By: David Bloomberg
Re: Ells Suit
From: "J. W. Ney"
To: Jonathan Harris
(Deleted material deals largely with the identity of Ells' center.)
COUNSELOR HIT WITH ANOTHER SUIT
Woman Claims therapist planted 'false memories'
By Brent Whiting
Arizona Republic January 20, 1995 page B. 2
Another lawsuit has been filed against an embattled Scottsdale
counselor and others accused of planting 'false memories' of
child sexual abuse and Satanism during therapy.
The latest action was filed by Kristan Larson of Scottsdale, a
Mormon who claims that Alfred H. Ells attempted to implant her
with visions of people in cloaks performing blood rituals in a
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, also claims that
Ells with a 'vivid and warped imagination.' forced Larson 'to
imagine her parents as part of the satanic ritual.'
In addition, the suit says, Ells tried to get Larson to believe
that her father sexually abused her as a child and that her
mother condoned it.
'None of the images were true,' the lawsuit says.
Ells on Thursday denied the allegations in the suit, which was
filed Tuesday in Maricopa County Superior Court.
'Mrs. Larson was provided with competent therapy,' he said. 'This
appears to be another attempt to jump on the bandwagon of false-
Ells, a marriage and family counselor, is under investigation by
the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners over allegations
of unconventional therapy.
Two months ago, another woman filed suit accusing Ells and others
of planting false memories of child sexual abuse and Satanism
after she sought professional help for an eating disorder. That
suit filed Nov. 4 by Gina Smiley of Pecatonia, Ill., is pending
in superior court.
. . .
The latest lawsuit says that Larson, a social worker who provides
drug and alcohol counseling, was hired in July 1991 as a
therapist at Remuda Ranch Center for anorexia and Bulimia in
As a condition of employment, the suit says, Larson was directed
to receive therapy and counseling from Ells, a ranch consultant,
for stress 'allegedly suffered as a result of a sexual assault."
The lawsuit says that by 'improper methods of playing upon
Larson's suggestibility and susceptability to Ells' influence,'
Ells began a program calculated to convince her that she was
'possessed by demons.'
The treatment focused, in part, on Larson's ties with the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the suit says, and Ells
'would forcefully direct Larson to pray to break the demons of
the Mormon Church that were possessing her.'
In addition, it says, Ells spoke in 'tongues' to Larson and
performed an exorcism in which he laid his hands 'on Larson's
shoulders and shouted out prayers.'
After treatment, the lawsuit says, Larson was desperate,
frightened and vulnerable to sexual assault. It says that
Larson left the ranch two years ago.
POSTER's Comment: A year or so ago another counseling center
had no trouble attracting 50 therapists to a weekend seminar on
how to do therapy as per the above at $200 per throw. I hope
the demand has lessened somewhat. These cases take so long
to wend their way through the courts or through the
credentialling agency. Phoenix Channel 3, independent,
replayed the Donahue program with three retractors, one of whom
was not welcomed back by her family.
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