Ritual Abuse Taskforce Alleges Poisoning
Organization: Manumission: The Campus Men's Forum
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dave Gross)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Several members of a county task force on satanic
abuse say devil worshippers are using a bug spray chemical to poison
them and others, including abuse survivors and their psychotherapists.
The county's chief toxicologist says he doubts the claims by some
members of the Ritual Abuse Task Force, which is a subcommittee of the
Los Angeles County Commission for Women.
"I can't believe I'm sitting here listening to this," Paul J. Papanek
said as task force members expressed their fears during a Monday
meeting. "This is outrageous."
Therapists, religious leaders and people who say they were abused during
satanic rituals belong to the 14-member task force, which was formed in
1988. The group has financed its own operations since 1989 by selling
more than 17,000 copies of a $1 handbook describing signs of satanic
Some task force members, including psychologist Vicki Graham-Costain,
said a satanic conspiracy is trying to silence anti-devil forces by
poisoning up to 43 people with the toxic pesticide diazinon, which is
used in bug sprays and powders. She and the others didn't say how many
of the 43 are task force members.
At their quarterly meetings since March, several task force members and
others have complained of nausea, dizziness and numbness, which they
blame on the pesticide.
Some purported abuse survivors, who didn't identify themselves during
the latest meeting, claimed they were being poisoned in their homes,
cars and offices, and that the pesticide was slipped into air
conditioning or heating vents. One woman claimed she was poisoned
during a task force meeting.
"I certainly did not hear any evidence of diazinon poisoning," Papanek
Task force member Stephanie Sheppard, who said she was a survivor of
satanic ritual abuse, said the group's credibility was "severely on the
line" because of the poisoning claims.
"If people are making those statements, they need to back them up," she
Task force member Catherine A. Gould, a clinical psychologist, claimed
she was poisoned after she raised the matter at the March board meeting.
She said her blurred vision and failed memory weren't psychosomatic, but
she admitted she never visited a doctor to be tested for the pesticide.
Myra Riddell, chairwoman of the women's commission, requested formation
of the task force, which she also chairs. She said she had noticed more
patients were claiming that, as children, they were victims of abuse
during satanic rituals.