Jump to content

Day-care sex-abuse hysteria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Day-care sex-abuse hysteria was a moral panic that occurred primarily during the 1980s and early 1990s, and featured charges against day-care providers accused of committing several forms of child abuse, including Satanic ritual abuse.[1][2] The collective cases are often considered a part of the Satanic panic. A 1982 case in Kern County, California, United States, first publicized the issue of day-care sexual abuse, and the issue figured prominently in news coverage for almost a decade. The Kern County case was followed by cases elsewhere in the United States, as well as Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, and various European countries.



During the late 1970s and early 1980s, many more mothers were working outside of the home, resulting in the opening of large numbers of day-care facilities. Anxiety and guilt due to leaving young children with strangers may have created a climate of fear and readiness to believe false accusations.[3][4]

Suggestibility of children[edit]

Children are vulnerable to outside influences that can result in fabrication of testimony.[5] Their testimony can be influenced in a variety of ways. In an article published by the American Psychological Association and titled Jeopardy in the Courtroom: A Scientific Analysis of Children’s Testimony, by Maggie Bruck—a professor within the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine—wrote that children incorporate aspects of the interviewer's questions into their answers, as an attempt to tell the interviewer what the child believes is being sought.[6] Studies also show that when adults ask children questions that do not make sense (such as: "is milk bigger than water?" or "is red heavier than yellow?"), most children will offer an answer, believing that there is an answer to be given, rather than understanding the absurdity of the question.[7] Furthermore, repeated questioning of children causes them to change their answers. This is because the children perceive the repeated questioning as a sign that they did not give the "correct" answer previously.[8] Children are also especially susceptible to leading and suggestive questions.[5] Research has found that, in the absence of being prompted, it is uncommon for children to make fictitious reports of sexual abuse.[9][10][11][12] And that conversely, it is not unusual for children to underreport abuse.[13][14][15]

Interviewer bias also influences child testimony. When an interviewer has a preconceived notion as to the truth of the matter being investigated, the questioning is performed in a manner to extract statements that evidence these beliefs.[8] As a result, evidence that could disprove the belief is never sought by the interviewer. Additionally, positive reinforcement by the interviewer can taint child testimony. Often, such reinforcement is given to encourage a spirit of cooperation by the child, but impartiality can quickly end as the interviewer nods, smiles, or offers verbal encouragement to "helpful" statements.[8] Some studies show that when interviewers make reassuring statements to child witnesses, the children are more likely to fabricate stories of past events that never occurred.[16]

Peer pressure also influences children to fabricate stories. Studies show that when a child witness is told that his or her friends have already testified that certain events occurred, the child witness was more likely to create a matching story.[17] The status of the interviewer can also influence a child's testimony, because the more authority an interviewer has, such as a police officer, the more likely a child is to comply with that person's apparent agenda.[18]

Finally, while there are endorsers of the use of anatomically correct dolls in questioning victims of sexual abuse/molestation, there are also critics of this practice.[19] These critics say that because of the novelty of the dolls, children will act out sexually explicit acts with the dolls even if the child has not been sexually abused.[19] Another criticism is that, due to conflicting claims about how children tend to play with these dolls (some studies suggest that children who have been sexually abused play with them in a more sexually explicit manner, while other studies have found no correlation), no meaningful conclusions can be drawn from how a particular child plays.[19]


Significant cases[edit]

Most of those accused in these cases were eventually freed, but no U.S. Governor has pardoned a prisoner convicted falsely as a result of the hysteria.[36][37] On January 14, 1997, many of those freed attended a "Day of Contrition" conference in Salem, Massachusetts.[35][38][39]

McMartin Preschool[edit]

The McMartin Preschool case was the first daycare abuse case to receive major media attention in the United States.[40] The case concerned the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California, where seven teachers were accused of kidnapping children, flying them in an airplane to another location, and forcing them to engage in group sex, as well as forcing them to watch animals being tortured and killed.[40] The case also involved accusations that children had been forced to participate in bizarre religious rituals, and being used to make child pornography.[41] The case began with a single accusation, made by a mother—who was later found to be a paranoid schizophrenic[3]—of one of the students, but grew rapidly when investigators informed parents of the accusation, and began interviewing other students.[41] The case made headlines nationally during 1984, and seven teachers were arrested and charged that year.[41] However, when a new district attorney took over the case in 1986, his office re-examined the evidence, and dismissed charges against all but two of the original defendants. Their trials became one of the longest and most expensive criminal trials in the history of the United States,[41][1] but in 1990, all of these charges were also dismissed.[40] The trial was met with disapproval by both its jurors and academic researchers, who criticized the interviewing techniques that investigators had used in their investigations of the school, alleging that interviewers had "coaxed" children into making unfounded accusations, repeatedly asking children the same questions, and offering various incentives until the children reported having been abused.[40] Most scholars now agree that the accusations these interviews elicited from children were false.[42][43] Sociologist Mary de Young and historian Philip Jenkins have both cited the McMartin case as the prototype for a wave of similar accusations and investigations between 1983 and 1995, which constituted a moral panic.[44][41][37]

Country Walk[edit]

Frank and Ileana Fuster owned the Country Walk Babysitting Service in the Country Walk suburb of Miami, Florida, United States. In 1985, Frank was found guilty of 14 counts of abuse.[45][46] He was sentenced to prison with a minimum length of 165 years. Fuster's alleged victims testified that he led them in Satanic rituals, and terrorized them by forcing them to watch him mutilate birds—a lesson to children who might reveal the abuse.[45] Fuster had been previously convicted for manslaughter and molesting a 9-year-old child.[1] Testimony from children in the case was elicited by University of Miami child psychologists Laurie and Joseph Braga, who resorted to coercive questioning of the alleged victims when the desired answers were not forthcoming.[47][48] Fuster's wife, Ileana, recanted her court testimony in an interview with the television program Frontline, saying that she had been kept naked in solitary confinement, and subjected to other forms of physical and psychological duress until she had agreed to testify against her husband.[49]

The case was prosecuted by Dade County state's attorney Janet Reno,[50] who also prosecuted day-care sex-abuse cases against Grant Snowden and Bobby Fijnje.[51][52] Ileana said that Reno visited her in jail and pressured her to confess.[49][46] The incident also inspired a 1986 book[45] and a 1990 made-for-television movie named Unspeakable Acts.[53] Fuster continues to serve a 165-year prison sentence, making him the last person imprisoned by the hysteria.[50][54][36]

Fells Acres Day School[edit]

During April 1984, Gerald Amirault was arrested and charged with abusing children in his care at the Fells Acres Day School in Malden, Massachusetts, United States.[55][56] After Amirault changed the pants on a young boy who had wet himself, the boy's mother, uncle, and therapist questioned him over a period of months, until the boy alleged that Amirault had been sexually abusing him. The boy's mother then telephoned a child abuse hotline to report that her son had been abused sexually, and Amirault was arrested soon thereafter.[57][58][56] As a result of the 1986 trial, Amirault was convicted of assaulting and raping nine children, and sentenced to 30 to 40 years in state prison. In a separate trial, his mother, Violet Amirault, and sister, Cheryl Amirault LeFave, were also convicted of similar charges, and sentenced to jail for 8 to 20 years.[59] According to Richard Beck, the case developed "in the usual way" compared to other moral panic cases, with more and more children making increasingly bizarre allegations against the accused during the course of the investigation.[55] The allegations included reports of "bad clowns," robots, "magic rooms," and animals being tortured.[60] According to Beck, one of the prosecutors responsible for the case commented that coaxing allegations out of the children had been like “getting blood from a stone.”[55]

During 1995, The Wall Street Journal journalist Dorothy Rabinowitz questioned testimony from the children that had been elicited with dubious interrogation techniques, and wrote: "no sane person reading the transcripts of these interrogations can doubt the wholesale fabrications of evidence on which this case was built."[61][62] Rabinowitz was a finalist in 1996, and winner in 2001, of the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for her newspaper columns on the issue,[63] and made the Amiraults’ case a centerpiece of her book No Crueler Tyrannies: Accusation, False Witness, and Other Terrors of Our Times.[57] Violet and Cheryl were granted a new trial in 1997, on the basis that they had been denied the right to face their accusers and had been represented inadequately at trial, but Violet died, and a judge reduced Cheryl's sentence to time served before the new trial could proceed.[64] During 2001, the Massachusetts Board of Pardons recommended that Gerald's sentence be commuted, citing "substantial doubt" about his guilt. He was granted parole in 2003.[65] Writing about the case at the time of Gerald's release, the magazine The Economist suggested in an editorial that while the Amiraults had long maintained their innocence, and had attracted a "string of prominent supporters" who believed that they had been convicted wrongly, "many others continue to believe that Mr. Amirault committed the crimes."[66]

Bernard Baran[edit]

On October 4, 1984, a drug addicted couple acting as police informants[67][68] telephoned their contact within the police department of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, United States and accused Bernard Baran of molesting their son. The child had been attending the government operated Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) where Baran, an openly homosexual 19-year-old, worked as a teacher's aide. The accusers had complained previously to the board of directors that they "didn't want no homo" around their son.[69][70]

Within days of the first allegation, ECDC hosted a puppet show, and delivered letters to parents notifying them about a child at the day care who had gonorrhea. Five other allegations were made. Baran was tried in the Berkshire County courthouse 105 days after the first allegation, a swiftness noted in the later court rulings. The courtroom was closed during the children's testimony, which Baran claimed violated his right to a public trial. Baran's defense attorney was later ruled ineffective. Baran was convicted on January 30, 1985, of three counts of rape of a child, and five counts of indecent assault and battery. He was sentenced to three life terms, plus 8 to 20 years on each charge. Baran maintained his innocence throughout his case.[71] In 1999, a new legal team accepted his case. In 2004, hearings began in a motion for a new trial. In 2006, Baran was granted a new trial, and released on $50,000 bail. In May 2009, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the new trial ruling, setting aside the 1985 convictions. The Berkshire County District Attorney's office dismissed the original charges, and Baran's record was cleared.[72][73]

The Bronx Five[edit]

Prosecutor Mario Merola brought prosecutions resulting in the conviction of five men, including Nathaniel Grady, a 47-year-old Methodist minister, of sexually abusing children in day care facilities throughout the Bronx.[1][74] Grady spent ten years in prison before being released in 1996.

Three employees of another Bronx day-care center were arrested in August 1984, on the charges of abusing at least ten children in their care.[75] Federal and city investigators then questioned dozens of children at the day care. They were reported as having used 'dolls, gentle words, and a quiet approach'.[76] More children reported being abused sexually, increasing the total to 30.[77] Three more day care facilities also were investigated for sexual abuse.[78] On August 11, 1984, federal funds were ended to the Head Start preschool program at the Praca Day Care Center, and three employees had been arrested.[79] In June 1985, the day care facility was reopened with new sponsorship.[80]

In January 1986, Albert Algerin, employed at the Praca Day Care center, was sentenced to 50 years for rape and sexual abuse.[81] In May, Praca employee Jesus Torres, a former teacher's aide was sentenced to 40 years.[82] Praca employee Franklin Beauchamp had his case overturned by the New York Court of Appeals during May 1989.[83]

All five convictions were ultimately reversed.[1]

Wee Care Nursery School[edit]

In Maplewood, New Jersey, during April 1985,[1] Margaret Kelly Michaels was indicted for 299 offenses in connection with the sexual assault of 33 children.[84] Michaels denied the charges.[85] "The prosecution produced expert witnesses who said that almost all the children displayed symptoms of sexual abuse."[86] Prosecution witnesses testified that the children "had regressed into such behavior as bed-wetting and defecating in their clothing. The witnesses said the children became afraid to be left alone or to stay in the dark."[86] Some of the other teachers testified against her.[86] "The defense argued that Michaels did not have the time or opportunity to go to a location where all the activities could have taken place without someone seeing her."[86]

Michaels was sentenced to 47 years in the "sex case".[87] Michaels "told the judge that she was confident her conviction would be overturned on appeal".[87] After five years in prison, her appeal was successful, and her sentence was reversed by a New Jersey appeals court. The New Jersey Supreme Court upheld the appellate court's decision, and declared, "the interviews of the children were highly improper and utilized coercive and unduly suggestive methods".[88] A three judge panel ruled she had been denied a fair trial, because, "the prosecution of the case had relied on testimony that should have been excluded because it improperly used an expert's theory, called the child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome, to establish guilt".[89] The original judge was also criticized "for the way in which he allowed the children to give televised testimony from his chambers".[89]

Glendale Montessori[edit]

James Toward and Brenda Williams were accused of kidnapping and sexually abusing six boys who attended Glendale Montessori School in Stuart, Florida, as preschoolers during 1986 and 1987. Investigators claimed to know as many as 60 victims, mostly from the ages 2 to 5.[90]

In 1988, Williams, an office manager, was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. She pleaded no contest to sexual abuse and attempted kidnapping charges involving five boys, and she was released from prison in 1993 after serving five years. In 1989, Toward, the owner of Glendale Montessori School, pleaded guilty to child sexual abuse charges and received a 27-year sentence. While technically maintaining his innocence, he allowed a guilty plea to be entered against him, convicting him of molesting or kidnapping six boys. Toward was placed in involuntary commitment due to the Jimmy Ryce Act. Although he maintained his innocence, Toward said he plea-bargained to avoid an almost certain life sentence.[90]

Little Rascals[edit]

In Edenton, North Carolina, in January 1989, a parent accused Bob Kelly of sexual abuse. During the next several months, investigations and therapy resulted in allegations against dozens of other adults in the town, culminating in the arrest of seven adults.[91]

Despite the severity of some of the alleged acts, parents noticed no abnormal behaviour in their children until after initial accusations were made.[citation needed] Bob Kelly's trial lasted eight months, and on April 22, 1992, he was convicted of 99 out of 100 counts against him.[92] In 1995, the North Carolina Court of Appeals granted new trials to two defendants, including Kelly.[92] Charges were ultimately dismissed for both.[93]

The remainder of the defendants received a variety of sentences.[94]

Dale Akiki[edit]

Dale Akiki, a developmentally-delayed man with Noonan syndrome, was accused of satanic ritual abuse during 1991. Akiki and his wife were volunteer babysitters at Faith Chapel in Spring Valley, California. The accusations started when a young girl told her mother that "[Akiki] showed me his penis," after which the mother contacted the police. After interviews, nine other children accused Akiki of killing animals, such as a giraffe and an elephant, and drinking their blood in front of the children. He was found not guilty of the 35 counts of child abuse and kidnapping in his 1993 trial.[1]

In 1994, the San Diego County Grand Jury reviewed the Akiki cases, and concluded there was no reason to pursue the theory of ritual abuse.[95] On August 25, 1994, he filed a suit against the County of San Diego, Faith Chapel Church, and many others, which was settled for $2 million.[96] Akiki's public defenders received the Public Defender of the Year award for their work defending Akiki.[96]

Oak Hill satanic ritual abuse trial[edit]

Frances Keller and her husband, Dan Keller, both of Austin, Texas, were convicted of sexually abusing a 3-year-old girl in their care, and sentenced to 48 years in prison.[97] They spent 21 years in prison until their release in 2013.[98]

The case began on August 15, 1991, when a 3-year-old girl told her mother that Dan Keller had spanked her.[97] However, the “allegation quickly morphed into an allegation of sexual abuse.”[97] The mother and daughter were on their way to a scheduled appointment with the girl's therapist, Donna David-Campbell, who elicited details that included Keller defecating on her head and sexually assaulting her with a pen. During the time leading up to the trial, two other children from the day care offered similar accusations. According to the children, the couple served blood-laced Kool-Aid, and forced them to have videotaped sex with adults and other children. The Kellers, they said, sometimes wore white robes and lit candles before hurting them. The children also accused the Kellers of forcing them to watch or participate with the killing and dismembering of cats, dogs, and a crying baby. Bodies were unearthed in cemeteries, and new holes were dug to hide freshly killed animals. At one point, an adult passer-by was shot and dismembered with a chainsaw. The children recalled several airplane flights, including one to Mexico, where they were sexually abused by soldiers, before returning to Austin in time to meet their parents at the day care.[99]

The only physical evidence of abuse in the case was presented by Michael Mouw, a then-novice emergency room physician at Brackenridge Hospital, who examined the 3-year-old girl in 1991, on the night she first accused Dan Keller of abuse. Mouw testified at the Kellers' trial that he found “deformities—described as possible lacerations to the hymen and a tear of the fourchette,” and constituted what he considered possible “signs of sexual abuse.”[100] Mouw's determination was confirmed by pediatrician Beth Nauert, who agreed at the time that the child had “deformities to her vaginal area that could be signs of sexual abuse.”[97] However, Nauert would notably examine the child two weeks after Mouw, and “found no signs of any deformities.”[97] Three years after the 1992 trial, Mouw attended a medical seminar hosted by Nauert that “detailed normal variations of female genitalia” in a slide presentation.[100] Mouw stated that the presentation included a photo that was identical to what he had observed in the girl.[99][101][100] In 2009, Mouw issued a reversal on his prior claims, after being contacted by The Austin Chronicle, as a part of their story titled “Believing the Children” that covered the Kellers' case.[102][97] Mouw stated that his erroneous medical testimony was caused by his “little experience, if any formal education at all, in conducting sexual abuse examinations of children.”[100]

On November 26, 2013, the Travis County district attorney's office announced that Fran Keller, now age 63, was being released on bond and her husband, Dan Keller, who was convicted at the same time, would be released within a week as a result of a deal with their lawyers. "There is a reasonable likelihood that (the medical expert's) false testimony affected the judgment of the jury and violated Frances Keller's right to a fair trial," said the district attorney.[98]

On June 20, 2017, the Travis County district attorney's office announced that the case against the Kellers had been dismissed, citing actual innocence. They were awarded $3.4 million in compensation from the state of Texas for the 21 years they spent in prison.[103][104]

Wenatchee child abuse prosecutions[edit]

In Wenatchee, Washington, during 1994 and 1995, police and state social workers performed what was then termed the nation's most extensive child sex-abuse investigation.[1] Forty-three adults were arrested on 29,726 charges of child sex abuse involving 60 children. Parents, Sunday school teachers, and a pastor were charged, and many were convicted of abusing their own children or the children of others in the community. However, prosecutors were unable to provide any physical evidence of the charges. The main witness was the 13-year-old foster daughter of police officer Robert Perez, who had investigated the cases.[105] A jury found the city of Wenatchee and Douglas County, Washington, negligent in the 1994–1995 investigations. In 2001, $3 million was awarded to a couple who had been accused wrongly as a result of the inquiry.[106]

Christchurch Civic Crèche[edit]

Peter Ellis, a child-care worker at the Christchurch Civic Crèche in New Zealand, was found guilty of 16 counts of sexual abuse against children in 1992, and served seven years in jail. Four female co-workers were also arrested on 15 charges of abuse, but were released after these charges were dismissed. Peter Ellis consistently denied any abuse, and although he passed away in September 2019, on 7 October 2022 New Zealand's Supreme Court unanimously quashed Mr Ellis' convictions.[107] The Court found major problems in the evidence of the prosecution's expert witness, ruling that it departed from appropriate standards and "lacked balance, suffered from problematic circular reasoning and had the overall effect of suggesting to the jury that “clusters” of behavior support a finding of sexual abuse...", and that although the risk of the complainants' evidence being contaminated was traversed at the 1993 trial, the jury was not fairly informed of the level of risk.[108]

Martensville satanic sex scandal[edit]

In 1992 a mother in the central Saskatchewan city of Martensville alleged that a local woman who had a babysitting service and day care facility in her home had sexually abused her child. Police began an investigation, resulting in a sudden increase of allegations. More than a dozen persons, including five police officers from two different forces, were ultimately charged with more than 100 charges associated with participating with a Satanic cult named The Brotherhood of The Ram, which allegedly practiced ritualized sexual abuse of numerous children at a "Devil Church".[109]

The son of the day-care owner was tried and found guilty, then a Royal Canadian Mounted Police task force assumed control of the investigation. It concluded the original investigation was motivated by "emotional hysteria".[110] During 2003, defendants sued for wrongful prosecution.[111] In 2004, Richard and Kari Klassen received $100,000 each, out of the $1.5 million compensation awarded for the malicious prosecution.[112]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Innocence Lost, The Plea". Frontline. Retrieved 20 March 2009.
  2. ^ Miller, Leslie (6 July 2001). "Parole Board recommends Amirault's commutation". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 4 November 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2007. The Amiraults always insisted they were innocent, the victims of a sex-abuse hysteria that swept the country in the 1980s and questionable testimony from child witnesses.
  3. ^ a b Talbot, Margaret (7 January 2001). "The Lives They Lived: 01-07-01: Peggy McMartin Buckey, b. 1926; The Devil in The Nursery". The New York Times. Archived from the original (reprint from New America) on 21 September 2006. Retrieved 21 July 2007. Buckey's ordeal began in 1983, when the mother of a 2½-year-old who attended the McMartin preschool in Manhattan Beach, California, telephoned the police to claim that her son had been sodomized there. It didn't matter that the woman was eventually found to be a paranoid schizophrenic, and that the accusations she made – of teachers who took children on airplane rides to Palm Springs and lured them into a labyrinth of tunnels where the accused "flew in the air" and others were "all dressed up as witches" ...
  4. ^ Pendergrast, Mark (1996). Victims of Memory: Sex Abuse Accusations and Shattered Lives. Upper Access. ISBN 978-0-942679-18-2. 'It seems [the day-care sex- abuse hysteria] had something to do with this fear that we'd turned our kids over to total strangers,' sociologist Catherine Beckett says ...
  5. ^ a b Carter, Sherrie Bourg (2005). Children in the Courtroom. National Institute for Trial Advocacy. p. 21. ISBN 9781556819483.
  6. ^ Ceci & Bruck 1996
  7. ^ McGough, Lucy S. (1994). Child Witnesses: Fragile Voices in the American Legal System. Yale University Press. p. 72. ISBN 9780300057485.
  8. ^ a b c Ceci & Bruck 1996, pp. 79–81
  9. ^ Jones, D. P. H.; McGraw, J. M. (March 1987). "Reliable and Fictitious Accounts of Sexual Abuse to Children". Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2 (1): 27–45. doi:10.1177/088626087002001002.
  10. ^ Oates, R. K.; Jones, D.P.; Denson, D.; Sirotnak, A.; Gary, N.; Krugman, R.D. (January 2000). "Erroneous Concerns about Child Sexual Abuse". Child Abuse & Neglect. 24 (1): 149–57. doi:10.1016/s0145-2134(99)00108-8. PMID 10660017. There were 14 (2.5%) erroneous concerns emanating from children.
  11. ^ Everson, M.D.; Boat, B. W. (March 1989). "False Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Children and Adolescent". Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 28 (2): 230–35. doi:10.1097/00004583-198903000-00014. PMID 2925577.
  12. ^ Mikkelsen, E.J.; T.G. Gutheil; M Emens (1992). "False Sexual-Abuse Allegations by Children and Adolescents: Contextual Factors and Clinical Subtypes". American Journal of Psychotherapy. 46 (4): 556–70. doi:10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.1992.46.4.556. PMID 1443285. S2CID 1059933. False allegations of sexual abuse by children and adolescents are statistically uncommon, occurring at the rate of 2 to 10 percent of all cases.
  13. ^ Lawson, L.; Chaffin, M (December 1992). "False negatives in sexual abuse disclosure interviews". Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 7 (4): 532–42. doi:10.1177/088626092007004008.
  14. ^ Sjoberg, R. L.; Lindblad, F (2002). "Limited disclosure of sexual abuse in children whose experiences were documented by videotape". American Journal of Psychiatry. 159 (2): 312–14. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.159.2.312. PMID 11823279.
  15. ^ Malloy, L.C.; Lyon, T.D.; Quas, J.A. (2007). "Filial dependency and recantation of child sexual abuse allegations". Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 46 (2): 162–70. doi:10.1097/01.chi.0000246067.77953.f7. PMID 17242619. S2CID 1782714.
  16. ^ Ceci & Bruck 1996, p. 140
  17. ^ Ceci & Bruck 1996, pp. 146–47
  18. ^ Ceci & Bruck 1996, p. 152
  19. ^ a b c Ceci & Bruck 1996, p. 162
  20. ^ Rabinowitz, Dorothy (2 March 2004). No Crueler Tyrannies: Accusation, False Witness, and Other Terrors of Our Times. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-2840-4.
  21. ^ State v. Ballard, 855 S.W.2d 557 (Tenn. 24 May 1993).
  22. ^ "ARMY WILL CLOSE CHILD-CARE CENTER". The New York Times. 16 November 1987. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  23. ^ "FBI Investigates Presidio Child Molest Case". AP NEWS. Archived from the original on 14 December 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  24. ^ "Finding Aid: GOGA 39004; Golden Gate National Recreation Area; U.S. Army Administrative Records, 1850-2000" (PDF). nps.gov. 17 September 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2023. Child Development Center
  25. ^ Ehrensaft, Diane (April 1992). "Preschool child sex abuse: the aftermath of the Presidio case". The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 62 (2): 234–44. doi:10.1037/h0079332. PMID 1580341. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  26. ^ "The State". Los Angeles Times. 4 August 1988. Retrieved 8 June 2023. San Francisco prosecutors have declined to bring charges against an Army officer and satanic priest who had been accused of molesting a ...
  27. ^ "Army day-care center children allegedly molested". UPI. 11 August 1987. Retrieved 8 April 2024.
  28. ^ Dyrendal, Asbjørn; Lewis, James R.; Petersen, Jesper Aagaard (2016). The Invention of Satanism. Oxford University Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-19-518110-4. Michael Aquino
  29. ^ Goldston, Linda (1989). "Army of the Night". Child Care Programs: Hearings Before the Military Personnel and Compensation Subcommittee of the Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives, One Hundredth Congress, Second Session, Hearings Held June 16, August 2 and 9, 1988. United States Congress House Committee on Armed Services Military Personnel and Compensation Subcommittee, U.S. Government Printing Office. pp. 106–114. Retrieved 8 April 2024.
  30. ^ Young, Mary de (23 February 2004). The Day Care Ritual Abuse Moral Panic. McFarland. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-7864-1830-5.
  31. ^ "Former Day-Care Operator, Acquitted of Child Molesting, Shot to Death". Associated Press. 2 November 1992. Archived from the original on 13 June 2023. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  32. ^ Wurzer, Wayne (28 January 1993). "Unsolved Mysteries: Police Hunt Killers". Seattle Times. Retrieved 8 April 2024.
  33. ^ Eng, James L. (3 November 1992). "Police Still Puzzled By Tacoma Slaying -- Victim Was Acquitted Of Child Molestation". Seattle Times. Retrieved 8 April 2024.
  34. ^ Wright, Lawrence (25 September 1994). "CHILD-CARE DEMONS". The New Yorker. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  35. ^ a b Reid, Carol (Winter 2002). "Shalom, Salem". IPT Journal. 12.
  36. ^ a b Jean, Rael (23 August 2018). "Frank Fuster: Day-Care Hysteria Case Seeks Justice". National Review. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  37. ^ a b "Two Decades After McMartin: A Follow-up of 22 Convicted Day Care Employees".
  38. ^ "1996 Day of Contrition: Protesting modern-day witch hunts". religioustolerance.org. Archived from the original on 16 July 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  39. ^ "Dear Friends". FMSF Newsletter. Vol. 6, no. 2. False Memory Syndrome Foundation. 7 February 1997.
  40. ^ a b c d James M. Wood; Debbie Nathan; M. Teresa Nezworski; Elizabeth Uhl (10 August 2009). "Child Sexual Abuse Investigations: Lessons Learned from the McMartin and Other Daycare Cases". In Bette L. Bottoms; Cynthia J. Najdowski; Gail S. Goodman (eds.). Children as Victims, Witnesses, and Offenders: Psychological Science and the Law. Guilford Press. pp. 81–101. ISBN 978-1-60623-358-0.
    • "During the 1980s and early 1990s, American newspaper headlines tracked an epidemic of bizarre sexual abuse cases as it spread across the nation. From California to Massachusetts to Florida, hundreds of young children reported being victimized by their teacher and daycare workers, often in orgies involving sex rings or satanic cults."
    • "Social scientists now generally agree that, although sexual abuse of children is a real and important social problem, the bizarre allegations that fueled the daycare cases of the 1980s were mainly or entirely false."
  41. ^ a b c d e Philip Jenkins (1 December 2004). Moral Panic: Changing Concepts of the Child Molester in Modern America. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-10963-4.
    • "The McMartin affair was followed by dozens of comparable cases in all parts of the country, all involving bizarre or ritualistic methods of abuse and all sharing similar backgrounds. Whether in Bakersfield (California), Jordan (Minnesota), Edenton, (North Carolina), Martensville (Canada) or Wenatchee (Washington), the affair generally began with a limited, plausible allegation... in the ensuing investigation, interrogation of child "victims" produced evidence that far more abuse had occurred than originally thought, and ultimately the compounding reports and rumors would implicate dozens of local residents in what could only be called sex rings or cults. Supposed victims were questioned, until they confirmed the charges and offered their own creative embellishments."
    • "Most day care and preschool prosecutions resulted in either the acquittal of the accused or the conviction of some individuals on counts that involved neither satanic nor ritualistic elements. Even these convictions were often overturned when appeals courts examined the means by which testimony had been elicited from children."
  42. ^ Schreiber, Nadja; Bellah, Lisa D.; Martinez, Yolanda; McLaurin, Kristin A.; Strok, Renata; Garven, Sena; Wood, James M. (2006). "Suggestive interviewing in the McMartin Preschool and Kelly Michaels daycare abuse cases: A case study". Social Influence. 1 (1): 16–47. doi:10.1080/15534510500361739.
    • "In the 1980s and early 1990s the United States witnessed an epidemic of what some commentators have called 'Satanic panic' ... contributing to the panic was a national outbreak of so-called 'daycare abuse' cases, in which groups of young children alleged that they had been sexually abused by their caretakers and forced to participate in bizarre ceremonies with satanic overtones. Many social scientists, scholars, and legal authorities now view the stories of Satanic conspiracy that circulated in the 1980s as urban legends, and the daycare abuse cases as historical aberrations... Psychological researchers have taken a special interest in the interviewing techniques in these cases, which apparently induced children to make false accusations."
  43. ^ Garven, Sena; Wood, J. M.; Malpass, R. S.; Shaw, J. S. III. (June 1998). "More than suggestion: The effect of interviewing techniques from the McMartin Preschool case". Journal of Applied Psychology. 83 (3): 347–359. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.83.3.347.
    • During the 1980s a series of highly publicized “daycare ritual abuse cases” erupted in communities across the United States and Europe. The cases typically involved allegations by preschool children that they had been terrorized and sexually abused by day-care workers in bizarre scenarios with Satanic or ritualistic overtones. Some scholars continue to take the view that these cases were genuine and involved actual ritual abuse (Faller, 1996; Summit, 1994). However, skepticism has become widespread among research psychologists. An extensive body of research, arising in the wake of the day-care cases of the 1980s, has identified a variety of interviewing techniques that can induce children to make false reports.
  44. ^ Mary de Young (9 February 2004). The Day Care Ritual Abuse Moral Panic. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-1830-5.
  45. ^ a b c Collins, Glen (14 December 1986). "Nightmare in Country Walk". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 July 2008.
  46. ^ a b Nathan, Debbie (3 March 1993). "The public was shocked. Country Walk parents demanded action. An election was near. Janet Reno was going to send someone to jail. No matter what". Miami New Times.
  47. ^ De Young, Mary (2004). The day care ritual abuse moral panic. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-7864-1830-5.
  48. ^ Cockburn, Alexander (8 March 1993). "Janet Reno's Coerced Confession". The Nation. pp. 296–297. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008.
  49. ^ a b "Did Daddy Do It". Frontline. PBS. 25 April 2002. Transcript.
  50. ^ a b "Was Fuster a Monster?: A Summary of the Frank Fuster "Country Walk" Case". Frontline. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  51. ^ "The Miami Method of Prosecuting Child Abuse Cases | Did Daddy do It | FRONTLINE | PBS". PBS.
  52. ^ Underwager, Ralph; Wakefield, Hollida (1994). "Untying the Gordian Knot: A Return to Reason". IPT Journal.
  53. ^ "The history of Satanic Panic in the US — and why it's not over yet". Vox. 30 October 2016. Archived from the original on 31 October 2016. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  54. ^ "Sexual Offender / Predator Flyer: Francisco F Escalona". Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Archived from the original on 10 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  55. ^ a b c Richard Beck (4 August 2015). We Believe the Children: A Moral Panic in the 1980s. PublicAffairs. ISBN 978-1-61039-288-4.
  56. ^ a b Pollitt, Katha (18 September 1999). "'Finality' or Justice?". The Nation.
  57. ^ a b Dorothy Rabinowitz (2 March 2004). No Crueler Tyrannies: Accusation, False Witness, and Other Terrors of Our Times. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-2840-4.
  58. ^ "Day Care Workers Get Retrial, As Accusers Did Not Face Them". The New York Times. The Associated Press. 30 August 1995.
  59. ^ "Day Care Workers Get Retrial, As Accusers Did Not Face Them". The New York Times. 30 August 1995. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
  60. ^ "Profile: Case of Gerald Amirault, a convicted child sex offender, and the prosecution of child sexual molestation cases." All Things Considered, April 19, 2000. General OneFile (accessed May 3, 2017).
  61. ^ Rabinowitz, Dorothy (30 January 1995). "A Darkness in Massachusetts". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 3 March 2009. On Labor Day 1984, 60-year-old Violet Amirault, proprietor of the thriving Fells Acres Day School in Malden, Massachusetts, received a call about a child-abuse accusation against her son. Two days later the police arrested 31-year-old Gerald (who worked at Fells Acres) on charges of raping a five-year-old boy, a new pupil.
  62. ^ Rabinowitz, Dorothy (14 March 1995). "A Darkness in Massachusetts – II". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 3 March 2009. A few months after Violet and Cheryl Amirault were imprisoned for committing, the State alleged, barbarous sexual assaults on small children, the prosecutors sponsored a seminar titled "The Fells Acres Day School Case – A Model Multidisciplinary Response."
  63. ^ "Dorothy Rabinowitz of The Wall Street Journal". The Pulitzer Prises.
  64. ^ Kathleen Burge, "Board Grants Parole to Amirault," Boston Globe 18 October 2003.
  65. ^ "Freedom for Gerald Amirault," Hartford Courant, 23 October 2003
  66. ^ "A matter of evidence; crime and punishment," The Economist. 1 May 2004.
  67. ^ "Video helps clear convict of abuse after 21 years". NBC News. The Associated Press. 9 August 2009. The first complaint came from a drug addicted couple.
  68. ^ Berman, D.; Lock, C.; Rainey, R.; Taub, L. (24 June 2004). "The Trials of Bernard Baran". The Boston Phoenix. Archived from the original on 12 June 2010. 'It was a way of life,' Joe Hill acknowledged in court documents, 'Nembutal, Seconal, Percodan, Heroin, cocaine, Methedrine. Is that enough?'
  69. ^ Superior Court Criminal Action No. 18042-51. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts versus Bernard F. Baran, Jr. Memorandum of Decision and Order on Defendant's Motion For A New Trial. 2006-06-21. Background, p. 6. "In 1984, Bernard Baran worked at the Early Childhood Development Center ('ECDC') as a teacher's aide. The allegations in this case emanate from his contact with pre-school children who were enrolled in this facility. The first family to bring accusations against Mr. Baran was that of Boy A. Previously, the boy's father had filed a complaint with ECDC objecting to Mr. Baran being allowed to work with children because he was a homosexual. On September 12th, 1984, the ECDC Board of Directors discussed Mr. Baran's sexuality and his possible termination. On October 5th, 1984, this family contacted the police to report that Mr. Baran had molested their child."
  70. ^ "Video helps clear convict of abuse after 21 years." http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32341725 Associated Press / NBC News. 2009-08-09. His case had followed a tortured path – the first complaint came from a drug-addicted couple, acting as narcotics informants, who told their police connection they "didn't want no homo" watching their son.
  71. ^ Pollitt, Katha (3 February 2000). "Justice for Bernard Baran". The Nation. Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2010. Baran maintained his innocence throughout his imprisonment, making him ineligible for parole.
  72. ^ "D.A. Capeless decides not to continue prosecuting Baran". The Berkshire County District Attorney's Office. 9 June 2009. Archived from the original on 8 August 2010.
  73. ^ "BERNARD BARAN: Other Massachusetts Cases with Perjury or False Accusations". law.umich.edu. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2024.
  74. ^ "20th-century witch hunt". Associated Press. 1 December 1996. The Rev. Nathaniel Grady, a pious man and a fiery orator, was born to do the Lord's work. As a boy, he walked to Sunday school hand-in-hand with his mother and sister. As an adult, he became a Methodist minister, shepherding a devoted flock in the rugged East Bronx while fostering friendships with judges, bishops, police chiefs, an ex-governor. Yet, prosecutors ignored Nat Grady's past when he was accused in 1984 of sexually abusing a half-dozen ...
  75. ^ Berger, J. (3 August 1984). "3 Seized in Child Abuse at Bronx Center". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
  76. ^ McFadden, R. (5 August 1984). "Search For Witnesses Widens In Inquiry On Day-Care Center". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
  77. ^ Purdum, T. (7 August 1984). "18 More Children Cite Sexual Abuse". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
  78. ^ Purdum, T. (9 August 1984). "Sexual Abuse Is Investigated At 3 More Day-Care Centers". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
  79. ^ McShane, Larry (5 January 1997). "For Wrongly Accused Day-Care Workers, Freedom Is No Panacea". Los Angeles Times. The Associated Press.
  80. ^ Douglas, Carlyle C. (June 1985). "Child-care Center Reopens, Burying the Tales of Abuse". The New York Times.
  81. ^ "Day Care Worker Gets 50 Years for Sex Crimes". The New York Times. Associated Press. 16 January 1986. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
  82. ^ "Day-Care Sex Assaults Bring 30-Year Sentence". The New York Times. 2 May 1986. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
  83. ^ "Prosecutor Won't Seek New Abuse Charges". The New York Times. Associated Press. 21 September 1989. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
  84. ^ "Day-Care Worker Held In Assaults On Children". The New York Times. 8 December 1985. Retrieved 23 March 2008. An employee of a day-care center in Maplewood, N.J., has been indicted for 229 offenses in connection with the sexual assault of 33 children between 3 and 6 years of age over a 6-month period.
  85. ^ Narvaez, A. (28 February 1988). "Former Day-Care Teacher Denies Sexually Abusing Schoolchildren". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2008. A former day-care center teacher being tried on charges of sexually abusing 20 children in her care testified in her defense this week and denied ever having had sexual contact with the 3- 4- and 5-year-old youngsters.
  86. ^ a b c d Narvaez, A. (29 March 1988). "Legal Arguments End in Jersey Child-Abuse Trial". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2008. Legal arguments in the nine-month trial of a day-care teacher accused of sexually abusing 20 children at a center in Maplewood ended here today.
  87. ^ a b Rangel, J. (3 August 1988). "Ex-Preschool Teacher Sentenced To 47 Years in Sex Case in Jersey". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2008. A former preschool teacher was sentenced today to 47 years in prison for sexually assaulting 19 children and endangering the welfare of another child in a day-care center in Maplewood
  88. ^ Chira, Susan (6 April 2003). "Recovered Reputations". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
  89. ^ a b Fiason, F. (27 March 1993). "Child-Abuse Conviction Of Woman Is Overturned". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2008. A New Jersey appeals court yesterday overturned the conviction of Margaret Kelly Michaels, who was accused of sexually abusing 19 children at a day-care center in Maplewood, and who was sentenced to 47 years in prison after a celebrated trial in 1988.
  90. ^ a b Jill Taylor (1 March 2008). "Headmaster's evil lives on in 20-year-old abuse case". PalmBeachPost.com.
  91. ^ Smothers, R. (19 August 1991). "Child-Abuse Case Is Ordeal for a Town". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
  92. ^ a b "2 RETRIALS ORDERED IN RASCALS CASE". scholar.lib.vt.edu. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  93. ^ "Day-Care Molestation Case Dropped". Los Angeles Times. The Associated Press. 24 May 1997.
  94. ^ Ceci & Bruck 1996, pp. 9–11
  95. ^ Ceci & Bruck 1996, p. 28
  96. ^ a b "Dale Akiki reflects on historic trial". San Diego Union-Tribune. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  97. ^ a b c d e f Smith, Jordan (30 August 2013). "Keller Case Returns to Court". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  98. ^ a b Herskovitz, Jon (27 November 2013). "Texas frees daycare operator accused of 'satanic' sexual abuse". Reuters.
  99. ^ a b Lindell, Chuck (26 November 2013). "Fran Keller to be freed in satanic abuse case". statesman.com. Archived from the original on 29 November 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  100. ^ a b c d Smith, Jordan (27 August 2013). "Can Keller Conviction Stand Without Physical Evidence?". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  101. ^ Goudeau, Ashley (27 November 2013). "Austin attorneys weigh in on why Kellers were convicted". kvue.com. Archived from the original on 5 December 2013.
  102. ^ Smith, Jordan (27 March 2009). "Believing the Children". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  103. ^ King, Michael (20 June 2017). "Kellers Exonerated". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 8 April 2024.
  104. ^ Lindell, Chuck (22 August 2017). "Dan, Fran Keller to get $3.4 million in 'satanic day care' case". Austin American-Statesman. Archived from the original on 25 February 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  105. ^ Egan, Timothy (12 December 1995). "Pastor and Wife Are Acquitted on All Charges in Sex-Abuse Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 July 2007.
  106. ^ Barber, Mike; Lange, Larry (1 August 2001). "Jury finds city, county negligent in child sex ring case". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 26 November 2007. A Spokane County jury yesterday found the city of Wenatchee and Douglas County negligent in the now-discredited 1994–1995 Wenatchee child sex ring investigations, awarding $3 million to a couple who had been wrongly accused in the inquiry.
  107. ^ "PETER HUGH MCGREGOR ELLIS v THE KING (SC 49/2019 [2022] NZSC 115)" (PDF). Supreme Court of New Zealand. 7 October 2022.
  108. ^ Norman, Cushla (8 October 2022). "Peter Ellis case: Supreme Court quashes child abuse convictions". 1 News. Retrieved 8 April 2024.
  109. ^ "Satanic Sex Scandal". CBC News. 12 February 2003. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2007. The nightmare that descended on Martensville, Saskatchewan began when a local mother had some grave suspicions. She worked as a nurse at a Saskatoon hospital and left her kids with a babysitter only a few blocks from her home. ... By the spring of 1992 Martensville was reeling with rumours about a Satanic cult called The Brotherhood of The Ram that had police officers as members. It was an explosive situation and the Martensville police were under tremendous pressure to do something about it.
  110. ^ "Policeman gets $1.3 million in Martensville settlement". CBC News. 19 June 2002. Archived from the original on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 6 February 2009. Travis Sterling, son of the day care's owners, was convicted of two counts of sexual assault. He was the only person convicted. ... Early reports of the case suggested the alleged abuse was part of a satanic ritual, but after an RCMP task force took over the investigation, it concluded the original investigation was motivated by "emotional hysteria."
  111. ^ "Wrongly accused in ritual abuse case launch $10 million suit". CBC News. 9 September 2003. Archived from the original on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2008.
  112. ^ "Settlement details released for Sask. couple accused of child abuse". CBC News. 19 November 2004. Archived from the original on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2008. Richard and Kari Klassen received $100,000 each, a share of a $1.5 million compensation package for malicious prosecution.

Further reading[edit]