Just happened to see this film about the West Memphis 3, teenage boys convicted in 1993 of murdering three 8-year-old boys. I had heard of the case before, but didn't realize the trial and conviction were motivated by the locals' fear of Satanism.
It reminded me of the McMartin Pre-School case in California in 1985 (not sure on the date). I had read a book about that written by defendants' lawyers, and while the book mentioned that some of the accusers were members of the same churches, it stopped short--very short--of pinning the blame on religion. There was also a film starring James Woods that nearly ignored religion, leaving what seemed an obvious vacuum in a case that seems to have kicked off a spate of "satanic child molestation" cases around the US. Anyone know of any more religion oriented research on these cases?
The West Memphis 3 first came to me in the HBO film "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills." This film was 1996 and it haunted me so much. There is no way that I ever believed those 3 boys were guilty. The cops even directed the confession of young Miskelley until he said exactly what they wanted him to say. Damien Echols was said to be a "devil worshiper" and a lot of this was because he wanted to be different and he dressed in black. The jury might as well have convicted Johnny Cash! They had 3 precious young boys dead and no evidence of any kind. Religious hysteria served the day.
The McMartin Pre- School case was yet another tragedy. The trial began in 1987 and totally ruined a family. Hysteria of the time had the young children telling events by using other words suggested to them by the councilor. Much later they found out she was not even qualified, but she had kids say things like "he poked me with a stick." That was supposed to be sexual. One little boy repeatedly said that nobody did anything to him, but they thought he was lying. When this nightmare was over all together, some families even thought the cops were lying and covering up for bad things they just knew were happening.
We bring these things on ourselves by getting the kids aside and teaching them how not to let somebody touch them. Kids are not stupid, but they learn how to get our attention with this, and we keep on suggesting things again and again. Sometimes for attention or just to please us, children will give the answers they think we want to hear. Religion and the blind hysteria of the parents are the driving force here, and not the children. I agree that children need to be taught about the pedophile and what he might do, but parents cannot be obsessed with this week after week.
I have nothing new on these cases but you can Google them and find out more than both of us have said here. I'm sure there are other links as well. I agree with you that people have left fundamentalist idiotic religion out of these matters, perhaps because nobody wanted the facts to appear like religion was being attacked. In my belief, religion needs to be attacked, both here and in other cases as well.
Try this website, Craig, in case you haven't seen it before. Great detail here on the McMartin case with much info I've never seen before.https://ritualabuse.us/ritualabuse/articles/mcmartin-preschool-case...
A belated thanks, Michael. It's puzzling that the media tiptoes around religiously motivated violence and hysteria. When anyone mentions the Turkish genocide against the Armenian minority, nothing is said about the Turks being Muslims and the Armenians being Christians. News reports of the "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia-Herzogovina always referred to the victims as "ethnic Albanians," but never mentioned that they were Muslims. Janet Reno became Attorney General because of her reputation as the scourge of child abusers, but we never heard that some of her biggest cases involved witch hunts against suspected Satanists. What else has been passed over by the media?