Wrongly accused in ritual abuse launch $10M suit

Court hearing testimony in case of 12 falsely accused of ritual abuse

Ten years after the Crown dropped charges they sexually abused three foster children, 12 people are looking for some justice of their own.

They are looking for $10 million from two Crown attorneys, the estate of the prosecutors' former boss, a Saskatoon police officer and a therapist.

Richard Klassen and 15 other people were charged in what was called the "scandal of the century" when three children a boy and his twin sisters began to tell stories of abuse in their foster home.

"People were reckless, careless, malicious in laying these kinds of charges," he said outside the courtroom.

The children, now adults, have admitted the tales of ritual sex abuse, orgies, baby killing and blood drinking were lies.

One person pleaded guilty to sexual assault. Three others were convicted, but the Supreme Court of Canada later overturned the convictions.

The charges against the other 12 were stayed. The government has never acknowledged that the children recanted their allegations. The official line is that the trial was avoided because the children were too traumatized to continue.

Pamela Shetterly testified on Monday that her mother, Marie Klassen, begged on her death bed to have her name cleared.

Marie Klassen was disabled, and yet was accused of chasing a child down the street and dragging him back to a house and forcing him to perform sexual acts.

Justice George Bayton said at the start of the trial on Monday that it would be a difficult case to decide.

Crown lawyer Don McKillop says he hopes the civil trial will bring some closure. "Everybody will at the end of the day be content that the process has listened to them, has paid attention and has come up with the best decision that it can in the circumstances."

The case was similar to another set of allegations leveled in Martensville, north of Saskatoon.

In that case, 180 charges were laid against nine people including police officers. The stories of ritual abuse of children were eventually proven false.