published Nov 3, 2015 | updated April 22nd 2016
THE Church of Scotland minister at the centre of the Orkney child sex abuse allegations had a hot-water bottle in his main bedroom with a legend referring to a sexually abused youngster as The Big Boy, the inquiry was told yesterday.
The Rev. Morris McKenzie and wife Jan were among a close-knit group of South Ronaldsay islanders who sent letters, postcards, and gifts to eight children from the W family.
Former Orkney social worker Mrs Sue Millar said yesterday much of the correspondence contained coded messages which were later linked to allegations by three of the children of an organised child sex abuse network.
Many of the letters were read to the inquiry yesterday by Mr Hugh Campbell QC, representing the Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (RSSPCC) Constant references were made to love hearts, Brownies, and the Boys’ Brigade, and a middle-aged woman referred to one of the boys, BW, as The Beast.
Mrs Millar told the inquiry police had informed the social work department about a hot-water bottle taken from Mr McKenzie’s manse. Mr Campbell showed her a photograph of it. He said it had come from the main bedroom of the manse and bore the legend ”B — The Big Boy.”
He asked: ”Did that fit in with the nature of the correspondence from others who were referred to in the W children’s disclosures?”
She said: ”Yes, in terms of a sexual context with the Rev.McKenzie.”
The inquiry was told that Mrs W sent one of her daughters, AW, a poem
which said: ”No harm can come to one another, when we love each sister and brother.”
Mr Campbell asked Mrs Millar if that was a poem she fixed upon given the history of abuse between brothers and sisters within the W family. She said one of the other girls mentioned having a sexual relationship with her mother and ‘‘it all began to fit into place”
Mr Campbell: ”If it be that there has been connection between brother and sister that the mother was aware of, did it seem to you that this was a particularly revolting reference in terms of it being sent to a child of tender years?”
Mrs Millar: ‘‘I think it is a very inappropriate reference. I would be resistant to being too judgmental given the very difficult situation that incest obviously is.”
The eight W children were taken from Orkney last November when one of the girls revealed abuse within the family.
In February three of the children (aged seven, eight & nine) told social workers that orgies had taken place in an Orkney quarry and that Mr McKenzie and some adults had abused children. Police and social workers took away nine children on February 27.
Mr Campbell said the correspondence which gave rise to concern came from four main sources: the W household; Mrs T; Mr+Mrs M; & Mr+Mrs McKenzie.
He asked Mrs Millar about letters from Mrs T to nine-year-old BW in which she called him ”B — the beast”.
Mrs Millar said that Mrs T often wrote ”I love you” on her notes to BW.
Mr Campbell asked her if her concerns about such references were heightened after the nine children were taken into care
.Mrs Millar: ”In terms of the statements that the girls made about having seen BW sexually involved with Mrs T and saying that BW was very sad and not happy about it.”
Among the other letters and cards read out by Mr Campbell yesterday were:
* References to German lessons. One letter from the McKenzies to AW
read: ”Dear A. Are you getting any German. I am told you are missed in class.”
Mrs Millar said the girl was too young to be learning German.
* Constant references to rainbows. The girl QW, while making sexual allegations, began to draw a rainbow, a girl in a wheelchair, and someone coming out of the rainbow. She then became upset and drew an even larger rainbow.
* Constant mention of Brownies and the Boys’ Brigade, including a poem
from Mrs W to QW which read:‘‘Darling Q, please be glad. Think of all the love you’ve had.” The letter referred to a Brownie pack.
* When the children made their allegations, some said they were
dressed in BB, Brownie, or cowboy uniforms before being abused.
The inquiry continues. Found here HeraldScotland
Orkney Abuse Children Go Home April 4th 1991
The children at the centre of satanic abuse allegations in the Orkney Islands off Scotland have been reunited with their families after the case was thrown out of court. The judge, Sheriff David Kelbie, criticised the social workers who took the children away from their homes on the island of South Ronaldsay more than five weeks ago. Read in full here BBCNews
Orkney abuse children speak out Last Updated: Tues, 22 Aug 2006
Children at the centre of the Orkney abuse allegations in the early 1990s have spoken of their experiences for the first time. In 1991, five boys and four girls, aged between eight and 15, were taken from their homes on South Ronaldsay. The children, who could not be identified at the time, returned to their homes two months later when legal action was thrown out by a sheriff. Read in full here BBCNews
4 APR 2011 Updated 25 SEP 2012
TWO decades ago, as the morning sun kissed the shores of a Scottish island, a squad of strangers grabbed nine sleepy-eyed youngsters from their beds.
HOW IT HAPPENED
June 1989: Eight children taken from a home amid allegations of abuse. Put into care on mainland.
July: Children’s panel hearing in Kirkwall decides that children should be returned to Orkney under supervision.
July: Social workers and the RSSPCC hold case conference in Kirkwall.
August: RSSPCC writes to Orkney Islands Council and Scottish secretary criticising the reporter and panel. Allegations found not proven by Scottish Office.
March 1990: Katherine Kemp, reporter to the children’s panel, suspended.
November: One of the girls from the original family taken into care. Days later other seven siblings taken into care. Social workers claim children disclosed evidence of ritualistic sex ring involving four other families and the Rev Morris McKenzie.
February 1991: Nine children named by the original kids are taken from their homes.
April: The nine return home after sheriff David Kelbie throws out the case as “fatally flawed”. Scots secretary Ian Lang announces full judicial inquiry and reinstates Kemp as reporter.
August: Public inquiry opens in Kirkwall under Lord Clyde.
October 1992: Clyde’s report savages the social workers’ action although he accepted those involved acted in “good faith”.
March 1996: Four families accept compensation deal – one receiving £40,000 – and full apology.
Read in full here DailyRecord
The tiny Orkney island of South Ronaldsay became the centre of a worldwide media storm in 1991 when nine children were removed from four families following allegations of satanic sexual abuse. Two decades on, Esther, who was the child at the centre of the scandal, believes none of it would have happened if she had spoken out at the time. Read in full here BBCNews
Screenshot frm cathyfox.wordpress.com
Read in full The Orkney Abuse Scandal
Read in full here Goa Child Trafficing & Child Abuse
Read in full here HeraldScotland
A HOUSE parent who sexually abused five young girls at the independent school where he worked was sent to the High Court for sentence yesterday.
A lawyer for bearded Adrian Batty, 42, told Dingwall Sheriff Court that he had already received a death threat in Porterfield Prison Inverness.
Sheriff David Crowe criticised Raddery School on the Black Isle — for emotionally damaged children — which, he said, had ”behaved in a naive manner” for employing an unqualified man like Batty and allowing him to supervise young girls overnight. Batty, who had been remanded in custody since his trial for reports, stood unmoved as Sheriff Crowe told him: ”You were found guilty of five offences of lewd, libidinous, and. Indecent behaviour involving five separate girls all under the age of 16.” He said what Batty had done to the girls might have been classed as normal behaviour had it happened between consenting adults in private. ”All stated they were unhappy about what was being done to them but they felt unable to complain. ”It is disturbing that one of the girls thought that this was to be expected in the normal world.” The sheriff added: ”The school was set up to treat emotionally damaged children, some of whom had suffered previous sexual abuse. You must have known in general terms why they were at the school. ”You were a house parent and you abused a position of trust. ”It might be mentioned that the school behaved in a naive manner. It was happy to employ you though you had no educational or social work qualifications.
”It was happy that the night room was moved from the boys’ to the girls’ wing and happy that supervision was carried out by an unmarried man.”
Sheriff Crowe said there was a reporting system to cover incidents of a sexual nature and had Batty felt he was being subjected to sexual advances he could have used it. He had not done this.
Batty, originally from Cumbria but who had been living with his parents in Forres, Moray, was found guilty by a jury on September 7 of indecency charges involving five girls at Raddery between 1983 and 1989. His lawyer, Mr Neil Ramsay, said Batty had been held since the trial at Porterfield Prison where ”his life has been threatened by another inmate”. He said Batty had found himself in a situation where ”temptations had become a real and accessible demon”. He said Batty’s life had crumbled about him. He was married with two young children and his wife had started divorce proceedings.
The offences came to light when one of the girls involved, now a married woman with two children of her own, was convinced by her husband that what had happened to her was ”out of order”. She had then reported the matter and an investigation was launched.
Before the police inquiry started, the principal of Raddery, Mr David Dean, who was awarded the OBE two years ago for services to education, alerted the Scottish Office and Highland Region. This resulted in a three-month inspection by HM Inspectors of Schools and Raddery now has a child protection officer, a public phone which the pupils can use, and at night two adults are on duty, one male and one female, with only the female being allowed into the girls’ bedrooms.
After the hearing, Mr Dean said:
“Raddery School was optimistic for the professional future of Mr Batty. He had taken part in the school’s extensive internal training programme and at the time of his resignation was engaged in a course of study with the Open University specifically directed towards working with children and adolescents. He was supervised and supported throughout his period at Raddery by well qualified and experienced staff members. The room used by the many staff engaged to carry out sleep-in duties, as well as their other duties, was situated strategically between a boys’ bedroom and two girls’ bedrooms. It was the most logical room from which to supervise all wings of the building. Sadly, in this work nationally, there will always be a minute number of staff members, qualified and unqualifed, married and unmarried, who will transgress the trust placed in them in their work in residential schools and children’s homes.”
‘You were a house parent and you abused a position of trust. It might be mentioned that the school behaved in a naive manner.’ Sheriff David Crowe
But five years after the initial charges had been made the parents were granted leave to petition for nobile officium, the ultimate appeal in Scots law. Evidence which had been accepted for five years was suddenly thrown into question. A new sheriff said the child who’d started the whole process off was a devious, manipulative little boy and should be sent back home – despite admitting that “it is possible that this has been a case of child abuse”.
By then the tide had turned. After a number of years of sensational convictions, there was suddenly a consensus among the media and the judiciary that there was no such thing as satanism. There were lying children, of course. Everyone knows the little sods lie all the time. There were also hysterical social workers, who, despite years of professional training, had all been swept up in a craze for madcap American thinking. And there were only innocent parents, poor victims whose children had been snatched from them and who must have their little darlings restored to them immediately. The family as the primary social unit was not to be questioned again – Britain’s newspapers would make sure of that.
The children in Ayrshire were sent home and so were the children who’d been removed from their homes in Orkney. They’d been taken to the mainland and housed with foster families in Highland region and in Strathclyde. There, they said the most bizarre things. One nine-year-old boy directed a play in which the “minister” was shown wearing split trousers revealing his bare backside, which the boy then hit. A seven-year-old girl in a different foster family became uncharacteristically aggressive when she was told she was going home and smashed a doll on the ground. She said she didn’t want to go and stood “like a wooden doll”, refusing to get dressed.
Such strange behaviour proves nothing, of course, though the fact there was so much of it in children from different accused families might surely have given the authorities pause for thought. Instead, Sheriff David Kelbie sent the children home without testing the evidence in court. This decision was criticised by the Law Society of Scotland and by Lord Clyde in his inquiry into the case, but that fact has been ignored for 25 years, to the extent that even as respected a news outlet as the BBC can report that the parents in Orkney were innocent. Innocent till proven guilty? Yes, but innocent beyond the shadow of a doubt? That, the Orkney parents can never claim.
Over the past 25 years I have written a number of articles on SRA and on recovered memory; I have gone back to Orkney to re-investigate; I have chased up members of the W family, the huge family at the heart of the case. Most of the articles have never seen the light of day. The one major piece I managed to get into the mainstream was in The Guardian Weekend magazine under the editorship of Deborah Orr. The house lawyer told her the article had a tendency to suggest the accused parents in Ayrshire were guilty. She chose to publish it in full.
Others were not so brave and it became one of the great frustrations of my writing career that I’d pour months of research into a piece, only to have it buried. One editor, on receiving an interview about a woman tied up in a cage for months, said she just didn’t believe such things happened. I’ve always wondered how she felt when Natascha Kampusch emerged from her years of captivity or when Elizabeth Fritzl talked about being imprisoned and raped by her own father.
EVEN those who deny the existence of international satanist networks can hardly pretend that satanist abuse never happens – in 2002 Manuela and Daniel Ruda were convicted by a German court of killing Frank Haagen, carving a pentagram into his stomach and drinking his blood. In 2011 Colin Batley was convicted of leading a satanist cult in the west Wales town of Kidwelly. Among other things he committed 11 separate rapes, three indecent assaults, six counts of buggery and four counts of possessing indecent images of a child.
Over and over again satanist abuse has been proved to exist, so why does so much energy go into denying it? I have never been able to understand it and in the end decided to have one final shot at putting SRA into the public domain again. I’d been talking to Bob, a survivor who’d been abused by a satanic sex ring as a child. Although he’d made a life for himself with marriage and a good job, his memories had started to take over his life, he’d lost the job and was now struggling to survive. I told him I probably wouldn’t be able to get his story into the papers, but he said it would help to talk about it. It was he who suggested I fictionalise it.
I was dubious at first because this form of abuse is so sensational in its essence that it’s hard to believe. People who’d tackled it before either went for horror, like Dennis Wheatley, or else drew in elements of the supernatural, as in Phil Rickman’s Midwinter Of The Spirit, recently dramatised on television. I find it hard to believe in the spirit world so the latter was not an option.
What I settled for was to make the story as real as possible and in doing so, to demystify it. Whether the perpetrators believe in the dark gods is irrelevant to me but what they do to their victims has haunted me for years. They tell children that satan always sees them – he’s the spider in the corner of the room or the staring-eyed cat. They have no freedom in their heads, which seems to me the cruellest abuse of all.
It was natural to set my novel, Dark Web, in Orkney, not just because I knew about the historic case but because the landscape there is so imbued with human history. The Neolithic village of Skara Brae, the chambered tombs all over the islands, the immense standing stones of the Ring of Brodgar all form a dramatic backdrop that makes you question what it is to be human.
Although the book is short, it has taken a huge amount of time – writing, shaping, rewriting. Trying to make it credible in literary terms is not the same as telling the truth. The publisher who had an option on the book thought it was very powerful though had some questions about the Orkney setting. Still, when she invited me for dinner at her house I thought we were going to discuss publication dates – she wanted autumn but I wanted to go earlier, at the summer solstice, as the climax of the book is set on that day.
Over wine and salmon she told me the book was on an important subject and was powerful, indeed scorching. But she said her editor had said he’d resign if she published it. Choosing to locate the story on Orkney would cause people to be triggered, even if they’d only peripherally been involved. Some of them might even commit suicide. You wouldn’t set a novel about a spree killer in Dunblane, would you?
I don’t think anything is barred to a writer, but she said I was immoral and heartless for even considering it. Given that the book has been driven all along by a concern for the survivors of SRA I found that hard to take, but also deeply puzzling. People who commit suicide generally do so because they find themselves unable to carry on with life, not because they’ve read something on a subject they already know about. People don’t normally threaten to resign over a book. My first two fictional books were nominated for literary prizes and one had been promoted in WH Smith, so such obdurate resistance was unexpected. As our argument became more robust her whole response seemed to me to be more and more irrational.
After years of struggle I shouldn’t have been surprised but I am still baffled. The setting won’t please the people of Orkney, who I’m sure would like to forget that the scandal of 25 years ago ever happened. But then I’m not writing for their tourist board – and the irony is that the book’s early readers have all really liked the evocations of the Orkney landscape. It seems to me that if the novel upsets anyone involved in the case it’s likely to be the people accused of abuse. My concern is not for them, because I believe they’re guilty – but that’s only my opinion and because it hasn’t been tested in the courts I can’t prove it.
Just as they can’t prove they’re innocent.
We’re supposed to be free to express our opinions in this country, but you wouldn’t think so from the way the publishing industry has reacted so far. I’ve approached over 30 agents and publishers and they have all said no.
Well, I say no too. No to pretending that families always provide ideal homes. No to abusing victims twice, the second time by refusing to believe them. I say no to depriving children of support, to making professionals unable to protect children properly. No to covering up the darker aspects of human nature till we’re absolutely forced to acknowledge them. Do we always have to wait till people are dead before we’re brave enough to expose them? To my knowledge, former prime minister Edward Heath was reported by at least five people to have been involved in satanic ceremonies. But the people who reported him were patients, so who could believe them? Right?
If I sound angry it’s because I am. Allegations of varying kinds of sexual abuse against Heath have now been received in eight different police authorities. The current inquiry, involving 4500 boxes of Heath’s personal papers, is being overseen by Wiltshire Police, who were investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission in 2015 for allegedly failing to follow up similar accusations in the 1990s. Well, maybe they’ll get it right this time, when there’s no powerful political figure to go up against, when officers won’t slide down the promotions ladder because they’ve offended the wrong person. Maybe the press, society’s guard dog, will get it right now there’s no danger of being sued for libel. There is, after all, no risk in accusing a dead person.
The convictions, the ritual shamings of perpetrators, the public apologies are always, always, too late.
DAVE MARROW FROM ORKNEY
W I L D C A T