Below is a copy (minus contact info) of a press release I sent out today regarding a murder case that will be featured on “America’s Most Wanted” tomorrow, for which the currently-suspected perpetrators are a small group of “Satan worshipers.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Satanist Groups Question Handling of Oneida County Murder Case to Be Featured on “America’s Most Wanted” Tomorrow
New York, NY – March 12, 2010 – Members of two New York City-based Satanist groups have raised questions about police and media handling of a two-decades-old murder case that will be featured on “America’s Most Wanted” on Saturday, March 13. The 1985 murder of Kimberly Simon, in Oneida County, NY, was originally blamed on Steven Barnes, who was recently exonerated after nearly twenty years in prison, but the police now suspect a small group of men rumored to be “Satan worshipers.”
Members of the NYC Satanists discussion group and the Church of Azazel proto-congregation are raising questions on two fronts: (1) whether the suspects were in fact “Satan worshipers” and (2) why, if they are now suspects for any legitimate reason, they were not charged after being interviewed by the original investigators back in 1985 to 1987, at the height of the “Satanic ritual abuse” scare.
According to the Utica Observer-Dispatch, police investigators say the suspects “tortured cats, used hallucinogenic drugs and sexually abused women.”
Sarah Harper, a member of the NYC Satanists discussion group, has commented, “We don’t yet know the basis for the cops’ claim that these guys are ‘Satan worshipers.’ However, studies have shown that the profile described by the police is not that of someone with any real interest in Satan or Satanism, but instead describes someone who uses superficial stereotypes of ‘evil’ drawn from pop culture and Christian preaching to justify pre-existing violent impulses.”
According to the website of WKTV in Utica, New York, the alleged “Satan worshipers” had been interviewed by the original investigators between 1985 and 1987, but were not charged with the murder at that time.
Diane Vera, the founder of both the NYC Satanists discussion group and the Church of Azazel proto-congregation, wrote in a blog post on March 10, 2010:
One thing strikes me as very odd here: 1985 was at the height of the “Satanic Ritual Abuse” scare, with Christian fundamentalist cops galore running around giving seminars on “Satanic cults.” Little or no serious debunking had been done yet. Back then, hardly anyone questioned the idea that if there were “Satan worshipers” afoot, they were most likely guilty of all manner of mayhem, killing thousands of people every year. That being the case, if indeed there was any valid reason to suspect these “Satan worshipers” of the 1985 murder of Kimberly Simon, why wasn’t this angle thoroughly investigated back then, of all times?
For now, let’s not jump to the conclusion that the new suspects are — or are not — guilty of the murder. Let’s wait and see what happens.
The Church of Azazel proto-congregation, a theistic Satanist group based in New York City, has recently issued a statement condemning violent crime and vandalism. The statement includes the following: “We do not want to live in a lawless society, nor do we consider ourselves to be above the law. Not only would a lawless society be a very unpleasant place to live, but the world’s more lawless societies — and the more lawless neighborhoods within our own society — are also fertile soil for the theocratic/fundamentalist religions that we oppose.”
The Church of Azazel statement also warns against Satanic panics, noting that “There have been periodic panics about alleged widespread ‘Satanic crime,’ such as the ‘Satanic Ritual Abuse’ scare of the 1980’s and early 1990’s, in which many probably-innocent people were sent to prison. … Satanic panics are extremely dangerous not only to Satanists but also to adherents of other minority religions (who are often regarded by fundamentalist Christians and Muslims as ‘Satanic’) and to atheists. They are also dangerous to ordinary mainstream Christian folks. Most of the best-publicized accusations in the ‘Satanic ritual abuse’ scare involved ordinary mainstream people.”
Diane Vera is the founder of the only two Satanist groups in New York City that hold regular meetings open to the public: (1) the NYC Satanists discussion group, also known as NYC Satanists, Luciferians, Dark Pagans, and Left Hand Path Occultists, and (2) the Church of Azazel proto-congregation, New York City.
For more information, see:
1) Academic studies of alleged “Satanic crime”:
a) Trostle, Lawrence C. and Green, Melissa S. “The Devil Made Me Do It: Adolescent Attraction to Satanism,” In Sharon Araji, editor, Society: An Alaskan Perspective, revised printing, 1996, pp. 201–18.
b) Gerry O’Sullivan, “The Satanism Scare,” Postmodern Culture v.1 n.2 (January, 1991).
c) Kenneth V. Lanning (FBI Supervisory Special Agent at the Behavioral Science Unit at the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime), “Investigator’s Guide to Allegations of Ritual Child Abuse“, 1991. (See especially Section 8, “Law Enforcement Perspective.”)
d) Robert D. Hicks, In Pursuit of Satan: The Police and the Occult, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY, 1991.
e) James T. Richardson, Joel Best, & David G. Bromley, eds, The Satanism Scare, Aldine de Gruyter, New York, 1991.
2) Statements by Diane Vera and the Church of Azazel proto-congregation, NYC:
a) Church of Azazel’s “Statement Against Violent Crime and Vandalism”
b) Diane Vera, “America’s Most Wanted: The “Satan worshipers” who allegedly killed Kimberly Simon,” March 10, 2010
c) Diane Vera, “On violent crime and vandalism involving ‘language or symbols related to Satanism’,” February 24, 2010
P.S.: Sunday, March 14, 2010: The “America’s Most Wanted” site has a page about the Unknown Kim Simon Killer. Other new information:
- Girl saw male having sex with unconscious Simon at satanic party by Dan Miner, Utica Observer-Dispatch, March 13, 2010
- New Kimberly Simon case information revealed tonight on America’s Most Wanted, WKTV, Utica, NY, March 13, 2010
- Kimberly Simon case featured on America’s Most Wanted, News 10 Now, central New York State, March 14, 2010