Oct. 15, 2017
“Remember, [this fictional child sex abuse trial] happened during an odd time in criminal justice, when the public was convinced there were satanic cults all over the country.
“I attended a forensic psychology conference in the early ’90s, and I heard a so-called expert describe vast networks of these cults abusing children and even sacrificing babies. She claimed that a quarter of her patients were survivors of ritual abuse.
“All around the country there were criminal trials going on…. Unfortunately, many weren’t based on facts but on fear and superstition.”
– Dr. Lawrence Zucker, a character in “I Know a Secret,” the latest Rizzoli and Isles thriller from Tess Gerritsen
That conference sure sounds like the actual one at Kill Devil Hills that preceded Bob Kelly’s arrest by just months.
And the “so-called expert”? Well, here’s how Debbie Nathan and Michael Snedeker described Ann Wolbert Burgess in 2001 in “Satan’s Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt”: “promoter of the use of children’s drawings to diagnose sexual abuse, developer of the idea of the sex ring, participant in developing the case that imprisoned the Amirault family and currently a researcher into the traumatic aftereffects of ritual abuse.”