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Martensville: What really didn't happen

Call for Crown witnesses to come clean

Steven Haroldson and Curtis Loepke: You two know what really happened. Come forward and tell the truth about your perjured testimony at the Sterling trials. You know that you told lies and sent an innocent young woman to jail.

September, 1993: During the trial of Ron, Linda and Travis Sterling, Richard and Kari Klassen picketed Saskatoon Queen's Bench Court house on their own case. They had also been falsely charged with sexual crimes against children. The day this photo (right) was taken Judge Wimmer ordered their arrest for possible contempt charges. Richard and Kari appeared a few days later, and no contempt charges were laid.

Initially accused were: John Popowich, Ed Revez, Darrin Sabourin, Daryl Ford, Jim Elstad, Travis Sterling, Ron Sterling and Linda Sterling. T. S. was accused after she came home from Alberta and became argumentative with the cops and social workers who were harrassing her parents.

Travis Sterling

The only conviction that stuck was on Travis Sterling (left). Travis was convicted because his lawyer did not answer to an important allegation of the crown. Now that the wrongfully accused are beginning to win some settlement, Travis is being named once more as the single conviction. Only those of us who were there can state with certainty he was wrongfully convicted. There was no appeal and Travis did his time without complaint. Saskatchewan should hang its head in shame.

This was the longest and most expensive trial in Saskatchewan

The press ran scared from it. Judge Macpherson ordered certain documents sealed and the StarPhoenix took this as an excuse to stop reporting period.

The publication ban -- a "486" order has served no public good.

The Sterlings are suing the Justice Department for more than ten million dollars. injusticebusters hope they win. (settlement 2004 fallout)

In 1997, under public pressure, Richard Quinney sent documents from this case (but not from the Foster Parent case) to Alberta to be reviewed. As with David Milgaard, the file came back with a nice coat of whitewash -- no wrongdoing on the part of any Saskatchewan officials. In announcing the whitewash, Quinney led the public to believe that all the Satanic abuse investigations had been cleared.

No official with any integrity has ever taken a good look at the Foster Parent case. We are still pushing for a full, independent, public inquiry conducted by someone from outside Saskatchewan (not Alberta.)

Many people still confuse the Martensville case, which received wide publicity across Canada, with the Foster Parent Scandal which happened earlier.

The confusion is understandable because the media stopped reporting seriously on the Foster Parent Scandal once the Sterlings were charged. One of the reasons was a court-ordered publication ban on any information which might identify the Ross children, the Crown's star witnesses in the case against the foster parents. The order was presumably to protect the children but the truth is that they didn't give a shit about the children.

What they did care about was the protecting of the lies the children told, and the facts of how adults in authority, notably Brian Dueck, had encouraged the children to lie. Now the Fifth Estate has exposed that lie, but many people still think this is a continuation of the Martensville story. It is not. There are two stories. And now there are two huge lawsuits before the courts. The justice system is in disgrace but it is still trying to stare us all down with its lies.

Before the police entered their home on a Saturday morning while they were out shopping for groceries, the Sterlings were an ordinary Canadian family. Suddenly rolls of film which they had not yet got around to developing, a videotape of their daughter's graduation, personal items removed from a nightstand beside their bed, and a length of weighted material used to make the pants on a workplace uniform hang straight became Constable Claudia Bryden "evidence" that this ordinary family was part of a Satanic cult who used children in their incredible activities at a "place" in the country. Saskatoon citizens watched the replay of Ron and Linda, handcuffed and being taken away in a paddy wagon.

The media played it up. "Where there's smoke, there's fire," many proclaimed as the Crown's case evaporated. There was no smoke. There was no fire. There was police mischief. RCMP Constable Claudia Bryden (right) was looking for a career in a male bastion.

Spring, 2002: The legacy of the madness generated during this trial still remains to be cleared. Saskatchewan has suffered from cutbacks in education and health, and, of course the economic privations caused by the drought. A badly educated population with no responsible media to lead the way continues to believe, in large part, that we were narrowly saved from a Satanic take-over in 1993.

Here are a few of the dozens of facts the media failed to report:

  • The oldest child who was the main crown witness said in court that "Linda Sterling cut off the nipple of one of the children and swallowed it." When asked by the defence lawyer who the child was, he couldn't remember! FACT: There was no child with a nipple missing - and yet the trial went on!
  • This testimony convicted Travis Sterling, and, before him, a young female whose name was not released because she was charged as a young offender.
  • The same boy claimed to have been sexually assaulted by various individuals on a waterbed in the quonset (the Storey - Bishoff building where the children claimed they were taken). He said he knew that it was a waterbed because he had one just like it at home. FACT: There was no waterbed in the Storey - Bishoff quonset, but among the photos shown to the children before they started making allegations was a picture which looked like it could be a waterbed, but in fact it was an ordinary bed in a wooden frame.
  • This boy's testimony convicted Travis Sterling, and, before him, the young female offender.
  • The two boys claimed that while at the quonset they had an ax handle and vibrator shoved inside their penises and anuses .
  • FACT: If such thing had happened, both of the boys would have required major surgery to repair the damage. The children showed no evidence of any injuries to them whatsoever! Furthermore, Judge Wimmer stated that there was not a smidgen of evidence that pointed to the accused ever being at the Storey - Bishoff quonset.
  • This same testimony convicted Travis Sterling and the young female accused.
  • Another child, who like the other children, first denied that anybody (including Travis Sterling) had harmed him in any way, ended up saying, after repeated interrogations by parents and police investigators, that he had witnessed people being killed, acid being poured on peoples faces, and that he was forced to eat feces and intestines which were also stuffed into his ear.
  • FACT: there are no dead bodies and no acid damage;no other child said these things happened. Nevertheless, this boy's testimony convicted Travis Sterling.
  • A child witness claims to have been at the quonset where he saw a fire place and a kayak.
  • FACT: this child was no longer at the Sterling's when the fire place was built and when the building of the kayak began. He also claimed to have been in a blue building (quonset) but the building only got blue siding after he had left the Sterling babysitting service.
  • NOTE: this child like the others was shown photos of places and objects, AND NOT ONE OF THEM described these objects or places before the photos were shown.
  • This boy's testimony also convicted Travis Sterling. The fact that none of the children came up with the allegations against the Martensville nine until after they were shown photos or until they had been repeatedly asked by the investigators Claudia Bryden, and Rod Moore, as well as their own parents.
Rick Klassen

The "evidence" which was seized from the Sterling home had nothing to do with the charges and everything to do with a criminal invasion of their private lives.

Some of this material is taken from a handbill written by Marjaleena Repo who raised money for the Sterlings' defense.

See injusticebusters' [Sheila Steele's] review of Frann Harris's book on Marketing Martensville

  • None of the investigators would take "no nothing ever happened to us" as an answer from these children."
  • In March of 1992, when one of the children told his father that he had made it all up, the father refused to accept it, saying " Why are all the other kids talking about it then?"
  • David Raskin, an expert on interviewing techniques from the University of Utah (U.S), described the methods used with the children as the worst that he had ever encountered during his long career.
  • All the interviews began with the premise that sexual abuse had taken place and they were all determined to have the children agree with them, and pounded the children into believing that they had been seriously harmed.

Everyone should know: there was no forensic evidence, no medical evidence and no corroboration to show that anything at all happened to these children. What is left is the children's contradictory testimony, extracted from them by determined adults, and so called expert testimony that these children's behavior indicates that they had been sexually abused.

Travis Sterling

The defense lawyer who was assigned to Travis's case failed to enter important evidence which would have cleared him.

  • Travis Sterling was NOT guilty and neither were the other eight Martensville defendants!
  • Travis Sterling was sacrificed on the altar of sexual abuse hysteria which swept through the justice, social service and police departments of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
  • The hysteria has been fanned for two years by the media which did not and still won't report on the absurdities and impossibilities of this case and others like it. The public was deceived -- at a huge cost to the taxpayers. The Martensville defendants and other victims of false allegations paid an incredible personal price -- and are still paying it!

injusticebusters are watching the Manitoba inquiry into the Thomas Sophonow wrongful conviction which so far seems to be a model of how to properly address wrongful smearing of citizens.