THE SATANIC SEX SCANDAL
In the dead of night
on April 24, 1992 Constable Mike Swan and his partner
were on high alert. Their chief of police, Mike
Johnston, had gotten a tip. He believed that a gang
with ties to the occult was coming to Martensville
and that terrible things - possibly even a human
sacrifice - could happen. Swan remembers, "he
authorized us to go ahead and bring in our own guns
and just be heavily armed as possible. I've got
to admit that I had never been more scared in my
The Satanic gang never showed up. And by the light
of day the threat seemed bizarre.
The nightmare that descended on Martensville, Saskatchewan
began when a local mother had some grave suspicions.
She worked as a nurse at a Saskatoon hospital and
left her kids with a babysitter only a few blocks
from her home.
Sterling had a houseful of kids ranging from infants
to grade schoolers. Her husband, Ron worked at a
provincial jail and many of his friends were cops.
It seemed the perfect place for her children.
Her two year old daughter had a diaper rash, but
the chafing and redness around her genitals looked
like something else. When she questioned her daughter,
the little girl said "a stranger poked at my
bum with a pink rope".
Read more about the Claudia
Bryden and her involvement with the investigation.
Martensville town police took the mother's complaint
and assigned their newest constable, Claudia Bryden
to investigate. She tracked down more parents whose
kids went to the Sterling home. At first the kids
they interviewed said that there was nothing going
But when Bryden teamed up with Saskatoon police officer
Rod Moor frightening details began to emerge. The
kids said they were fondled and forced into oral sex.
That a vibrator was pushed up their bottoms and that
guns were used to threaten them. And it all happened
at the Sterling home.
Then one kid began to talk about a place that some
of the children had been driven to - he called it
a 'Devil Church'. A local pilot flying over town told
police that he found a blue building only 6 kilometres
northwest of town.
One child said that inside the 'Devil Church' he was
stripped naked, hoisted in a cage and poked at. Another
said that an axe handle was shoved up their bums.
Several claimed they were stuffed in a freezer. They
even said that they were sexually abused on a waterbed.
The children claimed that they were threatened never
to tell their parents.
The Cop Connection
As the investigation progressed the children started
to say that they recalled uniforms and police cars.
From photos the kids picked out police officers from
three different forces who they said were also involved.
By the spring of 1992 Martensville was reeling with
rumours about a Satanic cult called The Brotherhood
of The Ram that had police officers as members. It
was an explosive situation and the Martensville police
were under tremendous pressure to do something about
Read more about John
Popowich and how the arrest destroyed
In June 1992 they rounded up the babysitter, Linda
Sterling and her husband Ron. A young offender and
their 23 year old son, Travis were picked up later
the same day.
Five cops were also arrested. One of them, John
Popowich went from a police officer to a pedophile
in just one hour.
In all nine people were accused of the most horrible
acts against children. It was such a sensation that
even the Premier, Roy Romanow headed to Martensville.