Couple Wins $3.4 Million After They're Wrongfully Jailed For 21 Years Over Satanic Sexual Abuse

Taped evidence from the original case is now being used to teach investigators how not to interrogate children.

By Eric Shorey

In the late 80s and early 90s, Satanic Ritual Abuse became a mass hysteria, moral panic, and media sensation, easily and quickly debunked by investigations.

Now, decades later, a couple jailed after being accused of sexual abuse and torture are being freed from prison after their conviction was overturned.

In 1991, the Kellers were accused by three children of leading violent satanic rituals, which involved the the dismemberment of babies, the desecration of graves, animal torture, and orgies. No evidence existed of such crimes but the couple was convicted anyway.

Police and juries went along with the accusations, swept up by the sensationalism of the story, despite testimony from kids who asserted that nothing of the sort had ever actually happened and affadavits from experts who questioned the validity of the memories of the accusers. 

The case against them finally fell apart, many years later, when a physician who testified against them admitted he made a mistake.

Fran and Dan Keller served 21 years in jail before a court exonerated them in 2015. They were finally declared "actually innocent" earlier this summer. The two were awarded $3.4 million ($80,000 for each year served) from a state fund for their wrongful imprisonment. 

“This means we don’t have to worry about pinching pennies on Social Security and late bills. It means we will actually be free. We can start living — and no more nightmares,” said Fran Keller.

The tapes of therapists interviewing the children are now used as examples of how not to interrogate minors, according to Jezebel.

[Photo: The Statesman]

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