Sunday, May 31, 2009

Paedophile ring abused children in State homes

Paedophile ring 'abused children in State homes' Members of gardai, clergy and civil service infiltrated childcare system By JIM CUSACK 5/31/09 A well-organised paedophile ring involving civil servants, ex-clergy, members of political parties and even gardai infiltrated the child-care system in Ireland. Now campaigners believe that there were links between the Dublin-based ring and members of a well-organised paedophile ring which infiltrated the child-care system in north Wales, and which was finally exposed and broken up in the mid-1990s....The Government has been taking a more severe legal attitude to victims of abuse in State-run schools and other institutions than the Catholic Church has to victims of clerical abuse, they say. The Department of Education has "taken on" one such victim, Louise O'Keeffe, who was raped by the headmaster of her school in west Cork when she was eight years old in 1973. Although former primary school headmaster Leo Hickey was convicted of multiple rape and abuse of children, Ms O'Keeffe was left with a legal bill of 500,000 after the State successfully fought her claim for compensation. Hundreds of victims of rape and abuse by non-clerical teachers or care workers in the State's employ have received letters from the Dept of Education threatening that their cases will be fought. Ms O'Keeffe, the High Court heard, suffered "catastrophic injuries" at the hands of the paedophile rapist Hickey - who nevertheless continues to be paid his State pension of 26,000 a year. Among the figures identified but never exposed because of insufficient evidence is a retired senior civil servant who would have the power to suppress indictments and reports on sex offenders....Many boys who passed through the state-run homes later became teenage prostitutes. Several have made allegations about a ring of apparently rich and well-connected paedophiles with access to the homes in the 1980s. In an ironic twist, an Irish woman who has been raising the issue of abuse of children in State-run institutions in Dublin, Loretta Byrne, was effectively forced from her job in the Department of Education in 1988 after she persisted in seeking action about allegations of abuse of boys in care....Paedophile David Murray was forced to leave the Sisters of Charity in Kilkenny in the mid-1970s after a boy said Murray had raped him. Rather than report this to the gardai, the Sisters helped Murray find a new job at Scoil Ard Mhuire at Oberstown, Co Dublin, where he worked for several years. Murray is believed to have had links with Welsh paedophiles who travelled between here and north Wales and even found jobs for some in State care homes here. He was eventually convicted of buggery and gross indecency and sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in 1997. By the time he was arrested and questioned in the mid-1990s, Murray had raped and abused boys in a succession of homes here and, it is believed, Wales and possibly Northern Ireland. Details of all this were excluded from the report which concentrated almost exclusively on the abuses in Church-run institutions.

Friday, May 29, 2009

True and False Child Sexual Abuse Memories

"True" and "False" Child Sexual Abuse Memories and Casey's Phenomenological View of Remembering - Joanne M. Hall, Lori L. Kondora - American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 48, No. 10, 1339-1359 (2005) DOI: 10.1177/0002764205277012

This analysis provides a historical context for the debate about "true" and "false" childhood sexual abuse memories; discusses selected literature about conventional understandings of memory and their relevance to this debate; presents an integrative, phenomenological approach to memory in the recovery and rehabilitation of women child sexual abuse survivors; and uses the insights gained to draw conclusions about the authenticity of delayed childhood sexual abuse memories. Edward Casey's phenomenological concepts of reminding, reminiscing, recognition, body memory, place memory, and commemoration are used to illuminate the complexity of traumatic memories and recovery and rehabilitation needs of the survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Article excerpts: The notion of false accusation is often raised in cases where physical evidence is not available and a period of time has passed or when there has been a delay in recall of the events by a survivor of child sexual abuse. This is not to imply that false memories are not possible. This article outlines how rare they must be, however, based on historical factors and a phenomenological analysis of memory itself....During periods of increased visibility of sexual abuse of children, society tends to deny it because its existence fractures cultural values about family (Summit, 1988). From a historical perspective, the current controversy about the truth or falsehood of childhood sexual abuse memories is one in a series of societal repudiations of the existence and extent of childhood sexual abuse, especially incest (Herman, 1992; Olafson, Corwin, & Summit, 1993; van der Kolk et al., 1996).

In the majority of publicized discussions of false memory syndrome, it is the delayed memories of women that are being challenged, suggesting that at the heart of this controversy, there are also gender conflicts. Specifically, this controversy reinforces an image of women as not to be trusted or believed....Most scientists investigating traumatic memory doubt that memories of abuse could be planted. In fact, childhood sexual abuse survivors would rather not believe that they had been so betrayed and violated by a trusted adult. Recent research shows many false negatives and few false positives in terms of memories of abuse (Hardt & Rutter, 2004). Furthermore, caregivers who work closely with traumatized individuals battle the temptation to suppress survivors' stories of abuse because such material tends to exhaust their own sense of efficacy, creativity, and hope (Herman, 1992).

Research shows that 64% of adult women childhood sexual abuse survivors had some degree of amnesia regarding the trauma; but in the majority of cases, corroboration was available to verify that abuse had occurred (Herman & Schatzow, 1987). Of 129 women with recorded histories of childhood sexual abuse, 38% did not recall the abuse that had been clearly verified and documented decades earlier. This lack of recall was especially likely among those abused at younger ages and among those whose perpetrators were known by them at the time of the abuse (L.Williams, 1994). In fact, a body of empirical evidence indicates that it is common for abused children to reach adulthood without conscious awareness of the trauma (Briere, 1992; Herman, 1992; Schetky, 1990; van der Kolk et al., 1996).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Childhood Abuse, Avatar Choices, and Other Risk Factors Associated With Internet Initiated Victimization of Adolescent Girls

Childhood Abuse, Avatar Choices, and Other Risk Factors Associated With Internet-Initiated Victimization of Adolescent Girls - Jennie G. Noll, PhD, Chad E. Shenk, PhD, Jaclyn E. Barnes, MA and Frank W. Putnam, MD RESULTS. Forty percent of the sample reported experiencing online sexual advances, and 26% reported meeting someone offline who they first met online. Abused girls were significantly more likely to have experienced online sexual advances and to have met someone offline. Having been abused and choosing a provocative avatar were significantly and independently associated with online sexual advances, which were, in turn, associated with offline encounters. CONCLUSIONS.A history of childhood abuse may increase Internet-initiated victimization vulnerability. Parents should be aware of the ways in which their adolescents are presenting themselves online. Making adolescent girls and their parents aware that provocative online self-presentations may have implications for sexual solicitation might help to ward off sexual advances and might help prevent Internet-initiated victimizations. Practitioners should consider standard inquiry into Internet and media usage an aspect of comprehensive care. PEDIATRICS Vol. 123 No. 6 June 2009, pp. e1078-e1083 (doi:10.1542/peds.2008-2983)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Psychological Impact Of Child Abuse

Psychological Impact Of Child Abuse ScienceDaily 5/24/09 - According to a new Mayo Clinic study, a history of child abuse significantly impacts the wide range of challenges facing depressed inpatients. Included are an increase in suicide attempts, prevalence of substance use disorder, and a higher incidence rate of personality disorder. Additionally, these victims also had an earlier onset of mental illness and an increase in psychiatric hospitalizations for psychiatric issues. The study was presented at the American Psychiatric Association 2009 Annual Meeting in San Francisco....Although the findings of the Mayo study do not confirm causality, the information stresses the importance of more aggressive approaches from the public health perspective to prevent child abuse. "A history of child abuse makes most psychiatric illnesses worse," according to Magdalena Romanowicz, M.D., lead author of the study. "We found that it significantly impacts the wide range of characteristics of depressed inpatients including increased risk of suicide attempt, substance abuse, as well as earlier onset of mental illness and more psychiatric hospitalizations. This new information serves as a reminder of the importance of child abuse prevention from a public health perspective."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mount Cashel public inquiry, PBS Divided Memories


Mount Cashel abuse victim calls for public inquiry - Richard Foot, Canwest News Service 5/24/09 A survivor of Canada's worst child abuse scandal is calling for a public inquiry into the horrors inflicted on boys at the Mount Cashel orphanage in Newfoundland, as well as other Christian Brothers institutions across the country....The St. John's survivor, who lived at the now-defunct Mount Cashel orphanage during the 1950s, is a well-known Newfoundland professional and community volunteer who managed against all odds to build a life for himself, despite being savagely beaten and sexually abused as a boy. He is now one of 50 Mount Cashel survivors with civil suits still before the courts....Doe says the conditions and suffering described by the report out of Ireland read like a "mirror image" of his time in Mount Cashel....From 1989-1990, a Newfoundland royal commission, led by retired Ontario judge Samuel Hughes, did investigate the Mount Cashel scandal; however, its work was focused only on a police coverup of the abuses and on a select group of victims housed in the orphanage in the 1970s and 80s....Between 1996 and 2004, $27 million was paid by the Newfoundland government and the Christian Brothers in compensation to roughly 100 Mount Cashel victims. Another $8.5 million was paid over the same period, by the Catholic order and the government of Ontario, to survivors of Christian Brothers schools in Ontario.

This project began as a letter to PBS which objected to false statements made by Ms. Ofra Bikel, producer of the program "Divided Memories." That letter described how an undergraduate Research Assistant at Brown University found half a dozen corroborated cases of recovered memory in just a few hours of electronic database searching, disproving Ms. Bikel's claim to the contrary (Cheit, 1995). PBS did not defend Ms. Bikel's claim that "she could not find any" corroborated cases of recovered memory in her allegedly extensive search.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

'Endemic' abuse of Irish children in Catholic care, Cheit/Piper

describes crimes
'Endemic' rape and abuse of Irish children in Catholic care, inquiry finds - Beatings and humiliation by nuns and priests were common at institutions that held up to 30,000 children, Ryan report states - Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent -, 5/20/09 Rape and sexual molestation were "endemic" in Irish Catholic church-run industrial schools and orphanages, a report revealed today. The nine-year investigation found that Catholic priests and nuns for decades terrorised thousands of boys and girls in the Irish Republic, while government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rape and humiliation. The high court judge Sean Ryan today unveiled the 2,600-page final report of Ireland's commission into child abuse, which drew on testimony from thousands of former inmates and officials from more than 250 church-run institutions. Police were called to the news conference amid angry scenes as victims were prevented from attending. More than 30,000 children deemed to be petty thieves, truants or from dysfunctional families - a category that often included unmarried mothers - were sent to Ireland's austere network of industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and hostels from the 1930s until the last facilities shut in the 1990s....The report found that molestation and rape were "endemic" in boys' facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers order, and supervisors pursued policies that increased the danger. Girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but instead endured frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless....The report concluded that when confronted with evidence of sex abuse, religious authorities responded by transferring offenders to another location, where in many instances they were free to abuse again. "There was evidence that such men took up teaching positions sometimes within days of receiving dispensations because of serious allegations or admissions of sexual abuse," the report said. "The safety of children in general was not a consideration."

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse

Executive Summary - Conclusions - 1. Physical and emotional abuse and neglect were features of the institutions. Sexual abuse occurred in many of them, particularly boys' institutions. Schools were run in a severe, regimented manner that imposed unreasonable and oppressive discipline on children and even on staff.

Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse - Volume I - Volume V

Abuse Tracker -

Junk Skepticism and Recovered Memory: A Reply to Piper - Ross E. Cheit - Ethics and Behavior,9(4) 295-318 (1999) "Piper purports to challenges the facts in seven cases. As detailed later in virtually every instance his argument is undocumented and inaccurate."

Ross Cheit Response to Critics (Replies to Piper and McNally)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Baran and Halsey child abuse cases

The Legend of Robert Halsey - Cheit, Ross E.- Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, v9 n3-4 p37-52 2001 Abstract: A brief narrative description of the journal article, document, or resource. Examines the criminal conviction of Robert Halsey for sexually abusing two young boys on his school-van route near Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Based on a comprehensive examination of the trial transcript, suggests that the credulous acceptance of the "false conviction" legend about Robert Halsey provides a case study in the techniques and tactics used to minimize and deny sexual abuse.

False-conviction chic in the Berkshires - Robert Halsey was convicted in 1993 of sexually abusing two boys on his school van route in Lanesboro, Mass. There was a mountain of evidence against him, and he was sentenced to two consecutive life terms. Now a growing movement is trying to suggest that Halsey was unjustly convicted. A country that cherishes the presumption of innocence still needs to learn something about the presumption of guilt. There is a dark side to the growing movement on behalf of persons falsely convicted by the criminal justice system: phony false-conviction claims. There is just such a phony claim currently brewing in the Berkshires....As long-time residents of the Berkshires will remember, Robert Halsey was convicted in 1993 of sexually abusing two boys on his school van route in Lanesboro, Mass. There was a mountain of evidence against him. The two boys... had clear medical signs of the abuse. Their disclosures were extremely detailed and they were written up well before the boys were involved in any repeat interviews, therapy sessions or other measures which are commonly cited as sources of "child suggestibility."....Various parts of the boys' testimony were corroborated by three other children, two of whom had moved to Florida nine months before Halsey was arrested.

The Legend of Robert Halsey: A cautionary tale about the dangers of "false-conviction chic"
Baran received a fair trial By William W. Simons - Pittsfield 9/13/03 "I have spent my professional life (going on 50 years) as a prosecutor, defense lawyer and Superior Court judge….I was the presiding judge in the Superior Court trial of Bernard Baran that took place in Pittsfield, extending for 10 days in January 1985. Baran was charged with rape and indecent assault and battery on six children while he was a child-care worker in a Pittsfield day care center. He was originally represented by the Public Defender's Office but chose to obtain private counsel, Leonard Conway of Westfield. After his conviction on these cases involving five of the children, an appeal was taken on Baran's behalf by Attorney David O. Burbank of Pittsfield, also an experienced and able trial and appellate counsel. The appeal was decided on March 27, 1986, affirming the convictions. Mr. Burbank sought further appellate review and that application was denied by the Supreme Judicial Court on May 30, 1986….The concern that young victims are prone to suggestibility pales in comparison to the suggestibility of grown and experienced newspapermen. A more serious injury is that distorted claims of injustice that seek freedom for Baran are not without consequences for society and this community, should they succeed."

The Search for Satan - Fourteen Years Later

"The Search for Satan”: Fourteen Years Later By Lynn Crook, M.Ed.

AUTHOR NOTE: In my initial review of PBS Frontline’s “The Search for Satan” for Treating Abuse Today I reported some of the problems I had discovered in this documentary: (1) In several clips, producer Bikel flashed a quick shot of a document and narrowed the camera focus to one statement. Using the pause button, I was able to read the rest of the document. There I learned that Mary Shanley was not, as the producers claimed, “having a normal life and doing normal things” before her hospitalization in Houston. (2) The film contained a surprising number of recreated scenes which were not labeled as such. (3) A supposedly direct quote from FBI agent Ken Lanning had been edited. (4) A call to the State of Illinois revealed that Shanley had not been “listed with the State of Illinois as a child abuser,” nor had her teaching certificate been listed as “restrictive.” (5) I did some research and found the producers failed to mention that Shanley had been hospitalized at four different hospitals and received a diagnosis of “mixed personalities.”

I titled my review “Smoke and Mirrors,” and it appeared in the Jan/Feb 1996 issue of Treating Abuse Today.

Two years later, the women featured in the film, Shanley and Pat Burgus, had both settled their lawsuits against their therapists. Shanley’s case settled with a gag order in place. Malpractice carrier AIG and two others had settled Burgus’s case for $10.6 million .The medical license of Burgus’s psychiatrist was suspended for two years. Five of Shanley’s mental health care providers were indicted on federal fraud and conspiracy charges.

I flew down to Houston in September of 1998 to cover the trial in federal court, and was in the courtroom when Shanley was on the witness stand. During cross-examination, defense attorney Rusty Hardin discredited virtually all of the claims Shanley had made in “Search.” Shanley acknowledged she recalled memories of cult abuse long before she met the defendants, and could not name any false memories that Peterson had supposedly implanted. The government rested its case after five months. All charges against the five defendants were then dismissed.

My follow-up review “The Search for Satan: Three Years Later” was published in the September/October 1998 issue of Treating Abuse Today.

In 2001, I reviewed the lengthy deposition of Pat Burgus, the second woman featured in “The Search for Satan.” I found that on January 17, 1997, Burgus had acknowledged that her psychiatrist had not implanted any false memories. Instead, he had only passed on to her what other patients at the hospital had reported about her (Deposition, pp. 912-913). Based upon Burgus’s deposition, her mental health had improved significantly during her hospitalization.

The following article has been slightly revised from the version that appeared in Treating Abuse Today in 1998.

“The Search for Satan”: Three Years Later

“Two troubled women. Both sought help from some of the top doctors in the country. The diagnosis? Satanic ritual abuse!..After millions of dollars in treatment, the women now say, ‘The doctors were wrong!’”

So begins Frontline’s 1995 film, “The Search for Satan.” The media hailed the film as an “indictment against therapists” and the film was re-broadcast by public television stations around the world.

The “two troubled women” were Mary Shanley and Pat Burgus. “Some of the top doctors” were Bennett Braun, Roberta Sachs in Chicago and Judith Peterson in Houston. “The diagnosis” was not “satanic ritual abuse,” but multiple personality disorder.

“The Search for Satan” on Frontline

“The Search for Satan” was produced and written by Ofra Bikel and Rachel Dreitzen for PBS Frontline. “Search” aired on October 24, 1995. At its website, Frontline describes its commitment to viewers.

From its inception, FRONTLINE has never shied away from tough, controversial issues or stories others avoided because they seemed too gray and complex for the black and white spectrum of conventional broadcast journalism. For there is an aesthetic goal as well: the fusion of credible, thoughtful reportage with compelling narrative, the story well told. In the end, that is the core of Frontline’s commitment to its viewers.

The following excerpts compare the Frontline producers’ “credible, thoughtful reportage” in 1995 to what their interviewees said under oath during US v. Peterson et al. in 1998.


Search - Shriner said the Shanleys were the typical loving family. Mary was a model wife and mother, her husband’s lover and best friend, a woman filled with patience, the perfect feminine presence in a typical, loving family. She had a wonderful relationship with her son, Ryan. Mary was a great mom, she had tons of patience.
Shriner testified that Mary experienced panic attacks. Mary was increasingly disturbed by her angry outbursts against Ryan and Joe, and the Shanleys were experiencing marital problems.


Search - “I was in very poor health [when I left SSG].”
Shanley, a slender woman, testified during direct examination that she had gained 25 pounds since her Spring Shadows Glen (SSG) release. During cross, Shanley appeared confused when shown hospital records indicating that she weighed 108 pounds when she entered SSG, her weight dropped to 105 pounds during her stay, and she weighed 108 when she left SSG. Shanley testified during direct that she was prevented from seeing a dentist despite her complaints of pain from an abscessed tooth. However, hospital records showed that she refused dental care for 2 months prior to November 3rd because she felt that dental care prior to that date would be “triggering.” She was prescribed antibiotics to contain the dental infection. She complained of back pain due to abreactive sessions and was prescribed additional voluntary restraints to support her back.

Search - NARRATOR: In 1988, Mary fell into a deep depression… MARY: Because I was suffering from seizures and blackouts, the counselor thought I might be suffering from a dissociative disorder. So I went for an evaluation at the best hospital in Chicago [Rush Presbyterian-St. Lukes’ Medical Center].
- Two years prior to entering the dissociative disorders unit at Rush, Shanley was evaluated and hospitalized for memory blackouts and self-harming episodes at the following facilities: Alexian Brothers in May 1989, Forrest Hospital in January 1990, Old Orchard in March 1990 and Rush Memorial in 1990. She was hospitalized at SSG in Houston in May 1991, and discharged in June 1993. Under cross, it was shown that insurance claims reviewers determined that Shanley was “chronically suicidal,” hence, “untreatable,” and advised that she should be placed in a nursing home. Shanley refused this option, and SSG staff assisted her in finding housing and employment.


Search – ‘‘These kids [Pat Burgus two sons] came into the hospital as really stable, well-functioning kids.”
Contrary to hospital records indicating the boys were very troubled, McDonald testified that the boys were stable because, in her judgment, they appeared stable. She further testified that she decided that a patient whose hospital records stated that she had been sexually abused could not have been sexually abused if a gynecological report showed that the patient’s hymen was intact

Search – “It became very clear to the nurses that if we objected that there would be a reprisal, and that reprisal would be a transfer off the unit, a demotion and in some cases an actual termination’
Under cross, McDonald could name no instances in which nurses were transferred, demoted or terminated. McDonald was eventually demoted for below-standard nursing practices.

Frontline’s “Guidelines on Journalistic Standards and Practices”

Frontline’s Guideline #7 states that “where it may be appropriate to re-enact or stage an event, it must be labeled clearly and unmistakably as such.”

Readers may recall a powerful scene from “The Search for Satan” which showed Shanley seated in a large, crowded church sanctuary as the pastor supposedly told his congregation: “In April of 1989, satanism came out of the closet for all of us to see it in all of its ugliness. The satan worshippers that pose the greatest threat to our society are the secret splinter groups, scores of clandestine groups are meeting right here in our neighborhood and the amount of activity is on the rapid increase…”

Under cross-examination, Shanley testified that she had never attended this church. The scene was not labeled as a re-enactment.

The Guidelines say that producers “will exercise extreme care in checking the accuracy and credibility of all information they receive, especially as it may relate to accusations of wrongdoing.”

During her final day on the witness stand, Shanley testified that she now views her hospital treatment as “worse than it was” and that, at some future time, and she might “testify differently” regarding her hospitalization experiences.
In response, the defense stood to object, “But Ms. Shanley, these defendants are facing prison terms.”

For reasons that remain unexplained, PBS pulled “The Search for Satan” from its mail order list.

The ISSD Responds to “The Search for Satan”

The International Society for the Study of Dissociation (ISSD) issued a statement in December 1995 in response to the film’s characterization of the diagnosis and treatment of MPD (now referred to as Dissociative Identity Disorder [DID]).

“The majority of people who suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder are not diagnosed impulsively or capriciously, as was implied by this Frontline segment . . . Research has documented that, on average, people with Dissociative Identity Disorder have spent seven years in the mental health system before the diagnosis is recognized and maximally effective treatment can be provided . . . Although some persons with Dissociative Identity Disorder allege that they experienced ritual abuse during childhood, most do not make allegations of this kind, as was implied by this segment of Frontline . . . The ISSD strongly discourages therapists and members of the media from sensationalizing the diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder and from publicly appearing with, portraying, or otherwise exploiting individuals who suffer from this painful disorder. We urge the media to educate the public by presenting scientific information on this and all mental illnesses in a balanced and responsible manner.”

Co-producer Ofra Bikel Responds

Producer Bikel posted her response on the WITCHHNT listserve on January 3, 1996.

“I have made a point not to get involved in the arcane arguments among the various therapists, or schools of therapy, regarding my programs “Divided Memories” and “The Search for Satan.” But now that the ISSD official ‘response’ to my last program has appeared on the Internet, looking as if it sprang right out of Alice in Wonderland, I would like to say a few words about it . . . The program “In Search of Satan” [sic] was about two specific cases: two women, their children, and their therapists. The three therapists [Braun, Sachs, Peterson] were named repeatedly, as were their hospitals. . . . If I understand what I read correctly, it is supposedly a response to what the program ‘misleadingly implied’. But the program did not imply anything other than what it reported, and any answer to it must deal with the facts it exposed, before launching into their perceived implications . . . But a lofty declaration of principles and aspirations, cloaked as a damning response to myself and Frontline, while avoiding every single fact the program brought up, seems to me self-serving and cowardly.”


Dramatics accounts of satanic ritual abuse and years of “bad therapy” have caught the attention of the media. However, presenting uncorroborated claims as fact and failing to check an interviewee’s credibility cannot be excused on any grounds.


Crook, L. (1996). Smoke and mirrors. Treating Abuse Today, 5(6) & (6)1, 87-93.

Guidelines on journalistic standards and practices. (1996, February). Frontline. Boston: WGBH.

Smith, M. (1998, October 9). Former patient can’t attribute false memories to therapy. Houston Chronicle. Online at:

Former patient can't attribute false memories to therapy By Mark Smith Staff Houston Chronicle 10/09/98 Former psychiatric patient Mary Shanley testified Thursday that Spring Shadows Glen therapists had suggested general themes involving cult abuse but that she could not attribute any specific false memories to her therapy....Shanley testified that before arriving at Spring Shadows Glen she had come to believe she had been a satanic-cult priestess since childhood - the fifth successive generation in her family. She said she feared the cult might hurt her son.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

articles on memory and DID

False attribution of suggestibility to explain recovered memory of childhood sexual abuse following extended amnesia - Frank Leavitt - Child Abuse & Neglect Volume 21, Issue 3, March 1997, Pages 265-272 Abstract: Suggestibility is central to arguments proffered by critics of recovered memory of childhood sexual abuse who believe that memories involving amnesia are false creations of treatment. The present study represents the first direct investigation of suggestibility among patients who report recovered memory. Suggestibility was measured in 44 patients who recovered memories and in a 31 patient comparison group without a history of sexual trauma using the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale. Results indicated that patients who recover memories were remarkably less suggestible than the clinical field has been led to believe by advocates of false memory. As a group, they scored low on suggestibility. Recovered Memory patients yielded to suggested prompts an average of 6.7 times per case. This compares to an average of 10.6 in the Psychiatric comparison group. Paradoxically, patients without a history of sex abuse were more at risk for altering memory to suggestive prompts. These findings appreciably challenge advocated theories of suggested memory. doi:10.1016/S0145-2134(96)00171-8

Roseanne Tells Her Story
Aired August 16, 2001 - 21:00 ET
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Roseanne, there's nobody like her! She survived multiple personality disorder, abuse, depression, shattered marriages. She's still got a knack for making America laugh. You've seen all that stuff in the tabloids. Now get her story. Roseanne for the hour, with phone calls, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Jesuits, DID/MPD book, abuse epigenetics

describes abuse 'Forgotten children' share secret shame By Tracy Vedder 5/11/09 They were the forgotten children. Five- and six-year old girls and boys - sent to a remote boarding school and left to the terrible mercy of their caretakers. For the first time publicly, some of those children - now adults - are telling their stories of sexual abuse at the hands of their Jesuit teachers. They're telling those stories because they believe dozens of other victims out there still need help. St. Mary's Mission School sits empty and abandoned now. Today St. Mary's Mission School, in the hills above Omak, sits desolate, abandoned, in a poor corner of the Colville Indian Reservation. The classrooms - long empty. The boys' and girls' dormitories - locked up tight. There's little evidence today of the torturous childhoods many spent here. Patti Webb was just 6 years old in 1962 when she was taken to St. Mary's. Alone and scared, the daughter of an alcoholic - absent mother, Webb says the sexual molestation started right away.... Sixteen Colville tribal members - 15 women and one man - who were at St. Mary's in the early '60s to early '70s have come forward telling similar stories....Webb and the other 15 tribal members settled with the Oregon Province of the Jesuits for $4.8 million. The province covers all of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. But Webb and Allison believe there are dozens of other victims from St. Mary's Mission - now scattered across the Northwest - who have never come forward. And since the Jesuits have declared bankruptcy, those victims will only have a limited time to file a claim....Settling sexual abuse claims has already cost the Jesuits of the five Northwest states a bundle, over $55 million for more than 200 victims - most from Alaska. The Jesuits believe there could be another 200 victims with claims out there - so they've decided bankruptcy is the only way to make sure all the victims get a fair shot at what money they have left.

describes abuse Multiple personality disorder: `Creating personas was my way of coping with abuse' After years of abuse by her father, Alice Jamieson developed multiple personality disorder. She tells how trauma has shaped her life - 5/11/09 When Alice Jamieson was 24 she was told that she had multiple personality disorder, or dissociative identity disorder (DID), a condition that is associated with abuse in childhood. At one point she had about 15 alternative personalities, many of them children with specific memories of the abuse that she suffered, largely at the hands of her father, although at times he sanctioned the involvement of other adults, too. DID is an elaborate defence mechanism that enables victims of abuse to cope with what has happened to them. If a bad experience is dealt with by a separate person, then good experiences - perhaps with the same adult to whom attachment is imperative - can be preserved. Alice's book, Today I'm Alice, is a compelling account of the strategies she has used to survive more than two decades of grotesque sexual, physical and emotional harm....It is estimated that nine out of ten abused children remain silent about their damaged past, even as adults....Throughout her childhood, adolescence and young adulthood he raped her hundreds of times. "There was no perversion my father didn't inflict on me," she writes....In 1999 she did eventually report the abuse to the police, who investigated - but her father, who denies the allegations, was not prosecuted, largely because Alice's mental health was poor at the time. The abuse has, however, been validated by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, which carried out a two-and-a-half-year investigation and awarded her more than £400,000. She also has a letter from her local police force confirming its belief that she has told the truth...."Today I'm Alice," by Alice Jamieson, is published by Sidgwick & Jackson

Child abuse marks genes, affects ability to cope: Study - Margaret Munro , Canwest News Service 2/22/09 Child abuse can indelibly mark and alter genes in its young victims leaving them less able to cope with stress later in life, according to new Canadian research. A Montreal team has discovered large numbers of "chemical marks," which inhibit a key mechanism for dealing with stress, in the brains of young men who were physically or sexually abused as children and later committed suicide. "It's almost as if there is an imprint left," says Michael Meaney at McGill University, who heads the team that has already toppled many long-held views of how early experience impacts behaviour and genes. Their new study, published Sunday in Nature Neuroscience, is seen as the most convincing evidence yet that childhood abuse permanently modifies genes....Abuse is believed to be prevalent with as many as 10 to 15 per cent of children physically or sexually abused, says Meaney. "It's tragic," he says....Working with brain tissues from the Quebec Suicide Brain Bank, the researchers looked at the DNA of the 12 men who committed suicide and had been abused in childhood, 12 men who died of suicide and were not abused, and 12 men who died accidentally. The looked for differences in chemical marks on a gene involved in stress response. Such marks are laid down early in life and are thought to be a sensitive to one's environment. They punctuate DNA and program it to express genes at the appropriate time and place. The researchers found that the men who had been abused as children had substantially more chemical marks, or flags, along the glucocorticoid receptor gene involved in the brain's stress response. The marks, which are "methyl groups" containing carbon and hydrogen, were three to four times more common on the genes of the abused men. "It's quite significant," says Meaney. They have also shown excess marks impact the functioning of the gene, reducing the amount of protein produced in the brain's stress response pathway. This would have hampered the men's ability to cope with stress, and could have contributed to their suicides, says Meaney.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

ritual abuse book reviews, "false" memory, child abuse

Black, D. M. (Autumn 1995). "Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse edited by Valerie Sinason". British Journal of Psychotherapy 12 (1): 119-131. Most of the book is written by therapists who have lived through a very real trauma themselves: that of slowly coming to believe that the appalling stories they are hearing may be literally true. Some therapists have further paralleled their patients' experience by meeting disbelief or dismissiveness in their professional colleagues. Far from an overeagerness to accept these stories, virtually every contributor describes initial extreme reluctance to believe them, only gradually overborne by the weight of the evidence....we also meet the courage and devotion of many impressive therapists, who have persevered and very often won through, and we are also, very practically, given a great deal of helpful and directly useful information: what to do and who to turn to if we think we may be faced with these issues. This book is not fun, but it is admirable and necessary.

Riley, E.A. (1992). "Breaking the circle of satanic ritual abuse: Recognizing and recovering from the hidden trauma.". Journal of Traumatic Stress 6 (3). Those of us who work with satanic ritual abuse (SRA) are grateful for any treatment oriented materials on the subject. There is so little available and a majority of those most experienced fail to speak frankly and openly for a variety of reasons. In this instance, since the author (not his real name) is both a survivor and a mental health professional, the expectations of insightful revelations are perhaps greater than they should be. He interviews a number of clinicians and quotes them liberally as to their own experience with SRA survivors. As a result, embedded throughout, are little gems of clinical technique and activity....In summary, the book is worth owning and is available in paperback from CompCare Publishers, 2415 Annapolis Lane, Minneapolis, Minn.

What research paradigms have cognitive psychologists used to study "False memory," and what are the implications of these choices? Kathy Pezdek and Shirley Lama - Conscious Cogn 16:2-17. March 2007 PMID 16157490 Abstract - This research examines the methodologies employed by cognitive psychologists to study "false memory," and assesses if these methodologies are likely to facilitate scientific progress or perhaps constrain the conclusions reached. A PsycINFO search of the empirical publications in cognitive psychology was conducted through January, 2004, using the subject heading, "false memory." The search produced 198 articles. Although there is an apparent false memory research bandwagon in cognitive psychology, with increasing numbers of studies published on this topic over the past decade, few researchers (only 13.1% of the articles) have studied false memory as the term was originally intended-to specifically refer to planting memory for an entirely new event that was never experienced in an individual's lifetime. Cognitive psychologists interested in conducting research relevant to assessing the authenticity of memories for child sexual abuse should consider the generalizability of their research to the planting of entirely new events in memory.

A Review of Childhood Abuse, Health, and Pain-Related Problems: The Role of Psychiatric Disorders and Current Life Stress - Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, Volume 10, Issue 2 April 2009 , pages 170 - 188 Authors: Natalie Sachs-Ericsson ; Kiara Cromer; Annya Hernandez; Kathleen Kendall-Tackett Abstract: The current article reviews recent research demonstrating the relationship between childhood physical and sexual abuse and adult health problems. Adult survivors of childhood abuse have more health problems and more painful symptoms. We have found that psychiatric disorders account for some, but not all, of these symptoms, and that current life stress doubles the effect of childhood abuse on health problems. Possible etiologic factors in survivors' health problems include abuse-related alterations in brain functioning that can increase vulnerability to stress and decrease immune function. Adult survivors are also more likely to participate in risky behaviors that undermine health or to have cognitions and beliefs that amplify health problems. Psychiatric disorders, although not the primary cause of difficulties, do have a role in exacerbating health and pain-related problems. We conclude by outlining treatment recommendations for abuse survivors in health care settings.

Friday, May 8, 2009

priest pled guilty to 47 victims, Scottish pedophile ring

Record settlement for victim of pedophile priest By Donald McArthur, The Windsor Star 5/7/09 A victim of pedophile priest Charles Sylvestre has secured a record-setting settlement from the London diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, just days before her civil lawsuit was to proceed to trial. Lou Ann Soontiens, who endured five years of abuse as a girl and underwent a forced abortion, will share her story and announce details of the historic settlement Friday in London....Sylvestre was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty in 2006 to sexually assaulting 47 girls over 40 years in Windsor, Chatham, Pain Court, Sarnia and London. Publicity surrounding his case prompted more victims to come forward. Sylvestre died in Kingston Penitentiary in January 2007, less than four months into his sentence....In particular, Talach (of Ledroit Beckett in London) said evidence suggested Sylvestre was moved from Hamilton to Windsor in the early 1950s after complaints were made against him in Hamilton. "He should have never been in Windsor, he should have never been in London, he should have never been in Sarnia, he should have never been in Chatham, he should never have been in Pain Court," said Talach. "All those victims in those cities could have been avoided."

Scottish paedophile ring found guilty of more than 50 charges Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent, 5/7/09 A ring of eight paedophiles, including a former welfare campaigner for young gay men, were today convicted of child abuse and producing indecent images of children. The men, from across central Scotland, were found guilty by a jury in Edinburgh of more than 50 charges, ranging from abusing infants from three months old to conspiracy and holding more than 125,000 images of child pornography. Two of the leaders of the gang, the biggest paedophile network uncovered in Scotland, were convicted of raping and abusing the young children of close friends while they were babysitting, and sharing images of the abuse....A further 7,000 images were found, together with emails clearly showing that other children were at serious risk. Lothian and Borders detectives launched Operation Algebra, and were given warrants by courts in the United States to obtain email records from Microsoft. Expert witnesses were able to identify one digital camera used to record the abuse from the photographs....Milligan had 78,000 images in his possession. He was allowed to listen on the telephone to Rennie abusing the toddler, and had discussed getting access to the boy. Webber, Boath and Milligan were found guilty of conspiring to participate in the sexual abuse of children along with Strachan and Rennie. Campbell was cleared of conspiracy.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

child slaves, Franklin case video

Brown orders inquiry into child slaves passed through Heathrow care home 5/6/09 Jenny Booth - Gordon Brown today promised an investigation after it emerged that a children's home near Heathrow airport has been used as a clearing house by traffickers who have sold dozens of Chinese youngsters into slavery, prostitution or the drugs trade. The Prime Minister told the Commons that the Government would investigate a practice which he condemned as "completely unacceptable and inhumane". The news emerged in a leaked document from the UK Border Agency, obtained by The Guardian newspaper, that said that at least 77 Chinese children have gone missing from the care home run by the London borough of Hillingdon since March 2006....The document said the missing children were victims of an international trafficking network with agents based in countries including China, Brazil, Japan, Malaysia and Kenya.

Conspiracy Of Silence on the Franklin case - "Conspiracy of Silence, a documentary listed for viewing in TV Guide Magazine was to be aired on the Discovery Channel, on May 3, 1994. This documentary exposed a network of religious leaders and Washington politicians who allegedly flew children to Washington D.C. for sex orgies."
also at

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What hysteria?, Cult and Ritual abuse reviews


What hysteria? A systematic study of newspaper coverage of accused child molesters - Ross E. Cheit - Child Abuse & Neglect 27 (2003) 607-623 Results: Most defendants (56.1%) were not mentioned in the newspaper. Factors associated with a greater chance of coverage include: cases involving first-degree charges, cases with multiple counts,cases involving additional violence or multiple victims, and cases resulting in long prison sentences. The data indicate that the press exaggerates “stranger danger,” while intra-familial cases are underreported. Newspaper accounts also minimize the extent to which guilty defendants avoid prison. Conclusions: Generalizing about the nature of child molestation cases in criminal court on the basis of newspaper coverage is inappropriate. The coverage is less extensive than often claimed, and it is skewed in ways that are typical of the mass media....Conclusions - The findings in this study dispute many popular claims about “media hysteria” over child sexual abuse. Based on a comprehensive analysis of all those charged with this crime in Rhode Island in 1 year, it is clear that the coverage was generally limited and often nonexistent. More than half the people charged with child molestation never had their name in the newspaper. Only a handful of those covered received anything more than a few stories, and much of that in brief “fillers” (under 200 words). The lack of support for the “hysteria” position is all the more significant because most of the coverage in this study was in 1993. That is the year that Jenkins (1996) called “the peak of media concern” about pedophile priests. Newsweek had a cover story in 1993 about the so-called “hysteria” about child sexual abuse (Shapiro, 1993). This study suggests that the hysteria narrative does not have comprehensive empirical support in the real world. Like an urban legend, this narrative is continually told and accepted without appropriate skepticism.

Cult and ritual abuse: Its history, anthropology, and recent discovery in contemporary America
, (rev.ed.). Noblitt, James Randall; Perskin, Pamela Sue Westport, CT, US: Praeger Publishers/Greenwood Publishing Group. (2000). xvii, 269 pp. Abstract A personal but also scholarly journey into the clandestine and confusing world of ritual abuse, this book provides unique insights into the catastrophic experiences of ritual abuse survivors and their efforts to find healing through psychological treatment. This revised edition provides contemporary revelations about cults in existence today and also new therapies developed since the first edition was published in 1995. The special legal dilemmas, survival problems and day-to-day life experiences of these survivors are examined in a scholarly but sensitive manner. The book presents the idea that ritual abuse is an age-old phenomenon found in many cultures throughout the world. That ritual abuse causes a variety of specific psychiatric symptoms is noted. Special attention is given to the diagnosis dissociative identity disorder that is frequently found among ritual abuse survivors. Suggestions are offered for effectively dealing with the various social and legal problems that result from this severe form of abuse. New diagnoses--cult and ritual trauma disorder--are proposed for this newly identified problem.

Cult and Ritual Abuse: Sadism Not Sophism A review of Cult and Ritual Abuse: Its History, Anthropology, and Recent Discovery in Contemporary America (Rev. ed.) by James Randall Noblitt and Pamela Sue Perskin Westport, CT: Praeger/Greenwood, 2000. 269 pp. ISBN 0-275-96665-8. $24.95 paperback Reviewed by John Schmuttermaier The authors provide a comprehensive and well-documented account of the two forms of ritualized abused: ritual abuse and satanic ritual abuse.... At first, Noblitt was incredulous and did not take his patients seriously. What finally convinced him were the “comparable reports from other patients” (p. xiv) who were exhibiting the “same cluster of psychiatric symptoms” (p. xiv). Discussions with his colleagues revealed that they also had patients reporting similar stories of abuse (p. xiv). Collectively, these factors changed his mind.... The second theme concerns an attempt to validate the existence of ritualized abuse rather than simply satanic ritual abuse. To do this, the authors provide empirical evidence and explanation (Chapters 6-13). The evidence and explanation takes the form of a comprehensive review of the literature that supports the existence of ritual abuse.... This book provides the reader with a rigorous and interesting account of a contentious issue.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Satanism Linked To Scores of U.S. Child Abuse Cases, International Council on Cultism and Ritual Trauma

describes crimes of abuse

Satanism Linked To Scores of U.S. Child Abuse Cases Edward W. Lempinen. San Francisco Chronicle 11/5/87 p. A1 Satanism and cult rituals have been linked to scores of child-molestation cases nationwide in the past five years, including dozens in California. Children as young as 2 and 3 years old have come forward with harrowing tales of drinking blood, animal sacrifices and sexual abuse as part of rituals, according to law enforcement investigators, child abuse experts and parents. Others have even talked of cannibalism and ritual sacrifice of children. After hearing similar tales over and over from people across the country, many investigators and child abuse experts now have come to believe in the unbelievable....In San Francisco, police confirmed last week that they are investigating reports by a 3-year-old girl who claimed that she was taken from a day-care center at the Presidio Army base and driven to a home where she was molested by two men in costumes. Police suspect that the home was the headquarters of the Temple of Set, a Nazi-Satanic group, and they have listed the temple's high priest as a possible suspect. No arrests have been made. Investigators and parents have declined to give details of the cases of at least 58 children who attended the Presidio Child Development Center, fearing that they might jeopardize the prosecution of a former day-care worker. But in other cases across the nation, experts say there is striking evidence of ritualized sexual abuse that recurs in case after case: -- At West Point, N.Y., Army families have pressed an investigation into widespread child abuse at a military day-care center in 1983 and 1984....But an increasingly influential group of legal, psychological and medical experts say they are beginning to amass considerable testimony and circumstantial evidence of cult and Satanic abuse nationwide - and dating back four generations or more. Sandi Gallant, an intelligence officer with the San Francisco police and one of the nation's most influential experts on cults, cautions that many cases are proving unfounded. But she says that there have been 60 to 70 "solid" cases of ritual sexual abuse in the past few years nationwide. She and others have heard hundreds of children and adult - people who have never met and who live a continent apart - tell stories that are fundamentally the same. "Independently, the victims are describing incredibly similar circumstances," said Catherine Gould, a clinical psychologist in the Los Angeles district of Encino who has counseled dozens of children who claim they were molested in rituals.

describes crimes - International Council on Cultism and Ritual Trauma, has articles on
What is the International Council on Cultism and Ritual Trauma?
Satanic Ritual Abuse: The Evidence Surfaces
Book Reviews
When Good People Do Nothing
Recognizing and Classifying Programming
A Response to Oprah Bickel and the Public Broadcasting System
Little Rascals Update and Commentary
Review of The Satanism Scare
Coming Full Circle