Chapter 11
Home Up

VOLUME 1, 1995


Notes for Chapter 11

One of the women in the ward who had taught seven-year-old Trent Campbell wrote the little boy some notes of encouragement and love while he was in Texas. Touched, Roseanne responded with a warm letter on June 27, 1993, describing how Trent had kept the notes and had changed so much for the better. He said the "Lord was now answering his prayers.... When we lived in Oklahoma [he would ask] why the Lord didn’t answer his prayers.... You would not recognize the children. They are now normal. They have undergone extensive psychological therapy and deprogramming. Their faces shine as a child’s should." She talked of the priesthood blessings each child received and added,

I am busy—the Primary chorister. I love the children so much. I go as often as I can to the temple.... I have a good support system of parents and a brother. My dad and brother are good, strong priesthood leaders and examples for my children. Living on a farm and surrounded by so much love has brought about miracles.

I have learned that faith does indeed precede the miracles. I have seen and felt the Lord’s guiding influence in our lives. It hasn’t been easy. It has been hard. There have been tears and heartache and pleadings with God. I’ve lost my innocence and my rose-colored glasses. I’ve had experiences I could only tell in person—but I made it because of priesthood blessings and for awhile I had them almost weekly. I followed God’s directions all the way, though there were times I struggled with the battle within. I found he was always right and could see the whole picture. I hope I can take the good and use this experience for the betterment of my fellowman. I have grown and now the scriptures take on a much deeper meaning for me. The song, "Teach me to Walk in the Light" I now fully understand.

I was blessed with a good bishop. He was guided and directed. He went so far as to tell Bishop Hancock he’d better read the transcripts so he’d know what was going on.... There are still good men that are in tune with God. He stuck to me through the whole ordeal and for awhile I wasn’t even sure I would make it.

I have felt your prayers from the beginning and have been touched. Some days that’s all that kept me going. I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated your love and concern, and especially for Trent. When he turns eight and is baptized, his baptism will have a much more special meaning.

I value your friendship and regret that I never had the opportunity to really know you. The gospel is beautiful but the Church is far from perfect. I have to constantly remind myself that vengeance is the Lord’s and that his judgement is much harsher than anything upon the earth.

I do caution that there are many in Silver Ward that are not as they seem. They create a beautiful illusion....

She also invited this teacher to read the court transcripts of the divorce proceedings and the custody hearings in Canadian County, just across the county line. The teacher, hesitant but concerned about the suggestion of abuse, shared this letter with Merradyth and in the fall Merradyth asked Mary Snow Plourde to investigate. In November, Mary, a genealogy enthusiast, read the transcripts. She uncovered a terrifying story of the ritualistic sexual abuse of Roseanne’s five little children by their father, Peter Campbell and, according to the children, "other men." One of the other men they named was Stan Powell. Another was "Garrett’s daddy"—Earl Harrison, then in the bishopric.1 Although Powell’s involvement was not pursued as Roseanne and her parents battled to protect the children, the possibility of ritual abuse opened horrifying new horizons to the McCallister and the Plourde families. To them, it explained much that was mysterious in what was happening to their own families and even provided a logically consistent, though terrible, explanation of why priesthood leaders seemed slow to believe.

Leon Fulton’s contemptuous dismissal of Roseanne, his refusal to read the testimony in Roseanne’s divorce and custody case, and the initial support of Roseanne’s priesthood leaders in Texas that later became distant can be partially explained by their efforts to respond cautiously and conservatively to the sexual abuse charges; but at least some of their discomfort comes from the problematic nature of ritual abuse itself. (See Chapter 6.) They seem to have found it easy to disbelieve in ritual abuse; hence, the belief of others that ritual abuse had and was occurring made it easy to dismiss these individuals as crazy or out of control.

Roseanne acknowledges: "The following story is only memories. No hard evidence has been found to support it, except the children’s medical reports and the psychological testing that I and the three older children had when they were seven, five, and three. The tests indicate that something horrible did happen. The diagnosis was post-traumatic stress syndrome." Roseanne has lived with disbelief. She speaks and writes with careful restraint.

Roseanne describes herself as a "goodie two-shoe" kid, who grew up with one brother, Keith, in "a very strict LDS family" in a small Texas town. In an odd foreshadowing of how lives are entwined, her father, Willard Hales, was the home teacher of a young couple who had recently moved into the ward, Nelson and Mary Plourde.

There were only twenty-seven in Roseanne’s graduating class.2 She didn’t drink, didn’t dance until age fourteen, and didn’t date until she went to BYU. Forty miles from the ward meetinghouse, she did seminary by home study with her younger brother Keith, taught by their mother, Maxine, and is proud that the two of them "took seminary scripture chase for the entire state of Texas." "I never wanted to do anything wrong," she says simply. In her senior year when she told the band leader she couldn’t participate in a contest on Saturday because it conflicted with attending a home study seminary meeting, she was expelled from the band and dropped from the yearbook staff and other clubs for that semester. "I lost a lot of friends," she remembers, "but it was worth it to me."

BYU was a disorienting experience. The six girls in her Heritage Halls apartment included a girl from her home ward that she had specifically asked not to room with. Her grades plummeted. She remembers her roommates, dressed in black, sitting on the floor around a candle, the bishop and his counselor unable to enter the apartment until they had prayed outside because of the sense of evil they felt, and being on an emotional seesaw from the way her roommates treated her: "One minute they were my friends, the next my enemies. They had fun ridiculing me and generally making my life miserable. They were constantly chiding me about my close relationship with my family. I would find my mail opened and read; often my possessions had been gone through."

She moved to another apartment second semester, then remembers a bizarre "recruiting" meeting, drugs, contact with an evil organization, and "flashes of nightmares with no context." Roseanne believes she was indoctrinated through hypnosis and drugging into some kind of cult, in which her future husband Peter V. Campbell was also involved.

Roseanne graduated in 1977 with a degree in family studies and consumer economics, returned to Texas at her parents’ insistence, lived at home, worked, had several callings in the ward, and was also the stake young adult representative. When friends introduced her to Peter V. Campbell, recently divorced, she was "unimpressed." Peter paid close and flattering attention to Roseanne, "cleaned himself up," and embraced the Church eagerly. Their second date was to a division of their stake, conducted by Apostle Boyd K. Packer. Peter told her that "this was what he’d been looking for all his life." Fourteen months after he joined the Church, they were married in the temple in September 1982.

Roseanne spent eight of the next ten years pregnant. They also moved five times in those ten years, ending up in Piedmont, Oklahoma, which was in Silver Ward’s boundaries.

They were close to two other couples in the ward. One was the Powells. After Stan Powell became bishop in 1987, Peter, who had never had prominent Church positions, (was given significant if offbeat responsibilities. He became a cannery operator in the bishop’s storehouse and stake cannery, which gave him the keys and alarm code to a building that was in a sparsely populated area and was frequently empty after business hours. As Sunday School president, he also had keys to the ward house.3 Roseanne now remembers as sinister the proud comment of Powell’s wife Sylvia, "Stan just has a knack for finding people."

Roseanne thinks she was mind-controlled during those years. "I had the perfect marriage. I supported my husband totally. He could never do anything wrong. My folks would ask me why I was bruised, but I literally could not see the bruises on my own body. My folks wrote in their journals that I would say I wanted to commit suicide. If they asked me about it, I’d say, ‘I wouldn’t think about anything like that.’ I even asked him if I should brush my teeth. I wore the same dress most of the time to church for ten years." They had purchased their house in 1985 from a man named Daniel Schrock and, every three months, received a statement addressed to him from a New York bank. Unthinkingly, for the next seven years, Roseanne returned it to the sender. Just after Gabriel’s birth, in the presence of her mother, Roseanne received a phone call from the bank asking for Schrock. When she said he did not live there, the woman confirmed that Peter Campbell was the principal listed on the signature card. Only in retrospect does Roseanne find it incredible that she could have not questioned Peter’s financial deals for their entire married life. She knew that he always carried at least three thousand dollars in hundred dollars bills in his shirt pocket and kept cash in the house, but she never asked where the money came from. She was surprised again when her Texas banker told her that Peter had closed out three accounts at their Oklahoma bank. She had known only of two.

Church activity was an important part of that life. She was active in Scouting, sang in the choir, and was a counselor in the Primary presidency. She was Merradyth’s visiting teacher for much of this ten-year period, and was a counselor in the Primary presidency while Merradyth was a Primary teacher—Trent’s teacher, in fact. At one point, Roseanne was visiting teacher simultaneously to Merradyth, Mary, and Sylvia Powell, and was also a visiting teacher companion to Tara McCallister, Jack and Merradyth’s oldest daughter. (Ironically, she confesses that she was reserved and "strictly business" around both Merradyth and Mary because of gossip in the ward about "how rotten" Merradyth’s children were and because Nelson and Mary didn’t have their children at all the activities "like a good Mormon family.")

Roseanne s sincere devotion to her Church responsibilities, in a second irony, offered Peter many reliable opportunities to abuse the children. She was often gone three nights a week during the last week of the month when homemaking meeting, Cub Scout pack meeting, and Boy Scout troop committee meeting were scheduled. She had to keep a schedule in writing of every date when she had a meeting. On Saturdays, when she did the shopping, he would send his cellular phone with her. "He would have me call every time I left each store. And he had me call the house before I came home" (10 Sept., 61). Peter was almost always their babysitter.

When she returned home from choir practice Sunday afternoons, the children would be hungry; Peter would not have fed them even though she had left dinner in the oven. Sometimes Peter got home early during the week, and she would go grocery shopping. When she returned, she would ask the children if they had been swimming. The children would say, "We had to play games with Daddy." The children talked about "Hollywood" and asked when they "were going to Hollywood" (10 Sept., 61), which Roseanne now interprets as references to kiddy-porn filming sessions.

Roseanne, who testified at the custody hearings, "I feel the mother’s place is in the home" (10 Sept., 25), never worked outside the home after Trent was born, gave birth to Trent, Preston, and Tyler at home and to Charlotte and Gabriel at a midwifery center, home-schooled the children, treated their ailments with herbs, delayed immunizations for them until they turned six, and testified that Peter never let her take them to the doctor (10 Sept., 56-58; 21-22 Sept., 91).

Professionally Peter was licensed in heating and air-conditioning, but also did electrical, plumbing, and general remodeling on the side. He was a mechanical engineer for Price Edwards and Company in Oklahoma City (21-22 Sept., 93). He and his half-brother had a company, B&O Heating & Air Conditioning, for which he did part-time work, but seldom made more than a hundred dollars a month at it and stopped working there altogether when Roseanne moved out.

Roseanne’s children were born close together. "They’re all blonde-haired, blue-eyed children, just beautiful," she says, "but none of them look alike. He told me he couldn’t have children." Her first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at about the fifth month in April 1984, Trent was born in September 1985, followed by Charlotte in January 1987, and Preston in October 1988. She miscarried twins in about the sixth month of pregnancy in October 1989. She has since wondered if these "miscarriages" were actually early births, induced so that the babies could be used in occult rituals. Tyler was born in January 1991 followed by Gabriel on 7 July 1992. July was the month when the facade over this "perfect" Mormon marriage shredded.

Gabriel was born almost a month late in a difficult, "dry" birth. There seemed to be no medical reason for the absence of amniotic fluid, and Roseanne remembers that Peter was "very upset because the baby wasn’t a girl." Later she learned that the baby had an enlarged liver, but it was not until two weeks later that she noticed he was a strange gray color. He was bleeding from the navel. Later, she could not help wondering if Peter had hurt the baby after birth.

When Gabriel was born, Maxine Hales came up from Texas to help Roseanne as she did with the births of all of the children. Four nights later, on 11 July, she says, something woke her. She went into the children’s bedroom, covered up Trent and Tyler, then went into the room that Charlotte shared with Preston. She covered up Preston, glanced toward Charlotte’s bed, but did not approach it, and returned to her room, leaving the door open. A few minutes later, she saw Peter come out of Charlotte’s room. Then Charlotte came down the hall and went into the bathroom. Maxine heard her screaming with pain while she was urinating. When Maxine asked what was wrong, Peter, Roseanne, and Charlotte all told her that everything was fine.

When Maxine returned to Texas, she took seven-year-old Trent with her, The next day, a woman who knew Peter’s former wife called Maxine and told her that Peter had molested her daughters when they were little. Suddenly the pieces lit together. Maxine called Willard at work, and they left immediately for Oklahoma. They had always taken the older children for a couple of weeks after each birth to give Roseanne a rest, so they tried to maintain the same pattern as they collected Charlotte and Preston and their things for the return trip. Roseanne’s father, very concerned, gave her a priesthood blessing. "He told me I didn’t have any free agency at that point—that if I had another child I would die and that I had to listen to what the Lord had to tell me. Roseanne admits that she was disoriented and irrational. Peter’s attorney suggested during the custody proceedings that she was merely suffering from post-partum depression, and Peter testified that she was usually depressed for two or three weeks after each child’s birth (21-22 Sept., 109). But Roseanne thinks she was drugged; and Maxine Hales, nearly beside herself with worry about the children, was also now beginning to fear for Roseanne’s safety.

Maxine and Willard called Stan Powell, whom they knew as Peter’s and Roseanne’s former bishop and also because he had handled some minor legal matters for them. He warned them to "go slow," instructed them to get a medical evaluation of the children and also a psychiatric evaluation. He later insisted that he was simply acting in his "counseling" capacity as their former bishop; they thought they had retained him as their attorney.

The Haleses involved a pediatrician, a psychiatrist, and the police. The first physician, a general practitioner, terrified the children, and the exam was inconclusive. The initial psychiatric evaluation, however, gave Maxine and Willard reason to believe that the children had not only been sexually molested by their father but had also been taught to molest each other. The professionals, not only concerned about the children, also recognized in the Haleses’ description of Roseanne a probable battered woman syndrome.

Their fears confirmed, Willard and Maxine decided to remove Roseanne from Peter’s house. On Sunday, 19 July, they telephoned Stan Powell that they were coming on Monday; initially he said he would help persuade Roseanne to leave—then said he had a court date that morning. Roseanne believes that Stan told Peter that her parents were coming.

That night, Peter raged at Roseanne. He warned her that her brother Keith would kill her so that he could inherit all of the ranch. He grabbed her by the arms so forcibly that she still had bruises at the September hearing, threw her against the wall, raped

her, and, Roseanne believes, drugged her by injecting an amber-colored liquid into her vagina. She testified that he said he would "kill Gabriel and give me a drug overdose that would make it look like murder/suicide" (10 Sept., 85).

That night, Keith received a phone call from Roseanne that she does not remember making. She was "in a panic," insisting that she, Tyler, and Gabriel would be sacrificed in three days. Then the phone went abruptly dead, as if someone had taken it from her and put it down. Keith’s "hair stood on end" but he did say anything to his parents, since they were planning to make a start in just a few hours.

The next morning, Monday, 20 July, Maxine, Willard, their son Keith, Keith’s wife, Gloria, and a husky friend of Keith’s made the six-hour drive to Oklahoma City to get Roseanne, Tyler, and baby Gabriel. When they appeared at the door, Roseanne began shaking with terror and refused to let them in. Her brother finally persuaded her to open the door. No doubt seeing the state she was in, he resorted to a mild subterfuge. He told her that Maxine and Willard had had a quarrel; they needed Roseanne to come make peace and help things blow over. Roseanne telephoned Peter. He came home immediately but did not try to keep her from leaving, partly, Roseanne believes, because Keith’s friend was walking up and down the sidewalk.

Roseanne packed a couple of suitcases. Keith drove her car; but they were interrupted within a couple of miles by Peter, who had sped after them when he discovered that Roseanne had his keys to the church cannery. "I was confused about how upset he was since there was nothing scheduled at the cannery for some time," Roseanne recalls. She now believes that the cannery was used for illegal drug packaging.

She described herself as "nonfunctional, pumped up with drugs, going through withdrawal" at that point. Her mother had her talk to their bishop, Bruce Graves. Roseanne confusedly told him "how wonderful Peter was, then started talking about suicide." Peter told her not to talk to Bishop Graves—that only Bishop Neal Hancock in Oklahoma City had jurisdiction over her (10 Sept., 77). She trusted Graves, who kept urging her to talk to Peter and "get things straightened out." She was sure he was inspired because he would always call and tell her what to say to Peter the next time he called—and then Peter would call in a few minutes and say exactly what Graves had said he would say. Later, she wondered if he had had conversations with Peter Campbell. Graves also recorded in a brief "to whom it may concern" letter in January 1994 that he had had telephone calls to and from Stan Powell and Neal Hancock. Hancock wanted him to urge a reconciliation. Graves says he transmitted only Roseanne’s desire for no contact with Peter Campbell. Most bishops would almost certainly see reconciliation as preferable to a divorce, but Roseanne felt that her confidentiality was violated repeatedly by his consultations.

She felt paranoid, suspicious of her parents. In early August, Maxine flew with her to Salt Lake City to see a "deprogrammer." On the flight from Dallas and in the Salt Lake City airport, she was sure she recognized hired killers whom she had somehow known earlier. She mistrusted the therapist when one of the people in a session asked her, "Do you know where the amulet is?" A man identifying himself as an FBI agent called Keith, then set up an appointment to see her attorney. He didn’t keep the appointment.

Roseanne’s confusion and disorientation, although she did not know it, were typical of people with her diagnosis: post-traumatic stress syndrome and dependent personality. One day she telephoned from her grandmother’s and left a message on Peter’s answering machine: "Peter, somehow I have to talk to you. Don’t come down. It will make things worse. They are hiding the phone from me. The phone lines are dead.... They have taken my car keys and they have put me in counseling for battered women.... I need to talk to you. Try to call me Sunday. Maybe they won’t be here. They have changed the locks on the house. I have to put the phone up before they find out I found the phone.... Oh, honey, I love you but don’t come. It will make things worse. Oh honey, I love you. I don’t know if I can take this.... I just have to talk to you somehow. I don’t know how. They are all in on it. I am going crazy. I’ve got to—" (10 Sept., 66, 67). The tape of this message was entered as part of the custody hearings as evidence that Roseanne did not fear or mistrust her husband.

During this time, Roseanne would sometimes not recognize her mother and begin screaming when her father came into the room. "I couldn’t make a simple decision like which glass to drink out of. My brain literally ached to make decisions. I babbled. I was disoriented." In the middle of the night, her mother told her, she would wake up screaming, "No, no. Kill them. Kill them anyway, but I will not deny the Christ." Maxine’s hair stood on end. Another time, she commented, not realizing the significance of what she was saying, "I’ll be able to go to bed without worrying about being raped."

The children began seeing a therapist, and Roseanne filed for a divorce. During that last week of July and the first few weeks of August, Keith and Gloria took care of the children. "They would run and hide in terror," Roseanne remembers. "They were remembering being put in cages," that Roseanne and Maxine were in cages, too, and that people "stuck Mommy full of needles." The children talked a lot about Stan and Sylvia Powell, sometimes calling them their "other mommy and daddy" and saying that Peter said he would give them away to the Powells. They said they saw a man cut up with a chain saw; and Roseanne remembers Charlotte "freaking out" the first time she saw Willard use a chain saw on a tree. Mercifully for Roseanne’s fragile equilibrium, none of the children remembers that she sexually abused them. She has no memories of having hurt any of them or, to this date, anyone else.

Then the custody battle began. Stan Powell was originally representing Peter Campbell, and a hearing was held on 25 August 1992 to hear the motion of her lawyer, David Halley, that Powell be disqualified. Halley called three witnesses: Willard, Maxine, and Roseanne. Willard Hales, a rancher near Abilene, Texas, for sixteen years and also a former bishop, testified that the month before he had asked Powell to represent him and Roseanne "when we thought there was problems with the kiddos." He felt that Roseanne and the children were "in danger" from Peter Campbell, but the information that Powell gave him made him uneasy. He checked with "my lawyer down home," Ed Meyers of Abilene, who expressed some concern about the quality of the information. Powell said that he had not agreed to represent Hales, then asked Willard, "You . . . or else your wife are the ones that planted the idea [of divorce] in [Roseanne’s] mind, aren’t you?" Roseanne also testified that she thought Powell was acting for her. The judge disqualified Powell, stating that Roseanne would not have explained why she wanted a divorce or described what she felt was evidence of sexual abuse to Powell if she did not believe he was acting as her attorney.

The custody hearings occurred on September 10, 21, and 22, 1992. Roseanne’s attorney, relatively inexperienced, was uneasy about the topic of sexual and ritual abuse and felt there was enough evidence to determine custody without it. As a result, no medical evidence of sexual abuse was presented. But Roseanne was convinced that Peter would continue to abuse the children if he had any access to them and also felt that they could not heal from the trauma as long as they had contact with him. She changed attorneys for the second round of custody hearings and also had a second evaluation done by Dr. Karen Kemper, a pediatrician at the Abilene Children’s Medical Association, on 29 September 1992.

Dr. Kemper had had considerable experience with abuse. She conducted the examinations with "great sensitivity to the children," and her findings included physical damage to three older children with no evidence of abuse to the two youngest. The brief notes in the right-hand column of the chart tell their own story: Preston: "linear abrasion across back of head ... inguinal hernia scar left groin, only now beginning to speak." Tyler had a "rectal scar at 6:00 position." Charlotte’s chart read: "except intraitus gapping and [greater than] one 1 cm. opening — (majora) labia appear calloused with hypertrophic skin."4 Putting these findings in lay terms, Roseanne testified in court that Charlotte had a "callused vagina," Preston had problems with his sphincter muscles, and both Preston and Tyler had anal scarring.

She also described Peter’s parenting style as violent and harsh. Both parents used corporal punishment. Roseanne testified that she herself spanked the children with a "ping-pong paddle" (by which she meant a toy balsa-wood paddle with a ball attached to it by an elastic cord), once missing the child and hitting a chair hard enough to break the paddle (10 Sept. 93). She was not opposed in principle to physical discipline. Still, Peter’s was so excessive that she was frightened for the children and herself. Peter would spank the children "for no apparent reason" after their baths, striking their legs and bottoms so hard that white welts would show between the marks of his fingers (10 Sept., 8). When Peter was angry at the children for any reason, she said, he would slap them in the face, leaving welts. Roseanne seldom protested "because I was scared to death of my husband" (10 Sept., 12).

She also testified that during the summer of 1992, three-year-old Preston had a "rope burn" on his neck and said that "his daddy did it"; eighteen-month-old Tyler came in one Sunday afternoon from the backyard where Peter was barbecuing with burn blisters on three fingers. Hearing five-year-old Charlotte scream one afternoon, Roseanne ran outside with Trent and Preston to see Peter kicking her (10 Sept. 9-10). Roseanne also remembers that Peter would call Preston a "stupid idiot" because Preston could not speak distinctly and "constantly" called Charlotte a liar (10 Sept., 11). Trent told her "he was having bad dreams about bad people" (10 Sept., 30). Charlotte frequently had bad dreams and would wake up, crying, "‘No, no, no, please don’t.’ And she would be thrashing and twitching in the bed, ... thrashing her legs open and shut and open and shut. And I never could understand why" (10 Sept., 32.)

Peter was also physically abusive to Roseanne. She described being shaken "very frequently" like "a rag doll" so "your head wobbles back and forth." She also testified that he liked rough sex—that in the second year of their marriage he forced anal sex on her once, but only once because she became so upset, would demand oral sex and perform oral sex on her and also use his hands in painful foreplay. "His hands are very rough, like sandpaper," Roseanne told the judge. "... I always had blood afterwards, and it hurt And then after he got through with that, then he had normal sex.... He was very, very brutal.... He would plunge and plunge and plunge." In March 1992 when she was pregnant with Gabriel, in her parents’ home, he held a hand over her mouth to stifle her screams and raped her. He raped her again in the same fashion on 19 July, twelve days after Gabriel’s birth (10 Sept., 20-22). Roseanne also testified that she found two pornographic paperbacks in the house and that, for a few months after their marriage, he subscribed to the "Playboy channel" and had, just a few months earlier, watched a movie "about lesbians and ... the horrible things that they do to each other" (10 Sept, 47, 18).

How could Roseanne not know what was happening? Why didn’t the children tell her? She explains the discovery of meaning and interpretation that many must make in dealing with abused children: "They tried. I just didn’t understand. My children were trying to tell me but I wasn’t listening. They drew black pentagrams in circles on the bathroom and bedroom doors. Preston and Trent drew a penis dripping semen on his bedhead. They wrote the satanic alphabet on their dresser. I saw it but I had no idea what it meant. I wasn’t even curious about what it meant." Since age six, Trent had drawn "stick people with three legs" and Charlotte’s drawings of men included an erect penis. "You don’t expect to find that type of thing in your own family," she testified. "I know now if I ever saw another child make those kind[s] of drawings, what it would mean. But I didn’t know what the signs were." (10 Sept 42-43)

Two therapists testified during the September hearings. The first was Beula Wynne Love (10 Sept, 131-78), a social worker and executive director for Thera Peikos, a counseling agency and licensed child placement agency for eleven and a half years. She had previously worked for twenty-nine years with the Texas Department of Human services in protective services for children, twenty-seven of them as the supervisor. She had also taught for eight and a half years in Texas and New Mexico. In addition to her bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in social work, she had received continuing education for forty years. She had had four sessions with Roseanne and found her "distraught" but able to talk "very rationally" and "factually."

Ms. Love saw Roseanne’ s situation as that of someone who grew up in a sheltered and highly "constricted" environment that ill equipped her to deal with situations of greater complexity. She was trained, said Ms. Love, to be "compliant," to "keep everybody happy, never get angry," to "defer" to her husband and other authorities. Roseanne’s confusion, her loving phone call to Peter, and her apparent lack of anger were all consistent with her personality profile. Gently but bleakly, Ms. Love summarized, "Compliant children tend to be poor decision makers."

Ms. Love also reported that Roseanne had told her about the nonconsensual sex acts and that Peter "would give her money and say, you can either buy clothes or you can buy food." Her diagnosis was that Roseanne was suffering from long-term post-traumatic stress syndrome. She resisted efforts by Peter’s attorney to attribute Roseanne’s disorientation to post-partum depression. When asked on redirect examination, "What is her biggest problem?" Ms. Love replied unhesitatingly, "Her biggest problem was that of terror, t-e-r-r-o-r."

The second therapist was Kay Gillette, who had worked directly with the children, meeting with Trent, Charlotte, and Preston, alone and in combination, five times between 28 July and 11 September (21-22 Sept, 3-88). Ms. Gillette was a licensed marriage and family therapist in Abilene, who had a master’s degree in psychology from Southwest Texas State University, did assessments on emotionally disturbed children for a school district for five years, worked for six months at Youth and Family Services with sexually abused children, and had been in private practice with two other firms since 1984. In her twelve years, she had dealt "primarily [with] physical and sexual abuse, but emotional abuse is always involved as well." She had also been involved in five earlier cases involving ritual abuse and acknowledged that "I’m the person [in Abilene] who sees most of the children" in ritual abuse cases.

She testified that one of the first effects of ritual abuse is to terrorize the children. "Even little kids in restaurants have rapport with me," she testified, but ritually abused children "are afraid of me. They look at me with suspicion. And they won’t trust me and they won’t talk to me."

Roseanne, during the initial visit, told Gillette that Gabriel’s rectal area was "red and bloody" and that the children were having "horrible nightmares." Peter was "out of the bed often during the night," and Charlotte had told her grandmother, "‘I’m teasing you with my panties."’ Preston had told Roseanne, "When we go home, I’m going to hit the man with the cape,"’ and Charlotte had said, "‘Oh, Mommy, you mean the man with the black cape won’t hurt me anymore?"’ Kay described Roseanne as "nervous and tearful and … very upset."

Kay Gillette told Roseanne and Maxine that she suspected sexual abuse and possibly ritual abuse and referred them to the Child Welfare Division for police investigation and possible prosecution. The children would not speak to the social worker there, who referred them back to Gillette. The children were so terrified that initially Kay had Roseanne stay in the room or had the children come in together. Their reaction was extremely unusual, even for traumatized children, she said. "The Campbell children … seemed to be very subdued and restricted," she testified. "And other than just sort of destroying the playroom, they don’t play a lot. They just take everything out and it looks like there has been a war there."

In her therapy she had the children draw pictures and play with toys. She also provided them with play-dough and anatomically correct dolls. Three-year-old Preston "used up a stack of paper" drawing lines bisected by other lines. Toward the end of the session, he told her it was a cage. He drew himself, with Kay holding his hand, inside the cages. He also sat on her lap, held Kay’s hand and told her to draw a bed with a boy on it. Kay drew the bed, with his hand holding hers, "over and over. Then he told her "to put a man on top of him.... The man’s penis was in his mouth." The man had red hair, Preston said, and when Kay asked where the red hair was, "he pointed to the penis. And then he [became] extremely afraid. His body temperature went up unbelievably. … He was so hot that … it got really sweaty holding him." Then, still holding Kay’s hand, he erased the man and told her to change the boy’s face "to a happy face because the man was gone and couldn’t hurt him anymore. Preston also told Kay that his mother and Trent were in the cage and that his father, wearing a "red hat" was outside. He had her draw a picture of Peter kicking Charlotte while he and Trent clung to Peter’s legs, trying to get him to stop. He described eating "bad food"—cold and red—with a spoon in the cage. When she gave him anatomically correct dolls, he put the "Daddy" doll on top of the "Preston" doll in the bed and "put the penis in Preston’s rectum." He remembered having a tight rope around his neck. His daddy, wearing red clothes, had put it there. Preston was in the cage.

Five-year-old Charlotte obsessively drew cages, claiming that she wasn’t in a cage but that Preston and Trent were. In another session, she drew herself in a cage with an extraordinary number of bars. "She said that way it protected her because no one could poke them with sticks or cucumbers."

Kay asked, "Who put you in the cage?"


"Where was mommy?"

"In a cage."

"What was Daddy wearing?"


"How long were you in the cage?"

"A long time."

Did she have anything to eat or drink?


What was she wearing?

"Red clothes."

Was she alone?

"I’m all by myself."

Where was the cage?

"Outside with grass around it."

Jennifer also described a witch that came out from a "hole in the ground" only at night. "A man had a chain saw on his neck." The witch changed him into a rattlesnake, and then he became the witch’s partner. She remembered being in the yard and Peter, wearing shoes, kicking her. All of the children consistently named their father as present at these events; Jennifer also told Kay that "nude pictures [were] taken of her and her brothers" and that during these photo sessions "Bishop Powell was there" and "Garrett’s daddy." There was no follow-up in court or later, through police investigation, of Charlotte’s statement. Charlotte, when asked to draw her family, drew only her mother, herself, Trent, and Preston. Her father was drawn separately from the rest of the family, but Kay said the fact that the mother and children were living away from Peter may have accounted for the distance in the drawing.

Seven-year-old Trent, when asked to draw a house, "completely covered it in black, which is highly unusual. He had a box of markers this big to choose one …, and the black one wore out and I had to go get him another black one." He drew a bear in a cage but was also quite subdued. On subsequent visits, he told her about a dream of "lots and lots" of "robbers in black clothes." Roseanne and Maxine gave Kay pictures he had drawn when he was four and a half of "children choking each other." Trent recognized them as his pictures "and even acted surprised how I had them." He explained that "his dad came in the room and let the people stop choking." He also fantasized about a "ram bolt," which Kay had never heard of. Trent explained you could stop people from choking other people by hitting them in the head with the ram bolt. He also pretended to hypnotize Charlotte, and told Kay that he had a creature called "Meno" who always wore white and could hypnotize cartoon characters "and make them go in cages. And cartoon characters are a theme of ritual abuse, as are cages, so that got my attention."5 Cages, according to national abuse investigators, are used to terrify and isolate the children. They are not allowed to eat, sleep, or use the bathroom. Then when the perpetrator "rescues" the child, "the child bonds a little bit because they are so relieved to be out of the cages.… In ritual abuse … part of the brainwashing is that sometimes the person who does the abusing winds up being the rescuer so that the children get even more confused about their bonding and allegiance."

Trent described the cages as being in the back of a truck "outside in a field and the grass was green and brown. … It was scary in the cages, and people had purple clothes on." He drew a picture of someone choking a small baby in the field but said he had kicked them and made them stop. He also said that he knew the baby: it was little Gabriel, who would then have been about two months old. The person choking the baby was "a seven-year-old boy"—his own age and gender. He also remembers eating "bad" food, which he identified as coconuts and purple grapes. When Kay asked him specifically about urine and feces, which are sometimes objects in ritual abuse, he said, "No, yuck."

Kay’s fourth session with the children was on 11 September, the day after the first day of the custody hearings. Peter had spoken to the children on the phone the day before, and none of the children would speak, either alone or together. Finally, she asked all three if they would talk if she had a police officer present to protect them. "They said they would talk if he had his gun." She asked Lee Reed, an officer with extensive experience with ritual abuse, to attend the next session. He showed the children his gun, let them hold his badge, and sat on the floor with them. Even then "it took us most of an hour to get them to talk and they never really talked.… They were still real scared." That session was spent mostly going over the pictures they had drawn earlier. They verified to Lee what they had earlier told Kay about the drawings, "but … there was no new information."

Peter’s lawyer, John Howard, asked Kay whether the children lived on a farm and whether there might be rabbits and chickens in cages there. She did not know. Peter later testified that they had no animals except for a dog. Howard suggested that abused children "gravitated toward the parent who has molested them," which she denied. He asked her if she thought it was in the children’s best interest to be separated from their father, to have the grandparents and mother refuse to let him talk to them on the phone, to be asked to tape record messages to him which Roseanne played on the phone instead of allowing conversation. Kay was adamant: If Peter had ritually abused them, then they needed to "feel protected." She firmly recommended "no contact until a complete police investigation can be done to rule out ritual abuse. Then if that has been completed, then I recommend they have supervised visitation until we can find for sure that he was not the one abusing them, since they consistently say that he was." She pointed out that children involved in ritual abuse were always terrorized but that these children were "more terrorized than any other cases I’ve seen" and warned that if the children were again exposed to the perpetrator, "they may never open up" because the promises of protection and safety that she and the police officer had made would be violated. "They’ll never tell again."

When Peter was called to the witness stand (21-22 Sept., 89-160), he testified that he and Roseanne had "a good relationship," that she "told me how much she loved me and appreciated me and the things that we had accomplished and she felt that we were growing closer together." He described letting the older children help him drive the lawn mower, work with him in the garden, play ball, climb trees, and play card games. The children never expressed fear of him. He had never kicked any of his children. He had never called them names. Preston had accidentally touched the grill, blistering his fingers.6 The rope burns around Preston’s neck had appeared one afternoon when he was at work, after Trent, Charlotte, and Preston had been playing. He described Roseanne as "very domineering," the person who "done all the talking and expressed her opinion" in any meeting. He sent the mobile phone with her only when he was on call and might have to go out on an assignment. He denied drugging her, shaking her, or raping her. According to him, he had heard a noise in the house on the night of 9 July and encountered Maxine in the hall; he had then gone independently to check on the children. At home in Oklahoma, Trent, who now refused to talk to him, would call him at work on his pager, asking what time he would come home, and saying, "‘I love you, Daddy."’ Peter blamed Roseanne’s mother, first for opposing their marriage and then for persuading Roseanne to file for divorce.

The hearing ended with the court ordering supervised visitation for Peter. The children would be delivered to the home, a six-hour drive from Texas, on alternate weekends but Peter would have to sleep elsewhere on the nights that they were there. Keith Hales volunteered to accompany the children to Oklahoma and be present during the visits; Peter objected and offered instead to have people from the ward. Roseanne objected, and the judge left the attorneys to work it out. There were no visits. Roseanne flatly refused to let Peter have access to the children.

When Peter refused to allow the children to get their toys and clothes, Roseanne prayed to know the right time to go and, the day after Thanksgiving, went to the house with some family members and friends. The house looked as if it had been ransacked. The bedroom was "pulled apart." The filing cabinets had been rummaged through, and there were "papers everywhere" in the kitchen. Peter’s clothes, guns, and money was gone. Only the empty bags from Roseanne’s jewelry were left. Even the children’s tithing money, kept in their own dresser drawers, was missing.

One room seemed in good order, but Roseanne was shocked by it. In the living room was a barbecue grill with a piece of white carpet on the floor next to it. The lights had been changed to spotlights that shone on the grill. There were kerosene lanterns in the bedroom and what Roseanne describes as "halloween stuff’ in the house—a ghost with a semi-circles of candles behind it. An expensive VCR camera sat beside it. Across from the camera was a hide-a-bed couch with some of the children’s best baby clothes laid out on it and the baby’s stroller in front of it.

In the house, Roseanne found four items she could not remember seeing before. One was a pretty box labeled "The Family Jewels." When opened, it revealed a realistic-looking penis and testicles in ceramic. The second item appeared to be a minister or priest piously praying and holding an open Bible on top of a rounded table or pulpit. This Bible and table lifted off to reveal that the priest’s penis was in dose proximity to the vagina of a naked woman." The other two items were books, one entitled The Reign of Terror showing heads severed by the guillotine and the second called Daughters of the Devil.

Roseanne brought the camera home and had to take it to a camera shop to learn how to use it. When the children saw her with it, they began babbling in terror about how Peter had taken "bad pictures" of them and how people had come to the house for the "pink boxes" that contained the film. The children, tellingly, knew how to attach all of the extra equipment, devices that the camera shop clerk said were not necessary for normal picture-taking.

Three and a half months later, on 6 January 1993, the proceedings resumed on a note of judicial asperity. Roseanne was claiming to have received none of the court-ordered child support; Peter said he had sent the checks but that she was not cashing them; he had made eighty-five phone calls trying to arrange visitation and had not even been allowed to speak to the children. Neither Roseanne nor Peter had had the psychological evaluation that the judge had required, and the judge was prepared to arraign both of them for contempt. He was only partly mollified by the report that the therapist designated by the judge refused to conduct such an evaluation without a court order.

Roseanne’s new attorney, Arnold Fagin, who had considerable experience with sexual abuse cases, begged the judge to listen to the testimony of clinical psychiatrist Richard E. Sternlof of Oklahoma City. Urgently, Fagin insisted: "The advice of both Dr. Sternlof and Kay Gillette [is] that under no circumstances should [Roseanne] ever permit these children to be in the presence of their father because … it will destroy them. And I know this is very unusual … language. But until you read Dr. Sternlof’s report and until you hear their testimony, Your Honor, I don’t think you could even comprehend what has occurred to those children.… She will not destroy her children and the children will continue not to see their father, restricted or nonrestricted" (6 Jan. 1993, 10).

The judge agreed to hear Sternlof’s testimony (6 Jan., 1 7-76). It seemed clear that the judge and both attorneys knew Sternlof, at least by reputation. He was a clinical psychologist with degrees from Gordon College in Massachusetts, Boston University, and the University of Oklahoma. He was licensed in Oklahoma in developmental psychology and licensed by the American Board of Professional Psychology, a certification which he estimated about 5 percent of the psychologists in Oklahoma held. He had taught child psychiatry at the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine for twenty-eight years, had had a private practice for twenty-five years, and had, for twenty years, also run Timberridge Clinic and School for children with emotional and learning problems. He had, he said, testified hundreds of times "relating to custody of children and issues of sexual or child abuse" and had seen "literally hundreds of cases" involving child sexual abuse.

Beginning in November, he had seen Trent, Charlotte, and Preston three times apiece for an hour, done a psychological evaluation of Roseanne, consulted with Kay Gillette, had Roseanne fill out behavioral rating scales on the children, and had administered a battery of psychological tests that had taken approximately four hours. He had made it clear to Roseanne and her mother that "[you] are not hiring me as you might hire a lawyer to look out for your best interest. I’m looking out [for] the interest of the children." He warned them that he would testify against a client if the findings were "contrary" to what the client wished him to find.

He dealt directly with the possibility that the children had been brainwashed against Peter. First, he testified, in such cases, brainwashed children saw the vilified parent only as a villain, which was not the situation in the Campbell case. They also remembered good times with Peter. Second, brainwashed children’s complaints had a "rehearsed" sound and they usually were anxious until they had recited their message. The Campbell children did not have this reaction. But the third and most convincing reason was "the profound reaction that the children had.… When Your Honor hears them, you’ll, I think, see [they] could not have been manufactured—given to the children." They communicated "slowly and rather reluctantly.... You don’t see kids freeze like these kids freeze."

He also dismissed the idea that the children had imagined the behavior attributed to their father. "It’s not a fantasy. It’s not an imagination. It’s something that [I] very strongly believe … actually happened to the children." He appraised Roseanne as "pretty anxious and somewhat depressed," a woman who sometimes became "disjointed" but who would then "have presence of mind to reconstitute and talk to the questions that she was being asked. She was very focused, though, in terms of being worried about her children" and "seems to be a very truthful person." He agreed with Kay that Roseanne was "dependent" and had not had the kinds of experiences growing up that would have prepared her to deal with difficult circumstances. Roseanne had told him about flying to Utah under an assumed name to see a facilitator." She reported memories of being in the Bahamas and seeing a white airplane with a red stripe; it had drugs hidden in the silver-colored pontoon. She remembered an operative from the Drug Enforcement Agency named Brad Claibourne who was "cut up by a chain saw" after being shot with a German luger by a girl named Rochelle. Peter, she told Sternlof, had known "a drug figure by the name of Escobar."

Sternlof said these memories of Roseanne’s were "very confusing to me." He had contacted a friend who was a former DEA agent and asked it if was possible for an agent to have disappeared. The friend assured him: "There is nobody missing. There is no one killed." He concluded that "something traumatic has happened to Mrs. Campbell, and like the children, there is an aspect of her that is recovering things piecemeal and to some extent it’s intermingled with fantasy, as far as I can tell, [so] that she doesn’t remember much of some of the things the children remember about this, but they will say some things to her and that will trigger something in her." He testified that she had not, in his opinion, been involved in the abuse of the children, that her psychological tests were "in normal limits" and that she "is in touch with her surroundings. … In no way … could you ever take her in and get her committed."

His evaluation of the children confirmed everything Beula Love and Kay Gillette had said about the abuse of the children and their trauma. Trent, who had turned eight in September 1992, was "a very anxious child who gets disjointed in his thought. He’s a kind of a fearful kid, seems to want to relate, but has difficulty in doing so, was reluctant in many ways to discuss anything of a substantive nature regarding abuse with me." Struggling against great reluctance and anxiety, Trent had told Sternlof that "his father put his penis in his mouth … [and] also put it in his bottom." This happened "often and happened many times and it was usually in the morning." He, his siblings, and his mother had been put "in a big cage... in a woodland area," and "robed" people were present. Trent was "extremely frightened" of his father, did not want to see him, and did not want to visit him. The psychological tests supported Trent’s direct statements with "lots of negativity to the father."

Dr. Sternlof stressed how earnestly he recommended that the children not see their father by contrasting this recommendation with his usual approach. He described himself as something of a "voice crying in the wilderness - . - about trying to make some kind of reconciliation between parents that sexually abused their children and the child at some point in their life and [for] some limited contact. But I’ve never had a case that’s this… disturbing." Although he had never made such a recommendation in his professional practice in his life, he gave it as his opinion that "it would be very detrimental to this child to have… even a supervised visitation.... I think it would be absolutely destructive to Trent... to have contact... even on the phone.... This is the first case in twenty-eight years that I feel that this [recommendation] is absolutely necessary…. I believe… that [there] would be permanent psychological damage done …. We have enough problems as it is and problems that he is going to, in my opinion, have in the future because of these sequences of events. But it would … have a profound effect throughout his whole life if he was subject to having to be with his father at this time."

Some of those consequences were in academics. The judge, looking at eight-year-old Trent’s test scores, commented, stunned, that Trent was in the 12th percentile on reading scores when the standard score was 82. Trent was in the 12th percentile for arithmetic, 23rd for spelling, and 5th for reading. "[That’s] incredibly low," said the judge. Sternlof called the judge’s attention to the fact that Trent’s verbal IQ was 81, "which is just at the bottom of the normal range, whereas his performance IQ is 111." In other words, "if you’re asking him questions, … repression is rampant with him." Sternlof also pointed out that Trent’s "information" score was 3. "I don’t know when I’ve got one that low that wasn’t a retarded person." Sternlof suggested two reasons. First, the home-schooling may have been inadequate. "Everything in this family is just super controlled. … The children … [are] controlled in the home. The wife is controlled by the husband. So just the common information about the world is not available to them." Second, he said that "stress" could cause a similar pattern of "learning problem[s]."

Yet Dr. Sternlof saw hope for Trent. Just in the course of the last two and a half months, although Trent remained "still very frightened and still guarded," the anxiety, ego strength, impulse control, and anger had improved "significantly."

He described five-year-old Charlotte as "a delightful little blond-haired girl, but she is significantly psychologically impaired, in almost all areas of functioning…. The anxiety level in this child is so great and so profound that it interferes with her functioning. She’ll be able to relate some events and then there is this tremendous blockage that takes place." Charlotte had told him that Peter "sticks his penis in our mouths and makes us kiss him and lick him." Before the second visit, Roseanne had been absent from the children for part of the day, talking with Matthew Boyle, chief of police in Piedmont, Oklahoma, sheriffs deputy in El Reno County, and also a member of the Child Abuse Response Team of Canadian County’s Child Welfare Division. As a result of Roseanne’s absence, Charlotte was so "withdrawn, withholding, anxious, [and] depressed" that the visit had produced little new information.

On the third visit, Charlotte had selected three puppets from Dr. Sternlof’s playroom. One resembled Dorothy from the Wizard of 0z, the second was a baby, and the third was the Wicked Witch of the West. Instead of acting out a story herself, Charlotte put the Dorothy puppet on Dr. Sternlof’s right hand and put the baby in Dorothy’s "arms." She put the witch puppet on Sternlof’s left hand. The witch took the baby from the Dorothy-mother puppet and took it "downstairs someplace." The witch returned to Dorothy. Dr. Sternlof, taking the part of the mother puppet, asked, "Where is my baby?" Charlotte became very frightened and withdrew.

He coaxed, "Could you tell me the rest of the story? I’d like to hear the rest of the story."

"No. I don’t want to talk about it anymore."

"Well, I’d really like to know what happened to the baby."

"I can’t tell you anymore. It’s over," said Charlotte. Sternlof described her reaction as "sheer terror and fright. That’s nothing that could be feigned. That’s nothing that could be programmed." Kay Gillette had told him the end of the story. "The witch stabbed the baby and then put the baby in the ground."

Again, the psychological tests reinforced that Charlotte’s fear was centered in Peter. One of the tests asked: "Who was naughty, who scolds Charlotte, who makes Charlotte cross, who was naughty, who was bad, who smacks Charlotte, who is it that Charlotte doesn’t like, who makes Charlotte cry, who makes Charlotte sad, who does Charlotte hate, who is nasty—all [of the answers] went to the father..- - I went through a whole litany of people:... Did [a cousin] do it? No. Did [Uncle] Keith do it? No. How about Grandfather? Did he ever do that? - - No. What about mother? Did she ever … No …. Did I ever do this to you? … [Because] once in a while you have a kid [who will say], Well, [you] did it, too." That had not happened in this case.

As with Trent, Dr. Sternlof felt that any visitation or telephone contact with Peter "would be very deleterious to [Charlotte’s] well-being psychologically. I think she would feel overwhelmed. I think she would feel betrayed. I think she would not feel protected by those above her. There is a feeling among the three children … that somehow Daddy is a very powerful person and could get his way. So I think that this would be very disastrous for this girl psychologically to have contact with him."

Did he feel as strongly about Charlotte’s noncontact as he had about Trent’s?


Perhaps the most horrifying testimony involved Preston. "Preston largely was mute …. He has a pronounced speech problem, an articulation problem. But his actions … were … something that I’ve never seen again in all of my whole clinical practice." Dr. Sternlof had chatted with Preston, trying unsuccessfully to establish a rapport with the three-year-old, who frequently hid his face. Preston slumped forward in the adult-sized chair so that his feet were on the floor, his buttocks were on the edge of the chair, and his upper torso was on the seat.

He then entered into a series of pelvic thrusts, where he thrust out his pelvis from the chair forward in my direction. I just observed this, didn’t comment on it or say anything about it.

And then he got up in the chair, placing his palms down on the chair [seat] and his knees, and began another series of pelvic thrusts, very much like a dog copulating, and did this for a period of time.

Then he got down from the chair and, along the cushion rubbed his genital area back and forth in a progressive kind of motion. I’ve never seen that happen. I don’t know how [these motions] could be interpreted other than certain sexual kinds of maneuvers that he was engaged in. And I felt that this is what he was communicating to me, even though he wouldn’t talk.

Sternlof’s voice broke, and tears came to his eyes as he reported Preston’s actions. He continued:

I got from his mother and grandparents that he did talk—he had stopped talking at home. Something definitely has happened to him in his young life and this is the only way he has to respond to it.

With both Charlotte and Preston, Sternlof had seen definite improvement in the course of the weeks that had passed. "The children are doing better, They are feeling safer."

He summarized: "These two children told me something horrible happened to them; I believe them. The third child acted in an inappropriate, off-the-wall, sexual kind of manner, and I believe that something happened to him. The two older ones said it was the father. I believe them. I can’t tell from the younger one. And I think these things really need to be looked at and parceled out. But the amount of fear in these children is so exaggerated from just normal—I hate to say normal—sexual abuse that one sees every day. There is another element to it that makes it all the more scary and anxiety-provoking for the children."

The two books and two objects that Roseanne had found were presented in court, and Sternlof testified that Peter’s possession of such objects would be consistent with Sternlof’s testimony of sexual abuse to the children.

At this point, Peter’s attorney should have been ready to cross-examine, Instead, he asked for a short break. Ten minutes later when proceedings resumed, the case was over. It was obvious that Peter and his attorney were desperately anxious to hear no more testimony linking the objects to satanic ritual, no more testimony from Dr. Sternlof about the children’s psychological damage, and no reinforcing testimony from Kay Gillette, who had flown up from Texas to be present for the hearing.7

Roseanne’s attorney presented six stipulations, and Peter’s attorney agreed to them: (1) By order of the court, there "will be no further visitation, under any circumstances, … restricted or nonrestricted, between the father and the minor children." (2) "There will be no … telephone contact … effective today until further order of the Court." (3) Peter would immediately write out a check for the $800 in past-due child support, with the understanding that if Roseanne cashes the checks he says he had earlier sent her, she must reimburse those sums. (4) Child support would be suspended for January while Peter and Roseanne’s attorneys negotiated "a possible settlement of all pending matters in the case." (5) All legal motions pending before the court would remain pending. (6) This agreement "does not represent a stipulation by the Defendant that he … has committed any of these acts."

Peter agreed to relinquish his parental rights. Roseanne had made it clear to Arnold Fagin that she did not want Peter to have access to the children, and she did not ask what kind of a bargain he had made with Peter’s lawyer.

The next court appearance could not have taken more than half an hour. On 24 June 1993, first Roseanne, then Peter, took the witness stand and gave monosyllabic "yes" or "no" answers to a list of questions. Did Roseanne feel that she and Peter were "irreconcilably incompatible?" Yes. Was there anyway for the problems in the marriage to be resolved? No. Did she feel that it in her best interest and that of the children to be divorced? Yes. Was she satisfied with the terms and conditions of the decree? Yes. Did she understand that by giving up parental rights, Peter would be "a stranger to the children under the law, and that he would have no legal or moral, financial or any other responsibility towards your children?" Yes. Did she understand that the court would have no continual jurisdiction—that she could not return and ask for alimony or child support? Yes. And did she think this was in the best interests of the children? Yes.

Peter ran through a similar litany. Had he been counseled about the seriousness of giving up his parental tights? Yes, he had had the "advice and counsel" of two lawyer-bishops—Neal Hancock and Stan Powell. Roseanne’s lawyer pressed him. Did he understand that he was "forever giving up any claim to any relationship with your children?" Yes. He understood that he was also giving up any financial responsibility? Yes. He understood that he couldn’t return to court later and say, "I want to change my mind, I didn’t know what I was doing, I don’t think it’s fair?" Yes.

The judge took a hand. Had Peter taken any drugs or medications that day? No.  Had he ever suffered mental illness? No. Did his attorney believe Peter "competent to understand the ramifications of his actions today?" The attorney did.

The judge entered an absolute decree of divorce and an order terminating the parental relationship between Peter and the five children.

It had been a grueling ordeal. The children’s physical safety seemed assured, but the battle for their souls would continue. Roseanne said: "I kept holding on through prayers and priesthood blessings to get my children out. I believe that I had a covenant with Heavenly Father from the preexistence that let me survive, kept me sane, and gave me the strength to endure." A priesthood blessing from a friend strengthened Roseanne by telling her: "You are remembering because the Lord wants you to. You have to finish what you started." Trent begged that his name be changed from Campbell to Hales. Roseanne had all of the children’s surnames legally changed to Hales and, if they had middle names from Peter’s side of the family, gave them new names from her family.

Roseanne was only slowly getting over her fear of Peter. She told Merradyth about many incidents of harassment both during and after the court proceedings that began to assume sinister proportions. She felt that she was being menaced at the custody hearings by two men whom she recognized but did not know how. Peter, in disguise, asked neighbors about the children. A van parked outside her house in the middle of the night matched the description of a new van Peter had recently purchased. Her home was broken into. On a windless day, a grass fire on the property across from her parents’ property jumped a dirt road and began to burn again. Roseanne saw Peter’s pick-up on roads near her home. One morning while the children played in the driveway, Charlotte asked Maxine if she heard someone call her name. A few minutes later, Maxine ran after Charlotte as she walked toward the road. Later that day, they found the tall grass at the end of the driveway lying flat where a person had lain. While the children were seeing Kay Gillette, the phone rang one night about 9:30 PM when Charlotte was asleep in her bedroom. The answering machine recorded Charlotte’s voice crying, "Mommy, mommy, ohhhh … mommy!" Roseanne took the tape to Kay; she listened to it and personally delivered it to the police. Roseanne sent a copy to Matthew Boyle. A few minutes after noon one day, two of the children were playing in Roseanne’ s room, where she had slept since childhood, when a small-calibre bullet was fired into the window, penetrating the first of the double-panes and lodging in the sill. The police found marks of "six to eight bullets ... on the sidewalk" where they had hit and skipped. The police filed a report but said they could do nothing. When Arnold Fagin warned Roseanne that confidential information was circulating that he hadn’t authorized, the Haleses had their phones inspected. Keith’s phone had been tapped. Willard had never had any problem with his cattle being shot; suddenly it became a problem. Gates were opened mysteriously and the cattle were hazed out where they were scattered or were driven all over the countryside. Chickens were killed in strange ways—not the normal dog or weasel depredations expected on a farm. Family members would see vehicles parked on the road late at night. When they investigated, the vehicles would drive away suddenly without lights. It was harder and harder to explain as accident, happenstance, coincidence.

Roy B. Franklin, Roseanne’s stake president in Abilene, Texas, had been very supportive. On August 25, 1993, he sent copies of the psychological reports (including photocopies of the children’s drawings), medical reports on Roseanne’s children, and copies of some pages of the court transcript of the divorce to Leon Fulton with an accompanying letter: "Both the information and physical evidence is disturbing. I place this information in your hands to do [with] as you see fit. If I can be of any assistance or if you have any questions, please call me." As far as Roseanne knows, Fulton never did. In January 1994, he wrote a "To Whom It May Concern" letter clarifying that Roseanne’s mother, not Roseanne, had given him the materials. He explained: "I looked at the material and sent it on to Roseanne’s former stake president, Leon Fulton. I felt that something was very wrong."

During 1993, when Roseanne wrote letters supportive of Merradyth McCallister and Mary Plourde back in her former ward in Texas, where Peter still lived, her welcome at church cooled. A newly assigned home teacher began smothering her father with attention, then, after winning his confidence, began turning him against the family. During the spring of 1994, a man describing himself as a home teacher, whom the Haleses had never seen at church, introduced himself and began coming by the house frequently. Roseanne and Maxine were annoyed when he "invited himself to supper and complained about the food." Roseanne was frightened of this man. He knew Gabriel’s first name, a name she never used. He chastised Willard Hales and threatened dire economic straits if the family did not "repent." Twice, accompanied by another man, he tried to open Roseanne’s locked door when she wouldn’t answer his knock. When Maxine refused to talk to him at church and tried to walk away, he gripped her by the arm to prevent her. A friend saw him turn away momentarily, jab himself in the eyes with his thumbs to produce tears, and then emotionally assure Willard of his friendship. Maxine, exasperated, called his place of employment to complain about the harassment. Then suddenly, he was gone. "People who weren’t friends or weren’t even at church were calling us." They felt harassed.

Keith and Gloria also felt distanced from the ward by a series of incidents during the spring and summer of 1994. Gloria’s visiting teacher, Sally, asked Keith’s advice about her young son. He had been sexually abused a few years earlier and some of the symptoms were reappearing. He had a new Primary teacher and Scoutmaster, a man who had moved into the ward recently and who pressed Sally with offers to come pick up her son, forty miles distant in that sprawling ward, for Scouting activities. Vague rumors of child molestation charges had trailed after him. He had also volunteered to pick up Keith’s and Gloria’s son, but Keith told Sally that he had felt inspired to be sure that his children were never alone with this man. Later he found out that the visiting teacher had reported this conversation to Bishop Graves.

Keith and Gloria were already uneasy with reports that twelve- and thirteen-year-olds at stake functions were being "paired off’ as though on dates and that some Scout activities were of questionable propriety. Bishop Graves asked Gloria, who was in the Relief Society presidency, to serve as first counselor in the Young Women’s. She first accepted; then that night, Keith developed a strongly negative feeling about it. They felt he had the gift of discernment, proven in many other situations; so the next morning Gloria called Bishop Graves back and refused the calling. This action angered Bishop Graves. A couple of weeks later, a new counselor was called for the bishopric. Several people in the ward did not vote during the sustaining; Keith and Gloria did not feel good about sustaining him but did not vote against him.

Bishop Graves angrily telephoned Keith and ordered him and Gloria to come see him. Keith declined since he and Gloria were tending Roseanne’s children. Bishop Graves hung up on him, called Willard, and announced that Keith and Gloria had refused to meet with him. Willard returned, "I don’t know anything about it, and that’s between you and them. It’s not my business." Bishop Graves continued his "tirade," concluding, "And you don’t have the guts to come in either." Irritated, Willard replied, "We’ll see about that" and immediately left for Abilene, forty miles distant. The meeting lasted several hours, and Willard was even angrier when he returned.

Keith and Gloria went in the next night. Bishop Graves pulled out a folder an inch and a half thick. Keith, startled, remembered being told in the MTC that a file was being created that would "follow him for the rest of his life and how he performed on his mission would determined how far he would go in the Church." The first two pages were a list of Graves’s recent dissatisfactions with them. Chief among them were failing to sustain the new counselor in the bishopric (although they had not voted against him) and Keith and Gloria’s uneasiness with some of their children’s teachers and leaders. "You are not entitled to personal revelation," announced Graves. "You will sustain these leaders. You will recant on your statement that they’re evil."

Keith and Gloria were shocked by the attack. Up to this point, the Graveses had been close friends. They spent social time together frequently and had spent the last three Thanksgiving holidays together. They explained that they had prayed about their children and had felt, by the promptings of the Holy Ghost, that their children were in danger in some circumstances. They also steadfastly repeated that they would not recant what they had learned by the Spirit. Bishop Graves leaned across the desk and told Keith, "You’ll deny it or face a Church court."

Without an interview, Keith was abruptly released as seminary teacher. "Everyone knew it before he did," said Roseanne. At stake conference in March 1994, the first counselor in the stake presidency spent his time in both the evening and morning sessions denouncing people who refused Church callings. His example was distorted but recognizably that of Gloria and Keith. He insisted, "You must follow the Brethren." Roseanne, Maxine, Keith, and Gloria stopped going to church. Bishop Graves made an angry unannounced visit to their home and once again threatened Keith with court action if he didn’t renounce his position. He taunted Keith: "I know all about that sentinel-for-righteousness blessing." Keith and Gloria were stunned. Willard had given Keith a blessing using that phrase after the angry ultimatum in Graves’s office, but only Keith, Gloria, and Willard knew its contents. How had Graves found out?

Two months after Roseanne’s divorce was final, in August 1993, she filed the papers for a cancellation of her temple sealing to Peter; but her bishop, Bruce Graves, delayed sending on the application. A friend reported to Roseanne that the bishop had said, "I don’t believe any of this. She made it up to get a divorce."

Roseanne was very upset. "I didn’t believe that I still belonged to Peter in any way shape or form," she recounts. "He had broken every covenant he ever made. There was no sealing there in the sight of God or in my sight. But it was still there on paper, and I wanted it gone." She telephoned President Franklin, asking what she should do. He said that Bishop Graves had never given him the papers but that he’d request them. Still nothing happened. She called President Franklin two or three times more. There was no response.

Almost twelve months later on 30 May 1994, Roseanne wrote to Elder Dallin H. Oaks, who had been president of Brigham Young University while she was a student there:

Dear Elder Oaks:

I had an interview and gave the paperwork for a temple sealing cancellation to Bishop Bruce Graves on August 22, 1993. He has NOT, as of May 30,1994, filled out the remaining paperwork. I have been told he refuses to complete my paperwork, saying this [situation leading to the divorce] is all my imagination.

President Roy Franklin has been contacted and has done nothing. I have also given him a copy of my letter written for Graves in August 1993.

I contacted, wrote, and called Norman Russell several times in the past year and a half, when he was the Regional Representative. I received no help....

He was released, and Gerald Putnam of Oklahoma took his place.

Gerald Putnam has not been contacted for the following reasons: (1) He is an associate of Norman Russell; (2) he is an associate of Peter Campbell, my ex-husband and perpetrator, and Stan Powell, perpetrator; (3) therefore, I do not feel he is uninvolved.

[My former] stake president Leon Fulton has publicly slandered me, not only from the pulpit in the entire stake but [in] the newspaper as well. He has lied, saying he has talked to me.

After this systematic list of attempts to work "through channels" in achieving a cancellation of her temple sealing, only to be met with disbelief from her leaders, Roseanne testified of the reality of ritual abuse, recounted briefly the danger she had felt to her and little Gabriel, and described the nightmares that Maxine had seen her have.

Why, when all over the nation LDS Church members are crying out about ritual abuse, does no one listen?

Why are Church leaders allowing Satanists to walk freely in the Church? Why are they given easy access to our children?

If the children are lying, then why does Christ teach in the scriptures for us to "become as a little child"?

Two child psychologists testified at my [child custody] hearing. Dr. Richard Sternlof, of Oklahoma, testified this was the worst case he had ever known in all of his twenty-nine years of practice. He cried on the stand as he testified....

If this is indeed not true, why is this happening to my family? Must we not only continue to suffer physically and emotionally from a tragedy but spiritually from Church leaders the rest of our lives? Are these the teachings of Christ?

I am enclosing my request for a temple annulment...

May I have an answer from you? Or will I, too, receive only silence, like Merradyth?

As ever,

Roseanne Hales

Roseanne sent the letter by certified mail, so she knew it was accepted. "But I wasn’t even worth a twenty-nine-cent stamp," she says. This ecclesiastical foot-dragging was a final blow. She ceased her efforts to obtain a cancellation of sealing and has no current plans to try again. "I’m not going to keep giving them chances to inflict more emotional trauma on me," she says. "I know I’m not sealed to him. But it’s part of the same pattern. All my life, I’ve done what the Church said; and all my life, the Church has ignored my needs and the needs of my children." Thus, in a grotesque parody of legalism, on paper she is sealed, along with the children, to a physically and sexually abusive man who is no longer her husband and who has relinquished all parental rights to the children.

The Haleses made one last effort at rapprochement, and had Bishop Graves and President Franklin come to the house in October 1994 to express concerns and discover why they were being treated as enemies of the Church. "It continued to boil down to the fact that Keith had to deny what he knew was true. We were concerned about individuals rumored to be child molesters," recalls Roseanne. After several hours, they left, promising to get back in touch. Being "in touch" was a quick phone message in the afternoon several weeks later that said no evidence could be found that the individuals in question were suspect in any way. These individuals were also immediately called to teaching and leadership positions that put them in direct contact with children. "I could not go back to church," said Roseanne, "and put my children back into hell when I had just paid the great price of taking them out." The bishopric has since changed, but these individuals are still retained in leadership positions.

It is a cruel dilemma. What could be worse than being falsely accused of child abuse—unless it is to be a child molested by a trusted leader or teacher? The Church is far from developing a process of investigation and safeguards that will reassure parents like the Haleses while also providing protection against false accusation. Under such circumstances, the leaders are basically saying, "Trust us," to the members. The members, reeling from searing experiences, are saying, "That’s not enough."

Merradyth reported that rumors were circulating about Keith Hales in Oklahoma, even though he had had never lived there—that he was a troublemaker and had been "a bad missionary." Keith had served in the Brazil São Paulo Sul Mission (1987-February 1989). His mission president, Norman Manfred Russell, had written Maxine and Willard a glowing letter in January 1979, a month before Keith was released from service as an outstanding missionary. In addition to the usual sentiments, he added personal praise:

Elder Hales has been an outstanding missionary. Although small in stature, he is a spiritual giant. For the past few months, Elder Hales has been traveling throughout the mission teaching other missionaries how to proselyte. In that capacity, he has performed an outstanding service. Many times, although not feeling physically well, he has continued to serve the Lord with all of his might, heart, mind, and strength. Never have I known Elder Hales to say [anything] but encouraging remarks to help build those around him. He has always had a cheerful positive attitude and has been totally loyal to the mission and his calling. I have grown to love him as my son and will miss him very much when he leaves the mission.

Russell was living in Phoenix and was Regional Representative for the area that included both Abilene and Oklahoma City; he installed Leon Fulton as president of Oklahoma City Park Stake. Keith had remained in touch with him after his mission and told him about Roseanne’s situation in October 1992. Russell volunteered to take copies of the children’s medical reports to Salt Lake City where "the Church had a special team of doctors and lawyers who dealt with ritual abuse." The Haleses gave him these records, but he never told them whom he passed them on to or what the results were. Russell became distant. When Roseanne called with a question, he would always ask her to call back the next day, then would discuss her issue on the second call, "as if he had to check with somebody first," she now thinks. Russell also distanced himself from Keith, except for one strange phone call in which he asked Keith what his financial situation was. Roseanne heard that Russell was asked—by whom she doesn’t know—to "investigate" from his home in Phoenix. If these rumors were true, who and what did he investigate? What did he discover? Whom did he report to? Merradyth’s bishop, Neal Hancock, told her in a phone conversation in the fall of 1993 that "Roseanne was believable at first but then, the more she talked, the less believable she would become." He also told Merradyth that Norman Russell "took the medical records to Salt Lake but then dropped the subject."

Given President Franklin’s encouragement, even urgency, for President Fulton to inform himself about the case of Roseanne and her children, the level of apparent ecclesiastical inertia is perplexing. Fulton never tried to talk to Roseanne about her situation. He never asked to speak to the children. Roseanne does not know if he ever contacted President Franklin or her bishop. She knows that he did not talk to her, her brother, her parents, her attorney, or her therapists. She does not know if Fulton ever consulted the LDS Social Services therapist in Oklahoma City, even to ask about the nature of child abuse in general, let alone what might be the best interests of children in such a situation. Fulton’s unwillingness to inform himself seems irresponsible. He told the McCallisters that Peter’s relinquishment of parental rights had no relationship to the "unproved" charges of sexual abuse. When Merradyth asked Fulton if he had read the court records of the Campbell case or the medical evidence, he first said, "Yes." She insisted, "Did you?" He admitted, "Well, no. I saw them and I looked at them, but I knew that Brother Putnam and Brother Russell in Phoenix and Salt Lake City were reading them so I didn’t have to."

Merradyth lamented: "The Church leaders say publicly in Salt Lake City that they let local leaders handle excommunications, but local leaders say they pass it on up to the higher authorities."8

The frustration seems justified. Even the most cursory skimming of the court records and medical reports established the psychological and physical evidence of sexual abuse. If Peter Campbell wasn’t the perpetrator, who did Fulton think had done these things to the Campbell children? Fulton was probably right in being protective about the rights of the accused, but why does he seem to have been so unconcerned about the rights of children to live without the nightmare of abuse in their lives?

In late October 1993, Merradyth called Roseanne’s bishop, Bruce Graves, in Abilene. He had known Roseanne and her family for many years. According to a file memo Merradyth wrote on 2 November 1993 from her notes on the conversation, he and the stake president, Roy Franklin,

have spent extensive time reading and studying and praying about Roseanne’s case. They helped prepare Roseanne for her divorce trial which was very excruciating and stressful. ... He called Bishop Neal Hancock a year ago, Sept 1992, and talked extensively with Hancock. Hancock said, "Roseanne is a maladjusted lady driven by her family." ... Hancock repeatedly told Bishop Graves: "Peter Campbell is an upstanding, worthy priesthood holder. I don’t believe these allegations. Roseanne is crazy and hallucinating."

To do him credit, in January (no day specified) 1994, Bishop Graves wrote a cautiously worded four-paragraph open statement:

At the request of Roseanne Hales Campbell I provide this statement. In July 1992, after returning to live with her parents..., she was very confused and emotionally shattered. I spent many hours of counsel with her in the following months as she battled to put her life back together.

Stan Powell contacted me by telephone indicating a desire to help as [a] personal friend of both Roseanne and Peter Campbell. I was asked by Stan to ask Roseanne if she would meet with or speak with Peter or Stan. Later in my phone conversation with Stan, only after asking him directly, did Stan indicate [that] he was legally representing Peter. I returned the call to Stan Powell stating [that] Roseanne would not talk with them. Neal Hancock, Roseanne and Peter’s bishop from Oklahoma City, and I talked several times where he passed on Peter’s desire to reconcile and desire to talk to Roseanne. At Roseanne’s direction those requests were denied.

Roseanne has emotionally put her life back together, and appears to be adjusting well.

This will be the only statement issued about my assistance of Roseanne Hales. Any further interviews or statements will not be granted.

(signed) Bruce M. Graves

There did not seem to be any way to bridge the gulf of polarization, side-taking, accusation, and defensiveness that the situation generated. Roseanne was hurt when members and former friends in Oklahoma City Silver Ward "were all saying that Peter and Stan are wonderful, that there’s nothing to these allegations. What was I? What about the children? No one bothered to ask. No one cared. Bishop Graves wouldn’t even change the children’s names on the Church records until I brought in the court decree showing that their names had been legally changed."

The Haleses worship as a family but do not participate formally in any church. The children are learning well, taking piano lessons, and enjoying extracurricular activities. An adult is with them all the time. They never mention Peter except for the horrible things he did to them, and continue to live in fear, despite three years of safety, that he will kill or hurt them. "I wasn’t brave," Roseanne says in retrospect. "I just didn’t have any choice. I had to make the only decision that was right for my children." Roseanne struggles with her financial dependency on her family. She sorrows for the loss of her belief that marriage is sacred. She is still shocked to realize that "all those friends I thought I had in the ward seemed to never exist." And she continues to balance her profound testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel with the mingled feelings of grief and anger that she has, in many respects, lost the Church that was her life and, most painfully, lost faith in the righteousness of its leaders.

"I am not excited to have a life that parallels Job’s," she says. "But the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I believe we are living prophecy. God does not allow Satan to test us more than we can overcome. When discouragement seems to be winning, somehow, the small, weak flame of hope continues to burn. I do not know what lies ahead of us but, through faith and perseverance, we will survive."


Notes for Chapter 11 (Use the Back button to return to the reference.)

1The information about the experience of Roseanne and her children comes from correspondence and notes on telephone conversations in possession of Lavina Fielding Anderson with Roseanne, with her mother Maxine Hales, and from (Roseanne Hales Campbell vs. Peter Vaughn Campbell,) Case #JFD-92-406, District Court of Canadian County, El Reno, Oklahoma; 25 August 1992, 10 September 1992, 21-22 September 1992, 6 January 1993, 24 June 1993, official court transcript; photocopy in my possession; cited parenthetically in the text by date and page. Earl Harrison was second counselor in the bishopric when Roseanne was in the Primary presidency, first counselor by 1992 when she fled to Texas.

2Therapist Beula Love mistakenly gave the figure as eighteen. (10 Sept., 133).

3After Powell was released as bishop in late 1989, Peter became ward canning chairman, also held various clerk callings, and was stake cannery operator with a frill set of keys in July 1992 when Roseanne left Oklahoma.

4Photocopies of medical charts of the three children.

5Gillette explained that most experts on child abuse believe that perpetrators will integrate cartoon or Disneyland characters into the abuse, so that when a child tries to report the abuse, the presence of the cartoon character "discredits" their story. "Meno" may be "Meñol," a Brazilian figure associated with voodoo, witchcraft, and the occult. When Roseanne saw the drawings of "Meno’s" white clothes, she was shocked to see that they looked like LDS temple robes.

6The burned child was Tyler; Larry said "Preston."

7According to Roseanne, "More abusers—both inside and outside of the Church—would have been named in court had Kay been allowed to testify."

8Merradyth McCallister, file memo, 4 Feb. 1994.