THE UTAH CANNIBALS – Satanic Panic in Utah County

While we’re talking cannibalism investigations (it’s what we do on this blog), we’ve now got the Utah County Attorney going public to deny accusations that he and his wife are cannibals.

Here’s how it went down.

On June 1, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO) sent a media release stating that:

Special Victims Unit Detectives and investigators from multiple county and federal agencies are investigating reports of ritualistic child sexual abuse from as far back as 1990.

The statement specified investigations into child sexual abuse and child sex trafficking that occurred in Utah County, Juab County, and Sanpete County between 1990 and 2010.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the UCSO stated that:

“We have gotten to the point where we believe we have been able to verify some of the information that we’ve been told.”

The Utah County Attorney, David Leavitt, held a press conference that day, calling for the resignation of Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith and for an investigation into his activities for misuse of taxpayer and county resources. He said that he had been wrongly accused of cannibalism, as well as the murder of small children.

Leavitt said that he had been provided a copy of an alleged witness statement from a person he called a “tragically mentally ill woman.”

“And for the first time in the reportedly 15 or 20 years since the report was given, I learned that my wife and I were part of those allegations, alleging that we were guilty of cannibalizing young children.”

Leavitt says the woman in question made sex abuse claims against 15 to 20 people before he was ever in office in Utah County. That case was dismissed, he said, because the allegations were deemed not credible by the special victims unit. He called the allegations “ludicrous” and “outlandish” and a “pack of lies.”

When asked whether Leavitt is a subject of that investigation, the sheriff responded: “We don’t talk about who is under investigation.”

But Leavitt insisted that the report names him. He believed the timing of the announcement from the sheriff’s office was suspicious, since Leavitt is running for re-election — and ballots are expected to go out next week.

“I am calling upon Sheriff Mike Smith to open his office to an outside investigation,” Leavitt said, “where outside, independent investigators are able to investigate and confirm or deny that documents from a debunked investigation from more than a decade ago were or were not used for political purposes in a Utah County Attorney’s race.”

Sheriff Smith said he won’t resign, and he doesn’t apologize for using county resources on the investigation. He stressed that this “was not a politically motivated investigation,” and that a year ago his office was contacted by people reporting crimes that were similar in nature to those brought up by Leavitt.

“Leavitt,” said Sheriff Smith, “is using his authority and his pulpit to bully, distract, and mischaracterize the facts of an ongoing investigation.”

The sheriff emphasized that while Leavitt focused on accusations of “cannibalism”, the primary investigation involves sexual abuse.

The only forum where Leavitt is publicly alleged to have been involved with the sex ring is purportedly published online by a man who Leavitt’s office is prosecuting for a 2008 rape case. Prosecutors allege that the man faked his death in the United States, and is now living in Scotland under a different name. He has denied, through his attorney, that he is the person prosecutors allege he is.

That website claims that County Sheriff Sgt. Spencer Cannon confirmed that Leavitt was the head of a “widespread ritual sex abuse ring in Utah.” Cannon said Wednesday that he spoke to the man, but never confirmed to him that Leavitt or any other specific persons were suspected.

Conspiracy theories are not a new phenomenon, and they have often involved cannibalism, often in the form of drinking blood, such as the blood libel accusations levelled at Jews during the Middle Ages, and resurfacing in the development of antisemitic movements from the nineteenth century until the Nazis, and even present day.

Since the 1980s, accusations of “ritual sex abuse” have been rife in the United States, and in Utah in particular. The US has seen over 12,000 alleged cases of satanic ritual abuse, leading to the coining of a new term: SATANIC PANIC. Satanic cults were said to have engaged in bizarre sexual acts such as necrophilia, forced ingestion of semen, blood and faeces, cannibalism, orgies, liturgical parody such as pseudo-sacramental use of faeces and urine; infanticide, sacrificial abortions to eat fetuses, and human sacrifice. Accusations of Satanic groups engaging in torture and cannibalism of children were extensively made during recent US elections. The event called “#Pizzagate” arose from QAnon claims that Democrats were torturing and killing children in the basement of a (basementless) pizza shop in Washington DC, following which a dude with a rifle entered the shop to save the supposed victims.

Proponents of the conspiracy theory #Frazzledrip believe that a video is circulating showing Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin, a former aide, ripping off a child’s face and wearing it as a mask before drinking the child’s blood in a satanic ritual sacrifice. Supposedly, the video was later found on the hard drive of Abedin’s former husband, Anthony Weiner, under the code name ‘Frazzledrip’. Snopes found the whole thing to be a giant fake.

Looking forward to hearing new and, hopefully, more original cannibalism stories in the mid-terms!

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