The Faith Chapel Church ritual abuse case was a case of a mentally handicapped individual charged with child sexual abuse in 1991 as part of the satanic ritual abuse moral panic.

Accusations and trial

Dale Akiki was born mentally handicapped and suffered from Noonan syndrome, a rare genetic disorder which left him with a concave chest, club feet, drooping eyelids and ears.[1]

Akiki served with his wife as a volunteer baby-sitter with the Faith Chapel church in Spring Valley, California. He was arrested and charged with thirty-five counts of child abuse and kidnapping in 1991, and held without bail for thirty months before trial.[2] The government filed its first case against Akiki on May 10, 1991, in San Diego Superior Court.[3] A second case was prosecuted against him on February 20, 1992.[4] Two of the accusers were the grandchildren of Jack and Mary Goodall, the former being the CEO of Jack in the Box. Upon hearing the district attorney, Ed Miller, was to drop charges against Akiki due to lack of evidence, the Goodalls, who had contributed to his campaign, managed to convince him to continue prosecution. Miller then chose deputy DA Mary Avery, who was a member of the San Diego Ritual Abuse Task Force. Avery was also the founder of the San Diego Child Abuse Prevention Foundation, to which Goodal was the largest financial contributor. During the investigations, few records were kept of the interviews with children and Avery tried to ban the use of the term "ritual abuse" (a synonym for satanic ritual abuse), techniques which were useful in obtaining prosecutions in an environment that was increasingly skeptical of allegations of satanic ritual abuse.[5]

His trial started in the spring of 1993. The cases against him included no physical evidence, but allegations of satanic ritual abuse including testimony that he killed a giraffe and an elephant in front of the children, drank human blood in satanic rituals, and had abducted the children away from the church despite being unable to drive.[6]

His trial of 7.5 months was the longest in San Diego County history. The jury took seven hours to reach its "not guilty" verdict in November 1993[7] and the jury's complaints about the "overzealous prosecutors", "child sexual abuse syndrome", and "therapists on a witch-hunt."[8] Despite his acquittal, some of the parents involved remained convinced that he was guilty.[6] The deputy district attorney and lead prosecutor Mary Avery disputed the claims that the nine children were systematically brainwashed by parents and therapists, stating "the whole idea of contamination and suggestibility just does not account for the major behavior changes that occurred (in the children) while they were in Dale Akiki's (nursery school) class," referring to certain incidents like nightmares and bed-wetting.[9]

Subsequent investigations

The San Diego County Grand Jury reviewed the Akiki cases in 1994 and concluded in part that "There is no justification for the further pursuit of the theory of satanic ritual molestation in the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases."[10]

On August 25, 1994, he filed a suit against the County of San Diego, Faith Chapel Church, and many others which was settled for $2 million.[11]

San Diego County Public Defenders Kathleen Coyne and Susan Clemens were awarded Public Defender of the Year by the California Public Defender's Association in 1994 for their work defending Akiki.


  1. Stoesz, David; Costin, Lela B.; Karger, Howard Jacob (1996). The Politics of Child Abuse in America (Child Welfare). Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. pp. 15. ISBN 0-19-511668-2.,M1. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  2. Mydans, S (1994-06-03). "Prosecutors Rebuked in Molestation Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  3. SDSC Case CR122381
  4. SDSC Case CR129395
  5. Snedeker, Michael R.; Nathan, Debbie (1995). Satan's silence: ritual abuse and the making of a modern American witch hunt. New York: Basic Books. pp. 79–80. ISBN 0-465-07181-3. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 frontline: innocence lost: Other Well-Known Cases
  7. "Los Angeles Times article on Dale Akiki case". Archived from the original on 2003-02-20. 
  8. Kincaid, James R. (1998). Erotic Innocence: The Culture of Child Molesting. Duke University Press. pp. 263. ISBN 0822321939. 
  9. Granberry, Michael (1993-10-20). "Ex-School volunteer acquitted of child abuse charges". Los Angeles Times. 
  10. Ceci, Stephen J. (1999). Jeopardy in the Courtroom: A Scientific Analysis of Children's Testimony. American Psychological Association. pp. 28. ISBN 1557986320. 
  11. SDSC Case 680174

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Faith Chapel Church ritual abuse case. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.