Oct. 24, 2012

“Indeed, at a time when the (Los Angeles County) Board of Supervisors has been meeting just five floors below the (Ritual Abuse) task force to dismantle county health care programs, lay off part-time employees and cut all other services because of a severe budget shortfall, some are questioning whether the group – and particularly its obsession with poisoning – is not just a little frivolous.

“One county employee suggested that the task force has not been disbanded because it is ‘one of the few that actually make money.’ Since 1989, the task force – made up of therapists, alleged victims and religious leaders – has sold a handbook that outlines the telltale signs of ritual abuse. More than 17,000 copies of the handbook have been sold at $1 apiece, more than enough to offset the costs of the task force.”

– From the Los Angeles Times, December 1, 1992

Early on, the task force handbook –“Ritual Abuse: Definitions, Glossary and the Use of Mind Control” – played a significant role in inflaming fear of ritual abuse.

By 1992, however, the last charges in the McMartin case had been dropped, and skepticism about ritual abuse was finding its voice. (But not among Little Rascals prosecutors – Bob Kelly had just been convicted and Dawn Wilson was being tried.)

Today the Los Angeles County Commission for Women website makes no mention of its onetime task force.