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Analysis of the ritual crime
report by the state of Utah, 199

1. General assessment of
the report. Report preface.

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General assessment:

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. 2,3

The authors use a number of methods to bolster their claim that ritual abuse is widespread:

bullet 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.
bullet 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.
bullet 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.
bullet Lacking evidence, they bolster their beliefs with the unsupported opinions and fears of community leaders and of the general public.
bullet 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).
bullet They refer to "victims" of ritual abuse rather than "alleged victims"; this is a common trick used to promote the belief that these crimes actually exist.
bullet 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:
bullet 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, etc.
bullet Then they attribute profoundly evil activities to Satanists.
bullet Finally, they imply that all members of the occult engage in such horrendously abusive criminal acts.
bullet They conclude that occult crime is a major threat to society.

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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:

  1. To gather and analyze information about ritual abuse in Utah.
  2. To sponsor responsible education of the public.
  3. To assist in the education of professionals.
  4. 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 support this assertion.

References used:

  1. 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)
  2. 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

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