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Religious Tolerance logo

News items, from the year 2004


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News items:

bullet2004-JAN-8: Germany: Charges of Satanic Ritual Abuse dropped: A woman, aged 33, gave a statement to the German police that she had repeatedly been forced to undergo abortions at "procreation ceremonies" while other humans were ritually killed, their bodies sawn into pieces, and parts of them eaten in cannibalistic rituals. The rituals allegedly occurred in and near Trier in Western Germany, and once in Belgium. State prosecutor Horst Roos announced that they had found no evidence to confirm any of her allegations. Many of her accusations had been proven to be untrue. He concluded that the accusations were "highly unlikely to be based on actual events". He said: "In sum, nothing remains of the alleged actions that were still able to be investigated."
bullet2004-FEB-1: USA: New book on best-sellers list: Fern Michaels' book "Late Bloomer" reached position nine in the New York Times' paperback best sellers list. It is a novel which describes how a movie star helped her grand-daughter recover memories of a childhood tragedy. 2
bullet2004-FEB-21: Holland: New approach to child abuse memories judged a success: The de Gelderlander newspaper reports that a new filtering technique by Justice officials is a success. They determined that 87% of all reported sexual abuse allegations can be regarded as false. They now look skeptically at three categories of child sex crimes: those involving recovered memories of abuse, memories of ritual abuse, and memories of abusive events before the age of three. During 2004-FEB, the Ministry of Health's scientific advisory council urged the government to restrain therapists who still engage in the search for repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse. 3
bullet2004-MAR-12: CA: Multiple murders: News media did a particularly incompetent job reporting the multiple murders allegedly committed by Marcus Wesson in Fresno, CA. Eleven deaths are reported including nine children allegedly fathered by Wesson. At various times, news reports announced that the victims were mutilated, that ritual killings were suspected, and that Wesson was a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. When the smoke cleared, no rituals appear to have been involved. There was no mutilation of any of the victims. The Seventh Day Adventist church issued a formal statement saying that they "cannot find any record of Marcus Wesson being a member of any Seventh Day Adventist Church." 4

This essay concludes below.

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News items (cont'd):

bullet2004-APR-15: CA: Michael Jackson accused of molestation: An unidentified 18-year old man allegedly recovered memories of childhood abuse during therapy. He believes that it happened in the late 1980s when he was three to five years of age. An unidentified source familiar with the case said: "If an allegation is made, it has to be investigated. But a lot of corroboration is required, and this is going back a lot of years." Jackson's lawyer, Mark Geragos, said he believes the new allegation stems from "a money-hungry lawyer trying to shake down my client through the use of unfounded, scurrilous allegations." 5
bullet2004-MAY-2: U.S: Dateline NBC program on MPD: This was a one hour program which dealt with Bill Green, who is about to go on trial for the rape-murder of a young woman some twenty years ago. He has pleaded not guilty to that crime. However, his DNA ties him to the crime.

The Dateline program mainly dealt with a trial for another crime in Green's life: that of sexually assaulting his therapist. Green claims to have MPD and to be actually a family of personalities within one body, composed of one dominant personality and 22 other alters. His defense was based on the allegation that he suffered from MPD and that it was one of the alters who actually performed the assault, not the main personality -- not Bill Green himself. Two witnesses for the prosecution were girlfriends of Green with whom he had developed long-term relationships in the past. Both testified that he exhibited no symptoms of multiple personalities when he was with them. A fellow inmate testified that, as an inmate, Green only exhibited alternative personalities when he was in the presence of his therapists. One inmate said that Green had displayed a single alter on one occasion where no therapist was present. Mary Alice was Green's therapist. Her co-workers each voiced skepticism of Alice's MPD work. They noted that all of the diagnoses of MPD at the prison were made by one team of therapists; the other teams found no MPD among the sexual offenders treated.

The jury found him guilty of the assault.
bullet2004-JUN-1: UK: SRA book published: Mary Smith, which may be writing under a pen name, has written a book titled: "Resistance: A ritual abuse survivor speaks out." It is an 80 page paperback published in 2003 by a non-profit organization called SAFE. Its ISBN number is 0954474007. The book is available from Amazon.co.uk. She describes how she recovered memories of SRA and realized that she suffered from MPD through dream interpretation during therapy three years ago. She is now in her 50s and is firmly convinced that her parents and extended family had "practised gang-rape, torture, often with electric shocks, murder, mutilation." She, at the age of 14, was held with other girls in underground dungeons. When they became pregnant and gave birth, their babies were taken away. They were forced to act in pornographic movies. Mary has terminated all contact with her family. In a particularly poignant passage, she writes: "The pressure to return and see my old father, especially over a lonely Christmas, was almost unendurable. [But now] I'm no longer torn into pieces by feeling I should help the old man, who I now see as a major criminal." It is sad to realize that her father will probably die before she realizes that her memories of ritual abuse -- apparently built upon a foundation of nightmares -- are false. 7
bullet2004-JUN-22: UT: Woman sues clinic for allegedly damaging therapy: Cheryl Denise Ely Haws has initiated a lawsuit against the Cascade Center, a private mental health facility in Orem, UT. She claims that she was subjected to painful holding therapy which was intended to produce rage, and rebirthing therapy in which she was wrapped in sheets or blankets and sat upon while she struggled to be free. She claims that she was led to believe that she had a homosexual orientation, that she had been subjected to Satanic Ritual Abuse as a child, and that she needed to renounce her religious beliefs. She claims that she attempted suicide and that her marriage failed. 8
bullet2004-JUN-19: Netherlands: Government requires psychotherapists to warn patients: Robbert Ophorst wrote an article in a Dutch magazine "Elsevier" ("Health") concerning recovered memory therapy (RMT). Earlier in 2004, the Health Council in the Netherlands issued a paper titled "Dubious Memories." It describes the unreliability of images created during recovered memory therapy (RMT). The Ministry of Health has issued a new regulation. Psychotherapists must now give their patients a pamphlet to warn them of the dangers of RMT. 9
bullet2004-JUL-4: Scottish M.V.M.O. / SRA case collapses: In 2003-OCT, police arrested seven men and one woman who were or are residents of the Island of Lewis, near the west coast of Scotland. They were charged with various sexual crimes allegedly committed against three girls under the age of 16. The investigation apparently centered around Satan worship, animal sacrifice, group rape, and Satanic Ritual Abuse. As in previous SRA hoaxes which occurred in the UK during the 1990s, the only evidence that any criminal acts occurred came from the disclosures of young children. Unfortunately, there are suggestions that an outmoded, dangerous and unreliable method of interrogation was used, involving repeated direct questioning. These techniques have been shown to frequently cause disclosures of events that never actually happened. The case has collapsed and the authorities announced that the charges had been dropped. Two of the adults who were charged are considering suing. More details.
bullet2004-JUL-15: Italy: Satanism growing in Italy? The Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported that Satanism is a growth religion in Italy. Farther Aldo Buonaiuto, director of a crisis/distress hotline expressed alarm at the market that has developed for consecrated hosts in that country. CNA reports: "In statements published in the Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana, Fr. Buonaiuto explained that 'a proliferation of cults exists which practice black masses, with the profanation of consecrated hosts, rape and torture.. We know of cases of consensual vampirism, and also the assaulting of young people who have been drugged in the course of ritualistic orgies....Some cults perform rituals with the consecrated hosts while under the influence of LSD or cocaine, led frequently by ex-priests who have offered themselves in the service of Satan'." The hosts allegedly sell for 80 to 500 Euros each.
bullet2004-JUL-23: Australia: State of Victoria to hold inquiry into RMT: The Australian False Memory Association has successfully lobbied the government of Victoria state to launch an inquiry into RMT. Stateline, a TV program on the Australian Broadcast Commission reported that the government has been inundated with letters from parents who claim that they have been falsely accused of sexually abusing their children. Some want the practice banned. They also want to see all therapists registered and a new regulatory body set up to review complaints. The inquiry is expected to take six months. Their conclusions may well influence other states in Australia to tighten controls on RMT in their jurisdictions. 11
bullet2004-AUG-13: India: RMT spreads to India: The Times of India published an article by a psychologist, Jure Biechonski, concerning recovered memory therapy. It says, in part: "Hypnotherapy uses forgotten childhood memories. Everything that happens from childhood to today is stored in the unconscious mind. These memories and events control our lives. As adults, when we have illogical thoughts or feelings it's not us, but the child within us, called the inner child, which has them. An internal dialogue between the adult and the inner child is created by the hypnotherapist. The adult then becomes the parent to the child. We cannot change our past, but can create an inner parent who looks after our inner child and so helps resolve the problems." It is being used to treat alcoholism, panic attacks, depression, asthma, eczema, etc. 12
bullet2004-OCT-16: NH: Betty Hill, alleged UFO abductee, died: Betty Hill died at the age of 85. She believed that she was abducted by aliens on board a UFO and was the unwilling subject of medical experiments. This allegedly happened on 1961-SEP-19. She was not the first person to have claimed an alien encounter, but her story popularized the belief. It resulted in a 1966 book by John Fuller "The Interrupted Journey: Two lost hours aboard a flying saucer." Her story was the subject of a television movie: "The UFO Incident." She originally had no memories of this event. A psychiatrist placed her under hypnosis and "recovered" memories of having been abducted by short gray-skinned aliens. Terry Matheson, a  professor of English at the University of Saskatchewan and the author of a 1988 book ''Alien Abductions: Creating a Modern Phenomenon'' said: ''It's not unlike the Leda and the swan myth. The alien comes in, probes women in a distinctly sexual way for purposes that are equally inscrutable, but which may, we're told, make sense down the road.'' The New York Times commented: "The Hills' cultural legacy includes films ('Close Encounters of the Third  Kind'), television programs ('Roswell') and books, like those by Whitley Strieber and John Mack, that treat alien abduction as a plausible phenomenon." Skeptics generally attribute these memories to nightmares, dreams, a phenomenon known as sleep paralysis, and false recovered memories of events that never happened. 13
bullet2004-OCT-31: Scotland: Satanic Ritual Abuse case disintegrates: The newspaper "Scotland on Sunday" blew a case wide open on 2004-OCT-31 -- Halloween. It had involved allegations of ritual abuse on the Island of Lewis in Scotland. Their reporter, Stephen Breen, wrote: "A woman whose claims of Satanic child sex abuse helped put eight people in the dock had a history of making false allegations, which was known to police..." The case, which was dropped by police several months ago, now appears to have been based on totally unreliable evidence. 14
bullet2004-NOV-13: Oxford University Press publishes new book: According to the Financial Times, the Oxford University Press has published an update to its 1987 edition of The Oxford Companion to the Mind. Incredibly, they did not update their entry on Multiple Personality Disorder/Dissociative Identity Disorder. The book is silent on the entire Recovered Memory hoax. 15

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  1. "Satanic sex cult 'invented'," Melbourne Herald sun, 2004-JAN-8.
  2. "Paperback Best Sellers," The New York Times, Section 7, Page 20, 2004-FEB-1.
  3. "Aanpak van valse aangiften succes. Door onze verslaggever," (In English: "Approach to false accusations a success. From our correspondent," de Gelderlander, 2004-FEB-21.
  4. "Statement from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church," 2004-MAR-14, Seventh-day Adventist Church in Central California.
  5. Michelle Caruso, "Jax accused after teen's shrink visit," Daily News, New York, 2003-APR-15, Page 22.
  6. "The Many Faces of Bill. Man with multiple personalities blames alter ego for sexually assaulting his therapist," Dateline NBC transcript, broadcast on 2004-MAY-2.
  7. Mark Pendergrast, Book review of: Mary Smith, "Resistance: A Ritual Abuse Survivor Speaks Out," CommunityCare.co.uk, at: http://www.communitycare.co.uk/
  8. Linda Thomson. "Center is sued over therapies," Deseret Morning News, 2004-JUN-22.
  9. Robbert Ophorst, "Harmful therapy. A pamphlet must warn patients about 'recovered memories' caused by therapy," Elsevier, 2004-JUN-19. The article is in Dutch.
  10. "Alarm in Italy as growth of Satanism creates 'market' for consecrated hosts," Catholic News Agency, 2004-JOL-15, at: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/
  11. Kate Arnott, "Calls for tighter controls on practitioners of 'repressed memory therapy'," ABC Online, 2004-JUL-23, at: http://www.abc.net.au/
  12. Jure Biechonski, "On the effective use of hypnotherapy as a therapy tool," The Times of India, 2004-AUG-13.
  13. Margalit Fox, "Betty Hill, 85, Figure in alien abduction case," The New York Times, 2004-OCT-23, Page A8.
  14. Stephen Breen, "Revealed: the past lies of Satanic abuse witness," Scotland on Sunday, 2004-OCT-31, at: http://news.scotsman.com/.
  15. Richard L. Gregory, "The Oxford Companion to the Mind," Book Reviews, Financial Times Weekend Magazine, Page 53, issued 2004-NOV-13.

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Copyright © 2004. by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Latest update: 2004-NOV-13
Author: B.A. Robinson

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