of ritual abuse
and Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA)
Reasons for government studies:
During the 1980s and early 1990s there was an immense reservoir of belief in
North America that underground Satanic "cults" were
kidnapping, ritually abusing and killing children. A 1992 poll in Utah at the time revealed that over 90%
of adults believe that Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) was happening in their state.
One book on Satanic Ritual Abuse estimated that by the late 1980s. various levels
of governments, the FBI, state and local law enforcement had spent in excess of $200
million in a fruitless search for these nonexistent groups.
A single rumor can trigger a full Satanic Panic in just about any North American
community. 3 Two examples in
the mid 1990s from our area of Eastern Ontario were:
Ottawa ON: In 1996-JUN, a newborn baby was abandoned by its mother, left in a
wooded area and attacked by wild animals. This almost triggered a public panic about
ritual killings by Satanists.
Kingston ON: An illegal dog-fighting club dumped the carcass of the losing dog by
the roadside. It was badly gashed during the fight. Within a few days, after a
representative of the local dog shelter fingered Satanists, a panic began to build.
One dog became rumors of many dogs. The police began to receive phone inquiries from
hundreds of miles away concerning Satanic groups in the area. Local Wiccans
(incorrectly) warned each other that the police were picking up for questioning anyone
who wore "occult jewelry".
Investigations were conducted by the state of Virginia,
4,5 the state of Michigan, and the
Netherlands. 6 All reached the same conclusion: that Satanic/Sadistic ritual abuse
does not exist as a significant problem in their areas.
One family involved in incest with a male child during Satanic rituals was
found during a US Government funded study. One case of ritual abuse
involving the torture of children and simulated murder of infants was found during
the Utah investigation. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations precluded
To our knowledge, there have not been any state or federal investigations
into ritual abuse crimes since 1997. The topic seems to have faded from public
City, state & federal government studies discussed in
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Deseret News Archives, 1992-JAN-1, P. A1-A2
Carlson and O'Sullivan, "Satanism in American: How the Devil Got Much More than
Jeffrey Victor, Satanic Panic, Open Court, Chicago, 1993
Crime Commission Task Force Studying Ritual Criminal Activity, Final Report of the
Task Force Studying Ritual Crime (Richmond, VA; 1991)
State Task force Finds No Major Cult Activity, Richmond New Leader, Aug. 15,
Minister of Justice, Report of the Ritual Abuse Work Group, 1994-Apr, PO Box
20301, 2500EH, The Hague, Netherlands (In Dutch. Found that ritual abuse exists only in
the mind; it has no basis in fact.)
Copyright © 1996 to 2009 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2009-AUG-15
Author: B.A. Robinson