Feb 23, 1989

Awareness of Satanism is up, Police are Told

Buffalo News

February 23, 1989

Satanism may be on the increase across the nation, but to what extent is uncertain, an expert on the occult told about 75 police officers and youth counselors during a seminar Thursday in the Buffalo Hilton.

What is clear is that there is "a big increase in the awareness of it," reported the Rev. James J. LeBar, Catholic chaplain at the Hudson River Psychiatric Center in Poughkeepsie.

That is because some of the young people who have become involved with the satanic cults admit that they are, said Father LeBar, a consultant on satanism and the occult for the Archdiocese of New York.

The seminar, sponsored by the New York State Sheriffs' Association, was conducted by Father LeBar and Dale W. Griffis, a former police captain from Tiffin, Ohio, who is now one of the nation's leading consultants on satanism.

"I don't say you find it hiding behind every rock, but if you turn over a rock and see the symbols, there is a problem," Griffis said.

From his conversations with law enforcement representatives from about 12 counties in Western and Central New York, Griffis said, it appears that satanic-related activity in the region is limited to graffiti and animal mutilation.

On a nationwide basis, he said, there have been estimates that as many as 50,000 children and teen-agers are killed annually during satanic human-sacrifice rituals.

He said he seriously doubts that number and is in the process of making a survey of the United States and Canada to determine the extent of satanic activity.

Griffis warned that videotapes and books promoting satanism are olice Are Told readily available in most areas at book and record stores and can be sold legally.

He warned parents that some of the signs that their children might be experimenting with satanism include mental lapses, panic disorders, difficulty with language, a lack of a sense of humor, dressing in black and using satanic symbols, deteriorating physical condition and assumption of a different identity.

From a police point of view, Griffis noted, it is just another one of the many kinds of problems "that we can expect to run into."