By: Norbert Sykes Re: Lanning Document Because of concern about whether or not to include

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

By: Norbert Sykes Re: Lanning Document Because of concern about whether or not to include a suspect's religious practices in investigation of criminal activity has been voiced here, I'm including a section of the Lanning Document that shows the obvious problems when attempting to do so. ---------------------------------------------- Investigator Guide to Allegations of "Ritual" Child Abuse. by Kenneth Lanning, National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, FBI Academy, 1992. Expands and updates Lanning's 10/89 report with even stronger exposure of "anti-Satanic witch hunt" biases and tactics. Provides law-enforcement personnel with objective, factual, and methodical criteria for the investigation of child-abuse allegations. Result of Lanning's 8-year nationwide study as chief FBI expert in this field. *********************************************************** INVESTIGATOR'S GUIDE TO ALLEGATIONS OF "RITUAL" CHILD ABUSE *********************************************************** January 1992 Kenneth V. Lanning Supervisory Special Agent Behavioral Science Unit National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI Academy Quantico, Virginia 22135 ************************************************* TABLE OF CONTENTS (What I will be including will be starred <*>) 1. Introduction. 2. Historical Overview. -- a. "Stranger Danger". -- b. Intrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse. -- c. Return to "Stranger Danger". -- d. The Acquaintance Molester. -- e. Satanism: A New Form of "Stranger Danger". 3. Law Enforcement Training. *4. Definitions. *-- a. What is Ritual? *-- b. What is "Ritual" Child Abuse? *-- c. What Makes a Crime Satanic, Occult, or Ritualistic? 5. Multidimensional Child Sex Rings. -- a. Dynamics of Cases. ---- (1) Multiple Young Victims. ---- (2) Multiple Offenders. ---- (3) Fear as a Controlling Tactic. ---- (4) Bizarre or Ritualistic Activity. -- b. Characteristics of Multidimensional Child Sex Rings. ---- (1) Female Offenders. ---- (2) Situational Molesters. ---- (3) Male and Female Victims. ---- (4) Multidimensional Motivation. ---- (5) Pornography and Paraphernalia. ---- (6) Control through Fear. -- c. Scenarios. ---- (1) Adult Survivors. ---- (2) Day Care Cases. ---- (3) Family/Isolated Neighborhood Cases. ---- (4) Custody/Visitation Disputes. -- d. Why Are Victims Alleging Things that Do Not Seem to be True? 6. Alternative Explanations. -- a. Pathological Distortion. -- b. Traumatic Memory. -- c. Normal Childhood Fears and Fantasy. -- d. Misperception, Confusion, and Trickery. -- e. Overzealous Intervenors. -- f. Urban Legends. -- g. Combination. 7. Do Victims Lie About Sexual Abuse and Exploitation? -- a. Personal Knowledge. -- b. Other Children or Victims. -- c. Media. -- d. Suggestions and Leading Questions. -- e. Misperception and Confusion. -- f. Education and Awareness Programs. *8. Law Enforcement Perspective. 9. Investigating Multidimensional Child Sex Rings. *-- a. Minimize Satanic/Occult Aspect. *-- b. Keep Investigation and Religious Beliefs Separate. -- c. Listen to the Victims. -- d. Assess and Evaluate Victim Statements. -- e. Evaluate Contagion. -- f. Establish Communication with Parents. -- g. Develop a Contingency Plan. -- h. Multidisciplinary Task Forces. -- i. Summary. 10. Conclusion. 11. References. 12. Suggested Reading. 4. DEFINITIONS The words "satanic", "occult", and "ritual" are often used interchangeably. It is difficult to define "satanism" precisely. No attempt will be made to do so here However, it is important to realize that, for some people, any religious belief system other than their own is "satanic". The Ayatollah Khomeini and Saddam Hussein referred to the United States as the "Great Satan". In the British Parliament a Protestant leader called the Pope the Antichrist. In a book titled _Prepare For War_ (1987), Rebecca Brown, M.D. has a chapter entitled "Is Roman Catholicism Witchcraft?" Dr. Brown also lists among the "doorways" to satanic power and/or demon infestation the following: fortune tellers, horoscopes, fraternity oaths, vegetarianism, yoga, self-hypnosis, relaxation tapes, acupuncture, biofeedback, fantasy role-playing games, adultery, homosexuality, pornography, judo, karate, and rock music. Dr. Brown states that rock music "was a carefully masterminded plan by none other than Satan himself" (p. 84). The ideas expressed in this book may seem extreme and even humorous. This book, however, has been recommended as a serious reference in law enforcement training material on this topic. In books, lectures, handout material, and conversations, I have heard all of the following referred to as satanism: -- Church of Satan -- Ordo Templi Orientis -- Temple of Set -- Demonology -- Witchcraft -- Occult -- Paganism -- Santeria -- Voodoo -- Rosicrucians -- Freemasonry -- Knights Templar -- Stoner Gangs -- Heavy Metal Music -- Rock Music -- KKK -- Nazis -- Skinheads -- Scientology -- Unification Church -- The Way -- Hare Krishna -- Rajneesh -- Religious Cults -- New Age -- Astrology -- Channeling -- Transcendental Meditation -- Holistic Medicine -- Buddhism -- Hinduism -- Mormonism -- Islam -- Orthodox Church -- Roman Catholicism At law enforcement training conferences, it is witchcraft, santeria, paganism, and the occult that are most often referred to as forms of satanism. It may be a matter of definition, but these things are not necessarily the same as traditional satanism. The worship of lunar goddesses and nature and the practice of fertility rituals are not satanism. Santeria is a combination of 17th century Roman Catholicism and African paganism. Occult means simply "hidden". All unreported or unsolved crimes might be regarded as occult, but in this context the term refers to the action or influence of supernatural powers, some secret knowledge of them, or an interest in paranormal phenomena, and does not imply satanism, evil, wrongdoing, or crime. Indeed, historically, the principal crimes deserving of consideration as "occult crimes" are the frauds perpetrated by faith healers, fortune tellers and "psychics" who for a fee claim cures, arrange visitations with dead loved ones, and commit other financial crimes against the gullible. Many individuals define satanism from a totally Christian perspective, using this word to describe the power of evil in the world. With this definition, any crimes, especially those which are particularly bizarre, repulsive, or cruel, can be viewed as satanic in nature. Yet it is just as difficult to precisely define satanism as it is to precisely define Christianity or any complex spiritual belief system. -- a. WHAT IS RITUAL? The biggest confusion is over the word "ritual". During training conferences on this topic, ritual almost always comes to mean "satanic" or at least "spiritual". "Ritual" can refer to a prescribed religious ceremony, but in its broader meaning refers to any customarily-repeated act or series of acts. The need to repeat these acts can be cultural, sexual, or psychological as well as spiritual. Cultural rituals could include such things as what a family eats on Thanksgiving Day, or when and how presents are opened at Christmas. The initiation ceremonies of fraternities, sororities, gangs, and other social clubs are other examples of cultural rituals. Since 1972 I have lectured about sexual ritual, which is nothing more than repeatedly engaging in an act or series of acts in a certain manner because of a *sexual* need. In order to become aroused and/or gratified, a person must engage in the act in a certain way. This sexual ritual can include such things as the physical characteristics, age, or gender of the victim, the particular sequence of acts, the bringing or taking of specific objects, and the use of certain words or phrases. This is more than the concept of M.O. (Method of Operation) known to most police officers. M.O. is something done by an offender because it works. Sexual ritual is something done by an offender because of a need. Deviant acts, such as urinating on, defecating on, or even eviscerating a victim, are far more likely to be the result of sexual ritual than religious or "satanic" ritual. From a criminal investigative perspective, two other forms of ritualism must be recognized. The _Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders_ (DSM-III-R) (APA, 1987) defines "Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder" as "repetitive, purposeful, and intentional behaviors that are performed in response to an obsession, or according to certain rules or in a stereotyped fashion" (p. 247).. Such compulsive behavior frequently involves rituals. Although such behavior usually involves noncriminal activity such as excessive hand washing or checking that doors are locked, occasionally compulsive ritualism can be part of criminal activity. Certain gamblers or firesetters, for example, are thought by some authorities to be motivated in part through such compulsions. Ritual can also stem from psychotic hallucinations and delusions. A crime can be committed in a precise manner because a voice told the offender to do it that way or because a divine mission required it. To make this more confusing, cultural, religious, sexual, and psychological ritual can overlap. Some psychotic people are preoccupied with religious delusions and hear the voice of God or Satan telling them to do things of a religious nature. Offenders who feel little, if any, guilt over their crimes may need little justification for their antisocial behavior. As human beings, however, they may have fears, concerns, and anxiety over getting away with their criminal acts. It is difficult to pray to God for success in doing things that are against His Commandments. A negative spiritual belief system may fulfill their human need for assistance from and belief in a greater power or to deal with their superstitions. Compulsive ritualism (e.g., excessive cleanliness or fear of disease) can be introduced into sexual behavior. Even many "normal" people have a need for order and predictability and therefore may engage in family or work rituals. Under stress or in times of change, this need for order and ritual may increase. Ritual crime may fulfill the cultural, spiritual, sexual, and psychological needs of an offender. Crimes may be ritualistically motivated or may have ritualistic elements. The ritual behavior may also fulfill basic criminal needs to manipulate victims, get rid of rivals, send a message to enemies, and intimidate co-conspirators. The leaders of a group may want to play upon the beliefs and superstitions of those around them and try to convince accomplices and enemies that they, the leaders, have special or "supernatural" powers. The important point for the criminal investigator is to realize that most ritualistic criminal behavior is not motivated simply by satanic or any religious ceremonies. At some conferences, presenters have attempted to make an issue of distinguishing between "ritual", "ritualized", and "ritualistic" abuse of children. These subtle distinctions, however, seem to be of no significant value to the criminal investigator. -- b. WHAT IS "RITUAL" CHILD ABUSE? I cannot define "ritual child abuse" precisely and prefer not to use the term. I am frequently forced to use it (as throughout this discussion) so that people will have some idea what I am discussing. Use of the term, however, is confusing, misleading, and counterproductive. The newer term "satanic ritual abuse" (abbreviated "SRA") is even worse. Certain observations, however, are important for investigative understanding. Most people today use the term to refer to abuse of children that is part of some evil spiritual belief system, which almost by definition must be satanic. Dr. Lawrence Pazder, coauthor of _Michelle Remembers_, defines "ritualized abuse of children" as "repeated physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual assaults combined with a systematic use of symbols and secret ceremonies designed to turn a child against itself, family, society, and God" (presentation, Richmond, Va., May 7,1987). He also states that "the sexual assault has ritualistic meaning and is not for sexual gratification". This definition may have value for academics, sociologists, and therapists, but it creates potential problems for law enforcement. Certain acts engaged in with children (i.e. kissing, touching, appearing naked, etc.) may be criminal if performed for sexual gratification. If the ritualistic acts were in fact performed for spiritual indoctrination, potential prosecution can be jeopardized, particularly if the acts can be defended as constitutionally protected religious expression. The mutilation of a baby's genitals for sadistic sexual pleasure is a crime. The circumcision of a baby's genitals for religious reasons is most likely *not* a crime. The intent of the acts is important for criminal prosecution. Not all spiritually motivated ritualistic activity is satanic. Santeria, witchcraft, voodoo, and most religious cults are not satanism. In fact, most spiritually- or religiously-based abuse of children has nothing to do with satanism. Most child abuse that could be termed "ritualistic" by various definitions is more likely to be physical and psychological rather than sexual in nature. If a distinction needs to be made between satanic and nonsatanic child abuse, the indicators for that distinction must be related to specific satanic symbols, artifacts, or doctrine rather than the mere presence of any ritualistic element. Not all such ritualistic activity with a child is a crime. Almost all parents with religious beliefs indoctrinate their children into that belief system. Is male circumcision for religious reasons child abuse? Is the religious circumcision of females child abuse? Does having a child kneel on a hard floor reciting the rosary constitute child abuse? Does having a child chant a satanic prayer or attend a black mass constitute child abuse? Does a religious belief in corporal punishment constitute child abuse? Does group care of children in a commune or cult constitute child abuse? Does the fact that any acts in question were performed with parental permission affect the nature of the crime? Many ritualistic acts, whether satanic or not, are simply not crimes. To open the Pandora's box of labeling child abuse as "ritualistic" simply because it involves a spiritual belief system means to apply the definition to all acts by all spiritual belief systems. The day may come when many in the forefront of concern about ritual abuse will regret they opened the box. When a victim describes and investigation corroborates what sounds like ritualistic activity. several possibilities must be considered. The ritualistic activity may be part of the excessive religiosity of mentally disturbed, even psychotic offenders. It may be a misunderstood part of sexual ritual. The ritualistic activity may be incidental to any real abuse. The offender may be involved in ritualistic activity with a child and also may be abusing a child, but one may have little or nothing to do with the other. The offender may be deliberately engaging in ritualistic activity with a child as part of child abuse and exploitation. The motivation, however, may be not to indoctrinate the child into a belief system, but to lower the inhibitions of, control, manipulate, and/or confuse the child. In all the turmoil over this issue, it would be very effective strategy for any child molester deliberately to introduce ritualistic elements into his crime in order to confuse the child and therefore the criminal justice system. This would, however, make the activity M.O. and not ritual. The ritualistic activity and the child abuse may be integral parts of some spiritual belief system. In that case the greatest risk is to the children of the practitioners. But this is true of all cults and religions, not just satanic cults. A high potential of abuse exists for any children raised in a group isolated from the mainstream of society, especially if the group has a charismatic leader whose orders are unquestioned and blindly obeyed by the members. Sex, money, and power are often the main motivations of the leaders of such cults. -- c. WHAT MAKES A CRIME SATANIC, OCCULT, OR RITUALISTIC? Some would answer that it is the offender's spiritual beliefs or membership in a cult or church. If that is the criterion, why not label the crimes committed by Protestants, Catholics, and Jews in the same way? Are the atrocities of Jim Jones in Guyana Christian crimes? Some would answer that it is the presence of certain symbols in the possession or home of the perpetrator. What does it mean then to find a crucifix, Bible, or rosary in the possession or home of a bank robber, embezzler, child molester, or murderer? If different criminals possess the same symbols, are they necessarily part of one big conspiracy? Others would answer that it is the presence of certain symbols such as pentagrams, inverted crosses, and 666 at the crime scene. What does it mean then to find a cross spray painted on a wall or carved into the body of a victim? What does it mean for a perpetrator, as in one recent case profiled by my Unit, to leave a Bible tied to his murder victim? What about the possibility that an offender deliberately left such symbols to make it look like a "satanic" crime? Some would argue that it is the bizarreness or cruelness of the crime: body mutilation, amputation, drinking of blood, eating of flesh, use of urine or feces. Does this mean that all individuals involved in lust murder, sadism, vampirism, cannibalism, urophilia, and coprophilia are satanists or occult practitioners? What does this say about the bizarre crimes of psychotic killers such as Ed Gein or Richard Trenton Chase, both of whom mutilated their victims as part of their psychotic delusions? Can a crime that is not sexually deviant, bizarre, or exceptionally violent be satanic? Can white collar crime be satanic? A few might even answer that it is the fact that the crime was committed on a date with satanic or occult significance (Halloween, May Eve, etc.) or the fact that the perpetrator claims that Satan told him to commit the crime. What does this mean for crimes committed on Thanksgiving or Christmas? What does this say about crimes committed by perpetrators who claim that God or Jesus told them to do it? One note of interest is the fact that in handout and reference material I have collected, the number of dates with satanic or occult significance ranges from 8 to 110. This is compounded by the fact that it is sometimes stated that satanists can celebrate these holidays on several days on either side of the official date or that the birthdays of practitioners can also be holidays. The exact names and exact dates of the holidays and the meaning of symbols listed may also vary depending on who prepared the material The handout material is often distributed without identifying the author or documenting the original source of the information. It is then frequently photocopied by attendees and passed on to other police officers with no one really knowing its validity or origin. Most, however, would probably answer that what makes a crime satanic, occult, or ritualistic is the motivation for the crime. It is a crime that is spiritually motivated by a religious belief system. How then do we label the following true crimes? -- Parents defy a court order and send their children to an unlicensed Christian school. -- Parents refuse to send their children to any school because they are waiting for the second coming of Christ. -- Parents beat their child to death because he or she will not follow their Christian belief. -- Parents violate child labor laws because they believe the Bible requires such work. -- Individuals bomb an abortion clinic or kidnap the doctor because their religious belief system says abortion is murder. -- A child molester reads the Bible to his victims in order to justify his sex acts with them. -- Parents refuse life-saving medical treatment for a child because of their religious beliefs. -- Parents starve and beat their child to death because their minister said the child was possessed by demonic spirits. Some people would argue that the Christians who committed the above crimes misunderstood and distorted their religion while satanists who commit crimes are following theirs. But who decides what constitutes a misinterpretation of a religious belief system? The individuals who committed the above-described crimes, however misguided, believed that they were following their religion as they understood it. Religion was and is used to justify such social behavior as the Crusades, the Inquisition, Apartheid, segregation, and recent violence in Northern Ireland, India, Lebanon and Nigeria. Who decides exactly what "satanists" believe? In this country, we cannot even agree on what Christians believe. At many law enforcement conferences The _Satanic Bible_ is used for this, and it is often contrasted or compared with the Judeo-Christian Bible. The _Satanic Bible_ is, in essence, a short paperback book written by one man, Anton LaVey, in 1969. To compare it to a book written by multiple authors over a period of thousands of years is ridiculous, even ignoring the possibility of Divine revelation in the Bible. What satanists believe certainly isn't limited to other people's interpretation of a few books. More importantly it is subject to some degree of interpretation by individual believers just as Christianity is. Many admitted "satanists" claim they do not even believe in God, the devil, or any supreme deity. The criminal behavior of one person claiming belief in a religion does not necessarily imply guilt or blame to others sharing that belief. In addition, simply claiming membership in a religion does not necessarily make you a member. The fact is that far more crime and child abuse has been committed by zealots in the name of God, Jesus, Mohammed, and other mainstream religion than has ever been committed in the name of Satan. Many people, including myself, don't like that statement, but the truth of it is undeniable. Although defining a crime as satanic, occult, or ritualistic would probably involve a combination of the criteria set forth above, I have been unable to clearly define such a crime. Each potential definition presents a different set of problems when measured against an objective, rational, and constitutional perspective. In a crime with multiple subjects, each offender may have a different motivation for the same crime. Whose motivation determines the label for the crime? It is difficult to count or track something you cannot even define. I have discovered, however, that the facts of so-called "satanic crimes" are often significantly different from what is described st training conferences or in the media. The actual involvement of satanism or the occult in these cases usually turns out to be secondary, insignificant, or nonexistent. Occult or ritual crime surveys done by the states of Michigan (1990) and Virginia (1991) have only confirmed this "discovery". Some law enforcement officers, unable to find serious "satanic" crime in their communities, assume they are just lucky or vigilant and the serious problems must be in other jurisdictions. The officers in the other jurisdictions, also unable find it, assume the same. 8. LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSPECTIVE. The perspective with which one looks at satanic, occult, or ritualistic crime is extremely important. As stated, sociologists, therapists, religious leaders, parents, and just plain citizens each have their own valid concerns and views about this issue. This discussion, however, deals primarily with the law enforcement or criminal justice perspective. When you combine an emotional issue such as the sexual abuse of children with an even more emotional issue such as people's religious beliefs, it is difficult to maintain objectivity and remember the law enforcement perspective. Some police officers may even feel that all crime is caused by evil, all evil is caused by Satan, and therefore, all crime is satanic crime. This may be a valid religious perspective, but it is of no relevance to the investigation of crime for purposes of prosecution. Many of the police officers who lecture on satanic or occult crime do not even investigate such cases. Their presentations are more a reflection of their personal religious beliefs than documented investigative information. They are absolutely entitled to their beliefs, but introducing themselves as current or former police officers and then speaking as religious advocates causes confusion. As difficult as it might be, police officers must separate the religious and law enforcement perspectives when they are lecturing or investigating in their official capacities as law enforcement officers. Many law enforcement officers begin their presentations by stating that they are not addressing or judging anyone's religious beliefs, and then proceed to do exactly that. Some police officers have resigned rather than curtail or limit their involvement in this issue as ordered by their departments. Perhaps such officers deserve credit for recognizing that they could no longer keep the perspectives separate. Law enforcement officers and all professionals in this field should avoid the "paranoia" that has crept into this issue and into some of the training conferences. Paranoid type belief systems are characterized by the gradual development of intricate, complex, and elaborate systems of thinking based on and often proceeding logically from misinterpretation of actual events. Paranoia typically involves hypervigilance over the perceived threat, the belief that danger is around every corner, and the willingness to take up the challenge and do something about it. Another very important aspect of this paranoia is the belief that those who do not recognize the threat are evil and corrupt. In this extreme view, you are either with them or against them. You are either part of the solution or part of the problem. Overzealousness and exaggeration motivated by the true religious fervor of those involved is more acceptable than that motivated by ego or profit. There are those who are deliberately distorting and hyping this issue for personal notoriety and profit. Satanic and occult crime and ritual abuse of children has become a growth industry. Speaking fees, books, video and audio tapes, prevention material, television and radio appearances all bring egoistic and financial rewards. Bizarre crime and evil can occur without organized satanic activity. The professional perspective requires that we distinguish between what we know and what we're not sure of. The facts are: -- a. Some individuals believe in and are involved in something commonly called satanism and the occult. -- b. Some of these individuals commit crime. -- c. Some groups of individuals share these beliefs and involvement in this satanism and the occult. -- d. Some members of these groups commit crime together. The unanswered questions are: -- a. What is the connection between the belief system and the crimes committed? -- b. Is there an organized conspiracy of satanic and occult believers responsible for interrelated serious crime (e.g., molestation, murder)? After all the hype and hysteria are put aside, the realization sets in that most satanic/occult activity involves the commission of *no* crimes, and that which does usually involves the commission of relatively minor crimes such as trespassing, vandalism, cruelty to animals, or petty thievery. The law enforcement problems most often linked to satanic or occult activity are: -- a. Vandalism. -- b. Desecration of churches and cemeteries. -- c. Thefts from churches and cemeteries. -- d. Teenage gangs -- e. Animal mutilations. -- f. Teenage suicide. -- g. Child abuse. -- h. Kidnapping. -- i. Murder and human sacrifice Valid evidence shows some "connection" between satanism and the occult and the first six problems (#a-f) set forth above. The "connection" to the last three problems (#g-i) is far more uncertain. Even where there seems to be a "connection", the nature of the connection needs to be explored. It is easy to blame involvement in satanism and the occult for behaviors that have complex motivations. A teenager's excessive involvement in satanism and the occult is usually a symptom of a problem and not the cause of a problem. Blaming satanism for a teenager's vandalism, theft, suicide, or even act of murder is like blaming a criminal's offenses on his tattoos: Both are often signs of the same rebelliousness and lack of self- esteem that contribute to the commission of crimes. The rock band Judas Priest was recently sued for allegedly inciting two teenagers to suicide through subliminal messages in their recordings. In 1991 Anthony Pratkanis of the University of California at Santa Cruz, who served as an expert witness for the defense, stated the boys in question "lived troubled lives, lives of drug and alcohol abuse, run-ins with the law ... family violence, and chronic unemployment. What issues did the trial and the subsequent mass media coverage emphasize? Certainly not the need for drug treatment centers; there was no evaluation of the pros and cons of America's juvenile justice system, no investigation of the schools, no inquiry into how to prevent family violence, no discussion of the effects of unemployment on a family. Instead our attention was mesmerized by an attempt to count the number of subliminal demons that can dance on the end of a record needle" (p. 1). The law enforcement investigator must objectively evaluate the legal significance of any criminal's spiritual beliefs. In most cases, including those involving satanists, it will have little or no legal significance. If a crime is committed as part of a spiritual belief system, it should make no difference which belief system it is. The crime is the same whether a child is abused or murdered as part of a Christian, Hare Krishna, Moslem, or any other belief system. We generally don't label crimes with the name of the perpetrator's religion. Why then are the crimes of child molesters, rapists, sadists, and murderers who happen to be involved in satanism and the occult labeled as satanic or occult crimes? If criminals use a spiritual belief system to rationalize and justify or to facilitate and enhance their criminal activity, should the focus of law enforcement be on the belief system or on the criminal activity? Several documented murders have been committed by individuals involved in one way or another in satanism or the occult. In some of these murders the perpetrator has even introduced elements of the occult (e.g. satanic symbols at crime scene). Does that automatically make these satanic murders? It is my opinion that the answer is no. Ritualistic murders committed by serial killers or sexual sadists are not necessarily satanic or occult murders. Ritualistic murders committed by psychotic killers who hear the voice of Satan are no more satanic murders than murders committed by psychotic killers who hear the voice of Jesus are Christian murders. Rather a satanic murder should be defined as one committed by two or more individuals who rationally plan the crime and whose *primary* motivation is to fulfill a prescribed satanic ritual calling for the murder. By this definition I have been unable to identify even one documented satanic murder in the United States. Although such murders may have and can occur, they appear to be few in number. In addition the commission of such killings would probably be the beginning of the end for such a group. It is highly unlikely that they could continue to kill several people, every year, year after year, and not be discovered. A brief typology of satanic and occult practitioners is helpful in evaluating what relationship, if any, such practices have to crimes under investigation. The following typology is adapted from the investigative experience of Officer Sandi Gallant of the San Francisco Police Department, who began to study the criminal aspects of occult activity long before it became popular. No typology is perfect, but I use this typology because it is simple and offers investigative insights. Most practitioners fall into one of three categories, any of which can be practiced alone or in groups: -- a. "YOUTH SUBCULTURE. "Most teenagers involved in fantasy role-playing games, heavy metal music, or satanism and the occult are going through a stage of adolescent development and commit no significant crimes. The teenagers who have more serious problems are usually those from dysfunctional families or those who have poor communication within their families. These troubled teenagers turn to satanism and the occult to overcome a sense of alienation, to rebel, to obtain power, or to justify their antisocial behavior. For these teenagers it is the symbolism, not the spirituality, that is more important. It is either the psychopathic or the oddball, loner teenager who is most likely to get into serious trouble. Extreme involvement in the occult is a symptom of a problem, not the cause. This is not to deny, however, that satanism and the occult can be negative influences for a troubled teenager. But to hysterically warn teenagers to avoid this "mysterious, powerful and dangerous" thing called satanism will drive more teenagers right to it. Some rebellious teenagers will do whatever will most shock and outrage society in order to flaunt their rejection of adult norms. -- b. "DABBLERS (SELF-STYLED). "For these practitioners there is little or no spiritual motivation. They may mix satanism, witchcraft, paganism, and any aspects of the occult to suit their purposes. Symbols mean whatever they want them or believe them to mean. Molesters, rapists, drug dealers, and murderers may dabble in the occult and may even commit their crimes in a ceremonial or ritualistic way. This category has the potential to be the most dangerous, and most of the "satanic" killers fall into this category. Their involvement in satanism and the occult is a symptom of a problem, and a rationalization and justification of antisocial behavior. Satanic/occult practices (as well as those of other spiritual belief systems) can also be used as a mechanism to facilitate criminal objectives. -- c. "TRADITIONAL (ORTHODOX). "These are the so-called true believers. They are often wary of outsiders. Because of this and constitutional issues, such groups are difficult for law enforcement to penetrate. Although there may be much we don't know about these groups, as of now there is little or no hard evidence that as a group they are involved in serious, organized criminal activity. In addition, instead of being self- perpetuating master crime conspirators, "true believers" probably have a similar problem with their teenagers rebelling against their belief system. To some extent even these Traditional satanists are self-stylized. They practice what they have come to believe is "satanism". There is little or no evidence of the much-discussed multigenerational satanists whose beliefs and practices have supposedly been passed down through the centuries. Many admitted adult satanists were in fact raised in conservative Christian homes." _Washington Post_ editor Walt Harrington reported in a 1986 story on Anton LaVey and his Church of Satan that "sociologists who have studied LaVey's church say that its members often had serious childhood problems like alcoholic parents or broken homes, or that they were traumatized by guilt-ridden fundamentalist upbringings, turning to Satanism as a dramatic way to purge their debilitating guilt" (p. 14). Some have claimed that the accounts of ritual abuse victims coincide with historical records of what traditional or multigenerational satanists are known to have practiced down through the ages. Jeffrey Burton Russell, Professor of History at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the author of numerous scholarly books on the devil and satanism, believes that the universal consensus of modern historians on satanism is (personal communication, Nov. 1991): "(1) incidents of orgy, infanticide, cannibalism, and other such conduct have occurred from the ancient world down to the present; (2) such incidents were isolated and limited to local antisocial groups; (3) during the period of Christian dominance in European culture, such groups were associated with the Devil in the minds of the authorities; (4) in some cases the sectaries believed that they were worshiping Satan; (5) no organized cult of Satanists existed in the Christian period beyond localities, and on no account was there ever any widespread Satanist organization or conspiracy; (6) no reliable historical sources indicate that such organizations existed; (7) the black mass appears only once in the sources before the late nineteenth century." Many police officers ask what to look for during the search of the scene of suspected satanic activity. The answer is simple: Look for evidence of a crime. A pentagram is no more criminally significant than a crucifix unless it corroborates a crime or a criminal conspiracy. If a victim's description of the location or the instruments of the crime includes a pentagram, then the pentagram would be evidence. But the same would be true if the description included a crucifix. In many cases of alleged satanic ritual abuse, investigation can find evidence that the claimed offenders are members only of mainstream churches and are often described as very religious. There is no way any one law enforcement officer can become knowledgeable about all the symbols and rituals of every spiritual belief system that might become part of a criminal investigation. The officer needs only to be trained to recognize the possible investigative significance of such signs, symbols, and rituals. Knowledgeable religious scholars, academics, and other true experts in the community can be consulted if a more detailed analysis is necessary. Any analysis, however, may have only limited application, especially to cases involving teenagers, dabblers, and other self-styled practitioners. The fact is signs, symbols, and rituals can mean anything that practitioners want them to mean and/or anything that observers interpret them to mean. The meaning of symbols can also change over time, place, and circumstance. Is a swastika spray-painted on a wall an ancient symbol of prosperity and good fortune, a recent symbol of Nazism and anti-Semitism, or a current symbol of hate, paranoia, and adolescent defiance? The peace sign which in the 1960s was a familiar antiwar symbol is now supposed to be a satanic symbol. Some symbols and holidays become "satanic" only because the antisatanists say they are. Then those who want to be "satanists" adopt them, and now you have "proof" they are satanic. In spite of what is sometimes said or suggested at law enforcement training conferences, police have no authority to seize any satanic or occult paraphernalia they might see during a search. A legally- valid reason must exist for doing so. It is not the job of law enforcement to prevent satanists from engaging in noncriminal teaching, rituals, or other activities. -- a. MINIMIZE SATANIC/OCCULT ASPECT. There are those who claim that one of the major reasons more of these cases have not been successfully prosecuted is that the satanic/occult aspect has not been aggressively pursued. One state has even introduced legislation creating added penalties when certain crimes are committed as part of a ritual or ceremony. A few states have passed special ritual crime laws. I strongly disagree with such an approach. It makes no difference what spiritual belief system was used to enhance and facilitate or rationalize and justify criminal behavior. It serves no purpose to "prove" someone is a satanist. As a matter of fact, if it is alleged that the subject committed certain criminal acts under the influence of or in order to conjure up supernatural spirits or forces, this may very well be the basis for an insanity or diminished capacity defense, or may damage the intent aspect of a sexually motivated crime. The defense may very well be more interested in all the "evidence of satanic activity". Some of the satanic crime "experts" who train law enforcement wind up working or testifying for the defense in these cases. It is best to focus on the crime and all the evidence to corroborate its commission. Information about local satanic or occult activity is only of value if it is based on specific law enforcement intelligence and not on some vague, unsubstantiated generalities from religious groups. Cases are not solved by decoding signs, symbols, and dates using undocumented satanic crime "manuals". In one case a law enforcement agency executing a search warrant seized only the satanic paraphernalia and left behind the other evidence that would have corroborated victim statements. Cases are solved by people- and behavior-oriented investigation. Evidence of satanic or occult activity may help explain certain aspects of the case, but even offenders who commit crimes in a spiritual context are usually motivated by power, sex, and money. -- b. KEEP INVESTIGATION AND RELIGIOUS BELIEFS SEPARATE. I believe that one of the biggest mistakes any investigator of these cases can make is to attribute supernatural powers to the offenders. During an investigation a good investigator may sometimes be able to use the beliefs and superstitions of the offenders to his or her advantage. The reverse happens if the investigator believes that the offenders possess supernatural powers. Satanic/occult practitioners have no more power than any other human beings. Law enforcement officers who believe that the investigation of these cases puts them in conflict with the supernatural forces of evil should probably not be assigned to them. The religious beliefs of officers should provide spiritual strength and support for them but should not affect the objectivity and professionalism of the investigation. It is easy to get caught up in these cases and begin to see "satanism" everywhere. Oversensitization to this perceived threat may cause an investigator to "see" satanism in a crime when it really is not there (quasi-satanism). Often the eye sees what the mind perceives. It may also cause an investigator not to recognize a staged crime scene deliberately seeded with "satanic clues" in order to mislead the police (pseudo-satanism). On rare occasions an overzealous investigator or intervenor may even be tempted to plant "evidence of satanism" in order to corroborate such allegations and beliefs. Supervisors need to be alert for and monitor these reactions in their investigators. ... Famous Gods of the Bible #21! (ISA 14:12) Lucifer ("Light-Bearer"). --- Blue Wave/Max v2.12 [NR] * Origin: >> Ubik: Another goddamn BBS << (1:203/289.0)


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank