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Religious Tolerance logo

Ritual abuse / religious violence


43 MVMO court cases with allegations
of ritual sexual and physical abuse
of multiple children

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"MVMO" is an acronym for Multiple Victims, Multiple Offenders.

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bullet "A mere suspicion of witchcraft justifies the immediate arrest and torture of the suspected person. If the prisoner mutters, looks on the ground, and does not shed any tears, all these are proofs positive of guilt." Jean Bodin, French lawyer, judge and witchhunter, "The Demonomanie," published circa 1580 CE.

bullet"A prisoner may be promised immunity or reduced punishment if he accuses his accomplices." Jean Bodin

bullet"In the Little Rascals day-care-abuse case in North Carolina, one mother told reporters that it took 10 months before her child was able to "reveal" the molestation. No one at the time considered the idea that the child might have been remarkably courageous to persist in telling the truth for so long." Carol Tavris 1

bulletThe following quotations relate to the Fells Acre case, but apply to many others as well:

bullet "We just suspended intellectual integrity. We believed the absurd when it came to child abuse cases." Kimberly Hart of the National Child Abuse Defense Center2

bullet"It has nothing to do with lying and everything to do with the implanting of false memories...Studies have shown that children will vehemently defend the veracity of implanted memories. They recall reporting them, and those reports produce mental images of the events that these individuals cannot distinguish from their real experiences. But the kids are not responsible for that. The interviews are." Debra Poole 3

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Since 1995, we have studied over 40 Multi-Victim, Multi-Offender (MVMO) cases at 24 locations, mostly involving allegations of ritual abuse.

In other areas of this website, we do not take sides. We do not reach conclusions. We merely report both or all sides of each issue and let our readers make up their mind. However, with these ritual abuse cases, it seemed obvious to us that grave injustices had been done, both to the alleged perpetrators and to the alleged victims. As Kimberly Hart of the National Child Abuse Defense Center said, police and District Attorneys' offices had suspended their "intellectual integrity." They readily "believed the absurd."

We decided to write the essays with the assumption that most or all of the defendants were innocent of ritual abuse, and that the crimes never actually happened.

We believe that some sexual molestation did happen at Country Walk, in Miami FL, and perhaps in a few of the remaining cases. But it is our opinion that:

bulletNo ritual abuse occurred in any of the cases.
bulletAny criminal acts were non-ritual abuse by a single perpetrator.
bullet All or almost all of the crimes with which people were charged never happened.

Hundreds of adults were convicted of ritual abuse of children, mostly during the 1980s and early 1990s. Almost all have had their cases revisited. Most convictions have been overturned because of what investigators now know about:

bulletHow easy it was for investigators to get false disclosures of abuse from young children by simply asking direct questions, repeatedly.

bullet How meaningless the past standards of evidence were for sexual abuse of young girls.

bulletHow meaningless past STD lab tests were when performed on children.

bulletHow meaningless past sexual abuse tests were when performed on children.

A few innocent people continue to rot in prison in the United States and elsewhere. A list of addresses of US prisoners was available. 5

Child psychologists and police investigators are now generally aware of how to avoid implanting memories of non-existent events through improper questioning of young children. New allegations of MVMO ritual abuse cases dried up in the early 1990s. However, one strange case did surface in Lewis Island, Scotland, in late 2003. Hopefully, this will be the last.

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US Cases:

Location People and Facility Involved
Austin, TX Frances and Dan Keller
Bakersfield CA  The McCuan and Kniffen Families (and 8 other cases) (The "Bakersfield Witch Hunt:")
Edenton, NC Robert "Bob" Kelly et al (Little Rascals)
Malden, MA The Amirault Family (Fells Acre)
Manhattan Beach, CA Peggy & Ray Buckey and Virginia McMartin * (McMartin Preschool)
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Maplewood NJ Kelly Michaels
Marty I.R., SD J Rouse, D Rouse, G Feather, R Hubbeling, D Rouse
Miami, FL Francisco and Iliana Fuster (Country Walk)
North Carolina location Michael Parker
Niles, MI Allan Barkman
Olympia, WA Paul R. Ingram
Pennsylvania day school A teacher, and others
Pittsfield, MA. Bernard Baran
Robin Hood Hills AR Damien Echols and two others,  "The West Memphis Three"
Roseburg, OR The Gallup family
San Diego, CA Dale Akiki
Smithfield, NC Patrick Figuered & Sonja Hill
Wenatchee, WA Rev. Robert Roberson & dozens of others
Westchester, NY Rev. Nathaniel Grady (and 4 others)

* See also: Magical tunnels under McMartin Preschool

The Justice Committee has examined many child sexual abuse convictions that were triggered throughout the United States by the Bakersfield and McMartin cases. They believe that there are more than 1000 persons who are innocent of the crimes for which they have been convicted. The Committee's main project is to persuade Congress to hold hearings to study the causes of these prosecutions and initiate remedies for the unjustly convicted. They have obtained support from Congressmen Bill Archer, Dick Armey, Sonny Bono, and others. 3

ABC-TV's Turning Point program of 1996-NOV-15 stated that:

"Since 1980, in over 40 [US] communities, some 200 people have been accused of these crimes... Today, 141 people, -- nearly three quarters of the accused in these cases -- have been acquitted, had their convictions overturned or charges against them dropped.."

Lona Manning, writing for Crime Magazine, describes the case of Robert Halsey, a school-bus driver who was convicted in 1993 and is:

"Now in his 70s and in failing health. ... [He] will most likely die in prison, a victim of the child sexual-abuse hysteria that put him there. 7

On 2014-AUG-25, Michael Parker was released from prison in North Carolina after over 20 years incarceraton for a crime the he did not committ -- crimes that never even happened. His lawyer suggests that he is the last person convicted of Satanic ritual abuse to be released.

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Canadian cases:

Location People Involved
Cornwall, ON Allegations of sex-rings and ritual abuse
Martensville, SK The Sterling  Family("The Martensville Nightmare")
Prescott, ON 120 adults! We call it the Prescott Nightmare -- perhaps the worst (and least-reported) miscarriage of justice in Canada's history
Richmond, BC, Canada Michael Kliman
Saskatoon, SK The Klassen family and 11 other adults "The Scandal of the Century"

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Cases Outside North America

Location People accused
Sydney, Australia "Mr Bubbles"
Charleroi, Belgium Marc Dutroux
Muenster, Germany Rainer Moellers
Ashhurst, NZ The Venus Case 6
Christchurch, NZ Peter Ellis and 4 other cases 6
Bishop Auckland, UK 4 families
Lewis island, UK Group of 8 adults
Newcastle, UK Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed
Nottingham, UK Group of 9 adults (the one that started the UK Satanic panic)
Pembroke, UK Group of 6 adults
Rochdale, UK Group of 10 adults

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Three groundbreaking books that explain how the justice system failed both children and adults:

book cover image Stephen Ceci & Maggie Bruck, "Jeopardy in the Courtroom: A scientific analysis of children's testimony," American Psychological Association, (2000). Read reviews or order this book This book was largely responsible for changing child interview techniques across North America, and bringing an end to implanted false memories of child abuse.

Dorothy Rabinowitz, "No Crueler Tyrannies: Accusation, False Witness, and Other Terrors of Our Times," Wall Street Journal Books, (2003). Read reviews or order this book "No Crueler Tyrannies recalls the hysteria that accompanied the child sex-abuse witch-hunts of the 1980s and 1990s: how a single anonymous phone call could bring to bear an army of recovered-memory therapists, venal and ambitious prosecutors, and hypocritical judges -- an army that jailed hundreds of innocent Americans." ( review)

Mary de Young, "The Day Care Ritual Abuse Panic," McFarland & Company, (2004). Read reviews or order this book "This work is a sociologically based analysis of the day care ritual abuse panic in America. It introduces the concept of moral panic and analyzes its relevance to the ritual abuse scare, explores the ideological, political, economic, and professional forces that fomented the panic, discusses the McMartin Preschool case as the incident that brought attention to satanic menaces and children, and examines the dialect between the various interest groups that stirred up and spread the moral panic and the day care providers accused of ritual abuse. Also covered are the popular culture representations of day care ritual abuse, the diffusion of the scare to areas overseas, the institutionally symbolic and ideologically contradictory social ends of the panic, and the outcomes of the panic in various settings. The book ends with a discussion of moral panic theory and how it needs to be changed for a complex, multi-mediated postmodern culture, and what lessons can be learned from the scare." ( review)

Kathryn Lyon: "Witch Hunt: The true story of social hysteria and abused justice, (1998). Read reviews or order this book It appears to be currently out of print. As of late 2007, you can buy a used copy for $0.01 plus shipping at marketplace. This book is by a lawyer and public defender. It deals with the MVMO cases in Wenatchee, WA.

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References used:

  1. Carol Tavris: "Mind Games: Psychological Warfare Between Therapists and Scientists," The Chronicle of Higher Education, Section: The Chronicle Review, Vol. 49, Issue 25, Page B7, 2003-FEB-28.
  2. Kimberly Hart is executive director of the National Child Abuse Defense Center in Ohio. The quote came from the National Post, 2001-JUL-10, Page A10. The National Post is a conservative Canadian newspaper.
  3. Debra Poole is a professor of psychology at Central Michigan University. She is the author of the forensic interviewing protocol for children now mandated by Michigan law.
  4. Carol Hopkins, News Release, The Justice Committee, 625 Broadway, Suite 1111, San Diego, CA 92101. Issued 1996-AUG-11
  5. Bob Chatelle had a list of falsely accused inmates at:
  6. For other false allegations in New Zealand, go to Brain Robinson's website (no relation) at:
  7. Lona Manning, "The forgotten innocent man," Crime Magazine, 3--6=OCT-16, at:

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Copyright 2000 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Latest update: 2014-SEP-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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