there are those out there that will hear of these cases and take them as calls to pray- not just to pray for the healing of the children, but to also pray for the repentance of the perpetrators.
And there are others still that have sat down with survivors of such abuse, understand the reality of it, and are determined to expose it so that it can be stopped.
One such individual is a man by the name of Wilfred Wong who has dedicated nearly 30 years of his life helping children that have endured such traumas to find healing and recovery. Currently, he is in Berwyn prison in Wrexham, Wales, having been sentenced to 17 years for kidnap of a child that spoke up about such abuse. One of Wilfred's co-defendants was the child's own mother. Click here for more information concerning his case and pursuit of an appeal.