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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Texas pair released after serving 21 years for 'satanic abuse'

Dan and Fran Keller, sentenced in 1991 for child sexual assault during US 'Satanic panic' era, released after district attorney conceded trial jury was probably swayed by faulty testimony

By Tom Dart
The Guardian
Originally posted December 5, 2013

Here are two excerpts:

The only physical evidence against the Kellers was the testimony of Dr. Michael Mouw, who examined the girl in the emergency room of a local hospital after the therapy session and said he found tears in her hymen that potentially indicated that she was molested.

Mouw signed an affidavit last January in which he affirms that he now realises his inexperience led him to a conclusion that "is not scientifically or medically valid, and that I was mistaken."

In an appeal filed on behalf of Fran Keller earlier this year, her lawyer, Keith Hampton, also argued that the state presented misleading evidence about the cemetery, relied on a false witness confession and the testimony of a "quack" satanic abuse "expert", and that suggestive interview techniques had encouraged the children to make "fantastical false statements".

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DeYoung said that suggestive and insistent interviewing strategies prompted children to make up stories and start to believe what they were telling the adults, and that the received wisdom was that children would not lie about such serious crimes. Media and parental pressure obliged the police to give credence even to risible allegations.

The entire story is here.

There is an interesting Geraldo Rivera special television episode, Exposing Satan's Underground from 1988, associated with this story found here on YouTube.  The entire episode is worth watching, if you are interested in the hysteria and panic of that time.  At the 1 hour and 15 minute mark, psychologists and psychiatrists report threats to their lives when treating survivors of ritualistic abuse.
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