Ritual abuse studies
State of Utah inquiry into ritual crime
Concern about secret criminal physical and sexual abuse of children reached a
peak between the mid 1980s and mid 1990s.
At this time, a 1992 public opinion survey conducted by the Deseret News in Utah showed that
90% of adults in that state believed that underground groups are engaging in "ritualistic" child
sexual abuse. 1 This is often called "Satanic Ritual Abuse" or SRA.
One reason for this high percentage is the religious affiliation
of Utah citizens: over 50% are members or adherents of the
LDS Church. Like most conservative Christian denominations, Satan
plays a major and profoundly evil role in that church's belief system.
Many tens of thousands of adults who engaged in:
||Self-help and mutual
support groups specializing in recovered memories of childhood abuse, and/or
Various forms of
Recovered Memory Therapy (RMT)
become convinced that
they were victims of SRA during their childhood. A common belief is that they were abused by leading citizens in the community: judges, the police chief, the
mayor, clergy, lawyers, etc. It was thus inevitable that some SRA survivors
in Utah would accuse senior officials in the LDS Mormon of being
perpetrators in the abuse.
In 1991, Elder Glenn Pace, a member of the
presiding bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
at the time, wrote a letter to other leaders of the LDS church. He said that
he personally knew of 60 SRA survivors, and estimated that there were up to 800 in Utah.
He wrote that those responsible for the child abuse conspiracy included
"members of bishoprics, LDS [Mormon] bishops ... and members of the
Tabernacle Choir." Also in 1991, a University of Utah Medical
Center psychologist said that there were 366 SRA survivors being treated
by therapists in Utah.
Inquiry by the Attorney General's Office
After so many SRA allegations surfaced in the state, the 1991 Utah
legislature authorized a one-time appropriation of $250,000 to fund a
thorough inquiry by the Attorney General's Office. Two investigators
interviewed hundreds of victims who claimed that they had been programmed by
"cults", tortured, raped, and viewed infants being ritually killed. King said
"I really feel for these people and I would like to help them, but we just
couldn't find the evidence." The team was unable "to substantiate with
physical evidence the [SRA] incidents reported". They added that the
allegations against church leaders were absurd.
During a press conference held to announce the completion of the report,
King said that some survivors "said they were at a ritual in the mountains
the night before; we spent all day tracking around the hills and couldn't
find anything. Then they said, `I must have been given a drug or
brainwashed to cloud my mind.'"
Their report (6) is believed to have been issued in 1995-MAY. 6
At the time that the report was announced, Dr. Jerry Lazar of the LDS
Hospital's Department of Psychiatry said that allegations of SRA are often
made by people who recover memories of abuse after years of repression. He
said that some are false memories induced by therapists. He has never been
able to corroborate any SRA memory.
Lynn Finney, SRA counselor and author of the book "Reach for the Rainbow:
Advanced Healing for Survivors of Sexual Abuse" criticized the inquiry
for not looking sufficiently hard for examples of ritual abuse. She said "
I attempted to give them information about the victims I have dealt with, and
I can only characterize their response as defensive and unreceptive."
She wanted the investigators to initiate contact with survivors, rather
than asking them to contact the Attorney General's office with their
Analysis of the report:
We have prepared an analysis of
the report issued by the State of Utah. It is a fascinating document, linking
together a number of legitimate religions with reports of psychopathic mass murderers and child
molesters. It represents an fascinating example of religious hate literature, the worst
that we have ever seen published by an agency of a state government.
- Deseret News Archives, 1992-JAN-1, P. A1-A2
The Associated Press news service, 1995-FEB-28, Satanism Probe Comes
Deseret News Archives, 1995-APR-25, Report Finds Little Proof Of
Deseret News Archives, 1995-APR-25 Ritual Abuse Does Exist, Victim
Deseret News Archives, 1995-MAY-18 Ritual Abuse? Counselor Slams
Lt. M.R. King & Lt. Marr Jacobson, "Ritual Crime in the State of
Utah: Investigation, Analysis & A Look Forward", Utah Attorney General's
Office, State of Utah, (1995) at:
http://www.saferchildren.net/. This is a PDF file.
Copyright © 1996 to 2009 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2009-AUG-15
Author: B.A. Robinson