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The following essay and its hyper-links describe a guide written by K.V. Lanning on ritual child abuse. It is perhaps the most important and influential document ever written on the topic. Its wisdom has held up well, even though there have been enormous developments in the subject since the essay was written in 1992.

Kenneth V. Lanning is a Supervisory Special Agent at the Behavioral Science Unit at the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime. The Center is located at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA. It assists police forces throughout the US. The group is often called in as consultants by local and state police forces. 

Lanning began working in the field in 1981. Allegations of ritual abuse began to surface circa 1983. At first, he tended to believe that the abuse really occurred. He reported:

But the number of alleged cases began to grow and grow. We now have hundreds of victims alleging that thousands of offenders are abusing and even murdering tens of thousands of people as part of organized satanic cults, and there is little or no corroborative evidence. The very reason many "experts" cite for believing these allegations (i.e. many victims, who never met each other, reporting the same events), is the primary reason I began to question at least some aspects of these allegations.
Lanning defines a satanic murder as "one committed by two or more individuals who rationally plan the crime and whose primary motivation is to fulfill a prescribed satanic ritual calling for the murder." Using this definition he has been unable to identify even one documented satanic murder in the United States.

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Investigator's guide:

The guide is quite long. We have divided it into a number of files:

  1. Introduction Personal info. Concern about unsubstantiated allegations of bizarre sexual abuse & public hysteria.
  2. Historical Overview Methods society uses to deny sexual abuse of children; the hoax of the 50,000 murdered children; 50 young children per year are kidnapped and murdered by strangers
  3. Law Enforcement Training Law enforcement officers' uncritical acceptance of worthless information at anti-Satanism seminars.
  4. Definitions Explores various meanings given to some indefinable terms: Satanism, ritual, ritual child abuse, Satanic crime.
  5. Multidimensional Child Sex Rings (Multi-Victim, Multi-Offender (MVMO) cases involving impossible events. Characteristics of such cases. Lack of corpses and other evidence. Impossibility of an organized Satanic conspiracy. Past CRA [Christian Ritual Abuse] by KKK.
  6. Alternative Explanations Why are victims alleging things that seem not to have happened? Possible answers: pathological distortion, pseudomemories, traumatic memory, childhood fears and fantasies, tricking, confusion, overzealous interviewers, urban legends.
  7. Do Victims Lie About Sexual Abuse and Exploitation? Children rarely lie but do not necessarily tell the truth. Children learn of ritual and torture from viewing material, being abused, the media, suggestions and leading questions from interviewers, misperception and confusion, and educational programs.
  8. Law Enforcement Perspective Some seminar leaders are unqualified; police need to avoid paranoia; Satanism linked to minor crimes (e.g. vandalism), but not child abuse or murder; teen Satanism usually symptom, not cause of a problem; definition of "Satanic murder", real history of Satanism)
  9. Investigating Multidimensional Child Sex Rings Avoiding common traps when conducting an investigation.
  10. Conclusion
  11. References
  12. Suggested Reading

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bullet Kenneth V. Lanning, "Investigator's Guide to Allegations of 'Ritual' Child Abuse", Behavioral Science Unit, National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI Academy, Quantico, Virginia 22135 (1992)

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