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Summary of Newspaper Article:

5 Psychiatric workers charged in scam: Insurance allegedly collected after patients linked to ritual abuse

Mark Smith
Houston Chronicle, 10/29/97

This article describes the main charges in the Indictment against Judith Peterson, Richard Seward, Gloria Keraga, Sylvia Davis and George Jerry Mueck. It notes that while dozens of former psychiatric patients have filed civil lawsuits around the nation alleging that their doctors implanted false memories, this is the first in which "mental-health professionals face criminal charges in connection with patients’ false memories." Prosecutor Larry Eastepp acknowledged that the "indictment is unique and may be difficult to prosecute because he’ll have to prove complex links between the hospital’s medical and business operations." Although Eastepp did not comment on this point, the article notes that "in civil court depositions and other records, hospital business personnel acknowledged using hospital funds to pay insurance premiums [of patients] that brought in several hundred thousand in medical claims."

Former patient Lynn Carl was awarded $5.8 million by a jury in August 1997 in the civil suit she brought against Gloria Keraga, M.D., one of the defendants in the criminal trial. In that case, Keraga testified that she believed the gist of the memories of satanic ritual abuse that Carl developed while in therapy with her.

Carl's attorney, Skip Simpson of Dallas, commented that the criminal indictments should send a message to mental-health practitioners around the country. "I think this is a huge warning that anytime a diagnosis is extremely suspicious, don't be surprised that there may not be just a plaintiff's lawyer but also the FBI knocking at the door."

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