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USA v. Peterson, et al. Trial, Week 12

Monday, November 30, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

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.


Lucy Abney is on the witness stand.

Peterson defense attorney Rusty Hardin continues on the second day of the defense cross-examination.

Lucy Abney was on suicide precaution 268 of the 364 days she was in the hospital. Hardin asks Lucy what was meant by suicide precaution at SSG.

LUCY: Someone checks on you every 15 minutes 24 hours a day. You were not allowed to have any sharp objects such as pencils and shoe strings were removed from your shoes.

Hardin then places a large full 6 inch binder in front of Lucy. The binder contains excerpts from her journals. Lucy reads the journal entries for the jury at Hardin’s request.

Journal Jan 12, 1991

HARDIN: Catherine was in the hospital. Dr. Billings was your therapist and he started therapy with you on January 8, 1991.

Hardin asked when Lucy wrote her journal entries. She answered that she normally journaled early in the morning - around 5:00am.

HARDIN: How much reading had you done at that time about the cult.

LUCY: Some.

HARDIN: Sybil?

LUCY: Yes

Lucy she had also done reading on MPD after Catherine was diagnosed with the disorder. She said the starting factor was taking Catherine to the doctor.

HARDIN: What did you read about MPD?

LUCY: I read The Courage to Heal and The Mysteries of MPD [by Freison] These were the books that Dr. Billings recommended to me.

HARDIN: How would you describe your feelings at that time?

LUCY: Concerned about daughter - confused, mixed up.

HARDIN: How did the memories about your father come up?

LUCY: Dr. Billings had said in a very early session with me that there was probably more to it.

HARDIN: Are you saying that because you had read books, the statement by Dr. Billings and the problems with your daughter [you came to believe that your father had sexually abused you].

LUCY: I had started to have nebulous suspicions.

HARDIN: What therapist before January 1991 had told you that you were abused?

LUCY: No therapist.

HARDIN: So you came up with these ideas on your own.

Journal-Jan 12, 1991: Sometimes I think I am making this stuff up but on an inner level I know that it is true. I push some memories away - too scary. I can’t cope. I push some of this away. Sometimes I wonder why he is angry so much. Afraid to tell him. I remember this. I was admitted to the club.

HARDIN: Did you mix things that did happen and things that didn’t happen very often?

LUCY: I don’t remember. I haven’t seen the journals in years.

Journal entry continues: I had a feeling that my dad had abused me.

HARDIN: You wrote this. No therapist told you this. How does one come up with this?

Answer not recorded.

HARDIN: Did you maintain throughout therapy that your father had abused you?

LUCY: I stopped believing after SSG.

HARDIN: What event happened in your life that caused you to no longer believe that it was not true?

LUCY: It was a process - putting things together in my mind - putting things together - Putting 2 and 2 together over a period of time.

HARDIN: Two months after SSG you no longer believed. You believed it did not happen when you were in therapy with Dr. Mason. Were you experiencing panic attacks in February 1991.

LUCY: I had a few.

HARDIN: Describe what you mean by panic attack.

LUCY: My head would race, my heart would pound and I could not get my breath.

Journal entry-February 20, 1991: We got home from church - I need to ...[???] oral sex with father and brother. Dr. Billings said that he was going to start using hypnosis. - body memories. Memory of father coming into room and getting in bed and having sex. - memory ends with crying and singing self to sleep.

HARDIN: Is there any way you can blame the therapists for that?

LUCY: No.

Journal -February 25, 1991: Catherine went back to school today. Flashback at work.

Journal -February 26, 1991: Memories about father - masturbating him in the car.

LUCY: (after noting that a similar story appeared in The Courage to Heal) Dr. Billings said that all dreams and memories were real.

HARDIN: Do you blame your therapist for this?

LUCY: Yes I do. Dr. Billings knew that I was suggestible. I was in a confused state of mind. I had read all this in The Courage to Heal. I had had incest with my brother. [Billings said] emotional stuff was true.

HARDIN: Do you see a pattern in all this, to blame someone else?

LUCY: No.

HARDIN: Did you ever diagnose yourself?

LUCY: I don’t know

HARDIN: [You wrote in] April 1991 - Dr. Peterson was warm, caring, gentle and kind. In February 1992 - totally the opposite.

LUCY: She was totally different than when I had seen her in April 1991.

HARDIN: In April 1991 Lucy says in journal that she suspected that she was MPD.

LUCY: I had suspicions but I wasn’t diagnosing.

Journal - April ??, 1991: [after meeting with Dr. Peterson] Really liked her. She hypnotized me.

Journal - April 30, 1991: Memory of killing baby.

LUCY: This came up over a period of time.

HARDIN: This was 10 months before SSG.

LUCY: I believed that this had happened when I arrived at SSG.

HARDIN: Doesn’t a therapist work through these ideas to sort out what is true?

LUCY: Yes.

Journal-May 1, 1991: I really like Dr. Peterson. I was so glad that I could meet and work with her.

HARDIN: When did you start developing alters?

LUCY: In the hospital at Cypress Creek.

HARDIN: Who was Betty?

LUCY: The complete one, cool level headed, smart, she had been in existence for a long time.

Journal-May 1, 1991: entry from Betty

HARDIN: Before SSG you had memories of your father sexually abusing you, alters, incest with brother, and writing in journal as alter.

HARDIN: You liked Dr. Billings. When did those feelings change?

LUCY: When I got out of the hospital at SSG.

HARDIN: At the time you left SSG [you thought] Dr. Billings [was a good therapist.] What made you turn on him?

LUCY: He was part of it. He was the beginning of the whole thing.

HARDIN: What did he do wrong?

LUCY: He started with my daughter. He never told me my memories could be wrong.

HARDIN: You sound pretty bitter about it.

LUCY: Yes, I am.

HARDIN: When did you start taking on different personalities?

LUCY: Sometime in 1991.

HARDIN: You did not have ill feelings toward Dr. Billings until you went to the lawyers.

Journal- May 14, 1991: Entry about son Pat calling. Issue about cult. [Pat was a son of Lucy’s from her first marriage. She had had no contact with him for a couple of years. When he called she thought there was cult significance.]

LUCY: Cults were being discussed in Billings therapy in December 1990.

HARDIN: When did you start believing that Catherine’s stepmother was a practicing witch?

Answer not recorded. [Something that came from Catherine after she came back from living with her father.]

-----break-----

HARDIN: Catherine was admitted December 12, 1990. Did you attend interview meeting with Dr. Seward?

LUCY: I may have.

Note reference to meeting - Mother had said that she had written 2 suicide notes. Stepmother of Catherine was a practicing witch.

HARDIN: The consultation with Dr. Peterson was on April 30, 1991. You were talking about cults before the meeting weren’t you?

LUCY: Yes. Therapy session with Dr. Peterson confirmed that I had MPD.

When Lucy was in the hospital at Cypress Creek an assessment was done by Darling. The Darling report was dated May 20, 1991. Hardin read the entire report for the jury. The contents include the following:

Report-April 26, 1991: Patient was admitted April 21, 1991 -diagnosis major depression. This assessment is to evaluate for MPD and for treatment planning. Report concludes that Lucy is depressed because of her daughter. She did not have MPD.

HARDIN: Did you think you were in cults before that?

LUCY: No. I don’t think so.

HARDIN: Did you have alters before that?

LUCY: No.

Journal-April 26, 1991: Group therapy - an alter came out.

LUCY: This may have been referring to another patient.

Journal-April 29, 1991: Stated that Dr. Billings had diagnosed Lucy as MPD.

Billings Note- May 6, 1991: Confronted Lucy about laughing inappropriately. Patient began to talk about alters. Began to cry and talk about daughter. Patient feels that she should never have allowed daughter to go live with father. One of peers said that she had alters.

HARDIN: Not implanted by therapists is it?

Answer not recorded.

Brandon Discharge Summary-May 30, 1991 [discharge from Cypress Creek] Depression, Patient had image of blood on pale blue wall. Lifting of depression- Spontaneous emergence of memory. Patient started on Prozac. Second week patient’s depression started to subside and she started to sleep better. There appear to be three alters.

HARDIN: As of May 1991 your therapists were not diagnosing you as MPD.

------Lunch break ------

HARDIN: When did you start talking about cult meetings?

LUCY: April - May 1991

Journal - May 12, 1991: reference to Catherine saying that she was a member of a cult.

LUCY: By May 1991 I believed that I was a member of a cult.

Journal-May 19, 1991: Got into a new home. Waiting on call from Billings - migraine headache - I’ve had a memory but not emotions to go along with it. I had a memory of my father raping me by mouth when I was 3 years old. Louise alter said that she had been with me longer than any.

LUCY: I would never have gone down this path if I had not gone to therapy.

Hardin then starts discussion about husband’s drinking problem.

LUCY: Blown out of proportion by children and therapists.

HARDIN: Did you complain about your husband?

Answer not recorded.

Journal-May 27, 1991: It’s nice to be off again. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I have been getting some messages. Somebody is giving me messages. [Lucy then listed alters. List not recorded.]

Journal-June 22, 1991: Entry about being raped by father at age 4. Raped while mother and sister at store. After rape - taken to hospital. Louise [alter] told the story.

HARDIN: Did Dr. Billings ever say anything about husband?

LUCY: No

Journal continued: Back from therapy session. Louise, Betty and John. I need to write something about L.T. lashing out at us.

Journal-July 11, 1991: Written in p.m. [Lucy usually wrote in journal in the morning when she wrote in the evening she would note it in her journal.] Worked out agreement to pay on sliding scale. Cheryl -new alter -dragged down steps thrown in a circle of people with robes.

Journal-July 15, 1991: I got some more information from Sarah and Ruth. They came at me with a bowl of blood.

LUCY: I first read about this in Michelle Remembers.

HARDIN: Where are these memories coming from?

LUCY: I don’t know.

Journal-July 21, 1991-evening: talk about switching - I wasn’t conscious. Had sex with male and really liked it. Mark that never tans. [there was some area on Lucy’s body (spot on back of leg???) that did not tan from exposure to the sun. She attached cult significance to this spot.]

Journal-August 4, 1991: My people have been talking to L.T.

HARDIN asked Lucy what books she was reading about this time. She listed "Rabbit Howls", "Piercing the Darkness", "Spiritual Warfare".

Journal-August 6, 1991: Alters talking to L.T. - I’m in bed with L.T. - getting intimate - then a memory comes back - later alter Betty comes out and asks L.T. if he takes them seriously. - alters are showing up in family therapy.

HARDIN: You are talking about alters in front of the children. By August 21st alters are talking to husband in bed. Alters are showing up in family therapy. All this is happening before anybody that’s on trial here entered your case. Reading book "Rabbit Howls". Found confirmation in book that was what was actually happening to me. You are getting worse.

LUCY: Yes, I agree with that.

Journal-date?: Brother knew what dad was doing and watched it. Dad knew what brother was doing and watched it.

Journal- August 7, 1991: Rebecca - new 12 year old alter that goes by Beckie. She came when I was 10.

Journal- September 4, 1991: Dr. Billings said that I had reached a plateau - stopped working -afraid of being back in cult - Dr. Billings has suggested that I pray.

Journal- October 5, 1991: Memory of killing baby. Contemplated killing self.

LUCY: Dr. Billings and I worked on this memory for months.

Hardin asked if there were any memories that were enhanced under hypnosis.

LUCY: I can recall a session with Dr. Billings of being under water in a sound proof room.

HARDIN: That was before SSG. How about at SSG?

LUCY: At SSG I can remember being above a fire and being lowered toward the fire.

Journal-October 6, 1991: On TV tonight there was a story about a father who murdered a friend of his daughter. [Franklin Case] Statistics show that a father doesn’t only abuse his daughter ...

Journal-October 27, 1991: entry about Mike Warnike

LUCY: He was a Christian comedian. He was on radio. He claimed to have been a Satanist priest before he was saved.

Journal-Nov 3, 1991: We had a terrible fight -third in less than a week. L.T. got angry for the third time in less than a week. He got angry about Catherine’s progress report. He has gone to get a beer. I don’t know if I should call Dedra.

HARDIN: That’s 3 months before anyone saw you at SSG isn’t it.

LUCY: Yes it is.

HARDIN: In November did Dr. Billings talk to you about seeing Dr. Peterson?

LUCY: Could have been.

Journal-December 17, 1991: Tray and Carmen are still here and they have been doing Coke all day. [Tray was the son of L.T. and Carmen was his wife. Lucy stated that they did not do drugs inside their home but it was obvious when they were using them.]

Billings notes-January 10, 1992: stressors - increased drinking by L.T. and husband had embezzled $1000 from company.

[Lucy said that when L.T. was working for the insurance company as part of his job he collected premiums. Some of the policy holders paid their premium with a check to L.T. When they ran short of money L.T. used the premium money and then paid the money back later. She said that the money was always paid back.]

Billings note-January 17, 1992: Sarah becomes spokesperson.

HARDIN: Throughout all this - this all happened before you arrived at SSG didn’t it?

LUCY: Yes

HARDIN: When you arrived at SSG how would you have described Judith Peterson in your journal?

LUCY: I don’t know.

HARDIN: When you arrived at SSG do you remember what you told them? Lucy: I believe that I told them that I was there for safety reasons.

Tuesday, December 1, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

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.


Lucy Abney is on the witness stand Hardin continues on the third day of the defense cross-examination

Hardin starts by raising issue about $20,000 co-payment. Lucy stated that she thought the insurance covered everything. Hardin maintained that the insurance covered 80% and the remaining 20% co-payment was written off by the hospital.

Hardin moves to the Video tape with Judith Peterson made on February 17th.

HARDIN: Would you agree that most of what she [Dr. Peterson] is focusing on is Karen?

LUCY: That is the way it appears to be.

HARDIN: She kept coming back to Karen.

Transcript -Judith Peterson: What does Karen need to do to be safe?

HARDIN: She doesn’t say that Karen is not safe.

LUCY: Peterson said that it’s unusual for only some of the family to be in the cult. Meeting tonight or next night.

HARDIN: That one statement is enough [to convince you that Karen was in the cult.]

LUCY: Yes.

HARDIN: She didn’t suggest that Karen was in the cult. Dr. Peterson had nothing to do with you being admitted to SSG on February 13th.

LUCY: That’s true. At that time I didn’t know which end was up. Here is a woman that was the expert.

HARDIN: I want to know if you have any specifics [of her suggesting things to you]

LUCY: No.

HARDIN: Is it still your testimony that between the 13th and 17th that you became convinced that Karen was in the cult.

LUCY: Yes.

HARDIN: At no time during this conversation did she suggest that Karen should be in the hospital.

[Lucy reported to CPS on the 13th for herself and Catherine.]

In the transcript Dr. Peterson asks Lucy how current the danger was for Karen. Lucy indicated that Karen was safe at home. Dr. Peterson suggested that Lucy discuss Karen’s safety with Dr. Seward and decide on what to do.

HARDIN: If Dr. Peterson is trying to get Karen in the hospital why did he suggest that you talk to Dr. Seward? (Hardin refers to the point in the transcript where Dr. Peterson said that she should contact Dr. Seward.)

Hardin starts discussion of taped therapy session on May 8, 1992

HARDIN: Is it your testimony that your therapists were always telling you that your memories were always the truth?

LUCY: I was never told that recovered memories were unreliable.

HARDIN: From January 1991 to February 1993 is it your testimony that [the therapist said memories were reliable.]

LUCY: That is my testimony.

HARDIN: What is your testimony in regards to Dr. Peterson about memories are always reliable.

LUCY: Her therapy sessions were pulls for information.

HARDIN: Did she say memory is distorted?

LUCY: She may have. Distorted is not [the same as saying my memories are not true].

Hardin referring to the transcript: Peterson: "I don’t see anything that I call switching and I don’t see this and I don’t see that. I don’t know if you have fabricated everything. What I have in my guts is that I don’t trust you."

LUCY: It was information [that she wanted and I wasn’t giving it to her the way she wanted it.

Hardin continues to read from transcript: Peterson: "Sylvia has been extremely encouraging. We want the feelings to come out spontaneously."

Response not recorded

Hardin continues to read from transcript: Peterson: "You have been sitting here and waiting to see what would develop. We know all people have distortions. is not exact. There are always distortions."

LUCY: She is saying my memory is distorted. [She is not saying it is not true.]

------break --------

HARDIN: When were you moved from Unit D?

LUCY: May

HARDIN: What was the stated reason?

LUCY: Catherine needed to be on Unit D to do some work or something.

HARDIN: By this time do you know what Catherine was reporting about abuse from husband?

LUCY: I didn’t know until July.

Next exchange not recorded related to Karen being admitted for safety.

LUCY: At the time what I wanted was the admission of Karen.

[notes are not clear at this point - Harden in making suggestion that Lucy intentionally made entries in her journals so she could stay in the hospital.]

HARDIN: Do you recall in May that Dr. Billings said that you were not multiple? Are you trying to stay in the hospital? She [Dr. Peterson] doesn’t say one way or the other.

LUCY: Dr. Seward said that I could fire her.

HARDIN: Why didn’t you

LUCY: Who was I going to work with?

HARDIN: Is it possible that you have embellished your feelings about Dr. Peterson?

LUCY: What I did write reflected how I felt at the time.

HARDIN Would you feel that the journals are more accurate of how you felt at the time?

LUCY: Yes.

Journal-March 14, 1992: [talking to her alters] We are going to have a community meeting - [list alters] - thank you for identifying yourselves... (Hardin continues to read long entry.)

HARDIN: The person who wrote that needed treatment.

LUCY: I believed I had alters.

HARDIN: Do you believe that a person who talks to all those alters on different levels needs treatment?

Answer not recorded.

HARDIN: Let’s go back to 2/14 in your journal. It’s from the first day you were in the hospital. Read what you wrote.

Journal-Feb. 14, 1992: Came to hospital. It’s different. I am on suicide precaution already. Familiar faces inside [treaters that she met at Cypress Creek], Linda, Pat (art therapy), Sylvia (Davis). Diana came out and I talked to Dr. Peterson.

HARDIN: Says that you called CPS for the sake of the children. If Dr. Peterson read the journal she would have reason to have concern for the children.

Journal entry continues: I have a roommate - Rachel. I have psycho-drama and art. Carl, Amy, Ruth, John -alters...

HARDIN: Less than 24 hours after you were admitted to the hospital you were talking about alters. This has nothing to do with what the doctors at SSG are doing. When you arrived at SSG you had a cult problem and wanted help with it.

LUCY: Yes.

HARDIN: There is nothing unfair about Dr. Peterson.

LUCY: No.

Journal-March 5, 1992: To whom it may concern- [writing to alters] I want to do this work. It is OK to be in therapy. The information that you have is of value to self and children. I am afraid. Fear is to be overcome.

LUCY: It was a letter that I had written to alters and asked them to sign.

HARDIN: You made some of the signatures with different handwriting.

LUCY: It is still my handwriting.

HARDIN: [Referring to the journal entry on February 15] Alters are saying that they are glad you came to the hospital. "We [alters] trust Dr. Peterson and want to work with her." That is not something that the therapists did is it?

LUCY: No.

Journal-February 21, 1992: refers to necklace of Karen’s. - (somehow connected with Karen’s initiation into cult.)

HARDIN: This information [journal entries] was available to doctors.

Journal-February 20, 1992: By Doris [alter] safety is first. Louis [L.T.] has a hard time with Dr. Peterson. There is a connection in Catherine’s system. I think her name is Sabrina. We don’t want Lucy to go back to DHL [where Lucy was employed] we think there are cult people there.

HARDIN: You would agree that no therapist told you to write that.

LUCY: They [the therapists] said that somebody in there had the answers.

Journal-February 22, 1992: entry about an alter saying that an alter had stuck finger in vagina of Catherine. Karen had been electroshocked -made to watch the shocking - by increasing the pain they can increase the drugs - to be breeder. They wanted Karen to be one of the recruiters.

HARDIN: This is reflecting a belief system. A belief system that brought you to SSG.

Journal-February 27, 1992: It’s nice to... - L.T.’s abusive behavior - there has been little verbal and physical abuse - [incident about trashing Karen’s room]

LUCY: I recall one incident like that.

---------break for lunch --------

Journal continued - [comes back to section on L.T.’s abusive behavior and the trashing room incident then goes on to remainder of entry] There was ritual abuse and fire. I was forced to watch beatings.

HARDIN: Those are thoughts that you came up with yourself. The journals were available to the therapists.

Journal-March 3, 1992: entry refers to torture of Karen.

HARDIN: You were writing about Karen being electoshocked.

Family session was 6 days later on March 9, 1992.

HARDIN: Were you seeing Dr. Johnson at this time?

LUCY: Yes.

HARDIN: How did you like him?

LUCY: He was OK. I saw him maybe twice a week.

Therapy session March 14.

HARDIN: Session where you talked about mallet. CPS is coming on Monday.

Journal-date?: I hit Catherine on knee with mallet. I twisted fingers. Fear of water - bugs. Forced to eat human flesh - forced to mutilate animals - signed by Beverly.

Journal-March 27, 92: Dr. Peterson is attacking me personally. She is wanting to help me anyway she can.

LUCY: I respected her. I knew who would read the journals. [Lucy indicated that she was careful what she wrote that was critical of Dr. Peterson.] She was the head of Peterson and Associates. She called the shots.

There is a rapid fire exchange between Lucy and Hardin and Hardin abruptly ends his cross-examination with the following statement.

HARDIN: You would trump anything I said. I have no further questions.

[Hardin had been questioning Lucy about her journal entries. He had provided Lucy with a 5 inch binder containing those entries and she was less than half way through the binder when he ends his cross. The time is 2:15pm - less than one hour after everyone returned from lunch. Hardin leaves the courtroom for at least one hour after he ends his cross. Before the lunch break ended Chris Flood did preparation around the podium for his cross-examination.]

Chris Flood attorney for Dr. Seward starts his cross.

FLOOD: The cult related discussion and alters started with Dr. Billings.

LUCY: Yes.

FLOOD: You were referred to Dr. Seward because he was board certified and had familiarity for working with alters.

LUCY: Yes.

Flood brings up L.T.’s drinking.

LUCY: Blew out of proportion before SSG.

Catherine Journal-March 10, 1991: My parents are fighting. Afraid to use phone because L.T....

Catherine Journal-April 6, 1991: Today my step dad got drunk.

LUCY: I think it was an exaggeration. I saw L.T. drunk only twice in all the time we were married.

Catherine Journal-April 7, 1991: Both my parents got plastered and my sister had to drive us home.

LUCY: That’s a gross exaggeration.

Catherine Journal-April 19, 1991: I am afraid of my step dad. I feel that anything would set him off.

FLOOD: In March 1991 drinking and raging became an issue in family therapy.

Flood than stated that Dr. Seward treated Catherine as an outpatient from March - December for no more than $500.

Dedra Aspen therapy notes- June 27, 1991: Father has been raging.

Dedra Aspen therapy notes- July, 1991:[family contract] father will not drink beer.

Dedra Aspen therapy notes- July 25, 1991: L.T. broke his contract because he broke clock. He raged.

Dedra Aspen therapy notes- August 22, 1991: [family contract] father will control anger - mother or father will not drink alcohol.

Dedra Aspen therapy notes- January 4, 1992: Catherine asked to go to chemical dependency meeting -father blew up - father in denial about daughters need to go to Nar Anonymous - L.T. censoring what Catherine discussed with Dr. Seward. Catherine has disclosed that L.T. had touched her inappropriately. Daughter [scooting?] across room. Father will not drink alcohol.

FLOOD: You were being treated by Dr. Billings. You were hospitalized and treated by Dr. Tom Brandon.

Discharge note from Dr. Brandon-Date?: Probable Dissociative Disorder.

Flood lists pre SSG treaters who had observed Dissociative behavior. The list included Dr. Billings, nurse, Dr. Brandon, psych-tech Soulis and Dedra Aspen.

Note-May 3, 1991: Affect inappropriate - patient laughing and giggling when talking about problems with daughters.

Lucy Journal- Nov 24, 1991: Dr. Billings also said that he was concerned that there might be some cult involvement.

LUCY: I was mistaken [by saying that Dr. Seward was the first to bring up cult involvement.]

There was a family meeting with Dr. Billings and Dr. Seward on December 12, 1991.

Flood: At the meeting the concern was that there might be current cult involvement. Dr. Seward said that work [Catherine’s therapy work] had come to a halt.

LUCY: He [Dr. Seward] suggested a second opinion. That would be Dr. Peterson. Second opinion was to see [about cult involvement] [note about someone is afraid that she is pregnant - probably originated with Catherine]

LUCY: We watched the videotape of that meeting.

[Flood put this in context with other events in the Abney family - kidnapping incident.]

FLOOD: After consultation with Dr. Peterson in January you went to pick up Catherine.

[At the same time that Lucy was having a consultation meeting with Dr. Peterson Catherine was having a therapy session with Dr. Seward.]

FLOOD: It was Lucy’s idea to go to hospital.

------break------

FLOOD: Dr. Tom Billings suggested SSG. The whole purpose of involving Dr. Seward was because he was a medical doctor.

Dr. Seward Admission notes- February 13[?], 1992: Active cult member as a result of consultation with Dr. Peterson. Lucy decided after consultation with Dr. Peterson [to come to the hospital?] There are destructive alters. Cult meeting that night or the next night. Global assessment 17. [ Global Assessment - GAF Scale - in the 11 - 20 range someone is in danger to self or others.] Abney told Billings that she was a breeder [for the cult]. [To be treated by] Judith Peterson a nationally known expert.

FLOOD: You were treated by Dr. Seward 12 days. That’s 1.5% of your treatment.

Flood then reviews records to show others who treated Lucy had observed dissociation. The list included over 12 names: nurses, psych-techs, and doctors.

Flood discusses issue about suggestions that resulted in Karen being admitted to the hospital. He reviews the videotape from February 17, 1992. He notes segments on the tape where Doris [Lucy’s alter] says that Karen is being groomed.

FLOOD: You tell Dr. Peterson that Karen is in danger. [Later Lucy says] "Maybe she should be in here.". [Dr. Peterson says] "You and L.T. need to get together and decide what needs to be done."

FLOOD: You weren’t under hypnosis. Flood then reads from Seward-Transcript: "I need to talk to Doris [alter]. I am also the body’s doctor."

Seward-Transcript: We have a decision to make. (Dr. Seward then talks about reviewing records from CPS and discover that it is Karen’s 13th birthday.)

Seward-Transcript: What needs to happen for Karen to be safe?

Flood then goes through the long dialog with Seward and Lucy on what can be done to insure Karen’s safety. Lucy finally says that she could come to the hospital and then Seward asks Lucy why it took her so long to reach that conclusion. Seward asks if there is some reason that she does not think the hospital is safe. In several exchanges Lucy reassures Seward that she thinks the hospital is safe and that she feels safe being in the hospital.

LUCY: [I said that she should come to the hospital] after I had been boxed into a corner.

Flood then raises the issue about when Lucy knew about Catherine’s allegation that she had been molested by step father.

Lucy Journal-January 9, 1991: Dr. Seward exploring current abuse. Cricket reporting current abuse by stepfather.

Seward Note-January 14, 1991: 10:40 am lengthy session [with Catherine] met Charlotte - sister ready to confront stepfather.

Flood continues to bring up notes from those that had observed Lucy switching. He repeated that Dr. Seward had only treated her for 12 days.

End of cross by Chris Flood.

There is a few minutes left in the days court session which was enough time for Tom Hagemann attorney for Jerry Mueck to start his cross-examination of Lucy Abney.

HAGEMANN: You said that you did not review any medical records.

LUCY: I don’t recall.

Hagemann asks Lucy if she knows Dr. Devita. When she says that she doesn’t Hagemann tells her that he is the medical director of the hospital. Hagemann enters records into evidence where Dr. Devita had signed a medical care monitoring record on Lucy Abney. Hagemann stated that ethical code requires that treaters discuss insurance coverage with patient from time to time.

LUCY: I didn’t know that.

End of court session for the day.

Wednesday, December 2, 1998.

Houston, Texas.

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 Peterson et al trial has resumed after a week’s break over Thanksgiving. Lucy Abney, former patient at Spring Shadows Glen private mental hospital in Houston, was still on the stand. On December 1, Peterson defense attorney Rusty Hardin completed his cross examination of her. December 2, 1998

Lucy Abney was cross examined by the rest of the defense attorneys. At 3:15 when they concluded, Dr. Cheryl Lavin was brought to the stand. Dr. Lavin had examined Mary Shanley and the two children of Lucy Abney, Karne and Catherine, when they were all patients at Spring Shadows Glen. Dr. Lavin reviewed the patient chart records from her examinations.

Mary Shanley had been sent to Dr. Lavin to be checked for possible self-induced vaginal trauma. Dr. Lavin testified that she saw no evidence of this. Dr. Lavin had examined Catherine S. when she was 16. Catherine had been sent to Dr. Lavin by Dr. Seward to be checked for a recent pregnancy and signs of sexual abuse. Dr. Lavin testified that from her examination she considered it unlikely that Catherine had ever been pregnant. Dr. Lavin said that Catherine told her that there had been no sexual abuse in the past three months.

At the request of Dr. Seward, Karen (age 13) was also examined by Dr. Lavin for pregnancy and sexual abuse. Dr. Lavin determined that Karen's hymen indicated that it had not been penetrated sexually.

On cross examination, the defense brought up possibilities of other sexual abuse that would not be detected by a vaginal examination. Dr. Lavin completed her testimony at the end of the day.

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