Return to FMSF Home Page

USA v. Peterson, et al. Trial, Week 8

Tuesday, October 27, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Days 22 and 23 - G. testimony

The federal criminal trial in which psychologist Judith Peterson, psychiatrists Richard Seward and Gloria Keraga, therapist Sylvia Davis and hospital administrator George Jerry Mueck have been accused of insurance fraud, mail fraud, and telling patients they suffered from multiple personality disorder caused by repressed memories of cult abuse has entered its 8th week. U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. told jurors on Tuesday (10/27/98) that he had underestimated the length of the trial. He noted that this is an "unusual case" and that that the trial could last until March with time off for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. This summary covers the 22nd and 23rd days of the trial.

This week former patient Karen G. has been on the stand. Ms. G. was almost 13-years-old when she was admitted to the former Spring Shadows Glen (SSG) private mental hospital in Houston because her mother Lucy Abney, then a patient in SSG, thought that the cult would rape, drug and electro-shock Karen in initiation rites on her 13th birthday. According to testimony from a nurse last week, Ms G. was a normal healthy child whose medical records showed no signs of abuse at the time of admission. Ms. G. is now 19-years-old.

Ms. G. testified that therapists at Spring Shadows Glen and her sister, Catherine S., all told her that she had to remember the cult abuse so that she could be reunited with her mother. She said that she was more afraid of being taken away from her mother than from the cult. She said that she invented several alternate personalities and recited memories of abuse that included being placed in a decompression chamber.

The defense in this case has argued that the hospital provided appropriate treatment to the patients because they had already been diagnoses with serious mental illness before arriving at Spring Shadows Glen. But Karen G. had never been diagnoses with a mental illness before admission.

The defense has also argued that while hypnosis was used, it was only for purposes of processing and healing memories that patients already had, not for "retrieving" memories. However Karen G. had no memories of cult abuse before her admission.

The distinction may be very important in the trial. The American Medical Association in 1985 warned that memories recovered with the use of hypnosis could be unreliable and produce false recollections, especially if therapy is highly suggestive.

The prosecution played tapes of therapy sessions within a few weeks of G.’s admission.

"You’re real good at this hypnosis business," defendant Richard Seward tells G. in the session on February 24, 1992. And on February 21, 1992 defendant Judith Peterson can be heard in a discussion of multiple personalities saying to G., "You’ve all been terrific. How do you enjoy things like hypnosis?"

This summary was based on an article by Mark Smith in the Houston Chronicle, "Former patient testifies she contrived memories: Judge warns jury that trial could last until March" 10/27/98

Tuesday, October 27, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 24 of trial - From notes by attendees

DISCLAIMER: The following material, based on hand-written notes, is presented for those who may be interested in the writers’ personal impressions of the courtroom proceedings as they happened. Although the writers have attempted to be as accurate as possible, the official transcripts remain the authoritative reference for what actually occurred.

Dr. Rosenstadt is on the stand and he is being questioned by Peterson defense attorney Rusty Hardin. Dr. Rosenstadt is a psychiatrist from Houston who saw Mary Shanley in October 1991 as part of an insurance review.

Dr. Rosenstadt said that he found Mary Shanley to be an interesting case and wanted to see her again alone. On October 28th the insurance company told him not to do any more on the case. Hardin asked if there were any records that he was not allowed to see. Dr. Rosenstadt responded that he did not know.

Dr. Rosenstadt testified that he interviewed Mary Shanley in the presence of Dr. Peterson and he stated that there were no overt actions to influence the interview. He said that Shanley was very engaged and was able to maintain eye contact.

In her testimony Mary Shanley had recalled that interview and she had said that Dr. Rosenstadt talked about the Notre Dame football throughout the interview. Dr. Rosenstadt denied that he talked about Notre Dame football. He testified that he had a lack of interest in football and other sports.

HARDIN: Why would Mary Shanley say that you only talked about football?

ROSENSTADT: It’s completely understandable. She saw many people and she only saw me once. I’m sure that she has some conversations confused.

ROSENSTADT: There was more than one explanation for Shanley’s behavior and I would like to have seen her again. I concurred that she should have active rather than custodial type treatment.

ROSENSTADT: [on hypnosis] It was not uncommon to be used. Hypnosis was recommended by an APA task force back in 1989.

ROSENSTADT: I had no sense that her memories were implanted. It is very difficult to implant memories. It’s highly improbable.

Hardin ends his questioning and David Gerger takes over.

Gerger asks Dr. Rosenstadt questions about women who have been victims of sexual assault. Rosenstadt agreed that women who have been sexually assaulted sometimes suffer low self esteem and this is why the therapist works to build up self esteem.

GERGER: Is there a period of denial?

ROSENSTADT: They go through a range of emotions from denial to depression to anger.

GERGER: Do they sometimes blame themselves for what has happened to them.

ROSENSTADT: Almost always. Eastepp - redirect

EASTEPP: What is AMA’s position on hypnosis?

ROSENSTADT: I don’t remember.

EASTEPP: Why not hypnotize a witness before he comes to the witness stand?

ROSENSTADT: That’s an interesting question. You shouldn’t do that because information that comes out under hypnosis is unreliable.

Back to Hardin

HARDIN: Is it possible to get people to confront issues under hypnosis?

ROSENSTADT: There are differences of opinion. There is a large area of disagreement on treatment.

Hardin then wanted to ask a question concerning hypnosis in section "M" from the indictment. After an objection from Eastepp, Hardin then read the entire section "M".

Section M: It was a further part of the conspiracy that the defendants and others would and did assure the compliance of the fraudulently treated, insured patients with the orders of the hospital, its staff, psychiatrists, psychologist and related psychotherapists by using non-traditional treatment modalities, including the use of: hypnosis; drugs; isolation from family, friends and the outside world, including the screening of visitors, mail and telephone privileges; threats; excessive use of physical or medically unnecessary restraints; and, otherwise by employing the use of techniques commonly associated with mind control and "brain-washing", in order to conduct their fraudulent insurance payment enterprise.

After reading the section Hardin then asked if hypnosis was a traditional treatment modality in 1991 - 1993.

Rosenstadt replied that it was. He then volunteered that voluntary restraints were also acceptable in that time period.

HARDIN: Under what conditions would voluntary restraints be used.

Rosenstadt replied that restraints would be used with a planned session where the patient wanted to get out the anger.

Back to Eastepp

EASTEPP: Is it acceptable to ask about cults while under hypnosis?


Witness dismissed. At 9:12am Karen G. took the stand. Karen is the 19-year-old daughter of Lucy Abney and according to hospital records she was admitted to Spring Shadows Glen (SSG) on her 13th birthday to protect her from the cult. The defense position has been that the patients who are testifying were part of dysfunctional families and were very ill when they entered the hospital. The defense has previously introduced evidence that CPS was called in 1984 regarding an incident where Karen was injured by her stepfather.

Karen testified that she is now in training in Colorado to become a missionary for the Baptist Church. She stated that she had always been active in her church except for the time she was a patient at SSG. She graduated from high school in The Woodlands [community about 30 miles north of Houston]. She graduated with a 3.98 grade average [4.00 possible]. Karen stated that she had A’s and B’s throughout her school years. She never had to repeat a grade because of problems. She said that she considers her stepfather L.T. Abney as her father. She has never had any relationship with her biological father.

According to Karen’s testimony Lucy married L.T.Abney in 1981. Karen grew up in Houston and 1991 Karen was in the 7th grade at Spring High School. She had a half sister Katherine S. who was 3 years 9 months older than she was. In 1991 her sister started having trouble. Katherine had sent a note to a friend that she had thought about killing herself. Karen was 12 years old at the time. Katherine did not go to the hospital until a few weeks later.

According to Karen, Katherine was in the hospital for a month to a month and a half. Karen visited Katherine in the hospital on a weekly basis. When she visited they watched TV and played cards. Karen stated that she seemed fine - did not appear to have problems. Dr. Seward was her doctor. Karen had met Dr. Seward in his office.

After Katherine’s discharge she was again admitted a few weeks later. Karen said that between the hospital stays she seemed well.

Karen testified that she got along well with her father. She did not recall the 1984 incident where CPS was called.

Karen said that she was upset when her sister went back in the hospital the second time. She said it seemed strange. She was able to visit Katherine in the hospital and said that her dad was usually with us. On the visits Karen stated that they played cards, watched TV and talked.

Karen indicated that she did not know anything about MPD or SRA in 1991.

In fall 1991 Karen’s mother, Lucy Abney, was admitted to the hospital. Karen said that she did not know why her mother was going in - she was not aware of her mother’s diagnosis and she was not aware of alters at that time.

When Karen’s sister went to the hospital there was family therapy for the rest of the family. In the therapy they would discuss what was going on at home. Karen stated that there were arguments at home about normal things and the arguments were mild. Karen was asked about specific arguments and after a long pause she still had not come up with anything.

EASTEPP: What was the purpose of you going to the therapy sessions?

KAREN: I don’t know

EASTEPP: Did you participate?

KAREN: Yes. I would answer questions like "Are you doing OK?", about school, and what was impacting my life.

Karen stated that there 10 - 12 family therapy sessions that were held once per week with a therapist and the family in room. The sessions continued for her sister and mother.

Karen said that Lucy Abney stayed in the hospital 3 or 4 weeks in the fall of 1991 and when she was released she seemed as she had been before she was admitted. Her sister had been discharged first and she seemed fine. After the discharge the family therapy continued and Karen’s role was the same.

While her sister and mother were in hospital Karen’s father took care of her. There were no problems.

Katherine and sister admitted to SSG in Feb 1992

Karen’s sister and mother were admitted to the hospital in early February, 1992. Karen stated that she was told a little bit about why they went in. She said that things were fine around the house. By this time she was aware of MPD and what it meant but she had not observed any symptoms around the house. Karen and her sister confided in each other. Karen’s sister was still seeing Dr. Seward.

Karen was in school when her mother and sister reentered the hospital. The family discussed the admission the night before. Karen stated that the admission was upsetting - "I did not understand everything." Karen said that she went to visit her mom one time - on Valentine’s day [a few days after the admission]. Karen said that she was all right but not as well as before - she seemed very down - seemed lonely.

KAREN: We visited only a few minutes. I don’t know why.

Karen testified that she did not see her sister and she didn’t know why.

EASTEPP: How were you getting along with your father?

KAREN: Very well. Karen admitted to SSG on Feb 18th - her 13th birthday

Karen testified that as soon as she got home from school she went home and packed her suitcase for a week’s stay at SSG. She was surprised that she had to go. She said that she didn’t know why she was being admitted.

Eastepp asked questions about how she was doing.

Karen stated that she had no problems at school, she was in youth groups and sang in choir at church and at school. She stated that her grades were very good.

KAREN: I was sad because my mother and sister were gone.

She said her sadness did not interfere with her schoolwork and that her relationship with her father was OK. She explained that when she entered the hospital in the early evening that her father filled out the paperwork and she met with Dr. Seward. She does not remember the meeting.

Karen testified that she did not like going in the hospital on her birthday and she did not like not being able to go to school and seeing her friends. She stated that she was not informed about length of stay. She said that she didn’t think she had heard of SRA when she went in. She had a 9 year old roommate on her unit who was anorexic. She met other patients on the unit but they did not share their diagnosis.

EASTEPP: How was first night?

KAREN: Confusing - I didn’t understand what was happening.

The next day Dr. Peterson and Dr. Seward met with Karen. Karen had met Dr. Peterson once before. She was introduced to Dr. Peterson by her mother. In the midmorning meeting Dr. Peterson and Dr. Seward discussed why she was in the hospital.

EASTEPP: Were you treated?

KAREN: I think they told me that I was going to start having therapy.

EASTEPP: Was therapy defined?

KAREN: I can’t remember

Karen described the hospital room as a lot like a hotel room with bed, desk and bathroom. She said that the hospital had a large central lobby. In the lobby they could watch TV and play games. The doors to the hospital were usually locked. There was a playground in the back. SSG was made up of a group of buildings. Karen was restricted to the unit which meant that she could not go outside and she had her meals on the unit. She was the oldest child on the children’s unit. There was someone who explained the rules and regulations on the first day. As time went on Karen got to know the nurses by their first name.

EASTEPP: When you checked in were you in danger to yourself and others?

Karen indicated that she was not. She stated that she was put on suicide precaution. They took her shoe laces away. She was able to sleep in her room alone that night. The suicide precaution was not discussed with Dr. Seward. Karen came to know the meaning of one-on-one but she was not on one-to-one when she first came to the hospital.

EASTEPP: Was suicide discussed on the first day with Dr. Seward?

KAREN: It may have been.

Karen stated that she did not see her mother until a few weeks later in a family therapy session.

The first therapy session was the day after her admission and Karen said that it lasted 45 minutes.

EASTEPP: Were you introduced to other therapists?

KAREN: I don’t think so.

EASTEPP: On the second day were you still on restrictions?

KAREN: I think so.

EASTEPP: Later when you were confined to the central lobby what did you do?

KAREN: I had to stay, sleep, do school work, go to the restroom, and have meals.... A nurse was very close.

EASTEPP: Did you have problem sleeping?

KAREN: Sometimes I could sleep. Sometimes I could not. - I was not the only child in the Central Lobby.

Karen testified that she had a therapy session with Dr. Seward on the following day. She said that she usually saw Sylvia Davis or Dr. Seward on a daily basis. She saw Dr. Peterson less often. Karen did psychodrama and individual therapy with Sylvia Davis. She learned in the first week after admission that Peterson, Seward and Davis all had roles in her therapy. It was explained that she would begin to work on issues and problems. As best as I understood we were going to work on family problems. Karen said that she learned that the term "being safe" meant being safe from the cult.

EASTEPP: What did Dr. Seward say about the cult?

KAREN: Mother reported that she had been involved in a cult.

EASTEPP: What did you know about the cult?

KAREN: The cult was something I had only heard about on TV.

EASTEPP: [When Dr. Seward mentioned the cult] Was it frightful?


EASTEPP: Did you protest?



KAREN: He said that my mother had said it and I believed my mom.

After break Eastepp starts to review the admission forms.


EASTEPP: Did Dr. Seward discuss the provisional diagnosis with you?


Eastepp then reads - acute events that were catastrophic - Chief Complaint: "My mom says that I need to be here for my safety." Mother states that she was subjected to electro-shock when she was an infant. Family: mother was active in cult... additional active member cult stuff. Mother and father were divorced when Karen was infant. Karen had stated that she had not used drugs and she had not engaged in sexual activity. Seward’s notes indicated that they had met for one hour and Karen was subdued and blase when discussing mothers allegations.

Karen testified that she had sand therapy once a week. She said that "dissociation" was a learned term that she heard through the course of her therapy. Karen had been admitted to children’s unit to prevent cross-contamination between her and her sister. Karen was told that by contacting Katherine she would destroy her therapy.

Karen testified that she learned about alter systems a few days after she entered therapy. psycho social history report

A psycho-social history was taken by Ricardo Barnes a few days after Karen’s admission. [March 2].

KAREN: The interview took maybe an hour.

Karen said that her mother had provided additional information included in the report. Report: Presenting Problems: Admitted primarily for safety on 13th birthday. repeat of cult allegations report of an incident right before Karen entered hospital concerning half brother and his wife and baby who were asked to leave the house.

KAREN: They were asked to leave by my father.

She said that the son was drinking and causing problems.

REPORT: Strong religious faith.

Karen indicated that she had almost always been active in church except when she was in SSG.

REPORT: Stepfather and sister fought but had a caring relationship.

REPORT: Parent’s info - mother worked at DHL and father worked at Combined Insurance Company of America.

REPORT: Support Systems - considered step grandmother support and friend.

REPORT: Interests - Choir at church and school, peer leader, roller skating and playing with cats.

REPORT: Health history - back surgery for problem in back at age 9

REPORT: Psychiatric history - father [biological father ] paranoid schizophrenic, violent temper

KAREN: I was not aware.

REPORT: Step grandfather passed away 3 years before - he was bed ridden for a number of years.

KAREN: We were living in Louisiana at the time.

EASTEPP: Had multiple moves been stressors?


REPORT: In the 6th grade Karen was a presidential scholar and was on the honor role.

REPORT: Dysfunctional system because of cult involvement.

REPORT: Treatment - Dr. Peterson, Dr. Seward and others. Psychological Testing Report - dated April 4th

Karen stated that the test took several hours and was done over several days

REPORT: Behavior Observations - Curious, cooperative. The report gave the reason for hospitalization. Karen denied being involved in any sexual abuse. She indicated that she wanted to be adopted by L.T. Abney.

Tests included: draw a person, ink blot,

REPORT: Summary: Denial of sexual abuse, internal abuse and sexual abuse

EASTEPP: Was there a time when you did acknowledge cult activity?

KAREN: A week or so later.

REPORT: Recommendation for therapy - hypnotic work, group therapy, structured environment, long term placement for safety.

KAREN: I did not like the idea of not living with my family again.

Eastepp then returns to the admission records and asks Karen if it was Dr. Seward’s signature on the admission form. She said "yes." Eastepp then called attention to the fact that suicide precaution was checked along with unit restriction. Special orders were to do a pregnancy test.

Karen confirmed that she was given a pregnancy test. Dr. Sewards orders on the admission record included art therapy, sand therapy, phone call were restricted, and she must have no contact with sister. [This included no eye contact].

Karen testified that she was told that her sister would be safer if she did not see her. She said eye contact was considered dangerous because "we could signal each other." The signals were supposed to tell her parts inside not to work.

Karen said that the children’s and adolescent units were next to each other. The doors between the units were kept closed. Orders to journal

There was an order that Karen had a journal ASAP. Sylvia Davis discussed how to journal with Karen.

KAREN: I was told to write down anything I could remember - I was to journal things between sessions - I was to write about what happened that day - I wrote about TV at first. The more therapy the more I would start to remember and the more I would write.

Karen testified that she wrote about abuse, cult things - these were the topics every day and it never changed while she was there.

KAREN: I felt like I had to. It was part of my treatment. This is what I was told by Dr. Seward and Dr. Peterson.

KAREN: I never protested. separation from family

Karen was told not to be in the back corridor when her mother was there.

KAREN: It was hard being separated from mother.

KAREN: My stepfather would come to unit several times a week and sit and talk. There was a point in time when these visits stopped.

2/19 orders: At mothers request - no outgoing telephone calls. 2/20 orders: [Dr. Seward] pelvic exam to check for sexual abuse.

EASTEPP: Did Dr. Levin discuss her results with you?

KAREN: She told me that she was going to do a pregnancy test. I didn’t protest. I knew I wasn’t pregnant. I wasn’t involved in sex.

EASTEPP: from Levin’s notes - no sign of sexual activity - normal exam

Tape of therapy session played

Voices on tape included Karen, Dr. Peterson, Dr. Seward, Trish Taylor. Bits from tape - finger signals unreliable - parts of you [first session where Karen was told about parts - angry parts, sad parts]

KAREN: Parts were supposed to be alters. Parts were discussed on many occasions by Dr. Seward, Dr. Peterson and Sylvia Davis. Tape of another therapy session 3 days later

Someone on tape: "mother said that you were in a cult. Why would she say it if it were not true?"

KAREN: I don’t remember anything.

EASTEPP: (Reads from notes of the therapy session from Peterson) Terrible things have happened to you and Catherine.

EASTEPP: How did this make you feel?

KAREN: It made me feel like I should remember.

EASTEPP: Were you questioning the therapy?

KAREN: A little bit. I didn’t think my mother would lie about things.

(On the tape Peterson did most of the talking.)

KAREN: If I remembered a lot of memories my restrictions would be reduced. When memories came up they were from my mother or sister -- some I made up. I would have a session, then journal, then Sylvia Davis. They never asked if the memories were true.

EASTEPP: When did you learn that you were not leaving SSG?

KAREN: When I started school on the unit. There was a classroom with two teachers. All children would be there and we would be in the same room all day.

EASTEPP: What subjects?

KAREN: Regular subjects.

EASTEPP: Were you ever reprimanded?


After break another tape was played. It was from a therapy session that included her sister. On this tape Karen’s sister Katherine was encouraging Karen to have memories. Karen testified that particular session was memorable because her sister was brought in. On the tape Katherine stated that Karen had better start talking if she didn’t want to be taken from her mom. Katherine talked about cult meetings on the tape.

KAREN: I was more afraid of being taken from my mom than anything else.

The tape included discussions about the terrible things Karen’s mother had done to her. Katherine can be heard saying, "They [the cult] told us that if we ever said anything we would be killed."

KAREN: I didn’t think that my mother and sister would lie.

An abreaction could be heard on the tape.

KAREN: Abreaction sessions went on right across the hall. Eventually I did have abreaction sessions.

On the tape Katherine can be heard switching personalities

EASTEPP: Have you ever observed your sister switching?

KAREN: I had not. I thought it was strange.

On the tape there was a discussion on tape about decompression chambers.

EASTEPP: Have you ever seen one?


On the tape Katherine says there is no way out "You have to remember this."

On the tape Karen comes up with alter with name Claudia.

KAREN: I felt like I had to say something. I got the name out of a book. I felt that if my sister had parts I had to come up with some.

Voice from the tape: This is a big step.

KAREN: I had come up with a memory.

Eastepp reads Dr. Seward’s notes from session: - alter Claudia - torture in decompression chamber - break through.

Eastepp reads Dr. Peterson’s notes from session: - Katherine switched - Karen becomes more upset when decompression chamber is mentioned -

ASTEPP: When was the next time you saw sister?

KAREN: A few weeks.

Karen testified that frequently she was being told what her sister and mother had said. She said that she attended a group session in which everyone discussed their problem. Karen said she didn’t discuss hers because she thought it was bad. She didn’t want to share because it was strange - bizaare. She said that she told the others that she had to work on family problem.

March 9th Karen is taken off restrictions

March 10th A therapy session with Sylvia Davis. Because of the length the tape is to be played on Wed. Court session ends at 5:15pm

After court session the judge apologizes to the jury for grossly underestimating the length of the trial. He states that he has talked to the attorneys and now has a revised estimate on when the trial will end. He now projects that the trial will last until early March. He stated that the good news was there would be a week off for Thanksgiving and two weeks off for Christmas.

Wednesday, October 28, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 25 of trial - From notes by attendees

DISCLAIMER: The following material, based on hand-written notes, is presented for those who may be interested in the writers’ personal impressions of the courtroom proceedings as they happened. Although the writers have attempted to be as accurate as possible, the official transcripts remain the authoritative reference for what actually occurred.

Karen G. on Witness Stand

Karen G. is 19 years old now. In the notes below she is talking about herself when she was 13 years old.

Records from CPS were projected on the screen for the jury. Dr. Peterson contacted CPS on 2/8/92 stating that Karen G. had physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. This was the same day she was admitted to SSG. Government Attorney Larry Eastepp asked G. if she were aware of CPS. She answered that Sylvia Davis has told her that they would protect her from any further abuse. CPS called later and requested that they see G.. Peterson told CPS that she would contact them, when the children were ready. ("children" likely means that Catherine S., Karen’s sister, was reported at the same time)

Dr. Fink’s records dated 3/12/92 said that the patient’s alter said her fingers were twisted by her mother. Patient is openly ambivalent about her mother.

Nurse McKenna notes 3/14/92 that the patient seems evasive, avoiding issues, and refuses to talk.

Interview with CPS 3/16/92 Dr. Peterson, Sylvia Davis, Lucy Abney, Karen G., Catherine S. and CPS caseworker, Christy Dahl were present.

Karen testified that she was supposed to tell the caseworker what she had been talking about in the therapy session the day before. Karen told Eastepp that she had been told that after she was discharged these people would take care of her. She said that the interview took place in an office. Karen had been at SSG for three weeks at this time. The records showed that she had been diagnosed as MPD. The records also showed that when questioned about the cult, Karen said that it was a place where they do bad stuff.

Eastepp asked Karen what she knew about the cult at that time. She answered that she really knew nothing about the cult. She felt that she had to "come up with something."

Eastepp asked her about the source of the "decompression chamber" reference. Karen said this had come from her sister. Eastepp asked again for the source of "her mother hitting her on her knees to make bruises." Karen said this also came from her sister. She had heard this in a therapy session. Karen said that L T Abney, her stepfather, didn’t know anything about cults. She doesn’t know why he didn’t know. She said she had never been touched or had sex with him. She had no problems with her step dad. Karen said her step dad had gone to Chicago to take sodium amytal to help him remember. She thought it was with Dr. Braun or Dr. Sachs.

Eastepp asked Karen if she had a session with Sylvia Davis after meeting with CPS. Karen said "yes." Eastepp asked if she recalled journalizing. She said, "Yes, Davis told me to, and often told me what to write about."

Journal entry: Karen reads from journal that she is afraid of going to a foster home. She is afraid of going back to the cult. Karen said she lied because she "had to have something to tell the therapists."

Meeting March 30,1992:Seward, Johnson, Patricia Taylor were at the meeting. They transferred patient, Karen G., from Dr. Fink to Dr. Seward. The reason was in response to staff splitting. Seward remained her doctor.

It is announced by the prosecution that they will introduce a tape. The entire defense team stands and objects that the whole tape is not relevant to fraud. Judge denies the objection.

The tape is of a therapy session with Sylvia Davis and Karen G.. The issue is changing therapists. (Sylvia Davis’s voice is clear. Karen’s is very soft. Karen says very little. Sylvia talks almost constantly unless she is waiting for Karen to say something. Sometimes she speaks for Karen. "How do you feel about changing doctors?... I bet you are angry that you can’t see Dr. Fink anymore ....You know we are all a team. I work for Dr. Peterson, and sometimes when she can’t come I take her place... Isn’t Karen talking today?... Is there anybody in there that wants to tell me how Karen feels about seeing Dr Seward?...Put your Dad and Mom in the session and talk to them.... Take permission to come out of self. Would anybody want to write to me. Part trust and part self-esteem. So we can share. (Karen does not answer)

Seward’s records 3/31/92: Patient told that CPS is trying to send her home. Patient is concerned about her safety. She doesn’t want to go home because her Mom isn’t there. Seward put her on restrictions because she wasn’t working hard enough.

Eastepp has Karen read from her journal 3/31/92. Karen lists all the questions that she will work on in therapy. "How will I be safe? How is my sister safe? Why don’t you think I’m working hard? Insurance Co. said I didn’t need to be here. CPS said I could go back to my mom. How do you know I’m not telling you everything I can?

Karen explains to Eastepp that she was always asked if she thought she would be safe. Peterson, Davis and Seward all said, "We know there are people inside of you that want to go back to the cult. Karen said that working hard in therapy is when you have a lot to say.

Seward’s record: "Patient is closed down. Patient given an assignment to have a temper tantrum." Karen explains this entry that people were saying she was too compliant, and that she didn’t work hard enough. She was given the option to have a temper tantrum, or tear up papers.

Nurse’s note: "Tantrum ordered by Seward for Karen G.. It should be under safe conditions. Dr. Seward wants to process the feelings that come up."

TAPE of the temper tantrum: A nurse tells Karen not to get hurt. "Let yourself get so mad that you can let yourself go. This is a safe place. None of the staff is out to get you"

On the tape Karen can be heard saying, "You hold people’s arms." Davis answers, "That’s to protect you." Karen says "I’m scared. Davis goes on, "Get angry at the cult. What is some of the stuff that they do? Tell me what you saw? What happened? No one of your family belongs to a cult. You do that by giving information. We’ll have to find something else for you to do. (Karen was suppose to be hitting the bed and throwing a tantrum)

Still from the tape Karen speaks "This is embarrassing. Do I have to scream?" Davis "Give yourself permission. You can holler, but let’s have a story first. Once upon a time -- (voice trails off-- waiting for Karen to finish the story. Karen’s response could not be heard.) Davis continues, "It’s not easy to get away from something. This was a good wish. You can make up your mind that what is true and what is foolish. Can you tell me the real story tomorrow? Who wants to come out? Are you ten? No. Maybe younger? You sound hoarse. Memory? Memory? Memory? Anything new? Did you know that Karen has hurt her knee? You could borrow some of Karen’s books and write me a note. Could you do that?" Davis tosses a ball to Karen and tells her to throw it hard against the wall. They do that for a few minutes and the session ends.

Eastepp continues his questioning. He asked Karen if she remembers anyone talking to her about insurance. Karen didn’t remember anything about insurance. She said she got so tired of Peterson and Davis saying, "Is this all of the story? Are you sure there is not more?" Karen told Eastepp Peterson and Davis would never ask her if what she was telling them was true, but would ask "Is this all of it?"

Seward’s records: Patient ventilating on her bed. Patient is too compliant. She isn’t talking about cult abuse.

Nurse’s chart: Patient says that the doctor wants her to act out anger at her mom for doing stuff to her when she was little. She was told she needed to act out to express her feelings. She understood that exposing feelings was working.

In another nurse’s recording Karen was described as loud and silly at times, but is able to regroup quickly to appropriate behavior. Dr. Seward ordered Karen to act out. Patient beats on the bed with a smile and said "I am mad at my mother for taking me to a cult meeting." When Eastepp asked Karen why she said that, she replied that it was the best she could do.

Peterson’s record: "Patient went into a trance and alters came out. Patient did body mapping. Leaders would be in trouble if they came out." Eastepp asked if Peterson had put her into a trance, and Karen said it was possible. She said Peterson had taught her how to draw a map of her body, which she had done before the therapy session. Karen didn’t remember what they did with it in therapy.

There was an issue of amnesia. Peterson kept trying to see if there were gaps in Karen’s memories.

Peterson’s record: Patient isn’t moving in treatment. Programmed to be complacent. One to one therapy. psychotherapy groups. Patient is superficial due to cult programming.

Karen was allowed to see her sister except in therapy sessions. In a record posted 4/6/92 Karen was weeping about sister and school friends. Let alters know that she believed it. Tess ambivalent about the big monster.

TAPE of therapy session was played. Sylvia Davis is therapist.

Amnesia is for people who are not members. (Karen is crying.) Who else is crying? Karen, who else is crying and holding yourself? Who else is feeling bad because they didn’t do any work? (Knock on the door.) I’ll put a sign on the door that we’re in session. We have a lot to get done in therapy. If you waste time we won’t get anything done. Yes, we like you and care about you. Is it another voice coming in? Do you still love me? She’s still here I can see her hands.

Lunch break

TAPE continues: Karen asks if there is a shredder at hospital. She would like to shred her journal. Davis asks if she is concerned about privacy. (answer unclear) Karen then wonders if Susan is going to be here? Davis said. "Therapists and doctors will be here. You understand that if you ask these questions, there might be questions about the questions." Davis says "I want you to be as comfortable as you can. Tell your concerns about your safety. I saw Kathy at breakfast. She may leave the hospital soon."

Karen says softly, "Where will she go? I don’t want Kathy to go." Davis says "because (very very long pause) Karen says "She may never come back." Davis says "Why? Do you think it would be good for her to stay for your treatment? It sounds pretty bad for you." (Karen is now crying) Davis says "Have you read the newspapers over here? Sometimes there is Kleenex right here." (Karen continues crying) "I’ll be" (Karen is sobbing.)

Karen asks, "Why does she have to go away? Davis replies, "It is my impression she wants to leave and go to CPS instead of working on therapy." (Karen is still crying) "Everybody who is inside and cares about Catherine" (very long pause) "You don’t have to go until you are ready to go." "I don’t want to be alone." "Why don’t you blow? If she holds her decision not to work CPS will have to find her a place. She’s very upset."

(Karen is still crying.) "It’s taken you a while for you to cry. Does Catherine know how much you care about her? When Karen needs to cry, you must let her." Karen catches her breath and asks, "Is Kristi going too?" Davis continues, "Do you want to write Kristi? So there are two big things what you need to say about Daddy and to Daddy. What about Mommy? (long pause) I need treatment so we can be a family again. Do you want to talk to friends inside? Check inside and see."

Davis continues with the monologue. "Who needs a twin? Who else will have something that needs to be said? I am wondering if Red will come up? Red and the others who didn’t want to come to the session? Who is this? Linda? Tell Catherine not to go away. I thought she was working to get me out of here? Why did she stop? Was she afraid? I don’t know. Help Karen ask Catherine. It is important for us to get out of here. I am pleased that everybody is working. Very important that you tell Cathy. Anything else? Red, please come and take a turn. Are you cold or just scared? Red this isn’t like the cult. You don’t have to come out."

Karen speaks tearfully, "I don’t want Cathy to go home." Davis asks, "Are you afraid of your Dad? (pause) Everybody in the system if mother asks if you have memories, are you brave enough to say something? Anybody else have anything else to say to me? Linda you wrote that you wanted to make your house better. This is the one inside your body? Does anyone know why Tessa needs a home inside? She was put out? Let’s ask inside if he is unwilling. We could make his cave better. You need your own bedroom in the cave."

Davis continues, "Everybody stay and listen up. We really need for everybody who wants to stay in therapy to write. How much time do I have to set up a reasonable time for each of you to write? You should have 5 minutes for those who like to draw, for those (word unclear). How long do you need for the others?"

Karen replies "30 minutes." Davis continues, "We’ll tell Susan about this." Davis asks, "Is it true that you are a very happy kid and all things are wonderful? This is what everybody is saying. Or is Karen saying I am going to be happy and have everybody like me?" (Long pause) (Karen doesn’t speak)

Davis continues, "I suggest to you that how you are expressing things is a lie isn’t it? Could you tell people the truth about that? Did you tell people that you cried yesterday? You need to tell how you are. I’m trying to get you to be more honest. I understand that you don’t want anybody to know your business. (Long pause) You could say, ’I don’t care whether it is important or not. I feel miserable, but I can’t tell you why. I can’t tell you because it is so bad that I can’t talk about it.’ Haven’t you felt a little vague about that you don’t really have any memories about cults? It’s your job to be a cheerful, happy, normal kid. There was a story about a girl who was always looking on the bright side -- a story adapted from little goody two shoes -- Davis ends the story and then says, "That was an awful kid, and no wonder."

Davis asks, "How do you feel about what we have been talking about? Say one word. (Long pause) I’ll check the fingers. You guys inside help Karen feel more real. Can you help her be more honest? Someone in body that can tell nursing that something has been going on."

End of tape

Eastepp asks Karen if she recalled that tape. She testified that she did. She did understand that her sister had to leave, but she was so afraid that she might not ever see her again. She said LT Abney had gone to Chicago to have sodium amytal to help him remember any involvement with the cult.

Eastepp asked Karen if she had named her own parts without help when there was a discussion of safe places and an ice cream parlor came up.

Karen answered that she had named the parts on her own. She thought it would be good for her therapy. They had family discussions, and the therapists shared information.

Record 5/8/92: LT had no memories. Karen asked if she had to go to family therapy.

Karen told Eastepp that she was afraid that her dad would get memories back, and that he would be mad at her. There were a series of family therapies, and LT Abney was there. Dreams were discussed in sessions. They were working on a master treatment plan.

May 19, 1992: Unit nurse records that patient has a terrible nightmare.

May 20, 1992, Peterson and Seward family therapy: Karen was silent. Catherine confronted her mother with cult information. Children admitted child pornography. Patient tearful, wondering what would happen to her. Drawings of unsmiling girls. Karen was raped on her 13th birthday.

This session was followed by a one-to-one session with Sylvia Davis.

TAPE of therapy session, Karen G. and therapist Sylvia Davis: Davis says, "That was a terrible time. (Karen is crying) Relief for her to have feelings instead of sitting there and shaking. (Karen is sobbing) Do you feel like you can speak? You didn’t ask anyone for help? Do you notice that she stayed right out there. Mom come and help Karen. (Sobbing continues) We can be safe today. I have hope for Catherine. My sister was brave. There is help for you. I see the possibility. It is hard to -- (Sobbing continues) the other day I was afraid that you girls were going to do this. Do you know how more people came to Cathy? You have a secret from you and it can betray you. We are not safe. I am not sure, but it may be someone else. They have to get somewhere very safe for Catherine and very safe for you. I didn’t want to be changed. Catherine didn’t want to be changed."

Karen said something (unclear). Davis said, "Dalmatian? very special. Would you like me to tell your mother that you have given up your hope for a puppy?"

Davis continues, "If I hadn’t been in here when I was 13, Cathy was bringing this up, they would have raped me. (Davis is again talking for Karen) You had to be safe from your mother. Does somebody inside want to tell me? Tell me something with your hands. I am wondering if they could tell me, somebody who was 13? I can tell Kristi. We are trying to get a safe place for you. Would you like to meet some one on the unit. They might help you. Who would you ask? Susan? I will mention this to Sue. You’ve been scared for a long time. Inside Karen do you know what porn dirty pictures? Cutting up their body parts, and touching their body parts. It doesn’t seem smart does it? Karen knows about child porn. Fingers. There is somebody inside that knows about child pornography. Katherine knows how to get rid of shame. You can also tell about it and get rid of shame. Does anybody inside know about the cult? You have done a lot of work today. Is there somebody inside hungry? Yes sometime inside draws wedding dresses."

Record of Seward’s session: Patient was fearful of a tiger. Dr. Green was brought up in therapy session. Karen explained that he was responsible for cult programming.

6/12/92: Drawings of a small park, and. a parade of animals who spoke through her. Patient angry at Dr. Green for lying to her. She has drawn Dr. Seward.

TAPE 6/16/92, Therapy session with Davis: Davis is talking, "This is one of my favorite flowers. This purple stays. That is not a good shirt to wear. Put it away." Karen asks why? "Because is may be harming your therapy. Somebody we haven’t gotten to yet. Do you think it is worth taking a chance? Okay that is better. That should have been your first choice. I have some stuff that you may not remember about. It was very good work today. It gave us lots of information."

Davis asks, "Is it a dream or a remember?" Karen answers that it was a dream.

Davis continues, "So you told him a little bit about your dream. I’m not trying to trance you out. Bethany cannot retain this memory. Everybody needs relief. Write and write."

Karen says, "I don’t want to do it".

Davis goes on, "Why do you think you should have more time. We go up as much as we can and down and blow our nose.(Long pause) Why are you scared, scared to be scared? Really bad when you are in a scary situation, because it’s real, you don’t know when to stop. This way you are in control. They did it to you. You are choosing to be scared in the abreaction."

Karen says, "What if I really get this memory back and the cult doesn’t want me to have it?"

Davis tells her, "This is the only way you can get free. When you went through it before there was no one to help you."

Davis, "So where was I? What’s the best use of time today? Talk about-- (Long pause) I saw the picture of a dream, and sometime it was a memory. Someone knows this was an anniversary. Short visit with Dad. How was the visit? Everybody else listening in somebody else know about that visit? ( Long pause) It was a short visit. I was disappointed because it was so short. If I was Karen I would have been disappointed."

Davis continues, "When you were at home did you have a lot to talk about? Is he a daddy that who isn’t around you very much? Is he shy? I had a shy daddy too. My mother did all the talking for him. Some of our best times were when I would help him mend the fences. I would be wishing I knew what to say. I knew my daddy loved me, and I loved him. Is that like you? Well, did that dream have anything to do with your daddy?"

Davis goes on, "Is the dream a part of the memory? Is there anybody able to write about it? Electroshock three times in one night. DON’T CONK OUT ON ME. I bet more than one person knows what this is about. Yes you do. Yes you do. Dictate to me. You saw it last night. Put it on a screen. Tell me what is happening."

Still Davis, "Mommy, Katy, Dana, Kendra were there two years ago. Who are you? You are three years old. This is a memory. The body was 11 years old. No Karen. David was there. Where is the place? A cult meeting in a big room with a shock table. Are you guys being hit? Back up the movie so we can see what you’ve been told. Two men, mommy and you. Do you know them, the men in the black robes? Is the body dressed? See it on the screen. At the start of this mommy tells you to do something. Does Mommy take off her clothes? At first she refuses. They shocked, then pulled off mommy’s clothes. Put body on the table. Shocked. Where were the wires? They were put on the arms and legs? Took the girls clothes off. Did they put the wires in private places? Is this a movie where somebody was suppose to be drunk or dizzy?"

(If Karen replied, it was not audible to the note taker. Unlike the last tape, where Karen or alters were begged to say something, there were few pauses.)

Davis continues, "You are doing a good job. What happened then? Did they say anything? I’m wondering if any one in the body has been listening to this sound track? Can mommy take off the wires and get off the table? Did she begin to hit you again? And then what happened? Did anybody join you guys while you were being shocked? No. Mommy kept hitting. I think your parents are getting ready for dinner. Your mother hasn’t given you any messages. I thought Pat said she was shocked more than twice? Does Mom see anyone at home? Kathy is lost. Does she go home with you in the car?"

Karen said, "She was with Aurie."

Davis continues,"You came home together in the car. Aurie came with you. Where is Daddy ?"

Karen answered, "I don’t know."

Davis asks, "Is there something left out of the story? The last part at home. This is a memory. She wants to back up the second part. Shame on them, not on you."

The tape ends, and so does the day in court. Court will begin again on Monday at 8:15.

Return to FMSF Home Page