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USA v. Peterson, et al. Trial, Week 9

Monday, November 2, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 26 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.


Witness: Karen G.

The trial began with a tape of a therapy session with Karen G. and Sylvia Davis. The jury and those participating in the trial wore headsets and had typed transcripts. Mark Smith, the Houston Chronicle reporter has also been given a transcript. The tape was not clear.

Davis was doing most of the talking.

Karen’s normal voice is soft, and when the "alters" "come out" it is even softer. The session was focused on Karen’s leaving Spring Shadows Glen. Davis asks what are the things that Karen needs to have. Karen doesn’t know. Davis suggests that girls would need a bed, bedroom, bathroom etc. Davis tells her what good work she has done.

Davis: "It would be a good idea if you guys write a letter to the Child Protection Agency to tell them about the memories that you have. Committee meets to get to know what kind of girl you are. Your mother wrote a letter to them about the things she has done to you. It could be it wouldn’t be safe for you to go home."

Davis continues to talk about safety and about what kind of place Karen might go. She suggests that it might be a residential center where she could go to a public school. Karen says that she will never feel safe in a public school. (Before she came to SSG she had been in a public middle school that she loved and was on the honor roll)

Davis comes back to the letter Karen should write. She says, "What do you think about it? You don’t have to write. You could include some of your memories. Start on it over the weekend."

Tara, one of the "alters", was doing the talking for the rest of the tape. It was difficult to hear. Karen appeared to be very upset.

At the end of the tape Larry Eastepp, Government Attorney asked Karen if she remembered this session. Karen said, "It was the first time my false memory came out. It wasn’t true." The night following this session, a nurse’s record noted that Karen was screaming in her sleep and thrashing. An hour later the nurse noted that Karen was screaming, "Mommy, Mommy." In a child-like voice Karen told the nurse that her mother was hitting her. The nurse told Karen that she was safe. Seward was notified. On the same day the art therapist recorded "the patient drew abuse memories. Some of the things were dream memories." Karen told Eastepp that dreams were always considered memories.

Eastepp continues to question Karen about the tape. Karen said that she really wanted to stay at SSG because that was where her mother was. She was concerned about losing her mother. She was afraid that her mother wouldn’t be able to find her. Karen confirmed that she had said that she didn’t want to leave because of what they were convincing her about her mother’s abuse.

June 29,1992 Nurse’s note: "Patient discussed not going home after her discovery. She wondered if she really was MPD. She wondered if she made all this up. She wants a family session. Karen is looking forward to a family session."

June 21, 1992 Peterson’s records: Patient verbalizes anxiety about family session and abreaction Her mother and sister had built fake systems. They were built with "alters" who destroy other "alters". Patient has angry parts.

Eastepp asks, "Did you have an abreaction?" Karen says, "Yes."

Tape #2 (This is my numbering for this day in court.)

Davis and Peterson conduct the abreaction. Davis starts, "Come all the way up," and she starts counting. "Come all the way out. Yell! No! No! No!" Davis appears to be trying to get Karen to yell. Peterson encourages Karen to yell, and she does. Both women are yelling No! No! Karen is screaming and is encouraged. This continued for what seemed a long time until someone asked, "Do you want to come out and have a rest? You’re doing a good job." The person starts counting very softly 3,4... Karen can be heard whimpering. The voices are too soft to hear everything. Karen is talking quietly.; The process is repeated again. Finally Karen is brought out of the trance. Davis says, "You guys got a bit upset." Davis begins counting again and asks someone to hold the arms and legs. Karen is screaming "No" Someone says, "After shocking you, you have to feel it now. Where is Mommy?" Karen is screaming. They bring her out again by counting and they give her water. (This has been 18 minutes of the tape.)

Peterson asks Karen if she feels safe with it? Karen answers, "I don’t know what it is." Davis says, "Agnes, You’re in a trance. Open your eyes and talk to me. How’s everybody doing? Somebody is watching." (End of tape)

Karen describes to Eastepp the makeup of the family therapy sessions. Dr.Seward, Dr. Peteson, Davis, LT Abney, Lucy Abney, Katherine and Karen. She said there was a family session where Katherine accused her stepfather. LT of abusing her. LT was very angry. Karen was very upset. Later she got to see Katherine.

At this time Davis put Karen was on restrictions. It was to protect her from her "stray parts."

Eastepp asks Karen how she was getting along with Seward. Karen said that she found the sessions always the same. She said that Seward always felt that she wasn’t working hard enough. Karen said that she dreaded these sessions.

Davis report: "Patient wept bitterly getting one to one. Patient wanted to get out of the Central Lobby. She wanted out of therapy with Dr. Peterson."

Karen told Eastepp that she knew Kristi Carl and they visited a lot.

Nurse Sally McDonald note: "Had conference with patient in the bathroom. Her one to one has been unhappy. Patient wonders why someone always has to be with her? ’I would never hurt myself. Why can’t I be like other kids?’"

Eastepp questions her, "Were you ever self destructive?" Karen says, "No."

Nurse’s note August 4, 1992 Patient has remained on unit. Interacts with patients and staff appropriately. She says, "Doctor won’t help me. I am trying to work hard on my issues. I am okay. I don’t want to hurt myself."

Karen told Eastepp that she got more from Sylvia than she did from Dr.Seward. She saw Sylvia Davis daily and Seward only twice a week.

August 6,1992 Seward’s records: "Patient confronting about blocking about safety. Satan emerged spontaneously. Patient doesn’t provide nursing staff with the dangers of her safety."

Karen said that she didn’t remember this. She was dealing with fears of failing treatment. Eastepp asks Karen if she was afraid of getting out? Karen said she was afraid. She didn’t want to leave her mother and her sister. She said her "alters" were supposed to be blocking her therapy.

August 10,1992 Seward’s report: Confronted patient with game playing.

August 19,1992 Progress notes: Multi family group, all kids and parents together in a big group session. Patient brought a film she had seen on dolphins. She was angry because dolphins shouldn’t be mistreated that way. Patient appreciated her peers. Patient sees her sister in cafeteria, but her sister doesn’t smile at her.

Eastepp asks her why her family didn’t come? Karen answered that she couldn’t see her mother or her sister.

Tape # 3 Therapy session with Davis

Davis says, "There are still parts in your inside that may harm the body."

Karen answers, "I’ve gotten rid of some of it."

Davis replies, "You have projected yourself as well."

Karen says, "I didn’t say that I had gotten rid of all of them."

Davis, "You should be more careful with your words. You must be accurate about self." Karen appears to be upset. Davis continues telling her what she had talked about in the group and then brings up the issue with her dad. Karen apparently is not listening. Davis said, "Karen. Karen. Karen. Isn’t it okay that I point out little things that may be a problem?"

Karen answers, "I hate the staff." Davis says, "You’ve got a problem with anger."

Karen asks, "Why do they have to chart everything?" Davis says that it is their job. Davis then asks what Karen wants to do this day.

Karen gives her a letter she has written her mom.

Karen says, "I don’t have a real dad."

Davis says, "Good, you are sharing your feelings about your treatment." (Tape ends.)

Eastepp: "How did you know how to act?" Karen answered that she sometimes she didn’t. Eastepp asked, "Why did you say that you hated the staff?" Karen replied that she didn’t like what they had written.

On page 4 of the transcript Eastepp asked, "Who was Kay?" Karen answered that she was Dr. Peterson’s associate. Eastepp asked who Jackie was, and Karen said she didn’t remember, but she knew it wasn’t her father. She said that she had come to believe that Jackie had seduced her.

Seward’s record: Patient recalled that parts of her enjoyed having sex with her father. She had been lied to by the SRA.

Karen told Eastepp that by this time she believed that her father had sexually abused her. She said that Seward told her that "he was the male in my life and that I wanted to suck up to him." Karen said that she was angry that Seward made that inference. "I thought it was horrible," she said.

Tape #4 Therapy session with Davis and Ms Bailey Davis asks, "Can you tell me about it?" Karen answers in a squeaky voice, "I feel sick. What are we having for lunch." Davis comes back, "You want to talk about it? Can you tell me a little about it?" Karen said, "Daddy paid some attention to me." Davis answers, "Thank you for telling me."

Davis counts down. Karen begins to scream. Davis continues "4, 5, tell me what happened. Is she in the same room? Is she close to you?" Screams in the background. (This tape was hard to follow without transcript.)

Eastepp asked Karen where she had gotten this information. She said she was saying what she had heard her sister say. They wanted me to go back over the same things. Karen said she didn’t remember the screams in the background. She didn’t remember having any contact with her stepfather at this time.

Davis notes: Patient altars told her that stepfather had abused her with his hand. Some parts liked it and some parts felt it was horrible. Katherine got in bed with her stepfather.

Tape #5 Therapy session with Davis Karen begins: "You can say whatever you want to." (voice trails off.)

Davis: "What did you do to clarify the situation?"

Karen: "Why would he say that?"

Davis: "What I want to know is what are your fears about school? Nobody pushes Karen out of the way. She needs to do some work. You personally have no fears?"

Karen: "Yes. I was walking down the hall and you pushed me away."

Davis: "When did you come back?"

Karen: "They said I had to be on one to one."

Davis: "It is because it’s too traumatic to go into your room and work. Do you remember crying? I was thinking that if there is nobody inside that wants to hurt the body why are we keeping you here? What if there are still parts there and not talking. Let us know what is necessary. I heard a young lady talking to alters and they said that they have to do bad things. You get to go to school. We couldn’t share the fun things. I had to always look okay. They made me look normal. You are dealing with parts that have to get the job done. You, Karen are being torn apart by grief. You leave calmly from the session and go out and watch TV; skipping about the room. Your family gave you the job to look normal and make everything look okay."

Karen: "You still haven’t answered my question?"

Davis: "I haven’t seen Dr. Seward today. You, Karen are controlling and acting happy, acting normal. You are the kind of kid that has no suicidal thoughts and should not be in the hospital. She goes to band and enjoys herself. What did you Karen have to do, which was to be normal." (End of tape)

Patient was angry at therapists. She would not look them in the eyes.

Karen had written a letter and made three copies, one to Seward, Davis and CPS. Eastepp read the letter. It was a long letter. This is the essence of the letter:

Dear CPS, I have been in the hospital for over 7 months...... I have really enjoyed my therapy. My father had programmed me to be a princess in the cult. He constantly raped me,and I do not want this to happen to me anymore. He abused me and my family. I do not want to see him unless he gets therapy. I am here for myself. I want to get help. I really want him out of my life. I hope you guys can help me.

Karen told Eastepp that Davis had helped her write the letter. Davis had told her in therapy that if she wanted to be safe she had to write those things.

Karen said that she was told to write a second letter. It went something like this. -- Dr.Seward has been working with me and my alters. I want my freedom and I think Dr.Seward will help me get it.

Seward’s record September 9,1992, "Patient processed alters sexual abuse. Wrote this letter spontaneously."

Eastepp asks, "Did you write this letter spontaneously?" Karen says, "No."

Meeting with CPS, Davis, Peterson

Karen explains that a caseworker, Ivy Chambers, from CPS came to SSG to talk to her about what kind of place she would like to be in. They also talked about the cult abuse and her stepfather. They met in some office. Her sister was not present.

Tape #6

Karen: "It’s about my stepdad."

Ivy Chambers, CPS caseworker: "What did he do?"

Karen: "He sexually abused me. He hurt me."

Chambers asks Karen to tell her about it.

Karen, "It’s hard. He hurt me in the chest."

Peterson: "How often, every night or often during the week?"

(Karen’s reply unclear.)

Karen talks about LT Abney touching her private parts. She then said that she had a good relationship with her sister, Katherine. She said they had been "perpetrated" by the cult and that Kathy told her to take drugs, and that they made her feel "yucky." She said that she had so much work to do in therapy that she should be in the hospital for a long time. Karen was encouraged to talk about her various parts. She gave the letter that Davis had helped her write to Ivy Chambers.

Eastepp goes through the letter with Karen. A copy of the letter was projected on the screen. It contained a list of things that Karen needed for her placement. This list was made with help from Davis and Peterson during a therapy session. It contained the following things: bed, bedroom with locked windows, a close nursing station, therapist who was a specialist with kids like me, someone who could teach me how to be a good mom, a safe place to do memory processing, a sexual abuse counselor, other kids to talk to, a drug counselor, a place where there is a lot of coming and going, a safe school, not a public school. The date of the letter was October 15,1992.

Eastepp then asked Karen if she had gained a lot of weight while she was at SSG.

Karen: "Yes. I did do aerobics once a week."

Tape #7

Therapy session processes CPD meeting. Davis is therapist. 45 minutes long The tape is not very clear.

Davis: "Debbie is sick. Do you have anything you want to do? Something came up from Mom."

Karen: "It is too difficult to have meetings."

Davis: "You’ve been triggered by Mom."

Karen: "I feel I have changed so much."

Davis: "Tell me about your change." (Long pause)

Karen: "Reading is . . ."

Davis: "Well I think you can probably accept that you are a child of alcoholic parents and for the next few years you will be very susceptible to alcohol and drugs. I do want you to be observant. You notice that you put down a drug counselor, and you want somebody to be there for you." (Long pause)

Karen: "A place where people can come and go all the time. I don’t want to stay in therapy. It’s weird. I never think of myself as an adult. I don’t see myself as married. I always see myself as being cared for. I don’t understand it. I used to think about going to Pennsylvania and living. I like to be grown up like my sister. I never think about getting married."

Davis: (goes into a long monologue, which wasn’t easy to follow.) "You believe in a cult. How would it be to get away from it all?"

Karen answers that she wants to go back.

Davis: "Are you aware that Karen is special. She is smart and gets good grades. I’m dumb. She gets awards for something special like a good poster."

Davis relates an award from a service organization, and a certificate as a licensed professional counselor. Peterson has a Ph.D., and awards for contributions to the field of MPD. Every year someone gets a big award from Chicago. Davis says, "What fun is it to be special if no one notices it? I saw you in the newspaper."

Davis: "Do you want to talk to her? You are not sure about that. Do you know anything about Mary Stewart , Queen of Scott’s? Well when you are asked where you come from, both of you could say you came from Mary Stewart, Queen of Scotland. Anybody down deeper want to know how it is going to be? Are you scared? Your Mom keeps chugging along. It she continues to work, I think she will love you."

(I believe she thinks she is talking to one of the alters.)

Eastepp refers to page 8 of the tape transcript. He asks Karen if she wanted more therapy. Karen answered that she did want more therapy. She was skeptical about everything.

Karen: "I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to after I left SSG."

Karen testified that after she left therapy she wrote some letters. When Eastepp asked about the drug issue, Karen said it came up in the family session.

Davis’s records: Patient beginning to process her discharge. She has no adult dreams, no hopes for future. The toothpaste brought to her by LT was taken away from her because it was thought to contain ’acid’. (It was tested, and did not contain anything but toothpaste)

November 16 Nurse’s chart: Patient was observed to be asleep on the first round. She dreams of mother again. Patient fears she is unsafe from deeper alters. She is depressed because she can’t see her mother outside of therapy.

Eastepp: "Were you depressed?"

Karen replied that she was depressed. She said she missed her mother and sister.

November 30, 1992 Seward’s record: Terminating therapy. Patient is having a difficult time saying goodbye. Parts will contact cult, because they want to contact cult.

Eastepp: "Were you believing in the cult at this time."

Karen: "Yes."

December 1,1992 Seward’s record: Patient discussed going to a residential center. Patient said a superficial goodbye. Patient denied having contact with cult.

January 1, 1993 Seward’s discharge: Patient has dissociative disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, catastrophic sexual abuse, overweight, couldn’t involve in therapy. She made minimal gains. Had one joint abreaction session with sister. Spontaneously recalled abuse with stepfather. Alter attempted to shut Karen up. Able to interact, but not completely honest in therapy. She was given the chance to contact deeper alters, parts numbered in the thousands. Alters never engaged in therapy. Texas services were notified of abuse of stepfather, once CPS.

Eastepp: "Did anyone ever tell you that you had thousands of parts, marginal abuse, deep alters proud of themselves for stopping therapy?"

Karen testified that none of this was discussed with her. She said that CPS took her to a girl’s shelter. She didn’t know where it was. She stayed in the shelter for a few months. She went to school in Aldine. CPS had custody of her. Her mother was still in the hospital. Katherine was in the hospital. She felt pretty frustrated. In February or March she was moved to a residential setting. It had a large campus and large dining hall and students lived in small cottages. There was a nurse’s office. She quickly worked her way to the top level where you have the most freedom. Everyone had a therapist. Her sister was admitted the same day. They could see other whenever they were free. Karen did very well in school. She contacted her mother either at Thanksgiving or at Christmas. Karen was there for 1 and one half years. Her mother moved to Austin. Her mother called her, and then came to Waco to take a deposition for her Mother’s law suit.

Waco records:
May 22,1994 Behavior - Karen continues to be stressed by thoughts of deposition.

May 25, 1994 9:00pm Karen did not feel well. Concerned about deposition She was sad, crying, and not sleeping. At 12:30 she reported dizziness. She was anxious since she had taken medicine for sleeping.

May 26,1994 8:30am Karen went off campus to the deposition. Then she went shopping at Walmart.

Eastepp asked Karen how long the deposition took. Karen said it was a long time to her. Her counselor sent her to Fowler College when she lived in a foster care home. I did not have MPD.

Rusty Hardin starts the cross-examination. He introduced himself, and says he represents Judith Peterson. He questioned Karen about the deposition she had in Waco. (Lucy and LT Abney were suing Peterson for malpractice for Lucy, Katherine, and Karen. At first, Karen wanted no part of it.)

Hardin asked Karen how long was it after the deposition, May 26,1994, that she came back to Houston? Karen said that she came down for a mediation.

Harden: "Was it true that the doctors at SSG made you ill?"

Karen said that the issue in the suit was that the treatment was unfair.

Harden: "Katherine called you up and went over all the things that you had told the therapists that were not true. This went on until you met with the lawyers of your parents. Is that true?"

Karen said, "Yes."

Harden: "You didn’t tell anybody later that you had disagreed with them. Were you under medication?"

Karen said that she had had a sleeping pill.

Harden: "You were nervous?"

Karen answered that she had no experience when she gave the deposition in 1994.

Hardin: "When Eastepp asked you about the letter to Davis you said that you didn’t want to leave your therapist, not your mother. Your views are different at different times of your life."

Hardin lists the things he is going to discuss: Cypress Creek Hospital 1984, SSG journals, medical records, CPS, Waco therapy records, 1994 deposition, 1998 testimony.

Hardin: "In 1994 this is what you believed, you didn’t want to go back and live with your mother and LT. At that time you still thought that your stepfather had abused you."

Karen: "Yes."

Hardin: "You wanted to get well and stay at SSG."

Karen: "Yes"

(Note passing begins. Peterson passes the note to daughter, who walks it up to Hardin.)

Hardin: "Did you indicate that you didn’t want to go back and live with LT and your mother?"

Karen said that she didn’t trust them.

Hardin reading from page 8 of the desposition asks why she didn’t trust them. Karen said that she wanted her stepdad out of her life. She had not wanted her mother to back go LT because she believed that he had abused her.

Hardin: "As you sit here today the reason you volunteered was because it didn’t happen. Do you think it is possible that you have rewritten history? You testified differently."

Karen: "Yes"

Hardin: "In May, 1994, probably 18 months after you left SSG, your mother and sister disagreed with you. You hadn’t listened to your parents’ lawyers."

Karen said that she was still confused, " because she was my mother and I couldn’t talk to her."

Hardin: "In 1992 you believed that your mother thought you needed protection. More and more you believed, but now it didn’t happen and we’re going to sue. Fall of 1993 they were going to sue and you disagreed with them?"

Karen: "They were my family."

Hardin: "Do you recall a group therapy session at Cypress Creek Hospital where your mother actually played parts of multiples?"

Karen said that it could have been.

Hardin: "This means that your memory was wrong? You may have not understood at 12."

Karen said it was possible.

Hardin: "You don’t remember anything?"

Karen says she remembers Cricket, it was a nickname for Karen.

Hardin: "The things you wrote in your journal, did Seward make you believe in them? The ideas came from your mother and sister. What you started to believe were from your mother and sister. You had been worried about your sister for a long time. You know your sister tried to kill herself. You were worried about your mother. In 1991 you were 12 years old and going to family therapy sessions. There was a lot of conflict between your mother and father and your sister. You were shutting down at Cypress Creek Hospital."

Medical record from August 5, 1991 Patient (Karen) in individual therapy was hiding in fear from her mother and sister. She feels closer to her stepfather. Patient said she found her sister wrapped in sheets in a closet.

Medical record August 8,1991 Mother and father calmer. Concerned about father’s temper. Father becomes explosive.

Karen: "I remember my father has a bad temper." She said that she also remembered that she would isolate herself in her bedroom when things got bad. She said this happened when her mother was switching.

Tuesday, November 3, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 27 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.


Witness: Karen G.

Peterson defense attorney Rusty Hardin continues to question Karen about her records from Cypress Creek Hospital.

May 23, 1991 - First entry in medical record at Cypress Creek. - Therapist met with Karen for 1/2 hour and then met with family for 1/2 hour. - Focus on coping skills and communication. Mildly depressed - poor remote memory skills. No suicide or homicide avocation. Met with family and made contract.

In the family session there was discussion of MPD and SRA. This conflicts with earlier testimony from Karen that she had not heard about MPD and SRA until she came to SSG. Harden makes the point that this is 6 months before SSG. At the end of the family session there was a contract. The contract stated that her father would control his temper and stop yelling at the family.

KAREN: I don’t remember him yelling a lot.

HARDEN: Do you think it’s possible to forget unpleasant portions of one’s life?

KAREN: It’s possible.

HARDEN: It was almost always an item in the contract that the father would control his temper.

May 28, 1991 - Cypress Creek note. - She [Karen] continues to express anxiety about her father’s intermittent explosive temper.

HARDIN: Do you remember your father’s temper as explosive?

KAREN: No

KAREN: His anger was directed toward mother and sister.

June 13, 1991 - Cypress Creek note. - Individual and family session. Met with patient and she was very frightened. She had seen mother switching and had seen some of mother’s drawings.

KAREN: I don’t remember these issues about mother switching.

Note continues - patient observed to dissociate at father’s anger in family session.

HARDIN: Do you remember?

KAREN: I don’t remember.

HARDIN: Do you remember dealing with problems by disassociating?

KAREN: Sometimes. Yes.

June 27, 1991 - Cypress Creek note. - depressed - father raging - patient feels that the contract would be good if family abided by it - sister suicidal - confused and embarrassed that grandmother favored her. This is a source of friction between Karen and her sister. [Karen’s grandmother developed a strong bond with Karen when Karen stayed with her before Karen’s grandfather’s death. Karen’s grandfather was bedridden for the last few months of his life.] Family session focus - family problems. Mother has boundary problems - father is very controlling - sister says that family is not listening - she has 10 days to live. Father doesn’t understand and is upset about the MPD diagnosis. He feels that the only role he has in the family is to pay the bills.

July 3, 1991 - Cypress Creek note. - Patient [Karen] still depressed - mother expresses anger - patient’s fear goes up as father becomes angry.

HARDIN: Mother was concerned about LT’s drinking. In hospital this was one of the things dealt with in therapy. In therapy you talked about how LT became explosive when drinking.

July??, 1991 - Cypress Creek note - father believes Catherine manipulates mother through one of alters.

HARDIN: She had lived with her father for 2 years. She was raped by father’s roommate.

KAREN: I can’t recall discussing rape.

HARDIN: You were in therapy with sister who had been raped - a father who drank - sister who talked about killing herself - mother who was MPD - and you screamed and yelled at each other.

HARDIN: You were sitting down once a week in a family session. It would not be unusual for a 12 year old to put it behind her.

HARDIN: In your first week at SSG you may have been the only normal person in family - you began to embellish on what had happened.

KAREN: To some degree - yes.

HARDIN: All you wanted was for everyone to get along.

HARDIN: When Eastepp asked about MPD, Alters, etc. You answered no.

KAREN: I honestly did not remember it.

HARDIN: What you have pulled out is what you want to be true today.

August 6, 1991 - Cypress Creek note. Anxiety about mother and sister. - discussed MPD to help patient understand mother and sister.

HARDIN: That’s what the note says. Do you still have it blocked out?

HARDIN: If this kind of stuff was happening - you would think you would remember - if you had seen your sister was wrapped up in an sheet in a closet you would think you would remember.

Note continues - in family session older sister complaining about Karen teasing her about MPD diagnosis.

KAREN: I remember teasing her about being in the hospital.

Note continues - sister feels that Karen may go to school and tell her friends.

KAREN: I have no explanation on why I don’t remember.

September 5, 1991 - Cypress Creek note. - Raised assertiveness expressing concerns with father. - father raged at patient for not putting enough ice in tea - did not put water in ice trays before sitting down to dinner - father broke no drinking contract - father gets very angry because of SRA.

KAREN: I don’t recall it.

Hardin tells of an incident involving LT Abney’s son (Troy Abney) from previous marriage. The son and wife were both had used crack cocaine and they had a crack baby. LT got into argument with his son and Karen wraps the baby and hides in a closet.

HARDIN: Dr. Seward was not your doctor at this time.

Hardin then tells of another incident that happened around Christmas 1991. Troy takes his wife, baby, and Catherine with him to a crack house to get crack. Troy’s wife, baby and Catherine are taken hostage because of unpaid drug bills to the drug dealer. Karen is with her parents when they go to seek Catherine’s release.

KAREN: I was upset about it.

Hardin 6 weeks before SSG January 4, 1992 note: Patient less depressed - patient continued to exhibit increased dissociative behavior - father appears out of control attacking older daughter -

HARDIN: How do you remember your life at that time?

KAREN: I had a good relationship with my family. I remember family therapy. I wanted to be in school.

Note continues - She again confronted father’s behavior. Father did not know why he behaved as he did. - Patient appears to dissociate - moved as far away from father as possible.

HARDIN: You were still 12.

Note continues: Family contract - father will control temper - mother more assertive - father will not drink alcohol.

May 26, 1994 deposition

HARDIN: Let’s go back to the deposition before the lawyers got involved.

HARDEN: [Your views were] considerably different than now. You weren’t sure if you had alters or not. You liked Dr. Seward.

HARDIN: Have your feelings for Miss Davis changed?

KAREN: We have had no contact since 1992.

HARDIN: You wrote basically very loving letters to her.

HARDIN: It has to be what others have said [with regard to Davis and her therapy].

KAREN: I don’t agree with that.

HARDIN: Is it a fair statement that the feelings that have all changed have happened since May 26, 1994?

(Answer not recorded.)

HARDIN: On May 26, 1994 you did not want anything to do with LT. Deposition Page 11 - Safe with Dr. Seward. Dr. Seward never suggested anything to you.

HARDIN: When did you decide that Dr. Seward would sometimes get upset with you? Did you like him?

KAREN: Yes I did.

HARDIN: Has it changed?

KAREN: Somewhat.

HARDIN continues to compare Karen’s view now with the views she had at the time of the deposition on May 26, 1994. Hardin suggests that the lawsuit settled out of court may have had something to do with Karen’s change since the deposition.

Hardin states that if there was any brainwashing it was done by her mother and sister and not by the defendants.

Letters to Sylvia Davis

Several months after leaving SSG Karen wrote 3 letters to Sylvia Davis. Hardin asked Karen to read the letters for the jury. In the first letter written on May 11, 1992 Karen mentions Sylvia Davis’s teddy bear Gerger. Gerger was brought to all therapy sessions with Karen.

[At this point David Gerger, Sylvia Davis’s attorney, pulls the teddy bear out for everyone to see. Like the attorney the teddy bear is wearing a bow tie. Eastepp says let the record show that the bear is wearing a bow tie. This teddy bear still had a prominent position near Sylvia Davis a few days later.]

In her third letter dated August 8, 1992 Karen notes a card that she had received from Sylvia. She signs letter with "Love Always Karen and Company." At that time Karen still believed in alters and referred to the alters when she signed the letter.

Journals

The remainder of the day was spent reviewing the journals that Karen had written at SSG. It is interesting to hear Karen read from the journals. She has an expressive voice and journals are extremely well written especially for a 13 year old. The journals were written by Karen when she was alone in her room. It was impossible to capture the complete text. The following are brief notes. Karen was admitted on February 18, 1992.

Feb 21 - Waiting to see Dr. Peterson.

Feb 22 - Dr. Peterson was very nice - wanted off unit restrictions - today I worked on my seagull - there is another guy here that has the same diagnosis that I do.

Feb 27 - Lately nothing has happened. I found out that there are others in me that want to come out and talk. It will be good to finally go to school.

Feb 28 - Sean [another patient ???] has finally gone. - I get off restrictions.

Feb 29 - Kathy is not on unit. I miss my friends a lot. I hope that I get to go home soon.

Mar 1 - Got to go to brunch.

Mar 31 - Insurance company said that I don’t need to be there. I think I am working hard but they don’t.

April ?? - Letter to Sylvia written in journal. - Dear Sylvia, I am very angry at my mom. I never felt close to my mom and deep down I know that she may not really care. Reference to "stuff."

[Karen would translate the word "shit" that she had written in her journal to stuff.]

I need some help. I really want to keep going. Right now I feel that you are my only support.

[right after family session]

April-May - Letter to Dr. Peterson and Sylvia in journal. I am really angry at dad. He has been asked to go to Chicago. My biggest worry is that he won’t join therapy. I have had all the same memories that Kathy did. Dad has to make his own decision. He would send us all back to the cult and we would all be killed. He is the one that has to choose. I am tired of having dad in the cult and I want him out.

[Letter after she was put back on restrictions after being found curled up in room.]

Date?? Letter to Liz [nurse?] in journal - I am never ever safe from [cult]. I have to go back and remember all of it.

June 18 - I don’t think there is any problem. I am skeptical of this stuff.

June 22 - I just [freaked out]. Every time I talk to Kristi Carl one of her alters comes out. I got triggered all of a sudden. I was depressed all night. Ativan did not work.

June -July - Dr. Seward about bogus memories. Everything that comes up in my scrambled mind is called bogus. I feel like I am going crazy. I am afraid of you.

Aug 92 - Daddy came into my room and started hitting me. Dawn alter - Dad was always very nice. Nicky alter - He would lock me in my room all day and come into my room and beat me up.

KAREN: I would rather not recite that. [referring to additional journal entry]

End of Aug 92 - With the help of 32 alters I have written two letters. Children’s Protective Services and Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation.

Aug 92 - Two really difficult sessions - one time when my dad got in bed with me.

End of court session

Wednesday, November 4, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 28 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. is on the witness stand. Rusty Hardin, defense attorney for Judith Peterson, continues the cross-examination. Karen kept two types of journals during her stay at Spring Shadows Glen. One journal was a personal journal to share Karen’s thoughts, and the second journal was so the alters could share their thoughts. Karen was a prolific writer. Hardin shows a big box filled with journals that Karen had written and asked her if it was correct to say that this only represented a part of them. She agreed that this was true. The whole morning was spent with these journals. At one time in the morning Hardin compares her to Anne Frank.

Karen read aloud sections of her journals that Hardin had chosen. He told her that he wanted her to read them, for it was her writing. He also asked her if she had any dramatic training. When she answered no, he told her how well she reads. "You bring the journals to life."

(These journals were used in therapy sessions. Peterson, Davis and Seward read them. At the end of many of the taped therapy sessions it was possible to hear the therapists tell Karen to have the alters write more about something or for Karen to write what she thinks about the session. These journals were not personal. They were used to set the issues for the therapy sessions.)

Hardin used the journal selections to show that Karen had alters as early as nine days after she had been admitted to SSG. Hardin said that she came to SSG with MPD. Hardin used the journal entries to show how much Karen liked Sylvia Davis and how great her therapy was. The journals were used to show that the therapists had not implanted the memories, but that Karen’s mother and sister had. The journals were used to show that the alters were afraid of suicide. Hardin said, "After a therapist read this journal, she would have to put you on one-to-one watch." This was to explain why Karen had to spend so much of her time in CL (central lobby) and why they wouldn’t let her go to school."

Karen wrote about her ambivalent feelings about her stepfather. She wrote both how much she loved him and missed him, but also later she wrote how he had abused her and she hoped he would rot in hell. There were some explicit entries about times when LT had abused her. She had many details about the time and place. One took place at Christmas the other at Halloween. Hardin’s point was that they were too realistic not to be true. Hardin wondered where this information came from. (I think it came from a bright girl who wanted to please, and knew what the therapist wanted.) Hardin said that no therapist would tell her these things.

Karen answered that she believed they did tell her things, and she mentioned the therapy session tape that was played of a session where Davis had led her.

There were some journal entries about the other patients in the unit. Karen was mad at Kristi Carl for watching the Alice in Wonderland tape so often. Another time a patient threatened to hit her with a chair. This patient had already broken his bed.

After the lunch break Hardin uses the documents of the residential school in Waco where Karen and her sister Katherine had been placed after they left Spring Shadows Glen.

Hardin reads and projects on the screen a Treatment Plan Review, March 9, 1993: There is some doubt about MPD. Patient has symptoms of post traumatic syndrome. She also has symptoms of dissociation.

Case history May 6,1993: Karen experienced a positive month at Waco. Behavior is appropriate, participation in drill team, happy to see sister. Karen doesn’t talk about her cult experience.

Therapy record May 13, 1993: Karen’s mother and stepfather said there was no contact with the cult. Hospital planted the ideas. They blamed the therapists. Karen was very quiet. She rolls her eyes when she is frustrated.

Progress report August 1993: Karen is beginning to verbalize better seven months after she left SSG. Karen called her mother collect but hung up. She said she wanted to talk to her mother. The therapist got her mother on the line, and Karen talked to her. Karen told her mother that she didn’t believe her.

September 1993: Karen’s overall adjustment is good. Seems not to need to contact her mother. Had migraine headaches.

December 1993 Treatment Plan: Karen keeps a daily journal. She assumed a difficult leadership role. Psychiatric evaluation: 14-year-old girl spent 10 months in hospital for MPD and involvement with satanic abuse. Possibly wrong treatment. She has no problems now. Discharged because exhaustion of insurance payment.

Therapy notes, January 9,1994 Karen will be able to see Katherine. Karen had a change of therapists. Mother was trying to get custody of Karen, but Karen didn’t want to go home. Karen said, "It isn’t good for me to go home at this time." She expressed ambivalence toward Katherine.

The therapist takes Karen off campus to a session with CPS. After one year she still does not want to go home. Karen is concerned about her sister’s safety.

May 11, 1994 The Abneys have filed suit against SSG. Karen maintains her refusal to do so.

May 16, 1994 therapist’s notes: Deposition over, Karen somewhat jumpy. She wants to live with mother, but wants mother to divorce her stepfather first. She was discharged August 10.

CPAs document September 5, 1994: Karen Gordon was the caseworker. Karen says that she is doing okay so far. She is worried about going to public school. She wants to continue working on the therapy she had before so that she isn’t so scared of the outside world. "It’s very scary that I can’t see my family again." Ms Gordon didn’t see any signs of MPD at this time.

Hardin asks Karen if she had seen the letter that Pamela Freyd had written to CPS, when Karen’s parents were trying to get custody of Karen. Karen answers, "No." Hardin tell her that Pam Freyd said that Karen had false memory syndrome, not MPD. He asks, "Are you a member of FMSF? Have you ever met a member?" Karen says, "No."

[The letter written by Pamela Freyd was read out in court on November 18 by the prosecution.]

Hardin goes back in time to August 23, 1993 - to Waco therapist J.P. Brandon’s record: Karen is worried about Kathy’s future. Karen’s expectations are too high. She feels she has false memory syndrome. This idea is from an organization that is run by a satanic cult. Hardin stops reading the record to ask Karen if she remembers this therapist. Karen said, "Yes, but he left Waco."

Hardin finishes with a barrage of questions. Karen agrees that the therapists at SSG were concerned with her well being. "I believe that they manipulated me to get me to believe things that were not true. No, I do not believe that they had my welfare at heart." Hardin jumps in quickly, "Do these people believe in what they did?"

Karen answers, "I cannot say that they do believe."

Hardin gives the podium to Sylvia Davis’ lawyer, David Gerger. David Gerger had spent an hour during lunch trying to adjust a tape recorder to see if the jurors could hear it. Following is a condensation of Gerger’s cross-examination.

Gerger said that one of the things that Davis told Karen was to tell the truth. Karen agreed that Davis wasn’t involved in the therapy at Cypress Creek Hospital. Gerger established that Dr. Fink observed that Karen had two alters the first time he saw her in Feb.1992. Gerger read from an April l, 1992 transcript of a therapy session in which Davis says its important to tell the truth in therapy. Gerger says, "There were times Davis challenged you."

Gerger holds notes from Sept. 15,1992 and says, "You were in a session where you wanted to kill your mother." Karen said she didn’t remember that. Gerger continues, " One of the functions is to let the person in therapy find himself."

At this point Gerger turns on the tape recorder. It doesn’t go on, so he hands Karen a transcript and he reads Davis’ part, and Karen reads what she was saying.

Karen reads from the tape transcript, "The secret held our family together."

Karen said that she didn’t believe that. Gerger said that Davis was not leading Karen, she was only helping her to come to grips with ideas. When Davis said, "I’m not going to let you go there again." Gerger said that was a big step to get to the possibility that it may not have happened. He said that this was an example of Davis not running with the bizarre beliefs.

Gerger continues, "In March 1992 in an interview with CPS Katherine said that she had MPD. Your sister’s therapist wasn’t Sylvia Davis. You would tell Davis about your memories and then you would add ’but there is more.’ You always added that."

Gerger tells Karen that Sylvia Davis was almost like a mother to her, but Davis always kept her boundaries. Gerger uses a chart to show the facts. In October 1992 Karen was beginning to process fears about discharge to a residential facility. She had no dreams about being an adult. No hope or dreams about the future. Her mother made allegations about drugs and drug use shows up in Karen’s journal. Davis read the journals about drugs. Davis reports allegations of drugs and tells Karen that she is susceptible to being an alcoholic.

Gerger continued in this vein until court adjourned.

Thursday, November 5, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 29 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.


Witness: Karen G.

Sylvia Davis’s attorney David Gerger continues with his questioning of Karen. [He is attempting to establish that Sylvia Davis was not suggestive in Karen’s therapy.]

June 19 tape therapy session with Sylvia Davis: [concerning sexual assault] Davis note: Sexual assault means more than intercourse.

KAREN: I agree with that.

Tape continues with details of sexual assault while Karen was on shocking table - mother had left room. Patient given reassurances that it was not her fault.

GERGER: Davis asked you to dream or remember about what you had journaled.

TAPE: Mommy is hitting me.

GERGER: Miss Davis asks you for more details and repeats what you say. She asks, "Where is this place?" You reply, "At a cult meeting. - a big room with a shocking table."

Tape-Davis: Is there a crowd or just mommy?
Tape-Karen 2 men Tape-Davis: What do the two men look like?
Tape-Karen: All in black.
Tape-Davis: Men in black. Were they in robes or just wearing black pants?
Tape-Karen: Robes. Tape-Davis: Men in black robes.
Tape-Davis: At the start what does mommy say?
Tape-Karen: Take off her clothes. Tape-Davis: Does mommy take off her [Karen] clothes?
Tape-Karen: Not at first and they put her [Karen] on the shocking table.
Tape-Davis: How did they make her take off your clothes?
Tape-Karen: They shocked her and then they pulled them off.
Tape-Davis: How were you shocked? Tape-Karen: All over.
Tape-Davis: All over where. Tape: Karen then says legs, arms, chest, ....

GERGER: Miss Davis never suggested any parts of the body. Correct?

KAREN: Yes.

Gerger continues to work through the tape to show that Davis was not suggestive in her therapy with Karen. Gerger then turns to the letters to CPS. Karen stated that she had written the letters alone.

GERGER: You had discussed writing the letters with the therapist.

KAREN: It was more suggestive than that.

KAREN stated that she was told that this was the only way she could stay in the hospital.

Sept 28 therapy session with Davis

In taped therapy session where the letters to CPS were discussed, Davis says that Karen is the one that has to write the letters. Davis says "I don’t know if you need protection or not."

Tape-Karen: I don’t want to make that choice. Why does everyone put that on me? Tape-Davis: You don’t have to write it for my sake. ... write a letter to defend yourself. Tape-Davis: I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if you need protecting.

Sept 29 therapy session with Davis Karen has written the letters.

GERGER: Davis asked you what you wanted to do with the letters and you said that you wanted to mail them.

GERGER: You said that you thought LT was going to be killed because of the letters.

On the tape Davis tells Karen who to send the letters.

Tape-Karen: I feel like I am doing something. I feel like I am saying what I need to say.

Karen had shown the letter to Dr. Seward and to Sylvia Davis. Dr. Seward was questioning the way Karen had spelled Lewis "Luis". Karen thought Luis was correct. Dr. Seward indicated the Luis may signify a royalty spelling inside the cult. Discussion of the spelling was brought up again in the session with Davis and Karen redid the letter to change the spelling. Davis stated that Karen’s stepfather went by the name LT.

In the therapy session Karen goes on to talk about a body memory of an event where she was abused by her father. In the session one alter talks to another alter. She describes a beating that took place in the woods. Karen was beaten with a pole. She was on the ground and could not get up. Karen stated that "he kept beating me - I passed out and lay there all night. When I woke up I was back in my room."

Tape-Davis: Was this the first indication of abuse by your step dad? Tape-Karen: It just wasn’t fair.

Davis note after session: Processing patients alleged abuse by step father.

Sylvia Davis treats Karen for free during summer, fall and winter.

GERGER: During therapy and at time of deposition you thought she [Sylvia Davis] did a good job.

GERGER: Have you been to a doctor since you got out of SSG?

KAREN: Yes

GERGER: Did you have to present your insurance card?

KAREN: Yes

GERGER: You don’t expect health professionals to treat people for free.

KAREN: No.

GERGER: Sylvia Davis treated you for free. The insurance companies said that only doctors could be paid for your treatment and they stopped paying for Sylvia. Did you know that?

KAREN: No.

GERGER: There was an insurance audit in 1992 - but Davis continued to treat you. In August she would no longer be paid - she didn’t stop seeing you in the summer, fall and into the winter - she didn’t burden you with this issue.

End of David Gerger Cross

Redirect from Eastepp

[Throughout the testimony of Karen G. the defense has made the point that what Karen came up with in therapy came from her mother and sister. In Eastepp’s redirect he goes back to the early hospital records for Karen’s mother and sister.]

Reviewed records to show that Karen was admitted to SSG with diagnosis of major depression - MPD deferred and she was discharged with a diagnosis of MPD.

Seward notes: 12/21/90 - began to use hypnosis on [Karen’s sister]

Peterson notes: 12/27/90 - long note consulting Cricket, D?, death angel and others. [Karen’s sister] She shows signs of classic MPD - all of alters are afraid to come out and talk. Difficult to treat. This consultant strongly recommends another week of hospitalization.

Notes from mothers hospitalization at Cypress Creek Hospital. Mother’s therapist was Tom Billings. Dr. Judith Peterson was consultant on case.

April 26, 1991

Tom Billings: Major depression - amnesia for childhood - does not meet criteria for MPD.

Pete D., case manager: She suspects that she is MPD.

April 30, 1991 - Handwritten notes from Dr. Peterson: Worked with patient in trance - met Betty and other alters adults and children - Betty mapping and communication between alters

May 1, 1991 - Tom Billings: Met with Lucy Abney under hypnosis after Dr. Peterson’s consultation.

Eastepp reviews Karen’s treatment

Admission form when Karen checked in - patient denied cult activity - mother and sister in cult - allegation that Karen and sister would go to alternate cult meetings

Dr. Seward had been doctor for 1 year. [Karen or her sister?]

Karen denied any involvement in drugs or sexual activity.

Routine qualitative drug screen result. - none detected.

Gynecological by Dr. Lavine when Karen checked into SSG found no signs of sexual abuse. This was a "full blown" exam.

Nurse notes at check in: - Karen’s statement was recorded in nurse assessment notes. "My mom said that I was involved in a cult. I don’t remember any of it. I’m not sure."

Nurse note: Mental status - thinking about being here - memory intact. Denied suicidal or homicidal avocation. - placed on suicide watch.

EASTEPP: You were single - grade 7 and you liked to write things. Who do you turn to for support?

KAREN: Friends and family. I lost all contact with all my friends.

EASTEPP: What did you do well?

KAREN: I wrote stories. I had a diary.

EASTEPP: Who brings up parts first?

KAREN: Dr. Peterson.

Eastepp reviews first therapy session with sister. In the session there was discussion that Karen would not be able to see family unless she had memories.

EASTEPP: Up to 3/9 had you any cult memories?

KAREN: No.

EASTEPP: Who was the first to bring up robes?

KAREN: Sylvia Davis.

EASTEPP: Were you knowledgeable about sexual matters? Sylvia Davis brings up Penis.

KAREN: I don’t think I knew specifics.

EASTEPP: Did you know rape before?

KAREN: No.

EASTEPP: Harden brought the box containing your journals and asked if the entries that you read in court would be similar to the others in the box. You answered yes. Would that also be true if I brought a box containing the therapy tapes?

KAREN: Yes.

EASTEPP: Regarding the issue of believability. You remembered something that was very scary when you were infant. Why would this be believable by anyone? This was treated as a real memory by therapist.

Eastepp noted that Karen started to look upon Seward and Davis as parents. She had no one else. She was not allowed to have contact with the nursing staff.

Eastepp then turns to the letters written to Children’s Protective Services and Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation.

In therapy session - Sylvia Davis: "I love daddy parts are coming out because no one has written CPS."

Discussion about Dr. Seward’s interpretation of the spelling of Lewis.

KAREN: Later it was mentioned. I made no connection.

EASTEPP: What did you know about MHMR? Answer not recorded.

EASTEPP: Where would you have gained this knowledge?

EASTEPP: What were the letters going to do for Karen?

KAREN: Keep me in the hospital. Keep me from getting hurt.

EASTEPP: When you were talking to Miss Thornton [CPS] you were not aware of insurance being canceled. You were not aware of the term penis before the 6/19 tape.

KAREN indicated that she was confused when she went to Waco and she was still confused when she gave the deposition.

EASTEPP: Who had you first [therapists or lawyers]?

KAREN: Therapists

Hardin asks additional questions and it is time for lunch. David Gerger says that he needs 5 minutes and he will be finished. The judge says go ahead.

KAREN: By the way, I’m timing you.

Gerger introduces a report of an exam for sexual abuse done by CPS at the time Karen was discharged from SSG. The exam was done on January 8, 1993 and the conclusion from the examiner was that Karen was a victim of sexual abuse.

Eastepp objects saying that there was nothing in the record to indicate that the examiner was an expert.

End of testimony of Karen G.

break for lunch

The next witness is Julie Fannon. Julie stated that she has worked as a nurse for 24 years. She received her masters degree in nursing from Texas Women’s University. She was certified after working 2000 hours and passing an exam. She has focused on family therapy and has worked with child patients who have attention deficit disorder, patients who have been sexually abused, and patients who are suffering from depression. She has no patients with MPD. In Texas she worked at Texas Children’s Hospital before she started working at SSG in 1988. She was working on the children’s unit at SSG in 1991 and 1992. She worked the 3:00pm - 11:00 pm shift on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Patients on the children’s unit included patients with Attention Deficit Disorder, anorexia, and major depression. In 1991 Jerry Mueck offered Julie the position of manager of the children’s unit. She turned it down. She stated that there were other opportunities that she wanted.

Government attorney Ollison asked Julie if she remembered a patient named Ryan Shanley. Julie Fannon stated that Ryan was an 8 year old boy, a little shy, who had good social skills and was quite normal. "He was the first one who was diagnosed as MPD and I had not heard of that before."

OLLISON: What training did you have on MPD?

FANNON: I attended conference on MPD in Austin in fall of 1992. I read information that was available on unit D. I learned about MPD in grad school and I went to library to learn more.

OLLISON: Did information help you?

FANNON: I don’t think it was that helpful.

OLLISON: How long was Ryan there.

FANNON: One month.

OLLISON: Did you get to know Ryan.

FANNON: I was supportive.

OLLISON: Did you become knowledgeable on what to look for on regarding MPD?

FANNON: Yes.

OLLISON: Did you observe any MPD behavior in Ryan?

FANNON: No. He was a normal child. There were no signs or symptoms of sexual abuse.

OLLISON: Did you sit in on Ryan’s therapy session with Dr. Peterson?

FANNON: No.

OLLISON: How would you characterize Ryan’s behavior?

FANNON: He was becoming frustrated.

OLLISON: Did you ever have the opportunity to review Ryan’s medical records?

FANNON: At the time I didn’t.

OLLISON: Did you know Mary Shanley?

FANNON: I don’t believe that I ever cared for her.

OLLISON: What was the circumstances for Ryan’s discharge?

FANNON: He just went out of the hospital.

OLLISON: What kind of records did you review in the hospital?

FANNON: Admission records, doctors orders, nurses notes ...

OLLISON: Were you reading these records?

FANNON: It was part of job.

OLLISON: Did you make entries in the medical records?

FANNON: In the progress notes and it was a rule of the hospital that I would sign off on psych-tech notes.

Fannon then indicated that she met Karen G. when she was admitted to the hospital. Fannon remembered that Karen checked in on her birthday for safety considerations. She described Karen as a very mature 13 year old who was very bright. Fannon raised concerns to Sally McDonald about Karen being put in hospital for her safety. She stated that Karen was treated by Dr. Fink, Dr. Seward, Dr. Peterson and Sylvia Davis. Fannon said that Karen was placed on numerous restrictions while she was at SSG. Dr. Seward had given orders that Karen was to have no phone calls, no visitors or no external communication. His reason was that she might harm herself. Fannon said that she saw no behavior that indicated that Karen would harm herself. Fannon repeated the testimony previously entered about patients being confined to the central lobby.

Fannon went to one of Karen’s therapy sessions with Sylvia Davis. The session was with Karen, Sylvia and the teddy bear. According to Fannon the session started with Sylvia speaking in a childlike voice to a 3 or 4 year old. Fannon stayed 5 to 10 minutes and then left the room. Fannon did not believe that Karen was MPD while she was at SSG. Fannon indicated that Karen was pressured to preform. She stated that she had observed pressure from Dr. Seward. Dr. Seward pressured Karen by ignoring her. According to Fannon this was a problem for Karen because she depended on Dr. Seward for support. Dr. Seward had become a father figure for Karen.

Julie Fannon reported anonymously to Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. She said that she was deeply concerned about the patients and could not sleep at night. Her anonymous report was for ethics violations.

Fannon was at SSG during the summer of 1992 when Kristi Carl came on the unit. When Kristi Carl was admitted her mother was on Unit D and she had a brother in the Adolescent unit. Dr. Keraga was Kristi’s psychiatrist. Fannon described Kristi as a bright articulate girl who got along well with others.

Fannon said that from her admission records she had been sexually abused as an infant and would self destruct. She noted that Kristi had mood swings - she got angry and she wanted to get out of the hospital. Kristi talked about eloping but she never did it.

Fannon attended session in Aug-Sept that included Dr. Seward, Dr. Peterson, representative of Texas Dept. Of Mental Health and others. Fannon said that Kristi Carl was in a hypnotic state. Fannon describes the session: Dr. Peterson was doing the talking. Kristi didn’t say anything. Kristi was to communicate with her fingers (ideomotor signals). Peterson was asking and answering questions about witches. Kristi wasn’t moving at all. Fannon said "I walked out of the session totally blown away. I would not have talked to her [Judith Peterson] with a ten foot pole."

Fannon was asked why she wouldn’t talk to Dr. Peterson. She said that historically Peterson would explode. Fannon testified that the work environment was horrible and there was lots of conflict. She said that Dr. Seward and Dr. Peterson didn’t want any questions about what was going on there.

Ollison reviewed Kristi Carl’s hospital records with Julie Fannon and Hardin starts his cross-examination at 4:30 pm.

Thursday, November 5, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Week 9 of Trial

The federal criminal trial against psychologist Judith Peterson, psychiatrists Gloria Keraga and Richard Seward, therapist Sylvia Davis and hospital administrator George Jerry Mueck for mail fraud, insurance fraud and knowingly misdiagnosing multiple personality disorder to keep patients in the hospital began in September 1998 and may continue until March 1999. Defense attorneys have argued that patients who were admitted to the Spring Shadows Glen hospital, now under different ownership and called Memorial Spring Shadows Glen, had already been diagnosed with serious mental illness and that the treatment they received was appropriate. On the stand for several days, however, was a young woman who did not have any previous diagnosis of mental illness. In 1992, Karen G. (now 19-years-old) was admitted to Spring Shadows Glen Hospital just before her 13th birthday to protect her from the cult. A physical examination when G. was admitted showed no evidence of rape or drugs, but within weeks of admission, she began to recall sexual abuse by cult members, including her step-father who was identified as a high satanic priest. She came to believe she had been in the hands of the cult since infancy and had suffered torture in cages and decompression chambers and that she had had mental programming through electroshock. The prosecution played many tapes of therapy sessions to show the pressure and suggestion of G.’s therapy.

G. was released from the hospital after her father, L.T. Abney cut off payment for insurance coverage. The insurance had paid $679,000 for the treatment of G., her mother Lucy Abney and her sister, Catherine S.. When G. was released she was diagnosed with polyfragmented multiple personalities and her prognosis was listed as grim. But while G. had been in the hospital she had received good grades on her schoolwork and nurses described her as well-behaved. G. is currently a missionary student.

G. testified that she wonders why therapists were not more skeptical of her cult stories. She said "It is evident that over a long period of time that they (therapists) never thought it was a lie... they never confronted me." G. acknowledged that she inventented some of the cult stories and that she embellished other stories she had heard from her mother and sister. She said that the therapists used bad judgment in believing her fantastic stories.

Peterson defense attorney Rusty Hardin suggested that G. and her family may have embellished their accusations in order to strengthen a civil lawsuit that they had brought against Spring Shadows Glen. The suit was settled out-of-court. Hardin asked G. about a deposition that she had given in that civil case in May of 1994 in which she had testified that she had "no problems with treatment" at the hospital. G. said that her conflicting testimony was due to confusion and to subsequent reassessment of her treatment.

Both Hardin and Davis’s defense attorney David Gerger attempted to defuse the claims of the prosecution that the therapy G. received pressured her to come up with memories. Gerger referred to one taped session in which Davis had warned G. to be truthful in reporting her memories.

Prosecutor Larry Eastepp argued that the therapy sessions were very suggestive and mentioned one in which Sylvia Davis discussed cult members in black robes prior to G. having described what they were wearing.

This summary is based on a Houston Chronicle article by Mark Smith, "Teen closes testimony about cult memories without laying blame," 11/5/98.

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