The case of Paul Ingram is well-known among those who have an interest in the repression and dissociation of trauma. There was even a television movie made about the Ingram family. They run it on Lifetime Television from time to time.
In 1988 Ericka and Julie Ingram accused their father, Paul Ingram, of sexually abusing them and of participating in Satanic Ritual Abuse. Ingram said he could not explain why his girls were making the accusations but said that he did not raise his daughters to be people who would lie. He concluded about himself, “There must be a dark side of me I don’t know about.”
The court appointed therapist had stated that some of those who sexually abuse children will have a lack of memory of the events, and shortly after, Paul Ingram began confessing to having abused his daughters. According to the version of False Memory Syndrome proponents, Ingram was coerced into developing ‘false memories’ by a pastor, the therapist, and detectives. It is said that after a time, Paul began to question his memories but in spite of his doubts, Ingram was convicted and sentenced to twenty years in prison.
The Ingram girls had described ritual abuse by their father and various other individuals. The accusations included abortions, Satanism, witnessing murders, and dead babies but apparently (and not uncommonly) medical exams could not prove any of the physical accusations of satanic abuse. 1.
I cannot explain the uncorroborated ritual and Satanic Ritual Abuse memories but I suspect the memories are probably true or possibly the mind of the two girls had dealt with the sexual abuse by symbolically associating it with a Satanic act. To the subconscious mind, one’s own father sexually abusing them is satanic in nature. Actually, it is Satanic to sexually abuse a child, even if the name of Satan is not used and no ritual or religious themes are used in the abuse. The word “Satanic” means anything the opposite of love, the opposite of God. Satanic acts are self-oriented without any thought for the other human being and without any care of how they are being harmed.
With the Ingram case, the satanic allegations might also be the result of screen memories, or possibly Ingram using certain props and mental games to confuse the children. Being in law enforcement, it is possible he knew about the use of such tactics and then used them on his daughters.
Doctors testified at the evidentiary hearing that the satanic abuse memories were not an unusual thing for severely abused people to use in their mind as a replacement for what actually happened to them. The judge felt that the satanic accusations were “gross exaggerations” but said he still believed the girls were sexually abused. Whether the judge is right or wrong about the memories of satanic abuse, the important thing is that in spite of his belief that the Satanic memories were only a part of the girl’s mental processing, he still believed they had suffered sexual abuse by their father.
The reasons I believe the girls are telling the truth:
- After the daughters disclosed the abuse, their mother asked Ericka why she did not tell her. Ericka replied that she tried to, but her mother would not listen. This is common among those who repress memories of abuse and something that most people do not make up. Most people do not know that many mothers do not listen to their child’s pleas for help; it is an uncommon theme to invent. It is usually a truly abused person who knows this kind of thing.
- Ingram said towards the beginning of the investigation: “I did not abuse ‘those’ girls.” When one uses the term “those” people or “that” person, it is usually an expression of contempt, not one of love.
- In the taped interview, the detectives have Ingram describe what he would have done to his daughters if he had sexually abused them. Paul Ingram goes on to describe things like removing his daughter’s underpants, touching her vagina and breasts, and he then said he would threaten to kill her if she had told anyone about it. I cannot fathom how an innocent father could possibly describe what he would have done sexually to his daughter in such detail without wanting to throw up or refusing to be able to even say the words. It was reported that Ingram told of these things with no emotion. An innocent man would most likely not add that he threatened to kill the girls if it were not true, and death threats are linked to repression. An innocent man would not feel compelled to add unnecessary detail to the story.
- In The Myth of Repressed Memory, Loftus says that two detectives who knew Ingram very well were both “shocked” at the allegations, but yet in the same paragraph, Loftus describes their reactions to Paul Ingram having no memory of the abuse. The detectives said, “Either he was lying through his teeth, or he was one sick son of a bitch.” They could not have been that shocked and supportive because they quickly felt he was lying or sick.
- Loftus claims that because the detectives (Who knew him so well, and were so “shocked” by the accusations) kept telling Ingram that he must have repressed the memory and was in denial, and that their insistence eventually led him to say he committed the abuse. People do not normally confess to inhuman and sadistic crimes against their own children just because someone tells them they perpetrated the crimes.
- At one point in a confession, Paul Ingram said, “I may have told the children that they needed to learn the sex acts and how to do them right.” Sexual abusers of children often use this as an excuse for the molestation in order to justify their acts 2.
- Chad Ingram, Paul Ingram’s son told the Seattle Pardons and Clemency Board that his father sexually and physically abused him from ages four to ages twelve. 3.
- The evidentiary hearing revealed that Paul Ingram’s wife and sons also told of “bizarre sexual activity” that took place within the family unit. 4.
- Even the judge in the case believed the allegations of sexual abuse were true. 5.
What convinces me that Ingram is most likely guilty is his detailed description of what he would have done had he committed the abuse. His detailed description is not the statement of someone making up false stories. These are the words of a man who has either fantasized about doing these things to his daughters or who had actually done it. I do not see how an innocent man could possibly spend even five seconds “imagining” how he ‘would have’ sexually abused his daughters and how he ‘would have’ threatened them with death if he is innocent.
Richard Ofshe, one of the authors of Making Monsters seems to be unaware that ‘nice’ people who are ‘good citizens’ and who go to church can engage in the ugliness of child sexual abuse and Satanic Ritual Abuse. Ofshe describes Paul Ingram by listing Ingram’s accomplishments in society, as well as his political and religious status. It is said that Ingram was hailed as an “upstanding member of the community” and that he was raised Christian and spent time in seminary school. 6.
John Wayne Gacy was an upstanding and respected member of his community, who entertained children as a clown at hospitals, was a well-liked citizen, and he entertained and hosted street parties for friends and neighbors. John Wayne Gacy was executed for having murdered thirty-three boys and young men, most of whose bodies were found under Gacy’s home. His victims were handcuffed, sodomized, beaten, and strangled to death, and Gacy recited verses from the Bible to his victims before or after torturing them.
It is said that Ingram did not want his daughters to endure a long trial so he pled guilty. 7 This seems like a highly self-sacrificing act. It is incomprehendable to me that a man would risk a long prison sentence for child molestation so that the people who were falsely accusing him would not have to suffer a trial. This is just not believable. With this logic it is like saying that it is better for the daughters of Paul Ingram to believe that their father is a child molester, and to experience having him in prison for years, than it is to put them through a trial which may clear him.
1. The Prosecution of a False Memory: An Update on the Paul Ingram Case, Daniel Brailey, Ingram Organization)
2. The Myth of Repressed Memory: False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse, Dr. Elizabeth Loftus and Katherine Ketcham, St. Martin’s Press New York, 1994, Pages 227-263
3. Seattle Post-Intelligencer 6/8/96, Son of Deputy Says He Was Sexually Abused; Dramatic Report in Testimony to Clemency Panel by Rachel Zimmerman – Olympia
4. A Reply to the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, Revised Edition, Copyright 1994 by John Backus, Sc.D., and Barbara Una Stannard, Ph.D.
5. Excerpts from the judge’s ruling in the Ingram case, In the Superior Court of the State of Washington in and for the County of Thurston Sate of Washington, (Plaintiff,No. 88-1-752-1: Paul Ross Ingram, Defendant.) Report of Proceedings, Volume VII http://www.radicalparty.org/belgium/fms_replay.htm]
6. Making Monsters: False Memories, Psychotherapy, and Sexual Hysteria, Richard Ofshe and Ethan Watters, Univeristy of California Press, 1994, page 166
7. The Prosecution of a False Memory: An Update on the Paul Ingram Case, Daniel Brailey, Ingram Organization