‘We Believe the Children’: Echoes of 1980s moral panic

A few days ago, one of our commenters mentioned a book which sounded very interesting: We Believe the Children—A Moral Panic in the 1980s, by Richard Beck.There are some startling similarities between the genesis of the “Satanic day care abuse” panic of the 1980s and the Hampstead SRA hoax.

Those of us old enough to remember the bad old days of that earlier “Satanic panic” will recall that while it seemed to have been kicked off by the supposedly true story detailed in the book Michelle Remembers, the primary locus of concern seemed to converge on child care centres. The McMartin Preschool case is by far the most famous, but Mr Beck describes cases most of us have never heard of:

In Niles, Michigan, the son of one preschool owner was sentenced to seventy-five years in prison. Children at the school said the man had photographed their abuse, made them take drugs, unearthed corpses, and sacrificed—not killed, but sacrificed—animals.

In Malden, Massachusetts, the owner of a day care center and her two adult children were accused of abusing forty students in a place called the “magic room.”

In Chicago, a janitor at a community child care facility was accused of boiling and eating a baby. Other staff members were charged with 246 counts of abuse and assault.

The day care ritual abuse trials were not anything like most child sex abuse investigations. In North Carolina, children said that their teachers had thrown them out of a boat into a school of sharks. In Los Angeles, children said that one of their teachers had forced them to watch as he hacked a horse to pieces with a machete.

In New Jersey, children said their teacher had raped them with knives, forks, and wooden spoons, and a child in Miami told investigators about homemade pills their caretakers had forced them to eat. The pills, the children said, looked like candy corn, and they made all of the children sleepy.

The bizarre and outlandish allegations have their echoes in the Hampstead SRA hoax; and just as in the Hampstead case, absolutely no forensic evidence of any sort was ever uncovered:

Children in various cases said they had been taken to graveyards, sometimes to kill baby tigers and sometimes to dig up bodies, which were removed from their coffins and stabbed. In addition, the sex rings said to be operating in cities like Jordan, Minnesota, and Bakersfield, California, supposedly involved regular meetings, wild parties, elaborate religious ceremonies, and the production of child pornography, all witnessed by many people….

Despite the numbers of people said to be involved, despite all of the different implements the defendants were said to have used, and despite the brutality of the violence they were believed to have inflicted on the children they cared for….(n)o pornography, no blood, no semen, no weapons, no mutilated corpses, no sharks, and no satanic altars or robes were ever found.

Of course the significant difference between the events Mr Beck describes and the Hampstead SRA hoax is that in the daycare investigations, children were coerced into fabricating stories by investigators using very questionable interview techniques, sometimes on children as young as three or four:

Interviews could last for hours….When children failed to provide answers that corroborated allegations of abuse, interviewers repeated the questions. As these interviews pressed on, children who did not provide affirmative answers to questions about abuse found themselves being asked the same questions all over again. So the children began to provide different kinds of answers.

In hindsight it’s easy to see that hammering away at young children, and not accepting “there was no abuse” as an answer, could have pushed children to create stories to satisfy their interrogators. The big difference between this and Hoaxtead, though, is that Abraham Christie’s interrogations were backed up by serious physical abuse: kicks, punches, suffocation, burns, threats of being buried alive until the child “told the truth” and admitted to sexual abuse that had never actually occurred.

Mr Beck states that by the middle of the 1980s, defence lawyers had begun to seriously question the veracity of information obtained by the investigators in the daycare cases. Under scrutiny, it became clear that these interviews were producing false testimony, and destroying hundreds of lives in the process.

Fortunately for RD’s children, once they’d been taken into protective custody and knew they would not be returning home to further abuse, they felt confident enough to correct their earlier allegations to the police. However, the blind belief that the children “could not have made up” the grotesque stories they originally told in the videos and the first two police interviews still permeates a small but vocal group, who for reasons of their own would very much like Hoaxtead to have been real.


mcmartin-nightmare

Advertisements

128 thoughts on “‘We Believe the Children’: Echoes of 1980s moral panic

  1. Arfur v Sonya, Round 2

    By the way, I’m not laughing any more. I’m seriously concerned for this guy’s mental wellbeing, as I know many of you are. When Sonya van Gelder starts looking sane next to you, you know something’s terribly wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If you watch the Geraldo rivera special there’s a group who call themselves ‘believe the children’. In the ambulance chasing sue happy states Michael Jackson was probably the biggest victim of the fake abuse scam. Sickening.

    As far as the publicity hungry ex police appearing on big brother or doing wacky sponsored walks down canals, when they’re not hanging out with the gnome finder general . . . . I’ll get back to you, but I think Maggie is going to find herself with an audience of crazed idiots with empty pockets. If she’s so hungry for a quick cash fix that she associates with criminals, burn outs and gnomechasers then she can kiss normality goodbye. They’ll suck her dry of all credibility and leave a tainted husk.

    Hope the coyote’s having a nice time. I hear he’s chartered a yacht in the med, but won’t give the details out just in case.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “Have I been #hacked for censorship or is THIS part of new #Facebook policy to isolate whistle blowers??”

    No bullshit there, then.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Perhaps her mate or ex mate probably, by now………..Naima might have set this up, whilst acting as Angies agent in order to maliciously copyright strike my and MKDs channels. whilst defending APDs defamation and Heathers and also colluding with Cat of Fresh Farts…………..UK columnites are currently swarming to push Baloney, Wedgie & Musmsy, of all the hollie hoaxers & hijackers of events and users of survivors of CSA. That all is ok with ever so holy Hopegirl, decidely a saleswoman of false hope to the gullible or vulnerable.

      Like

    • I posted before about his little head turn and smirk every time he thought he had a ‘gotcha’ moment, and at the end he turns and looks at the wrong camera again until he realises what one he is supposed to be using lol

      Liked by 2 people

      • Except it wasn’t a gotcha moment. This is the initial conversation.
        CM: “Are you an enforcement officer (pause), or agent”
        Mr Y: “Yes”
        Mr Y at no point claimed to be a High Court Enforcement Officer. Cwisy adding “or agent” shot his own fox.

        And all “incriminating” admissions followed Cwisy telling him “I’d rather shit in my hands and clap,” at which point onwards Mr Y clearly started to extract the Michael.

        Liked by 2 people

        • That’s the reason I put it like ‘that’ LOL
          He really does seem proud of his ‘towering intellect’ but seems unaware that he just looks foolish LOL

          Liked by 3 people

    • It looks like the bailiffs have finally arrived to evict her from Peel Drive. It’s all kicking off, Neelu and her pals are filming away and uploading to her FB page.

      Liked by 1 person

          • “I’m protected by the government’..the one she says was disolved.
            None of those people look very happy having to evict a family. The copper is being polite and respectful but it’s like reality has finally hit Neelu after all her videos outside courts and so on where she grins and appears to be loving the drama.
            A pox on her so called friends who encourage her and I really am puzzled by her family. Do they all share her delusions?.
            Meanwhile I can almost imagine Edward Ellis, Equity Lawyer would still be there long after dark and everyone has departed, button-holing a lamp post and rambling on with his incomprehensible gibberish.
            Where has Neelu gone?. Bellender’s?

            Liked by 2 people

          • I am as nostalgic about relics of England’s industrial heritage as anyone, but I do not think it is necessary or appropriate for the Gubblement to protect Widnes.

            Like

        • I’m quite disturbed by what she does in the fourth video. It’s a criminal offence and can put lives in danger and I’m kinda surprised the police stood by and let her do it.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I thought the police handled the whole matter very diplomatically.

            Liked by 2 people

          • I did have to laugh, the guy in the green shirt is Micheal, apparently another one of the wackos- she says “This is Micheal, you might remember him from another one of my videos, the one with the pepper spray”

            I classify my videos with things like ‘remember the day we went to Dreamworld’ (an Australian funpark) or ‘the day we went to the beach’, not ‘remember the day we got pepper-sprayed?’

            Well I wouldn’t, because like most people, it never happens to them, nor do I remember people by ‘oh yes I remember you, you were here the day they took my sons car’

            Amazing how SOME people can normalize a life like that, and others like me would never have the ‘pleasure’ of having the police around on an almost daily basis…

            Plus imagine how much her little self drama has now cost the taxpayers??? She is probably responsible for a good quarter of the annual police budget there….

            Liked by 1 person

          • Just before the end he says he wishes that bailiffs would “burn or melt” 😮

            Like

        • Right in touch: Tom Crawford was still eventually evicted. Mind you Edward Ellis & Neelu may stage a sit-in on the roof. Summer- so could be done.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Harumph. Changed your tune since last night, haven’t you dearie. Oh and for the record I’m 86 and a half. None taken. Well anyway, if you change your mind I’ll be down at the Bayswater Darby & Joan Club on Scrabble night. See you there, cheeky boy 😉

            Liked by 2 people

        • Um whaaaa???

          Tom is still looking for his unicorn (the warrant lol) and the house has been sold, renovated and he is still banned from going anywhere near it!

          How does that translate to ‘reinstated with compensation and profound apologies’???

          Liked by 1 person

      • OK who’s this guy in the green shirt???
        Edward Ellis equity lawyer seems to have disappeared from the scene, now Neelu seems to be looking to him for advice…

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for wasting the money I pay for you spongers out of my taxes Neelu.

      Then they’ll complain that the police don’t have time to chase “real” criminals.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I get no pleasure from watching this. This is a woman with a mental health problem and the authorities should have stepped in ages ago and got her help. Instead it ends up like this, and it’s incredibly sad. This is what happens when community care fails.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Fair point, Fnord. I’ve trodden a fine line with what I’ve posted about this and I didn’t want to make light of it too much. Her behaviour is bang out of order but I’m more annoyed at her enablers, like her son and Edward Ellis.

        Liked by 1 person

      • This is a woman with a mental health problem and the authorities should have stepped in ages ago and got her help

        Rule 1 of Therapy Club: You can’t help BPD. There are people whose view of the world does not conform to traditional standards of sanity because their brain chemistry is weird, too much noise and random stimulation gets through the filters, and I am cool with that. Some of the time I have to take anti-bat pills myself. Then there are the people who adopt the conspiracist mentality because they enjoy it and it helps them manipulate their families. They don’t want to change.

        Rule 2 of Therapy Club is also “You can’t help BPD”.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes that’s what happend when people fall for those interest only loans and seem to ignore the fact rates may go up. It’s not ideal and it’s definitely a shonky scheme but when the victims walk into it with their eyes open and don’t get expert advice…

          Like

          • I was going to say there was no need for dodgy internet loans there, as those figures are pretty typical for a mortgage from a high street bank if you add up the interest over (typically) 25 years. However, I’ve just run it through an online mortgage calculator and based on repayment mortgage over 25 years, the interest rate would have had to be around 15%, so yes, way way above standard rates, even for 1993.

            Like

      • Note – Crawford’s restraining order (stopping him going anywhere near his former residence) remains in force; the place has been renovated and sold on. That’s some compensation for his neighbours, at least.

        Like

    • “Ex-Field Intelligence Officer” who’s appearing at the rediculous ITNJ?. What a goose.

      Like

  4. Interesting podcast : “Becoming a violent extremist”
    by Kevin McDonald Professor of Sociology Middlesex University and a member of the Australian Attorney General’s Countering Violent Extremism Research Panel.
    Radicalisation 26 June 2018 University of Sydney.

    # Explains how some of Britain’s extremists are not just hackers but also believe in The Illuminati etc. Very relevant to our mob especially a certain Aussie of Lebanese extraction who says he will ‘storm the gates of Buckingham Palace”.
    So irresponsible of Angela Power Disney to encourage a man with mental health issues in his delusions.
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/radicalization/9999240

    Liked by 2 people

    • I just listened to this and it is a very interesting presentation on a number of levels. It is always a great pleasure to hear the thoughts of an academic who not only has fascinating insights into a subject but who also can share their insights in an accessible manner. I am going to give this one repeated listenings as it dovetails very neatly with my own interests. Thanks very much for sharing and I would definitely recommend this to other poster here.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Something else that’s got me laughing and crying simultaneously is that the conspiraloons are now pushing for Amnesty International to campaign for Melanie Shaw’s release. Such an abuse of that noble institution and it risks devaluing the work they do. They’re even saying that Amnesty are “facing pressure to act”. Yeah, I’m sure they’re quaking in their boots.

    Liked by 1 person

      • To be fair, if they were just “pretending” then I’d give then an Oscar… or at least a Golden Globe.

        By my calculations, Neelu is about to be very rich. Estimated £470,000 property with a £65,000 debt. Even with auction costs, I don’t know what she is moaning about!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Something isn’t right. She is way too unconcerned for someone just evicted from her home in the follow-up video.
          I have a sneaky feeling the Berry clan (or whatever names they use) may in fact be asset rich and possibly have several properties, maybe in different names.
          Neelu’s reactions, though pissed off in her eviction vids are just not the way people react under that sort of pressure and invasion.

          # I’ve said it before: Neelu always seems to come up with the cash when it’s really needed.

          Like

          • Yeah, that crossed my mind too, like it was just a minor inconvenience. That said, I’m trying to bear in mind that people react differently to stressful situations, especially in front of a camera, and want to avoid sounding like the people who misinterpreted RD’s Victoria Derbyshire interview, for example.

            Like

  6. More on Diligence Integrity, aka Truth1. Apparently this is what the sick b*stard spends his time thinking about:

    In my opinion that speaks volumes about the kind of people who promote the Hampstead hoax,

    By the way, kudos to CatChair for your awesome reply and for blowing the creepy bugger’s theory out of the water 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my God, I winced all the way through that. These two idiots remind me of someone but I can’t think who.

      Like

    • How can two people be so misguided? Why isn’t one taking the other by the scruff of the neck and saying “What the hell? Give your head a wobble, dude”?

      Like

  7. Facebook breaches it’s own guidelines in respect of RD & his children.

    In this Mail article it’s pretty clear Facebook ignores the persistent attacks upon innocents from the Hoaxtead scandal in defiance of it’s own rules.
    With Alex Jones “confidential” settlement re @pizzagate ( I hear it cost him over $300K without even going near a court) and some Sandy Hook parents likewise suing I reckon RD has an excellent legal case against Facebook’s persistence in allowing organised harrassment of he & his kids to remain and continue ( US lawyers leap on these cases).
    Examples:
    4. Coordinating harm

    The social network says people can draw attention to harmful activity that they may witness or experience as long as they do not advocate for or coordinate harm.

    9. Bullying

    Facebook removes content that purposefully targets private individuals with the intention of degrading or shaming them.

    10. Harassment

    Facebook’s harassment policy applies to both public and private individuals.

    It says that context and intent matter, and that the site will allow people to share and re-share posts if it is clear that something was shared in order to condemn or draw attention to harassment.

    11. Privacy breaches and image privacy rights

    Users should not post personal or confidential information about others without first getting their consent, says Facebook.

    ## this one:
    22. Additional protection of minors

    Facebook complies with:

    User requests for removal of an underage account
    Government requests for removal of child abuse imagery depicting, for example:
    Beating by an adult
    Strangling or suffocating by an adult
    Legal guardian requests for removal of attacks on unintentionally famous minors
    ### This is from an article about Irish politcians and the rights of Irish citizens. Take note Angela Power-Disney.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5970957/Irish-politicians-say-Facebook-face-fines-fail-uphold-basic-standards-decency.html

    Liked by 2 people

We welcome comments! House rules: no threats, no doxing, and stay civil to one another. Oh, and have fun!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.