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M.V.M.O. Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) hoax


Island of Lewis, Scotland

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bullet "...a social worker or police officer starts asking leading questions and this then sets off a whole series of speculations.'' Forensic criminologist Bill Thompson
bullet "It was like a 17th-century witch hunt." Ian Campbell, falsely accused of SRA.
bullet "...allegedly engaging in devil worship, group sex with children, and the ritual sacrifice of animals..." Part of the charges against seven adults.

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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.

A 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.

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Topics discussed in this section:

bullet About the island. Accusations of ritual abuse
bullet Charges dropped. Were the children abused?
bullet Aftermaths of the arrests. Subsequent developments

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Web sites dealing with false accusations and the Satanic Ritual Abuse hoax:

bullet Diane Vera, "Against Satanic Panics" at:
bullet Penny Campbell, "Victims fight back" at:

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Site navigation:

Home > Conflict/fear menu > Ritual Abuse > Cases > here

or: Home > Hot topics > Ritual Abuse > Cases > here

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Copyright 2004 to 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-JUL-9
Latest update: 2006-APR-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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