A couple of days ago we outlined the JET report on the UK’s first major case of allegations of Satanic ritual abuse. As we mentioned at the time, there’s much more to say on this important report—including the way in which was suppressed.
Yes, we know, usually it’s the SRA promoters who toss around accusations that critical information has been suppressed by the powers that be for their own nefarious purposes.
However, the JET report, which could and should have served as a valuable warning to social workers dealing with child sexual abuse cases, was suppressed by Nottinghamshire County Council, whose social work “Team 4” fared very poorly in its pages. Arguments for the documents suppression included that it was an internal document, that it might be libellous, and that the Council owned the copyright.
According to a 2002 article in the Daily Mail, cited on the SAFF website, one social worker in particular seems to have had a hand in suppressing the JET report.
Judith Dawson and the Shieldfield Nursery case
Judith Dawson, who had changed her surname to Jones, turns out to have also been involved in a scandal in Newcastle which began in 1993.
Two day nursery nurses had their lives ruined when Newcastle city council published a report claiming they had abused their charges at Shieldfield nursery sexually, physically and emotionally; used them to make pornography; and were part of a paedophile ring. The pair had been acquitted of sex abuse charges in a criminal court, and eventually won £200,000 apiece in damages in a 2002 libel case.
What the court did not hear was that one member of the team which produced the report had been involved 13 years earlier in the Broxtowe case, where she did not exactly cover herself with glory: Judith Dawson, now Judith Jones.
When the then Judith Dawson led her team of social workers investigating child abuse in Nottingham, where she was then working. there had indeed been a revolting case of incest. But her team claimed to have unearthed a satanic frenzy that involved ritualistic murder. An inquiry into their report found the satanic claims to be utter nonsense, and Judith Dawson’s reputation should have been in tatters.
John Gwatkins was joint chairman of the Nottingham inquiry carried out together with police and yesterday he explained just why he was ‘totally appalled’ when he learned that Judith Jones was sitting on the Newcastle panel.
‘In MY opinion she is totally unsuited to do this kind of work. As soon as we started out inquiry we began to feel that she was totally ignoring any evidence that contradicted her preconceived ideas.
For example, she believed a ten year-old girl who said her stomach had been cut open in the front room of a council house. We learned that the girl had previously been in hospital for an appendix operation. and her surgeon was contacted. He identified his scar and told us the girl was otherwise untouched.‘When we informed Judith Dawson of this, she replied that satanists were clever people and would cut along the same scar so that it wouldn’t be noticed. ‘We put this to the surgeon, who said it was medically impossible as scar tissue heals poorly. But when we told her what he had said. she was dismissive. She didn’t want to know and refused to accept it. It was quite astonishing.’
Even more astonishing he says was some months later when he read an article about satanism by her in the New Statesman. She wrote about a girl who had described ‘how she was laid on a table and had her stomach ritually cut open’.
‘It was as though the evidence we had presented to her never existed’. says Mr Gwatkin, who was director of social services at Newark Notts, but has since retired to Lincolnshire.
‘It beggars belief that someone with such a closed mind should be appointed to sit on a panel investigating alleged child abuse at a nursery school in Newcastle.’Retired detective superintendent Peter Coles, who was involved in ritual abuse investigations in Nottingham, also remembers Judith Dawson and her team- and a particular incident involving a child who had allegedly been microwaved.
I was slightly mischievous and said to one of Judith’s team that I had checked this out and it couldn’t be right – because experts had told me if you did that, the baby’s eyes would explode and the door of the microwave would come off. I was just kidding, but before long one of the team came back and said disclosures had now been made about babies’ eyes being taken out before they were microwaved. These claims were pure invention.’(SAFF Ed: Click here for more background on how Peter Coles took Team 4’s supporters to court for defamation and won an apology)
One is surely entitled to recall these bizarre incidents in relation to the libel judge’s comments about claims of the Newcastle panel that they ‘must have known to be untrue’
And yet, as we know, Judith Dawson’s career did not plummet. On the contrary, she lectures widely and is on the Law Society’s list of expert witnesses for ‘family child issues’ , including child abuse and lesbian or gay families.
John Gwatkin believes her career was saved because his inquiry report was never published by Nottingham council. Judith Dawson is understood to have complained that it was sexist, because her team of four were all women.
Two years ago, when it (the JET report), suddenly appeared on the internet, she was no longer using her married name, but her maiden name of Jones – and he says ‘many people didn’t realise it was the same person’.
Old colleagues in Nottinghamshire remember Judith Dawson as one says ‘a rather sloppy person dashing about with files under one arm and shopping bag in the other’ At that time Judith seemed to be a typically busy, ordinary working woman with children ‘ with too much on her mind to be very jolly’.
Then suddenly, ritual or satanic abuse became a talking point; and says one former social worker colleague, ‘it seemed to take her over and she became quite obsessive about it. She became a very different person’./
More different, perhaps than colleagues realised. For at about that time journalist Bea Campbell who had been writing about the alleged satanic abuse in the Orkneys – where social workers arriving at dawn had taken children away from innocent parents- arrived to write about what was happening in Nottingham. Judith was able to tell her. (SAFF Ed: Click here to see background on Bea Campbell’s media campaign to try and convince the public that Satanic Ritual Abuse exists)
Precisely at what point Judith Dawson left her husband Brendan whom she married in 1972 is not clear. But before very long the two women were not only fuelling each other’s fixation with ritual abuse – and collaborating to produce articles discussing its presence in Nottingham as proven fact – but were being talked of as an ‘item’.
Judith Dawson and RAINS
Judith Dawson, as she then was, was one of the four founders of the infamous Ritual Abuse Information Network and Support (RAINS) group; her colleague Christine Johnston was also a RAINS co-founder.
According to RAINS founder Joan Coleman, writing in “Satanic Cult Practices”, published in Valerie Sinason’s book “Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse”, 1994, RAINS was founded by Joan Coleman, Eileen Reeves, Christine Johnson and Judith Dawson in 1989. This would have been during the time when Ms Dawson was leading Team 4.
Two social workers, a psychiatrist, a psychiatric nurse and a lecturer in social work met to discuss how to respond to the needs of people like themselves, who were coming across ‘ritual abuse’ for the first time. The social workers were Judith Dawson (Child Abuse Consultant for Nottingham Social Services) and Chris Johnston (Leader of Team 4, a specialist team set up in 1987 to work with children and families in a complex multi-generational child abuse case in Broxtowe, Nottingham). Dr. Joan Coleman was the psychiatrist and Eileen Revvens the psychiatric nurse. In 1989, Joan and Eileen worked in Surrey, and had supported two adult survivors since 1987.
The JET report suppressed
Following the report’s publication in 1990, it failed to see the light of day for several years. According to David Aaronovitch’s 2015 post on Matthew Scott’s Barrister Blogger site,
That, in late 1990, the Director of Social Services of Nottinghamshire appeared – if only by omission – to disown the Report that he would not publish even in summary form, may say more about the state of that Department than about the Report. To (Beatrix) Campbell’s clear annoyance a few months later a fellow guest on Channel 4’s March 1991 After Dark programme dealing with the aftermath of the Rochdale affair was the Nottinghamshire assistant Director of Social Services, Andy Croall. Agreeing with Campbell about the existence of satanic abuse and not correcting her on her entirely spurious accusation that the JET report had been discredited, Croall then said that, “as a Christian I believe it’s God time for it [satanic abuse] to be revealed….. it’s a time when, in God’s plan, it’s going to be revealed.”
So on the one hand, we have Judith Dawson/Jones, a founding member of RAINS, complaining that the JET report was sexist; on the other, we have Nottinghamshire’s Director of Social Services Andy Croall, a devout Christian who believes in SRA. Small wonder that the JET report was not made available to the public.
According to the ReligiousTolerance.org website, Nottinghamshire County Council kept an iron grip on the report for several years:
[Tim Tate’s 1997 TV programme “Death of Childhood”] allegedly was the trigger that prompted three reporters (Nick Anning, David Hebditch and Margaret Jervis) to publish the suppressed Nottingham “JET” report on the Internet in 1997-MAY.
The copyright holder, Nottingham County Council, obtained a High Court order to force the reporters to remove the report from their web site. However, by then, many mirror sites were carrying the JET report.
A mirror site operated by Jeremy Freeman from British Columbia, Canada was closed down after threats by the Nottingham County Council. Their solicitors even demanded that he remove a hyperlink that he had installed to a functioning mirror site! They Emailed him (in part) “This is still publication on your website and for so long as the hypertext link remains it will continue to be an infringement of Nottinghamshire County Council’s copyright by you.”
The case against the three journalists was scheduled to be heard in June 1997. However, Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) organised an internet “mirror” campaign which seemed to stymie Nottinghamshire County Council:
The Council issued a press release which stated that “bringing this action was the right thing to do.” Tim Bell, the Chair of Social Services stated that: “We have been faced with a technology running at a pace which exceeds the law’s ability to adopt to deal with it and the best interests of Nottinghamshire people would not be served by running up large bills in difficult areas of law.” The JET report was re-installed at its original site. Yaman Akdeniz, founder of Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) stated that: “There are currently 35 mirror sites and every time the County Council tried to stop the publication of the JET Report, their action spawned another dozen mirror sites.
Ironically, it seems that the same strategy which has ensured that RD’s children will probably never be completely free of the images and videos detailing their abuse in the Hampstead SRA hoax was used to ensure that the JET report would be available to the public.
Although it’s now available to anyone who knows to look for it, though, the JET report’s suppression meant that the Satanic panic was able to run unchecked across the country for a number of years, causing unnecessary alarm and destroying lives as it went.