For introductions

Though last updated in 1997, Frontline’s “Innocence Lost” website remains the most comprehensive single source for reporting on the Little Rascals Day Care case.

Especially useful: a chronology, profiles of the defendants, a roundtable discussion of the case’s legal and scientific issues, excerpts from children’s testimony and closing arguments.

And you don’t want to miss prosecutor Nancy Lamb’s breathtakingly self-righteous journal article “The Little Rascals Day Care Case: The Ingredients of Two Successful Prosecutions” (1994).

Overviews of the Little Rascals case

–  Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance

–  Answers in Action

–  Wikipedia

–  “Child Sex Scandals: Modern Day Witch-Hunt?” CBS Correspondent Mike Wallace’s 1999 report for the “20th Century” documentary series, which opens with the McMartin Pre-School case in California and includes  a segment on the Little Rascals case.

Court documents

– Brief for Bob Kelly before North Carolina Court of Appeals (1994)

– Ruling by North Carolina Court of Appeals (1995)

– Transcript of an interview by Officer Brenda Toppin with a child witness, an addendum to the Defendant-Appellant’s brief #933SC676 filed April 21, 1994.

Academic and professional publications

– “Little Rascals Day Care Center Case: The Bitter Lesson, A Healthy Reminder,” by Judith Steltzner Abbott, Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, Vol. 3 (2), 1994.

– Excerpts from “Family Violence Across  the Lifespan: An Introduction,” by Cindy L. Miller-Perrin, Ola W. Barnett, Robin D. Perrin. SAGE, Dec 21, 2010, 896 pp.

– The Little Rascals Day Care Center Case: The Ingredients of Two Successful Prosecutions,” by Nancy B. Lamb. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, Vol. 3 (2), 1994.

– “Modern Witch Hunts: How Media Have Mishandled Ritual Child-Sex-Abuse Cases,” a master’s thesis by David O. Loomis, UNC Chapel Hill, 1997.

Case study of press coverage of the Little Rascals trials suggests that the shortcomings of media coverage “contributed to avoidable injustices that exercise of the press’ watchdog responsibility could have prevented.” Loomis, a former newspaper reporter and editor, now teaches journalism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

–  “The Little Rascals Day Care Center Case: A Perspective on Medical Testimony in a Prominent Public Trial” by Jean C. Smith, Desmond K. Runyan and Doren D. Fredrickson. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 1994

– “Sexual Abuse of Children in Day Care Centers,” by Susan J. Kelley, Renee Brant and Jill Waterman. Child Abuse & Neglect, January-February, 1993.

– “What I Learned From the Edenton ‘Little Rascals Sex Abuse Trial,” by Moisy Shopper, M.D. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 29:513-527, 2009.

– “Why False Beliefs Prevail: the Little Rascals Child Sex Abuse Prosecutions” by Anthony Oberschall in “Essays in Honor of Raymond Boudon” (2000).

– Draft working paper on Little Rascals Day Care case by Anthony Oberschall (2010). Unpublished.

– Lesson plan on day care ritual abuse from Catherine Caldwell-Harris, associate professor of psychology, Boston University. Downloadable in Word.

Coverage of Bob Kelly’s trial in The New York Times

– First day (1991)

– Closing arguments (1992)

– Verdict (1992)

– Sentencing (1992)

– Reaction to “Innocence Lost” (1993)


– Letter from Anthony Oberschall, UNC Chapel Hill sociologist, to Dennis Rogers of the Raleigh News & Observer in response to the column “What Happened in Edenton?” (Jan. 28, 1993). Unpublished.

– Opinion-page column submitted by Anthony Oberschall, UNC Chapel Hill sociologist, to the Raleigh News & Observer (circa July 1993). Unpublished.

– Jonathan G. Harris suggests “SBFAQ (Should Be Frequently Asked Questions) about Little Rascals, the Ritual Sexual Abuse Hoax and its costs” (1994).

– William L. Anderson compares prosecutorial abuses in Little Rascals and Duke lacrosse cases (1997).

– Carol Tavris puts Little Rascals in context of wave of satanic ritual abuse charges against day care centers (1997).

The Junior Chandler case

– 8-27-10 N.C. Supreme Court reversal of lower-court ruling. The Supreme Court rejected Chandler’s claim that court rulings between his 1987 conviction and 2007 made “significant change in the law pertaining to the admissibility of expert opinion evidence” upon which the conviction rested.

– 12-7-12 Appeal for commutation of sentence, appellate attorney Mark Montgomery to Gov. Bev Perdue.

– 3-25-14 Denial of commutation appeal, from Pat Hensen, clemency administrator for Gov. Pat McCrory, to appellate attorney Mark Montgomery


– “Justice Abused: A 1980s Witch Hunt” by Tom Charlier and Shirley Downing, a January 1988 reprint of the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s series on  “satanic ritual abuse” cases across the country. Download here in two parts: one   two.

– S.M.A.R.T. [Stop Mind control And Ritual Abuse Today] exemplifies the continuing if diminished alarmism over satanic ritual abuse. Not a lot about Little Rascals on this site, but a wide range of parallel allegations. Among them: There really were tunnels beneath the McMartin Preschool — and of course they were covered up by authorities.

– A chilling timeline of the ritual abuse panic

– Public broadcasting journal interviews Ofra Bikel about “Innocence Lost” (1997).

– Video excerpts from the 2007 John Chancellor Award ceremony, where Ofra Bikel was honored for her FRONTLINE and both Elizabeth “Betsy” Kelly and her sister Nancy Smith Barrow spoke.

– For first-time publication here, Raymond Lawrence has written a memoir about founding the Committee for Support of the Edenton Seven and what he saw when he attended the trials. Download the memoir in Word.

– “The Demons of Edenton” by Lisa Scheer and Edward Cone, 4 pp., Elle magazine (November 1993)

– Letter from Evan Harrington and others to the Travis County (Tex.) District Court challenging the expert testimony of Dr. Randy Noblitt in the 1992 conviction of Fran and Dan Keller.

– Letter from N.C. Gov Jim Martin, June 5, 1991, to a viewer of the Frontline series over issues raised about North Carolina justice.

From the sixth annual North Carolina Criminal Evidence Seminar, UNC School of Law, April 16, 1993:

– “ Evidence Issues and ‘Lessons’ from State v. Kelly: Litigation of Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse,” presented by  Jeffrey L. Miller and W. Michael Spivey

– “What Lessons Can We Learn from State v. Miller” by Miller, Spivey and Mark D, Montgomery, assistant appellate defender