120 Tips On Potential Victims As Utah Sheriff Investigates Claims Of ‘Ritual Child Sexual Abuse’
Authored by Allen Stein via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
An investigation by a Utah sheriff into allegations of “ritualistic child sexual abuse” has shocked residents as over 120 victims and those who know victims have come forward.
The local sheriff leading the investigation has solicited help from the FBI, which confirmed it is assisting in the investigation.
The alleged abuse occurred for two decades, from 1990 through 2010. In recent weeks, dozens of witnesses have come forward with information on these incidents.
“I don’t know the exact number, but it is now over 120 people who have contacted us. [Of that number], I am sure. There are likely more than 120 at this point,” Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon told The Epoch Times.
Cannon said the tips are from “a combination of victims or those who know of victims. So, not all tips are from victims.”
On May 31, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office announced that the investigation had been underway since April 2021 involving reports of “ritualistic child sexual abuse and child sex trafficking” in Utah County, the state’s second-largest county.
The investigation uncovered even more victims in neighboring Juab County and Sanpete County during the same period. In a press release, the sheriff’s office said that local law enforcement confirmed “portions of these allegations.”
The Utah County Sheriff’s Office leads the investigation with other local law enforcement agencies and the FBI.
“It’s common practice for the FBI to offer assistance, when requested, to our law enforcement partners. We are assisting, and so I will defer to the lead agency, which is the Utah County Sheriff’s Office,” said FBI spokeswoman Sandra Barker.
At a press conference, a day after authorities announced the joint investigation in Utah County, then-Utah County attorney David Leavitt identified himself and his wife, an attorney, as potential suspects while vigorously refuting the claims.
Leavitt, who lost a reelection bid on June 28 to his challenger, who won by 73 percent of the vote, said law enforcement “is about trust … it is about being able to say that when the government makes an allegation that there’s substance behind [it] that we can believe in.”
He demanded that the sheriff resign and that the investigation stop.
“We deserve more from our public officials, and we deserve more from the news media to respectfully and responsibly ferret out what is true and what is not,” said Leavitt during his 30-minute briefing.
Leavitt accused Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith of conducting a politically motivated witch hunt in an election year.
County Attorney ‘Named Himself’ as Suspect
In his rebutting press conference, Sheriff Smith said his office released no documents to the public that identified Leavitt as a suspect and denied that the investigation was political.
“Mr. Leavitt named himself,” Cannon said and would neither confirm, deny, or comment about anyone whose names have come up in the case.
“What I will say, however, is that the case Mr. Leavitt referred to is not the case we began investigating in April 2021. He implies otherwise, but he is wrong,” Cannon said.
Smith refused to resign, halt the probe, or reprimand officers involved in the Utah County Sheriff’s Office Special Victim’s Unit investigation.
“We will continue to do our jobs. We won’t be intimidated by [Leavitt’s] attempts to railroad this investigation,” Smith said.
The sheriff’s office would not discuss the case further, absent new developments.
“And when I say new developments, I mean something beyond what we’ve said and the investigation of original information and talking to those reporting information to us as tips,” Cannon said.
“We don’t discuss the [victims’ names] or suspects [while investigating cases]. In most cases, we comment very little, if at all, on active investigations. We have not, and will not at this point, confirm, deny, or name people whose names may or may not have come up in this or any other investigation.”
The recent spate of ritualistic child abuse reports harkens back to the “Satanic Panic” that gripped Western states during the 1980s and ’90s.
A special report in The Daily Herald in Provo, Utah, dated Oct. 30, 1988, described ritualistic child abuse and Satanism as a severe problem in Utah and Utah County.
Beyond the lurid allegations of abuse, however, these cases proved challenging, lacking physical evidence, relying on oral testimony, and triggered memories years after.
“Yes, there are definitely several cases,” the story quoted Robert Parrish, an official in the Utah Attorney General’s office at the time.
“I’m not assuming I know all of them, but there are at least a half dozen that have involved ceremonial—not necessarily satanistic rituals—but most involve aspects that fit like a glove to Satanism.”
Read more here…