SATANIC EVIDENCE IS LACKING
by David Mannweiler
From time to time for more than a year, a woman in Pennsylvania has called to try to goad me into investigating what she called "a very organized satanic group in Cicero and Noblesville that is funded by child pornography."
She used to live in Cicero. She had to move two years ago to get help, she said, because no Hamiltion County offical believed her when she reported ritual abuse of childern in private homes and in Civil War or Prohibition era tunnels in the area.
"They think I'm crazy," she said. "there is a cover-up. With God as my witness, this is true. They'll tell you I'm crazy. that it never happens. THat's how it's done when someone reports this."
She said her childern - they were ages 2 and 6 in one call, 2 and 5 in another and in a thrid call she said her son would be 9 in a month - have been abused by this satanic cult and her ex-neighbors molested and filmed her childern.
She didn't sue her ex-neighbors: "That takes money.
HER SUSPICIONS GREW
"This is devil worship Voodoo. There is a minister involved. A contractor. My childern said they saw someone in a police uniform. They said they saw a puppy being gutted. They have people in power who stop the justice system from investigating this."
She believes the school system might be involved. And Cicero police. And maybe postal authorities and the Indiana State Police, because she reported to each of them.
She said a therapist at a child sexual abuse clinic at Childern's Hospital in Pittsburgh interviewed her childern for 2,500 hiurs and believes the kids.
The caller believes everything she's told me is true. Very likely, she doesn't believe this week's results of the first authoritiative national survey on the subject of satanic ritual abuse.
The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect surveyed 6,910 psychologists and clinical social workers, and 4,655 district attorneys, police departments and soical service agencies.
Together. they reported investigating 12,264 accusations of ritual sexual abuse by group cults.
They couldn't find one case with evidence that clearly corroborated the most common accusation of "a well-organized intergenerational satanic cult, who sexually molested and tortured childern in their homes or schools for years and committed a series of murders," said survey director Gail Goodman, a psychologist at the University of California-Davis.
Goodman admitted the survey did turn up "convincing evidence" of lone abusers or couples who say they are involved with Satan "or use the claim to intimidate victims."
And she acknowledged not everyone will be convinced by the survey, that some people will continue to believe what they believe and they'll brand the survey part of a giant cover-up.
I think I know someone in Pennsylvania who'd agree.
David Mannweller is a reporter for The News.
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In addation to the above, the San Diego Union-Tribune on Page e-4 of Wednesday 11-2-1994, Daniel Goleman of New York Times News Service writes:
But the overall results show little or no support for the more extreme claims, Goodman said. "While you would not expect to find corroborating evidence in many sexual abuse cases, you would expect it when people claim the rituals involved murders, and the reported cases come from district attorneys or police," said Goodman.
"If there is anyone out there with solid evidence of satanic abuse of children, we would like to know about it," she said.
There are, of course, people who will be unswayed by this new study because of their belief that abusive satanic groups do exist but are successful at eluding detection despite the efforts of the authorities.
Nonetheless, previous smaller studies done by the Michigan State Police, the Virginia Crime Commission, the Office of the Attorny General in Utah, and a study by the British government had similar findings.
Many psychotherapists who have been vocal about a supposed epidemic of sexual abuse by well-organized satanic rings have grown more cautious of late. "There's clearly been a contagion, a contamination of what people say in therapy because of what they see on TV or read about satanic ritual abuse," said Dr. Bennet Braun, a psychiatrist who heads the Dissociative Disorders Unit at Rush-North Shore Medical Center in Chicago. Braun used to lecture on ritual satanic abuse to psychotherapy groups, but stopped because of growing doubts of such abuse.