Taking Back Our Stolen History
The Groundbreaking ‘Report of the Ritual Abuse Task Force’ by the Los Angeles County Commission for Women is Released
The Groundbreaking ‘Report of the Ritual Abuse Task Force’ by the Los Angeles County Commission for Women is Released

The Groundbreaking ‘Report of the Ritual Abuse Task Force’ by the Los Angeles County Commission for Women is Released

From the September 15, 1989 Report of the Ritual Abuse Task Force – Los Angeles County Commission for Women. Back in 1989, this report was considered to be ground-breaking. Since then, much more information has been published about the connections between ritual abuse and mind-control. However, the information included in the report is still enormously helpful to both survivors and to others wishing to learn more about organized criminal sadistic abuse, cult ritual abuse, and mind-control techniques used on the perpetrators’ victims.

Comment boxes and brackets [ ] are from Satanic Ritual victim Kathleen Sullivan

Ritual Abuse


Concise Definition

Ritual abuse is a brutal form of abuse of children, adolescents, and adults, consisting of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, and involving the use of rituals. Ritual does not necessarily mean satanic. However, most survivors state that they were ritually abused as part of satanic worship for the purpose of indoctrinating them into satanic beliefs and practices. Ritual abuse rarely consists of a single episode. It usually involves repeated abuse over an extended period of time.

The physical abuse is severe, sometimes including torture and killing. The sexual abuse is usually painful, sadistic, and humiliating, intended as means of gaining dominance over the victim. The psychological abuse is devastating and involves the use of ritual/indoctrination, which includes mind control techniques and mind altering drugs, and ritual/intimidation which conveys to the victim a profound terror of the cult members and of the evil spirits they believe cult members can command. Both during and after the abuse, most victims are in a state of terror, mind control, and dissociation in which disclosure is exceedingly difficult.

Descriptive Definition

Ritual abuse is a brutal form of abuse of children, adolescents, and adults, consisting of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, and involving the use of rituals. Ritual does not necessarily mean satanic. However, most survivors state that they were ritually abused as part of satanic worship for the purpose of indoctrinating them into satanic beliefs and practices. Ritual abuse rarely consists of a single episode. It usually involves repeated abuse over an extended period of time.

Ritual abuse is usually carried out by members of a cult. The purpose of the ritual elements of the abuse seems threefold:

  1. Rituals in some groups are part of a shared belief or worship system into which the victim is being indoctrinated;
  2. Rituals are used to intimidate victims into silence;
  3. Ritual elements (e.g., devil worship, animal or human sacrifice) seem so unbelievable to those unfamiliar with these crimes that these elements detract from the credibility of the victims and make prosecution of the crimes very difficult.

Many victims are children under the age of six who suffer the most severe and longstanding emotional damage from the abuse. These young victims are particularly susceptible to being terrorized and indoctrinated into the abusers’ belief system. During and even long after the abuse victims live in a state of terror and dissociation and suffer from the impact of mind control techniques. All this makes the initial disclosures of abuse exceedingly difficult, and can make each subsequent disclosure a terrifying and painful experience.

Ritual abuse is known to occur as an integral part of the life of some families in which one or both parents participate in conjunction with the extended family or other group. These groups are typically satanic in their symbols and beliefs. Children in these settings are severely abused on an ongoing basis with little time during which they are safe from abuse. The results are devastating.

Ritual abuse has also occurred, without parents knowing, at pre-schools, day-care centers, churches, summer camps, and at the hands of baby-sitters and neighbors. The ritual abuse in such an institutional setting is not incidental to its operation, but is in fact intrinsic to it, the very reason for the institution’s existence. Children are subjected to sexual abuse, ritual/intimidation to terrorize them into silence, and ritual/ indoctrination to convert them to the belief or worship system of the group.

Ritual abuse of adolescents, and participation by adolescents in perpetrating ritual abuse, can take place in family or school settings, or in youth gangs which orient themselves toward a self-styled satanism or other ritualism, and violence.

Many adults who are victims and/or perpetrators of ritual abuse came under the influence of such beliefs and practices in their childhood or adolescence and may function with severe dissociative disorders, including multiple personality disorder [now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder, since no person truly has more than one original personality]. Such adults are often working members of society whose identity as members of satanic or other cults is not known outside the cult. Some perpetrate abuse, infiltrate, and/or recruit for the cult in the context of their jobs. [Some dissociative adult victims are not even aware that they are living a dual life.] Some adults join the cult later in life, enticed by sexual promiscuity and perversion, the availability of illicit drugs, the promise of money, and the satanic spirituality oriented toward power and moral license.

Kinds of Abuse

Psychological Abuse

The psychological abuse which is inflicted as part of ritual abuse causes severe mental and emotional suffering to the victims. Victims are subjected to profound terror as well as to mind control techniques so severe that most victims dissociate their memories of the experience and lose their sense of free will.

Some Reported Examples

  1. Threats of punishment, torture, mutilation, or death of the victim, the victim’s family or pets. Threats are heightened by carrying out killings of animals or human beings in the presence of the victim, sometimes with the victim’s forced participation. Told that it would be futile to disclose because “no-one will believe you.”
  2. Threats against the victim’s property including threats that his/her house will be broken into or burned down if s/he discloses the abuse.
  3. Told that family or other loving and protective figures are secretly cult members who intend to harm the victim. Or made to believe that parents not only know, but have chosen that their child be ritually abused. Told that s/he is no longer loved by family or by God.
  4. Told that his/her family is not the “real” family, that the abusers are in fact the child’s “real” family. Victim is told s/he will be kidnapped and forced to live with the abusers, apart from his/her family. Or told that parents no longer want the child and approve of the cult becoming the child’s “new family.”
  5. Tied up or confined to a cage, closet, basement, isolation house, or other confined space. Told s/he being left there to die. Some are placed in coffins and told to “practice being dead.” For some this includes mock burials in which the victim is buried and told s/he is being left to die. Sometimes a cult member seems to rescue the child from these terrifying situations and thus the distraught child reaches out gratefully and bonds to the cult member [Stockholm Syndrome].
  6. Tied up or confined in space with insects or animals that s/he is told will harm him/her, or tricked into believing that frightening insects or animals are present. Confined with or hung upside-down in a hole with a dead body or the mutilated body parts of an animal or a human being.
  7. Humiliated or degraded through verbal abuse. Forced nudity in front of of the group. Body of the victim smeared or covered with urine or feces. Forced ingestion of urine, feces, or semen.
  8. Photographed in sexually provocative poses. Photographed while being physically or sexually assaulted, or while physically or sexually assaulting someone else. Forced participation in the production of pornography [is] used in the intimidation and humiliation of the victim as well as to financially profit the abusers.
  9. Made to feel constantly watched and monitored by abusers or their spiritual counterparts (e.g., evil spirits). Made to believe that disclosure, or failure to perpetrate evil when expected by the group to do so, will result in punishment or even death.
  10. Physically and sexually abused by perpetrators disguised as heroes or authority figures like Superman, Santa Claus, Rambo, clergy, judges, [Jesus Christ], police. Undermines child’s trust in authority and heroes. Inhibits disclosure.
  11. Subjected to mind control and mind altering drugs which alter the victim’s perception, interfere with the victim’s resistance to the assault, and cloud the victim’s recall of the details of the abuse. Sophisticated uses of hypnosis, indoctrination, programming, and the use of triggering.
  12. Subjected to rituals like magical surgery, birthing rituals, and marriage rituals which emphasize the victim’s belonging to, and subjugation to, the cult. Victims also are forced to participate in ritual sacrifices and human sacrifices. They are forced into the belief and worship system of the group. Often, though not always, the belief and worship of the group is satanic.
  13. Sworn into secrecy regarding cult activities, including the abusive activities, under penalty of death. Subjected to mind control regarding how to harm him/herself or even to commit suicide rather than remember or disclose cult activities. Vulnerable to extreme self-destructive impulses [such as self-mutilation] if s/he even considers leaving the cult.
  14. Compelled to commit heinous acts, including the killing and mutilation of animals or human beings, sometimes including the victim’s own children. Compelled to ingest blood or body parts of animals or human beings in cannibalistic rituals. Subsequently subjected by the group to profound condemnation and guilt for perpetrating and surviving these crimes. Victims tricked into believing their participation was voluntary. Threatened with exposure as a perpetrator.
  15. Compelled to act on behalf of the group while outside the group by engaging in prostitution, drug dealing, and other illegal activities. Compelled to extend the group’s sphere of influence and control in social institutions (e.g., by participating and working in schools, churches, law enforcement, courts, health and mental professions, etc.).

Physical Abuse

Ritual abuse victims are physically abused often to the point of torture. Young victims who are being ritually abused without the knowledge of both parents are usually subjected only to physical abuse that is not easily detected.

Less Detectable Examples

  1. Pins or “shots” inserted into sensitive areas of the body, especially between digits, under fingernails, or in genital areas. Electric shock to these body areas.
  2. Being hung by hands or upside down by feet for extended periods of time. Sometimes hung from crosses in mock crucifixions. Sexual abuse while in such positions.
  3. Submerging victim in water with perception of near drowning.
  4. Withholding of food or water for several hours.
  5. Sleep deprivation and activities aimed at inducing exhaustion.

More Detectable Examples

  1. Physical beatings.
  2. Use of cuts, tattoos, branding, burns, often to sensitive body areas.
  3. Withholding food, water, or sleep for days or weeks.
  4. Removal of body parts, e.g., digits.

Sexual Abuse

The sexual abuse of ritual victims is unusually brutal, sadistic, and humiliating. It is far more severe than that which is usually inflicted by a pedophile or in the context of intrafamilial sexual abuse (incest). It seems intended as a means of gaining total dominance over the victim, as well as being an end in itself.

  1. Repeated sexual assaults by men, women, and other children, often occurring in a group. May be associated with the marriage ritual, repeated fondling, oral copulation, rape and sodomy.
  2. Assaults include the use of instruments for penetration of body orifices, including symbolic objects (e.g., crucifix or wand) or weapons (e.g., knife or gun).
  3. Sexual assault coupled with physical violence. Participation in rituals in which sexual assault is associated with death. Forced sexual contact with dead or dying people.
  4. Forced to sexually perpetrate against children and infants.
  5. Forced sexual contact with animals.


Birthing Ritual

A ritual described by victims of ritual abuse in which the victim is placed within the carcass of a dead animal, or in some cases a dead human body, and is, in the context of a ritual, “born” into membership in the group. This ritual is intended to make the victim feel profoundly connected to the group.

Child Sexual Offenders

Some children who have been sexually molested have in turn molested other children. Children who do act out sexually in this way are almost always children who themselves have been sexually molested. Child victims of molestation often feel overwhelmed by intense feelings of anger, fear, and their own lack of control. Such feelings lead some lolested children to perpetrate against other in an effort to gain control over the painful feelings of being a victim. The damaging impact on children who are molested by other children should not be underestimated or thought of as only “innocent” childhood exploration.

Sexual assaults which are perpetrated against children in the context of ritual abuse are generally more sadistic, degrading, and physically painful than other forms of sexual assault, and leave the child feeling extremely victimized. Because the emotional damage is likely to be greater for the ritually abused child, and because the ritual abuse involves compelling the child to sexually perpetrate against others, the ritual abuse victim is more likely than other victims of sexual assault to molest, especially if there has been no recognition of, and treatment for, that child’s victimization.


Among adults, someone is regarded as having been sexually victimized when sexual behavior goes beyond that to which they have consented. Any sexual activity involving children is by definition activity without their consent. Children and adolescents are not fully aware of the implications or consequences of sexual activities. They are under the legal and physical control of adults. When a person perceived by the child victim as powerful or authoritative presses for sexual activity, whether forcefully or seductively, meaningful consent by the victim is not possible. The imposition of adult sexuality upon the child often results in the loss of the child’s sense of safety and trust in adults and in the distortion of that child’s development for years after the abuse has occurred.


“A destructive cult may be defined as a closed system/group whose followers have been recruited deceptively and retained through the use of manipulative techniques of thought reform and mind control (undue influence). The system is imposed without the informed consent of the individual and is designed to alter one’s personality and behavior. The leadership is all-powerful, the ideology is totalistic, and the will of the individual is subordinate to the will of the group. The destructive cult sets itself above society by creating its own values with little or no regard for society’s ethics or morals.

“…(they) have engaged in some illegal and unethical practices–child abuse, neglect and death; illegal and fraudulent immigration; drug dealing; smuggling money, cars, guns, gems; fraud and deceit in recruiting, business, financial records and fund raising; theft; harassment of families and former members with threats, lawsuits and foul play; stockpiling and smuggling weapons and ammunition; beatings; sexual abuse and prostitution; kidnapping; murder; attempted murder; and psychological and emotional damage.”

(quoted from Cult Awareness Network) [caution: C.A.N. has been reported to be kissing cousins with the C.I.A.]

Demons and Evil Spirits

[from Greek daimon = a spirit]

Spiritual beings who are evil and ruled by Satan. According to Christian tradition, they are angels who shared in Satan’s rebellion and were expelled with him.

Ritually abused children and adults are victimized at rituals which invoke such beings. Victims report believing that perpetrators of ritual abuse possess control over these spiritual entities. Some victims are made to believe that these spirits have power to control the victim’s life. For some, the fear of harm from such evil spirits or demons, or the fear of being controlled by them, is more oppressive and dehibilitating than fear of the perpetrators themselves.


The Accommodation Syndrome described by [psychiatrist] Roland Summit outlines certain predictable patterns of tentative disclosure in any child’s effort to disclose sexual abuse. Briefly, the syndrome helps to explain the family dynamics and societal pressures which lead a child either to be unable to disclose sexual abuse or, having disclosed, to subsequently retract the disclosure. The child is often put in the position of “mobilizing altruism and self-control to insure the survival of the other” (Summit, 1983), being forced to choose between ongoing abuse and the chaos that is sure to follow disclosure.

In ritual abuse, additional forces can prevent or fragment a child’s disclosure. Threats have been made of constant surveillance [including fake implanted microchips and the threat of being spied upon outdoors by KH11 satellites] by the perpetrators and of harm to the child and those s/he loves if s/he discloses the abuse. Painful physical and sexual abuse make the child afraid to disclose what was done to him for fear of further harm from the perpetrators. Memories of systematic humiliation and degradation may cause the child to feel too ashamed of the activities in which he was involved to be able to disclose them. Most children are deceived and manipulated into believing that the actions they took in abusing others were a result of their own free choice. These children feel guilty and ashamed and fear rejection and retribution from family and society.

All of this, combined with dissociative defense processes, often leads the child to psychologically isolate the painful experiences and carry on in other parts of his life without disclosure. Ironically, the closer a child feels to his parents, the more difficult it may be for him to disclose. The child feels that his silence is the key to the safety of his family. Finally, the disbelief on the part of parents, therapists, society and/or the courts, which is even more extreme in cases of ritual abuse than of sexual abuse, contribute to the child keeping this information buried within himself.

Children may not reveal their ritual abuse until adulthood. When they do attempt to discose, they experience the same extreme disbelief as disclosing children, and are sometimes labeled as psychotic and hallucinatory. Many also suffer from an extreme for mof dissociative processing, multiple personality disorder.


“A disturbance or alteration in the normally integrative functions of identity, memory, or consciousness. The disturbance or alteration may be sudden or gradual, transient or chronic. If it occurs primarily in identity, the person’s customary identity is temporarily forgotten, and a new identity may be assumed or imposed (as in Multiple Personality Disorder) or the customary feeling of one’s reality is lost and replaced by a feeling of unreality (as in Depersonalization Disorder). If the disturbance occurs primarily in memory, important personal events cannot be recalled (as in Psychogenic Amnesia or Psychogenic Fugue).” [DSM III-R 1987]

The horror and fear experienced by a child who is ritually abused is processed by the child with varying degrees of dissociation as a defense mechanism against the overwhelming pain. Most children who were ritually abused during their preschool years will have completely dissociated the events within two years of the cessation of the abuse, and will be unable to consciously recall and report what occurred. A skilled child therapist can help the dissociated ritual abuse victim to recall his/her abuse and to work through the severe trauma which, if left untreated, is likely to cause serious emotional problems for the child throughout his/her life.

Extrafamilial Sexual Abuse of Children

Any sexual contact or explicit sexual behavior imposed on a child by someone outside the child’s family. The perpetrator is likely to be known to the child and his/her family. Frequently the victim’s parent or guardian, knowingly or unknowingly, will have permitted the perpetrator to have access to the child.

Research and clinical experience suggest that children who have been neglected, abused at home, or who are economically needy, may be particularly susceptible to the seductive pedophile willing to pay for sexual favors with gifts and attention.

Ritual abuse of children does not depend on the particular vulnerabilities of the child. All children who are trapped in a ritually abusive setting are vulnerable and in most cases All are abused.

(cf. Consent;  Pedophile;  Perpetrator;  Victims of Ritual Abuse)

Intrafamilial Sexual Abuse of Children (Incest)

Intrafamilial sexual abuse encompasses any form of sexual activity between a child and another family member. The other family member could be a parent or stepparent, sibling, or other member of the extended family. Incestuous assault refers to any manual, oral, or genital sexual contact or other explicit sexual behavior that a family member imposes on a child or adolescent.

(cf. Consent;  Pedophile;  Perpetrator;  Victims of Ritual Abuse)

Magic Surgery

Child victims of ritual abuse describe being drugged or hypnotized and, on awakening, being told they have had “magic surgery.” The blood that has been smeared on their bodies constitutes compelling evidence that such surgery has taken place. In some cases children are told that a bomb has been placed inside them, a bomb that will explode if the child ever discloses the abuse, killing not only the child but the trusted person to whom he discloses.

Most typically, child victims of magic surgery are told that they have had a monster, a demon, or “the devil’s heart” placed inside them, and that it will attack them if they disclose. They are also told that the monster, demon or devil is now in charge of their thoughts and behavior and will cause the child to “be bad.” Child victims are made to believe that this entity will cause them pain if they fail to comply with its wishes. Ritually abused children often report somatic complaints such as abdominal pain in connection with this phenomenon.

Marriage Ritual

A ritual described by victims of ritual abuse in which a “mock marriage” takes place between a child and a member of the abusive group, between two children, or between the child and Satan. Victims of this ritual are made to feel profoundly connected to the group itself or to the powers of evil.

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