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An overwhelming majority of Utahns - 90 percent - believe in the existence of satanic or ritualistic abuse of children, even the sacrifice of babies, a Deseret News/KSL-TV poll shows.

Ritualistic abuse of children, thought by some mental-health and law-enforcement professionals to be supported by a conspiracy with centuries-old roots in Europe, has been blamed for at least 25 percent of all cases of multiple personality disorder.

The most abusive rituals, reportedly practiced by conventional-appearing people whose families have been satanists for generations, are said to include kidnapping, sexual abuse, blood sacrifice and cannibalism.The poll, conducted by Dan Jones & Associates, found that just 2 percent of the 607 respondents said they believe the phenomenon does not exist, and 8 percent said they didn't know.

The other 90 percent said they believe ritualistic abuse occurs. Twenty-seven percent said the practices exist and are widespread; 38 percent said the practices occur only occasionally, and 25 percent said ritualistic abuse exists but seldom occurs.Most of the respondents - 68 percent - said the attorney general's budget should be increased to provide more investigation of the abuse allegations.

Female respondents were more than twice as likely as male respondents to believe ritualistic abuse definitely exists and is widespread. The same split occurred whether respondents were LDS Church members or not.

The Deseret News in September published a four-part series on the ritualistic abuse phenomenon, which is disputed by many psychologists and law enforcement professionals as a kind of mass hysteria completely unsupported by hard evidence.

At the 99th Annual American Psychological Association convention, held in August in San Francisco, organizers said the controversy had received so much attention that they arranged a special news conference and panel on the subject.

The Governor's Commission on Women and Families in 1990 set up a 27-member subcommittee on ritual abuse to examine the allegations, and a top official in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported to a church committee that high-ranking church members are involved with satanic ritualistic abuse.

Gov. Norm Bangerter has recommended that the Legislature approve funds to hire new investigators for the attorney general's office who would investigate reported cases of alleged ritual abuse.



It has been suggested by some that satanic and/or ritualistic child sexual abuse is occurring in utah and throughout the nation. The perpetrators are said to be worshippers of Satan who ritualistically and violently abuse children. There's even talk of babies being sacrificed as part of the ritual. Do you think these practices:

Exist and are widespread 27%

Exist, but occur only occasionally 38%

Exist, but seldom occur 25%

Does not exist at all 2%

Don't know 8%

Should the budget of the Utah attorney general be increased to provide for more investigation of satanic and/or ritualistic child abuse?

Definitely should 31%

Probably should 37%

Probably should not 15%

Definitely should not 10%

Don't know 8%