Dec. 5, 2012

As noted previously, my requests for retraction to Nursing Research and Child Abuse & Neglect went nowhere. But I found a spark of interest at a third journal, Relational Child & Youth Care Practice.

As well I should have – in 1990, RCYCP (then known as the Journal of Child and Youth Care) published not just a single article affirming the existence of day-care ritual abuse but an entire special issue.

In the Shadow of Satan: The Ritual Abuse of Children” included “A Case of Multiple Life-Threatening Illnesses Related to Early Ritual Abuse” by Rennet Wong and Jock McKeen, “Ritual Child Abuse: A Survey of Symptoms and Allegations” by  Pamela S. Hudson and “Satanic Ritual Abuse: A Cause of Multiple Personality Disorder” by George A. Fraser.

My request for retraction elicited this response from RCYCP:

“…. Carol Stuart and Grant Charles, Editors of RCYCP… have agreed that a statement in the next issue about the original article and the wrongful prosecution of these defendants would be appropriate.  Could you please provide… a draft of what you think is appropriate, ensuring correct names, etc. Our editors will then review and finalize and confirm any questions or issues with you.”

Boy, was I excited! This is what I proposed:

“In 1990 the Journal of Child and Youth Care (now Relational Child & Youth Care Practice) published a Special Issue entitled ‘In the Shadow of Satan: The Ritual Abuse of Children.’

“All five articles in the issue were based on the writers’ erroneous belief in ‘satanic ritual abuse,’ a moral panic that led to wrongful prosecutions against day cares in the United States, Canada and elsewhere during the 1980s and 1990s.”

A few days later I received this change of plan from RCYCP:

“We have carefully reviewed the 1990 Special Issue… and found no reference to the Edenton Seven or the Little Rascals Day Care. As such, our editors will not be printing a retraction.”

Of course, I responded:

“The Little Rascals and McMartin cases were but two manifestations of the moral panic of satanic ritual abuse. In the 1980s and early 1990s, numerous similar, if less publicized, prosecutions occurred across North America and as far as New Zealand and Germany.

“All these cases were rooted in the belief affirmed and promoted in the Special Issue….

“Little Rascals and McMartin are mentioned only indirectly, but my request for a retraction addresses – as does the issue – the entire false concept of satanic ritual abuse.
“I hope this clarification will move the editors to reconsider.”

So far, it hasn’t.