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Religious Tolerance logo

News items, from the year 2002, about:

RITUAL ABUSE, SATANIC RITUAL ABUSE (SRA), MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER (MPD), RECOVERED MEMORY THERAPY (RMT), etc.

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News items:

bullet2002-FEB-21: Netherlands: Court rejects RMT case: A court in Arnhem rejected a civil case brought by a woman from Druten in which she accused her parents of sexual abuse and of perpetrating an illegal abortion. She had claimed 40,000 Euros in damages (about $36,000 US). In a classical example of recovered memory therapy, her therapist used hypnosis and dream analysis to induce repressed "memories." A court psychologist determined that the daughter's accusations were untenable, and that the therapist had acted highly unprofessionally. The court denied her claim. The parent's attorney, F. van Veghel, considered the judgment "a landmark decision [for false allegations of incest]. The parents experience the judgement as a vindication, although it will never offset the grief they have suffered." The parents had been arrested and had spent three weeks in jail before criminal charges were dropped. They are suing their daughter's therapist for 45,000 Euros (about $40,000 US). 1
bullet2002-MAR-3: Netherlands: RMT: Court awards judgment against therapist: Following the above case, a court has found the victim's therapist responsible in part for damages to her family of origin. The therapist has been ordered to make reparation payments of 19,000 Euros (about $17,000 US) to the victim's parents.  The parent's lawyer, F van Veghel, called the court's decision " a spectacular breakthrough". He believes that this is the first judgement of this type against a psychotherapist.
bullet2002-MAR-14: VA: MPD: Jury rejects woman's MPD defense: Janice L. Orndorff, 54, of Catharpin, VA was convicted in 2001-MAY of second-degree murder of her husband, Goering Gustav Orndorff, 47, in 2000-MAR. The sentencing phase of the trial was delayed for almost a year, while she underwent psychiatric treatment. Richard Loewenstein, Paul Dale, and two other psychiatrists or psychologists testified for the defense. They said that she has a higher than normal IQ in the range of 110 to 120, but that she suffers from DID. She is alleged to have at least four alternative personalities: one who speaks bad French; a middle-aged woman who speaks with a New England accent, a 12-year old girl, and Jacob, an older man who allegedly performed the murder. The jury recommended a 35 year sentence. Following the verdict, she switched into her child alter and said that she thought the courtroom was a church and the jail was a strict school. While in the psychiatric hospital, she studied MPD and DID in the hospital library. 2
bullet2002-MAY-8: ON, Canada: RMT controversy at University of Western Ontario (UWO): Dr. John Briere, a supporter of RMT, was invited by UWO's Department of Psychiatry during 2001 to lead a seminar. Another supporter, Bessel van der Kolk, will lead a seminar in a nearby hospital during 2002-MAY. The head of the Department, Dr. Sandra Fisman, has published several items which show her her belief in the accuracy of recovered memories. But when Dr Harold Merskey, emeritus professor of psychiatry at the university attempted to organize a one-day seminar questioning the accuracy of recovered memories, roadblocks were placed in his path. Dr. Fisman allegedly refused to support the conference or give it CEU credits because it was "too  controversial" and "outside the mainstream" of psychiatric issues. 3
bullet2002-JUN-11: SRA controversy about Jess LaVey: Jess LaVey tells a familiar story: suffering from extreme abuse during childhood, being groomed to become a very senior leader in a Satanic organization, escaping from the group, converting to Evangelical Christianity, and either writing books or going on the lecture circuit of conservative Christian churches. The story has been repeated often. One wonders why no POM's (Plain Ordinary Members) of Satanic organizations never seem to leave and expose the group. Also, one wonders why none of these people ever become liberal Christians, mainline Christians, New Agers or Neopagans.

Jess LaVey claims to be the son of Antol LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan. According to Charisma News Service, his "testimony, which he has told in churches, interviews and posted on the Internet, includes accounts of how he suffered years of abuse by his infamous father, who he said wanted him to become the satanists' leader, before breaking free from the world of the occult and becoming a [conservative] Christian." John W. Morehead of the counter-cult group Watchman Fellowship investigated LaVey and allegedly was unable to corroborate any of LaVey's claims. Charisma News Service had published a story about LaVey, but later retracted it. Charisma News editor Andy Butcher wrote:  "Our initial inquiries weren't as thorough as they should have been. In the light of the unanswered questions, we regret having given the story further exposure." 4
bullet2002-JUN-19: WI: Woman sues clinic over malpractice: According to The Times of Monroe Wisconsin, Marilyn Daly and members of her family filed a lawsuit in 1998-FEB against psychologist Robert Beck, psychiatrist William Bell and psychiatrist Rachel Long, formerly of the Monroe Clinic, for misdiagnosed the plaintiff as having multiple personality disorder and for implanting false memories of physical and sexual abuse through hypnosis, guided imagery and age regression. The incidents are alleged to have happened in 1992 & 1993. "According to her husband's testimony, during the two years of therapy, Marilyn Daly recovered memories of being sexually abused by several relatives, neighbor boys, strangers and witnessing [the body of a murdered woman] being sexually abused." He testified that before therapy, his wife was working as a registered nurse at Pleasant View Nursing Home, was an active parent and kept a clean house. By the end of 1996, she was not working, sleeping very little at night, took no interest in household chores or parenting, was self-mutilating and suicidal. 5
bulletBy 2002-JUL-24: Appointee to Catholic sex abuse review panel criticized: The president of the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops had appointed twelve people to a blue-ribbon review board which will monitor church leaders as they implement the church's new clerical sex abuse policy. Included is Paul McHugh, director of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. At least two supporters of Recovered Memory Therapy (RMT) have criticized his appointment, partly because he serves on the scientific advisory board of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF). McHugh has testified at court cases about the unreliable nature of recovered memories, on behalf of people accused of child abuse.
bulletPaul Fink, professor of psychiatry at Temple University and past president of the American Psychiatric Association, has described false memory syndrome as "junk science." Yet the APA that Fink once headed stated in 1993 and later confirmed in 2000 that RMT "memories" are unreliable, and that images recovered during RMT are often false. Referring to McHugh's appointment, Fink said: "People are upset by this because he's clearly someone who wants to downplay the horror of sexual abuse."
bulletStu Philip of Vienna, Va., was an editor for a newsletter in the 1990s which supported victims of child sexual abuse. He was astonished the church would put on the panel "somebody who in any way is affiliated with an organization which says...that the vast majority of people who make claims [of abuse] are deluded or had memories implanted by therapists." In fact, the FMSF has continually suggested that the vast majority of people who have been sexually abused as children retain memories of the abuse into adulthood and must be carefully listened to. The FMSF has also taken the same position as the APA that some memories recovered by RMT are of real events and others are of events that never happened. They suggest that corroboration is necessary before a recovered memory can be considered reliable. A few of recovered "memory" cases have surfaced recently in connection with clergy abuse.

McHugh, 71, labeled such criticism of his appointment as "ridiculous," adding, "I don't have a bias for child abusers." He said that most of the cases involving abusive priests are not based on repressed "memories." He said: "The church is in trouble because of things that have been corroborated over and over again. The issues here have very little to do with false memories." He stated that he remains very proud of his long-standing involvement with the foundation. Frederick S. Berlin, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins and founder of an affiliated sexual disorders clinic, defended his colleague. Berlin said: "It's very unfair criticism. He's committed to making sure the abused children are given proper care, but he's also concerned about the horror of being falsely accused. He simply tried to suggest that people keep their minds open." 6

bullet2002-AUG-1: Conference on Family Violence includes two sessions on ritual abuse: The 7th International Conference on Family Violence: "Working Together to End Abuse" will be held in San Diego, CA on 2002-SEP-25 to 28. Normally such conferences deal with actual social evils, or at least with problems that a significant percentage of experts feel actually exists. This one has two sessions that deal with ritual abuse:
bulletPre-conference workshop #5 is called "Childhood Ritual Abuse." It is presented at a beginning/intermediate level. The description reads: "Ritual abuse is the organized systematic use of children in brutalizing ceremonial acts. Ritual abuse cases are coming into the system through the accounts of adult survivors, in child custody disputes, day care and isolated neighborhood cases." A professional woman will be at the workshop who believes that she is a survivor of ritual abuse. She will discuss the "cult experience" and government mind control experiments on children.
bulletPre-conference workshop #20 is called "Psychotherapy with Ritual Abuse Survivors." This is at an advanced level. It will feature a psychologist, a marriage and family therapist and another ritual abuse survivor. "This workshop will provide an understanding of ritual abuse practices and dissociative responses in victims, assessment and recognition of ritual trauma...levels of complexity of mind control, the role of client's spiritual base in this work, and legal caveats and considerations."

Editor's comment: The inclusion of sessions on ritual abuse, mind control by government groups and cults, and abuse-generated dissociative identity disorder in an otherwise conventional conference seemed strange. But then I noticed that one of the three co-sponsors of the conference is Children's Institute International (CII) the group that implanted memories of ritual abuse in hundreds of children at the McMartin Preschool in the 1980s. Now, it all makes sense.

bullet2002-SEP-1: UK: Allegations of Satanic Ritual Abuse of five young girls: A five-year-old girl has disclosed to police that she and four other girls were ritually abused bin Fife, Scotland. Five men are being investigated by police. Three previous allegations of ritual abuse in the UK have been traced to lone abusive pedophiles who have no in-depth knowledge of Satanism, but who involved their victims in Satanic rituals in order to better control them. This case is unusual, in that there is more than one alleged perpetrator. 7
bullet2002-SEP-7: Judge retires early because of recovered memories:  Massachusetts Associate Justice June Miles has taken early retirement. She left the bench because of mental illness. Her psychiatrist, Dr. David Henderson, is reported as stating that hearing juvenile cases involving child abuse caused repressed memories of her own abuse to emerge. He wrote: "By having her sit on the bench every day, we are knowingly subjecting her to further traumatic events." Her expected $50,000 a year pension was increased to $85,000 because she was retired involuntarily. 8
bullet2002-OCT-17: Steven Spielberg gets restraining order from alleged SRA survivor: Director Steven Spielberg obtained a court restraining order against Diana Louisa Napolis who allegedly wrote in a manifesto that Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw, were part of a "satanic cult" that met in the family basement. She allegedly believes that the cult had implanted a microchip in her brain called a "soul catcher" that was controlling her. The judge ruled that she posed a "credible threat." 9
bullet2002-DEC-1 (approx): Denmark: First RMT / SRA court case:  Charges were brought against a Danish couple involving incest and Satanic Ritual Abuse. All "evidence" was based on recovered memories. Some of the Danish media presented the story as a probable abuse case. However, most of the coverage was critical. One TV program in particular involved interviews with the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, Elizabeth Loftus, and other memory specialists. This appears to have been the first RMT case in the country. The court dismissed the charges. 10
bullet2002-DEC: Australia: Government issues Report on Child Sexual Assault Prosecutions. The New South Wales Legislative Council issued a 300 page report on how incest and child sexual assault cases are tried in their courts. Section 2.104 contained testimony by clinical psychologist Ms Louise Samways about the creation of false memories: "Memory is not a video of what happened. It is more like a self-directed movie which changes over time and in the light of changing information or beliefs. Even if repressed memories do exist [and the body of research is overwhelmingly that they do not], they are still memories, and therefore unreliable unless supported by strong corroborative evidence. A person can genuinely believe their memories are factually and historically correct even when they are totally incorrect.  Professionals treating people are often not sufficiently knowledgeable nor trained in the nature and limitations of memory to be able to properly help people who claim to have been sexually assaulted, e.g. anybody can call themselves a psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, life coach or counselor. Many medicos, psychiatrists and even psychologists are ignorant of the nature and limitations of memory or how it can be deliberately or unwittingly manipulated."

The report's Recommendation 11 reads: The Committee recommends that the Minister for Health examine:
bulletThe incidence of "repressed memories" of child sexual assault.
bulletWhether the [low] level of regulation of therapists and counsellors is adequate, and
bulletThe training of counsellors, in particular the possible perpetuation of techniques that may give rise to "false memories". 11
bullet2002-DEC: Britain: Article about false memories and accusations: Gisli Gudjonsson, professor of forensic psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, England is a world-class expert in false confessions. During an interview by the Guardian newspaper (London, England) he said: "I believe false confessions today are less of a problem than false allegations. There is accumulating research evidence that it is much easier for people to make up false allegations, even serious allegations, than the courts realize...People are often too eager to help the police. They may have an over-extended imagination. If the police ask all the people from a certain care home, 'Were you abused?' Even that may be sufficient for people to think, 'Maybe it happened to me then, even though I don't remember it. I think I was abused. Yes, I must have been abused.'...It's important that people who make allegations are very carefully interviewed, because their evidence can easily result in a miscarriage of justice. All interviews in serious cases should be tape-recorded."

On the topic of recovered memories, he said: "If you look at women in recovered memory cases, they are not highly suggestible, low-IQ people. They tend to be from good backgrounds, reasonably bright, but they have a capacity to produce a vivid imagination. The therapist may have some role to play in these cases, but sometimes people go to therapists because they believe they were abused. So, the therapist just helps them to 'remember' what they're already predisposed to 'remember'. The courts should be very cautious about accepting any such evidence without corroboration. The main thing is awareness of the potential dangers of false testimony." 12
bullet2002-DEC: USA: Theophostic Ministries announces Spring training classes: The discredited therapeutic technique of recovered memory therapy (RMT) has seen a rebirth in Theophostic Ministries -- a Fundamentalist Christian organization devoted to training Christian counselors. In their spring lineup of classes, the Level 1 course will deal with identifying dissociation in the client, handling demons and may discuss Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Level 2 classes deal specifically with the issues of Satanic Ritual Abuse and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Live demonstrations of therapy with SRA survivors will be included. Participants may apply for permission "to bring their SRA client to receive ministry in this study." 13

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References:

  1. "Judge does not believe incest story," Reformatorisch Dagblad, National News section, 2002-FEB-6.
  2. "Jury recommends 35 years for woman diagnosed with multiple personalities," Associated Press, 2002-MAR-13.
  3. Posting on a FMS mailing list, 2002-MAY.
  4. "Doubts over 'Satanic Heir' testimony," Charisma News Service, at: http://www.charismanews.com/online/
  5. Brian Gray, "Argyle woman sues clinic," The Times, 2002-JUN-19, and subsequent articles.
  6. Caryle Murphy and Sandra G. Boodman, "Psychiatrist on Catholic Panel Criticized," The Washington Post, 2002-JUL-27, Page A02.
  7. Marcello Mega, "William Uni lecturer 'in Paedophile Ring." The News of the World, 2002-SEP-1.
  8. "A judge's money grab," The Providence Journal-Bulletin, Providence, RI, 2002-SEP-7, Page B-06.
  9. Mark Armstrong & Kwala Mandel, "Steven Spielberg Curbs Alleged Stalker Diana Louisa Napolis, 47," People Magazine, 2002-OCT-18.
  10. Posting from an FMS mailing list, dated 2002-DEC-3.
  11. Posting from an FMS mailing list, dated 2002-DEC-16.
  12. Bob Woffinden, "Confessions of a forensic psychologist: Why do people admit to crimes they never committed?," The Guardian (London, England) 2002-DEC-17, Page16.
  13. "Theophostic Ministries 2003: Satanic Ritual Abuse / Dissociated Identity Training with Live demonstrations," news release, 2002-DEC.

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Copyright © 2002 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2002-DEC-20
Author: B.A. Robinson

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