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Religious Tolerance logo

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

4. Subtle forces; National perspective; Utah situation; Challenges

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Pages 24-27: Are There Subtle Forces at Work?:

The section begins:

"As we examine the threat to our society from groups involved in illegal occult activity, we must also examine the less overt threat produced from sources such as movies and video [sic], magazines, comic books, music and games."

They make this statement even though they have not established that occult crime exists.

The report briefly reviews two horror B movies with Satanic themes, some comic books, rock music containers with occult symbols, one Salt Lake City store specializing in occult supplies. It is not obvious whether the authors are promoting restrictions on free speech or advocating laws preventing children from buying some books and recordings. Again, the section appears to be unrelated to child abuse.

Pages 28-32 A National Perspective:

They include an interesting picture of a gravestone engraved: "Lilly E Gray, June 6, 1881 - Nov. 14, 1958. Victim of the Beast 666" They do not comment on this photograph. There must be a fascinating story behind it.

King and Jacobson review a number of government sponsored studies on ritual crime. They admit that none of them have been able to provide conclusive evidence "of the existence or nonexistence of a ritually motivated crime or organized group practicing criminal occult practices." Proving the non-existence of a group or crime is of course impossible. They described:

bulletThe 1990 Occult Survey by the Michigan State Police Department's Investigative Services Bureau: Of the 467 responses received from police agencies in the state, only 31 (7%) reported that "occult activity" was a significant problem in their area. "..in most, if not all, instances where a death was reported by respondents to have had occult overtones, no definite causal link could be established between occult practices and the death." No causal link could be made between the occult and any suicides in the state. They did find some dabblers involved in "graffiti, vandalism, animal sacrifices and animal mutilations."
bulletThe 1990 Virginia Task Force Studying Ritual Crime: They found that:
bulletThat comprehensive investigation had not uncovered or indicated any network of ritual crime.
bulletPersons who follow minority or unconventional religious faiths who happen to be accused of a criminal act are often cited as evidence of ritual crime.
bulletThe vast majority of cases involving any spiritual system involve minor crimes like trespassing, graffiti and vandalism and are committed by "dabblers" -- typically rebellious youth.
bulletThe 1994 report (4) by Prof. J.S. Lafontaine, for the [Great Britain] Department of Health, "Extent & Nature of Organized Ritual Abuse": 1 King and Jacobson quoted a United Press International news service article which described how Dr. Lafontiane had examined 84 cases of suspected Satanic Ritual Abuse and found three cases where non-Satanic child molesters had used Satanic rituals as a method of controlling their victims. She found:

"... no evidence to support 'allegations of extreme acts such as human sacrifice, cannibalism and sexual abuse of children in orgiastic rituals, where the purpose is an act of devil worship or witchcraft.'"

bulletThe 1992 report (7) by FBI Special Agent Kenneth V Lanning, "Investigators [sic] Guide to Allegations of 'Ritual' Child Abuse": A long quotation from Lanning's report reveals that he is a skeptic on matters of ritual abuse by organized groups. One interesting statement is:

If 99.9% of satanists and 0.1% of Christians abuse children as part of their spiritual belief system, that still means that the vast majority of children so abused were abused by Christians."

99% of Satanists would total a few thousand; 0.1% of Christians would be over 100,000. Lanning could just as accurately specified 0.01% of Christians in his comparison.

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Pages 33-40: A Look Across Utah:

King and Jacobson describe their interviews of survivors of ritual abuse. Victims gave detailed accounts of ritual killings, dismembering of corpses, burial of the remains in the earth. But times, dates, places or names could never be identified. Floor plans of the buildings where abuse occurred did not match the interiors of the actual buildings. Dates, times and places of planned ritual meetings were given to the police, but nobody ever appeared.

They conducted a survey of 135 police departments and 29 sheriff's offices. 4 of the 91 responses indicated that they were currently involved in a ritual crime investigation; 29 had interviewed a person in the past who claimed to be a ritual crime survivor.

Pages 41-44: Challenges to Law Enforcement:

The authors speculate that SRA victims are often controlled through fear, intimidation, drugs, etc. They warn of high stress levels and emotional stress on officers investigating ritual abuse cases. They state that there has not been sufficient information discovered to support claims of generational occultism. They commented on cases where police officers had closed cases as unfounded or devoid of evidence, only to be accused of being a perpetrator and be the subject of harassment from survivors. Other officers had received threats while investigating a case.


  1. Prof. J.S. Lafontaine, [Great Britain] Department of Health, "Extent & Nature of Organized Ritual Abuse" ISBN 011 11 321797 8; 1994-May. Available from Unipub, 4611-F Assembly Drive, Lanham MD 20706, for USF$ 11.49

Copyright © 1996 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2009-AUG-15
Author: B.A. Robinson

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