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USA v. Peterson, Et Al. Trial, Week 3

Tuesday, September 22, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 7 of trial - Shanley Testimony

Testimony by former Spring Shadows Glen patient Mary Shanley continued on day seven of the criminal trial against Judith Peterson, Ph.D. and four others associated with the dissociative disorders unit at that hospital. Prosecutors allege that defendants George Jerry Mueck, hospital administrator, Judith Peterson, psychologist, Richard Seward and Gloria Keraga, psychiatrists, and Sylvia Davis, social worker all conspired to practice white collar theft in the guise of psychotherapy.

While in therapy in Chicago, Shanley had come to believe that she had been programmed by a widespread dangerous satanic cult that was involved in torture and murder. She voluntarily went to Spring Shadows Glen with her 9-year-old son in May of 1991 in order to be deprogrammed. She had been told that Judith Peterson was an expert in that field. Shanley expected the deprogramming to last the summer but she was in the hospital more than two years. The hospital stay resulted in divorce from her husband and estrangement from her now 17-year-old son.

Shanley testified that while she was at Spring Shadows Glen, Peterson diagnosed her with about 17 alters, including one that was a dog. But evidence was introduced that showed that defendant Seward had told an insurance company that Shanley had 10,000 alters.

Records also show that while she was at Spring Shadows Glen, Shanley did not receive treatment for her previously diagnosed epilepsy, although she received heavy doses of psychiatric medications.

Shanley testified that patients at the hospital were terrified of police officers because therapists at Spring Shadows Glen had told them about "the rule of nine P’s" in which professions that began with "p" such as priests, politicians, physicians and police were attractive to cult members.

Shanley told the jury that most of the memories she recovered while at Spring Shadows Glen came during "abreactions," a process in which patients were restrained at the ankles, legs, waist, wrists, arms and neck. Shanley said that she had as many as three such treatments a week, continuing even after she was forced to use a wheelchair due to injuries suffered during the abreactions.

She also testified that if she expressed any doubts about newly recovered memories, she was told that she was in denial and needed to work harder. She said she worked hard to get new memories because she wanted to go home. Shanley said that when she informed therapists at Spring Shadows Glen that she thought she no longer needed treatment, they threatened to commit her involuntarily to that hospital.

This summary is based on the Houston Chronicle article by Mark Smith, "Therapists spread satanic-cult fears, ex-patient testifies," 9/22/98.

Wednesday, September 23, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 8 of trial - Adjourned

Today’s session of the criminal trial of U.S.A. v Peterson et al. was cancelled when one juror failed to appear because of illness. After consulting with the lawyers, the trial judge, Honorable Ewing Werlein, Jr., sent the remaining jurors home at 8:30 A.M.

Thursday, September 24, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

Day 9 of trial - Adjourned

Today's session of the criminal trial of U.S.A. v Peterson et al. was cancelled again, due to the continued illness of a juror. The trial is expected to resume on Monday, September 28.

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