We have studied over 40 Multi-Victim, Multi-Offender (MVMO) cases at 24 locations, mostly involving allegations of ritual abuse, since 1995.
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. 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 of the defendants were innocent, 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:
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:
A few innocent people continue to rot in prison in the United States and elsewhere. A list of addresses of US prisoners is available. 5
Child psychologists and police investigators now are generally aware of how to avoid implanting memories of non-existent events through improper questioning of young children. New allegations of M.V.M.O. 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.
* 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.."
Three groundbreaking books that explain how the justice system failed both children and adults:
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." (Amazon.com 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." (Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com marketplace. This book is by a lawyer and public defender. It deals with the MVMO cases in Wenatchee, WA.
Amazon.com sells the following books dealing with false allegations of child abuse:
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