By: David Bloomberg Re: Detroit Lawsuits (File: DETSUITS.ZIP) To: MIT.EDU!witchhunt PRODIG

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By: David Bloomberg Re: Detroit Lawsuits (File: DETSUITS.ZIP) From: romulus.ehs.uiuc.edu!prodigy.com!BSAK18A (MR ROGER L WHITE) To: MIT.EDU!witchhunt PRODIGY(R) interactive personal service 01/12 4:17 PM Number of notes exported: 1 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Board: MEDICAL SUPPORT BB ^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Topic: OTHER MEDICAL ^^^^^^^^^^^^ =============== Note 1 ================= Board: MEDICAL SUPPORT BB Topic: OTHER MEDICAL Subject: FMS: NEWS ARTICLE DETROIT NEWS, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 1995 Justices will consider if two women from Metro Detroit may use evidence from "repressed memory" in pending lawsuits. Lansing - Marlene Lemmerman of Birmingham says her father and aunt sexually abused her from 1939, when she was only 3, until 1949 - assaults her mind blocked out until a series of nightmares and flashbacks in 1989. Gale Williford of Clinton Township says her father molested her from 1947 to 1957, when she turned 15, and that she also repressed those memories until psychotherapy in 1992. On Thursday, the Michigan Supreme Court considers whether to let Lemmerman and Williford pursue civil suits stemming from decades-old allegations. The validity and reliability of "repressed memories" of childhood sexual abuse is a question confronting courts countrywide. Such claims sometimes arise from pointed questioning by counselors, according to skeptics in the legal and mental health fields. But attorney Lore Rogers of Ann Arbor, handling Lemmerman's case, has confidence in belated recollections. "There are many adults who, as children, repressed the memory of being abused by a parent or other significant adult", she said. "We have a long history in our culture of not believing children and women who were sexual assault victims", Rogers said. "We still view them as less credible than any other kind of crime victim." However, University of Michigan psychologist Melvin Guyer says there's no scientific basis for what he calls "false memories". He argues that people actually are more apt to remember abuse or other trauma than ordinary events. "Corroboration is necessary for the interests of justice and because memory is such a fragile thing," said Guyer, a psychiatry professor at UM Medical School. "People routinely remember things that didn't happen, and remember them with a great certainty. People believe memory is like a videotape, but it's not." Lemmerman, 58, in 1990 sued the estate of her late father, Benjamin Fealk, and her aunt Rachael Levy. The Oakland County suit also accused her mother, Bella, of attacking her with scissors when Lemmerman reported the molestation. A 1993 Macomb County suit by Williford, 52, alleged systematic sexual abuse by her father, Irwin Bieske. In both cases, all defendants denied wrongdoing and said no independent evidence exists. They also said the suits were filed decades after legal deadlines for such claims had expired. But the Court of Appeals ruled the deadline for suing had been extended by the "disability of insanity", namely the women's repression of traumatic memories. In the Supreme Court review, Levy's lawyer, Martin Fealk of Farmington Hills, argues that memories of childhood sexual abuse recovered through psychotherapy are so inherently unreliable that independent evidence is essential. The Supreme Court is hearing the cases Thursday. Chief Justice James Brickley begins presiding in this court session, which starts today, and new Justice Elizabeth Weaver joins the bench. END OF ARTICLE

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