The Duke Law Wrongful Convictions Clinic takes on a doubtful case of Satanic ritual abuse that landed a man in jail for 27 years.
Duke law professor Theresa Newman has three boxes full of files about Andrew Chandler Jr.’s case: details about the bizarre allegations, the expert testimony that would not be admissible today and the multiple appeals.
Newman, co-director of the Duke Law Wrongful Convictions Clinic, may be Chandler’s last hope in his attempts to regain the freedom he lost about 27 years ago. Chandler is serving a life sentence after being convicted in 1987 of five counts of first-degree sexual offense, six counts of taking indecent liberties with a child and one count of crime against nature in a sexual abuse case involving seven preschool children.
His supporters say he’s a victim of near hysteria involving satanic ritual abuse cases in the 1980s and ’90s.
Chandler may be the last still-imprisoned victim of the “satanic ritual abuse” day care panic.There is NO GOOD EVIDENCE for a single case of Satanic ritual abuse (SRA). In this case, it appears the conviction was based on testimony from the children but without solid corroborating evidence. The testimony is suspicious with admissions from some of the children that they were just making it up. As with other SRA cases, it could easily have been tainted testimony encouraged by therapists and parents but without basis in fact.
Chandler appealed in 2009 saying that a change in the law regarding admissibility of expert testimony was required to be retroactively applied to his case. Erroneously admitted expert opinion evidence had prejudiced his case. The appeal was denied.
More on Satanic Panic cases:
Freedom after 20 years in prison for a horrific crime that never happened | Doubtful News.