Are The Children Lying? Re-examining The “Satanic Panic”

By Derrick Broze

NBC News released two propaganda pieces this week designed to associate concerns about sexual abuse of children and abuses of political power with violence and the so-called “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s. Derrick Broze breaks down how these hit pieces fail to accurately report the truth.

On Wednesday, NBC News published two articles from two different journalists with the apparent goal of painting those who question the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, or those with stories of child sexual abuse, as dangerous people – potentially murderers – lying in wait.

One of the articles focuses on an investigation announced by the Utah County Sheriff’s office (UCSO) in late May regarding claims of “ritualized child sexual abuse“. NBC News Senior Reporter Brandy Zadronsky attempts to frame this investigation as part of ongoing QAnon fantasies, itself an alleged revival of the so-called “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s. In the second article, titled Michigan man who killed his wife went down a ‘rabbit hole’ of conspiracy theories after Trump’s 2020 loss, daughter says, NBC reports a Michigan man has been arrested for killing his wife. The man apparently also followed QAnon theories.

While these articles attempt to dismiss concerns held by a growing portion of the population — specifically, fears of organized abuse of children and a “secret government” within the government — they fail miserably. This report is a response to NBC News and their “journalists” who chose to publish this clear propaganda.

Questioning The Government Makes You An Extremist

Igor Lanis, a 53-year-old Michigan man, has been arrested for shooting his wife, Tina Lanis, and daughter Rachel Lanis. Tina Lanis did not survive the shooting, but Rachel Lanis will survive the attempted murder by her father. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department declined to speculate on the potential motive at the moment.

However, despite no current knowledge on the motive behind the shooting, NBC reporter David K. Li spends about 10 paragraphs discussing Igor Lanis’ political beliefs. He tells us that Igor’s other daughter, 21-year-old Rebecca Lanis, believes her father was sucked down a “rabbit hole of conspiracies”.

“In 2016, he was more normal. I mean, he liked Trump, but he wasn’t crazy. But then 2020 came,” Rebecca Lanis reportedly told NBC News. David Li goes on to note that Igor Lanis was opposed to vaccines, had questions about the safety of 5G, and believed in a “Deep State” manipulating world events. The report also notes that Lanis began watching One America News and NewsMax, right-wing news channels popular with Trump’s supporters who no longer trust Fox News.

The point that Li is desperate to make is clear: people who question the elections, the injections, EMFs, or have a general distrust of government are potentially violent actors, maybe even murderers.

Why else would NBC run with the sensational headline which mentions “conspiracy theories”? Thankfully, the thinly veiled attempt to label millions of Americans as dangerous conspiracy theorists falls flat on its face if one reads the story in an honest, objective manner.

Overall, this attempt to conflate unpopular or controversial beliefs with dangerous behavior is simply a continuation of the Biden administration’s efforts to target “extremism”. The term itself was recently redefined by Biden’s Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre while speaking about Americans who oppose access to abortion. Jean-Pierre appeared to endorse the idea that anyone not aligned with the majority opinion could be labeled an extremist.

“And, again, we see a majority of Americans who disagree. And so, when you are not with where a majority of Americans are, then, you know, that is extreme. That is an extreme way of thinking,” she stated.

NBC News Provides Cover for Utah County Attorney David Leavitt

NBC News Senior Reporter Brandy Zadronsky focused her efforts on the revival of what has often been deemed the “Satanic Panic”, a period in the 1980s and ’90s when people around the world began reporting instances of sexual abuse and murder of children involving rituals performed by cults often labeled “satanic”.

Zadronsky’s article, Satanic panic is making a comeback, fueled by QAnon believers and GOP influencers, takes a similar approach to the article about the murder in Michigan: dismiss the controversial views as conspiracy theory and play guilty by association by mentioning QAnon. However, her article goes even further by distracting from the details of the Utah County Sheriff’s investigation into “ritualized child sexual abuse”, and actively defending Utah County Attorney David Leavitt, a man who is currently under investigation for an adoption scheme.

The NBC report starts out honestly enough, with the acknowledgement that David Leavitt held a press conference in response to the Utah County Sheriff’s investigation announcement. Leavitt wanted to assure the public that “neither he nor his wife were guilty of murdering or cannibalizing young children”.

Leavitt’s statements came at an unusual time. The UCSO had not named any suspects and there was no indication that Leavitt was under suspicion, let alone being accused of “cannibalizing young children”.

The reason Leavitt mentioned allegations against him and his wife relates to accusations made as part of a 2012 lawsuit against Utah therapist David Lee Hamblin. Hamblin had been accused of sexually abusing several people.

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David Leavitt and his wife were named in a 151-page document labeled “Victim Statement”, in which an alleged victim of Hamblin recounts dozens of incidents of violent sexual abuse. Two of these incidents allegedly involved David Leavitt and his wife.

While Zadronsky correctly notes that the case against Hamblin was dismissed in 2014, she fails to mention that it was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it could be retried in the future.

NBC also fails to note that David Leavitt was caught lying about the accusations against him and the anonymous person who made them. In his June press conference David Leavitt called the alleged victim a “tragically mentally ill person” while dismissing their claims as “ludicrous” and “without evidence”.

However, as The Last American Vagabond (TLAV) has previously reported, an examination of the court records by local news, KSL Investigates, showed that the accuser was not mentally ill, nor was the case dismissed because of a lack of evidence. The case was actually dismissed because of difficulties in obtaining records and taking victim statements.

Finally, TLAV has also reported that David Leavitt is likely under investigation for an adoption scheme that may end up being a human trafficking charge. In late June I wrote:

“On the day of the election, Utah Fox-affiliate FOX 13 reported that Leavitt may be implicated in an adoption scheme turned human trafficking investigation. The FOX 13 Investigates team released a video of Utah County Attorney David Leavitt discussing how he used his political influence to work around laws regarding adopting Native American children. In the video Leavitt explains how he brokered a deal with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana by telling them he could strike a deal with Ukraine to import their buffalo.

Leavitt details how he struck the deal with the tribe leadership and was eventually able to convince the tribal authorities to allow the adoption. The little girl is now considered to be Leavitt’s step-foster-great niece.

FOX 13 reports that the video was recorded by a documentarian in 2020 and has since been submitted to Homeland Security Investigations as part of a criminal human trafficking investigation.”

Brandy Zadronsky and NBC make no mention of these details.

Instead of discussing the complexities of the Sheriff’s investigation or asking why David Leavitt made the statements denying being a cannibal, Zadronsky waits until the 11th paragraph to mention the investigation at all. She attempts to distract from the main focus of the investigation by claiming that a man in Scotland (who may be a Utah man wanted for rape pretending to be someone else) was the origin for the allegations against Leavitt.

Zadronsky writes:

“The rumors started on YouTube when Nicholas Rossi, an American who has been accused of faking his death and escaping to Scotland to evade rape charges in Utah, posted videos in which he accused Leavitt and his wife of leading a “ritual sex abuse cult.” Leavitt was overseeing an effort to extradite and prosecute Rossi.”

For anyone following this story since the beginning (as we have been, here at TLAV) it became fairly clear that this side story, about Nicholas Rossi potentially faking his death and playing some role in the overall investigation, was absolutely bogus. This man ran a now-defunct website which posted blogs accusing David Leavitt of committing various crimes while serving as Utah County Attorney.

However, the source of the allegations against David Leavitt is the 2012 case against David Lee Hamblin. I reported on the details of these allegations when TLAV published the documents for the public record.

Nicholas Rossi did not force the Utah County Sheriff’s Office to announce an investigation into “ritualized child sexual abuse”. That was the job of Sheriff Mike Smith. But, NBC and Brandy Zadronsky would like the public to sympathize with David Leavitt and believe that the whole issue is just QAnon, conspiracy theory, rabbit-hole nonsense.

As of September 2022, we still do not know for certain if the Sheriff’s investigation even relates to the case against David Lee Hamblin, and thus includes allegations against David Leavitt.

Regardless of Leavitt’s role in the Utah County Sheriff’s Office investigation into “ritualized child sexual abuse”, NBC attempts to paint the entire investigation as nothing more than a revival of a Conservative panic about child snatchers.

In response to the NBC report, Sergeant Spencer Cannon, Public Information Officer for the Sheriff’s Office, told TLAV,

“It would be irresponsible to refuse to investigate allegations of sexual abuse presented to us. The Utah County Sheriff’s Office takes reports of sexual abuse seriously and we follow evidence wherever it takes us.”

Regarding claims related to David Leavitt, Cannon said, “As it relates to the statement we released on May 31, 2022 we repeat what we said then that applies to all cases we investigate: With few exceptions, we don’t discuss the names of suspects, victims, or witnesses in cases we are actively investigating.”

Satanic Panic or Reality of Organized Child Abuse?

NBC’s entire reporting is predicated on the idea that during the 1980s and ’90s, Conservative and religious folk around the world were bought into a mass hysteria where parents and children made up claims about participating in, or being victim of, ritual abuse by organized cults.

The perpetrators and the cults they allegedly work with were often labeled Satanic. Whether or not the various cults and individuals were actually practicing worship of an entity called Satan is for another day, but the fact is that hundreds of reports were made across Europe, Australia, and the United States.

As I detailed in the 3rd and 5th parts of my investigation, the state of Utah and the Mormon Church both have a history of allegations and convictions of organized sexual abuse. Many of these claims date back to the 1970s, ’80s, and 90s.

Additionally, I have produced a full-length documentary exposing the so-called Finders cult and their connections to intelligence agencies and child trafficking. The Finders cult saga unfolded in the late 1980s in Florida, Washington D.C., and Virginia.



The late 1980s were also the time period in which the infamous Franklin child prostitution ring was exposed, as detailed in Nick Bryant’s book The Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse & Betrayal.

The point is, there are numerous examples of claims of organized ritual abuse of children, and despite what the corporate media claims, not all of these allegations were debunked as “false memory syndrome” — the ridiculous idea that the children had these detailed experiences implanted into their minds by their parents or therapists. This is not to say that every report of “satanic” or ritual child sexual abuse is to be automatically believed. Could some of the allegations have been created by the excited mind of a child or an over eager parent? Sure. Anything is possible.

However, the level of detail shared by many of the children involved in the claims of ritual abuse is astounding. It is very difficult to conceive of how a child’s mind could create these frightening experiences out of thin air.

The corporate media, like NBC News and Brandy Zadronsky, love to ignore the Franklin Scandal, The Finders cult, the McMartin Preschool, and the ritual abuse in Utah and within the Mormon Church. They would have the public believe all of these incidents are merely a moral panic that should be laughed at.

Thankfully, in the 1990s, in Oklahoma City, there was at least one journalist willing to discuss these controversial claims. Brad Edwards was a journalist working with Oklahoma 4 News. Edwards produced the segment In Your Corner with a focus on fighting for the public interest.

At some point in the ’90s, Edwards produced a week-long In Your Corner investigation called “Are The Children Lying?”. This investigation reported on the ongoing claims of Satanic abuse taking place around the United States. Edwards also shares interviews with children who claim to have been abused at ritualistic events.

TLAV is publishing the full “Are The Children Lying?” investigation on the internet for the first time since it aired in the 1990s. We make no specific claims to the accuracy of the statements within the reports. We publish this report in the public interest with the hope that anyone with more information on this controversial topic will contact us.

We will continue to investigate these claims of ritual abuse in an attempt to prove or disprove the accusations.

*Warning this video describes detailed examples of sexual abuse, physical abuse, and murder.*

Source: The Last American Vagabond

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