Jan. 11, 2019

The Little Rascals Day Care Case archive at Duke Law School is about to get some impressive company. Mary deYoung, perhaps the most prolific researcher and chronicler of the “satanic ritual abuse” era, has agreed to place her own voluminous papers at Duke.

The author of both “The Day Care Ritual Abuse Moral Panic” (2004) and “The Ritual Abuse Controversy: An Annotated Bibliography” (2002), she is now emerita professor of sociology at Grand Valley State University. I asked Dr. deYoung to describe what she will be sending Duke’s way….

“My papers include 40 binders on American, European and Australasian cases. For many of the cases, I traveled to the site of the moral panic and collected local material that is not generally available by internet searches. I also have a file box of ephemera – symptom lists, descriptions of rituals, etc. – that were widely circulated at the endless training sessions that recruited so many social workers, police officers, medical and legal professionals to the idea that day care providers were engaged in a satanic conspiracy to abuse children. I have a few books, written by apologists, that probably should have been burned long ago, but they are testimony to the mainstreaming of these ridiculous ideas….

“The prospect that lessons can be learned from this dark decade is very satisfying…. While day care centers are no longer the site of the panic, the ridiculous assertions, unfounded complaints and pseudoscience that resulted in so many miscarriages of justice still occur in recovered memory and other types of cases around the Western world.”