Cynthia Owen - the "Dalkey House of Horrors" is only Irish case of Satanic Ritual Abuse
INTRODUCTION: Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) and "Victimless Murders"This is an extract from a discussion that followed a December 2015 article by Luke Gittos, Law Editor of the Spiked-OnLine website; he called the article "No Justice in a Year of Moral Crusades" with subheading "But there are signs of a growing public scepticism about the child-abuse panic". (My previous article "Recovered Memory in Ireland" includes material from the same discussion).
During the discussion, I suggest that SRA in the UK, is the equivalent of what I have described in Ireland as "Victimless Murders" i.e. allegations that the Irish Christian Brothers murdered young boys in industrial schools - at times when no boy died of ANY cause! (I also refer to this phenomenon as "Murder of the Undead".) For many years the latter lunacy was confined to Ireland but in 2008 it seems to have migrated to the UK in the shape of the Haut de la Garenne "scandal" on the island of Jersey when the local police spent 6 months digging up the former residential school in an attempt to find the murdered bodies of non-existent boys!
Note that I concluded my initial comment with the statement "Anyway I wouldn't be too hopeful about any major changes in 2016 - in Ireland or the UK!" Since then the Wiltshire police have conducted a major investigation into allegations of child abuse and murder against the former British Prime Minister Edward Heath who died in 2005. (This was "Operation Conifer" - a follow up to the equally ludicrous "Operation Midland" by the London Metropolitan Police) The accusers included six persons who made claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse and the Wiltshire police actually spent time looking into those claims before ultimately dismissing them. Well what a relief! However it's clear that I was correct in December 2015 and Luke Gittos hopes were vain.
DISCUSSION ON SPIKED-ONLINE WEBSITE - December 2015Kilbarry1 - reply to Luke Gittos
"In 2015... wider society started to recognise that a climate had developed around allegations of child-sexual abuse and rape that was not conducive to fairness and impartiality .... Some observers recognised that the climate that Yewtree had created had been over the top ......There is hope on the horizon ......" [quoted from the article by Luke Gittos]
Dream on. I have been following the child abuse hysteria in Ireland for the best part of 20 years now and I have seen hope come and go, on more than one occasion. In 2003/04 there seemed to be a major change. The Gardai (police) had spent years investigating claims of child murder by the Christian Brothers in Letterfrack and Artane - including one highly publicised exhumation - and they were sick of it. There were a couple of child rape trials that ended in a fiasco for the prosecution, especially that of (former Sister of Mercy) Nora Wall AND allegations against Irish Bishops that were so crazy that even anti-clerics were embarrassed. (One writer REGRETTED that historic claims of pedophilia against Ireland's most famous churchman John Charles McQuaid, were so ludicrous that they might create sympathy for the late Archbishop). In 2003 an organisation "Let Our Voices Emerge", was founded to represent victims of false allegations of child abuse and the founder, Florence Horsman Hogan, persuaded the Christian Brothers to issue a strong statement about such allegations. Several articles appeared in Irish and UK newspapers about the victims of false claims and even the anti-clerical Irish Times wrote about a "Salem Witch-hunt".
So what happened? Well the 2003 statement was almost the last attempt by a male-dominated Irish Church to stand up for itself. In the mid 1990s the Bishops had successfully threatened to sue the UK Guardian and TV3 for libel and forced both to apologise, but 10 years later the male establishment was giving way to female leadership who more or less took over the Conference of Religious Superiors. The nuns were very conscious of the "pain" felt by people making allegations of child abuse - especially the Sisters of Mercy who took the view that even those who made transparently false claims (including child murder), must have suffered deeply to cause them to act thus. Therefore the proper Christian response was to apologise to such accusers, in order to "heal their pain".
In 2004 the nuns issued their FOURTH apology, in which they made it clear that they unhesitatingly accepted the bona fides of all their accusers. The roof then fell in. One journalist ,who had been writing about false allegations, decided that the Religious were imbeciles and represented no threat; so he reverted to his previous anti-clerical stance. (So I was told by someone who knew him). Other journalists followed suit. Also in 2004 a new Archbishop of Dublin was appointed who took the same stance as the nuns etc.
How much of this is relevant to the UK? Well maybe the rise of female leaders, the feminization of their male counterparts, the glorification of "victims" and the idea that, even their lies are the product of some real suffering at the hands of the male patriarchy??
Anyway I wouldn't be too hopeful about any major changes in 2016 - in Ireland or the UK!
Nick: first reply to Kilbarry1
Conversation with Nick
I hear what your saying- these things come & go in waves. But like the ebb tide, the overall trend is receding.
At the end of the day, if the bastards are reduced to pinning accusations on the dead, so be it. You can say I molested 10,000 kids when I'm in my grave for all it will bother me. I know it hurts, but we need more of the deceased family members to come out and openly ridicule complainants' claims- that will hurt them more than anything.
Kilbarry1: first reply to Nick
I hope you are correct and possibly you are, in relation to the UK. I have seen many signs of hope appear in Ireland over the years - and be crushed not only by thuggish journalists and politicians, but also by the decadence of some Church leaders - mainly nuns but at least two bishops also.
The current position here, is that the Sisters of Mercy are well aware that their strategy of apologizing to false accusers (in order to heal their pain) has been a catastrophic failure. However they have gutted their credibility and their morale to such an extent that they are LITERALLY beyond redemption. The former male leaders of the Church - both Bishops and Religious superiors - had put up a reasonable fight. I would have preferred them to have done more, but they MIGHT have succeeded if their efforts had not been sabotaged by "liberal" nuns who thought they were transcending ideals like truth and justice, when they were actually perverting them in the name of a bogus "Christian charity". The male leaders have now run out of steam and a couple have copied the nuns in supporting false allegations against their own colleagues. The latter includes the current Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin! ***
Therefore I am VERY cynical about the possibility of any improvement in Ireland - but perhaps the future is brighter in the UK!
***[NOTE dated 17 Feb 2018: The now retired Bishop of Killaloe, Willie Walsh showed a similar tendency to support false accusers against his own priests.]
Nick: second reply to Kilbarry1
"...their strategy of apologizing to false accusers (in order to heal their pain) has been a catastrophic failure"
And that's key. In the wake of Savile, some (like Stuart Hall) were persuaded to 'confess' in order to assist in the 'healing' process. It's now clear that there is absolutely zero benefit to doing this for the accused- Hall even had his 'unduly lenient' sentence increased after conviction! Once people stand and fight, the emptiness of the Emperor's wardrobe will be revealed...
Kilbarry1: second reply to Nick
On the basis of my experience in Ireland, I would suggest that one useful strategy is to constantly remind people that some very serious allegations of child abuse are OBVIOUSLY false. Remember the six months of media (and police) hysteria in 2008 about supposed bodies of murdered children at the residential home on Jersey - all sparked off by the discovery of part of a "child's skull" that turned out to be the fragment of a coconut shell! That lunacy has fallen completely out of public consciousness. If even the police had remembered it, they might not have been so keen to believe the recent allegations about Tory MPs murdering five children. As at Haut de la Garenne in Jersey, no names of missing murdered children were even mentioned in relation to the Westminster "scandal". I coined the phrases "Murder of the Undead" and "Victimless Murders" to describe similar claims in Ireland.
I would say that in Ireland, THIS specific kind of lunacy is practically finished - there have been hardly any such allegations since about 2010. The CHIEF reason is that the Gardai (police) are absolutely sick of the hysteria and the associated waste of police time but I hope that my own one-man-campaign had some influence. Is there anyone who could persuade Irish and UK security representatives to get together for a discussion on this subject? I don't think the Gardai will take the lead as it's something of a sore point for them. Are there any open-minded UK top cops who might request advise from their former colonial subjects?? We CAN assist you in your enquiries!
Conversations with Tom Burkard and Gordon McKenzieTom Burkard: response to Luke Gittos
In all this child abuse hysteria, we seem to have forgotten the Cleveland scandal of the late 1980s, when Dr Marietta Higgs and Dr Geoffrey Wyatt removed 121 children from their parents on their diagnosis of rape made on the basis of their 'anal dilation' test. Had they not been fanatics like one of the more conspicuous posters on this thread, they might have troubled themselves to try their test on all children: on this basis, every child in the world would have been raped. We have had similar examples in the Orkneys and Rochdale where social workers and medical personnel were quite frankly deranged, and used the most unscrupulous means to get 'evidence' of abuse.
I once accompanied a single father to hospital--his 4-yr-old son had been with us when we stopped off for a pint. The boy fell off a bar stool and got a severe nose bleed. The father was reluctant to take him into the doctor, because he came from a working class home and he knew how he'd be received. The following day it was pretty obvious the boy's nose was broken, so he took him in to see his GP. Quite predictably, he was ordered to report to the nearest hospital, and he phoned me and asked me to go along. As I was the director of a children's charity, he hoped that they would take me word.
In fact it took a long time before I had a chance to say a word. Nurses and doctors fell upon us like vultures, making no attempt to disguise their glee at finding another 'victim'. The poor kid had his anus examined by three separate doctors--if that isn't child abuse, I'd like to know what is.
Fortunately, the registrar was a young German woman who quite clearly didn't think a lot of her colleagues. At last the father and I had a chance to say what happened. I'm glad to say that she didn't find it necessary to contact the landlord of the pub, who also witnessed the accident.
At around the same time, a friend of mine--an Army Officer--and his wife decided not to take their 9-mo-old son to a doctor after he'd got a second-degree burn. Even 'respectable' middle-class people were terrified of abuse allegations.
Long before this, my sister 'recovered' memories of child abuse and caused great distress in our family. She was so convincing that even I started to wonder if there might be something in it--until she made an allegation that could not possibly have occurred.
Of course, neither I nor anyone else has any evidence to prove how prevalent sexual abuse of children may be. This is all the more reason to let the legal system take its course--and to end the scandalous abuse of family courts, where due process is ignored, and reporting banned. When I was running the children's charity, BBC4's Children's Affairs reporter warned me to stay out of the clutches of social workers: she knew what happens when cases are tried in camera.
Courts of law are not infallible, but the only alternative is anarchy.
Kilbarry1: reply to Tom Burkard
The late cultural historian Richard Webster suggested to me that the reason Ireland had practically no Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) cases was the influence of the Catholic Church and its strong opposition to Freudian ideas. The Church opposed Freudianism because of the implications for Catholic doctrines regarding sin, free will and personal responsibility. Richard Webster was an atheist (NOT of the Dawkins persuasion) but he was also a major critic of Freud and and believed that SRA was a logical development of his ideas.
Based on what Richard Webster suggested, I developed my own theory that false allegations of child murder in Ireland are our equivalent of SRA - except that in OUR case Freudian delusions are replaced by open lying. (I am thinking in particular of the cases where no child died of ANY cause during the period in question). However I don't know enough about Freud and he didn't know enough about Ireland to prove anything of the sort. It could be a useful subject for a law graduate looking for a doctoral thesis!
Incidentally the 2008 hysteria about child-killing in Jersey was possibly based on the with-hunt in Ireland re the old industrial school at Letterfrack in Co Galway. Letterfrack is as remote a location in my country as the island of Jersey is vis a vis the UK. Also the Jersey policeman largely responsible was born in Derry!
Gordon McKenzie: reply to Kilbarry1
My mother was a disciple of the blessed Sigmund, and when I arrived in England in my late 20s I was relieved to find that Freud worship was a decidedly marginal enthusiasm. I never had the patience to read any of his gospels, and regarded advocates of psychoanalysis as narcissistic obsessives. However, I'm not sure how this could have developed into SRA. It's an interesting theory, and I'd be obliged if you could spell it out. I assume this entails something more than an obsessive antipathy to the church.
Kilbarry1: Reply to Gordon McKenzie
Sorry I can only provide some limited guidance. Richard Webster's website is still maintained by his friends and includes several of his articles on Freud.
I find the theory behind his thesis difficult to understand. I think he is saying that modern society thought it had dispensed with the concepts of Sin, Evil and the Devil but that Freud was a kind of secular Messiah who brought them back in secular form. One of my difficulties with Webster's THEORY is that he emphasizes that Freud re-established the Christian doctrine of Original Sin. However that doctrine states that evil is a basic - although not dominant - element in human nature and that therefore we are all sinful. I would have thought that this doctrine works AGAINST the modern tendency to see child sex abusers as sub-human vermin. Evil is within us and we are not going to eradicate it by transferring our guilt and demonizing any section of humanity no matter how nasty their behaviour.
From a pragmatic point of view however, I think that Webster's theory has a lot to be said for it. Ireland is much influenced by American and British culture. Yet we had practically no trace at all of the Satanic Ritual Abuse hysteria. I can think of only one partial exception. That was in relation to the "Dalkey House of Horrors" case, where evidently real allegations of abuse were mixed up with some fantasies - including a hint of SRA.
"Two psychologists today told Dublin County Coroner Dr Kieran Geraghty that they were in no doubt that Cynthia Owen had been raped and gave birth to a baby that had been murdered.
The inquest [held in 2007] heard the 45-year-old told Dr Dawn Henderson that she had been the victim of satanic abuse and also mentioned a paedophile ring, details of which she did not want disclosed at the hearing."
The lady in question was born in Ireland but spent decades in the UK - which I think is very significant. I suspect that the absence of SRA here (and the lesser role of Recovered Memory compared to the US and UK) is due to the influence of the Catholic Church. OK this does not constitute scientific proof but I still think that it might provide a thesis for a law student to investigate.
THE "DALKEY HOUSE OF HORRORS" and SATANIC RITUAL ABUSECynthia Owen was born in Dalkey, Co Dublin in 1961 and grew up locally in a family that was highly dysfunctional. Her parents were alcoholics and two of Cynthia’s eight siblings, and a niece who was reared with them, took their own lives in adulthood. Her niece left a detailed account of sexual abuse in their childhood home. In 1977, at the age of 15, Cynthia escaped her home when she was sent to live with relatives in Wales. She has, to a large degree, lived in the UK since, where she is happily married with a son.
In 1995, she made a number of allegations about abuse in the home in which she grew up. Included in this was an allegation that she was the mother of a baby found stabbed to death in Dún Laoghaire in 1973. She claimed that her pregnancy had been the result of rape when she was 11. [A coroner’s court ruled in 2007 that she was the mother of the murdered baby but her father and three of her sisters disputed this.]
Over the years after 1995 she also alleged that her parents — both of whom are deceased — hired her out to a paedophile ring consisting of a total of 12 local men - including three who were Gardaí (Irish police). She said this arrangement sometimes happened through her father’s role as caretaker in the local hall, where he came into contact with these men. One of the men Frank Mullen is a retired member of the Gardaí and a founding member of the Garda Representative Association. He went public and spoke to the Irish Examiner newspaper.
Frank Mullen says he can’t fathom how his name, or that of the other men, were the subject of these allegations. “All of us whom she accused were well known within the community so maybe that was why she used our names. That’s the only reason we can think of,” he told Michael Clifford a journalist for the Irish Examiner in May 2016. Mullen, aged 78 in 2016, had been investigated a number of times by gardaí. On eight occasions a file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Each time the DPP recommended no prosecution. In 2007 - following the verdict of the coroner's court - the case was also examined by senior counsel Patrick Gageby on behalf of the then Minister for Justice Michael McDowell. No further action was recommended by the barrister. The allegations were also investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2011, which told Mr Mullen that nothing had been proven against him.
Satanic Ritual Abuse
The HSE told Frank Mullen in 2011 that among the allegations against him that it was investigating, was one that Cynthia Owen had been “brought to Dalkey Island on two or three times where she was abused in a ‘satanic’ way. There were goats involved in the ritual.”
In January 2016, Cynthia Owen uploaded further allegations on a Facebook page. She identified Frank Mullen by name, along with others who she claims abused her. One line of the post stated: “I was also taken to a place called the Hellfire club in Rathfarnham by garda Frank Mullen and sold to me there too during the satanic abuse rituals [sic].”
This was the first time Mr Mullen had ever heard an allegation of taking her to the Hellfire club, which is located in Rathfarnham, some 15km from Dalkey village. The posting was taken down within a week.
Frank Mullen died in July 2017. In an Irish Examiner article entitled "Frank Mullen Dies Trying To Clear His Name", Michael Clifford wrote about the virtual impossibility of being able to disprove an allegation of historic sex abuse. Seven of the 12 men, Cynthia Owen named as members of a "paedophile ring" were deceased at that stage. Mr Mullen was named by Ms Owen as a main mover in this group but no other person had come forward to claim to have been a victim of the alleged ring.
"He was left with a conundrum: How do you disprove an allegation of historic sexual abuse? Recently, in a different context at the Charleton tribunal, it was suggested that that kind of allegation is “undisprovable”.
"There is no forensic evidence. There are no witnesses. In most cases the circumstantial evidence is threadbare. To a large extent it is entirely down to the word of the alleged perpetrator and alleged victim. This makes an allegation difficult to prove for a criminal prosecution, but at least as difficult to disprove in the court of public opinion. .......
There is rarely much help for somebody trying to disprove these kinds of allegations. Not from politicians, for whom the cause could easily lose votes. Most of the media shy away also. Everybody is acutely aware of the history of a failure to listen to abuse victims. "
Cynthia Owen and the Catholic Church
There seems to be no direct link in this saga, with allegations of child abuse against the Catholic Church. However in 2010 Cynthia Owen published a book about her life "Living With Evil" and I was not particularly surprised to find the following passage - regarding her time in the local Convent school:
Mother Dorothy marched up the steps to the rows of desks at the back getting closer and closer to mine. "does anybody know what that awful smell is"? she demanded. My stomach was doing awful somersaults by now and I was feeling very hot. I thought I might faint.
"Shall I tell you what it is", she boomed. She was sniffing very dramatically, as if she had found the source of the foul smell and she was walking straight towards me with her eyes on fire. "The smell is dirty knickers" she shrieked. I was so shocked by what she said I blushed bright scarlet. I could feel my heart pumping blood furiously to my face. Nobody ever talked about underwear in our house, let alone dirty knickers. To hear a nun say that took my breath away.
"You might well feel embarrassed Cynthia Murphy", she went on. "You are the culprit. You are the girl wearing dirty knickers. I can smell them I can smell your dirty knickers". I wanted to shrivel up and die with shame. My palms were sweating and I hung my head so low that the back of my neck ached, but she hadn't finished yet.
"I'm warning you Cynthia Murphy, wash them out every night or I'm doing a knicker inspection", she barked. "I'm pulling your knickers down and caning you if they are dirty."
This is bog standard, off the shelf stuff that we have been getting since Frank McCourt started the Mis Lit genre of "literature" with Angela's Ashes! However it is the Gardai and not the Catholic Church that are the main targets in this saga.
CONCLUSIONApart from the devastating effect on the 12 men accused (and their families) , enormous resources were expended on investigating these allegations by the police, the office of the DPP, health officials etc - without producing any concrete result. Since investigating allegations of child abuse is a specialized procedure, the persons whose time was wasted were often those who would otherwise have been working on CURRENT cases involving the safety of children.
As far as I am aware, this is the only case in the Irish Republic that featured claims involving Satanic Ritual Abuse. However while Cynthia Owen was born in Ireland she has spent most of her life in the UK and that probably explains a great deal!