Ross Cheit

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Person.png Ross Cheit   WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(Author, Researcher)
Ross E. Cheit.jpg
Alma materWilliams College, UC Berkeley School of Law, Goldman School of Public Policy
Interests • McMartin Preschool
• Repressed memory
• Childhood sexual abuse
• Daycare child abuse scandals of the 1980s
• Child abuse

Ross E. Cheit is a Professor of Political Science and Professor of International and Public Affairs at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.[1]


RCheit-US News 1997.jpg

Cheit graduated from Williams College (1977, political economy and a coordinate major in environmental studies) before earning a law degree and PhD in public policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Before working for Duane, Lyman, and Seltzer, Cheit clerked for Justice Hans A. Linde of the Oregon Supreme Court. He joined the faculty at Brown in 1987.[1]

For fifteen years, Cheit was a member of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission, including eight years as chairman.[1][2]

The Witch Hunt Narrative

Himself a victim of child sexual abuse, Cheit is interested in the issue of repressed memory vis-a-vis childhood sexual abuse in cases like McMartin and the Catholic Church sexual abuse cases and put out his theories in: The Witch-Hunt Narrative: Politics, Psychology, and the Sexual Abuse of Children.[3] For the book he relied as far as possible on primary documents and videos as they were available to him.

Cheit argues that most of those accused in alleged day-care sex-abuse hysteria cases, including the Country Walk case, the McMartin preschool trial,[4][5] and the Oak Hill satanic ritual abuse trial, were actually guilty.[6][7][8] (The district attorney declared the Oak Hill defendants "actually innocent",[9] so they were compensated for their imprisonment.[10]) In the book Ross demonstrates that researchers who were writing books about these scandals in the aftermath, were falsifying data to show that there were never any indications (in most of the cases) that any abuse had happened at all.


Critics like James M. Wood, Debbie Nathan (an author who stands accused to have manipulated data in heir book on the Satanic Panic), Richard Beck, and Keith Hampton, criticize that Cheit's work "has omitted or mischaracterized important facts or ignored relevant scientific information" and "is often factually inaccurate and tends to make strong assertions without integrating relevant scholarly and scientific information."[11] KC Johnson writes "Even as [Cheit's] book gives every benefit of the doubt to the investigators and prosecutors ... much of Cheit’s evidence nonetheless portrays the prosecutions as massive miscarriages of justice."[12]

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  1. a b c
  4. The McMartin Preschool Case (1983–1990)] , isbn=9780199931224
  6. doi=10.1300/J070v16n03_06, Myths About the Country Walk Case
  7. 10.1177/0886260516688889, A Response to Articles and Commentaries on the Witch-Hunt Narrative
  11. doi = 10.1177/0886260516657351, A Critical Evaluation of the Factual Accuracy and Scholarly Foundations of The Witch-Hunt Narrative, 2017, James M. Wood, Debbie Nathan, Richard Beck, Keith Hampton, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, volume 32, issue 6, pages 897–925