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Religious Tolerance logo

News items from 1996 to 2000 about:

RITUAL ABUSE, SATANIC RITUAL ABUSE (SRA), MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER (MPD), RECOVERED MEMORY THERAPY (RMT), etc.

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News items:

bullet 1996: Britain: RMT case withdrawn: An English case was withdrawn by the Crown [Prosecution] in Manchester [England] Crown Court when the defense determined that the complainant had been given 'guided imagination' therapy by a counselor and had read the self-help 'survivor' book, The Courage to Heal. The counselor's notes revealed that the client had been influenced by the television programs: Brookside, Cracker, the Oprah Winfrey Show and by the book by Susan Forward: Toxic Parents. The defendant, her father, was formally acquitted. The British False Memory Society issued a press release, asking for an inquiry.
bullet1998 to 2000: Canada: RMT developments: The development and reactions to RMT in Canada have closely paralleled those of the United States. Many US professional mental health conferences are actually international in scope, drawing specialists from both the US and Canada.

The precise number of people who are currently serving sentences in Canadian prisons is unknown; estimates range from a handful to three dozen. The False Memory Syndrome Foundation in Philadelphia estimates that 170 prosecutions in Canada have featured recovered memories since the mid 1980's and that about 50 resulted in convictions. Few have been convicted during the late 1990's because the courts have become reluctant to prosecute any case based on recovered memories unless there is corroborating evidence.

Alan Gold, president of the Criminal Lawyer's Association has defended many individuals who were convicted via recovered memories of childhood abuse. He asked the federal Justice Minister, Anne McLellan, to create  a formal inquiry, to reopen and review all past cases. He proposes releasing from prison those who are probably innocent. Ms. McLellan has asked her deputy minister to check into the seriousness of the problem and consult  with the provincial attorneys general. She said: "I am aware of the controversy within the psychiatric and mental health field regarding the issue of 'retrieved' or 'recovered' memory, whether memories can in fact be retrieved or whether they are accurate and reliable." Mr. Gold commented: "I'm pleased the minister has recognized and accepted the problem...We have come a long way in a few years...I think the important philosophical breakthrough is the recognition that this is and was a form of psychological quackery...Five years ago, it was heresy just to say that." 1

bullet1999-NOV: IL: MPD & SRA: Dr Bennett Braun was involved organizing early Satanic Ritual Abuse conferences and played a major role in the founding of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation (ISSD) 1 He surrendered his medical license for a period of two years to the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. He agreed to a probation period of five years if he decides to return to medical practice in the future. He also agreed to not engage in MPD treatment for a period of seven years. 
bullet2000-APR-18: USA & Canada: MPD: The Learning Channel (TLC) aired a documentary called "The Multiple Personality Puzzle." Included were interviews, both of advocates who promoted MPD/DID and of skeptics who doubt its reality. Unlike many other documentaries and talk shows on this topic, the TLC program was balanced.
bullet2000-APR-30: England: SRA report: Independent News of Britain reports that a government report commissioned by the Department of Health into Satanic ritual abuse was to be released during the week of APR-30. 2 "It will say that its victims have suffered actual abuse and are not suffering from 'false memory syndrome' ." The report was compiled by Dr John Hale, director of the Portman Clinic in London, and psychotherapist Valerie Sinason, on the basis of interviews with 50 persons with memories of SRA. Ms. Sinason commented: "Some children are born for the purpose of abuse and are not registered on birth certificates...The abusers use trickery to convince children they have taken part in murder. This increases the power of the abuser." Dr Joan Coleman, a Surrey psychiatrist who has specialized in treating individuals with memories of SRA said: "A lot of children are born into satanic families who indulge in this ritual abuse. It's only now that child sexual abuse is being exposed that people are beginning to believe ritual abuse exists." John Hutton, the health department minister responsible for child protection is expected to order an investigation. A previous government study whose report was issued in 1994 showed that SRA was non-existent in Britain. (See item below)
bullet2000-MAY: RMT: USA: Status of repressed memories: Repressed memory is still being taught at professional conferences. Health Communications will sponsor their second annual "Anger and Rage Conference" in Washington DC. Tian Dayton will offer a session called: "Trauma and Addiction: Breaking the Cycle of Self-Medicating Emotional and Psychological Pain." The description of the session states that: "Trauma memories are stored in both the body and what is sometimes   referred to as the old brain. Because they may bypass the cortex on their way to memory storage, they can be difficult to recall in traditional forms of talk therapy. Psychodrama with its physical involvement through role play, is an ideal method for accessing traumatic memory and attaching movement and language to unformulated experience." 
bullet2000-MAY-10: USA: SRA Petition drive: Mothers Against Sexual Abuse (MASA) is a non-profit agency located in Monrovia CA. Claire Reeves, founder of MASA, and Ellen P. Lacter, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist from San Diego CA circulated a group of three petitions to therapists, adults who have memories of SRA, and their supporters. MASA refers to such abuse as: organized abuse and sadistic abuse. They describe the petition drive as the "beginning of an ongoing, long-term, international project."
bulletThe first is intended to be signed by those therapists who have "treated patients reporting sadistic abuse by underground groups engaged in Satan worship and/or mind control programming by organized abuser groups," and believe that "reports of occurrence of these kinds of abuse must not be discounted."
bulletThe second is intended to be signed by "survivors of sadistic abuse by underground groups engaged in Satan worship and/or mind control programming by organized abuser groups."
bulletThe third petition is to be signed by "family, friends, and supporters of survivors of sadistic abuse." Included are expected to be "supporting organizations, attorneys, ministerial counselors, and others working with, or affiliated with, survivors." 1
bullet2000-JUN-14: AZ: Judge errs in MPD case: The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that a judge was wrong when he ordered a psychiatrist and psychologist to produce records of nine patients with their names deleted. These patients were not plaintiffs in a MPD malpractice lawsuit. The plaintiff "Jane Roe" apparently wanted to show systematic malpractice involving multiple personality ideation by the two mental health professionals. 3
bullet2000-JUN-23: CO: SRA Therapist loses license: A Colorado Springs woman went to counselor Laura Hardie. Her presenting problems were shyness and depressions. After two years of therapy, she was convinced that she was a high priestess in a Satanic cult. She recovered "memories" that she had given birth to two children as an adolescent, one of whom was ritually murdered. She left her husband and daughter and disappeared into a Michigan "safe" house. According to the victim's husband, she believes that she is a high priestess in the Illuminati cult, has witnessed child sacrifices, and has been trained as a "Black Widow" who will be sent in 2002 to have sex with Christian ministers. Counselor Hardie has a master's degree in counseling from Colorado Christian University. Threatened by the Attorney General's office, she surrendered her license. In 2000-FEB, she had 12 clients, four of whom believe that they are survivors of SRA. The state is attempting to get an injunction to bar Hardie from starting a ministry. [Author's note: Colorado Springs is headquarters for Focus on the Family and many other conservative Christian groups. Because of the high level of conservative Christian belief in that area,  there is a widespread belief in the existence of Satan, and thus of SRA. This probably facilitates the recovery of false memories of SRA by recovered memory therapists.] 4
bullet2000-JUN-23: Canada: RMT: Recovered memory and political correctness: An article in the Montreal Gazette revisited the Harold Lief affair of 1993. "Lief was a Philadelphia psychiatrist with close ties to the False Memory Syndrome Foundation - a group that denies the validity of many memories of childhood incest 'recovered' during therapy. When he came to McGill to give a lecture - an event co-sponsored by the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law - about 20 people in the audience made so much noise that Lief had to abandon his talk after a few sentences. 'The issue is one of academic freedom,' McGill's dean of medicine, Richard Cruess, told the jeering protesters. 'You are in fact suppressing an idea.' " 5
bullet2000-AUG-5/6: CT: Ritual Abuse conference: S.M.A.R.T. will be holding its third annual ritual abuse, secretive organizations and mind control conference. Its purpose is to support survivors of past ritual abuse and to work towards stopping future ritual abuse and mind control. The sponsor has invited survivors, co-survivors, people in the helping professions and other interested individuals. They exclude members of secret organizations, perpetrators and members of unsympathetic organizations. If the topics covered in the 1998 and 1999 conferences are any indication, none of the speakers will be talking from a skeptical point of view. [Editor's note: We inquired about sending a representative to the conference but were turned down. Apparently, we are judged to be an unsympathetic organization.] 6
bullet2000-SEP-24: Canada: Vancouver reporter discounts SRA: Douglas Todd, commenting on the latest Gallup Poll, took a swing at SRA, believing it to be a a phenomenon of the past. He wrote: "The only glitch -- one that most media have been reluctant to rectify given their own role in helping stir up the frenzy -- is that not a bit of it is true. No one in the past decade has ever been convicted of ritually abusing a child. Not one single discovery has been made of the body part of a satanically mutilated child, let alone 49,999 others. The people who once screamed about a mass underground occult conspiracy have quietly gone back to their day jobs." He reports that 57% of Canadian adults believe in the devil, compared with 55% of Americans and 24% of British adults. [Editor's note: In a move which is characteristic of Gallup in their religious questions, they do not differentiate between belief in Satan as a living entity or as an impersonal force of evil.] 7
bullet2000-OCT-13: UK: SRA seminar cancelled: According to OffMSG, a seminar titled "Professional perspectives on ritual abuse" which was scheduled for this date was cancelled due to lack of interest. It was designed to educate lawyers, social workers, police officers, psychologists etc. in what used to be called "satanic abuse." Over the last few years, the term had become so discredited in the UK that it is now called "ritual abuse." 8
bullet2000-OCT-28: UK: SRA Report scrapped: OffMSG reported that the British Department of Health is about to cancel a report on Satanic Ritual Abuse "Written by psychiatrist Valery Sinason and Dr Rob Hale of the Portman Institute in London." The two authors have "consistently failed to deliver any credible account of their findings." 8
bullet2000-OCT-28: TX: Boy Scouts allege SRA activity: Wiccans in the Army at Ft. Hood, TX, have an remote, primitive, outdoor location on base where they perform Neopagan rituals in a forest setting. Nearby, the army had placed a very large, round concrete slab which covers an abandoned well or cistern. To facilitate installation and removal of the slab by a crane, rings were embedded in it and chains were attached to the rings. The Wiccan group had painted the concrete with a large pentagram -- the religious symbol used by Wiccans. This area of the army base is shared by a number of outside groups, including the Boy Scouts. The scout leaders complained about the "Satanic desecration" of "their" camp and alleged that the Wiccan group used the slabs and chains during ritual torture and abuse of human victims. The Wiccans have since painted over the symbol, in an attempt to reduce the level of tension with the Scouts. There is, of course, no evidence that Wiccans anywhere engage in ritual abuse.

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References:

  1. Email sent 2000-MAY-13 from Claire Reeves, Founder of Mothers Against Sexual Abuse, 503 South Myrtle Avenue, Suite 9, Monrovia, CA 92106. Phone: (626) 305-1986. Email: ellenlacter@earthlink.net She asks that these petitions be circulated "to all concerned individuals near and far..."
  2. Sophie Goodchild, "Satanic abuse no myth, say experts," Independent News, 2000-APR-30, at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/UK/This_Britain
  3. A.H. Rotstein, "Arizona Court of Appeals says judge erred in ordering mental records produced," Associated Press, 2000-JUN-14
  4. Jeremy Meyer, "Manitou Springs therapist loses license," The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO), 2000-JUN-23.
  5. Mark Abley, "Universities and ideology," The Montreal Gazette, 2000-JUN-23, Page B1.
  6. S.M.A.R.T's conference is described at: http://hometown.aol.com/smartnews/smart-2000-conference.htm
  7. Douglas Todd, "Hatin' Satan," The Vancouver Sun, 2000-JUN-24, Page E2.
  8. OffMSG: "Government to bin 22,000 abuse report," feature article on 2000-OCT-28 at: http://www.offmsg.connectfree.co.uk

Copyright 1995 to 2002 incl. by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Extracted from our main SRA menu on 2000-JUN-24 
Latest update: 2002-JUN-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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