Beat the devil

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[T]here was also the receptive atmosphere of the early Reagan years. The attempt to recreate the McCarthy hearings directly - Senator Jeremiah Denton's investigation into "terrorism" - was a comic flop. But society was ripe for a witch hunt nonetheless, and the accumulated energies poised to this end displaced themselves onto the cause of hunting for body-snatchers of the nation's children. Indeed, commie hunters and Satan hunters share same paranoid mind frame.

The Memphis Police Department's supposed expert on satanic crimes, Sgt. Jerry Davis, known to his colleagues as Mr. Conspirator, was in the late 1960s head of a criminal intelligence unit infiltrating Memphis student groups in search of subversives. In the total was against child abusers Iowa officials sought but failed to obtain sanction to strip and probe children without parental permission in search of evidence of abuse. The laws of this chase would have been the envy of the seventeenth-century prosecutors at Salem.

The accusers were infants as young as 2 and 3, permitted in fifty states to testify without corroboration from adults or physical evidence; without cross-examination in many states; to have their charges merely reported by adults as hearsay in many states. These infants had themselves been interrogated as many as thirty times by social workers or other investigators, told they would remain separated from their parents if they retracted their charges, held in sterile environments during questioning, to a degree that one critic described as kindred to "brainwashing" in the Korean War.

source: Article 'Beat the Devil - Out of the Mouths of Babes: Child Abuse and the Abuse of Adults' by Alexander Cockburn; The Nation; 12 February 1990