July 12, 2013

“Some professionals take the charges (of satanic ritual abuse) seriously. ‘It’s hard to believe, but so were the reports about Nazi atrocities,’ says Bennett Braun, director of the Dissociative Disorder Program at Chicago’s Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center. ‘Then we found the concentration camps.’

“Skeptics are still waiting for the equivalent to a concentration camp to be found. No investigation has ever turned up so much as a bloodstain that could be traced with certainty to these bizarre activities.

“What’s indisputable is the existence of a busy network of therapists specializing in SRA. ‘These allegations are produced by the unrelenting pressure of the therapist,’ says Richard Ofshe, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies cults and thought control. ‘You will eventually come up with bizarre stuff because you run out of all the ordinary stuff.’ ”

– From “Rush to Judgment” in Newsweek (April 19, 1993)

As Newsweek’s secondary headline noted, “America is now at war against child abuse. But some recent cases suggest we may be pushing too hard, too fast.” Among the prosecutions criticized was Little Rascals, but by this time both Bob Kelly and Dawn Wilson had been convicted and imprisoned.

Unlike so many others who fomented the ritual abuse/repressed memory/multiple personality mania, psychiatrist Braun actually suffered consequences: He lost his medical license for two years and was among the defendants in a malpractice suit ultimately settled for $7.5 million. He now practices in Butte, Montana.