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Fanatical amateur exorcist wins GOP primary in Colorado

Yesterday, Gordon Klingenschmitt won a GOP primary race by several hundred votes, becoming the official Republican nominee for House District 15 in the Colorado House of Representatives.

With the possible exceptions of exorcist Bob Larson and psychic ghostbuster Lorraine Warren, Klingenschmitt is probably the most obsessive demonologist on the planet. After being turfed from his position as a Navy chaplain for disobeying orders, he began webcasting a religious show that makes The 700 Club look pretty sane by comparison. He attributes all of the following things to demons and/or demonic possession:

  • Alcoholism. According to Klingenschmitt, the demons that will inhabit your body if you drink are more dangerous than the alcohol itself. And the images you see while using hallucinogenic drugs are actual demons.
  • Homosexuality. Klingenschmitt has boasted about performing successful exorcisms on gay people, and has likened teaching children about gay marriage to “mind rape”. He likens transsexual people using public washrooms to child rape. Frequently, he makes the bizarre assertion that certain legislation will “enforce” pedophilia in public schools. He defends all forms of discrimination against gays, because they are not fully human.
  • Atheism. (of course)

Klingenschmitt believes that non-Christians should not be allowed any government benefits, since they will not be going to Heaven.

He is also profoundly paranoid. He predicted that federal agents would murder every last person at the Bundy Ranch and dump their corpses into a mass grave. Like Anita Bryant, he believes most (if not all) adult homosexuals are sexual predators who “recruit” children by molesting them.

Most of his claims are so wildly hyperbolic that they verge on satire. But he’s completely serious.

People of Colorado, if this is the man you want representing you – get some help.


“Satanic” Pedophile Theory of Aaron Swartz’s Suicide

“Was Aaron Swartz Killed By an MIT Satanic Child Porn Ring?”

I found this strange article, originally posted at, via David Icke’s website. It was written by Yoichi Shimatsu, a conspiranoid “journalist” specializing in child prostitution and pornography. I have no idea who this guy is, but he provides some telling background information:

From 2003-2009, Shimatsu was involved with an all-male team of volunteer anti-pedophilia activists that traveled to Cambodia to investigate some rumours, including allegations that former Newsweek Tokyo bureau chief Bernard Krisher had snapped photos of naked babies and put them on display at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong. Shimatsu claims the Correspondents Club was a “den of pedophiles connected with the Jimmy Savile case”, and that the former British Governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patton [sic], is “suspected as a high-level protector of the satanic BBC rapist [Savile] and his old-boy circle”. Lord Patten, it should be noted, publicly condemned the late Savile and encouraged the posthumous investigations into his alleged child molestation.

Shimatsu contends that hacktivist Aaron Swartz was also investigating the “vile pedophile elite”, using the JSTOR issue as a “cover for his covert investigation into MIT wrongdoing”, which was somehow linked to crimes against children perpetrated by what Shimatsu terms the “military-corporate-pharmaco-porno” complex. Swartz was far too bright and ambitious to be wasting his time swiping inexpensive documents from JSTOR, Shimatsu argues, so it’s almost certain that he was actually planning to expose MIT professors who have been supplying child pornography to an elite clientele that includes State Department and military officials, intelligence agencies, major corporations, and even people in the White House. He provides absolutely zero evidence to support any of this.
Shimatsu appears to base just about all of his “MIT pedophile” theory on Nicholas Negroponte, the professor who founded the MIT Media Lab. Shimatsu’s “team” in Cambodia had zeroed in on an orphanage supported by Krisher that had a satellite-link tower, which was supposedly being used to “uplink child-porn videos and connect American pedophiles to their little sweethearts”.
Unnamed teachers at the orphanage allegedly told Shimatsu the satellite communication system was installed and maintained by Negroponte. One teacher told him, “Nick was a frequent visitor and one of the orphanage sponsors who arranged the weekend pajama parties in the city whenever foreign VIPs arrived”. Shimatsu concluded that Negroponte used Phnom Penh as a base from which to send encrypted child pornography back to secret databases at MIT.
The One Child One Laptop program [sic] initiated by Negroponte is a transparent ploy for pedophiles to have 24/7 access to their child victims, he asserts.
As one can always expect from, he also goes out of his way to inform us that Negroponte and his brother are Zionists with “family origins in the Jewish community of Greece”.

So what the flipping hell does any of this have to do with Aaron Swartz? Well, based on the surveillance footage used to indict Swartz, Shimatsu has reached some conclusions about what the brilliant young hacker was really doing at MIT. Here’s his “evidence”:

  • The length of time it took Swarz’s laptop to download the material indicates it was “high-quality video” rather than just documents.
  • The server he targeted could not be hacked; it could only be accessed via a dedicated line, indicating the server had strong encryption designed to protect illegal content. [I am assured by people far more technically gifted than myself that nearly any server can be hacked if it’s connected to the Internet, and that this surely would not have presented a challenge to Swartz.]
  • MIT didn’t own the JSTOR material, yet filed theft charges against Swartz. The actual proprietor, ITHAKA, was not the chief plaintiff in the case.
  • Swartz was reportedly dissatisfied with his job working for Reddit/Wired. In Shimatsu’s view, this was probably because Reddit had “gained profitable notoriety for its sub-edit groups that promoted discussion and images on underage sex, snuff porn, violent rape of adolescent girls, incest and abusive language.” Reddit’s worst offender was “Violentacrez“, who turned out to be Michael Brutsch, a former soldier with a wife and kids.

Shimatsu then provides additional “evidence” of child pornography at MIT by detailing the backgrounds of a handful of Media Lab employees. Joi Ito is singled out because he once owned a nightclub and was Timothy’s Leary’s godson. Stewart Brand is suspect because he endorses science and technology. Frank Moss once worked in Israel. Worst of all, the Media Lab is involved with military-related projects. “MIT Media Lab is yet another spin-off from the all-powerful MK-ULTRA and DARPA. No wonder it’s been producing child porn and involved in overseas pedophilia.”

And now Shimatsu’s anti-Semitic “anti-Zionist” side comes out swinging, as he bemoans the “assault on Aaron Swartz” as one more example of a “crusading American Jewish individual being persecuted, punished and likely executed by their Zionist ‘brethren'”, his death a “microcosm of the sort of brutal mafia enforcement within the Jewish ‘community’, which unfortunately has gone nearly unreported in the Zionist-controlled media.”

So that’s pretty much it. That’s Shimatsu’s evidence that Aaron Swartz was hot on the trail of MIT pedophiles.
His “evidence” that Swartz was murdered amounts to the fact that Swartz had a small waist, meaning his belt wouldn’t be long enough to hang himself.
As for the “Satanic pedophiles”: the article includes just one use use of the word “satanic”, and there is no further explanation of how Satanism is connected to any of the alleged criminal activity Shimatsu describes. It’s a fat, juicy red herring to fill out the story’s headline, which might just as well read “Why Yoichi Shimatsu Doesn’t Like MIT or Zionists”.

Updates on Old Stories

  • When Lawrence Harris Jr. of Sioux City, Iowa, murdered his two stepdaughters on January 4, 2008, the media pounced on reports that Harris had dabbled in both Wicca and Satanism. He had allegedly muttered something about a “spell gone bad” after police found the bodies of Kendra Suing, 10, and Alysha Suing, 8, in their home. Media reports and blog posts mentioned spells, LaVey’s Satanic Bible, and witchcraft at great length…but stayed away from the more pertinent issues of family violence and mental illness.
    Later, Harris claimed he had been attempting to cast the spell on his stepson Triton, who wasn’t home at the time. Just how this led to the strangulation and stabbing of two little girls has never been adequately explained. In fact, this case remains about as clear as cola. Harris pled not guilty by reason of insanity, but was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Significantly, Harris’ religious interests were never brought up by the prosecution. Rather than focusing on Harris’ alleged Satanism, prosecutors argued (successfully, it would seem) that Harris killed Alysha and Kendra because he suspected his wife was having an affair, then faked insanity. If this is indeed the case, then witchcraft and Satanism are even mooter points than they were in the first place. Naturally, that doesn’t stop Fox News: “Iowa Man Convicted of Killing Two Stepdaughters During Satanic Ritual“.
  • The prosecutor in the 2009 abduction/torture case of Joy Johnson and Joseph Craig took a completely different tack, declaring even before the start of trial that the defendants’ alleged confinement and abuse of another couple was directly related to Satanism. This came across as a transparent ploy to make the couple appear as deviant as possible (as if that was necessary). The bottom line is that Craig entered an Alford plea and Johnson pleaded guilty to committing crimes, not of practicing magick. The media’s insistence on highlighting their political and religious affiliations, rather than the nature of their alleged criminal activity, was the real scandal in this case. I don’t care if Johnson and Craig were Democrats, libertarians, or Communists. I don’t care if they worshiped Satan, Christ, or pumpkins. Creeps are creeps, and crime is crime.
  • A staple of Western conspiranoia culture is that affluent, well-connected Satanists are operating massive child-trafficking rings throughout the world for the purposes of ritual abuse, ritual sacrifice, and child prostitution (see the “Franklin cover-up” hoax for one of many examples). But as I pointed out in this 2010 post about a group of Baptist missionaries, global child trafficking is not confined to any particular religion or tax bracket.
    Whatever happened to those orphan-hustling Baptists in Haiti? Incredibly, nine of the ten people arrested were released without charge, leaving just one woman to face trial in Haiti for human trafficking. Laura Silsby was convicted, but went free after sentencing because her six-month prison sentence had “already been served”. You read that correctly. Abducting Haitian children gets you less prison time than stealing a car.
    Wow. So where are the outraged conspiracy theorists, writing books and making documentaries about the Baptist conspiracy to steal and sell kids? Don’t any of them find it interesting that 33 Haitian children were taken…the very number sacred to Scottish Rite Freemasons?
  • When I last checked in on him, in 2007, “occult expert” Jerry Johnston was in some hot water, facing allegations of financial mismanagement and other shady dealings at his Kansas megachurch.
    Here’s what happened. In February 2011, First Family Church went into receivership, owing $14.4 in loans. At that time, First Family had an annual payroll of $915,000, with over $600,000 of that going to members of Jerry Johnston’s family. On September 11, 2011, First Family Church closed it doors.
  • For a time, the Hosanna Church case in Ponchatoula, Louisiana appeared to be the world’s first authentic incident of Satanic ritual abuse. Pastor Louis Lamonica Jr. had confessed to molesting children in a ritualistic manner, and his clannish little following certainly fit the profile of a dangerous Satanic cult.
    The problem was, the Hosanna church cultists weren’t Satanists. They were Christians. And when the case finally went to trial in 2008, two of the three children supposedly abused by cult members retracted their accusations on the witness stand. The two boys first gave retractions back in 2005, but prosecutors proceeded with the case anyway.
    Far from worshiping Satan, church members attempted to expel demons from their bodies by purging and confessed their every sin to the charismatic assistant pastor, Lois Mowbray.
    Again, where are the conspiracy theorists? They were all over this case when it was about Satanism, but they seem to have faded into the woodwork now that it’s all about deviant Christianity.

The Return of Doug Riggs

Satanic ritual abuse and “Nephilim hybrids” in Oklahoma

On the August 16th-17th broadcast of Coast to Coast AM, guest L.A. Marzulli was nattering on about endtime prophecy, natural disasters, and a Great Deception involving aliens or the Illuminati or something. I wasn’t really listening. Then he said this: According to two researchers who contacted him recently, at least two American women claiming to be victims of Satanic ritual abuse (SRA) have reported that the Satanists took them to Mount Hermon to be impregnated by fallen angels, which Marzulli referred to as the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4 (I’m not even sure if the Nephilim are supposed to be the same “sons of God” that mated with human women, or giants unrelated to the angels, or the offspring of angels and women, but that’s a different post). The researchers who alerted Marzulli to this story had no vested interest in the matter, he insisted.
Marzulli then hinted that the hybrid offspring of these women have some connection to the alien breeding program, and that the Nephilim are keeping them at an offworld location.
“Will they bring them back at some point?” host George Noory asked.
“Yes, they will,” Marzulli replied without hesitation.

So I Googled “Nephilim ritual abuse” and found a recent online radio interview with Pastor Doug Riggs, described as a friend of L.A. Marzulli. The subject was “Nephilim Mothers”.
The name Doug Riggs was very familiar to me, but I couldn’t recall precisely why. I rifled through some notes. Sure enough, I had jotted down a bit of info on the guy. A month or two ago I had stumbled upon a documentary from 1994, In Satan’s Name, which originally aired on HBO. Riggs and his Morningstar Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were featured in the film’s most memorable and disturbing segment.

In 1994, no fewer than 14 members of Morningstar Church believed they had been brought up in Satanism, were horrifically abused as children, and had Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). All of this was based on repressed memories they recovered while in “counseling” with Pastor Riggs, during sessions lasting up to 19 hours in length. Please keep in mind that we’re not talking about Okie bumpkins, here. These were reasonably intelligent, middle-class people who seriously should have known better.
To be fair, Morningstar didn’t look like a cult. Riggs was a poised, handsome man with graying hair and a mellow voice. He spoke knowledgeably about psychology. It’s no wonder that parishioners turned to him for pastoral counseling unrelated to Satanism or abuse (marital trouble, eating disorders, etc.).
From 1985 on, these counselees began recovering memories of horrific, lifelong ritual abuse at the hands of Satanists. Namely their own parents. And after 1991, when Riggs learned about MPD (now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder), they began to discover they had hundreds, even thousands, of separate personalities because of the Satanic ritual abuse. Riggs told them that every single one of their alters could be possessed by demons.
Counseling was conducted in a large room with a mattress on the floor, so counselees could go through abreactions without hurting themselves. Riggs would lay on top of the person when abreactions became intense, while helpers held the person’s arms and legs. In this way, counseling and deliverance from demonic possession were merged into a single process. In one filmed session with a 30ish man, Riggs ordered a demon out of his body (“Explode the seals!”) while the man writhed and convulsed on the mattress, growling obscenities.
Ultimately, Riggs concluded that all these people had been victimized by the same Satanic cult, led by a man named Joe (father of one of the parishioners, Pam), and that God had brought the victims together at Morningstar to be healed. Joe supposedly conducted powerful rituals for high government officials (including leaders of the Soviet Union), the Vatican, even heads of state. The narrator of In Satan’s Name explains that in reality, Joe was a Nebraska salesman who had never left his home state. He died during filming.
Needless to say, the allegations tore apart families. A graceful, soft-spoken couple in their 60s, Jim and Fran Field, mourned the loss of their daughter Cynthia to what they considered a destructive, all-consuming cult.

This was as far as In Satan’s Name took the story, but I soon learned that the situation at Morningstar was even stranger.
A testimony written in 1999 by 49-year-old Morningstar member Kim Campbell starts out as boilerplate SRA stuff. Campbell explains that Satanism, “as old as mankind itself”, is a blend of SumeroAkkadian/Babylonian mystery religions, Kabbala, and Paganism. “The culture is unbelievably and ingeniously evil; virutally everything about the culture is humanly damaging.” Kim was subjected not only to “every abuse, trauma, and demonization imaginable within satanism”, but to “medically-based mind control programming” at U.S. government facilities, clinics, and the Tavistock Institute (a favourite bugaboo in the world of conspiracy theory). Half of his waking preschool life was spent “being indoctrinated and incested“. This realization came to him after 18 months of therapy with Pastor Riggs.
It isn’t until page 7 of the testimony that shit gets seriously weird. Kim drops this bombshell: His real father was Edouard Philippe de Rothschild, and Kim was the “bastard son…of occult incest”, indicating his mom Lula (who died in 1977) had some relation to the Rothschilds. Kim spent much of his childhood and adolescence on his dad’s French estate, and was brought up in homosexual incest. He thought it was normal, even admirable.
Edouard despised God and loved humanity with equal passion. “Such was the true generational core of my ancestral iniquity and, being a Rothschild descendant, it was maximally demonized.” As all Satanists do, Edouard introduced his son to Christianity, “with none other than Herr Josef Mengele himself coaching him over his shoulder.” Kim was being groomed to infiltrate the Protestant church. As Riggs declared, the members of Morningstar Church “had come together to live in such a way as to hasten the Lord’s coming for His Bride, but we also had been constituted in the occult to frustrate the will of God for the Church and bring the antichrist instead.”

Wow. Just wow. Somehow, Doug Riggs convinced most of his 30-40 parishioners that they were multiple personalities programmed in Zedekiah’s cave by the great families of Europe (plus Nazi doctors) to infiltrate the Christian Church and pave the way for the Antichrist, who will be a member of the Hapsburg family associated with the name “Alexander”.
Instead, they found a saviour. Unfracking-believable, no?

Let’s go back to L.A. Marzulli for a moment. He also mentioned that Dr. Mengele was one of the originators of mind control. This is a very popular notion in conspiracy circles, but it makes little sense. Mengele was a geneticist, not a psychiatrist, and there’s no evidence that he took even the slightest interest in psychology.
Marzulli also made reference to the work of I.E.D. Thomas, a Welsh minister who believes that UFOs and alien abductions are demonic manifestations, another guise of the Nephilim.

Back to Riggs and the Morningstar Satanists. Last April, Riggs and his wife were guests on The Byte Show, accompanied by about half a dozen of Riggs’ SRA victims, to discuss the infiltration of Nephilim hybrids into society.
Riggs began the show with a reading of Matthew 24:37, in which it is stated that the coming of the Son of Man (Christ) will be just like the days of Noah. And what happened in the days of Noah? Nephilim mated with the daughters of Man. That’s exactly what Riggs contends is happening now. Fallen angels – the “B’nai Elohim” – are interbreeding with human women, by force. He cited the work of I.E.D. Thomas. Hmm. Call me an asshole, but I’m starting to wonder if Marzulli’s “two researchers” actually exist. Isn’t it more likely that he got his eschatological Illuminati-Satanic-Nephilim info from his buddy Doug?

Two women gave their stories of being “Nephilim mothers”.
Sally, a surprisingly chirpy woman, says that after joining Riggs’ church, she began to journal and pray, and memories started surfacing. She shared her journal with the pastor, but after a time she felt God compelling her to share things directly, even her most frightening memory (the President wearing a gorilla costume). Through prayer and God’s guidance, she learned to trust her emerging memories. She learned that she came from a royal bloodline, stamped with a certain iniquity and allied with Nazi doctors. Many years ago she revealed to Riggs that she had once given birth to a Nephilim child. She had been groomed literally from the womb to bond with the principality (spirit) that sired this child.

Riggs sat on the Nephilim hybrid revelation until this year. Now he’s an expert on the subject. Riggs explains that Nephilim conception occurs at age 13, through an arcane genetic-engineering process (angels can’t reproduce). Gestation is 4 months. Once the Nephilim hybrid sons have matured, their mothers are encouraged to become their lovers, carrying on the tradition of “incesting“.

The second woman, Juliana, learned just this year that her recovered memories of giving birth to human sons were actually screen memories of bearing Nephilim sons. Like all the other Morningstar members, she was born to a European “royal family”, then placed with relatives in the U.S. She was “incested” by the couple she called her mom and dad. She trusts her recovered memories because of their emotional intensity, a very poor indicator of whether a memory is true or false.

For the rest of the program, Riggs made a strenuous effort to show that the SRA victims’ memories didn’t come from him. Hilariously, though, he got them to explain how he doesn’t tell them what to say by telling them what to say.
There is, of course, ample reason to suspect that the Satanic Illuminati stories did come from Riggs. First of all, there’s that peculiar use of “incest” as a verb. While this may be common usage in the survivor community, I have come across it only a handful of times – and every single instance involved Riggs or one of his church members. Secondly, recovered memories of SRA have turned out time and time again to be unreliable (see the Ingram case for a particularly chilling example). Thirdly, some of the key details are whack. There was no Edouard Philippe de Rothschild, and if there had been he would have been Jewish. How, I wonder, would a Jewish Frenchman and a Catholic Nazi groom a child to infiltrate American Protestant churches? If the Satanic New World Order plot is closely linked with Hitler’s plan to create Aryan supermen, as Riggs contends, why would a former Nazi help a Jewish man raise his illegitimate children? And Satanism notwithstanding, why would a Nazi and a Jew be hanging out together in the first place?

Then there’s the fact that this has all happened before.
In the early ’90s, right around the time Riggs was learning about MPD/DID, psychiatrist Bennett Braun opened a DID treatment unit at Chicago’s Rush Presbyterian Hospital. Within a year, he and his colleagues had most of the patients convinced they were lifelong victims of Satanic cults, that their alter personalities still practiced Satanism, that they had ritually sacrificed and/or eaten other people, and that because of their Satanic affiliations they posed a mortal danger to their families, themselves, and other patients. Braun even told them that flowers sent to their rooms were coded mind-control messages from Satanists, with certain colours representing threats and commands.
As former patients like Pat Burgus and Mary Shanley later revealed (see the Frontline documentary The Search for Satan), the people in Braun’s DID unit were so heavily medicated that stories of cannibalism and Satanic incest began to make sense to them. They have since renounced all their “recovered memories”, and some filed lawsuits against Braun and the other doctors involved in their treatment.
What happened at Rush Presbyterian isn’t much different from the spectacular displays of female hysteria that gripped Paris’s Salpetriere Hospital in the late 19th century. Under the influence of Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot, numerous women underwent bizarre convulsions and contortions not unlike the symptoms of “demonic possession”. When Charcot died in 1893, the symptoms abated, leading some of his colleagues to suspect that the hysteria had been iatrogenic in nature. Medical historian Edward Shorter supports this conclusion in his book A History of Psychiatry (1997, John Wiley & Sons).
Though Dissociative Identity Disorder is classified as a dissociative disorder in the DSM-IV, Multiple Personality Disorder was considered a form of hysteria. Specifically, it was Grande Hysterie – the very same condition suffered by Charcot’s patients.

It’s tremendously disturbing to me that Riggs has been carrying on this “counseling” for over 30 years without interruption, and that he is bringing a new generation of “victims” into his circle (his youngest, a Canadian named Sarah, is just 21 years old).
There’s troubling evidence that the Nephilim hybrid/recovered memory nonsense has taken hold in at least one congregation in Australia. Riggs is also closely associated with Russ Dizdar, a pastor we’ll examine in the next post.
Also, Riggs’ belief system is rooted in a school of thought that sees all mental illness as demonic in nature, and/or indicative of repressed memories. He insists that before they enter into counseling with him, his parishioners read the work of Neil T. Anderson, a minister who preaches that 80% of Christians are “demonized” to some extent and that most (if not all) mental illness is a symptom of demonization. He offers “clinical deliverance” (exorcism) as treatment.

Tell Me Again How Satanists Abduct Children?

Trafficking Probe Key to Americans’ Fate in Haiti” by Michelle Faul and Paul Bajak, Huffington Post

Ten Baptists, or people posing as Baptists, were caught trying to smuggle over 30 children out of Haiti with neither documentation nor permission. This sort of thing occurs with alarming regularity in the wake of natural disasters, yet conspiranoids and anti-occult crusaders will not stop harping on the late-’80s case of The Finders, an obscure religious group that was “caught” transporting children of its members. Authorities allegedly found files on the children of non-members, photos of children sacrificing a goat, and other disturbing stuff in a warehouse owned by the group. Though nothing more is known, this has been used as evidence that “Satanic” child trafficking and abuse is widespread.

For some, it must be tempting to think that only those who practice “non-traditional” beliefs could be capable of such monstrosities, but the Haiti case and many others should make it clear that child trafficking is child trafficking – it doesn’t matter what its alleged perpetrators do in their spare time. It is a crime that transcends racial, religious, geographical, and ethnic boundaries. It is a crime that must be stopped, no matter who’s doing it or how.

The Devil in Massachussetts

I know that at this moment, many Americans are deeply upset over Scott Brown’s election to the Massachusetts Senate. A Republican in that swing state will almost definitely spell the end of the new health care plan that could – if properly administered – transform U.S. health care from the “privilege” it is today to the basic human right it should be. This is tragic.

However, Pollyanna that I am, I’m going to point out a couple of things about the Democratic contender, Martha Coakley, that aren’t so great:

1. She didn’t try hard enough. Wasn’t she on vacation for part of her campaign?

2. Coakley has a very mixed track record when it comes to common sense, and her handling of the Amirault case is as good (er, bad) an example as any.

Let me take you back to 1985. Almost exactly 25 years ago, Violet Amirault and her two children, 31-year-old Gerald and 28-year-old Cheryl, were charged with abusing and molesting children in the daycare run by Violet in Malden, Massachusetts.
Violet Amirault opened Fells Acre Daycare as a single parent and had been running it since the mid-1960s without any complaints. In fact, it was considered one of the best daycares in the community, and there was always a waiting list.
Then, in the autumn of 1984, the family of a 4-year-old who attended the daycare considered the boy’s sex play with his cousin to be a troubling sign. They questioned him about bad touching by adults. He said that Gerald Amirault (known as “Tooky“) had removed his pants one day. This was true; Gerald helped the boy change his clothes after he wet himself on one occasion.

Somehow, this incident mushroomed into a vast array of bizarre accusations. On September 12, 1984, more than a hundred parents attended a meeting to discuss the issue with police. Gerald had just been arrested, two days before the birth of his third child, and police were interviewing all of the daycare’s 70 or so children with the help of a pediatric nurse named Susan J. Kelly. Parents were encouraged to question their kids at home, as well. Soon, they were eliciting stories of secret rooms, clowns, sodomy with a butcher knife, a murdered baby, biting robots, witch and “bad lobster” costumes, and something about an elephant. One child said, “Tooky was sorry for chopping me into little pieces.” Another said that 16 fellow preschoolers had died.

Jurors at Gerald’s trial didn’t hear about clowns and monsters, but they did hear about secret rooms where child pornography was produced. These rooms were never located. At Violet and Cheryl’s trial, the allegations were more outlandish: a child lashed nude to a tree on a busy street, robots, butcher knives, etc. The prosecutors made an unusual decision to face the child witnesses directly toward the jury rather than the defendants, ostensibly for the children’s peace of mind.
There was no physical evidence in the case. The prosecution rested solely on interviews of the children. Video recordings of these sessions reveal that if the kids denied being abused, Kelly prodded until they disclosed something – anything. Officer John Rivers referred to the process as “getting blood from a stone”.
No one had ever heard screams of terror coming from the daycare, nor seen any naked children tied to trees. No Malden toddlers had mentioned Satan at the dinner table until after Gerald Amirault was arrested.

Nonetheless, Gerald Amirault was convicted of raping and abusing 9 children, and was sentenced to 30-40 years in prison. His mother and sister each received sentences of 8-20 years for raping and abusing four children. The women’s lighter sentences were clear indicators that the prosecution and jury considered Gerald to be the head of the family’s Satanic Robot Clown cult.

Violet’s and Cheryl’s convictions were overturned in 1995, when a judge ruled that they had been denied their Constitutional right to face their accusers in court. Then the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reinstated the overturned convictions, and the Honorable Isaac Borenstein granted motions for separate trials. However, he ultimately ruled that “grave errors” in the original questioning of the children had irrevocably tainting their testimony, rendering it inadmissible as evidence. He believed the case bore the earmarks of ritual abuse hysteria, noting that none of the kids showed signs of abuse prior to the arrests of the Amiraults.
In 1997, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that Violet and Cheryl would be reincarcerated until their new trials. Violet passed away during this time, having spent close to a decade of her golden years in prison.

Here’s where Ms. Coakley enters the picture. In October 1999, as the Middlesex district attorney, Coakley struck a deal with Cheryl Amirault: In exchange for being released, Cheryl would receive 10 years probation – as long as she gave no TV interviews and had no unsupervised contact with children.

For Coakley, this deal wasn’t about getting some leniency for a woman almost universally considered an innocent victim of “Satanic panic”. No, for her it was about keeping Gerald Amirault in prison. Early in negotations, she demanded that the long-serving Amirault family attorney, James Sultan, pledge to drop Gerald as a client in return for Cheryl’s release. Sultan refused.

In July 2001, the parole board unanimously recommended that Gerald’s sentence be commuted. The final decision would be up to Governor Jane Swift.
Coakley, acting as advocate for the victims and their families, began lobbying Swift on their behalf.

While it’s commendable for Coakley to offer assistance to victims of child abuse, this particular case wasn’t a good place to start. Either she isn’t well-acquainted with the facts of the case, or she’s harebrained enough to believe that a Satanic Robot Clown cult operated a Hell Hostel for toddlersin plain view of a small town’s residents for nearly 20 years.
There is a third, even less appetizing possibility: That Martha Coakley politically exploited the Amirault case to make herself appear very tough on crimes against children. Again, being a victims’ advocate is commendable – but this wasn’t the right place to start. The Fells Acre case is full of victims: the Amiraults, the parents who believe their children were horrifically abused in a safe place, and the children who were persuaded of the same thing by suggestive questioning. Some of them bear psychic scars to this day. Victim Phaedra Hopkins and her family spoke out against the proposed commutation of Amirault’s sentence, as did Jennifer Bennett. She says she and the other kids were telling the truth; the Amirault family ruined her life. Brian Martinello and his mom, Barbara Standke, also spoke out. Brian had scratches or sores on his genitalia when he went to Fells Acres at age 4. He and his mother remain convinced that this was the result of sexual abuse.

Governor Swift rejected the parole board’s recommendation in 2002. Gerald Amirault spent another year and a half in prison before being released on parole, a registered sex offender and convicted child abuser for the rest of his life.

Thanks, Ms. Coakley.

Notes on Sources:

Most of the information in this article comes from John Demo’s excellent book The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-hunting in the Modern World (Viking, 2008), Dorothy Rabinowitz’s January 14, 2009 Wall Street Journal piece (“Martha Coakley’s Convictions“), and news articles on the Fells Acre case compiled online by Hugo S. Cunningham. All online materials were retrieved January 20, 2010.

To date, a definitive account of the case has yet to be written.

Exorcism of 3-year-old Leads to Grandfather’s Death

On July 26 48-year-old Ronald Marquez of Pheonix, Arizona allegedly attempted an exorcism of his 3-year-old granddaughter while the girl’s mother cowered on the floor nearby, naked and covered in blood. The two adults had been screaming and chanting so violently that Marquez’s brother and neighbor called 9/11, fearing for the child’s safety. Police found an incoherent Marquez restraining the little girl in a headlock. When he refused to let go of her, they Tasered him twice; he stopped breathing after the second blast.
The 19-year-old mother has not been charged with any crime. (CNN article)

FOX News’s Hannity & Colmes of August 15 covered this story by interviewing Bob Larson and showing video clips of his public exorcisms. Larson was able to tell millions of viewers that he has performed over 1000 exorcisms, that he met with Vatican exorcist Gabriele Amorth, and that he has studied the Rituale Romanum. He said dozens of people manifest signs of possession at each of his seminars, adding that he always takes a medical and psychological history prior to exorcism to make certain that the person needs exorcism (some do, others require psychiatric treatment and exorcism). Abuse and trauma, he explained, can create the right conditions for possession by demonic entities. Both Sean Hannity and Larson expressed admiration for the late Malachi Martin, an ex-priest who described his many exorcisms on Coast to Coast AM.
In closing, Larson told the viewers that God intended for everyone to perform exorcisms.

Though the victim of this “exorcism” was saved from any harm, the incident can be added to a long list of fatal exorcisms (notably that of Anneliese Michel, on which the movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose was loosely based):

– In February 2007 Father Daniel Corogeanu of Romania was sentenced to 14 years in prison for starving to death a 23-year-old nun, Irini Cornici, in the course of an exorcism. The woman had been chained to a cross for days by Father Corogeanu and four nuns, deprived of food and water. (BBC article)

– In 2003 an 8-year-old autistic boy named Terrance Cottrell was smothered to death by Minister Ray Hemphill of Milwaukee’s Faith Temple of the Apostolic Faith Church, while his mother and other church members looked on. They believed Terrance’s autism (diagnosed when he was 2) was caused by evil spirits, and in the course of the “prayer service” Hemphill held a pillow over the boy’s face to stifle his cries. Hemphill was convicted only of felony physical child abuse, sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. (CNN article, Inclusion Daily Express article)

– In 2004 Memphis police responded to a call about two adults and two young children walking down a street naked. The couple, Christopher and Valerie Carey, were found in a motel room along with their three children, ages 2-8. The oldest child, 8-year-old Quimani, had been stabbed and strangled to death. Both of her arms were broken and Bible pages were scattered around her. According to the mother’s confession, the Careys believed Quimani was a demon and that they would be rewarded for killing her. The homeless couple had no known religious affiliation. (MSNBC article)