How hysterical parents, incompetent therapists and malicious prosecutors destroyed the lives of seven innocent
North Carolinians – and have yet to admit they were wrong

“And When Did You Last See Your Father?” by William Frederick Yeames, 1878, depicting English Puritan inquisitors grilling the child of a Royalist family

“And When Did You Last See Your Father?” by William Frederick Yeames, 1878, depicting English Puritan inquisitors grilling the child of a Royalist family

 

  • French had incisive title for ‘Innocence Lost’: ‘A Judicial Harassment’

    April 18, 2017

    “C’est un reportage accablant sur le système judiciaire américain…. Ce pourrait être simplement l’histoire d’une erreur judiciaire dont aucun système pénal au monde n’est exempt, hélas. C’est bien pire, et correctement annoncé par le titre français : ‘ Un acharnement judiciaire.’ “

    – From “Persécution judiciaire” by Guy Baret in Le Figaro (March 25, 1999)

    That is:

    “[Innocence Lost] is a damning report about the U.S. judicial system…. This could just be the story of a miscarriage of justice of which no criminal justice system in the world is free, unfortunately. It’s much worse, and properly announced by the French title: ‘A judicial harassment’….”

    Apparently critic Baret wasn’t the only one in France to look skeptically at “satanic ritual abuse” claims. I haven’t found a single example of a French day-care prosecution during the moral panic.

    LRDCC20

  • View from exoneree: Jurors, be skeptical about professionals’ claims

    nooncaprop66.org

    Francisco Carrillo Jr.

    April 14, 2017

    “In wrongful convictions, the jury at some point was misled, either by false testimony or bad evidence. It’s the unspoken piece that the jurors – the public – are the ones who are ultimately used to convict someone unjustly because they were misled.

    “When you’re selected, you’re officially deputized to be part of the system, and the jury can’t take the nonchalant position of ‘The professionals know what they’re doing, we’re just here.’ No, you’re a key part of this. You have to think about it, and if you don’t ask, if you don’t speak up if there’s a doubt, someone’s life could be ruined.”

    –  Francisco Carrillo Jr., quoted in “Wrongful-convictions database moves to UC Irvine” in the Los Angeles Times (April 14)

    Carrillo spent 20 years in prison for a fatal drive-by shooting in Los Angeles County, Calif. His conviction was overturned in 2011.

    Gullibility was only one of the problems corrupting the decision-making of Bob Kelly’s jurors.

    LRDCC20

  • Press decides to let Sir Edward Heath rest in peace

    April 6, 2017

    “Beginning with the McMartin preschool case in 1984… much of the media accepted without question fantastic claims brought by police, parents and prosecutors. But by the early 1990s when the courts began tossing out convictions based on recovered memories, coached testimony, and magical thinking, the media backed away….

    “Two stories in the U.S. and British press have resurrected SRA: Pizzagate and abuse claims lodged against deceased British Prime Minister Edward Heath. However, this time round these stories are being treated with skepticism ….

    “Abuse is a serious enough crime without having the false and inflammatory adjective of ‘satanic’ appended to it. I am glad to see The Sun and Mail on Sunday are treating this aspect of the claims as being ridiculous….”

    – From “Satanic Ritual Abuse Is Back In The News, But Now Met With Skepticism” by George Conger at the Media Project (March 30)

    LRDCC20

  • View from Jamaica: ‘Public screamings’ echoed McMartin

    jamaica-gleaner.com

    Glenn Tucker

    March 31, 2017

    “A few months ago, I started receiving photographs of young men on my phone. They were accompanied by frantic messages identifying these men as being responsible for some of the current sex crimes and pleading for the widest possible circulation of the information.

    “I immediately became suspicious and pressed the ‘delete’ button. Subsequent events proved me correct. The authors were just scorned lovers seeking revenge. This was when the society was becoming excited by a high-profile case of paedophilia and some of the most horrible prescriptions were being proposed to ‘correct’ the problem. It occurred to me that the society was not in the mood for rational reasoning on this matter. Not that Jamaica was reacting differently from any other society. While the public screamings were taking place, I was reminded of the McMartin preschool case in the US….“

    “In the US, the National Registry of Exonerations list sex crimes way and above other offences for exonerations. Between 1989 and 2012, sexual abuse accounted for 80 per cent of exonerations and the main reason given was ‘mistaken eyewitness identification.’ For child sex abuse, the percentage [of exonerations] was 74 and the main reasons were perjury and false accusation.

    “I would never attempt to minimise the issue of violence against women and children. There is, however, an abundance of evidence that should encourage crusaders to temper their emotions with a little logic before picking up the sword….”

    – From “Sex-abuse crusaders, temper your emotions” by Glenn Tucker in The Gleaner, Jamaica, West Indies (March 27)

    LRDCC20

 

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The Little Rascals Day Care Case in brief

In the beginning, in 1989, more than 90 children at the Little Rascals Day Care Center in Edenton, North Carolina, accused a total of 20 adults with 429 instances of sexual abuse over a three-year period. It may have all begun with one parent’s complaint about punishment given her child. Among the alleged perpetrators: the sheriff and mayor. But prosecutors would charge only Robin Byrum, Darlene Harris, Elizabeth “Betsy” Kelly, Robert “Bob” Kelly, Willard Scott Privott, Shelley Stone and Dawn Wilson – the Edenton 7.

Along with sodomy and beatings, allegations included a baby killed with a handgun, a child being hung upside down from a tree and being set on fire and countless other fantastic incidents involving spaceships, hot air balloons, pirate ships and trained sharks. By the time prosecutors dropped the last charges in 1997, Little Rascals had become North Carolina’s longest and most costly criminal trial. Prosecutors kept defendants jailed in hopes at least one would turn against their supposed co-conspirators. Remarkably, none did. Another shameful record: Five defendants had to wait longer to face their accusers in court than anyone else in North Carolina history.

Between 1991 and 1997, Ofra Bikel produced three extraordinary episodes on the Little Rascals case for the PBS series “Frontline.” Although “Innocence Lost” did not deter prosecutors, it exposed their tactics and fostered nationwide skepticism and dismay. With each passing year, the absurdity of the Little Rascals charges has become more obvious. But no admission of error has ever come from prosecutors, police, interviewers or parents. This site is devoted to the issues raised by this case.