25 Years after “Satanic Panic,” Kellers Declared Innocent

Satanic Panic Couple InnocentIn 1992, Dan and Fran Keller were convicted of charges related to “satanic and ritual abuse of children” in their care. The two served 23 years of their 48-year sentence before being released in 2013 after a judge determined that they had not received a fair trial. This month, the cases against the two were formally dropped.

Satanic Panic

In 1991, the therapist of a three-year-old child being treated for behavioral problems alleged that the Kellers had sexually abused the young girl. The allegations led to a litany of others, among them:

  • that the Kellers served the children in their care Kool-Aid laced with blood
  • that the Kellers sometimes wore white cloaks and lit candles before hurting the children
  • that the Kellers forced the children to participate in the ritual sacrifices of cats, dogs and even a baby
  • That the Kellers flew the children to Mexico to be sexually abused by soldiers before returning to drop them back off to their parents
  • That the Kellers shot a passerby and dismembered him with a chainsaw

The only “evidence” for any of the allegations came from the physician that examined the three-year-old girl after the initial sexual abuse accusation. The doctor testified that he found two tears in the young girl’s hymen that he believed were consistent with sexual abuse. However, three years later while attending a medical seminar, he discovered that what he had identified as signs of abuse was actually a normal variant in pediatric hymens, leading to him recanting his testimony and calling for the release of the Hellers.

The Hellers will be compensated for their wrongful imprisonment, but no amount of money will ever give them back the decades they lost and all of the important moments they missed in their childrens’ lives.


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