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Alleged abuse victim recants on the witness stand

CBC, Canada
Sep. 16, 2003 • Wednesday September 17, 2003

SASKATOON – A former foster child who told police that she was sexually abused by her foster parents has recanted on the witness stand during a civil suit being heard in Saskatoon.

Michelle Ross said outside the courtroom that the lies she told so many years ago needed to be cleared up and the record set straight. She told police in 1991 that her foster parents and their relatives were engaged in satanic rituals that involved sexual abuse.

Two years ago, Ross told the CBC program The Fifth Estate that she made it all up. This is the first time Bell has recanted on the witness stand.

It was a mournful scene in the courtroom as Bell gave her testimony as those she once accused of horrific acts sat and listened as she declared it was all lies.

Grim-faced the family that once cared for Bell listened to hours of police interview tapes were then played back.

The videos show a bouncy 8-year-old Ross talking about ritual mutilation of animals and babies with a long-bladed knife and dolls to depict what she was saying.

Ross said Wednesday that she now wants people to know what really happened saying that she was raped by her own brother, not by the foster family she had accused.

She said that her brother started fondling her before they were ever placed in foster care and his assaults continued as they went through two successive foster homes.

One of the people that Ross accused says she never blamed the children for what happened. Anita Klassen says the justice system was to blame. She described being interviewed by Saskatoon police Cpl. Brian Dueck.

“When Dueck interviewed me, I was in his eyes guilty,” Klassen says, “In my eyes, I knew I was innocent and I want him to see that.”

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