During the ritual-sex-abuse panic of the 1980s and 1990s, children undergoing recovered memory therapy and other dubious psychological treatment recounted crimes so horrific and depraved, they’re hard to even think about. They described bizarre satanic-themed sex abuse where children were penetrated with knives. They described orgies with adults and children who could barely walk. They described animal and human sacrifice. A big reason why these kids were believed despite the complete lack of physical evidence — if children were murdered, there should have been children in the area who were missing (there were no such missing children); the children who described being raped should have showed signs of sexual abuse (they didn’t); there should have been bloody knives, animal carcasses and other evidence of these rituals (there weren’t) — is that the gruesome details seemed too macabre and perverse to have come from the imagination of kids.
They didn’t, of course. And this is where the whole scandal gets truly horrifying: The gory details came not from the kids, but from the imaginations of the police officers, prosecutors and psychiatrists. They came from the very people who were supposed to protect the kids. They were the ones conjuring images of the kids involved in orgies, sacrifice and murder.
I was reminded of all of that when I read this crushing story out of Florida:
After he was accused of molesting his young special needs son, __________ spent 35 days in a Miami jail and was barred from seeing his family for months.
The allegations did not come directly from the 7-year-old boy, who has autism, speaks little and cannot write on his own. Instead, they came from the child’s elementary school teacher who claimed he relied on a technique called “hand over hand,” guiding the boy’s hands with his own to write down the disturbing details of sexual abuse.