In 1984 the world was celebrating that Los Angeles, CA, would be hosting the Summer Olympics. The Serial Killer Christopher Bernard Wilder was captured, but died during his arrest. India mourned the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Band Aid, a group of 44 musicians, came together to record “Do They Know It’s Christmas” to help the famine victims in Ethiopia. And in a tiny community outside Wolfville, in Nova Scotia, Canada, was about to learn a dark secret about long-time residents; The Goler Family.
Similar to two weeks ago when I posted about the Blue Fugates of Kentucky, the Goler family had been inbreeding for generations. And similarly with all the families mentioned this month it wasn’t only siblings; it was all family members. They were not discriminating, and there wasn’t an issue for siblings, parents and children, cousins, uncles/aunts, to all participate in sexual relations with whomever they chose.
How the truth came out:
In 1984, Sandra Goller, 14, of the isolated South Mountain Goler Clan, was crying at school. When she was questioned by a teacher, she confessed that her father regularly had intimate relations with her 10-15 times per month. This was shocking to the community when it got out. It was dubbed the “hillbilly sex ring”.
One of her sister’s. Donna Goler, who was 11 at the time, stated that she started to have sex with her father before her 6th birthday. She also stated that her father would let anyone have sex with his children, all they had to do was pay him in a case of beer, a pack of cigarettes, or a case of cigarettes. They could then pick out the child they wanted; it didn’t matter to him.
Why wasn’t it stopped before this?
The families who lived on the South Mountain, almost 4000 people, these poor and poverty-stricken families had been shunned by society, forcing them to look inwards for support. The authorities had ignored them for a century or more despite documents from the 1860’s that showed the prevalence of intra-family relationships through high rates of birth defects, and mental disabilities.
The residents of Kentville, the closest to South Mountain, were accused of turning a blind eye to the impoverished families on South Mountain. The locals tended to avoid them as much as possible. Sociologists state the prejudice and social division were partially at fault for pushing the mountain families into isolation.
Did they know it was wrong?
One of the Goler family members, a 57-year-old man, who was labeled as mentally disabled, was interviewed after he was released from prison. He was confused by his incarceration and insisted that he didn’t know what he had done wrong; he was just living life as he always had.
During their trial, family members didn’t know what the word “incest” meant. Their lawyers were challenged in defending them as they had made many incriminating statements to the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) before trial. During interrogation several adults openly admitted to and even bragged about engaging in many forms of sexual activity, including full intercourse, multiple times with the children. Often providing graphic detail and claiming the children initiated the activity.
What was their house/home like?
They Goler Clan lived in two tar paper shacks, that were in a remote wooded area. They had no access to running water which meant no showers or toilets. Children shared mattresses on the floor because the houses were so crowded.
What happened after the trial?
The family matriarch, Stella Goler, believes that the RCMP destroyed her family and their way of life. She didn’t seem to be remorseful about the abuse that happened, nor felt that what they did was wrong. It’s assumed that Stella grew up in a similar situation and wouldn’t see issue with how they continued to life.
In the end 13 of the family members were convicted of various crimes ranging from buggery, to incest, to child abuse. Over 117 charges were shared by the family members who were convicted. NONE of the adults have admitted to any wrong doing.
After the realization as to what was happening on South Mountain, the local townspeople continued to outrage them. The convicted family members faced violent retaliation in prison, and those out of prison received public threats.
All 12 of the minor children were placed into foster care and never released back to their biological family. Donna Goler, had become a voice for those who have lived a similar lifestyle and she is attempting to change Canadian laws to help protect children more.