The Dominion
February 18, 1994.

Family denies woman's abuse claims made on TV
by Alan Samson

The family of a woman who made claims on television about satanic and other abuse at their hands yesterday denied her every allegation and upbraded TV3 for putting them in the spotlight.

Though the woman had changed her name - to Eunice Fairchild her face and voice were uncloaked and she spoke freely of abuse she said occurred in the small North Island towns of Te Aroha and Waipu in the 1940s and 1950s.

Yesterday her brother, John Saunders, calling all the allegations pure fantasy, said he was seeking advice about what action could be taken against the station.

Among a bizarre set of claims on the Inside New Zealand documentary, Satanic Memories, the woman and her two sons described memories of torture, group sex, animal torture and infanticide.

The woman said she had had many babies killed in satanic rituals. Her sons gave equally extraordinary accounts, including one of forced fellatio by their mother.

Among an array of people interviewed, Ritual Action Group worker Jocelyn Frances, also known as O'Kane, said ritual abuse occurred everywhere in New Zealand except in the West Coast of the South Island, but it happening there too was only a matter of time.

Mr Saunders said his sister's account was the product of a disturbed mind. Their bank manager father had died of cancer in 1989 and their mother was suffering so severely from Alzheimers disease that she could not read, speak, watch television, walk or communicate at all.

He described to The Dominion a normal upbringing, growing up happily together" in Te Aroha.

But he said his sister had suffered from depression from her early 20s and had become involved with a fundamental church. In 1992 she had had a traumatic separation from her husband.

During her troubles, the brother said he had helped her with finding accommodation and in getting counselling; it was after counselling she had discovered she had been sexually abused. His sister had become "totally obsessed" with the subject, researching it and exaggerating her original claims to include reference to a satanic cult, which included the local minister and family doctor. She said she had been raped by both of them.

"Te Aroha was, and still is, a little country town," the brother said. "If there had been any such cult operating, everyone would have known about it."

The difficulty was, apart from himself, all the alleged perpetrators of abuse were either dead or incapable of defending themselves.

He also said Ms Fairchild had taken her claims to newspapers and magazines, as well as police and the Social Welfare Department.

At one stage, Social Welfare had called, his daughter and her five-year-old son into the local welfare office, telling them of the dangers of being abused by him.

"Maybe I should be angry but my whole reaction is open-mouthed amazement."

Skeptics spokesman Dennis Dutton yesterday called the documentary "the most disreputable bit of television I've ever seen".

TV3's head of production, Geoff Steven, yesterday defended the programme, saying it was "not current affairs but one woman's story".

Nor was it intended to comprise an investigation; if parts of it didn't hang true, people could make up their own minds.

John O'Leary, the head of producers Word Pictures, also insisted the intention had only been to present one person's story within a limited time frame. "We very specifically avoided saying whether we agreed or disagreed with her."

Asked about the effect of such accusations on accused people, he said: "I can't comment on that."

Brother attends group

JOHN SAUNDERS on Sunday attended the first meeting of an Auckland support group for people falsely accused of sexual abuse.

Led by sexual abuse specialist Felicity Goodyear-Smith, author of the book First Do No Harm: The Sexual Abuse Industry, the group was formed in response to many allegations believed to be false.

Dr Goodyear-Smith told The Dominion yesterday that sexual abuse had become almost a national hysteria.

"Investigators and therapists have been taught that if a child shows some disturbing behaviour, this is an indicator of abuse," she said.

"But this is not a child saying there has been abuse, but an adult investigator.

"Because of this we are getting an increasing number of false cases. It's a new form of child abuse."

Under therapy, a child came to believe they were abused, Dr Goodyear-Smith said. And subsequently someone was accused, sometimes imprisoned or lost their child.

"The problem is extrapolated," she said.

In the past few years, there had been a noticeable trend for women going to therapists with signs of low esteem who were led to believe this meant likely abuse.

"If you have been abused, you are likely to have had eating problems, but they go the other way."

This led to the claim that forgotten memories had been blocked out, repressed. "We might forget the odd things, but not really big things like murder or ritual abuse," Dr Goodyear-Smith said.

In therapy, images brought out were very real to the subject. Eunice Fairchild, for instance, clearly believed she had been abused - but she had to have been supported by poor therapy.

The other bad thing happening was when confrontation was urged with the alleged abuser, she said.

If they denied abusing anyone, it was clearly denial.

The response was to cut yourself off from them forever - and often pursue criminal action.

The Listener

8.30, February 13, 1994
Inside New Zealand

Satanic Memories

Eunice Fairchild and her son Gregory both claim they have memories of being ritually abused in Satan-worship ceremonies Eunice believes her mother was a cult priestess and allowed Eunice to be tortured and sexually abused Gregory also believes he was introduced to a Satanic cult as a young boy and has memories of similar torturous abuse This programme examines the Fairchild's disturbing memories (AO)92158 Producer/director JOHN O'LEARY WORLD PICTURES/NZ ON AIR