October 16, 1994.
Group wants cash to fight ritual abuse
by Matt Conway
A new group set up to counter ritual abuse and satanic worship has applied for almost $40,000 from the Government and the Lottery Grants Board to set up an office and send members to a conference in the United States.
End Ritual Abuse (ERA) was started by a Christchurch woman whose son was found to have been molested by creche worker Peter Ellis. She cannot be named as a suppression order protects the boy's identity. We'll call her Alison.
Alison defines ritual abuse as organised physical, sexual and psychological assaults of child and adult victims, characterised by torture and mind control.
She alleges her son, then aged between 3 and 5, was splattered in blood and buried alive in a coffin during his time at the Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre.
His artwork now is dark and demonic and obsessed with death.
Alison claims also to have spoken to at least six adult survivors of ritual abuse from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
"Ritual abuse is prevalent here in New Zealand and has been for some time," she told the Sunday Star-Times.
"It's a very new concept to the public, even though it's been happening for generations."
Asked to pinpoint the whereabouts of practising ritual abusers, Alison said: "I don't know (where) the cults are. I don't even know if the police know that."
ERA became an incorporated society on September 28 to enable the group to pitch for public money. The required 15 signatories include other parents who had children cared for by Ellis at the Civic creche, two counsellors, a psychologist, a lecturer and a journalist.
A three-monthly ERA newsletter goes to 120 people, including 50 counsellors and some social workers.
ERA has asked for money from three sources:
$20,000 fnom the Lottery Grants Board, to establish an inner city office, buy a computer and facsimile, and pay a full-time ritual abuse worker $150 a week.
$5000 from Healthlink South's child and family health division, to buy books, videos, audio tapes and print pamphlets for a ritual abuse resource library.
$6000 from an Internal Affairs discretionary fund, to send two ERA members to a ritual abuse conference in Illinois next year.
The long-term aim of the group is to see ritual abuse recognised in law. "We want acknowledgement in legislation that ritual abuse occurs and that it's a hideous crime," Alison said.
"I'm hoping and praying we'll get the funding. If we don't, I'll figure it's too soon."
But New Zealand Skeptics spokesman Dr Denis Dutton, a vocal critic of ritual abuse believers, slammed ERA'S bid for public money.
"I'm sure the Lottery Grants Board would not be so foolish as to support something as whacky as ritual abuse theories. If they do, they can expect UFO abductees to be next in the queue for money. (ERA is) promoting something which has been thoroughly discredited."
A decision from the Lottery Grants Board is expected next month.