Ritual Abuse Victims Advocate Responds to Defamatory
Article in the San Diego Union-Tribune January 1, 2001
Response by "Karen Curio Jones" to Mark Sauer's article, "A Web of Intrigue" in the San Diego Union-Tribune, dated September 24, 2000
For the past several years I have been an advocate for victims of child ritual abuse and have published information on the world-wide web in an effort to educate the public about these disturbing crimes. I have posted information under various pseudonyms in an attempt to protect myself from physical retaliation, harassment, unfounded complaints to law enforcement or other authorities, and frivolous lawsuits. See the Anti-SLAPP web page for an explanation of California legislation to protect first amendment rights of individuals sued in Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, i.e., "getting sued for speaking out." http://www.sirius.com/~casp/welcome.html
Since 1998, I have published an archive of Family, Juvenile, Criminal and Civil Court cases on the internet, which involve allegations of satanism and ritual abuse (link to Satanism and Ritual Abuse). This information is taken from appellate documents, news reports, and occasional private sources. Based on this evidence, it seems reasonable to conclude that there is sufficient information to warrant specialized training for law enforcement (which there is in San Diego County), social services, and the mental health and medical professions in order to effectively investigate and assess these complex cases, as well as to provide treatment for the victims or perpetrators. Such training must include critical analysis of the historical and psychological data on cults and the traumatogenic effects of abuse.
On 9/24/2000, reporter Mark Sauer wrote an explicitly invasive and defamatory article about this writer in the San Diego Union-Tribune entitled "A Web of Intrigue." His writing suggests support for individuals attempting to expose the identity of private citizens who are exercising their right to anonymity on the internet. In support of this article, Mr. Sauer quotes his associates, Carol Hopkins, who founded an organization called the Justice Committee, and Dr. Elizabeth Loftus from the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF). He also quotes satanic cult leader Michael Aquino from the Temple of Set, and Michelle Devereaux, a woman who "used" to think she was a victim of satanic cults.
I have been researching the tactics used against people who speak out against cult activity and against therapists who treat their victims. My research suggests that there exists a calculated effort to silence victim advocates through the use of manipulative set-ups, misinformation and intimidation. I believe that Mr. Sauer's article is a result of these tactics. One can also observe this activity on the firstname.lastname@example.org list, where advocates of abuse victims, including myself, have been the subject of rude, ad hominem remarks such as "kook" "nut" "crazy" or "demented." I believe the purpose of this behavior is to drive off any serious opposition from the internet and to discredit opponents. Maintaining my position against group assault from supporters of VOCAL (Victims of Child Abuse Laws), the FMSF, various satanists, and those promoting North American Man/Boy Love (NAMBLA) material sometimes presents as a considerable challenge, but I've always considered it a form of field investigation - to research the natives, so to speak.
Mr. Sauer quotes his associate, Ms. Carol Hopkins, as follows: Ms. Hopkins accuses "Curio"..."Her criticism of me on the internet was constant...She accused me of protecting child molesters, claimed I don't believe child abuse exists, insinuated I was a child molester. Curio was a big factor in my decision to give up the Justice Committee."
Mr. Sauer fails to inform the reader that Ms. Hopkins has been publicly criticized for her positions on child abuse matters in San Diego.
Ms. Hopkins was a member of a Grand Jury in San Diego, California in 1991-92 which criticized Child Protection Services and the District Attorney's handling of child abuse cases (1). This Jury was composed primarily of lay people with no training or expertise in child abuse investigations and argued to dismantle CPS's existing objective, rational protocol for ritual abuse investigations. The Grand Jury also advocated the positions of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) in their report -- four months after its inception. (The FMSF appears to have an extraordinary interest in discrediting ritual abuse cases and has never proven the existence of a "false memory syndrome," today or at that time). Another Grand Jury was convened the next year and the subsequent 1992-93 Grand Jury report corrected what they deemed to be misinformation by the previous 91-92 Grand Jury (2). Years later, in 1998, Hopkins admitted to consulting with Dr. Loftus of the FMSF on issues and cases during the writing of the 91-92 Grand Jury report (3), despite their denials in Mr. Sauer's recent article in September 2000.
Ms. Hopkins created publicity for herself after her Grand Jury work and her advocacy on behalf of the accused
in the Akiki Case in San Diego, California in 1993. She then went on to orchestrate media events on behalf of the accused in the infamous Wenatchee Child Sex Ring cases. Ms. Hopkins managed to have a child witness in the Wenatchee case placed in her custody in San Diego while simultaneously trying to overturn that child's parents conviction for child molestation in Washington State. Ms. Hopkins used this child/witness to advocate her position in a press conference, meanwhile Mr. Sauer supported Hopkins involvement in these events in a San Diego Union-Tribune article (4). Ms. Hopkins then claimed on the Witchhunt list that Ivory Johnson, the ex-director of Child Protective Services in San Diego County, personally monitored this placement, and Ms. Hopkins refused to have a home study (5). This is extremely unusual practice and I believe, if true, raises concerns about possible undue influence by Hopkins on this child and on the outcome of the case against her parents.
Throughout the years, Ms. Hopkins, in the opinion of this writer, went on to unfairly criticize Children's Hospital in San Diego and various physicians and therapists based on incomplete information. She then quotes her own biased conclusions under the rubric of an organization she founded which is ironically called the "Justice Committee." In my view, this is a tactic by yet another self-appointed social critic, ushering in a new era of Orwellian double-speak.
Mr. Sauer represents me as initiating a controversy about Carol Hopkins, but in an article several years ago in a local publication, the San Diego Reader, the author, Tim Brookes, reports on Hopkins describing the controversy surrounding herself:
"As soon as the grand jury began asking questions in the social services community, though, Hopkins was accused of being a protector of child molesters and by implication a child molester herself." (6)
I have never implied that Ms. Hopkins is a child molester, and I believe that her statement in Mr. Sauer's article accusing me of having done so is a common, repetitive and deliberate ploy to make herself look like a victim.
Mr. Sauer, in his article dated September 24, 2000, reports that Ms. Hopkins claims I "tracked" her to Mexico.
Here are the actual facts. Concerned citizens in the town of Cuernavaca, Mexico contacted me in 1999, knowing of my postings on the world-wide web. They were concerned about the position Ms. Hopkins was taking in that town - yet again - on behalf of the accused perpetrators in a high-profile child molestation case. Hopkins wrote an article in the local newspaper, the Cuernavaca Lookout, about the child abuse "witch hunts" in the United States which reflected her typical bias in these matters. A rebuttal to Hopkins article was written by a local citizen (7). These and other articles about the Cuernavaca case were then sent to me. I was dismayed to read that some of the parents and children claimed to have been threatened to keep quiet or they would be killed.
Ms. Hopkins has a public web page on the world wide web announcing her business in Cuernavaca, Mexico, as well as divulging her exact contact address on that web page. Anyone who knows how to use the internet can easily find this data. Therefore, Ms. Hopkins' allegations of unusual "tracking" by me in Mr. Sauer's article are simply false. For Ms. Hopkins to conclude this, when she's made public statements about her exact location, reveals more about her preoccupations then her supposed trackers.
Mr. Sauer quotes FMSF member Elizabeth Loftus, alleging that my posts were responsible for the bad reception she received in New Zealand recently.
Strangely, Dr. Loftus omits any mention of important information about her New Zealand trip. Dr. John Read was protesting Elizabeth Loftus' placement as a keynote speaker at an annual conference. Dr. Read was a member of the committee issuing the invitations and apparently he was concerned about her controversial positions about child abuse and memory. Due to the controversy, he resigned from his post as Director of Scientific Affairs. I learned about it via a public newspaper article and radio show transcript which was posted by an FMSF advocate on the Witchhunt egroups list (8).
Mr. Sauer quotes Satanic cult leader, Michael Aquino of the Temple of Set. Sauer writes: "Curio claims that Aquino was booted out of the Army as a result of the Presidio (child abuse) investigation," and that Michael Aquino said he voluntarily retired in 1994.
Mr. Sauer fails to include in his article that the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Aquino vs. Stone, 957 F.2d 139, February 26, 1992 states:
"In 1990 a continuation board of the Army Reserve recommended discontinuing Aquino's service in the Reserve, and he was processed out of the Army." (9)
(Here is the Lexis version of the opinion.) Mr. Sauer also fails to mention that a substantial settlement was made to the parents in the Presidio Army Base case, even though nobody was successfully prosecuted. Michael Aquino has never been charged or convicted of any crime.
In November 2000, a new book was released, written by Noreen Gosch, entitled "Why Johnny Can't Come Home." This book alleges disturbing activities by Mr. Aquino and others, and alleges a political cover-up. She states that the FBI and local law enforcement did not do their jobs and actually hindered the investigation of her missing son. See her web page: http://www.johnnygosch.com.
I think any surface investigation of the controversy surrounding Aquino should give any rational person pause before accepting his statements at face value, despite the Ph.D and title of "Doctor" attached to his name.
Mr. Sauer quotes Michelle Devereaux, who "used" to believe she was abused by a satanic cult until 1999, when she became a "target" of "Curio."
Individuals who contact me via email may be persons of good intent, Satanists or persons with serious psychiatric disorders. Thus, I have always made it a practice not to divulge my identity to strangers on the internet and I would caution others to use similar discretion.
Ms. Devereaux first contacted me by email in early 1999, but due to her escalating messages, I asked her to quit writing to me. She then established contact again under another name, claiming that she believed that some harm was going to come to me due to a number of individuals seeking to discover my identity. She suggested that information about this should be added to my web page. Later, she clarified that she was concerned I could be a victim of physical harm. I verified her concerns by contacting the FBI office in San Francisco, a Detective in San Diego who is now in the San Diego District Attorney's office, and an arson investigator in Washington State, who all confirmed that they had been given general information that she was concerned some type of harm was about to befall me. Because of that, in approximately January of 2000, I asked the District Attorney's office to keep an informal file on the matter.
I looked up past messages Ms. Devereaux had written and saw that she had disclosed under her own name that she "used" to think she was responsible for the death of infants, in addition to once believing her parents were satanists (10). Ms. Devereaux then began following me. I asked her to stop it, as I did not appreciate being tracked, especially after she admitted she could be followed by other parties. She then began harassing me on the Witchhunt@egroups list, of which we are both members, claiming she had taken my picture. It became obvious that she had passed my picture around to the people she had earlier inferred might want to harm me, apparently trying to elicit a reaction. I documented most of this as it was occurring on a public web page. She then tried to take a public poll on the egroup list, asking if people wanted to know my identity. She was admonished to stop it by the moderator of the list, but it was clear she was trying to frighten me. Then she began making absurd statements and false allegations to the original detective I had spoken to earlier at her behest.
Soon thereafter, Ms. Devereaux contacted the San Diego State University Police in furtherance of this ongoing harassment campaign. This was shortly followed by Mark Sauer writing a lengthy article that supported Devereaux's tactics, quoted substantial mis/disinformation from his associates, and represented San Diego State Detective Susan McCrary and Lt. Eddie Gilbert as sympathetic to this cause. I believe that what has occurred is a good lesson in how law enforcement can be manipulated into cooperating with devious individuals or groups. As a result of the continuing false allegations, I recontacted the District Attorney's office about my concerns.
For the record, if I have ever misrepresented any facts, I am always grateful to receive a correction; however, my opinions are my own and they are not subject to change by threats or intimidation. I've been writing simply as an anonymous concerned citizen, not affiliated with any organization or selling a service.
If others would like to assist in publicizing ritual abuse cases, please download copies of the ritual abuse archive and give copies to your local law enforcement, social services, mental health and medical organizations and request that training be offered.
Thank you to everyone on the internet who spoke out on my behalf. I think the message sent was loud and clear. Cult groups and extremists supporting such groups are not going to silence us, and these crimes against children will continue to be publicized.
1. San Diego County Grand Jury, Report No. 8, "Child Sexual Abuse, Assault and Molest Issues," June 29, 1992
2. San Diego County Grand Jury, Report No. 13, "Protect the Child, Preserve the Family," June 29, 1993
3. Tim Brookes, "The Memory Wars," San Diego Weekly Reader, August 20, 1998, pg. 20
4. Mark Sauer, "Teen says parents were wrongfully convicted/Case was originally thought to be a satanic sex ring," San Diego Union Tribune, June 18, 1996
5. Carol Hopkins [forwarded by Greg Clarke], Witchhunt@egroups.com , March 3, 2000
6. Tim Brookes, "The Memory Wars," San Diego Weekly Reader, August 20, 1998, pg. 59
7. C.C, Cuernavaca Lookout, April 19, 1999
8. Adriaan Mak, Witchhunt@egroups.com , August 14, 2000 http://www.egroups.com/list/witchhunt
9. West's Federal Reporter, Aquino vs. Stone, 957 F.2d 139; February 26, 1992
10. Michelle Devereaux, Witchhunt@egroups.com. October 13, 1999 http://www.egroups.com/list/witchhunt