Girl Tells Court in Satanic Trial of Blood Ritual
An 11-year-old girl told a Superior Court jury Thursday that she was sexually abused by her grandmother and made to drink human blood during satanic rituals in a secret cave.
Dressed in a pink flowered jumpsuit, the blond, cherubic girl testified that at the age of 2 she was taken in a limousine with both her grandparents while her grandfather, now deceased, picked up prostitutes.
When she was about 4 years old, she said, “I was forced to drink blood out of a glass and eat human flesh.” In another incident, she testified, “they gave me a drug so I would be hyper-vigilant.”
But the grandmother’s lawyer said Thursday that the girl has been coached by her mother into telling preposterous fables.
“We’re not hearing the words of a little girl but the words of other people . . . " attorney Tom R. Allen said outside the courtroom. “The little girl is a victim of the environment her mother placed her in.”
The girl’s mother, 48, and her aunt, 35, have filed a civil lawsuit against their 76-year-old mother, alleging she ritually abused them and her granddaughter beginning in infancy. The white-haired septuagenarian, now living in Mission Viejo, insists that none of it ever happened.
Allen has suggested that the 48-year-old woman, who has suffered a myriad of psychological problems, was led by psychotherapists to believe that she had been ritually abused. Then, he contends, she persuaded her younger sister and her daughter into believing that they were also victims of a satanic cult.
The women’s attorney so far has not presented any material or physical evidence to support the allegations, “I can’t say whether or not they believe it,” Allen said. “It didn’t happen.”
For three days, the 48-year-old mother has told Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert D. Monarch and his jury lurid and bizarre tales of black-robed adults committing ritual rape and incest; of being made to witness ghastly murders; and of being drugged, bound and tortured with knives and electric shocks.
In a tale reminiscent of the horror novel “Rosemary’s Baby,” the woman testified that she was impregnated by a cult member at the age of 11 or 12, then forced to murder her 6-month-old baby during a satanic ritual in a cave in “dusty local mountains” more than 35 years ago.
She became pregnant again at 14 after her father prostituted her in motel rooms, but cult members, including her mother, induced an abortion when it was discovered “that it wasn’t Satan’s baby,” she told the jury.
To cope with the abuse, the woman said, she developed more than 10 different personalities with names like “Rosie,” “Sarah” and “Thelda.” One of the personalities, a wolf, was deliberately induced when cult members drugged her, locked her in a cage and subjected her to electric shock, she told the jury Thursday.
The sisters’ attorney, R. Richard Farnell, said that while admittedly “sensational,” similar allegations about ritual abuse have been lodged across the nation.
“You don’t want to believe it. . .,” Farnell said. “The easiest way to deal with it is to say it doesn’t exist, it didn’t happen. . . . This is far more widespread than anybody realizes.”
The trial began Tuesday, and by Thursday the accusations had attracted a flock of television cameras and curiosity-seekers to a courtroom usually reserved for routine personal injury disputes.
Under a special arrangement with the court, the sisters were permitted to file a lawsuit using only their initials. The grandmother is being called by a pseudonym.
When the 11-year-old entered the courtroom Thursday and saw her grandmother, she burst into tears. After a visit to the judge’s chambers, she assured him that she did wish to testify.
The girl then recounted graphic tales of sexual abuse by her grandmother, bloody rites in the secret caves and violent threats about what would happen to her if she told anyone.
Asked why she thought the lawsuit had been filed, she replied: “Because my grandmother did some things to me that were not nice and abusive, and I guess we’re trying to make her literally pay for them.”
During cross-examination, Allen asked her how, at the age of 4, she could have known she was drugged or “hyper-vigilant.”
“I’m not a super hyper-vigilant person,” she replied. “I’m pretty sure they did.”
When pushed for details about another incident, she said, “I feel so blank now. My head hurts so bad and my stomach hurts. I’m really feeling so confused right now.” Her testimony was frequently interrupted when she either began to sob or announced she felt sick.
Like her mother, the girl testified that she had developed at least six different personalities, including the intelligent “Gina,” the young and frightened “Shawna,” the motherly “Sandy” and two babies.
Outside the courtroom, Allen suggested that the use of the word “hyper-vigilant,” the idea that a 2-year-old could identify a prostitute and other discrepancies suggested that the girl’s testimony was not credible.
“I think it confirms something I have suspected. . .,” Allen said. “We’re not hearing the words of a little girl but the words of other people.”
Farnell defended the girl’s testimony, saying she is highly intelligent and has a vocabulary that “is probably better than mine.”