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USA v. Peterson, et al. Trial, Week 6

Monday, October 12, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 15 of trial - Defense introduces insurance-company evaluation

The federal criminal trial against five workers at the former Spring Shadows Glen private mental hospital for insurance fraud resumed Monday. Psychologist Judith Peterson, psychiatrists Gloria Keraga and Richard Seward, therapist Sylvia Davis and hospital administrator George Jerry Mueck have been accused of convincing patients that their multiple personality disorder was the result of abuse by a satanic cult in order to keep patients in the hospital and collect insurance payments. This is the sixth week and 15th day of the trial.

The defense produced records on Monday that showed that an insurance company therapist agreed with the hospital diagnosis that Mary Shanley had multiple personality disorder. Shanley, a former patient at Spring Shadows Glen, is a key prosecution witness and has testified that she blames Spring Shadows Glen for suggesting and encouraging beliefs that she now knows are not true. This was her fourth day of cross-examination. The insurance records were introduced by Dan Cogdell, Keraga’s defense attorney.

The document that was introduced was an evaluation of Mary Shanley made by the insurance company in October 1991 after she had been at Spring Shadows Glen for 4 1/2 months. The insurance therapist found that Shanley did suffer from multiple personality disorder and this conflicted with Shanley’s earlier testimony that she did not have this disease. Shanley said that she did not believe that the insurance company therapist conspired with the therapists at the hospital to misdiagnose.

Shanley agreed that she was mentally ill when she was at the hospital but stated that she created alter personalities when she was under hypnosis in order to please her therapists. She blames the therapy she received for ending her marriage and career and for making her believe she had abused her own son when she was part of a cult.

"The process of therapy made me come to believe that I had abused my son.... I wouldn’t have come to believe that if I hadn’t been treated by them."

The defense has argued that the hospital provided appropriate treatment for patients who had already been diagnosed with serious mental illness before they arrived at Spring Shadows Glen. Peterson’s defense attorney has said that medical records showed that the hospital staff and even Shanley herself believed that she was a danger to herself and others, explaining why the hospital placed her one-on-one with hospital staff.

Shanley said that there was another explanation. She testified that a psychiatrist who is not on trial told her that the insurance company would not pay for high-risk inpatient care unless she was under suicide watch.

This report is based on a Houston Chronicle article by Mark Smith, "Insurance psychiatrist’s opinion cited: Documents introduced at fraud trial" 10/12/98.

Monday, October 12, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 15 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.

The day begins at 8:15. Rusty Harden continues to cross examine Mary Shanley about her alters. He begins with the date, June 12, 1991. Shanley was admitted to Spring Shadows Glen May 27.1991.

HARDEN: When did Sofia appear? What characters did she have?

Shanley replied that Sofia was an adult. Then Harden asked how many alters Mary had when she arrived at Spring Shadows Glen. When Shanley said she didn’t remember, Harden asks if maybe it was 8 or 10. He asks how many were adults and how many were children? Shanley replied that she didn’t know.

HARDIN: How many alters at Rush hospital?

SHANLEY: I don’t know how many. I made index cards. You get rid of some. I didn’t have any alters, but I did believe that I had.

HARDIN: Describe the alters you think you had. Marybeth was one you had, and Neal.

SHANLEY replied that Marybeth was a child, and that Neal represented another childlike character. Shanley said she was told by the therapists to have roles, mothers, sisters, wife. She said they encouraged her to develop alters. She said that when the alters came out, the therapists would tell her who they were.

HARDIN: Mary Shanley had come to Spring Shadows Glen with memories.

HARDIN then began to use Shanley’s art work to structure the interrogation. He had a stack of pictures that Shanley had done while she was in art therapy. Each picture was numbered, titled, and signed. Hardin would show Shanley the picture first and asked if she remember it, how long it took to make, what the title meant. Then Hardin placed the picture on a flip chart so that the jury could see it. He used more than 12 drawings. There were at least 65 because they were numbered and #65 was shown.

HARDIN said that some of the drawings look like they were done by a child, and others look as if an adult were the artist. In another picture there was a bridge falling down . Mary explained that it represented the Long children. Those were children in her family. She added that there were no adult alters before she got to Spring Shadows Glen.

After showing another picture, Hardin said, "You felt that the therapists wanted to know more about the cult? that the therapists were too concerned about saving Ryan? You complained that you didn’t have information about Ryan."

MARY replied, "I had no information about Ryan."

On August 23,1991 Mary painted three pictures. One with clouds, a rainbow, and a field of flowers. When asked what was the significance of the pictures, Mary replied that she was always given an assignment for art. This day the assignment was to paint something that had no cult significance. She couldn’t think of anything so the psychiatric technician told her to paint the sky. She said it was a beautiful day, that there was nothing significant.

HARDIN: You were not under hypnosis?

MARY: I don’t always know if I’m hypnotized.

HARDIN then shows her a picture with robots. He asks her about Robots.

MARY said that this picture was done after an abreaction session in which the therapists had discovered Mary had a system of robots. The robots had children inside of them. She said the robots represented automatic behavior.

HARDIN changed the subject and asked Mary if therapy at Rush was the same as Spring Shadows Glen. Mary answered that Rush had no art therapist.

The next picture was signed with different handwriting. Hardin asked if she had different handwriting? Mary explained that when she was writing in her journal she would put herself into a trance and her writing might change. She printed, used cursive, or the childlike printing. She said that the therapists would say, "Put Mary away and see what you can come up with."

A picture Mary drew around Halloween showed child with her head cut off. The head was on a pole.

HARDIN: Do you think it is possible that when you see a picture of a child with her head cut off it would concern a therapist?

HARDIN showed a picture that represented a cult ritual. He showed another picture that had the title, "Robots Don’t Bleed" drawn by Rosemary’s daughter.

HARDIN: How did you come up with that -- it wasn’t therapy?

MANY: No, The therapy was in a closed unit. There was no way to check reality.

HARDIN: You said that your memories were implanted?

PROSECUTOR EASTEPP jumped up and retorted, "You didn’t get that in my deposition."

HARDEN: On February 2,1991 you were released from Rush Hospital. You went home and were there for four months. What was it like for you?

MARY said that it was rough. She had to get out and do things and was afraid that the cult would get her. She was still depressed. These issues had not been addressed. She went to the hospital for depression.

HARDIN speeds up his questioning.

Are you blaming others for you MPD? (Mary, :"Yes")
Do you believe that Joe believed in the cult? (Mary , "Yes")
Do you remember cutting yourself with glass at home? (Mary, "No, I cut myself at Spring Shadows Glen.")
Did you ask to be put into restraints to protect yourself? (Mary said, "It’s possible.")
Why did you come to Spring Shadows Glen? ( Mary says that Roberta Sachs was going to report her to CPS if she didn’t seek treatment.)

HARDIN asked Mary if she had ever told anybody else about this last question . Mary replied that she had told everybody. She said that Dr Sachs said that Shanley should be reprogrammed by a friend of hers, Dr. Judith Peterson. Joe told Mary he would tell her the day they were going to Houston, because they were afraid that the cult might find out through Mary if Mary knew ahead of time.

HARDIN: Isn’t it true that Joe made the decision to put Ryan in the hospital? What blame are you putting on Dr. Peterson?

MARY: The decision was made based upon Dr. Peterson’s misdiagnosis. Joe didn’t have to put Ryan in the hospital. Ryan did not have MPD. He would have gone back to school.

HARDIN: Wasn’t Dr. Peterson’s opinion a second opinion? Didn’t Dr. Sheldon say to leave him alone?

MARY: Yes, he said that Ryan was a normal little boy.

HARDEN introduces new evidence, Peterson’s summary of nurses charting. Eastepp says he has no way to verify it. It is accepted.

HARDIN: Do you remember that Sundays were hard for you? This is when cult abuse occurs. You believed this when you came to Spring Shadows Glen. You informed Dr. Raymond that you had a number of alters?

MARY: Yes.

HARDIN displays a report of a psychiatric technician dated 6/9/91 and asked Mary if she recalled saying that Ryan had to have alters? He said, "You were actually thinking that you had MPD."

SHANLEY explained that her worst fear was that Ryan’s treatment was so bad that he would use dissociation. She said, "Peterson told me I had MPD."

HARDIN displays the records of the group process sessions to show that Mary had said that there were three Marys; that she was angry and hostile in a group session; that she cleaned out the refrigerator, and straightened her personal things showing compulsive behavior.

MARY explained that she knew where the refrigerator entry came from. She said she kept much of her own food in the refrigerator and that it was filled with old moldy food. She said she cleaned it out, and then told the staff that this was their responsibility. She said that she wasn’t compulsive.

HARDIN, using medical records, asked Mary if she was aware that Dr. Raymond thought she was suicidal? He said, "Your husband a year and a half before this thought you were suicidal."

SHANLEY replied that she didn’t know what Joe was basing this on, and that she was not suicidal. She said , "I have never thought I was a danger to myself."

ARDIN again using medical records, does a series of questions about restraints. He asked if Mary remembered that she requested that she be put in restraints to protect herself; if she remembered requesting to be put in restraints to protect others.

MARY: Sometimes. Dr. Raymond told me in order for me to continue in the high risk unit I would have be restrained.

3:25PM Harden relinquishes the stand. Chris Blood, Richard Seward’s lawyer, had no questions, Larry Finder, Jerry Mueck’s lawyer had no questions. Dan Cogdell, Gloria Keraga’s lawyer begins the interrogation.

DAN COGDELL: I am going to try to pull this together. Would you agree with me that when you went to Spring Shadows Glen you were a very ill women? You were a believer in cults? You were a victim of cult abuse? You believed in terrible abuse by your mother? You believed that you had MD before you came to Spring Shadows Glen ? You believed all these things before you got there.

SHANLEY answered yes to each of the questions as Cogdell went along. At the end of the list, which was given very rapidly, Shanley said quietly, "I did have a mental illness."

COGDELL: You would disagree that there was nothing wrong with you when you got to Spring Shadows Glen?


COGDELL: You spent two and one half years at SSG. You received various therapies: art, integration set, group, abreaction, medication, and journaling. Do you agree with me that you had a lot of therapy.


COGDELL: By the time you left Spring Shadows Glen were you beginning to realize the difference between real and unreal?

COGDELL : You have said that you should have had a second opinion. What is a second opinion? You had many doctors at Spring Shadows Glen.

Dan Cogdell immediately presents a letter from Dr. Harvey Rosenstalk who was an outside doctor from Shanley’s insurance company. According to Cogdell this doctor was sent out to Spring Shadows Glen to make sure the care was proper. Mary had been there for six months. Cogdell puts Exhibit 657 into evidence.

COGDELL: You had the opportunity to share, if you wished, your care, and observations.

MARY said that they were never alone. "I believed that I was hypnotized."

COGDELL: You were hypnotized? Was there anything in the letter that suggests you were hypnotized? Was there anything in the letter that said you were under hypnosis?

MARY said that there was nothing that she could see. Mary was with Peterson right before she was to meet the doctor.

COGDELL projects the letter from Dr. Rosenstalk on the screen for the jury to see. Cogdell reads the letter because the projection wasn’t clear. The letter stated that the patient’s appearance was "flawed" by a scar on her neck. She had 30 adult parts. She was abused by her mother. The patient describes suicidal and homicidal tendencies.

SHANLEY: I was not suicidal.

COGDELL: Was it your position that you were not suicidal -- your position a little bit before 5, that you were not suicidal? Were you not testifying that you were getting treatment for alters?

MARY: Yes.

Mary said that her memory of this session with Dr. Rosenstalk was that it didn’t last long, and all they talked about was the basketball team at Notre Dame. She said, "I don’t know. I can’t deny it"

COGDELL : Did they go over this letter with you?


COGDELL continues reading from the document. He notes that Dr. Rosenstalk talked about medication and had seen Mary’s medical records. Mary had been taking Inderal, which was designed to keep patients from switching. Prozac 20mg, they withdrew the Inderal. Mary was taking Ativan. In conclusion Rosenstalk said you were on mental medication. "From your description you were heavily drugged. Did you ever say to this doctor that you wanted to get out of here?"

MARY said that she didn’t remember.

COGDELL asks Shanley to find p.3 where Rosenstalk listed what they talked about. "Does it say that you talked about date rape which is a subject of pain?"

MARY finds the place in the document.

COGDELL continues reading from the Rosenstalk’s notes: the patient has multiple personalities, is highly fragmented, atypical depression, panic attacks, and possible pseudo seizures. He notes that Dr. Harvey Rosenstalk said, " I feel the therapy is progressing and. the treatment plan is logical. The patient is dangerous to self and to others."

COGDELL enters a new exhibit, #657. He gives Shanley a copy. The judge calls it a day.

Court dismissed.

Tuesday, October 13, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 16 of trial - Shanley testimony concludes

On Tuesday Mary Shanley concluded 11 days on the witness stand in the federal criminal trial against five workers at the former Spring Shadows Glen private mental hospital for insurance fraud. U.S. district Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. said that in his 37 years as a lawyer and jurist, this was the longest he had seen one person testify.

Psychologist Judith Peterson, psychiatrists Gloria Keraga and Richard Seward, therapist Sylvia Davis and hospital administrator George Jerry Mueck have been accused of convincing patients that their multiple personality disorder was the result of abuse by a satanic cult in order to keep patients in the hospital and collect insurance payments. Spring Shadows Glen was sold and is now Memorial Spring Shadows Glen.

During her time on the stand, Shanley has testified that she was encouraged to embellish memories that she was a member of a satanic cult, that she had multiple personality disorder and that she abused her own son who is now 17 years old and estranged from her. On Tuesday, she said that psychologist Judith Peterson spit in her face during one therapy session. Shanley said that Peterson did it to show that she was not afraid of one of Shanley’s "God" alters that was presenting itself at the time.

David Gerger, defense attorney for Sylvia Davis, proposed that the tapes of one particular therapy session that had been heard by the jury earlier showed that Ms. Davis was pleasant and nurturing in the session. Shanley countered that although Davis could be nice, she had also told Shanley that she would be arrested for child abuse if she returned to Illinois.

Shanley, a former Illinois school teacher, had first entered therapy in Illinois and had come to believe she was part of a cult that practices cannibalism and murder before she entered Spring Shadows Glen. She and her son Ryan, then 9, were sent to Spring Shadows Glen in 1991 to be deprogrammed from the cult by Judith Peterson who was supposed to be an expert in that. Ryan was sent back to Illinois after a few weeks, but Mary Shanley remained there for 25 months. During that time Shanley came to believe that she had abused her own son and she was reported to the Illinois authorities. Her name was put on a list of abusers but it was recently removed.

After Shanley’s cross-examination concluded, a former Spring Shadows nurse testified. Sally McDonald, who now lives in Australia, testified that a mentally healthy 13-year-old girl named Karen G. was admitted to Spring Shadows Glen because it was feared that she would be initiated into the cult on her 13th birthday. Her doctor was defendant Richard Seward. McDonald, who was a former nurse manager, said that she disputed the admission.

"To be admitted to a psychiatric hospital you need to be a danger to yourself and others," said McDonald.

This is the sixth week of the trial and the 16th day of testimony. Testimony is expected to continue on Wednesday, October 14, 1998.

This report is based on a Houston Chronicle article by Mark Smith, "Patient’s testimony wraps up: Psychologist spit on her, jurors told" 10/13/98.

[Sally McDonald, R.N. was a psychiatric nurse at Spring Shadows Glen Hospital. She now lives in Australia, where she is a research nurse for a hospital. After graduating from high school in Dallas, Ms. McDonald started college work at Southern Methodist University but did not complete college. Instead she started her nurse’s training at Houston Community College, completing the training and becoming a licensed RN in Texas in 1985. She started working at SSG in 1987 and remained until 1994. She was the unit manager for the adolescent unit and there were 26 people working under her. Ms. McDonald is the author of an article about her experiences in the dissociative unit of the hospital: "An Ethical Dilemma: Risk versus Responsibility," Journal of Psychosocial Nursing Vol. 32, pp. 19-25 (1994).]

Karen G. was the daughter of Lucy Abney, who was treated by defendant Peterson and who eventually filed a complaint against her. The Abney family initiated a lawsuit in 1993, which went to mediation in 1995 and was settled on undisclosed terms.]

Tuesday, October 13, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 16 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.

Shanley is on stand for the last day of her testimony. She chats with the court reporter as everyone waits for the court session to start. There is an announcement that because of a family emergency defense attorney Dan Cogdell would be late. Dan Cogdell’s associate was brought in to represent Dr. Gloria Keraga for the morning session. The court session started one hour late and the attorney for Syliva Davis, David Gerger, started his questioning of Mary Shanley.

David Gerger calls attention to Shanley’s educational background as a college graduate with a greater than average IQ. He notes that she was able to go to Chicago and do research and that she had read books on multiplicity.

Dr. Rosenstadt’s (sp?) Insurance Company Evaluations

GERGER begins by questioning Shanley about Dr. Rosenstadt’s evaluation that was done on October 9, 1991. The 6 page evaluation had been introduced into evidence on Monday (yesterday).

GERGER: (Quoting from the report) Interview [with patient] was informative. Patient came from Chicago to Spring Shadows Glen (SSG).

SHANLEY: I don’t remember. I came to SSG to work on deprogramming.

GERGER reviews with Shanley the information in the 3rd paragraph about the incident where she was struck by an irate parent.

SHANLEY: That information could have come from Dr. Peterson.

GERGER then reviews a second report from Dr. Rosenstadt reviewing his October 19, 1991 visit. On his second visit Dr. Rosenstadt reviewed Mary Shanley’s chart with a nursing supervisor. Dr. Raymond and Dr. Peterson were not available. He also spoke with Carol Smith and Smith indicated that Shanley had made progress to integrate a number of personalities. The nurse checked weight to be 107.

SHANLEY: According to records.

GERGER continues noting that the report says Shanley weighed 103 lbs and went up to 107.

SHANLEY: That’s what it says in the record.

GERGER: Dr. Rosenstadt was evaluating treatment and making sure that you were getting active treatment. He was aware of the abreaction sessions, one-to-one, was aware that you were in restraints - all was reported back to insurance.

GERGER: (reading from the report) Overall conclusions: It is my impression that patient [suffers from] depression and MPD and one-to-one is needed for security.

GERGER continued to read about how Shanley exhibited anger and violent behavior by scratching and choking self.

SHANLEY: My condition deteriorated because of what I had come to believe... Anger was a learned and expected behavior.

Light bulb incident

September 27, 1991 Shanley had broken a long florescent light bulb taken from the light fixture in her room. She broke the light bulb by placing it space between the door and frame on hinge side of her closet door. She then used the door to break the bulb. She indicated that she had put the broken pieces in her closet that night.

NURSE note: Glass found in closet and kleenex box.

SHANLEY: I don’t remember that. (referring to kleenex box)

DR. RAYMOND note: On October 3, 1991 - cleaning neck wound - scratch on neck.

DR. ROSENSTADT note: flawed by abrasions about the left jugular area.

GERGER: How many abrasions were there?

SHANLEY: maybe three

MEDICAL record: In response to alter, patient tried to kill self with broken bulb.

Gerger summary of Shanley’s condition

GERGER: Already had personality states before SSG - at least 4 or 5 personalities would it be fair to say several?


GERGER: Some would be children, some would be dangerous and some would be normal.

GERGER: Believed that she had personality states -- a part to express anger feelings and a part to hold memories of abuse.

SHANLEY: From time to time I would do behavior as one of the personalities -- usually in a therapy session.

SHANLEY: [I would now call them] personality characteristics.

One page summary

A summary of points were put on one page that Shanley was asked to sign. Because of the angle it was not possible to read the points that were written on the flip chart.

SHIRLEY ALBERTSON note: patient remains in restraints - angry switching between alter states.

NOTES: crawled under table at the sound of an ambulance

NOTES: losing time - sometimes one personality acted as a child and [patient] could not remember acting as a child.

GERGER: Personality states were given names - generally proper names like Emma, Alexis, Neil, etc.

SHANLEY: I came to believe. - I believed and reported being abused and acted that way.

GERGER: This happened in Chicago.

SHANLEY: Some of it. Yes.

SHANLEY was then asked to sign the sheet and put in the date.

Build up role of Sylvia Davis

GERGER: You were depressed and had feelings that you were no good.


GERGER: and you had a fear that you would abuse Ryan.

SHANLEY: I was yelling at Ryan out of proportion to what he had done. I did not fear that I would abuse him.

GERGER: Sylvia Davis tried to build you up.

SHANLEY: Sometimes.

GERGER: In group therapy [with Sylvia Davis] you discussed the here and now. You would not try to go back.

SHANLEY: We would discuss memories.

GERGER: Sylvia Davis did group therapy for the hospital. She did individual therapy under Peterson and Associates. [not sure if notes on this are correct.]

GERGER: When did Davis start individual therapy?

SHANLEY: Not at the beginning but close.

SHANLEY: I was seeing her by September.

GERGER: If the evidence in this trial shows that she did not go to work for Peterson and Assoc until 1992 would you believe it?

GERGER: Sylvia Davis is a counsellor - she doesn’t write doctors orders and she didn’t admit you to the hospital.

SHANLEY: Sometimes she [Sylvia Davis] was nice - sometimes she was not nice.

SHANLEY: She said that I cannot ever set foot on Illinois soil.

GERGER: She could not order restraints.

GERGER: She could not do abreaction sessions.

SHANLEY: I never did abreaction sessions without Trish Taylor or Judith Peterson.

GERGER then goes through a series of statements to illustrate how Sylvia Davis would try to build Shanley up when she was expressing negative feelings about herself. When Shanley says that she is ugly - Sylvia Davis says that she is not ugly - she is not ugly at all.

A tape was played that was made after Shanley had scratched her neck with the broken glass from the light bulb. In the tape Sylvia Davis was asking why Shanley had scratched her neck. The tape confirmed that Sylvia Davis had stated that Shanley was not ugly. Davis indicated to Shanley that there was something wrong with her eyes if her eyes told her she was ugly.

SHANLEY: I don’t remember that.

SHANLEY: I do not believe in MPD. I do not believe it is a proper diagnosis.

GERGER: (Makes reference to DSM) Didn’t Dr. Rosenstadt believe that you had MPD?

SHANLEY: He did at the time. I don’t know about now.I believed at the time. I no longer believe.

Morning break

Validity of MPD diagnosis

Gerger describes contents of DSM-III. He tells how experts are called by the American Psychiatric Association to write different sections of the document. Bennett Braun is at the top of the list of experts on MPD.

GERGER: Did you read Putman’s book "Diagnosis and Treatment of Multiple Personality Disorder?"

SHANLEY: I read the book during hospitalization. It was given to me by Dr. Sachs.

GERGER: There are doctors that agree with this diagnosis.

SHANLEY: There is a controversy

GERGER: Your treatment was between 1991 and 1993 and the DSM-III was operative.

GERGER: Did you read textbooks on MPD?


GERGER: Did you read other scholarly books on MPD?


GERGER then went on to ask Shanley about a long list of books and articles on MPD. He then asked her if she had read "Cults that Kill."


Getting a job after therapy

[The questions for the following answers were not recorded]

SHANLEY: I was told that if I set foot in Illinois I would be arrested.

SHANLEY: I was told that if I left therapy I would be arrested.

GERGER: How long were you a teacher?

SHANLEY: Many years.

GERGER: You left SSG in June 1993.

GERGER: On June 7, 1993 do you remember talking to Sylvia Davis about what kind of job you could get?

SHANLEY: I could only get a bad job.

GERGER: Sylvia Davis said that you could get a low level job and work your way up.

SHANLEY then said that no one would hire her because she was uninsurable.

GERGER: Sylvia Davis said that there were jobs you could get like sales jobs.

An audio tape is played from June 7th therapy session Shanley states on the tape that Dr. Sachs wants her to go to prison. Sylvia Davis responds by saying, No she doesn’t.

More discussion about Sylvia Davis building up Shanley

GERGER: Did you ever consider yourself a victim because of abuse by your mother?


GERGER: Did you ever feel like that you abused your son because you were a victim of rape.

SHANLEY: I did not abuse my son.

An audio tape was played and at one point Sylvia Davis could be heard saying "It’s a good time for your spiritual growth to know that God is with you all the way. You are redeemable."

There were other topics discussed on tape about the loss of Shanley’s family. Sylvia Davis tells Shanley, "do more grieving about the loss but you should go on to other relationships."

There is a discussion about getting rid of anger and throwing a ball against the wall.

GERGER talked about how Shanley pulled her hair out, scratched herself and threw a ball against the wall to get rid of anger.

SHANLEY: I never pulled hair out, never yelled and screamed and never threw ball until I was encouraged to do so in therapy.

GERGER: (reading Linda Black Nurse note): Patient extremely agitated - wanted to gouge out eyes and bite herself.

End of Gerger cross-examination.


Dan Cogdell is back after lunch and he resumes his cross examination of Shanley from the previous day.

Opinions and conclusions by others at SSG

COGDELL: You had no complaint against Dr. Fink.

SHANLEY indicated that she did not.

Dan Cogdell used documents to show that when Shanley saw Dr. Fink in Jan 1992 - she had been disabled for one year - he diagnosed her as MPD. Dr. Fink had seen Shanley on several occasions from June 1991 - Jan 1992. When Dr. Fink saw Shanley in Jan 1992 he indicated that she was extremely suicidal and she would be on disability at least one more year. Dr. Fink indicated that Shanley would continue to need monitoring.

SHANLEY: I have not seen these documents before.

Dan Cogdell instructed Shanley to read to herself the 1.5 page [Patient Care Monitoring] document. The document had been signed by several doctors.

COGDELL: Dr. Wallen was not among the doctors that you sued.

SHANLEY: I have no memory of Dr. Wallen.

COGDELL: Dr. Russell?

SHANLEY: I had no complaint during my stay.

SHANLEY: Carol Smith as program director, she did know what was going on and did nothing.

SHANLEY: I don’t know who Maxine Denton is.

Notes in the document: Hospitalized, profoundly abused and multi-fragmented, slow and resistant to treatment, now barriers have been removed patient is more dimensional. Shanley’s signature is on the document.

SHANLEY: This reflected their opinion in 1992.

SHANLEY: I disagreed with some of their conclusions.

COGDELL: Did you discuss your disagreement?

SHANLEY: I don’t remember.

COGDELL: I am down to my last two exhibits.

Patient Care Monitoring Document from Mar 10, 1993. On the second page there were names [who signed the document?] Devila, Dr. Seward, Smith, Russell, Finley, Dr. Sintos, Heap, Dr. Peterson, McAvay, and Maxine Denton.

COGDELL: Fourth line - depressed, ritually abused - cult participant. - Conclusion - patient 90% co-conscious of alters within - while under voluntary restraints she was able to determine what did happen and what did not. Conclusion -- she was getting better.

SHANLEY: I don’t recall seeing this page until now.

There was a long sometimes heated discussion about the Patient Care Monitoring Form. Cogdell attempted to convince Shanley that the front page and the second page had to go together because they had the same date, had page numbers etc..

SHANLEY remained firm that she disagreed with the conclusion that the two pages had to go together.

SHANLEY: Conditions were improving because I got off unit D and this kind of therapy. I do not attribute any of the improvement to the treatment.

At 2:15pm Dan Cogdell completes the questioning for the defense and Prosecutor Eastepp returns for his redirect.

EASTEPP: (In reference to July 13 notes) Finally has been through barrier - brief [grief???] barriers have been removed due to abreaction - finally pulled together therapy - seizures may be from brain damage due to electro-shocks.

EASTEPP: (March 10 version) - After the past 22 months - 90% finally understands the diagnosis and treatment. Loss of her family set Shanley back in treatment - stopped memory processing since August.

SHANLEY: The memory processing did not stop.

EASTEPP: Last time restraints were used - Feb 1993. Were you getting better after the treatment stopped?


EASTEPP: At Forrest Hospital Dr. Coghill performed tests. Were there tests at SSG?


Discussion about report [from Dr. Coghill?]

Diagnosis depression - said that she complained about seizure disorder - compulsive disorder exhibited by - washing hands - polishing shoes and other repetitive things does not suggest compulsive disorder. Her condition is suggestible.

EASTEPP: Was the report discussed at Rush or SSG? (Answer unclear)

EASTEPP: Contrast Rush and SSG.

SHANLEY: At SSG there was abusive treatment and restraints were used.

Levitt Tests at Rush

SHANLEY: I took the test early at Rush.

EASTEPP asked Shanley to describe the tests.

Ink Blot - response not recorded
MMPI - multiple choice personality test
PAT - response not recorded
Draw - Draw a person
Disassociative Experience Test - questionnaire
Word Assoc - response not recorded
Test results [from Levitt?]

SHANLEY: I did not see results.

Eastepp indicated that the results mentioned dismembered bodies and ritual ceremonies involving people in black robes.

EASTEPP: Did you ever see a lot of people in black robes.

SHANLEY: Yes. Lots of times. I am Catholic and priests and nuns all wore black robes.

Eastepp discusses [discharge?] summary from Braun in January 1991 - finds memories by thinking about [her past?] - no new abuse to be addressed.

SHANLEY: By that time there were no new memories coming up - just focusing. I had no memories of my son’s abuse.

EASTEPP: (reading a February 1st treatment team note) sufficiently stabilized enough to be discharged, depressed, confused, has problem being out of hospital. Medication was cut in half. Inderal was cut in half - coping with issues on a personal level - condition: no longer experiencing suicidal or homicidal tendencies.

EASTEPP: You were taking Inderal capsules 60mg, 80mg and 40mg. Why the three capsules?

SHANLEY: It was necessary to take three capsules to get to the level that Dr. Braun prescribed.

EASTEPP (reading from Braun’s notes): ....Family sessions were helpful and therapeutic - what we needed to do. Able to process memories of past abuse. No new memories. Processed all.

EASTEPP: Outpatient therapy with previous therapist at least once a week - you were seeing Dr. Sachs and others. This documented was executed on March 22. Between February 1st and March 22nd did anything change?


It is noted that Dr. Sachs called Shanley in early May to discuss finishing up memories.

SHANLEY: I met with Dr. Hammond and I didn’t know him until the meeting.

EASTEPP: Who was there?

SHANLEY: Joe [Shanley’s husband] was there and Dr. Sachs.

EASTEPP: What was discussed?

SHANLEY: The greek alphabet - I told him the letters of the Greek alphabet, cults, word association, Dr. Greenbaum.

At this point the defense raised an objection to new material being introduced. The objection was sustained and Eastepp moved on.

EASTEPP: How long did you meet with Dr. Hammond?

SHANLEY: About 45 minutes.

EASTEPP: Once you were at SSG what new things came up?

SHANLEY: Cult programming, abuse with Ryan was new, Neo-Nazi, Satan Systems, - not an exhaustive list.

Events around time when Shanley was told that her son had remembered that Shanley had abused him.

EASTEPP: You were received a phone call on October 8th and you were told that Ryan had recovered memories of you abusing him. Can you read your journal entry from that date?

SHANLEY reads a long journal entry about trying to come to terms with her sons memories. She had no memory of her son’s abuse but she didn’t think that he would lie.

EASTEPP: Ryan had told the staff in Chicago that mother had given him electro-shock and he had conscious memories of his father sexually abusing him while his mother watched.

SHANLEY: I have no memory. I cannot believe that I sexually abused Ryan.

Eastepp stated that Shanley’s journal entries were made the day or day after she was told of her son’s memories. At the same time at School district 64 Maggie Corly was authorizing a second opinion regarding Shanley’s treatment.

EASTEPP: Dr. Rosenstadt’s first visit came 6 days after phone call. How did you feel at that time?

SHANLEY: I was still very depressed - the depression never went away throughout hospital stay.

Eastepp Asked Shanley to point out her injuries.

SHANLEY called attention to a burn on her hand that had come while stripping the dining room table and a small almost invisible scar on her neck from scratching her neck with the broken glass.

Eastepp asked Shanley to tell how Peterson had been abusive to her.

SHANLEY: She once spit in my face after a god alter had appeared. She left me in restraints for hours. She told me that I was a murderer.

Eastepp wants to play a tape of another therapy session. The defense strongly objects saying that they had requested that the tape be played earlier and Eastepp had indicated at that time that the transcript was not ready. The defense did not think it should be played now. Judge Werlein overruled the objection and the tape was played. The tape was similar to previous therapy session tapes. It was not possible to follow without transcript.

This was the conclusion of Mary Shanley’s testimony. She is subject to recall and she was reminded that she should not talk to anyone about the case until her after her future testimony is completed. Judge Werlein thanked Shanley for her testimony. The judge indicated that this is the longest he has ever seen one witness testify in all his experience as a judge.

4:17pm -Sally McDonald takes the stand.

Government Attorney Ollison introduces additional evidence related to the testimony of Sally McDonald.

Sally McDonald now lives in Australia where she is a research nurse for a hospital. After graduating from high school in Dallas, she started college work at Southern Methodist University but did not complete college. Instead, she started her nurses training at Houston Community College and completed the training in 1985. She received a post grad in mental health in 1987. She became a licensed RN in Texas in 1985. She started working at SSG in 1987 and she worked there until 1994. She was the unit manager for the adolescent unit and there were 26 people working under her.

McDONALD described the nurse role as an advocate for the patient. McDonald indicated that each unit had competency standards

OLLISON: Who developed standards?

McDONALD: I did.

OLLISON: What is the nurse’s role?

McDONALD: To follow standards - make qualified assessments -

MCDONALD went on to describe what nurses do vs what doctors do.

OLLISON then wanted to ask her questions about the booklet _Standards of Care for Nurses_. The discussion about the booklet was stopped after there were strong objections from the defense.

MCDONALD then said a nurse follows scientific practice, makes data collection and uses her knowledge of assessment. The nurse makes a nurses diagnosis bases on signs and symptoms in response to illness.

In 1991 the Disassociative Disorder Unit was formed. Doctors on the unit included Dr. Kruger, Dr. Raymond and Dr. Curie. In 1991 a position was created for Dr. Judith Peterson who described herself as an expert in satanic ritual abuse.

OLLISON then asked McDonald to identify each of the defendants. She did so. Peterson, Seward and Keraga stood to be identified. Mueck and Davis did not stand.

OLLISON: In 1991 were you aware of the types of patients being treated at SSG?


OLLISON: How did you obtain this knowledge?

McDONALD: I met with other unit managers. Every 5th week I was nursing supervisor and I saw patients that had been diagnosed with DID/MPD.

OLLISON: Did you have adolescent patients in your unit?

McDONALD: Yes. Dr. Wallen was medical director of adolescent unit and Dr. Fink was the medical director of the children’s unit.

OLLISON: What was the age breakdown on these two units.

McDONALD: Adolescent 13-18, Children 4/5-13/ The Adolescent and Children’s unit were separated by a long corridor. Unit D was on the other side of the wall from the children’s unit.

OLLISON: Who admitted patients?

McDONALD: Physicians.

Two admissions

Two sisters were admitted in February 1992. One was 13 - the other 16.

OLLISON: What was the first thing you would do when a patient was admitted?

McDONALD: First I would do a high risk assessment. This would be followed by medical exam and lab work.

OLLISON: What happened when a 16 year old was admitted?

(The two young patients referred to next are daughters of Lucy Abney.)

McDONALD: The mother of the 16 year old was a patient on the DD unit. The daughter was admitted along with her mother on 2/13/92.

OLLISON reads progress note completed by N. Williams: Patient had hospitalizations in 1990-91. Patient stated that things were going on with her mother - 1990 attempted suicide by slashing wrist - patient given suicide protection - all personal belongings

OLLISON: If there was a psychiatric assessment - who developed it?

McDONALD: Psychiatrist - Dr. Seward.

OLLISON then reads from the Psychiatric Assessment that was prepared by Dr. Seward. - has been under treatment for 16 months [at another hospital] - mother and 16 year old are both members of a satanic cult. Preliminary treatment plan - placed in a safe place - further evaluation by Judith Peterson, expert in field.

Admission of 13 year old was made on her birthday 2/18/92. She came to the hospital with her step father.

OLLISON reads the admission assessment done by McKenna that was signed by a technician and 13 year old. [The reason for patient and tech signatures was to acknowledge personal belongings taken by staff at time of admission.]

Page 2 of the admission assessment included the patient’s self assessment. The patient noted that the doctor thought it was safer in the hospital - the doctor thought she had been abused. She didn’t remember any of it. When patient was asked what she hoped to gain from the admission, she answered "I’m not sure."

Ollison reads next page of admission assessment. Patient denies suicide ideation.

McDONALD: This was the high risk assessment form. The nurse always completes the form. The nurse is the patient’s advocate.

OLLISON reads last page progress report. Date of admission 2/18/92 Nurse Laura McKinna - 13 year old patient walked on unit with her father. Father requested limited access.

OLLISON reads the psychiatric assessment of Dr. Seward done on 2/26/92. Chief complaint is the danger to patient associated with 13th birthday and cult.

OLLISON: Were you concerned about the 13 year old.

McDONALD: I was concerned about both of them. The hospital is not a place to protect someone.

OLLISON reads psycho-social history. Admission was primarily a safety concern.

McDONALD: A therapist usually does this. The 13 year old was a bright, articulate, well-adjusted child... I reported my concerns to the nursing supervisor Mary Ann Balkin.

Both girls stayed in the hospital.

End of the day.

Wednesday, October 14, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 17 of trial - McDonald testimony

Sally McDonald, a psychiatric nurse at the former Spring Shadows Glen hospital, continued her testimony in the federal criminal fraud trial against psychologist Judith Peterson, psychiatrists Gloria Keraga and Richard Seward, therapist Sylvia Davis and hospital administrator George Jerry Mueck who have been accused of convincing patients that their multiple personality disorder was the result of abuse by a satanic cult in order to keep them in the hospital and collect insurance payments. Spring Shadows Glen was sold and is now Memorial Spring Shadows Glen. The trial is in its sixth week and this was the 17th day of testimony.

McDonald testified that one teen-age girl was told by her treating physician to have a "safe temper tantrum" in order for it to show upon her chart before an insurance review. She said that Richard Seward told the staff that "the insurance company reviewer was coming and there must be something in the chart to keep her (the patient) in the hospital."

The prosecution displayed charts with nurses’ notes and charts with therapists’ notes about the same patient and showed how they differed. The comments of nurses indicated that teen-age patients behaved normally while the comments of therapists indicated that they were violent and showing cult-related behavior.

McDonald said that much of the therapy in the dissociative disorders unit headed by Judith Peterson at Spring Shadows Glen focused on fear of a powerful, satanic cult. She testified that when 13-year-old Karen G. (daughter of Lucy Abney who was also a patient in the hospital) followed hospital rules and displayed good behavior after weeks of treatment, the therapist said that the cult had programmed her to "remain compliant and cooperative" in order to hide her cult involvement.

McDonald testified that several teen-age patients, including G., who were treated for multiple personality disorder and cult abuse at the hospital in 1992, were told that they would be sent out of the hospital if they did not show evidence of abuse and alternate personalities. She said that the teen-agers became afraid of being discharged because they believed that a cult would hurt them if they were out of the hospital.

"These kids were under intense pressure to come up with alters. If they didn’t come up with alters they would be put on restrictions, and if they did come up with an alter they would be put on restrictions." The teen-agers were not allowed to make phone calls, receive mail, go to the cafeteria, or exercise in the gymnasium or swimming pool McDonald testified. McDonald said these restrictions violated the Texas Mental Health Department standards.

McDonald described abreactive therapy sessions in which patients were encouraged to work through their alters while under hypnosis. She said she objected to these sessions. In one session, she said, there were four adults holding down Kristi Carl, a 13-year-old patient whose mother was also a patient in the hospital. McDonald said that she feared that Carl might have a neck injury from the treatment but that Peterson told her that Carl might bite herself if she was not in a neck hold.

McDonald testified that Carl’s therapy sessions were highly suggestive. She said that in one session in June 1992 she saw Peterson and an associate sitting on the floor with Kristi Carl. She said that when Peterson whispered questions to Carl that the answers were given by the associate, not Carl. It was the associate who described a rape saying "The men are coming to rape me. They are in a circle and coming to rape me now." McDonald said that she asked why Carl was not answering and was told that Carl had "mute alters."

McDonald complained to her nursing supervisor and to hospital administrator Mueck about the "leading and coercive nature of therapy," she said, but there were no charges. She said other nurses were also concerned about the therapy and that on August 4, 1992 fourteen nurses had a meeting with Mueck, but again, no charges were brought. But complaints from the nurses did result in a state investigation and after that the hospital enacted a policy on the use of restraints.

McDonald testified that the complaints from the nurses resulted in strained relationships with Peterson, Seward and Keraga. She said that Peterson threatened to sue some of the nurses for slander. According to McDonald, Peterson "said she was the expert in the field and only she could help these patients." McDonald said that Peterson identified 30 hospital staffers who were "unsafe workers" because they were supposed to be involved in the cult.

McDonald testified that the hospital had two books that were accessible to four teen-agers who exhibited multiple personality disorder. She said the books reported electro-shock, torture in lobster cages and rape by men in black robes, the same notions that the teen-agers claimed came to them in memories.

This report is based on a Houston Chronicle article by Mark Smith, "Nurses’ notes didn’t always match the charts, court told: Psychiatric therapy centered on fear of cults, witness says" 10/14/98.

[Sally McDonald, R.N. was a psychiatric nurse at Spring Shadows Glen Hospital. She now lives in Australia, where she is a research nurse for a hospital. After graduating from high school in Dallas, Ms. McDonald started college work at Southern Methodist University but did not complete college. Instead she started her nurse’s training at Houston Community College, completing the training and becoming a licensed RN in Texas in 1985. She started working at SSG in 1987 and remained until 1994. She was the unit manager for the adolescent unit and there were 26 people working under her. Ms. McDonald is the author of an article about her experiences in the dissociative unit of the hospital: "An Ethical Dilemma: Risk versus Responsibility," Journal of Psychosocial Nursing Vol. 32, pp. 19-25 (1994).]

Wednesday, October 14, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 17 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.

Government Attorney Quincy Ollison questions Sally McDonald

Sally McDonald was the nurse in charge of the Adolescent Unit of Spring Shadow Glen. She was an experienced psychiatric nurse. In this court session the records of four patients are discussed. The patients were: Karen G. and Katherine S., daughters of Lucy Abney, a patient in the MPD unit. Brian (BJ) Carl and Kristi Carl the children of Lynn Carl, a patient in the MPD Unit of Spring Shadows Glen (SSG). The time frame is February 1992 to November 1992.

The records of the nurses charts were compared to the records of the therapists, Judith Peterson, Richard Seward, Gloria Keraga, and Sylvia Davis. The records of the patients written on the same day by the nurse and by the therapist were completely different. Much of the time in this court sessions was comparing these records. The admission records were first to be compared.

February 18, 1992 Karen G. was admitted to Spring Shadows Glen, She was to have no phone calls and could make no calls. No eye contact with Karen, except by Peterson. Karen was on 24 hour restriction to the central lobby where there are always people and the lights are never turned off. She was on suicide protection which meant that she had to be with a member of nursing staff at all times. Peterson and Keraga ordered this restriction. McDonald said, "To assess a patient as suicidal is very serious." Defense lawyers Blood, Cogdell, and Gerger all objected. In Karen’s medical record 2/28/92 Dr Fink showed that there was no sign of sexual abuse.

Brian Carl was admitted June 8, 1992. In the admission record when asked why he came to SSG, Brian said "I was told that I would self destruct by my 16th birthday." He expected that the hospital would keep him from doing it. The people closest to him were his father and sister. He loves baseball and his girl friend. He isn’t sexually active . When asked what others like about him , he answers that he is funny. Nurse Thomas writes, "He does not appear to be a high risk."

McDonald said he was a high functioning kid, loves his choir, girl friend, gets good grades. He was not on drugs and he was healthy. He was placed on the same restrictions as Karen because he was a "high risk" patient. Cogdell objects saying that McDonald should stick to yes and no.

Psychiatric assessment by Dr Keraga which McDonald reads says that Brian is on a self destructive path. He stole a van (which was his father’s) and drove it , putting others in danger. "He was severely ill. Has been severely abused by cults." He had no hallucinations. He should attend art therapy, individual, group, recognition, and sand therapy.

In a nurse’s progress note 6/9/92 Kristi Carl is a 13 year old white female with MPD. She has 2 alters, and others that she is not aware of. She has been hospitalized for one year. She must be monitored every 15 minutes. She met her peers.

Peterson’s therapy record 6/15/92 states that Kristi can’t see her mother or brother. Parts inside are dangerous. Ideomotor hypnosis is used in which the patient moves one finger to show she is safe and another one to show she isn’t.

Keraga’s record noted that Kristi has seizure in which she remembered that her mother said she will destruct. Kristi is dangerous to self and to others. "Catastrophic satanic abuse. Kristi is programmed to succeed and her brother is programmed to fail." Treatment plan - initial therapy with Peterson, art therapy.

McDonald said that Kristi was a pretty, bright and well functioning child. 4 defense lawyers object. (Since there are some 8+ lawyers this looks like they are in an aerobic class)

The nurses read the Patients’ Bill of Rights to the patients upon admission. Many of these rights were violated at SSG according to McDonald. The patient should be in the least restrictive environment, should have a right to uncensored mail, a right to a phone, etc. Twenty-two rights were spelled out. McDonald read these rights to Katherine S. when she was admitted. Both Katherine and her mother, Lucy Abney signed that they had received this document. Katherine was assigned to the most restricted environment.

Observations made by McDonald: Patients were kept away from siblings. They couldn’t see their mothers, They couldn’t go outside. They were threatened to come up with alters or be in restraints. There were 11 objections from Cogdell, Blood, Gerber, and Hardin in 10 minutes.

US Attorney Ollison asked McDonald if she had any specific knowledge?

McDonald said that she witnessed Dr. Peterson tell Kristi Carl that her mother did not love her. She also witnessed Dr. Seward say , "The insurance investigator is coming and I don’t know what I am going to do with you."

McDonald said that restraints were used with the children. The therapy sessions were turned into restraint sessions. Sally McDonald interrupted a therapy session when she heard the patient scream. Peterson was holding her neck. McDonald told Peterson to let go of her neck. Peterson did and Peterson said she was holding the patient so she would not bite herself. McDonald called a member of the staff who had special training in holding a patient without hurting the patient, Kristi was the patient.

Lawyers objected and said that McDonald must have a point of time.

McDonald explains charting. The nurses write about each patient at the end of every shift and after each therapy session. McDonald said there was a problem with the nurses’ charting. Ollison asks McDonald for the period of time. The time was between June 1992 and November 1992. The nurses’ charted one thing and the doctors another. For example the progress note 6/7/92 written by Dr. Peterson said "Kristi wants to bite self." On the same day the entry by a nurse said that the patient was not suicidal, she loves her dog, and wants to go to college.

McDonald continues after a break. The nurses were charting calm -- the therapists violent. When violent behavior is charted the restrictions were kept on the patients. Many restrictions were kept when not necessary.

Progress note 7/23/92 Peterson: "Patient wants to scratch self, calmed down and went back inside. Patient needs to continue restrictions." At 9:30 the nurse notes that the patient is behaving appropriately. Interacts with peers. No anxious expression noted. The patient was Kristi Carl. Many examples are given.

McDonald shared this disparity between the nurses observations and the therapists with Dr. Seward. The nurses were not observing violent or suicidal behavior that the therapists were seeing. Dr. Peterson wanted to give the nurses training in how to chart. McDonald said that the nurses could chart only their own observations. McDonald shared this concern with Mary Anne Blasner(?) the head nurse and with Jerry Mueck on August 14, 1992. This was a great concern with the nurses because they could only chart what they had seen. This was according to the American Nurses Association, and also by Texas law. Cogdell objects. McDonald wanted to read from the American Nurses Association guide lines, but there was another objection, not relevant.

Ollison asked McDonald if there had been any allegations of potential crimes during crimes in the patients’ records which were not proven.

McDonald answered there were terrible crimes in the patients’ records which were not proven.

Davis’ notes that Karen G. reported being sexually assaulted by two men dressed in black, while she was on a table being shocked by her mother. She was given assurances that it wasn’t her fault and that we would protect her. Patient was to have an exam by physician for pregnancies and sexual trauma.

McDonald witnessed a therapy session for Kristi Carl. Patricia Taylor and Peterson were conducting the session. Peterson would quietly ask Kristi a question, and Taylor would describe some torture or rape. At the end Kristi was asked about this. The words came from Taylor. Kristi was hypnotized. The patient had said nothing. When McDonald asked Peterson if she was not leading the patient, Peterson said that these particular alters needed help.

Sally McDonald went to the nursing supervisor and to Jerry Mueck. She didn’t go to the Medical Director because it was difficult to ask him anything. The environment was so hostile.

McDonald observed four therapy sessions. One of the sessions was with Karen G. and Dr. Seward. The patient was concerned about her safety. Seward was concerned about CPS, He said that if Karen and Katherine didn’t start working he would send them home. He said the insurance company would not let them stay. Seward was provoking violent behavior.

George Wallace, a psych tech, noted in Karen’s record that she said, "My doctor wants me to act out my anger at my mom for what she did to me." She needed to do that because the insurance inspectors were coming to review her charts. McDonald was concerned because all of the patients had to come up with cult stories. When they didn’t come up with a violent alter the restrictions would stay in effect. Mc Donald said she always mentioned these concerns at staffing meeting. There were books that would help them, McDonald remembered the name of one, Ritualistic Satanic Abuse.

The relationship between the nursing staff and the therapists continued to deteriorate. Dr Peterson was hostile and wrote letters to Mueck threatening to sue the nurses for libel . "She was the expert in the field and she could help the patient." Dr Seward reported the nurses for not charting correctly or for questioning his work. Some of the staff members were accused of being in the cult.


As problems escalated during the period 6/92 to 11/92 McDonald took these problems to the director of nursing, the manager of children’s unit, the adolescent unit, Jerry Mueck. US Attorney Ollison asked her why she didn’t go to Medicate Director Dr. Deveta. One of the lawyers objected, and it was sustained. McDonald did go to him on two occasions. One was concerning a 9 point restraint for Karen G. in a scheduled abreaction session. Seward signed a note to discontinue voluntary restraints.

Ollison asked, "If that restraint had occurred would it have put your license in jeopardy?" McDonald said "Yes". Seward met McDonald in the lobby and yelled at her saying that she had sabotaged his therapy.

Sally McDonald disagreed with Seward again when he was going to transfer Katherine S. to the adult unit. It was a policy of the hospital not to mix adults and adolescents. She got no satisfaction, then went to both medical directors and to Jerry Mueck. Mueck compared this to open heart surgery. Mueck got angry. Nothing happened.

August 4 there was a meeting between the nurses who had contact with adolescents and Jerry Mueck. The nurses had a list of concerns: 1. Nurses were not considered a part of the team, 2. Nurses’ reports were not considered, 3. Nurses were called "these alters" 4. Nurses would get written up if they disagreed with Seward, 5. Adolescents in the Adult Unit. Mueck said that they were moved because MPD disturbed the other patients. Mueck suggested that a committee should be set up to improve patient care. No committee was ever set up.

Peterson notes : Therapy session with Kristi Carl. "Patient has hands over her face and mouth. She is not able to do any therapy. She has abused herself both vaginally and rectally. Patient needs a physical exam to see if she has hurt herself. Patient remains mute during the therapy."

A physical was scheduled for Kristi with Dr. Levine. Dr. Keraga canceled the physical. The exam was postponed, and never conducted to see if Kristi had hurt herself.

Kristi’s condition got worse. She wasn’t eating and was losing weight. After a therapy session 8/27 she was too weak to walk. She said," I’m so frustrated that I don’t know what to do." She was under close supervision, and sleeping in the lobby.

In August Peterson was still expressing concern about the nurses because they are not charting what she wants them to. Peterson’s notes from therapy session with Kristi 8/28/92

"Patient expresses rage at self, threatens therapist. One to one. Patient would sexually abuse herself. Kristi express concerns about her rectum. Kristi is beginning to make her own assessments."

McDonald had never seen any evidence of that.

August 31,1992 McDonald notes; McDonald is called into an abreaction session for help by Peterson. Peterson was holding Kristi by the neck. The patient’s hands and legs were being held down. McDonald told them to release the neck. Patient was released and offered lunch. Page Johnson, Lynn Schneider, Peterson and Davis were there. McDonald called Dr. Keraga.

McDonald reported this incident to all personnel at SSG. and finally to the state. Inspectors from Texas Department of Mental Health and Retardation came to investigate. McDonald was interviewed and others were interviewed. Ollison asked McDonald if SSG was reprimanded. All lawyers called "objection". McDonald said, "Yes." All the staff had to have training in the proper way to restrain a patient without harming patient.

Thursday, October 15, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 18 of trial - McDonald cross-examination

On Thursday, defense attorney Rusty Hardin cross-examined Sally McDonald, a nurse who had worked at the former Spring Shadows Glen Hospital. The federal government has charged five former hospital workers (psychologist Judith Peterson, psychiatrists Gloria Keraga and Richard Seward, therapist Sylvia Davis and hospital administrator George Jerry Mueck) of insurance fraud, mail fraud and knowingly misdiagnosing multiple personality disorder to keep patients in the hospital and collect insurance. Sally McDonald had previously testified that the notes of nurses indicated that several teen-age patients who were at Spring Shadows Glen did not exhibit suicidal symptoms or multiple personality disorder when they were admitted. She had said that notes of therapists were drastically different and that the children were placed on suicide watch.

The defense has argued that treatment patients at Spring Shadows Glen received was appropriate because they were already diagnosed with serious mental disorders before they arrived at the private psychiatric hospital. On Thursday, attorney Hardin suggested that McDonald had failed to take into consideration the histories of abuse of some of the children. He challenged her assessments of some of the teen-agers since she had only been involved in two therapy sessions with one of the patients.

Hardin introduced records from Children’s Protective Service and medical documents showing that one 16-year-old had been a victim of physical and sexual abuse starting in 1984. Hospital records showed that the girl exhibited alternative personalities and that she claimed to have been raped several times. Hardin suggested that the girl’s 13-year-old sister had also been abused but no records were offered.

"Wouldn’t you have liked to have had these records before making your assessment?" Hardin asked.

McDonald responded that patients who had suffered the severe torture and abuse reported by the therapists would have shown more profound outward symptoms.

Hardin challenged McDonald on her assessment of the 13-year-old. McDonald replied that the girl was a high-functioning teenager who felt loved by her family. She did not show any symptoms or report any abuse when she was admitted to the hospital on her 13th birthday. A vaginal examination showed no evidence of rape.

"I didn’t understand how (the girl) could have an absolute normal physical exam and then claim she had repeatedly been raped since (the age of) 7," said McDonald.

Hardin countered that sexual assaults do not always leave physical evidence and he got McDonald to admit that she knew that the girl’s family had some problems. McDonald said, "A lot of people have bad things happen in their past, but it doesn’t mean they need to be in a psychiatric hospital."

McDonald admitted that she had falsely reported on one chart that the girl presented an alternate personality called "Michael." She said that the teenager asked her to do this. McDonald said the girl told her that if she didn’t, psychiatrist Richard Seward would be angry. McDonald stated, "The reason I wrote the entry is that (she) needed to come up with something so Seward would get off her back." McDonald explained that patients were told they would be in danger from the cult if they were released from the hospital and they were pressured to report cult-related abuse.

Hardin said that McDonald’s false reporting might violate professional nursing standards. "Do you really believe you as a nurse...may pick and chose whether you lie on a note?" he asked.

McDonald replied that she thought a review board would understand if they knew the reason for the actions. "I care so much for the patient that I was willing to lie."

Hardin then asked, "If you are willing to lie for (her) would you not lie for the government?" McDonald said that she would not.

This concluded the 18th day and 6th week of the trial. The trial will resume Monday, October 19, 1998.

This report is based on a Houston Chronicle article by Mark Smith, "Jury told several teen patients had histories of abuse: Defense in insurance fraud case rebuts claims that youths showed no illnesses" 10/15/98.

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