Jan. 11, 2012

“It’s worth remembering, in the 1980s we had a whole spate of false accusations of… sexual abuse of children. The McMartin Preschool, all those supposed satanic cults in day care centers, turned out to be false…. It’s worth it to remind people of that.”

– Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, interviewed on CNN (Nov. 15) about the Penn State case

In fact, deep distinctions separate Penn State and the “multi-victim, multi-offender” – MVMO, in the sex-crime argot – accusations typified by McMartin and Little Rascals.

Since 1995, Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance has investigated 40 alleged MVMOs at 24 locations around the world. Number of substantiated instances of ritual abuse: zero.

According to its research, “Any criminal acts were non-ritual abuse by a single perpetrator… Almost all the crimes with which people were charged never happened.”

Regardless, Toobin’s reminder is a welcome counterpoint to the Judge Nancy Grace school of instant verdicts.