Chapter 14
Home Up

VOLUME 1, 1995



Meanwhile, Brad Edwards was proceeding with his investigative series. Merradyth stressed in her March 1994 letter to President Hinckley why they went to Edwards: "We aren’t trained professionals, only concerned parents. We want to protect our children from this diabolical horror. We turned over all the information we had gathered to the police and Brad. He did the research. He formed his own conclusions. He developed his own presentation."

During the week of 20-24 February 1994, KFOR-TV (Channel 4) aired a week-long series called "Are the Children Lying?" The first of the five-part series began with a little girl with a bow in her hair, her face in shadow, talking about children in "cages" and torturers in "black robes." Roseanne Hales, her pretty round face full on camera, her voice emotional but steady, said that she and her five young children had been caged and abused satanically. She had seen a baby killed. "They’ve killed lots of peoples’ babies, but I don’t know who they are," she said. On camera, she showed drawings her children had made during therapy. One figure of a boy was sitting in a chair with a rope around his neck while a second stick figure poked the boy’s penis with a stick. Another showed a nude child with a rope around his neck, and Roseanne spoke of seeing rope bums on her three-year-old son’s neck and described a medical examination that had showed rectal scarring in her eighteen-month-old, a hernia scar in her four-year-old and an abrasion across the back of his head, while her daughter had "a calloused vagina." Edwards, summarizing the court documents, said they contained material "so horrible and disgusting we can’t reveal it here."

Kay Gillette, the Campbell children’s therapist, also spoke on-camera. Had these children been ritually abused?" Edwards asked. "Absolutely," said Kay. She told on-camera the experience with Preston that she had reported in court, of talking about his drawing of a cage. He was sitting on her lap quite calmly; but when she asked him about "the sticks" (bars), he tensed all over, his body temperature shooting up so fast and so high that it startled her. She identified it as an anxiety reaction and said there was no way a child could fake that reaction. Nor could a child invent the kind of specific sexual knowledge that he had. She also showed Preston’s drawing of a little boy lying in bed with "Daddy putting his penis in his mouth." The paper was pitted with holes where Preston had angrily stabbed it with the marker. The children drew themselves and their mother in a cage over and over. They said they were put there by their father and by "a church leader." She showed Charlotte’s picture of a "witch" holding a dripping knife and the baby that she stabbed. Charlotte remembers "hearing the baby cry and seeing blood."

Maxine Hales told how she had become alarmed at seeing Charlotte French-kissing Preston and Tyler and how repelled she was, when she and her husband were picking up Charlotte and Preston to spend a couple of weeks with them immediately after Gabriel’s birth, to see Peter run his hands over Charlotte’s legs and up into her crotch several times while he was saying good-bye.

Scott McCallister, a husky and attractive brown-haired man in his early twenties, described Powell’s embraces and fondling. "I was really scared," he said. "It hasn’t been easy coming forward. I’ve only been able to do it after months of therapy. The only reason why I’m doing this is if I can help the next fourteen-year-old boy that doesn’t know what molesting was." Jack McCallister described his own abuse twenty-five years earlier, then, his voice breaking with emotion, said, "About the time you think you can’t hurt more than you already do, you realize that—I wasn’t smart enough as a dad, as a silent survivor of this situation, to help my own son who was being trapped in this [same] situation."

The series included interviews with other children. One child’s voice, thin, and wavering, said: "There was one where there was a slide and there was pigs and chickens and stuff. There was a swimming pool and they would make us stab them and the blood would drip down into the pool and they would make us drink it. … It tastes bad." A six-year-old, abused at age three by his mother and cult members after his father left for work in the mornings, remembers being dressed in dark clothing so that people wouldn’t see them in the woods. When asked about specific memories, he said thoughtfully, "Well, there was one time they made all these fires and they killed babies." He remembers the babies crying.

Edwards had contacted the stake president in an effort to get his response to the allegations, but Fulton had declined to be interviewed out of fear that he would be "misquoted." The series also included interviews with law enforcement agencies, with the parents of a teenage girl who had checked books on Satanism out of the library, painted "666," pentagrams and other signs on her door, and threatened to kill her father. Other footage reported cult crimes, ritual abuse, and legal cases, such as Charles Manson’s. Edwards dealt frankly with the usual objections to ritual abuse—the lack of hard legal evidence, the reports of death but the lack of bodies, and the possibility of false memory syndrome, but returned to the question that tided his investigative series: "Are the Children Lying?"

On 23 February 1994, the Yukon Review published its first article based on the statements of Merradyth and Roseanne Hales, both of whom were identified as members of the Surrey Hills community. Merradyth and Jack charged their former bishop (not named in the story) with sexually molesting Scott in the mid-1980s while he was between ages fifteen and seventeen. ‘"We know that he’s [abused] other boys in the church and it does lead into ritual abuse in the church here,"’ Merradyth was quoted as saying, "‘There’s others who have alleged [that he] was a perpetrator of ritual abuse."’

Captain Bill Citty of the Oklahoma City Police Department explained: "‘Right now, there’s not enough evidence at this point to file any charges on anybody [in the Hales case] and it’s still under investigation... We’re not aggressively working on it. … [The investigation] is not really concluded. It’s kind of at a standstill. At this point, there isn’t [sic] any more leads that [detectives] can follow up on. ... It’s not closed, but at this point there’s not evidence to warrant any charges being filed."

The Yukon Review published a lengthy editorial calling for "the people of Yukon to... pray for an end to the horror and madness allegedly occurring in one of Yukon’s area churches. ... It is the opinion of this newspaper that a fullscale police investigation should be conducted." The body of the editorial paraphrased and reported the Glenn Pace memo in detail (ten paragraphs). Merradyth expressed her hope that more victims would come forward.

Powell referred all calls to his attorney, Arnie Alden, who said his client "denies the allegations categorically" and called the accusations "‘a b.s. deal. ... If there’s any credibility to this, these people ought not to be afraid to go to the courthouse and have it tested in front of a jury. ... If they had any semblance of intestinal fortitude, that’s what they’d do."’ Another Surrey Hills resident, who declined to give his or her name, was shocked at the allegations and said Powell was "‘a real good family man."’

Dianna Carroll, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of Mothers Against Sexual Abuse, was quoted in the Yukon Review as saying it seemed clear to her that a number of children had been ritually abused over "‘the last fifteen—possibly twenty—years"’ and that she had talked to ten of the alleged fifty youth victims in Surrey Hills, many of whom are now in their teens and twenties. She added that "ritual and satanic occult abuse are extensive problems across the state" but that "‘there [are] an extended number of people’ across the Mormon Church involved in such acts. ... ‘We are talking sacrifices, we are talking mind control through drugs and hypnosis, and the sexual abuse is quite extensive.’"

The Oklahoma City Park Stake presidency, Leon M. Fulton, L. Arnold Clinton, and Calvin C. Fleming, immediately sent out a letter dated 25 February 1994 for all bishops and branch presidents in the stake to read at the end of sacrament meeting on Sunday, 27 February:

As many of you are aware, the Church has received negative publicity and has been held up to the view of the world in a very unfavorable light as a result of a new special on satanic ritual abuse aired by KFOR-TV during this last week (February 20-24th). It is the belief of the stake presidency that the membership of the Church deserves a clarification and explanation concerning the material presented by KFOR-TV as it relates to the Church.

The KFOR news special indiscriminately intermixed parts of two separate and distinct situations. One of those situations involves allegations of sexual molestation of a young man by an individual Church member and has never contained any allegations of ritual abuse. The other situation involves allegations of satanic ritual abuse against a large number of church members.

The allegations of satanic ritual abuse against various church members stem entirely from one source. That source is a family involved in a bitter divorce and child visitation/custody battle. The allegations first surfaced in 1992 and were aired in open court during the divorce proceedings. Those allegations include everything from emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of children to human sacrifice and murder. Although KFOR-TV has chosen to ignore those things, there is substantial evidence in the court transcripts and from other sources to question the credibility of the allegations. The allegations have been investigated by both the legal authorities and the Church and no substantiating evidence has been found to warrant either legal or Church action against any Church members implicated by the allegations.

As evidence of wide-spread satanic ritual abuse within the Church, KFOR-TV quoted statements from a memo written to the Brethren by Glenn L. Pace in July of 1990. Elder Pace, then a member of the Presiding Bishopric, had been approached by individuals with accounts of ritualistic abuse of children. He was quite disturbed by these accounts and, based solely upon those interviews, wrote a confidential memo to the Brethren relating the information he had gathered. The Church subsequently investigated those accounts and was unable to find any substantiating evidence for the claims of satanic ritual abuse within the Church.1

Unfortunately, copies of Elder Pace’s confidential memo have been leaked to what the Brethren describe as "Apostate Groups" in Utah and other areas. For the past two to three years these groups have attempted to use that memo to prove not only the widespread occurrence of satanic ritual abuse within the Church but also to prove that the leaders of the Church are involved in an extensive coverup of that abuse.

The abuse of any of God’s children, particularly that undertaken in the name of Satan, is totally against every principle embraced by the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church has not; and will never tolerate, overlook, or protect any of those practices. By the same token, the Church, and hopefully the legal authorities, will never become involved in a witch hunt which violates the basic rights of any individual to justice and fair treatment under both the principles of the Constitution and the guidelines of Church discipline.

Unfortunately, some individuals both within and without the Church appear to [subscribe] to the principles of guilt by allegation and guilty until proven innocent. Because the Church will not support these incorrect principles those individuals have sought to bring public opinion and pressure to bear against the Church. The result of the latest attempts to bring pressure against the Church, specifically the KFOR-TV news special, have resulted in the attempted fire bombing of the Surrey Hills chapel, harassment of innocent children because they are members of the Church, economic loss to members in their professions, and [have] adversely affected the missionary work of the Church.

Our hearts and prayers go out to those individual members of the stake who have innocently suffered because of these activities. Our prayers also go out to those members of the Church who for their own purposes have supported and encouraged the defamation and public ridicule of the Church. The damage that has been generated to both the Church and its members is very real and we encourage those individuals involved to carefully consider the consequences of their actions.

(typed signatures)

While the stake presidency was writing this letter, the Yukon Review’s Saturday edition reported that Stanley Dennis Powell was scheduled to appear in Cleveland County District court on 1 March. Powell, who had been arrested the previous December, had been charged in Cleveland County by the district attorney’s office on 3 February with soliciting an undercover policeman "to commit an act of lewdness." The newspaper story identified him as the former bishop of the "Surrey Hills ward" and the current stake executive secretary of the Oklahoma City Park Stake. The newspaper account quoted virtually all of Officer John Bishop’s account of the solicitation and also reported the accusations the previous fall that Powell had molested an unnamed teenage boy for more than two years but that no arrests were made.

In a separate story, on 26 February 1994, the Surrey, a monthly news magazine published by the Piedmont-Surrey Gazette, in its February issue quoted Leon Fulton at length charging that the abuse allegations had resulted in an outbreak of violence. Alluding to the stake presidency’s letter to the wards, he said that "an unidentified person threw a Molotov cocktail at the northeast corner" of the Surrey Hills meetinghouse on Sunday evening, 20 February, at about 7:30 PM, the night that the first episode in the "Are the Children Lying?" series aired. Fulton described it as "a ‘liquor bottle with a piece of cloth in the neck."’ Although the "homemade bomb" burned a small area outside the building and did no major harm, Fulton and the police assumed that it was aimed for a window. A second Molotov cocktail was apparently dropped in the street without being ignited. Fulton also reported that members were being harassed. "‘We’ve had several members call and tell us their children are being called baby killers and Satan worshippers.... People are afraid to be in the (church) building and the leaders are afraid to be involved in youth activities because of accusations that might be leveled. Everybody’s scared, and it’s sad."’

Brad Edwards told Merradyth that there was "something strange" about the report of violence. A number of people telephoned the news tip about the fire-bombing to the station, and probably to other media as well; but when Edwards checked with the police, no complaint had been made until a day or even two after the incident allegedly happened.

On the same day, Saturday, 26 February 1994, the Yukon Review ran a "reaction" story to the allegations, contacting about fifteen residents of Surrey Hills. All were aware of the allegations, though several didn’t want to comment. One resident, who asked not be identified, called the situation "‘ridiculous,’ said he would be ‘totally shocked’ if the allegations were true, and … added that the former bishop is a ‘real good family man."’ A woman who also asked not to be identified, "said she had heard youngsters warn against going into a wooded area behind Surrey Hills Elementary School because satanic rituals were occurring. Doll heads were reportedly found and a pentagram was carved on a tree. … ‘This may just be kids,’ she said. ‘I want all children in the area to be aware that if something like this is going on, they need to be careful. … If it is, I sure want it stopped."’ She added, however, "‘I don’t think [the publicity] will help any."’ Three other residents said they found the allegations "difficult to believe," also expressing concern about the impact on the community and irritation at the linking of the alleged abuse with the Mormon Church.2

Leon Fulton explained to the Surrey, a monthly newsmagazine published by the Piedmont-Surrey Gazette, that the violence had come in the wake of a "‘bitter"’ divorce. "Church members who have sided with the woman have now implicated fifteen to twenty other families in the church as being part of the alleged satanic ring, and allegedly committing ritual abuse against the three [sic] children and herself. ... Fulton also said the woman … presented allegations that she had been forced to prostitute herself, was kept in cages, and had been a victim of mind control." The paper also quoted Piedmont Police Chief Matthew Boyle as saying that "he has not been able to interview the alleged victims or their mother. He said the case remains open, but that investigators are at a standstill. No arrests have been [made] in the case."3

Roseanne was indignant at the misrepresentations in this news story and wrote a letter April 30, 1994, to the editor of the Piedmont-Surrey Gazette, responding to the article published 26 February, "Allegations Spur Violence Against Church." She stated:

To set the record straight, neither Leon Fulton, nor any other Church leader in Oklahoma has talked to me (nor any other member of my family) since I left Oklahoma. Matthew Boyle [police chief of Piedmont, Oklahoma] did go to Texas and interview me. Witnesses saw him there and talked with him. How can he truthfully say that "he has not been able to interview the alleged victims or their mother"?

Boyle had been in contact with her numerous times from October 1992 to at least the summer of 1993. Roseanne was fully cooperative. There were numerous phone conversations. He made the six-hour drive from Oklahoma for in-person interviews, both in his law enforcement capacity and also as a representative of welfare services. He taped interviews and took her and Maxine to various sites in Canadian, Kingfisher, and Oklahoma counties, Oklahoma, where she now thinks he suspected cult activity, repeatedly asking her what she recognized. Another interview was taped with Boyle and an investigator from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation while observers from the police department and child welfare office watched the taping from another room. Boyle later told her, "I have no problems believing you but the OSBI thinks you’re crazy." In January 1993, she had authorized her attorney to transmit Dr. Sternlof’s psychiatric evaluation of the three older children to him. Boyle had requested this report both from Fagin and also from Roseanne, and Roseanne authorized the transmittal of a copy within twenty-four hours of receiving the report. He attended the January 1993 divorce hearing, expecting Kay Gillette to testify about the additional perpetrators. Roseanne also sent him the items from the house that she and her relatives had found in November, including a tape from the answering machine of a woman soliciting sex from Peter. She called at 2:00 PM when Peter should have been at work, but someone picked up halfway through the message. Boyle said the tape was blank. Roseanne also gave him other material from the November trip to the house that she thought might be evidence: sheets from the children’s unchanged beds, telephone directories that fell open of themselves with broken spines to pages advertising modeling agencies, theaters, and banks, and a bloody condom from the children’s toy box. Boyle said he sent everything to the lab but never told Roseanne what results, if any, he received.

When she heard the sex-message recording, Roseanne began remembering other calls from women that she had not even thought about at the time: messages to "tell Peter that the time of the meeting has changed to such-and-such," and women who called to say, "Don’t you know that Peter wants a divorce because you’re pregnant all the time?" Peter explained these calls as practical jokes from the men at work. She had called home late at night when she had been visiting her parents only to hear a woman answer. Peter always explained that Roseanne must have dialed the wrong number, and she simply accepted his explanation as reality. "He seldom ate at home, he was frequently gone until late at night, and he always had keys to other people’s houses, which he explained as work related," she now recalled.

Boyle also contacted Roseanne again in June 1993 just before the final hearing. In Kay Gillette’s office and before Kay and Maxine, Boyle offered Roseanne "immunity on any charges" if she would turn any videos of child pornography over to him. He specifically wanted any tapes that included Stan Powell immediately. She was "flabbergasted" by this request and searched all of the videos she had, finding nothing. Although the conclusions of the report and the children’s memories were very detailed, Peter Campbell was never arrested.

In Roseanne’s letter to the paper, she also pointed out that Leon Fulton had attributed to her statements about the children’s abuse that had actually been made on the witness stand by the psychiatrists and denounced as untrue Fulton’s statement that Roseanne had claimed "she had been forced to prostitute herself."

She sent Merradyth a copy of this letter and a cover letter. She pointed out the discrepancy of Leon Fulton calling the event "a bitter divorce and child custody battle" when it had been final for almost a year and also wondered why there had been "no intellectual curiosity as to why Peter Campbell gave up all parental rights" to the children.

Maxine Hales told Merradyth about another pair of puzzling events. Without any prior contact, on 18 September 1994, Elder Enzio Busche of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Norman Russell, the regional representative, accompanied by Stake President Roy Franklin went to Keith’s house, then to Maxine’s and Willard’s, and then went back to Keith’s home and left a note on his door. The Hales live forty miles from the nearest airport, so it seemed unlikely that they were "passing by." Three weeks later on 9 October, when the Hales’s home teacher was present, a bishop from another ward accompanied the Dallas Temple president, Elder Lionel Kendrick of the Seventy, in paying an evening call. "Kendrick’s face registered surprise when he saw and shook hands with Roseanne," said Maxine. "He sat in Willard’s chair and talked about his personal experiences. Never a question or comment about our inactivity. … When he left, he gave Willard a big hug, patting his back all over. … Two General Authorities in three weeks! Our popularity is increasing."4

But many of these developments were half a year away. Back in Oklahoma, during the first and second week in March, President Fulton conducted a series of individual interviews with the people and couples who had sided with the McCallisters. He warned them that he was investigating to see if they were guilty of apostasy or any other offense worthy of church disciplinary action. He grilled them about whom they had talked to and whom they had passed on literature to. On Thursday, 10 March 1994, President Fulton summoned Jack and Merradyth to their meeting, much of it a rehash of issues he had brought up earlier. They summarized the meeting a few days later in Merradyth’s letter to President Hinckley on 23 March 1994. Leon Fulton had told them, they said, that:

The arrest in Norman had nothing to do with [Powell’s] conduct in Oklahoma City or any accusations our son made regarding sexual abuse at fifteen.
Powell had struggled with homosexual tendencies his whole life and this unfortunate publicity has only caused greater harm to his reputation. His problem should have remained private information.
Since Scott didn’t relate during any Church interview that Powell had any direct genital contact with him nor have penetration he [Powell] couldn’t be considered a true pedophile.
Powell was not a pedophile because a pedophile has multiple victims; and since no one else has come forward with any accusations there weren’t any other victims.
Because Powell didn’t use any force on Scott to have sexual activity with him, Scott participated willingly, and he [President Fulton] didn’t consider it to be pedophile-type action regardless of Scott’s age.
Fulton would have no problem if his son or any other young man in our Church goes on a camp-out with Powell and they slept together in the same tent.
The McCallisters are the ones with the problem because he knows of no other family in the entire stake who has had any experience with sexual abuse like ours. It must be a genetic or an environmental weakness in our family.
There is never a need to do any background checks for deviant behavior among Church leaders who work with the youth. There are very specific checks and balances in place to prevent problems from occurring.
There is absolutely no ritual abuse taking place anywhere within the organization of the Church that can be proven to exist. There is no cause for concern or further investigation from any other source.
Fulton said he believes Scott "believes" he was molested, but false memory syndrome is the probable cause for his belief along with being influenced by others who are irrational in their thinking.
Fulton scolded Merradyth for passing out obscene pornographic material [Powell’s police record] on "every street corner to every man and his dog" by making available the arrest record [of Powell] and other public documents to other parents we felt weren’t fully aware of the situation. [We felt they] needed to be warned so they could protect their own children.5

Merradyth countered, "You’ve been notified that there are perpetrators in our ward, and you’ve done nothing about warning the other parents. That was a big part of my motivation."

Jack tried another approach. "You made it clear that it was Powell’s word against Scott’s without more evidence. Then we found out about the indecent exposure. Might that indicate any kind of character flaw to you suggesting that Powell might have done the same thing to other kids? Would it possibly indicate he’s not fit for a leadership position, especially if he’s around youth?"

Once again the stake presidency insisted that the two events were separate, that the stake leaders were handling it, that there was no need to "warn" anyone in specifics, and that Merradyth was out of line in continuing to distribute literature. Once again Merradyth affirmed her intention of continuing to do so until she felt confident that children were no longer at risk.

On Saturday, 12 March 1994, another story in the Yukon Review noted that Stan Powell "no longer serves" as stake executive secretary. If the newspaper accounts are accurate, he had been serving in that position as recently as 26 February, two weeks earlier. Merradyth, interviewed for the article, insisted, "‘Jack and I love our religion when it’s pure—but it’s gotten all messed up with power. … We’re not for fighting against our church at all. We love members in our church, but we don’t want them to be hurt."’ The article continued: "The accusers and victims’ advocates have said they are not trying to single out any church denomination for involvement in ritual abuse. The problem is in Yukon, Jones, Choctaw, and Piedmont in particular—but ‘I don’t think there’s any community that escapes it,’ said Jacque Kahre of the Oklahoma Coalition for Victims’ Rights. ‘Those who perform rituals in church[es] are often "well-respected" members,’ she said. ‘Some people higher up in the Mormon Church have … tried to bring this out in the open so it can be dealt with properly, while others haven’t—as in any organization."’6


Endnotes (Click on the Back button to return to the reference.)

1 It is not clear where or to whom the General Authorities made these statements. There were no public reports of any "investigation." When interviewed in October 1995, a woman who served on the Governor’s Task Force on Ritual Abuse, organized in March 1990, said she had no knowledge to either confirm or deny that any Church officers had conducted an independent investigation of the sixty survivors to whom the memo referred. She also had heard no reports that the memo had been discredited in official Church circles. She did, however, confirm the existence of the memo and had heard parts of it read by Elder Pace before its publication.

2 Conrad Dudderar, "Residents Unsure of Ritual Abuse Allegations," Yukon Review, 26 Feb. 1994, 1-2.

3 Tim Farley, "Allegations Spur Violence Against Church," The Surrey: A Special Edition Published by the Piedmont-Surrey Gazette, [26] February 1994, pp. 1-2.

4 Maxine Hales, Letter to Merradyth McCallister, 11 October 1994.

5 Merradyth McCallister, Letter to President Gordon B. Hincldey, 23 March 1994; interview notes.

6 Conrad Dudderar, "Parents Alleging Cover-up," Yukon Review, Saturday, 12 March 1994, 1,5.