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child ritual abuse scare

How abuse cases affected society.
Factors to consider if a panic strikes.

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How MVMO ritual abuse cases affected society:

After studying the details surrounding a number of MVMO ritual abuse cases, it is our belief that no ritual abuse actually happened in all or essentially all of the cases. However the interviews, investigations and trials have had many negative effects on the adults and children involved and on society in general:
bullet Overeager and poorly trained investigators implanted false memories of the most horrendous and bizarre abuse that never happened into the minds of children. This is a form of institutional abuse. The children's own parents often contributed to this. Belief that they have been abused will cause problems for the children throughout their life. The kids in the earliest day care abuse hoaxes (e.g. McMartin) are now in their late twenties; many firmly believe that they had been victims.
bullet There are a few instances of real sexual abuse at the heart of a small number of these MVMO ritual abuse cases. (e.g. the Country Walk case). Unfortunately, after extensive interrogation of the children, it is often impossible to separate reality from fantasy. As a result, there is a distinct possibility that some perpetrators will go free and may abuse again.
bullet The fear level of the general public has increased needlessly. Society is perceived as being much more violent than it really is.
bullet Many teachers and caregivers throughout North America are now afraid to touch children in any way; many have decided to never hug another youngster. This may have serious adverse effects on the long-term mental health of the public.
bullet Innocent day care providers and Sunday school teachers have had their reputations and finances ruined. Some have served long jail sentences.
bullet Insurance rates for day care centers have skyrocketed; this adversely affects the finances of every parent or family who uses day care
bullet Since some civil cases have been pursued using provisions in house insurance policies, home insurance rates have also increased.

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Factors to consider if a panic strikes:

This essay was originally written in the mid 1990's when these hoaxes were still fresh in people's memories. We felt that law enforcement and child care personnel had become aware of their errors in the past. We hoped that they were unlikely to repeat them, and that a new false MVMO case would never emerge. Sadly, one isolated case did surface in Lewis Island, Scotland in 2003.

If faced with news of still another MVMO case in your area, we urge to ask yourself the following questions :
bullet How could children be frequently taken from a day care center, abused and then returned later in the day? Parents arrive at day care centers at random times due to shift work, dental and medical appointments, etc.; one would think that they would notice if their child were missing
bullet How can large numbers of children at a day care be repeatedly exposed to the most horrendous forms of sexual, ritual and physical abuse for many months and never tell their parents or show major signs of upset?
bullet Experts believe that when children are threatened by an abuser who is outside their family, they will frequently disclose the molestation immediately. The possibility that dozens of children at a day care would all keep quiet when threatened is near zero.
bullet If posing the children for pornographic pictures is such a common feature of the children's disclosures, why has no "kiddy-porn" ever been found which includes the children in a day care, preschool or Sunday school setting?
bullet Children sometimes disclose memories of events that are physically impossible (e.g. being flown in a rocket ship into outer space, or having an axe handle inserted in their penis). Doesn't this cast doubt on other disclosures by the same child of abuse that is physically possible?
bullet If young children are raped or sodomized, then certain physical evidence must be present. If it is absent, then the children's memories have probably been implanted.
bullet Why are adult survivors of incest or child sexual abuse allowed to interview children in suspected MVMO cases? This happened in the Michaels and Martensville cases; it may have happened in others. Professional literature generally recommends that adult survivors not be permitted to take on this role, or to do so only if they have settled all issues arising from their abuse.
bullet Why doesn't every state and province have a law which requires child abuse interviewers to record every interview on audio or (preferably) video tape. Then at least, an assessment can be made later whether suggestive and manipulative means were used to implant memories of events that never happened into the children's mind.
bullet Often poor, uneducated and/or developmentally handicapped people are targeted by the police as perpetrators. Not being able to afford a lawyer, many will plead "no contest" and be found guilty. Meanwhile, many upper and middle class defendants can afford to hire lawyers, fight the charges and often are found not guilty. Is it not reasonable to assume that the former group would also be found not guilty if they had access to adequate resources?

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Further resources:

Books for the general public promoting belief in widespread ritual abuse of children

bullet Linda Blood, "The New Satanists", Warner Books, New York, NY, (1994). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
bullet Rosie Daymore, "Blessed : Reclaiming My Life from the Horrors of Ritual Abuse," Life Path Publishing, (2001). Read reviews or order this book
bullet Chrystine Oksana, "Safe Passage to Healing: A Guide for Survivors of Ritual Abuse,", (2001). Read reviews or order this book
bullet Emilie Rose, "Reaching for the Light: A Guide for Ritual Abuse Survivors and Their Therapists," Pilglrim Press, (1996). Read reviews or order this book safely
bullet Michelle Smith & Lawrence Pazder, "Michelle Remembers," Congdon & Lattes, (1980). Read reviews or order this book safely
bullet Lauren Stratford, "Satans Underground: The Extraordinary Story of One Woman's Escape," Pelican Pubishing, (1991). Read reviews or order this book safely

Other books and reports:

bullet "Belgian Police Force Comes Under Attack", Reuters News Agency, 1996-AUG-12.
bullet Bette L. Bottoms, "Profile of Ritualistic and Religion-Related Abuse Allegations", a paper presented to the American Psychological Association annual convention in 1991-AUG-19.
bullet 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."
bullet "Child Sexual Abuse, Assault and Molest Issues," 1991-92 San Diego County Grand Jury, Report #8  (San Diego County, CA). See:
bullet "Characteristics & Sources of Allegations of Ritual Child Abuse," Clearing House on Child Abuse & Neglect Information, Suite 350, 3998 Fair Ridge Dr., Fairfax VA, 22033, $20 US. Issued 1994-Fall.
bullet "Final Report of the Task Force Studying Ritual Crime", Richmond, VA; (1991); This documents the conclusions of the Crime Commission Task Force Studying Ritual Criminal Activity.
bullet Prof. J.S. Lafontaine, [Great Britain] Department of Health, "Extent & Nature of Organized Ritual Abuse" ISBN 011 11 321797 8; 1994-May. Available from Unipub, 4611-F Assembly Drive, Lanham MD 20706, for  $11.49 in U.S. funds.
bullet Ken Lanning, "Investigator's Guide to Allegations of 'Ritual' Child Abuse." Lanning of the FBI issued a report in 1992 on the non-existence of evil Satanic cults. It is titled ".
bullet J. McCann, L. Voris, M. Simon, R Wells, "Perianal Findings in Prepubertal Children Selected for Nonabuse: a Descriptive Study.", Child Abuse & Neglect, 13(2), P. 179-193 (1989). 267 children, aged 2 months to 11 years were examined. Anal irregularities of types used to "prove" sexual abuse were found in large percentages of children who had never been abused.
bullet C.A. Ross, "Satanic Ritual Abuse," University of Toronto Press, Toronto ON, (1995), P. 62. 
bullet "Report of the Ritual Abuse Work Group" Minister of Justice, PO Box 20301, 2500EH, The Hague, Netherlands, 1994-APR. (They found that ritual abuse exists only in the mind; it has no basis in fact.)
bullet "Sex, Lies, and Audiotapes; Rael Jean Isaac explains why we've been so willing to believe fantastic tales of sexual abuse," Independent Women's Forum, The Women's Quarterly, 2001-Summer.
bullet "State Task force Finds No Major Cult Activity", Richmond New Leader, 1991-AUG-15
bullet 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)
bullet Jeffrey Victor, "Satanic Panic: The creation of a contemporary legend," Open Court Publishing, (1993). Read reviews or order this book
bullet W.L. Whittington et al., "Incorrect Identification of Neisseria Gonorrhoeae from Infants and Children", Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 7 #1 (1988), P. 3 - 10. (As quoted in Debbie Nathan & Michael Snedecker, "Satan's Silence", Basic Books, New York, NY (1995), Page 195.
bullet Ellen Yan & Deborah Barfield, "Suffolk Kids' Agency Blasted; Probe finds training poor, abuse not seen", NEWSDAY, Suffolk County NY, 1995-FEB-08.
bullet 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)

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Copyright 1995 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2007-DEC-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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