How hysterical parents, incompetent therapists and malicious prosecutors destroyed the lives of seven innocent
North Carolinians – and have yet to admit they were wrong

“And When Did You Last See Your Father?” by William Frederick Yeames, 1878, depicting English Puritan inquisitors grilling the child of a Royalist family

“And When Did You Last See Your Father?” by William Frederick Yeames, 1878, depicting English Puritan inquisitors grilling the child of a Royalist family


  • For child witnesses, life was changed forever

    Jan. 4, 2017

    “[Richard Beck’s ‘Believe the Children’] is perhaps most poignant on the subject of the damage to the young people who acted as witnesses. ‘Children as young as three and almost never older than nine or ten,’ Beck writes, ‘children who previously understood their time in day care as essentially normal, whether happy or not, had their lives reorganized around the idea that they were deeply and irrevocably traumatized.’ ”

    – From “Our Panics, Ourselves” by Rebecca Onion in Boston Review (Sept. 22, 2015)


  • Holdout jurors face – and often succumb to – relentless pressure

    Earl Ofari Hutchinson

    Dec. 28, 2016

    “The problem of juror pressure on a dissenting juror has long been known by defense attorneys and prosecutors.

    “In a National Center for State Courts project on hung juries, researchers surveyed 367 unanimous decisions…. In nearly 40 percent of the cases at least one juror [disagreed] but went along with the majority and made the verdict unanimous….

    “Research shows that dissenting jurors often go along not because they are convinced about points of evidence but because they bow to ‘normative pressure’: A lone holdout is under relentless and harsh pressure from other jurors to knuckle under. The pressure from the push for speed, the verbal battering and the threat of ostracism is virtually impossible to resist.

    “The problem is made worse [in cases] when it’s impossible for a dissenting juror to say with absolute certainty whether the position of the majority is the right one and when the verdict could do horrible legal damage….”

    – From “Why Zimmerman Juror B29 Believed in His Guilt But Still Voted to Acquit” by Earl Ofari Hutchinson on the Huffington Post (July 28, 2013)

    Bob Kelly’s jury serves as a sad example of the contaminated chemistry of verdict making.


  • Fake news and ‘satanic ritual abuse’: Best friends forever!

    Covers from the Weekly World News.

    Dec. 15, 2016

    You probably haven’t been asking Google to provide you with daily news alerts about “satanic ritual abuse,” but if you had , the popularity of fake news would come as no surprise.

    Decades of debunking may have squelched the wrongful prosecutions of day-care providers, but beneath the surface… well, these headlines sprang from just one day’s news feed:

    • Ritual Abuse is Real: Cover-up of Child Sexual and Ritual Abuse

    • Cover-up of the Century: Satanic Ritual Abuse and World Conspiracy

    • Ritual Abuse: What It Is, Why It Happens, And How To Help

    • Breaking the Circle of Satanic Ritual Abuse

    • Child Trafficking/Illuminati-Freemason Ritual Abuse


  • From Trump to Pizzagate, Internet is geyser of malinformation

    Charles P. Pierce

    Dec. 7, 2016

    “If you do a Google search right now for ‘McMartin preschool tunnels,’ you will be inundated with ‘studies’ and ‘reports’ that ‘prove’ the tunnels did exist, and that the lurid fictions prompted out of the children by ambitious social workers were therefore true. Nothing dies on the Internet, not even the most arrant lunacy….

    “One of [Donald Trump’s] primary surrogates, Scottie Nell Hughes, told an NPR panel that ‘There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts.’ But we have not ‘entered’ an age of post-truth politics. We’ve been living in it for years. The Executive Branch of the government just has been slow to catch up. Now, it’s right there with the rest of us, god help the country. We’re all just the children of McMartin now. We’ll say anything we’re told until we come to believe it ourselves.”

    – From “America Was Always a Nation of Conspiracy Theorists. Now, They’re Simply More Dangerous: Lessons from Pizzagate” by Charles P. Pierce in Esquire (Dec. 5)



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The Little Rascals Day Care Case in brief

In the beginning, in 1989, more than 90 children at the Little Rascals Day Care Center in Edenton, North Carolina, accused a total of 20 adults with 429 instances of sexual abuse over a three-year period. It may have all begun with one parent’s complaint about punishment given her child. Among the alleged perpetrators: the sheriff and mayor. But prosecutors would charge only Robin Byrum, Darlene Harris, Elizabeth “Betsy” Kelly, Robert “Bob” Kelly, Willard Scott Privott, Shelley Stone and Dawn Wilson – the Edenton 7.

Along with sodomy and beatings, allegations included a baby killed with a handgun, a child being hung upside down from a tree and being set on fire and countless other fantastic incidents involving spaceships, hot air balloons, pirate ships and trained sharks. By the time prosecutors dropped the last charges in 1997, Little Rascals had become North Carolina’s longest and most costly criminal trial. Prosecutors kept defendants jailed in hopes at least one would turn against their supposed co-conspirators. Remarkably, none did. Another shameful record: Five defendants had to wait longer to face their accusers in court than anyone else in North Carolina history.

Between 1991 and 1997, Ofra Bikel produced three extraordinary episodes on the Little Rascals case for the PBS series “Frontline.” Although “Innocence Lost” did not deter prosecutors, it exposed their tactics and fostered nationwide skepticism and dismay. With each passing year, the absurdity of the Little Rascals charges has become more obvious. But no admission of error has ever come from prosecutors, police, interviewers or parents. This site is devoted to the issues raised by this case.