Political prisoners describe - extreme physical and emotional torture, - distortion of language, truth, meaning and reality, - sham killings, - begin repeatedly taken to the point of death or threatened with death, - being forced to witness abusive acts on others, - being forced to make impossible 'choices', - boundaries smashed i.e. by the use of forced nakedness, shame, embarrassment, - hoaxes, 'set ups', testing and tricks, - being forced to hurt others. Ritual abuse survivors often describe much the same things. - Laurie Matthew, Who Dares Wins.

Ritual Abuse: Facts and Myths


    Ritual Abuse Definition

    Ritual Abuse is "abuse that occurs in a context linked to some symbols or group activity that have a religious, magical or supernatural connotation, and where the invocations of these symbols or activities are repeated over time and used to frighten and intimidate the children." [1]:52 Ritual abuse consists of the brutal physical, sexual, and psychological abuse inflicted on children, adolescents, or adults, and involving the use of rituals. [31]:1
    Although different definitions of ritual abuse exist, very few apply only to abuse with only "occult" or "Satanic" elements. Over time, the definition of ritual abuse has evolved; newer definitions include the same types of abuse but apply equally to secretive military/political or organized crime groups rather than only religiously based abuse or cults. [19]:9-10 An newer definition of ritual abuse states that:
    Ritual abuse is "Repeated, extreme, sadistic abuse, especially of children, within a group setting. The group's ideology is used to justify the abuse, and the abuse is used to teach the group's ideology. The activities are kept secret from society at large, as they violate norms and laws." [2]
    Ritual abuse exists all over the world, and crimes committed during ritual abuse have been prosecuted in over 30 countries, including countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and North and South America. [37]:1495, [20]:xiii The physical abuse may include murder and torture, often to near death. Sexual abuse may involve multiple perpetrators, gang rapes, pedophilia, sexual exploitation, and sexual torture. Psychological abuse often includes attempts to change the victim's belief system, e.g., brainwashing or mind control techniques. [19], [21]:44 Ritual abuse is usually, but not always, carried out by groups. [19]
    There is a mistaken belief that all ritual abuse involves some form of Satanic "worship" [21]:43 — many different religions and beliefs systems are known to be used as the basis of ritual abuse, including Christianity / Christian ritual abuse, the pseudo-Christian and military Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, voodoo (vodun), paganism, Santeria/Black Santeria, neo-Nazi groups, the Ku Klux Klan or other white supremacist groups, forms of witchcraft, and groups claiming to be Freemasons, groups claiming to be the Illuminati or MI6 and more. [2], [19]:17,33,72, [21]:44, [29]:77, [141], [148] Satanic ritual abuse (SRA) and Project MKUltra (a government/political rather than religious/spiritual form of ritual abuse) are the best-known examples of ritual abuse.
    "It appears that most abuser groups seek to convince their victims that they are the most powerful and formidable group, the most well-connected to prominent individuals and organizations. — Ritual Abuse in the Twenty-First Century (2008)
    Political prisoners describe - extreme physical and emotional torture, - distortion of language, truth, meaning and reality, - sham killings, - begin repeatedly taken to the point of death or threatened with death, - being forced to witness abusive acts on others, - being forced to make impossible 'choices', - boundaries smashed i.e. by the use of forced nakedness, shame, embarrassment, - hoaxes, 'set ups', testing and tricks, - being forced to hurt others. Ritual abuse survivors often describe much the same things. - Laurie Matthew, Who Dares Wins. [18] (Image license: CC BY-SA 4.0)

    What is Ritual Abuse?

    Ritual Abuse, also known as Ritualistic Abuse, Ritual Child Abuse, or Ritual Abuse-Torture, typically involves a combination of extreme abuses, including sexual, physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual abuse and is usually carried out by groups rather than lone individuals.
    The physical abuse may include murder and torture, often to near death. [19]:12 Torture may be used alongside mind control and brainwashing techniques;[19]:12 when these types of abuse are combined they can be used to further control a person who develops distinct personality states (multiple personalities) in order to cope with the abuse.[19]:12
    Survivors of ritual abuse report that most groups force them to commit horrific acts including harming or killing others, including children, vulnerable adults, or pets, and being drugged. [19]:12 Types of abuse used have been compared to the torture and brainwashing techniques used on political prisoners. [18], [21]:55, 64 Many survivors of ritual abuse report being drugged (e.g, to cause pain, immobility, unconsciousness, or confusion and hallucinations). [19]


    There are four main types of perpetrators of ritual abuse:
    • multigenerational family groups, where generations of children are raised within the abusive group and may be trained to become perpetrators
    • self-styled abusive groups
    • lone operators such as serial killers, and
    • "dabblers", who are generally the least extreme perpetrators of ritual abuse, may be adults or teens [21]:44
    • in the case of children, day-care or preschool, and community-based groups of perpetrators also exist [20]:63

    Satanic Ritual Abuse

    Ritual Abuse. Only the small secrets need to be protected. The big ones are kept secret by public incredulity. Marshall McCluhan
    Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) is a term that refers to "Satanic cult abuse", and was the first type of ritual abuse to surface in modern times. [19]:9 Satanic Ritual Abuse is a form of ritual abuse that involves the use of a combination of Satanic elements such as symbols, objects, and beliefs during abusive rituals.
    Early definitions of ritual abuse often referred to Satanic Ritual Abuse directly, but recognized other, non-Satanic forms as well, for example, the L.A. County Commission for Women's Ritual Abuse Task Force report (1989) stated: "Ritual does not mean satanic" and that "most often" these ritually abusive cults "are motivated by a Satanic belief system". [31] Alternative terms for Satanic Ritual Abuse include "ritualistic satanic abuse", "ritual satanic abuse" (RSA), "satanic sexual abuse" and sometimes "satanic child abuse" or "satanic cult abuse". The term SRA normally refers to Satanic Ritual Abuse, although it is sometimes used to refer to Sadistic Ritual Abuse generally - which may or may not involve religious, pseudo-religious, or spiritual components.

    Discussion about Satanic Ritual Abuse is not an attack on religious freedom, it is about abusive behaviors. A number of high-profile psychotherapists who have published books on Ritual Abuse have stated that they do not believe most Satanists are harmful and that people following many other religions or beliefs may also take part in ritual abuse, causing significant harm. [7]:39, [29]:372 Two well-known satanic organizations, the Church of Satan, founded by Anton LaVey in 1966, and the Temple of Set, founded in 1975, have both publicly stated they are not associated with sexual abuse or any kind of abuse involving children or adults, and do not sacrifice animals or people. [31], [46]:4 Both the Church of Satan and the Temple of Set are constitutionally protected under freedom of religion in North America. [46]:67 However, Michael Aquino, the founder and leader of the Temple of Set, was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1990 after the Army found "probable cause” in a case in which he was accused of child sexual abuse, although not convicted. [31], [19]:153

    Ritual abuse may involve elements and beliefs from many other religions or types of spirituality, including groups worshipping deities like Lucifer and a Gnostic form of the Christian God, plus Christian Ritual Abuse, e.g. in a Catholic order.[19]:9, [19]:58, [148] Ritual abuse may also happen in abusive groups that have military/government beliefs or aims, for example, MKUltra, and Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (a military and pseudo-Christian cult).[19]:9 Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard reports of ritual abuse occurring within an abusive yoga-based cult. [146]

    A common myth is that there are no convictions for Satanic Ritual Abuse - or that any convictions do not have physical evidence supporting them, which is untrue. Two well-known cases are that of Gerald Robinson, who was later convicted of a murder, and in Kidwelly, Wales, UK - with several children being born as a result of the cult's sexual abuse. [138], [147] During the trial of Colin Batley's "Satanic sex cult" the prosecution claimed that the group's leader read from a copy of English occultist/satanist Aleister Crowley's writings during their acts of sexual abuse, and that the group was based on Crowley's doctrine. [23]:38 Crowley's writings mention rituals involving child sex. [23]:38

    Perpetrators of Satanic Ritual Abuse may use satanic rituals either as part of their belief system or to "facilitate the control and mistreatment of their victims", or both. [37]:1494 Survivors of Satanic Ritual Abuse report that their abuse (for example, rape, physical assault, being terrorized) involved satanic rituals and satanic beliefs that are the mirror opposite of mainstream Western religions, e.g., reversing the ritualistic traditions and symbols of the Christian church, including special ceremonies on Christian holidays/feast days like Christmas and Easter. [19]:93, [23]:37, [46]:32 Examples of abusive satanic rituals intended to desecrate Christian beliefs include using an inverted cross during abuse, sexually abusing children during a "Black Mass" (a reversal of a Catholic mass), a ritual involving rape that victims are told is a marriage to Satan (with the rapist dressed in a devil outfit), abusers meeting in churches, abusive rituals involving objects stolen from churches. [19]:66, 93, [46]:114 Some convictions and evidence of Satanic Ritual Abuse have shown that abusers may be publicly involved in Christian churches—keeping their satanic views (and the related abuse) secret—which gives them easy access to church buildings and objects which can be used in ways that dishonor the Christian God, examples include the youth pastor in the Hosanna case who used the church to sexually abuse children during satanic rituals, and Catholic priest Gerald Robinson who murdered a nun in a chapel during a satanic ritual, on the day before Easter. [147], [149] Aleister Crowley's writings have been widely linked to cases of ritual abuse and include references to rituals involving child sexual abuse. [23]:38 Crowley, an Englishman, lead the British branch of a "secret satanic organization" called the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) from 1912, then later the entire organization, until his death in the 1940s. [19]:142, [46]:13 OTO was established by a German newspaperman who was also a high-ranking Mason. [19]:141, [46]:13-14

    Ritual Abuse: Truth and Deceptions
    "The reality is that even before stories of ritual abuse and mind control began coming out to therapists, the groups had agreed on what kind of disinformation to spread, so that clients would be afraid to tell their therapists... and therapists would be afraid to work with these clients.

    Because the problem of ritual abuse and mind control has not gone away - the survivors are still there - many more therapists have learned about it... We know that there is not one massive Satanic cult, but many different interrelated groups, including religious, military/political, and organized crime..." (Miller, 2012, p7-8)

    Sadistic Abuse

    Sadistic abuse is defined as "extreme adverse experiences which include sadistic sexual and physical abuse, acts of torture, over-control, and terrorization, induction into violence, ritual involvements, and malevolent emotional abuse." Sadistic abuse does not necessarily involve rituals. Ritual abuse is a subtype of sadistic abuse in which pseudo-religious or cult elements predominate. [30]:1

    Goodwin (1993) states that sadistic abuse may include
    • "torture
    • confinement
    • extreme threat and domination
    • over-lapping physical and sexual abuse, and
    • multiple victims or multiple perpetrator patterns of abuse" [30]:181
    Krafft-Ebing, the Austro–German psychiatrist who coined the word sadism, published an encyclopedia of clinical accounts of extreme abuse (1894/1965) which includes all the elements described more recently in accounts of ritual abuse and sadistic abuse, including the use of religious settings and costumes, animal sacrifices and torture, murder, death threats, and cannibalism. Criminal sadists and political torturers are also known to use physical torture, psychological torture, the control of information, misinformation, sensory deprivation, rape, and forcing others to witness violence.

    The term sadistic abuse focuses on sadistic, abusive behaviors, as described by the Marquis de Sade (1789/1987), but unlike the term "ritual abuse" does not attempt to suggest motives for the abuse.[30]:181 The Marquis de Sade's activities included creating a "pseudo-religion" in addition to family and political violence, desecrating of religion, prostitution, and pornography. [30]:182, [23]:54

    Organized Abuse

    Organized Abuse (OA) has been defined in a number of different ways, but is commonly described as sexual abuse perpetrated by multiple adults on multiple victims (multiple victim, multiple offender abuse). In the 1980s and 1990s, some clinical and therapeutic literature used the term "organized abuse" to refer to sadistic or ritual abuse. [23]:28-35 There are four main types of organized abuse:
    • Ritual abuse, also known as Ritualistic Abuse
    • Network abuse is primarily caused by abusers outside the family
    • Institutional abuse, which is the sexual abuse of children in an institutional setting (e.g., church-run or religious organizations, residential or boarding schools, day-care centers, and voluntary organizations)
    • Familial organized abuse, which is when multiple adults sexually abuse children within their family (for example, incest by multiple perpetrators), and abusers often enable people outside the home to sexually abuse their children. [17]:28-35

    Child Pornography & Prostitution

    Groups involved in ritual abuse are often involved in wider criminal activity that does not involve rituals, for example, creating child sexual abuse images and prostitution of group members, including forcing children abused by the group into prostitution. [19], [24] The use of drugs is also common, including hallucinogenic drugs, sleep-inducing drugs, and drugs to induce compliance. [19]
    "Qualitative and quantitative research with adults and children reporting ritual abuse has found that it occurs alongside other forms of organized abuse, particularly the manufacture of child abuse images (Scott 2001, Snow and Sorenson 1990, Waterman et al. 1993), and hence subsuming such non-ritualistic experiences under the moniker 'ritual abuse' is misleading at best and incendiary at worst. Moreover, it is unclear why an abusive group that invokes a religious or metaphysical mandate to abuse children should be considered as largely distinct from an abusive group that invokes a non-religious rationale to do so." - Salter (2013)
    Sexual abuse in the context of ritual abuse has been described as involving in both children and adults, and as including rape, bestiality and snuff films (filmed murders), and many ritually abusive groups have been found to be in organized crime, including child and adult trafficking, producing child pornography and child and adult prostitution (sexual exploitation).[19]:12, [23]

    Physical evidence of ritual abuse

    Many signs of torture e.g., sensory deprivation, isolation, confinement (e.g., in cages of coffins), sleep deprivation, and being forced to perform or witness abuse,[12]:58-60 do not leave physical evidence. The extensive search for the body of six-year-old April Jones showed that babies or young children may be killed and their remains never found: only a few tiny bone fragments were found in April's case, in the fireplace of the home of the pedophile later convicted for her killing. [142] Cannibalism of premature babies born within the abusive group is reported by some survivors. [7]:3 Fake murders (staged, simulated killings) have been reported by many survivors, involving the use of tricks and deceptions to fool and traumatize people - especially young children - into believing a murder has taken place are traumatizing but also do not leave physical forensic evidence such as bodies. [7]:3, [19]:81, [20]:156, [23]:158

    Many skeptical people make unfounded and exaggerated claims of the number of murders, for instance claiming that ritual abuse survivors report "tens of thousands" of child murders are committed in North America each year - but Goodman, Qin, Bottoms and Shaver (1994) analyzed reports of child ritual abuse survivors using by surveying clinical members of the American Psychological Association, finding that only 28% of 674 adult ritual abuse survivors reported mock or actual baby breeding for ritual human sacrifice taking place, and only 33% reported mock or actual cannibalism. [20]:54 In their second study, based on law enforcement, Goodman, Qin, Bottoms and Shaver (1994) revealed that district attorneys' offices, social services and law enforcement agencies found ritual abuse cases with the most convincing evidence were "unlike the Satanic ritual abuse stereotype evidence". [20]:53-54 The Extreme Abuse Survey completed by 1,471 reported ritual abuse survivors (Rutz et al., 2008) found the most common types of abuse were sexual abuse by multiple perpetrators, incest, and sleep deprivation; and the least common were forced participation in murders, being buried alive, forced cannibalism, and being told their child was murdered by perpetrators. [37]:1496 These results are consistent with the least common types of abuse reported in a study of 37 adult dissociative disorder patients who reported being abused during Satanic worship (Young, Sachs, Braun and Watkins, 1991), although Young et. al found higher levels of receiving physical pain or torture. [37]:1496

    The sexual abuse of children rarely results in conclusive physical evidence of the abuse: Kellogg, Menard, & Santos (2004) found that only 5.5% of pregnant underage girls were found to have definite physical signs of penetration. [43] Results are normally "non-specific"/"inconclusive", or "normal" in over 75% of cases abused girls in cases where serious sexual abuse is known to have occurred (for example, photos of the abuse exist) - a "normal" finding does not indicate "no sexual abuse". Disclosing abuse and then recanting despite clear evidence of abuse was not uncommon (e.g., in a case with video recordings of abuse taking place) - but was linked to younger age and being closer to the abuser. [43]

    Evidence that meets legal standards but is not physical includes eye-witness reports, [20]:78 for example, of people who witnessed the abuse of others, and eye-witness accounts of other, related crimes like the creation of child pornography or running child prostitution rings. It is also not unusual for people accused of crimes linked to ritual abuse to confess; Michael Newton (1997) found that 44% of 145 people sentenced for ritual abuse-related crimes in the United States pleaded guilty or no contest (nolo contender). [20]:76

    Ritual Abuse - Types of groups and cults

    The abusive group's belief system and rituals may be used to legitimize or justify the group's abusive activities and exploitation of its members. [23]:142

    Government, political, and military ritual abuse

    A historic example of ritual abuse by a political/military group in Germany, in 1776, is described in 's book Painted Black ().[21] Survivors of ritual abuse have reported being abused by politically motivated groups including Neo-nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. [19]:17 Torture carried out by representatives of a state or government (for instance, federal police, prison, military and embassy personnel) is also known as "state torture" and is a specific crime in some countries, including Canada, although "non-state torture" (the same acts by those not representing the state or government) is not a named crime. [24]:1

    Project MKUltra

    MKUltra is the best-known and most extensively documented example of ritual abuse perpetrated on behalf of a government, despite the intentional destruction of most of the documentation. [22]:64 Project MKUltra was a "mind control" project that began during the Cold War, was designed and perpetrated by United States intelligence agencies, including the CIA, and those of other countries. Related "projects" include PAPERCLIP, BLUEBIRD, and ARTICHOKE [7]:5, [12]:66-71, [13], [16], [22]. Project Paperclip involved Nazi doctors and scientists who committed crimes, including unethical experiments on adults and children during World War II, being secretly given asylum in the U.S.A.. [16], [139], [140] The "MK" in MKUltra may stand for "Mind Kontrolle", kontrolle being the German translation of "control".

    One of the aims of MKUltra was to use the amnesia within Multiple Personality Disorder (now called Dissociative Identity Disorder) to create spies or assassins who lacked conscious awareness of their involvement, so they could not reveal it - to create a Manchurian Candidate. [12]:64,72, [19]:15-17 This meant that the spies and assassins would be able to withstand interrogation or torture if caught - they could not reveal what they did not remember. Despite sounding like a conspiracy theory, MKUltra's extensive human rights abuses, and the CIA's role within it, have never been denied and began before the United States signed the Human Rights Act. [22] Some of MKUltra's activities including abuse are described in documents released under the Freedom of Information Act and have been subject to senate hearings in the United States. [26] MKUltra is documented in many books, including Dr. 's book Bluebird : Deliberate Creation of Multiple Personality by Psychiatrists [22], [19]:15-17 and A Nation Betrayed by survivor (2001). Canada's Dr. Donald Ewan Cameron was a leading psychiatrist in the 1950s-60s who is documented as taking part in such unethical human experimentation as part of MKUltra. [12]:68 Some of the documentation for these projects provides clear evidence of experiments on children using sexual abuse, behavioral modification, hypnosis, drugs, and torture.[19]:15-17 In 1977 a senate hearing called Project MKUltra, the CIA's research program into "behavioral modification" was held which exposed these abuses, and stated that many records were destroyed in 1973, on the instructions of the CIA director.[26]:3, [22]:64 MKUltra is now a declassified project. [7]:xiv, [22]

    Cults and Ritual Abuse

    Cults are sometimes referred to using the umbrella term New Religious Movements (NRM). Similarities between coercive/dangerous cults and ritual abuse groups for those involved are identified by Oksana (1994) include:
    • dogma is more important than people
    • a well-defined hierarchy, with members used to benefit the leader(s)
    • members are watched all the time and their loyalty is tested
    • dogma is enacted through rituals
    • rituals frequently involve the super-natural/spiritual beings
    • a radical separation of good and evil
    • an 'us' and 'them' mentality is used to promote separateness
    • resistance of members is worn through using physical and emotional manipulations
    • a member's identity is destroyed... [t]o create a new one, members give up their autonomy to be approved
    • suppression of individuality
    • mind control is used... to convert the victim to the group's belief system
    • secrecy
    • humor is forbidden
    • mind control is used to coerce members into carrying out cult instructions
    • capitalizing on members' fears and ignorance [21]:47-48

    Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), PTSD, and Ritual Abuse

    Experiencing abuse substantially increases a person's chance of mental health problems, but not all people who are abused will experience mental health problems. [50]:12 Ritual abuse, like child abuse and other forms of abuse, is not a psychiatric disorder, but a history of child or adult abuse may be specified or described within a diagnostic report if it is relevant, e.g., as a cause of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or as part of Other conditions that may be a focus of clinical attention within the DSM psychiatric manual — the section that refers to abuse and neglect, including psychological abuse. [39]:738, [3]:717-722

    The mental disorders most frequently caused by ritual abuse are PTSD, which can occur in adults or children — including pre-schoolers — and may not present symptoms for some time after the trauma, Other Specified Dissociative Disorder, and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder, which only occurs if repeated abuse or trauma begins in very early childhood. [3], [8] The majority of people with Dissociative Identity Disorder also have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Abusive groups often deliberately traumatize their victims until they create new dissociative parts / alternate personalities in their victims, the group can then train these parts to act as the abusers choose, and to "lock away" the memories of abuse to prevent disclosure. [19] Dissociative parts of their personality can also occur spontaneously if there is an overwhelming need to mentally escape from trauma. [19], [21]

    Most people diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder do not report experiencing Satanic or other forms of Ritual Abuse, or even Organized Abuse such as pedophile rings, but a substantial minority do. [8]:168 Other mental health effects commonly found in ritual abuse survivors include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, suicidality, substance use disorders (addictions), or dissociative amnesia (memory loss relating to traumatic events); all of these conditions are fairly common in trauma survivors, especially those with PTSD. [3]:278-280

    There is no agreed-upon ritual trauma disorder; a diagnosis of Cult and Ritual Trauma Disorder was proposed by Noblitt & Perskin in the 1990s, but it has not been the focus of much research or clinical attention, and was not included in the DSM-IV or the recent DSM-5 update. [3], [20]:239, [45]
    Psychotherapist Alison Miller (now retired) believes that abusers often use ritual abuse to deliberately cause Otherwise Specified Dissociative Disorder (OSDD) in those they traumatize, but that Dissociative Identity Disorder often results instead. [19]:14 (One of the typical presentations of OSDD is very similar to DID but falls short of meeting all the diagnostic criteria; the DID treatment guidelines also apply to this form of OSDD. [8]:116 Brainwashing is a symptom of one of the forms of Otherwise Specified Dissociative Disorder, a disorder very similar to Dissociative Identity Disorder, that is also known to result from prolonged trauma. The treatment guidelines for DID and OSDD state that most people with these disorders have not experienced ritual abuse, although "[a] substantial minority of DID patients report sadistic, exploitive, and coercive abuse at the hands of organized groups". [8]:168

    Trauma and abuse are known to affect people to greatly varying degrees (e.g., many rape victims never develop PTSD). [3] A mental illness is not the only indicator of an experience that is harmful, nor does it mean a person's views or opinions are "irrational" or should be discarded. None of the Dissociative Disorders, which often result from trauma, or Trauma Disorders (e.g. PTSD) are psychotic or delusional disorders, and they do not involve a break with reality. [3]

    Brainwashing and Cults

    Otherwise Specified Dissociative Disorder presentation 2 in the DSM-5 psychiatric manual states possible effects on a person, including dissociative states and alterations in personality:
    Identity disturbance due to prolonged and intense coercive persuasion:
    Individuals who have been subjected to intense coercive persuasion (e.g., brainwashing, thought reform, indoctrination while captive, torture, long-term political imprisonment, recruitment by sects/cults or by terror organizations) may present with prolonged changes in, or conscious questions of, their identity. [3]

    Media exposure to SRA & Suggestibility

    Satanic ritual abuse (SRA) has been sensationally reported in the media, but this reporting does not somehow persuade people that they are satanic ritual abuse survivors. Leavitt (1998) assessed a group of survivors reporting sexual abuse (SA groups) and a group reporting satanic ritual abuse (SRA group) to assess the influence of both media and hospital treatment in reports of satanic ritual abuse by using word association tests (WAT). He reported no influence on the SA group and that "media exposure makes no difference on the number of satanic word associations of patients in the SA group. However, individuals in the SRA group with low media exposure produced a greater number of satanic associations than did individuals reporting high media exposure to satanic ritual abuse content."
    "If satanic responses do not flow from actual experience, then from where do they arise? Exposure to media materials does not appear to be a plausible explanation, nor does exposure to a hospital setting. In a similar vein, it is difficult to understand the reverse media effect in the SRA [Satanic Ritual Abuse survivors] group. Why do only SRA patients with minimal or no media information respond to the WAT [Word Association Test] (i.e., show the base rate satanic associations) in a manner consistent with their report of clinical information?" (Leavitt, 1998) [17]

    A Moral Panic? Satanic Panic Theory

    'Satanic panic' refers to a theory - that was later debunked - that claimed a 'moral panic' (a rumor causing a panic) combined with fear of Satanism then caused reports of Satanic Ritual Abuse — the "satanic panic" and "urban legend" explanations have been referred to as a "cover theory" used to explain away reports of ritual abuse - particularly Satanic ritual abuse. [29]:189 As an explanation for ritual abuse, moral panic theory has significant errors.

    Lack of support for Satanic Panic theory

    "Satanic panic" or "moral panic" theory as an explanation for Satanic Ritual Abuse reports is a view supported by only a small minority, and it has little empirical support; the majority of edited reference books about child abuse, psychology, and sociology describing Satanic Ritual Abuse (or Ritual Abuse) either make no mention of the term "moral panic", e.g., Kaplan and Sadock's Concise Textbook of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2009), Oxford dictionary of sociology (2014), True And False Allegations Of Child Sexual Abuse: Assessment & Case Management (2013), Violence and Abuse in Society: Understanding a Global Crisis. Fundamentals, effects, and extremes, Volume 1 (2012), The Spectrum Of Child Abuse: Assessment, Treatment And Prevention (Oates, 2013); or do not support "moral panic" as a theory, referring to it only in passing— and without explaining it, e.g. The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology, 2010. [35]:93-95, [36]:72-73, [37]:1494-1497, [38] The Guidelines for Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder in Adults, Third Revision, which are based on expert consensus, lists "alternative explanations" for reports of satanic ritual abuse, and these also do not mention moral panic theory. [8]:169 Books written about ritual abuse often explain "moral panic" theory but devote little attention to it, and the vast majority regard it as an inadequate or unsupported theory, e.g., Noblitt & Perskin (2008, 2014), Salter (2013), Ross (1995), Sakheim & Devine (1997), Fraser (1997). [20]:59, [23]:60, [29]:189, [46]:91, [47], [48]. Despite this lack of support, the "moral panic" explanation is often repeated in popular press books or opinion articles which are not subject to academic peer-review or academic standards for scholarship, e.g., Nathan and Snedeker (1995).

    Key errors in Satanic Panic theory

    The "satanic panic" hypothesis has key errors and is an inadequate explanation for Satanic Ritual Abuse reports,[46]:91 it also lacks solid, empirical evidence. Criticisms of the satanic panic explanation include:
    • Reports of Satanic Ritual Abuse do not fit descriptions of a "moral panic", as defined by Stanley Cohen (1972) [9]
    • Ross (1995) points out the impossibility of finding the source of a true urban legend, Victor (1993) p81 makes the error of citing Michelle Remembers (Smith and Padzer, 1980) as the oldest known Satanic Ritual Abuse account and claims this book began a "satanic panic" urban legend - but Victor fails to mention The Satan Seller (Warnke, 1972) - which was published 8 years earlier. Victor (1993) cannot account for this gap in time. [46]:91
    • Rumor panic/moral panic does not account for personal memories of Satanic Ritual Abuse [46]:91
    • it provides no explanation for Ritual Abuse that does not involve satanic elements, such reports occur all over the world [20]:xiii, [37]:1495
    • "satanic panic" theory states that key professionals spread rumors of Satanic Ritual Abuse because of their fundamental Christian or anti-Satanist views, which is at odds with the fact that many key professionals have clearly stated that either they are atheist, don't regard Satanism as inherently harmful, for example, Valerie Sinason, author of Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse (1994) states that she believes most satanists do not hurt people. [7]:39, [29]:372
    • A study by Schmuttermaier & Veno (1999) in Australia found there was no relationship between religious beliefs and recognition of ritual abuse cases. [47]
    • Jeffrey Victor, the creator of the 'satanic panic' theory, argues that "grisly murders" including clear satanic elements are not evidence of ritual abuse, despite the existence of cases disproving this (e.g., the murders of Margaret Ann Pahl and Arlis Perry, and the Hosannah Church sexual abuse/SRA case). [20]:xiii, [147], [149]
    • Satanic panic theory claims "blue-collar" and uneducated people living in "small towns" or "rural areas" were the most prone to believing reports of Satanic cult activity and Satanic ritual abuse, which is at odds with the claiming those who aren't "blue-collar" e.g. therapists, police and social workers, spread the panic; the "small town" focus also cannot explain why the City of Los Angeles set up a Ritual Abuse Task Force. [31], [42]:55-56
    • the skeptical Philip Coons (1997) states that Victor's Satanic panic: The creation of a contemporary legend book, which explains the theory, contains only a "cursory review of the evidence" of Satanic cult activity reports, from which it is impossible to tell what actually happened in each case. [20]:59
    • The lack of research on the "panic" hypothesis means it cannot be determined if front-line workers like police, social workers, or therapists first heard about ritual abuse involving satanic elements directly from the adults or children making disclosures of abuse (which would not fit "moral panic" theory), or via the media, colleagues, or from training conferences or seminars. Similarly, the level of belief/disbelief held by professionals about the validity of ritual abuse accounts was not measured - their level of concern (or lack of it) - has not been measured to determine if it was minimal or at a "panic" level, or how this changed over time.
    • Ritual abuse cases continue to be reported and have not "disappeared", despite the reduced interest from the media. [19]:6-7 [49]:108
    • Victor (1993) presents no empirical data to support his claim that reports of Satanic Ritual Abuse told by survivors are contaminated by "leading questions" from careless or incompetent social workers. [51]:54 The data actually substantiates the view that people are reporting satanic ritual abuse because it is occurring (Rockwell, 1995). [51]:54, [52]
    • The "media frenzy" around Satanic cult activity reports appears to have peaked in 1988/1989 — several years before the first therapists, psychologists or psychiatrists began publishing empirical research about ritual abuse. No therapist, psychiatrist, or mental health clinician had published books about treating or recovering from ritual abuse between 1980 and 1994 — all earlier books were historical accounts or personal experiences; the first self-help book was published in 1992, and it did not become a best-seller. [21]:351-363 Satanic panic theory offers no explanation for this time gap. [42] Self-help information was not available on the internet, which very few had access to until the end of the 1990s.

      Earliest books about recovery/treatment

      The eaarliest books about recovery/treatment of Satanic Ritual Abuse / Ritual Abuse and Sexual Abuse were:
      • 1980: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Multiple Personality Disorder become separate diagnoses, with clear diagnostic criteria (APA, DSM-III)
      • 1980: Judith Herman publishes the ground-breaking book Father-Daughter Incest
      • 1988: Bass and Davis' The Courage To Heal is published, this first edition did not refer to ritual abuse at all
      • 1992: Daniel Ryder's Breaking The Circle of Satanic Ritual Abuse - first self-help book, written by a survivor and certified chemical addiction counselor
      • 1994: Valerie Sinason, a psychotherapist, publishes Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse in London, England, which included one of the earliest literature reviews of ritual abuse [20]:52
      • 1994: Christine Oksana's A Safe Passage to Healing: A guide for survivors of ritual abuse is published, this extremely popular self-help book has only 3 pages referring briefly to Satanism or Satanic Ritual Abuse, and is written by a ritual abuse survivor
      • 1995: Colin Ross, a psychiatrist, publishes Satanic ritual abuse: Principles of treatment in Toronto, Canada, including a section on alternative explanations for reports of Satanic Ritual Abuse in patients seeking treatment
      • 1995: Noblitt and Perskin (reprinted 2014) described a personal experience of a 1979 disclosure of occult and possibly Satanic ritual abuse, from Thetford Forest, England, but 1979 was before any public or professional awareness of Satanic Ritual Abuse reached the UK from North America. [29]:1
      • 1996 onwards: books continue to be published, including survivor accounts of recovery, treatment-focused books for professionals, and a few more self-help books. The later editions of The Courage To Heal included brief accounts from ritual abuse survivors (1988- editions included Annette's account), and ( editions onward include Sheila O'Connell's account of ritualized abuse including Satanic ritual abuse).
    • Many professionals describe their first awareness of Satanic Ritual Abuse came from their patients - the satanic panic/moral panic theory can only account for rumors, not first-hand experiences, and not accounts disclosed before public awareness began in the 1980s. For example, psychiatrist Robert Rockwell first heard of Satanic Ritual Abuse in the fall of 1968, in Graz, Austria (when he was a medical student). Randy Noblitt, an atheist, first had a ritual abuse survivor disclose to him in England, in 1979, which involved recent ritual abuse (not delayed or recovered memories) - before such accounts came into public awareness and before he had heard the term "ritual abuse". [52]:312, [29]:1 Canadian psychiatrist Colin Ross (1995) states he "had never read a book or article on the topic [of Satanic Ritual Abuse]; heard any mental-health professional mention such a case; or been to a lecture, workshop, or seminar on the subject" when he first encountered a case in clinical practice. [46]:vii
    Further evidence against the 'satanic panic' hypothesis includes therapists and support workers who described their "disbelief" and "skepticism" when first encountering people reporting ritual abuse experiences (Kelly, 1994; Sinason, 1994) — and discouraged others from panic or from believing every report of ritual abuse made to them, e.g,
    • "we must maintain scientific skepticism and clinical empathy" (Sakheim and Devine, 1992 p. xiii)
    • "maintain an open mind" (Mollon, 1994)
    • "my job is to treat whether or not memories are in fact as recalled" (Fraser, 1990). [7], [10], [23]
    Despite the name of the book, Satanic ritual abuse: Principles of treatment () takes a cautious and skeptical tone, with an entire chapter devoted to alternative explanations as a basis for clients reporting that they have experienced Satanic Ritual Abuse, in order to help therapists and psychiatrists evaluate clients (e.g., Delusional or Psychotic Disorders, Factitious Disorder - better known as Munchausen's Syndrome), drug hallucinations and staged events, as well as considering Rumor Panic/Urban legend hypothesis. [46]:91-95

    In the media - particularly on the internet, "satanic panic" is a catchy phrase used to persuade people that Satanic Ritual Abuse is a "myth" or "rumor" believed by gullible, over-emotional people — it is a way to discredit not only abuse survivors and professionals but anyone else who looks into it further and decides certain reports or allegations are credible - for instance dismissing people prepared to talk a closer look as as "uneducated", "hysterical" or caught up in "hysteria". [42] Highly emotional language - including using terms like "hysterical" or graphic descriptions of gruesome details is known to reduce a person's ability to think objectively because of the emotional reactions the terms cause. [23]:66, [11] The term 'satanic panic' was coined by sociologist Jeffrey S. Victor, [29]:189, [42] and it is hard to see what education or background he has that is relevant to analyzing complex interpersonal abuse, child sexual abuse, mental health or clinical psychology - which is significant given that the first disclosures came from mental health clinicians. In fact Victor's principal link to child sexual abuse information appears to be his membership of the board memory of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) - an organization formed by parents accused of child sexual abuse, [44]:370, [23]:61, [20]:173 - this is a conflict of interest he has repeatedly failed to disclose in his publications claiming satanic ritual abuse is a "satanic panic" — or even a "false memory".

    Victor developed his "satanic ritual abuse is a moral panic" hypothesis without conducting any empirical research beforehand - and before such research was published. He attempted to fit his theory to previous theoretical models [23]:60 involving pseudo-scientific terms like "moral panics", folklore, and "urban legends".

    "Moral Panics" and Child Sexual Abuse

    The term 'moral panic' is now commonly used in an attempt to discredit the victims of any form of sexual abuse, and to dismiss their accounts and evidence of abuse. For example, when Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child sexual abuse, his lawyer compared the allegations about him to the 'moral panic' about 'satanic ritual abuse' (Sax, 2011). [23]:2,60,72 In one of the biggest sexual assault cases in Australian history, involving over 200 charges of child sexual abuse at a Catholic boarding school, lawyer Greg Walsh (defending most of the accused) spoke of a "witch hunt" against the teachers, most of whom were priests, saying "Religious people are so easily tainted these days", "The allegations are bizarre and have arisen under very suspicious circumstances" and that "We are seeing here examples of mass hysteria. Moral panic", he called it "a contaminated case" and unsuccessfully attempted to have the Judge removed from the case. [136], [137]

    The many daycare sexual abuse cases in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s have been described as a "Daycare Ritual Abuse Moral Panic", a term implying that none of the cases resulted from ritual abuse or highly organized child sexual abuse, despite clear physical evidence and confessions in many cases. [1], [4]:293, [6]
    What is a Moral Panic?
    "Calling something a 'moral panic' does not imply that this something does not exist or happened at all and that reaction is based on fantasy, hysteria, delusion and illusion or being duped by the powerful." - Stanley Cohen [54]:viii
    Labeling something, for example, ritual abuse as a "moral panic" leads to the assumption that the extent and significance are being exaggerated either:
    1. (a) compared to more reliable, valid, and objective sources, and/or
    2. (b) compared with other, more serious problems [54]
    For example, Cohen states "liberals, radicals or leftists" refuse to take public anxieties seriously, and may use a 'moral panic' label to downgrade moral concerns and further their politically correct agenda. [9]:vii
    Moral panics had a limited duration - of "a few weeks, maybe a year or so".
    The key characteristics of a moral panic, as originally defined by Stanley Cohen, are:
    • stereotyping of a group of people
    • exaggeration
    • distortion of facts in the media, e.g., exaggerating the amount of criminal activity in a specific event
    • a group of people who were singled out as the cause, and "demonized" - two groups of youths: those on motorcycles and those on scooters (Mods and Rockers) were Cohen's original "folk devils"
    • prediction - media predictions become a self-fulfilling prophecy
    • sensitization - the media report even trivial events if they can be connected to the topic [9]:59-65
    Criminologist Michael Salter (2013) states:
    Indeed, Scott (2001) notes with irony that the writings of those who claimed that 'satanic ritual abuse' is a 'moral panic' had many of the features of a moral panic: scapegoating therapists, social workers and sexual abuse victims whilst warning of an impending social catastrophe brought on by an epidemic of false allegations of sexual abuse." [23] Psychotherapist Dr. Ellen P. Lacter gives examples of misinformation and disinformation (false information) which can be spread about therapists, particularly online, including false claims of malpractice and claims that a therapist is a "fundamentalist Christian zealot" when the therapist may not even be a Christian. Ridicule and emotionally-laden language is often used by those claiming ritual abuse is a "moral panic", in comparison to the scientific and objective terms used by professionals. [11]

    Therapist and social worker responses to Satanic Ritual Abuse

    Kelly (1994) refers to "initial disbelief and scepticism amongst front line workers, which is challenged by the accounts and behaviour of children and adults", with these coming from "reports by social workers and feminists working in rape crisis and Women's Aid". [10] A number of therapists and psychiatrists who have written about treating survivors of satanic ritual abuse have made it clear that they do not view all satanists as "bad", and believe that other religions or belief systems can be involved in ritual or other forms of abuse.
    author of Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse () states:
    "We must note that Satanism is now a legal belief system recognized by the British Government, and most Satanists would not hurt anyone and are often refugees from hell-based branches of Christianity from which they need a defence. We also need to note that people in cultures without a deity or deities hurt others, and people with deities hurt others... No single belief is the cause of ritual pain." [7]:39

    Noblitt & Perskin (2008) state:
    "Satanism and other minority beliefs (Sinason, 1994) are not illegal or necessarily any more harmful than any other belief." [29]:372
    Professionals like therapists or psychiatrists working with Satanic Ritual Abuse survivors often do not believe in Satan/the devil, Noblitt & Perskin (2011) state they do not believe in the devil, and try to keep personal beliefs separate from their professional work. [20]:40 In Satanic Ritual Abuse Colin Ross states that he views Satan as a "concept, superstition or symbol" (p18). Some survivors of satanic ritual abuse, including multigenerational satanic cults, state that the cult's leader did not believe in the existence of Satan. [20]:38

    Pedophile advocacy link to Satanic Panic and False Memory claims

    Jeffrey Victor, creator of the 'satanic panic' hypothesis was a board member of the now defunct False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF); unsurprisingly he decided to link his "satanic panic" ideas to the also unproven idea that "false memories" of abuse were not only possible but common in adults - the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (which was founded by parents accused of child abuse) promotes the view that if an adult denies child abuse happened it is because the memories of child abuse are "false" (rather than considering that the memories of the adult may be "false", or that the adult is lying about the abuse or have amnesia related to alcoholism). [40], [44]:370 Victor had a number of colleagues from the False Memory Syndrome Foundation's Scientific Advisory board that were known to hold pro-pedophile views, and/or who had regularly earned vast sums appearing as expert witnesses in court when defending child molesters, rapists, murderers, and other violent criminals. [40]:79-80 FMSF co-founder Ralph Underwager was forced to resign after an interview with Dutch pedophile magazine Paidika in which he stated pro-pedophilia views, including that adults having sex with children could be seen as "part of God's will", although his wife Hollida Wakefield, who was interviewed with him, remained on the board. [20]:175, [40]:79-81, 83 Like many FMSF board members, Underwager and Wakefield testified numerous times in the defense of accused child molesters in the 1980s and 1990s. [40] Other FMSF Scientific Advisory board members include psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, an "expert witness" for the defense in many violent and sexual crimes, including child abuse; Loftus was a defense expert witness for an early Ted Bundy trial, and Richard Ofshe, a "cult expert" and who frequently acts as expert witness for accused child molesters. A judge stated that Ofshe held views "not generally accepted within the scientific community" and he once falsely claims to be a Pulitzer Prize winner. [40]:86-88 Ofshe's evidence as an expert witness was ruled inadmissible in a case in which he defended a member of the Church of Scientology, claiming the cult's "brainwashing" as a defense for mail fraud. [40]:88 His evidence of "brainwashing" and creating a "false memory" of crimes was rejected by the judge as an explanation for Paul Ingram's initial confessions - the timeline Ofshe gave didn't match the evidence, and the judge stated Ofshe was not an expert in sexual abuse. [44]:370
    Paul and Shirley Eberle book denied the existence of evidence of both ritual abuse and child sexual abuse including evidence from the McMartin trial, yet in the 1970s they had edited a magazine with explicit illustrations involving child sexual abuse and S&M (this type of child pornography was legal at the time). One feature was named "My First Rape, She Was Only Thirteen". [40]:88 The Eberle's books include The Abuse of Innocence: The McMartin Preschool Trial (, their personal observations on the trial, without footnotes, and containing dubious claims e.g. relating to Judy Johnson's death). [144]:419 and The Politics of Child Abuse ().

    Other colleagues of Victor's on the False Memory Syndrome Foundation's Scientific Advisory board were very closely connected to MKUltra's military ritual abuse and human rights abuse program, part of which included child abuse, e.g. Martin Orne and psychiatrist Louis Jolyon West (who are named in documents as receiving CIA funding for MKUltra). More FMSF colleagues of Victor's are co-authors of those involved in MKUltra's human rights abuses, including D. F. Dinges (Martin Orne's wife), John Kihlstrom, and cult/brainwashing "expert" Margaret Singer. [22], [42] Note: A number of these board members are now deceased, although Ralph Underwager is the only one who left the FMSF's board.
    Other strong promoters of the 'satanic panic' hypothesis are board members of the National Center for Reason and Justice (NCRJ), an advocacy and legal defense organization for accused child molesters. [6]:374 , other board members include and the False Memory Syndrome Foundation's Elizabeth Loftus - who caused controversy by suddenly resigning from the American Psychological Association immediately after it was notified of two ethics complaints against her. In Nathan and Snedeker's book Satan's Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of an American Witch Hunt (), Nathan and Snedeker frequently dismiss reports of child sexual abuse or ritual abuse as a "moral panic" or a "satanic-abuse panic" in their defense of convicted pedophiles. Ross Cheit (2014) points out that despite the dedication at the start of the book to a list of people "falsely accused" and jailed for satanic ritual abuse, many of these people's cases are not featured in the book (e.g., Robert Halsey), did not involve either ritualistic abuse or satanic elements, and others are only mentioned in passing by Nathan and Snedeker. [144]:293, [6]:xi Cheit's publication of the court transcripts shows Nathan and Snedeker's book consistently misrepresents cases or omits much of the strong evidence against the accused that lead to their convictions - e.g. in the Frank Fuster/Country Walk case, not only did Fuster had a previous conviction for child sexual abuse, but a boy disclosing sexual abuse was found to have a sexually transmitted disease. [4]:293, [6] Both Nathan, a journalist, and Snedeker, a defense lawyer for pedophiles and murderers, have written many such pieces of persuasive writing about child sexual abuse - but neither have ever represented a child sexual abuse case as genuine, nor advocated for the rights of children.

    In the UK, journalist Rosie Waterhouse regularly writes articles making 'Satanic Panic' and 'Satan Hunter' claims for the Private Eve magazine, mocking satanic ritual abuse cases and therapists, and also appears to write for the website of the cult-related organization Sub-cultures Alternative Freedom Foundation (SAFF). The articles do not seem to include evidence of a campaign against Satanism or other religions. An occasional UK newspaper columnist who writes opinion articles is Chris C. French, a board member of the British False Memory Syndrome Society, an organization related to the defunct American False Memory Syndrome Foundation, and also a professor in Anomalistic Psychology (an obscure field involving the study of the paranormal, and unrelated to psychiatry, trauma, abuse, or mental health).
    Techniques found in articles discrediting reports of ritual abuse include:
    • rhyme, e.g. "satanic panic"
    • ridicule
    • buzz words, regularly repeated, e.g. "baby-breeders" rather than "impregnated girls in during rituals"
    • sarcasm
    • omitting evidence of ritual abuse
    • phrase that conjures up "excessive repulsive imagery" to encourage people to recoil with disdain or disbelief
    • emotionally intense language: it is known that increased emotion reduces the ability to critically evaluate, e.g. comparing social workers to "nazis" [23]:66
    • baseless claims that others are "Satan hunters", "zealots", "over-zealous", Christian, fundamentalists, witch-hunters, etc
    • blaming therapists for people revealing memories of past abuse, when a person may never have been in therapy - or may have entered therapy to cope with the abuse memories [11]
    • blaming Recovered Memory Therapy, which has never be shown to exist [32]
    Opponents of the position that ritual abuse exists frequently use phrases such as "baby-breeding, baby-sacrificing cult," "satanic panic," and "bizarre rituals" to refer to reports and claims made about ritual abuse by therapists, educators, and researchers.

    Role of evangelical Christians

    A widespread belief is that evangelical or fundamentalist Christians somehow created a "panic" regarding Satanic ritual abuse, but evidence of this by professionals in direct contact with those reporting Satanic or other forms of Ritual Abuse is surprisingly difficult to find. The FBI's Lanning Report regarding ritual abuse did not refer to evangelical Christians, except in stating that most televangelists were selling videotapes on the topic of ritual abuse - but the report did not make it clear if this was just about occult or Satanic ritual abuse. [14]:26 The FBI report did not refer to Satanic ritual abuse (or any other kind of ritual abuse) as a myth, or as a "belief" or "panic" being spread by Christian fundamentalists. La Fontaine's UK report also did not refer to fundamentalist or evangelic Christians as the cause of awareness or fears about ritual or satanic ritual abuse - she did not refer to them at all. [10], [13] Social worker (and atheist) Judith Jones refers to a UK Deputy Director of Social Services named Andy Croall, who was in post for less than a year, before being suspended from his job in March 1990 when his evangelical views became known. Croall was "disciplined and censured" for his public comments and left the social services department, but public perception of the beliefs of other professionals involved in ritual abuse cases was strongly influenced when his evangelical Christian views were broadcast in a documentary. [5]:120


    "Witch-hunt" is a phrase often used alongside "moral panic" to convey the impression that large numbers of sexual assaults, particularly those involving child sexual abuse, should be dismissed and ignored.
    Brand & McEwen (2015) state that "[t]he current (as opposed to historical) definition of a witch-hunt is "a campaign directed against a person or group holding unorthodox or unpopular views". [4], [55] Do the attempts to prosecute child sexual abuse really fit this definition? Is there a campaign against accused child abusers, when it is generally understood that child sexual abuse is underreported, underinvestigated, and underprosecuted (Cross, Walsh, Simone, & Jones, 2003; Sedlak et al., 2010; Smith et al., 2000)?"[4]
    The witch-hunt narrative is a really popular story that goes like this: Lots of people were falsely convicted of child sexual abuse in the 1980s and early 1990s. And they were all victims of a witch-hunt. It just doesn't happen to line up with the facts when you actually look at the cases themselves in detail. But it's a really popular narrative — I think it's absolutely fair to say that's the conventional wisdom. It's what most people now think is the uncontested truth, and those cases had no basis in fact. And what 15 years of painstaking trial court research [shows] is that that's not a very fair description of those cases, and in fact many of those cases had substantial evidence of abuse. The witch-hunt narrative is that these were all gross injustices to the defendant. In fact, what it looks like in retrospect is the injustices were much more often to children. - Ross Cheit [144]
    The “witch hunt” metaphor is used to convince people not to debate the merits of a case. [29]:188 Alleged abusers or pedophiles are referred to as "accused" and as if they are the "real victims" of "overzealous religious fanatics" who are "irrational", "hysterical" and "self-serving". The emphasis on satanic ritual abuse enables child protection workers and therapists to be described as on a "witch-hunt" against "satanists", [23]:64 as well as conveniently excluding large numbers of ritual abuse cases without Satanic or occult elements. Everyone accused of abuse is somehow portrayed as the victim of over zealous religious fanatics, who make unwarranted charges, which are incredibly accepted uncritically by virtually all social service and criminal justice professionals assign to the case, who are responsible for "brainwashing" the alleged perpetrator or witnesses to the crime. This mysterious process of "mass hysteria" is then amplified in the media, which feeds back upon itself, which finally causes a total travesty of justice... ... reading [False Memory Syndrome] literature one could easily draw the conclusion that the entire American justice system is no better than that of the rural south in the days of lynchings and the Ku Klux Klan. The Salem witch trials of the seventeenth century are always the touchstone for comparison." [29]:188

    Is Satanic Ritual Abuse a myth?

    Several sources from the early 1990s are commonly used to claim that Satanic Ritual Abuse is a "myth", a "hoax", or that it has been "debunked" and does not exist (or, at least, that evidence of it does not exist). The two main reports used to claim Satanic Ritual Abuse (or ritual abuse generally) is a myth are the FBI's Lanning Report (from 1992) and Jean La Fontaine's similar report from Britain (from 1994) - a report that the British Health Secretary used to incorrectly claim that satanic ritual abuse was proven to be a myth. [135] In reality, the FBI's Lanning report and the UK report by Jean La Fontaine both state that ritual abuse, including satanic ritual abuse, may actually exist - despite being written by people already known to have skeptical views rather than an open-minded approach. [14], [15] The FBI's report by Kenneth Lanning stated that when listening to victims, law enforcement should "not become such a zealot that you believe it all, nor such a cynic that you believe nothing." [14]:34 The FBI later confirmed the existence of ritual abuse when evidence was found in the Hosanna Church sexual abuse case, in 2007. [45] Jean La Fontaine stated that her report The extent and nature of organised and ritual abuse did not claim satanic ritual abuse was a myth. [135] A closer look at each key report investigating Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) reveals that these reports mention corroborated cases with physical evidence showing ritual abuse exists, including both satanic and other kinds of ritual abuse - despite each of the report's authors taking an extremely skeptical rather than open-minded approach to reports of SRA crimes. [20]:191

    Reports produced since Jean La Fontaine's 1994 report have also found corroborated evidence of both satanic ritual abuse and non-satanic ritual abuse,[145] for example, in the same year that La Fontaine's report was published, a separate group of researchers in Manchester published a report on "organized sexual abuse cases in England and Wales", using the same data of crimes as La Fontaine, but found that 62 of the cases included ritual abuse: a number strikingly at odds with La Fontaine, who claimed to find only 3 cases. [5]:129, [10], [27], [29], [141]. The Manchester researchers had previously published research about violence against children.
    A child protection report published by the UK Parliament in 2012 gave several examples of murdered children who were ritually abused, stating "ritual abuse related to accusations of witchcraft and spirit possession occurs in England amongst some communities of African origin ... This type of abuse is often linked to a faith setting (church or mosque)". [141], [41] The Committee on Ritual Abuse pointed out in a letter that "the ritual abuse of white children (and adults) is less easily acknowledged (the Kidwelly case in 2011). It can be far easier, sometimes for racist reasons, to accept the ritual abuse of black children ... The white middle-class children (and adults) and those who work with them and support them are subject to implications that such experiences, if the victim is not black, must be bizarre delusions. [143] Lanning's report did not even attempt to investigate if cases of Satanic Ritual Abuse existed; [23] the report's title is Investigator's guide to allegations of "ritual" child abuse and it simply explained how to investigate any reported cases. [15], [20]:326 Both Lanning and La Fontaine were known to have prior skeptical views about the existence of ritual abuse before beginning their investigations/reports into ritual and satanic ritual abuse. [10], [29] La Fontaine was also criticized both for not interviewing child victims (not even those of successfully prosecuted cases) and having no expertise in child abuse or child sexual abuse. Few people know that both the Lanning report and La Fontaine's report describe some previously corroborated cases of ritual abuse, including some which had clear physical evidence of satanic ritual abuse, but both these reports bizarrely found ways to claim this evidence was of "non-satanic" ritual abuse. La Fontaine's report was able to make such "non-Satanic" Ritual Abuse claims by devising a unique definition of ritual abuse, so that it relied on her subjective interpretation of the spiritual/religious motives of abusers - which must involve worshipping the devil - abusers whose identity was known but who she did not appear to have interviewed. Lanning claimed he was unable to define what "ritual child abuse" was (but used the term regardless), and was unable to define what was or was not a religious (or satanic) crime, justifying this by comparing severe abuse to other crimes with religious motivations, including trivial, non-violent crimes. [15]:11-13 Neither the Lanning nor La Fontaine reports questioned the validity of existing convictions of crimes related to Satanic ritual abuse; Lanning simply did not refer to them, and La Fontaine re-interpreted the convictions as "non-Satanic" ritual abuse cases.
    Dr. Jean La Fontaine, an anthropologist, was commissioned to write a report on organized and ritual abuse in Great Britain and studied hundreds of cases that alleged organized abuse, particularly involving sexual abuse alongside other types of abuse, and 86 cases of alleged ritual abuse, all occurring between 1988 and 1991. [23]:1-2, [13] In cases where satanic paraphernalia had been found in connection with the abuse, La Fontaine insisted that these were simply used by pedophiles to intimidate the children - which met child abuse expert Finklehor's well-known definition of ritual abuse. La Fontaine's interpretation of the meaning and beliefs behind the satanic evidence was formed without the benefit of interviews with the children or adult survivors (or the abusers who were named in the police reports, and some of whom were in jail), she decided that:
    the aim is sexual and the ritual is incidental to it. Self-proclaimed mystical/magical powers were used to entrap children and impress them with a reason for the sexual abuse, keeping the victims compliant and ensuring their silence." [135], [13]
    La Fontaine's heavily publicized conclusion stated that evidence of "satanic abuse" was not found in those cases, but less publicized was the report's statement that three of the cases of ritual abuse were substantiated, and that corroborating physical evidence of ritual abuse was found, including "clothing, altars, candles". [13], [10] The report concluded with the opinion that people were "unwilling to believe that sexual abuse is most commonly committed by family members",[10] which did not make sense given that many ritual abuse cases at the time involved parents being named as abusing their own children. [21]:44 The report was mysteriously leaked to the press before publication. [34]
    • Key criticisms of Jean La Fontaine's The extent and nature of organised and ritual abuse report
    • no children or adult survivors were interviewed - not even those whose abusers had been convicted, yet La Fontaine's report simultaneously blamed social workers and police for previously conducting "poor quality" interviews with the children. [29]
    • The report was largely based on an analysis of survey questionnaires completed by police, social services, and a national children's charity; [29]
    • She referred to the children as "difficult, damaged, disturbed and sexually active" within the report, and during a lecture at Birbeck college she described them as "bizarre little creatures". [5]:128
    • only pre-existing interviews with adult survivors concerning 6 of the 84 cases were used to inform the report [10]
    • Kelly (1994) commented "in this report she makes considerable claims which are not backed up by a single piece of evidence" for example claiming there was evidence "in the transcript that in the course of repeated interviewed children learn what it is that the adults want to hear" when such evidence was not in the transcripts [10]
    • her methodology in accessing potential cases of satanic ritual abuse set a "higher standard of proof beyond that for other cases of sexual abuse", showing a "readiness to disbelieve" [10]
    • La Fontaine did not use an objective or well-established definition of satanic abuse or satanic ritual abuse, she defined it as only occurring if abuse was in the contexts directed towards "worship of the devil," and then added the further restriction that this context refers to the perceptions of others. [13], [10]
    • The report bizarrely stated there was "an absence of 'forensic and material evidence' to prove that ritual elements occurred", despite referring to the "clothing, altars, candles" found. [10], [13]
    • diaries kept by foster mothers recording conversations with the children were excluded from evidence, they were judged "unreliable" because they "could not be a verbatim record of conversations, which would have required shorthand skills...that there were no indications the foster mothers possessed." [10] [13]:26

    Misquoting La Fontaine's reports into Ritual Abuse, and substituting 'satanic ritual abuse' for 'ritual abuse'

    Psychotherapist and author Dr. Valerie Sinason criticized the impact of La Fontaine's report, stating that "I find it disturbing that one anthropologist's readings of transcripts are being listened to more seriously than 40 senior health service clinicians". La Fontaine's views on ritual abuse have been compared with "well-known promoters of paedophilia" including Benjamin Rossen, whose writing she recommended to the leading journal Child Abuse Review. Rossen had previously been arrested for the sexual abuse of a 12-year-old and had been instrumental in claiming that satanic ritual abuse did not exist in Holland, and was a member of the editorial board of Paidika, the Netherlands' "Journal of Paedophilia". [34] The British Health Secretary Virginia Bottomley claimed La Fontaine's 1994 report "exposed the myth of Satanic abuse" [in the UK], a conclusion that La Fontaine denied - stating her conclusion referred to only the cases she investigated. [135]

    The FBI's Lanning Report does not say that Satanic Ritual Abuse is a hoax

    In 1992, Kenneth V. Lanning published a report for the FBI about organized cult and ritual abuse in the US in which he stated there was "little or no evidence" of some of the crimes described by ritual abuse survivors but he acknowledged that crimes with ritualistic elements occur; this report discussed many forms of ritual abuse including satanic and occult ritual abuse and did not refer to any of these forms as a "hoax" or a "myth".[14]:19,40 The title of the report is "Investigator's guide to allegations of "ritual child abuse", and has been repeatedly misquoted:
    "One example was the assertion that a seven-year FBI study revealed no evidence of organized cult or ritual activity in the United States. In reality there is no such study. The day following the ABC program, my office contacted the FBI and requested a copy of the alleged study. The bureau responded in writing indicating that no such study existed."—Noblitt & Perskin (1995)
    Noblitt & Perskin (1995) go on to explain "This monograph by Special Agent Ken Lanning (1992) is merely a guide for those who may investigate this phenomenon, as the title indicates, and not a study. The author is a well-known skeptic regarding cult and ritual abuse allegations and has consulted on a number of cases but to our knowledge has not personally investigated the majority of these cases, some of which have produced convictions." [14], [20]
    Gould (1995) questions why in the previous year, Lanning (1991) ignored both convictions for crimes involving ritual abuse and the considerable published evidence in research, instead claiming that no substantive evidence of ritual abuse existed.[34], [15] For example, Finkelhor, Williams and Burns (1998) conducted a national study of substantiated cases of child sexual abuse which occurred at U.S. day care centers. Despite this study not being focused only on ritual abuse, it found 13% of the 1,639 children abused had been subject to ritual abuse, and 58% of the ritual abuse cases which went to trial resulted in convictions. [20]:53

    Ritual Abuse Cases and Survivors

    Many cases have been prosecuted and led to convictions, and a number of these have also involved physical evidence, and/or confessions from abusers which have not been recanted. Michael Newton (1997) found that 44% of 145 people convicted and sentenced for crimes related to ritual abuse in the United States pleaded guilty or no contest (nolo contender). [20]:76 Of the 11.7% of these convictions that were reversed on appeal, most reversals were caused by legal technicalities rather than facts indicating innocence. [20]:76 Clear evidence of unsolved crimes has also occurred, particularly in the case of ritual abuse linked to the murder of an adult.

    Convictions and Evidence of Ritual Abuse

    Ritual Abuse: Internet Information (Image license: CC BY-SA 4.0)image text reads - Ritual Abuse: Internet information. "Although there are more than six million documents on the Internet addressing the issue of ritual abuse, few take as fair and comprehensive approach as this; many of the writings deny the existence of ritual abuse despite masses of evidence to the contrary. As a consequence, some victims are persistently re-abused psychologically by having to deal with the fact that organized abusers, their defenders, and even police refute their realities and dismiss their reports as fantasy or mental illness." - Freda Briggs & Dr. Marie O'Neill, Ritual Abuse & Torture in Australia, Advocates for Survivors of Child Abuse (2006)
    Many in the media continue to report that there are no convictions for ritual abuse, often by re-defining ritual abuse to fit their needs, e.g. claiming it must be "satanic ritual abuse" to exclude large numbers of other ritual abuse cases, or that it must be "satanic ritual abuse of children", "satanic ritual abuse of children involving large groups", "international satanic ritual abuse of children with ...", "international satanic ritual abuse of children involving ... ", etc. These claims typically ignore satanic or occult killings, or convictions where other types of abuse by the group are reported or evidenced, but only the killings have resulted in convictions (e.g., because the statute of limitations ran out, as in the case of Gerald Robinson and the others in his network reported for sexual abuse). Many convictions for crimes involving ritual abuse exist, including convictions in the United States, Europe, Africa, and worldwide. [37]:1495, [33]. Salter (2013) quotes from one such conviction, which involved multiple witnesses and physical evidence including satanic items:
    "Batley insisted that no cult existed but the jury found him guilty of 35 offences including 11 rapes. three indecent assaults, causing prostitution for personal gain, causing a child to have sex and inciting a child to have sex. The three women, who got Egyptian Eye of Horus tattoos apparently to show their allegiance to their organisation, were found guilty of sex-related charges."
    Young boys and girls were procured by cult members to take part in sex sessions, the trial heard. The group preyed on vulnerable youngsters, impelling them to join with veiled death threats. Batley was accused of forcing a number of his victims into prostitution." (The Guardian newspaper, 2011, referring to convictions in Kidwelly, Wales, 2011, [138]) [23]

    Selected cases involving ritual abuse

    • Warning sign Graphic details of abuse are described below.  skip section
    • Ireland
    • Cynthia Owen - ritually abused in the 1970s, a baby's body found after being murdered in 1973, "House of Horrors" case http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/sexual-abuse-how-one-woman-198373
    • Germany
    • 2002 - Two 'devil worshipping' satanists confess to killing a friend, claim they learned satanism in England and Scotland http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/feb/01/uk.johnhooper
    • United Kingdom (Great Britain)
    • 1982 - four adults - Malcolm and Susan Smith, and Albert and Carole Hickman, of Telford - were convicted of sexual and other serious offenses involving satanic ritual abuse of children, one of the defendants carved an inverted cross on one child’s abdomen and branded her genitals with a red-hot altar knife, guilty pleas were entered http://usminc.org/crime3.html -also described by Tim Tate in Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse [7]:191
      Convicted again in 2015 for abuse in the 1970s, the father of victim had reported them to military investigators in the 1970s https://theukdatabase.com/2012/07/18/malcolm-susan-smithalbert-carole-hickman-telford/
    • 1987 - Cleveland child sexual abuse cases - it is still not clear if this involved ritual abuse. [7]:172 A pediatrician reported that over 200 children in the area have been sexually abused as a result of examinations, but police would not accept the possibility and refuse to act. A minority of children are later found to have been misdiagnosed but evidence supports the majority of children as having been sexually abused. The pediatrician and social worker rather than the abusers are widely criticized. [36]:73
    • 1987 - Brian Williams convicted at London’s Central Criminal Court for sexual abuse of 15 boys and girls; the victims were assaulted on an altar dedicated to Satan and forced to abuse each other. The rituals were performed with a Satanist pentagram drawn on the floor in blood. [7]
    • 1988 - Black magic, torture, hypnotism, with convictions for sexual abuse, grievous bodily harm and false imprisonment of runaway 15-year-old girl - Hazel Paul, Dean Richards, and Steven Nicholas convicted at the Old Bailey court in London [7] (Girl's 'torture house horror' 13 July 1998 Liverpool Echo, Daily Mirror 14 July 1988 and 26 July 1988, Mother plotted girl's torture 26 July 1988 Irish Independent, 'Jail for mastermind of torture ordeal' 26 July 1988 Dundee Courier)
    • 1988 - Andrew Newell convicted in Telford of human sacrifice during satanic ritual [7] https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=du0DAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PT38
    • 1988 - ex-leader of Bedford cult Marion Unsworth describes murder during satanic ritual https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=3u0DAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA37
    • 1989 - Convictions in Broxtowe, Nottingham - multigenerational ritual abuse/organized abuse case [5]:114, 232
      "Eight more members of the man's family - two of his sons, two of his daughters, three sons-in-law and the brother of one of them - and a family friend - have already admitted sexual offences involving 13 children". "All children were under eight when they were abused and one had to have gynaecological treatment for injuries. The children talked of 'witch parties' but Mr. Joyce said the prosecution would not bring out any satanism in this case."
      "I am quite convinced this sexual abuse of grandchildren has been going on for considerable time. It is also perfectly clear they had no one to turn to for any kind of love or comfort because their parents were behaving in the same way as you were." https://cathyfox.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/19-01-89.jpg
    • 1989 - 'Wizard' Peter MacKenzie who ensnared sexually abused 13 children, some as young as 6 [7] https://theukdatabase.com/2012/07/18/peter-mckenzie/
    • 1990 - Reginald Harris convicted at Worcester Crown Court after confessing to two specimen charges of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl and her younger sister. Harris told his victims he was a satanist high priest. The children were terrified into submission by Harris's satanist rituals. He had drawn up a satanist "coven contract of marriage" to the older girl. [7]
    • 1992 - an unnamed 57-year-old satanist was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court for sexually abusing and raping his niece multiple times between the ages of 10 and 12. The abusers kept an altar and ritual equipment in a "black magic room". The child became pregnant at 12 and was forced by her uncle to give birth in that room. He threatened to rape her younger sister and kill her pets if she ever spoke of the abuse and killed two of her pets in front of her. DNA was evidence used to aid conviction. [7]
    • 2001 - Ritual murder/human sacrifice of "Adam" - the "torso in the Thames" case http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/1788452.stm
    • 2002 - Ritualistic murder of elderly widow, Wales - 'vampire' obsessed killer http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/2124478.stm
    • 2005 - children's charity Barnados reports on homeless children reporting ritualistic abuse http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tyne/4293980.stm
    • 2006 - 'Ritualistic' murder victim named http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/beds/bucks/herts/4753473.stm
    • 2006 - African children at risk of ritual abuse - the murder of 'Adam' http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6177001.stm
    • 2006 - Adult sex slavery cult http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4996410.stm
    • 2009 - John McFadden 'black magic high priest' and ex-policeman, Scotland http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/glasgow_and_west/8138462.stm
    • 2010 - ritualistic killing - London http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-15003113
    • 2011 - satanic ritual abuse in Colin Batley's cult, Kidwelly, Wales http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/03/10/satanic-sex-cult-paedophile-guilty-91466-28312166/
      Three children conceived in cult abuse http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/national/news/10110385.Pair_jailed_for__ritualistic__abuse/
    • 2011 - ritual killing London http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-16553037
    • 2011 - satanic ritual abuse reported as "satanic sex abuse" including rape of 3 children, child rapist fails to convince judges his 18-year prison sentence is too long http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/Child-rapist-s-jail-term-appeal-fails/story-19020011-detail/story.html
    • 2012 - UK government launches ritual killing task force launched
    • 2012 - Victoria Climibe's witchcraft-related murder, ritual abuse a hidden crime http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/mar/01/witchcraft-ritual-abuse-hidden-crime
    • 2012 - Juju witchcraft rituals used in child sexual abuse and prostitution http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/oct/29/sex-trafficker-jailed-nigerian-orphans
    • 2012 - witchcraft based torture http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-16743023
    • 2012 - Man takes 20 years to report ritual sex abuse - only for authorities to attempt cover-up, abuse began in 1986 http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/simon-whitter-victim-breaks-20-year-3275050
    • 2012 - UK government confirms its existence of ritual abuse
      "In its recent report on child protection, the Education Committee wrote:
      "We are struck by the number of submissions which noted that some forms of abuse, including forced marriage, ritual abuse [...] are often only secondarily cast as child abuse: they are primarily seen as problems of integration, community or immigration. Casting them as something other than child abuse can mean that child victims are stigmatised."
    • 2012 - UK government announces action plan to address child ritual abuse linked to witchcraft and religion http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19248144
    • 2015 - sadistic black magic couple jailed again, first convictions were in 1982 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-30941013
      crimes took place from 1972-1975 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-30579521
    • Italy
    • 2005 - Beasts of Satan case http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/feb/22/italy http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1538808/Italian-priests-join-the-war-on-Satanic-crime.html
    • Russia
    • 2013 - sex cult leader jailed http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/9857871/Konstantin-Rudnev-Russian-cult-leader-jailed-for-sex-abuse.html
    • 2010 - six self-styled Satanists jailed for ritually killing and dismembering four teenagers http://english.pravda.ru/hotspots/crimes/01-03-2010/112423-cannibals-0/
    • India
    • 2013 - Ritual human sacrifice (and confession) leads to conviction http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/delhi-high-court-commutes-death-penalty-of-man-who-killed-father-334832
    • United States
    • 1963 - convictions (later released then re-convicted) - satanic murders of Port St. Joe service station attendants http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=_XRIAAAAIBAJ&sjid=WV8DAAAAIBAJ&pg=1737%2C2981422
    • 1970 - ritualistic killings on June 2 and 3, 1970 by Satanic cult http://www.ocregister.com/articles/hurd-273214-county-orange.html
    • 1973 - David Hester, Deborah Shook, and Nicholas Frazee - torture and murder to appease Satan, according to confession https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2519&dat=19731018&id=TdFdAAAAIBAJ&sjid=bl4NAAAAIBAJ&pg=4373,3273801
    • 1975 - Isley receives life sentence in Satanic slaying http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=TdRHAAAAIBAJ&sjid=LowDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2213%2C2305023
    • 1979 - Fall River - Robin Murphy, Carl Drew, and Andre Maltais convicted - 3 human sacrifices by satanic cult http://www.heraldnews.com/x1413009088/Robin-Murphy-involved-in-Satanic-cult-murders-back-in-prison-on-parole-violation
    • 1981 - Children of God cult - child sexual abuse, prostitution, pornography, slavery https://books.google.com/books?id=5O8DAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA6 https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=5O8DAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA6#v=onepage&q&f=false
    • 1985 - Dade county day care case - Frank Fuster and Iliana Fuster, one boy was found to have a sexually transmitted infection, Frank had a previous conviction of child sexual abuse, and Iliana gave evidence about him as well as confessing [4]:293, [6], [44]:366, 367
    • 1988 - torture, mutilation, gang rape and ritual murder during 'satanic ritual' - cult in San Fransico's gay community, pentagram carved into victim https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=YO0DAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA33
    • 1989 - Daniel Paul Bowen, Bunny Dixon, and others - satanic murder (human sacrifice) of Vietnamese immigrant https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1901&dat=19890724&id=s1cfAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ntIEAAAAIBAJ&pg=1363,5705237
    • 1995 Utah attorney general's office issued a report saying ritual abuse of children had occurred https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=YRxOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=pOwDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6888%2C1000922
    • 1997/1998 - Satanism Led to Killings - Brando, Miss. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-10-15/news/9710150477_1_luke-woodham-pearl-high-school-satanic-cult
    • 1980 murder (2006 conviction) of Gerald Robinson, Satanic ritual abuse including rape and murder, linked to satanic ritual abuse which was not prosecuted due to statute of limitations http://www.nydailynews.com/news/justice-story/justice-story-killer-priest-murders-nun-chapel-sacristy-leaves-demonic-stab-pattern-heart-article-1.1162927
      'Jane Doe' SRA confirmed by Judge but too long after statute of limitations http://www.toledoblade.com/Courts/2011/04/07/Ohio-Supreme-Court-dismisses-suit-against-Robinson.html
    • 1981 - Fall River ritual murder - Leader of Satanic cult found guilty (Carl Drew) http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-echAAAAIBAJ&sjid=82cEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5458%2C7511034
      Robin Murphy pled guilty (part of the same cult) - Parole board claims she continually changed her story to torture victim's relatives http://www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/pb/lifer-decisions/2012/murphyrobin10-18-12.pdf
    • 2007 - Satanist child abuser convicted after confessing to ritual killing http://jacksonville.com/apnews/stories/092107/D8RQ5B3G0.shtml
    • 2007 - FBI agent confirms ritual abuse in Hosanna church sexual abuse case, rituals with a satanic theme, pastor and youth pastor abuse around 10 children, including their own, in church's youth room. One girl is abused from age 2. http://www.hammondstar.com/mobile/local_news/news/agents-graphically-describe-abuse/article_bd3616f4-e624-5e1d-a5ee-1d4a5b7fda68.html
    • 2009 - Iowa Man convicted of killing two stepdaughters during satanic ritual http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,485444,00.html
    • 2011 - Wiccan killer pleads no contest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vuISkSRpLY
    • 2011/2012 convictions and guilty pleas - Black Hebrew cult murders, man & 3 wives & 9 children http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/11192486/
    • 2011 - Fundamental Latter Day Saints (FLDS) cult - "Ceremonial rapes" occurred on a ritual bed/alter during "ritualistic procreation" http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/warren-jeffs-cult-forced-men-watch-wives-raped-article-1.2381086
      Nightly group sex rituals described http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/05/us/flds-secrets-warren-jeffs/
      Warren Jeffs sentenced to life for child sex abuse after "spiritual marriages", seven others already convicted, eleven more charged with sexual assault, bigamy and other crimes. Jeffs claims 'religious persecution'. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20090101-504083.html
    • 2012 - Jose Reyes and Victor Atlas - ritualistic satanic killing, torture, and rape, with confessions http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/12/12/man-guilty-satanic-murder-teen-girl/20292429/
    • 2013 - Santeria ritual animal sacrifices http://paganwiccan.about.com/b/2009/04/07/santeria-case-goes-to-court.htm
    • 2013 - Man admits trying to perform ritual killing http://fox5sandiego.com/2013/04/05/man-admits-trying-to-sacrifice-son-at-cemetery
    • 2013 - Ritual aspect to rape with drugs used, Vodou http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/06/3327302/the-case-of-a-vodou-curse-drugs.html
    • 2014 - Kidnap, multiple rapes, and murder in 'satanic ritual' so his friend could 'sell his soul to the Devil' - girl's body was found half-naked with an upside-down cross carved into her stomach http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2556446/The-sickening-smile-teen-accused-satanic-ritual-murder-15-year-old-girl-kidnapped-raped-bashed-death-lid-toilet.html
    • Central & South America
    • 1989 - Matamoros cult murders - Mexico, including murder of Texan Mark Kilroy
    • 2008 - Satanic killing of child - Argentina http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/argentinean_courts_confirm_boy_was_killed_in_satanic_ritual/
      http://www.noticiacristiana.com/sectas/2008/01/justicia-argentina-confirma-que-nino-fue-asesinado-en-acto-satanico.html (Spanish)
    • 2012 - Santa Muerte ritual abuse killing, Mexico http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/30/world/americas/mexico-human-sacrifice/index.html
      Original details from http://www.religionnewsblog.com/26693/arrests-made-following-three-human-sacrifices-by-santa-muerte-devotees
    • New Zealand
    • 2012 - Catholic church confirms ritual abuse exists http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-10/former-nun-speaks-out-on-church-abuse-claims/4419208?section=nsw
    • Australia
    • 1960s/1970s satanic ritual abuse and satanic ritual killings linked to church - compensation paid http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Australian+man+accuses+priest+of+ritual+abuse.-a0149908433
    • Africa
    • 2010 - Witchcraft and child sacrifice investigation - Uganda http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/8441813.stm
    • 2011 - Satanic ritual suspected in killing, 5 of victim's dogs killed later, multiple convictions and confessions - South Africa http://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/news/5-in-court-for-satanic-ritual-death-1.1169404
    • 2012 - Satanic ritual murders - multiple convictions and confessions http://www.citizen.co.za/citizen/content/en/citizen/local-news?oid=268878&sn=Detail&pid=146826&Satanic-ritual-murderers-jailed-for-17-years
    • 2012 - Report on child ritual sacrifice victims - South Africa http://www.theage.com.au/national/ritual-victims-getting-help-from-afar-20121228-2bzet.html
    • 2013 - ritual child murders - Ghana & Burkina Faso http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=261752
    • 2013 - ritual killing of baby - Nigeria http://www.newsinnigeria.org/2013/01/shocking-news-father-in-kogi-state-kills-4-month-old-son-for-rituals.html
    • 2013 - ritual child killings - Cameroon, Africa - 18 dead and mutilated in 2 weeks (no arrests mentioned) http://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/22/world/africa/cameroon-ritual-killings/index.html?hpt=wo_bn7
    • 2013 - ritual murder conviction based on forensic evidence - South Africa http://www.peherald.com/news/article/10010
    • Other Conviction Lists
    • . (). Conviction List: Ritual Abuse Cases.Retrieved Sep 14, 2016.
    • Christian ritual abuse list http://www.michaelsherlock.org/forum/religious-atrocities/christian-ritual-abuse

    Ritual Abuse Survivors

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      Ritual Abuse Concise Definition
      Ritual abuse is a brutal form of abuse of children, adolescents, and adults, consisting of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, and involves the use of rituals. Ritual does not necessarily mean satanic. However, most survivors state that they were ritually abused as part of satanic worship for the purpose of indoctrinating them into satanic beliefs and practices. Ritual abuse rarely consists of a single episode. It usually involves repeated abuse over an extended period of time.
      The physical abuse is severe, sometimes including torture and killing. The sexual abuse is usually painful, sadistic, and humiliating, intended as means of gaining dominance over the victim. The psychological abuse is devastating and involves the use of ritual/indoctrination, which includes mind control techniques and mind altering drugs, and ritual/intimidation which conveys to the victim a profound terror of the cult members and of the evil spirits they believe cult members can command. Both during and after the abuse, most victims are in a state of terror, mind control, and dissociation in which disclosure is exceedingly difficult.
    32. (). Remembering Trauma. Belknap Press. ISBN 9780674018020.
    33. , SMART. Retrieved from https://ritualabuse.us, Oct 1, 2016.
    34. . (). When Satan goes Unseen. The Independent. Retrieved on Apr 16, 2014.
    35. (). The Spectrum Of Child Abuse: Assessment, Treatment And Prevention, Volume 8 of Brunner/Mazel Basic Principles Into Practice. Routledge. ISBN 1135063087.
    36. (). Oxford dictionary of sociology. Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York. ISBN 0199683581.
      Child abuse section recommends S. Scott The Politics and Experience of Ritual Abuse (2001) on page 73 and refers to child physical abuse / "baby battering" as a 1960s "moral panic", but does not use "moral panic" to refer to either child sexual abuse or satanic ritual abuse:
      It is useful to differentiate physical abuse of children —child abuse or 'baby battering'—from child sexual abuse. Baby battering became a widespread concern and the basis of a moral panic in the 1960s, as discussed in particular by R. & C. Kempe in the USA (see their Child Abuse, 1983) who saw it as indicative of 'dysfunctional' families. Later investigations found that baby battering, as well as physical violence within families generally, was strongly associated with families living in poverty, although some contend that middle-class family violence is simply kept more hidden and secretive. p72
      Moral Panic section lists the following examples: "football hooliganism, child abuse, AIDS, numerous adolescent subcultural activities" (p492). There is no also reference to Satanism or Satanic in the book.
    37. & (Eds.) (). The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology, (4th ed., pp. 1494-1497, vol. 4). John Wiley & Sons ISBN 0470170239
      Satanic Ritual Abuse covers pages 1494-1497, with half a page is devoted to The SRA Controversy. Moral panic is not considered a significant explanation for reports of Satanic Ritual Abuse and is not explained, the only mention of it is:
      "Alternative explanation for SRA allegations have included pathological distortion; traumatic memory; normal childhood fears and fantasy; overzealous interveners and professionals; contaminating effects from the media, society, parents, a moral panic, and SRA training seminars; and the inappropriate use of hypnosis, dream work, or regressive therapies."
    38. , & (Eds.) (). Kaplan and Sadock's Concise Textbook of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, (4th ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0781793874
      Ritual Abuse is covered on page 219, which does not mention moral panic or urban legend theories.
    39. (). Child Maltreatment, in Rutter, M. K., Bishop, D., Pine, D., Scott, S., Stevenson, J. S., Taylor, E. A. & Thapar, A. (Eds.), Rutter's Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (pp. 738-743) (5th ed.)., John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 1444358715.
    40. (). False memory syndrome movements: The origins and the promoters. In V. Sinason (Ed.), Memory in Dispute, (pp. 79-94). London: Karnac.
    41. (). House of Commons - Children first: The child protection system in England - Education Committee - Fourth Report, United Kingdon Parliament. Retrieved Sep 14, 2016.
    42. (). Satanic panic: The creation of a contemporary legend. Open Court Publishing Company. ISBN 081269192X / 0812691911.
    43. (). Eight Common Myths About Child Sexual Abuse. Retrieved Sep 25, 2016, from https://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/res/csa_myths.html
    44. , (). Diabolic debates: a reply to David Frankfurter and JS La Fontaine. Religion, 24(4), 361-378.
    45. (). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV Text revision (DSM-IV-TR). APA. ISBN 0890426651.
    46. (). Satanic ritual abuse: Principles of treatment. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802073573.
    47. , & (). Counselors' beliefs about ritual abuse: An Australian Study. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 8(3), pp. 45-63. doi: 10.1300/J070v08n03_03
    48. (). Alternative hypotheses regarding claims of satanic cult activity: A critical analysis. In D. K. Sakheim & S. E. Devine (Eds.), Out of darkness: Exploring Satanism and ritual abuse, (pp. 45-72). Jossey-Bass Publishers. ISBN 0787939544/9780787939540
    49. (). The dilemma of ritual abuse: Cautions and guides for therapists (No. 41). American Psychiatric Pub. ISBN 0880484780.
    50. (). Gendered Violence, Abuse and Mental Health in Everday Lives: Beyond Trauma, Routledge. ISBN 1317811216.
    51. (). Satanic ritual abuse survivors: Overlooked, misunderstood, and underserved. Social Work Perspectives, 8(1):53-57.
    52. (). Insidious deception. The Journal of Psychohistory, 22(3), 312-329.
    53. (). Moral Panic and the Politics of Anxiety. Routledge. ISBN 113519811X.
    54. Cohen, S. (Ed.) (). Folk Devils and Moral Panics Routledge Classics. Taylor & Francis, ISBN 1136807047, 9781136807046. Third revision.
    55. Witch-hunt (). Oxford Dictionary (U.S.). Retrieved from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/witch-hunt.
    News articles and Interviews about Ritual Abuse Cases
    1. , (). Satanist disabuser. Times Higher Education Retrieved on Sep 14, 2016.
      Commenting on the much-quoted words of Virginia Bottomley, then health secretary, who said that the report "exposed the myth of Satanic abuse", La Fontaine says: "I told them beforehand that to talk about 'exposing the myth" was unfortunate and overdramatic. I didn't find any evidence in the 84 alleged cases which I investigated. My conclusion was that there was no evidence of satanic abuse in these cases."
      Yet, although she is now in a position to make practical suggestions for child protection, it is clear that her initial interest in child sexual abuse arose not out of a desire to make concrete changes but out of theoretical anthropological concerns. Approaching her topic from this perspective, she admits that "the horrors I found when I started researching sexual abuses were a terrible shock".
    2. , (). Priests and Justice. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved on Sep 14, 2016.
    3. , (). Priest 'a violent bully and coward'. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved on Apr 14, 2014.
    4. (). Colin Batley, leader of sex cult preying on children, could spend life in jail. Judge says 'evil' head of paedophile group operating from quiet cul-de-sac at Welsh seaside town must serve at least 11 years. The Guardian. Retrieved on Apr 12, 2014.
    5. (). CIA's Bourne Identity Plot, Daily Express. Retrieved on Sep 13, 2016.
    6. (). Project Paperclip: Dark side of the Moon, BBC. Retrieved Sep 13, 2016.
    7. Witchcraft and ritual child abuse cases rise in London, (). BBC. Retrieved Sep 14, 2016.
    8. (). April Jones murder: how detectives pieced together her final hours. Despite the absence of a body, police determined a timeline of events by studying Bridger's background and forensic evidence. The Guardian. Retrieved on Sep 20, 2016.
    9. . (). Letters: Ritual abuse and race. The Guardian. Retrieved on Apr 14, 2016, from https://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/jan/23/ritual-abuse-and-race.
    10. (). Ross Cheit: Undergrad work integral to prof's new book - Brown Daily Herald. Brown Daily Herald. Retrieved on Sep 14, 2016.
    11. (). Satanic abuse no myth, say experts. The Independent. Retrieved on Sep 20, 2016.
      A specially commissioned government report will this week conclude that satanic abuse does take place in Britain. It will say that its victims have suffered actual abuse and are not suffering from "false memory syndrome".
    12. . (). Victim recounts being raped during ritual at Satyananda Yoga Ashram. ABC news. Retrieved on Sep 14, 2016, from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-04/victim-recounts-being-raped-during-ritual-at-satyananda-ashram/5945010. See also: Yoga guru may have raped seven-year-old, Royal Commission told.
    13. (). Justice Story: Killer priest murders nun in chapel sacristy, leaves demonic stab pattern over her heart. New York Daily News. Retrieved on Sep 14, 2016, .
      (). Survivor Doe again asks court to hear satanic abuse lawsuit. Toledo Blade. Retrieved on Sep 27, 2016, from .
      Note: Gerald Robinson died in jail, and was given a priest's funeral service by the Catholic Church, despite appeals from the murder victim's family.
    14. . (). Former nun speaks out on church abuse claims. ABC news. Retrieved on Sep 26, 2016, from http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3651319.htm.
    15. (). Agents graphically describe abuse. Hammond Star. Retrieved from http://www.hammondstar.com/mobile/local_news/news/agents-graphically-describe-abuse/article_bd3616f4-e624-5e1d-a5ee-1d4a5b7fda68.html Oct 1, 2016.