During the 1980s and early 1990s, many accusations of
Multi-Victim, Multi-Offender (M.V.M.O.) child sexual abuse including
Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) were lodged against pre-schools, Sunday schools and
individual families throughout the English speaking world. The first case was an
alleged sex-ring among families in Bakersfield, CA.
The second was probably the most infamous case; it involved the
McMartin Pre-School in Manhattan Beach CA. Similar
cases emerged elsewhere in the U.S., and then in Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
the UK, and a few other European countries. Many dozens of adults were convicted
and imprisoned for crimes of which they were innocent. In fact, there is
abundant evidence that the events for
which they were charged never actually happened. Accusations were generated as a
result of improper interrogation techniques used
on very young children. By asking direct questions repeatedly, young
children can be expected to disclose events that are completely unrelated to
real events. They mirror the beliefs and expectations of the interrogators.
team of child psychologists could go to any area of the world, interview young
children with improper techniques, and be certain of uncovering accusation of
entire networks of Satanists abusing children. Yet physical evidence which would
have been present if the abuse had really happened would be non-existent. If modern interview
techniques are used, disclosure of SRA abuse rarely if ever surfaces.
By the mid 1990s, almost all child psychologists, child protective service
officials, and police investigators in the English-speaking world had learned of
the dangers of traditional but then discredited interviewing techniques when used on young children.
They had learned safer methods. Accusations of M.V.M.O. crimes and SRA evaporated.
Many investigators had assumed that SRA hoaxes would never materialize again.
They were wrong. Belief in evil, underground, secret, inter-generational,
internationally organized Satanists still exists -- primarily among two groups:
a minority of feminists and some conservative Christians. In the fall of 2003,
disclosures of SRA emerged once more. This time, it was in the relatively
isolated island of Lewis,
off the west coast of Scotland.
Topics discussed in this section: