March 8, 2014

Last of three posts

As I recounted earlier, Dr. Jon Conte expressed a willingness to consider my expanded letter seeking a retraction of the Journal of Interpersonal Violence’s past support of the “satanic ritual abuse” moral panic. So what might have happened after I submitted that October 25 letter that resulted in Conte’s cutting off contact by email or phone?

I suspect the crucial clue lies in his specifying that “We are probably going to invite the authors to respond, and if they choose to do so I will share their responses before we publish your letter or their responses.” Those authors would include Susan J. Kelley (“Stress Responses of Children to Sexual Abuse and Ritualistic Abuse in Day Care Centers,” December 1989) and Barbara Snow (“Ritualistic Child Abuse in a Neighborhood Setting,” December 1990).

Kelley has been oft-recognized at, not only for her enthusiastically wrongheaded academic work, but also for her prosecutorial interviewing techniques in the Fells Acres case.

Unlike Kelley, Snow eventually suffered consequences, however small. From the Salt Lake Tribune (February 22, 2008):

“A therapist accused of unprofessional conduct – including imposing false memories on her relatives – entered into an agreement Tuesday with (Utah’s) Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.

“Barbara Snow is voluntarily being placed on probation, according to a statement from her attorney….

“The disciplinary notice alleged Snow convinced a male relative he was sexually abused by his father. It also contended Snow convinced a female relative she was the victim of satanic abuse and military testing. When state investigators questioned Snow, she allegedly provided made-up notes about those sessions.

“In the agreement, Snow admitted destroying a relative’s computer equipment (with a baseball bat!) and adding two incorrect dates to her psychotherapy notes….

“Snow was involved in the prosecutions of a string of child sex abuse cases in the 1980s. One man she testified against was granted a new hearing after the Utah Supreme Court questioned her credibility….”

Should it surprise anyone that Kelley and Snow – or Dr. Richard Kluft – would be less than eager to look back at the toxic misconceptions they spread?