U.K. STUDY FINDS NO EVIDENCE OF SATANIC ABUSE OF CHILDREN
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS BLAMED FOR SPREADING SCARE
- by Rosie Waterhouse, _London Independent_. Reprinted _San
Francisco Examiner & Chronicle_, April 24, 1994, #A5
LONDON - Satanic child abuse does not exist in the United
Kingdom, a government inquiry has concluded.
A three-year investigation funded by Britain's Department of
Health has found no evidence to substantiate any of the 84
cases in which it was alleged that children were sexually
abused during Stanic, "black magic" rites.
Similar stories of Satanic abuse first surfaced in the United
States in 1983 and have since spread to other countries,
including the Netherlands, Norway, and Australia, but no
evidence has been found.
The official report, which was commissioned in 1991 after
children had been snatched from their homes in dawn raids by
social workers and police in the northern town of Rochdale and
on the Orkney islands off the coast of Scotland, is due for
publication next month.
It blames the evangelical Christian movement and self-
proclaimed U.S. "experts" for spreading the satanic-abuse scare.
And it suggests that social workers and others believed in it
because involvement with the devil explained why parents could
harm their own children, reviving "an age-old myth" of cults
controlled by unknown, powerful, and dangerous strangers.
Providing the first official definition of Satanic abuse, the
report explains: "Rites that allegedly include the torture and
sexual abuse of children and adults, forced abortion and human
sacrifice, cannibalism, and bestiality may be labeled Satanic
"There is no evidence that these have taken place in any of the
84 cases studied," the report said.
The report was conducted by Jean La Fontaine, professor of
social anthropology at the London School of Economics, an
expert on child abuse and on "cults."
Professor La Fontaine, who refused to comment on her report
until it is published, had access to the files of every police
force and social services department that investigated
allegations of Satanic ritual abuse in Britain since 1988.
Allegations were investigated by police forces from Kent to
Strathclyde, including Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, and
Merseyside, but no evidence was found to corroborate the claims.
The report attempts to explain how the stories began.
"The alleged disclosures of Satanic abuse by younger children
were influenced by adults. A small minority involved children
pressured or coached by their mothers.
"The interviews during this period (1988-91) were frequently
poorly conducted. Too-frequent interviewing, leading questions,
contamination, pressure, and inducements to agree to
suggestions may have resulted from the anxiety of the
interviewers to find out what happened."
The report also tries to explain how the Satanic abuse scare
"The evangelical Christian campaign against new religious
movements has been a powerful influence encouraging the
identification of Satanic abuse.
"Equally, if not more important in spreading the idea of
Satanic abuse in Britain are the 'specialists,' American and
British. They may have few or even no qualifications as
professionals but attribute their expertise to 'experience of
cases.' Their claims or qualifications are rarely checked."
In some of the cases investigated, the children really had been
sexually abused, but treating them as victims of Satanic abuse
caused further problems.