Back in 1984, in Rogers Park, Chicago, there existed (and still exists today) a Jewish preschool on Touhy Avenue, the street where I currently live.
It happened that a woman was picking her four-year-old daughter from school, and as they were walking through the hall, a janitor tried to tickle the little girl, and the girl told him to leave her alone.
So the mom asks the girl about it later, and the girl alleged that the janitor had previously tickled her private parts. The allegations were reported to the police, who then interviewed something like 80 kids at the school. Some of the kids apparently reported that there were satanic rituals going on at the school. Some kids claimed they had seen the teachers there kill a baby, cook it in a kettle, and then eat it.
Ultimately, there was an investigation, the janitor was charged with molestation and the school closed down for a while. Eventually, the janitor was acquitted, and two-hundred-something charges against the school and various teachers were dropped, because of either lack of evidence or a bumbled investigation, depending on who you ask.
In case you were wondering because of the superficial similarities, A Nightmare on Elm Street was also released in 1984.
I discovered this today because we published an article about a couple in Texas who just had their 20-year-old convictions tossed in a similar satanic ritual abuse situation.
And that led me to an article one of my co-workers wrote back in 1987 about the Rogers Park case.
Here’s the most authoritative version I’ve been able to find in my brief research. It appears from this that the judge in the case felt like there was a real possibility that sexual abuse had occurred, but because it had become this satanic cult witch hunt, the investigation had been compromised, and thus there was reasonable doubt, requiring the acquittal.
Interesting story, eh?