Analysis of the ritual crime
report by the state of Utah, 1995
1. General assessment of
the report. Report preface.
In spite of an almost complete lack of evidence, the report is
heavily biased towards a belief that ritual abuse is common throughout Utah.
1 An almost
identical inquiry and report could be prepared by two other investigators in support of
abuse by LGM (little green men) on board UFO's. They would have found that hundreds of
residents of Utah believed in UFO abuse as well, yet they would have uncovered no or
essentially no evidence to support the claims, other than that based on people's memories.
The report reads much like lecture notes from a standard Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA)
seminar of the type ridiculed by Ken Lanning of the FBI in his study of ritual child abuse.
The authors use a number of methods to bolster their claim that ritual abuse is
||They use a "bait and switch" technique: They describe some of the horrors of
widespread ritual abuse in Utah, even though they only provide evidence of a
single case. They insert a paragraph describing a horrible crime that resulted in
convictions, but is totally unrelated to ritual abuse. Finally, they revert to discussing
more beliefs about horrors of SRA. To the non-critical reader, the description of the
actual, non-ritual abuse case gives credibility to the author's claims about SRA.|
||They point to graffiti and other minor vandalism by rebellious teenagers as proof that
"occult" ritual activity exists. They use this as support for an
unrelated topic: believing in SRA
and ritual killings by inter-generational Satanists.|
||They add scary items that are unrelated to ritual abuse, such as teenagers listening to
heavy metal rock music, animal mutilations by natural predators such as coyotes and
mountain lions to support their conclusions.|
||Lacking evidence, they bolster their beliefs with the unsupported opinions and fears of
community leaders and of the general public.|
||The investigators show a religious bias by concentrating entirely on "occult
crime" and ignored ritual crime by Christian individuals and groups (e.g. physical,
psychological and other abuse during exorcisms).|
||They refer to "victims" of ritual abuse rather than "alleged
victims"; this is a common trick used to promote the belief that these crimes
||They blame homicides, ritual abuse and other crimes on "the
occult" which does not exist as an organization or movement. The occult is simply
a listing of unrelated activities: some religious practices, some men's fraternal
organizations, and some methods of foretelling the future. They all had one, and only one
common factor: in the past, their teachings were kept secret from the public
and only revealed to initiates during training. This factor no longer
exists. Many bookstores
and libraries contain books which describe every occultic activity. The technique that the
authors use is common to many conservative Christian books on the occult:|
They link together under the "occult" label an enormous number of unrelated
activities, from heavy metal rock to Wicca, from Dungeons &
Dragons fantasy role playing games to Santeria, from the Masonic Order to Satanism,
||Then they attribute profoundly evil activities to Satanists.
||Finally, they imply that all members of the occult engage in such horrendously abusive
||They conclude that occult crime is a major threat to society.
Pages 2-5: Report preface:
In 1990-MAR, the Utah Governor's Commission for Women and Families joined with
members of the Utah State Task Force on Child Sexual Abuse and created the Utah
State Task Force on Ritual Abuse. Their purposes were:
- To gather and analyze information about ritual abuse in Utah.
- To sponsor responsible education of the public.
- To assist in the education of professionals.
- To suggest needed programs to public and private agencies.
They recommended to the Governor that experienced investigators be assigned to
investigate ritual abuse allegations throughout the state. Money was subsequently
allocated by the Legislature to fund the inquiry.
Investigators Mike King and Matt Jacobson worked full time for 2 years and 6 months on
the project. They canvassed law-enforcement agencies, social-work offices and church
leaders. They scanned 225 cases that were linked to SRA in some way, and thoroughly studied 125 of them. The investigation
lasted from mid-1993 to mid-1995. About 40 involved ritual, ceremonial killings. But, with
the exception of one case, no evidence of ritual abuse could be obtained that would have
justified an investigation. There were no dates, times, names or places. The one exception
is the case described below.
They did uncover one instance of mass, non-ritual child abuse, called the Zion
Society case. Charges were laid and successfully prosecuted against 12 adults
including a self-proclaimed prophet Arvin Shreeve who headed a commune in Ogden UT.
Only physical abuse occurred: there was no ritual abuse. No Satanism was involved either,
as it was a Christian group. We
believe that the authors mentioned this case as a general scare tactic to convince the
readers that terrible crimes do exist, and therefore that ritual abuse might exist.
They report that "often the reports of victims are based on 'recovered
memories'." To our knowledge, this is always the case; no hard
evidence has ever been discovered to corroborate memories of SRA.
The authors conclude that "Evidence has shown that there are many isolated
instances of ritual abuse of children, perpetrated either by individuals or small
groups". However they supply no proof or even supporting evidence to
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)
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).
Copyright © 1996 to 2009 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2009-AUG-15
Author: B.A. Robinson