Analysis of the ritual crime
report by the state of Utah, 1995
2. Introduction. Ritual Abuse
Crime Unit. Occult Groups
Pages 6-7: Introduction:
King and Jacobson mention a number of other reports on ritual crime. One unfortunate
definition of "occult crime" is taken from a 1990-JUN survey by the Michigan
"any crime involving Neo Paganism, Satanism, Witchcraft, Voodooism [sic], Santeria and other black arts practices".
Here, the report links together five unrelated religious practices, and implies that
they all engage in the "black arts". This implies that all are involved in
harmful, criminal, and abusive activities, which is not true. On a positive note, the Michigan authors should be
commended for at least treating these religions as valid faith groups by capitalizing
The entire introduction is based on the unsupported assumption that ritual abuse is a
serious problem in Utah and is widespread throughout the state.
Pages 8-11 Legislative concerns and funding; Goals & responsibilities of the
Ritual Abuse Crime Unit:
The investigating officers averaged 14 years of police experience when they started the
inquiry; each had had "occult crime investigative experience". It is
obvious from their report that they were (and remain) strong supporters of the belief that
"occult crime" is a serious and pervasive problem in the US. The term cult
cop has been used to describe police officers who actively attempt to raise public
consciousness of SRA, in spite of the complete absence of physical evidence that
the activity exists.
The authors describe "ritualistic" abuse in very broad terms, including
Religious ritual abuse by Satanists;
||Religious ritual abuse by other religious groups; and
||Abuse motivated by the cultural, sexual or psychological needs of
They made reference to the Zion Society case, even though no ritual abuse seems to have
been committed there.
In spite of this broad definition, their entire investigation appears to have been
concentrated on Satanic abuse; there is no indication that they made any effort to assess
abuse during exorcisms or other forms of Christian Ritual Abuse.
They list the primary goals of the Ritual Abuse Crime Unit are to:
- Gather factual information regarding ritual abuse allegations statewide through a law
- Investigate allegations of ritual crimes in the state of Utah
- Obtain opinions and impressions from each jurisdiction in the state regarding
perceptions and validity of ritual abuse claims
- Obtain any case history made available by departments
- Examine causes of occult activity
We question goal #3; why should a state agency collect impressions? It would seem more
reasonable to confine themselves to collecting evidence of crime rather than unsupported
We also question goal #5. The authors have included a variety of legitimate
Neo-Pagan, Caribbean and other religions within their definition of "the
occult". The fact that a state police force would establish a goal of monitoring
religious minorities is a particularly scary thought. This role attacks the one of the
foundation principles of the American constitution: that of freedom of religious
Pages 12-21: Groups involved in occult practices:
The investigators acknowledge the help of "Captain Randy Johnson of the West
Jordon Police Department" who they describe as a "nationally and
internationally recognized authority on the occult."
We see a major switch in the report at this point. Although the inquiry was supposed to
deal with ritual crime, the investigators now start to investigate the makeup of "the
occult". The only logical implication is that people active in the occult are responsible for ritual crime. We are now two steps
removed from reality:
||They have not shown that ritual abuse exists in Utah at any significant level
||They have not shown that any occult group has engage in abuse of any sort
The authors list two dictionary definitions on the "occult", which cover a
wide variety of legitimate religious expressions as well as the Masonic Order, horoscope
casters, tarot card readers, fortune tellers - even Christian religious services and
prayer. They state that little information is available on the occult, and then contradict
themselves by mentioning that such information is readily available from occult and New
They then discuss a group of activities and religious beliefs that have sometimes been
called "occultic". Again, one questions why:
||A state agency is investigating legitimate minority religions.
Some religions (e.g. Wicca and other
Neo-pagan faiths) are included in their study, but very similar religions
(e.g. Native American Spirituality) were ignored.
||They link followers of benign religions to psychotic serial murderers.
Copyright © 1996 to 2009 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2009-AUG-15
Author: B.A. Robinson