The following essay and its hyper-links describe a guide written by K.V. Lanning on ritual child abuse. It is perhaps the most important and influential document ever written on the topic. Its wisdom has held up well, even though there have been enormous developments in the subject since the essay was written in 1992.
Kenneth V. Lanning is a Supervisory Special Agent at the Behavioral Science Unit at the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime. The Center is located at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA. It assists police forces throughout the US. The group is often called in as consultants by local and state police forces.
Lanning began working in the field in 1981. Allegations of ritual abuse began to surface circa 1983. At first, he tended to believe that the abuse really occurred. He reported:
But the number of alleged cases began to grow and grow. We now have hundreds of victims alleging that thousands of offenders are abusing and even murdering tens of thousands of people as part of organized satanic cults, and there is little or no corroborative evidence. The very reason many "experts" cite for believing these allegations (i.e. many victims, who never met each other, reporting the same events), is the primary reason I began to question at least some aspects of these allegations.
Lanning defines a satanic murder as "one committed by two or more individuals who rationally plan the crime and whose primary motivation is to fulfill a prescribed satanic ritual calling for the murder." Using this definition he has been unable to identify even one documented satanic murder in the United States.
Guide can be found here.