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2 Held in Child Abuse Linked to Satanic Cult

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Associated Press

Two men arrested after being seen in a park with six children dressed in tatters were held Friday on child abuse charges, and police said the men may be part of an international satanic cult whose members give up their children.

Some of the children told police they had not seen their parents since before Christmas.

“They evidently have come from such sheltered existences that they had no concept of what a telephone was, or TV or anything like that,” said Scott Hunt, a spokesman for the Tallahassee Police Department.

The children, ages 2 to 6, may have been given up by their parents so the parents could join a satanic cult in Washington, D.C., authorities in Florida said.

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Police Tipped Off

Police were alerted Wednesday by anonymous callers concerned because the men were dressed in coats and ties while the children, unwashed and insect-bitten, were playing in tattered clothes at Myers Park, a downtown playground.

Upon questioning after their arrest Wednesday, the men said the children were being “weaned” from their mothers in Washington. They said they were taking the children to Mexico to start a school for brilliant children. They denied any blood relationship with the children and refused to answer other questions.

“We don’t know what we’ve got. All we have is six children, and we don’t know where they came from,” Hunt said.

The oldest child said the children had never been to school. They had been traveling for several days or weeks, she said, although she did not know where they had been.

Evidence of Sexual Abuse

Medical exams showed that one child had been sexually abused, Hunt said.

Police identified the men as Douglas Edward Ammerman, 27, and Michael Houlihan, 28, and said they were believed to be from the Washington area. The two were charged Thursday with one count of child abuse. They appeared in court Friday and were jailed on $100,000 bail each.

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