Police recruits get cult lesson

Topics include devil worship, tolerance

The Cincinnati Enquirer/March 4, 2002
By Janice Morse

Fairfield Township -- "How many of you consider yourselves Christian?"

Many of the 15 police recruits' hands in the D. Russel Lee Career Center classroom went up.

Then the police academy instructor, Detective J.B. Chase, proceeded to tell the group about Satanism and other beliefs and practices that differ drastically from their own.

"Not everybody thinks the way you do," Detective Chase said repeatedly throughout the class. "Just because you don't believe it or understand it, doesn't mean somebody doesn't."

Detective Chase of the Middletown Police Department has given his presentation on "Cults, the Occult and Deviant Behavior" to law enforcement officers across 10 states, as well as locally, since 1994.

The five-hour class, taught as part of the career center's 12-week police academy, is infamous among Butler County police because it is sometimes graphic and can shock even seasoned police officers.

Still, the course offers a lesson in tolerance and recognizing different beliefs - especially important for police, Detective Chase says.

"With terrorism, we're dealing with people who have belief systems that we don't understand," he said. "I'm trying to train the next generation of "coppers' that you don't have to be tough - you have to be smart. And you have to be tolerant - even of things you don't understand, don't agree with or may be repulsed by."

The best-known local case of a Satanist is that of John Fryman, Detective Chase said. Mr. Fryman was sentenced to life in prison for the 1987 dismemberment slaying of Monica Lemen, a 21-year-old waitress from Price Hill.

Ms. Lemen attended a ritual in a Fairfield house trailer and was never seen again. Her severed legs were found behind a church in Cedar Grove, Ind.; her body never was found.

Holding the Bible in one hand, Detective Chase lifts a copy of theSatanic bible in the other and tells the recruits: "If you don't agree with this, that's too bad. It's somebody's belief system."

Just as there are different types of Christianity, there are also different types of Satanism, he says. It's possible to practice Satanism, the study of evil, without violating the law, Detective Chase emphasizes. But he warns that "self-styled, nontraditional" Satanists - those who "make it up as they go along" - have the most potential to pose danger.

"It's like mixing together a bunch of chemicals. It becomes very, very dangerous," he said.

Satanic-related violence remains rare, but it's important for police to know there's a big difference between simply reading occult materials and performing animal or human sacrifices.

Leah Cress, 26, a recruit from Fairfield, said, "It shows you what they can do within the limits of the law and where they cross the line."

Detective Chase, a police officer for nearly 25 years, once thought he wanted to become a minister and attended Bible college for three years. His first experience with the occult came Oct. 31, 1981, Halloween night.

Then a 28-year-old Cincinnati police officer, he responded to a call: "Possible Satanic worship, Caldwell Park."

In a clearing, a man and six others - all wearing black robes - stood at an altar. The man was stabbing a cat with a dagger; its cries pierced the air.

"I didn't know what I had, but I had something," Detective Chase said.

After a confrontation, Detective Chase was able to handcuff the man. But it turned out the man was no Satanist. He was a "walkaway" from a mental institution. So instead of being charged with aggravated menacing, cruelty to animals and trespassing, the man was simply returned to the institution.

Since then, Detective Chase said, he has run across a number of Satanists and offshoots of Satanic groups, but he said most are teen-age "dabblers" who are experimenting and pose little threat to anyone else.

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