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MVMO court cases


The imaginary "sex rings" in Wenatchee, WA

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bullet "Wenatchee may be the worst example ever of mental health services being abused by a state, its social workers and hired therapists, to control and manage children who have been frightened and coerced into falsely accusing their parents and neighbors of the most heinous of crimes." Dr. Phillip Esplin, a forensic psychologist and senior research consultant with the National Institute of Health's Child Witness Project.
bullet "The ghost won't lie still: Ten years after first arrest, 'sex-ring' episode still haunts the community" Headline of a newspaper article written by Martin Salazar on 2004-APR-11.
bullet "It began with the cry of a young girl and escalated into the victimization of dozens of citizens for allegedly committing horrific sex crimes against children. Soon families were broken up, adults were accused of heinous crimes and were prosecuted, without anyone questioning the methods of the so-called experts. Now, an independent attorney, who spent a year in Wenatchee, pieces together the story of one of the most blatant cases of misuse of power and miscarried justice since the McCarthy witch-hunts." Review of the book "Witch Hunt" which chronicles the Wenatchee disaster. 1

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The child abuse hoaxes at Bakersfield, CA  and Manhattan Beach, CA in 1983 were the first large scale Multi-Victim / Multi-Offender (MVMO) cases in North America, that were based on sexual and ritual abuse events that never happened. Many observers hoped that the 1996 sex ring hoax at Wenatchee, WA would prove to be the last in the series.

Two and a half decades have now passed since the two California hoaxes surfaced. Most child psychologists, police investigators etc. have learned how easy it is for children to be coaxed to disclose details of sexual and ritual abuse events that never happened. All that is required is repeated, direct questioning by an adults. If the front-line professionals are unaware of this trap, then most DA's offices are now certainly cognizant of the hazards of incompetent questioning of children. There are many examples of disclosures of non-existent abuse, leading to a community panic, mass trials of innocent adults, and eventual multi-million dollar lawsuits by those same adults. If the DA's offices are unaware of recent history in this field, defense attorneys certainly are.

With luck, there may be no further false MVMO cases in North America. They will be recognized as as groundless community panics and never get to trial.


Since the Wenatchee hoax of 1996, no more sex-ring accusations of the "Wenatchee class" in North America have surfaced. However, one did emerge in Lewis Island, Scotland in the fall of 2003. Meanwhile, the main preconditions for the Wenatchee fiasco are present in every municipality in the U.S.:

bullet A child protective service whose budget is linked to the number of abuse cases that they uncover.
bullet Aggressive detectives who are heavily motivated to uncover criminal activities.

Hopefully, child protective services and law enforcement -- and above all, the public -- are now familiar with the abuses in Wenatchee and will prevent its recurrence elsewhere. However, massive moral panics have a long history in the U.S., going back at least to the Salem, MA witchhunts in late 17th century. There is no good indication that the nation has learned from its past mistakes. Some new type of moral panic probably exists on the horizon.

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Topics covered in this section:

bullet Part 1: Background:
bullet Background of the Wenatchee "Sex Rings"
bullet The Stories of "D.E.," "M.E.,"and "A.R."
bullet The Roberson Family
bullet The Doggett Family
bullet Concerned Citizens for Legal Accountability (CCLA)
bullet Part 2: Growing opposition to the charges:
bullet The Justice Committee and the Apple Boycott:
bullet ACLU Report:
bullet Requests for Federal Investigations
bullet Summary of Cases as of 2000-AUG
bullet Part 3: 1997-2003:
bullet Developments: 1997 to the 2003-OCT
bullet Summary of Cases as of 2002-NOV
bullet Part 4: 2004 to now:
bullet Overview in 2004-APR
bullet Recent developments: 2004-APR to now
bullet Financial settlements

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A book about the Wenatchee Witch hunt:

Kathryn Lyon: "Witch Hunt: The true story of social hysteria and abused justice," (1998). Read reviews or order this book It appears to be currently out of print. As of late 2007, you can buy a used copy for $0.01 plus shipping at marketplace. This book is by a lawyer and public defender. A reviewer at wrote:

"Kathy Lyon's book "Witchhunt" has ripped open a festering lesion of Washington state abuses. This boil of corruption in the Washington state child care agency is rampant county by county, the same practiced behavior of social workers and detectives, therapist, judges, and state appointed attorney's involved in the Wenatchee cases are a practiced pattern in every county in the State." customers gave this book a 4 star rating out of 5.

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  1. Kathryn Lyon, "Witch Hunt: A True Story of Social Hysteria and Abused Justice," Avon, (1998). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store

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Copyright 1996 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last update: 2007-DEC-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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