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Religious Tolerance logo

Ritual abuse


Government studies of ritual abuse
and Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA)

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Reasons for government studies:

During the 1980s and early 1990s there was an immense reservoir of belief in North America that underground Satanic "cults" were kidnapping, ritually abusing and killing children. A 1992 poll in Utah at the time revealed that over 90% of adults believe that Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) was happening in their state. 1

One book on Satanic Ritual Abuse estimated that by the late 1980s. various levels of governments, the FBI, state and local law enforcement had spent in excess of $200 million in a fruitless search for these nonexistent groups. 2

A single rumor can trigger a full Satanic Panic in just about any North American community. 3 Two examples in the mid 1990s from our area of Eastern Ontario were:
bulletOttawa ON: In 1996-JUN, a newborn baby was abandoned by its mother, left in a wooded area and attacked by wild animals. This almost triggered a public panic about ritual killings by Satanists.
bulletKingston ON: An illegal dog-fighting club dumped the carcass of the losing dog by the roadside. It was badly gashed during the fight. Within a few days, after a representative of the local dog shelter fingered Satanists, a panic began to build. One dog became rumors of many dogs. The police began to receive phone inquiries from hundreds of miles away concerning Satanic groups in the area. Local Wiccans (incorrectly) warned each other that the police were picking up for questioning anyone who wore "occult jewelry".

Investigations were conducted by the state of Virginia, 4,5 the state of Michigan, and the Netherlands. 6 All reached the same conclusion: that Satanic/Sadistic ritual abuse does not exist as a significant problem in their areas.

One family involved in incest with a male child during Satanic rituals was found during a US Government funded study. One case of ritual abuse involving the torture of children and simulated murder of infants was found during the Utah investigation. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations precluded prosecution.

To our knowledge, there have not been any state or federal investigations into ritual abuse crimes since 1997. The topic seems to have faded from public awareness.

City, state & federal government studies discussed in this section:

bulletSan Diego Grand Jury report, 1992
bulletFBI report, 1992
bulletUS Government funded study, 1994
bulletUK Government funded study, 1994
bulletState of Utah inquiry, 1995
bulletAnalysis of the Utah report
bulletA documented ritual abuse case, circa 1970
bulletNetherlands advisory report, 1997

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Deseret News Archives, 1992-JAN-1, P. A1-A2
  2. Carlson and O'Sullivan, "Satanism in American: How the Devil Got Much More than His Due"
  3. Jeffrey Victor, Satanic Panic, Open Court, Chicago, 1993
  4. Crime Commission Task Force Studying Ritual Criminal Activity, Final Report of the Task Force Studying Ritual Crime (Richmond, VA; 1991)
  5. State Task force Finds No Major Cult Activity, Richmond New Leader, Aug. 15, 1991.
  6. Minister of Justice, Report of the Ritual Abuse Work Group, 1994-Apr, PO Box 20301, 2500EH, The Hague, Netherlands (In Dutch. Found that ritual abuse exists only in the mind; it has no basis in fact.)

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

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