By: David Bloomberg Re: April FMSF Newsletter, 1/9 F M S F O U N D A T I O N N E W S L E T
By: David Bloomberg
Re: April FMSF Newsletter, 1/9
F M S F O U N D A T I O N N E W S L E T T E R (e-mail edition)
Vol 4 No. 4, April 3, 1995
3401 Market Street suite 130, Philadelphia, PA 19104, (215-387-1865)
The FMSF Newsletter is published 10 times a year by the False
Memory Syndrome Foundation. A hard-copy subscription is in-
cluded in membership fees. Others may subscribe by sending a
check or money order, payable to FMS Foundation, to the ad-
dress above. 1994 subscription rates: USA: 1 year $30, Stu-
dent $10; Canada: $35 (in U.S. dollars); Foreign: $40; Foreign
student $20; Single issue price: $3. ISSN #1069-0484
Lief and Fetkewicz
From Our Readers
"Remarkably, however, this debate appears to be completely
bypassing many of the therapists, child abuse workers and sexual
assault counsellors who have banded together to combat ritual
After years of exposure to abuse cases, these counsellors are
adamant that there is nothing unbelievable about the vivid detail
the stories they are hearing, and many view the current debate as a
"backlash" against their cause."
This quote from the The Sydney Morning Herald (February 1, 1995
"Demons from the past" Richard Guilliatt) took on a reality for us at
a recent meeting about the recovered memory controversy held at the
University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC).
"'It's not enough to speak with impartiality. The price you pay
to be attacked by both sides,' said Richard Kluft, a psychiatrist
Temple University. Kluft, who usually is identified as a supporter
of the recovered-memory movement, said he had been roundly booed in
the past when he had dared suggest to partisan audiences that a
therapist doesn't always believe what a patient says he remembers."
(Kansas City Star, April 2, 1995 "The issue: Memories of sexual
by Alan Bavley).
The fact that a group of professionals booed anyone for saying that
'a good therapist would not always believe what a patient says he
remembers' is surely a sign that the scientific information that has
become so public as a result of this debate has bypassed those
The KUMC meeting on March 31 and April 1 brought together leading
experts on both sides of the recovered memory debate. There were
several points of agreement among all participants: sexual abuse is a
problem, people can have false memories and memory is reconstructive.
An observer might ask, "If there is agreement on these basic points,
why is there still a controversy?"
"This issue cannot be solved on a scientific basis," said John
Briere, Ph.D. in his talk. Is he right? The presentations at this
meeting certainly demonstrated that some people address the
controversy of recovered memories through science and others rely on
The presentations of James Garbarino, Ph.D., Martin Seligman,
Paul McHugh, M.D., Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D. and David Holmes, Ph.D.
provided scientific data that support the concern that the practices
of some recovered memory therapists are risky. Linda Williams, Ph.D.
presented scientific data that showed that some people can forget or
do not report abuse, and Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. presented
scientific data and speculated about the mental mechanisms of
memory. Kenneth Pope, Ph.D. presented data that indicated that the
problem is widespread.
The cornerstone of the recovered memory controversy is the notion o
"repression" David Holmes reminded the audience. Since it is a
impossibility to prove that repression does not exist, it is the
responsibility of those who make the claim of recovered repressed
memories to provide evidence that satisfies the scientific community.
That has not been done. Holmes presented a review of 70 years of
research on repression. While there is agreement that laboratory
research had failed to find this phenomenon, recovered memory
proponents have argued that studies of traumatic amnesia in war
veterans are proof of repression's existence. A careful analysis of
this body of research, however, notes serious flaws: biological
for amnesia were not ruled out and most of the recovered memories
during amytal interviews.
Recovered memory proponents have also argued that retrospective
studies in which people are asked if there was ever a time that they
forgot past abuse are proof of repression. Holmes presented several
cogent reasons to explain why such a conclusion is not warranted
because of the methods used in these studies.
'Repression' and 'dissociation' seem to be synonymous, Holmes
noted. This is an important point because in recent years the
discussion about 'repression' has been reframed as a discussion of
'dissociation.' Later in the meeting, Mary Harvey, Ph.D. said that
repression and dissociation were not synonymous, but she did not
explain how they were different. During the question period, she was
asked explicitly by the moderator to give an example of reported
repression that she would not accept. This would give an operational
distinction of the difference that she claimed existed. Neither she
nor anyone else on the panel answered this important question.
Richard Kluft, M.D., Judith L. Alpert, Ph.D., John Briere, Ph.D.,
and Mary Harvey, Ph.D., presented papers stating that laboratory
science is not appropriate for understanding traumatic memories and
they noted the importance of clinical experience and clinical science
in this area. They did not present data.
The KUMC conference was a forum in which data from leading experts
was presented in support of their positions. Advocates of traumatic
recovered memory, however, continue to state their case as one of
conviction. It is their ethical responsibility to support their
beliefs and clinical impressions with data that satisfy standard
scientific criteria. At the very least, they should provide outcome
studies for such a controversial therapy. The KUMC conference has
it clear how much work remains for the FMS Foundation.
What does a look at some of the non-scientific events at the KUMC
conference show? We noted that Judith Alpert, Ph.D. criticized Loftus
and McHugh for using The Courage to Heal as an example. She indicated
that it and other pop psychology books were not representative of
trained and responsible therapists do. How should Loftus and McHugh
respond to such criticism? The Courage to Heal is the most widely
recommended book that therapists give to patients. Its very first
line -- at the top of the cover -- is an endorsement by Judith
M.D., perhaps the single most eminent person in the recovered memory
Although KUMC sponsored the conference, James Kemper, the
Kansas businessman from the prestigious philanthropic family,
support for and was in much evidence at the meeting. With Kemper at
the meeting was his step-daughter, who often speaks about her
"recovered memories" of abuse from age 3 to 27 by her biological
father. On the second day of the conference, Kemper walked over to
Elizabeth Loftus and David Holmes and said essentially that they and
their associates were "slime." Loftus asked him why if he felt that
way, had she been invited. Kemper replied that she was a drawing
to sell tickets. A member of the University Staff later apologized to
Loftus and Holmes and to this writer for Mr. Kemper's remarks.
While most of the KUMC conference was positive and polite, it
deteriorated into personal attacks by Kenneth Pope, Ph.D. against
of the participants who have questioned the evidence for recovered
memory claims. Unfortunately, Pope did not allow this session to be
taped. That is a loss to history. When a conference closes at the
level of personal attack, it is reasonable to conclude that those
attacking have no intellectual arguments left.
| A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you
| disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he
| questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your
| point. We have all experienced the futility of trying to change a
| strong conviction, especially if the convinced person has some
| investment in his belief. We are familiar with the variety of
| ingenious defenses with which people protect their convictions,
| managing to keep them unscathed through the most devastating
| Festinger et al (1956)
| When Prophecy Fails, U of Minnesota Press
| quoted in Michael A. Simpson,
| "Gullible's Travels, or the importance of being multiple"
| Dissociative Identity Disorder:
| Theoretical and Treatment Controversies
| (Editors: Cohen, Berzoff & Elin), Jason Aronson
PBS FRONTLINE Documentary
Ofra Bikel and Karen O'Connor
On April 4 and April 11, Frontline will present a 4-hour
on the issue of repressed memory and the 'recovery movement.' A
in the Wall Street Journal by Rabinowitz notes "for the therapy
schools in question, this is most certainly not good news."
| "We need also to be tough-minded about tender-minded topics.
| Although we need to acknowledge that the scientific method may
| be able to provide all the answers that are needed, and that our
| training as scientist-practitioners may have its limitations, the
| scientific approach is the most defensible that we have."
| Kevin M McConkey, Ph.D.
| Australian Psychologist March 1995 Vol 30 No 1
MANY NEW ARTICLES AND BOOKS
We have received copies of many new articles and several books this
month that will be of special interest to readers because of their
critical perspective on the issue of recovered memories. While we
request permission to make these available though the Foundation, we
cannot do so at this time.
B O O K S
CULTS IN OUR MIDST
Margaret Thaler Singer with Janja Lalich
Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco
DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER
Lewis Cohen, Joan Berzoff, and Mark Elin, Editors
Jason Aronson Inc., 1995, Northvale, NJ
This book in three sections 1. Does Dissociative Identity Disorder
Exist? 2. Theoretical Controversies 3.Treatment Controversies. Of
special interest will be articles by: Harold Merskey, August Piper,
Jr., and Michael A. Simpson.
DIAGNOSIS FOR DISASTER
Overlook Press, New York
A R T I C L E S
"Challenge to psychotherapy: An open letter to psychotherapists
concerning clinical practice as seen through the lens of the
'recovered' or 'false memory debate'" by Spencer Harris Morfit in the
Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, Vol 20 no 4 1994, pp 233-244
"Rape of psychotherapy" by Ronald E. Fox in Professional Psychology
Research and Practice 26 # 2 147-155 1995
"What's the story?" by Paul R. McHugh in American Scholar, Spring
"Witches, multiple personalities, and other psychiatric artifacts" by
Paul R. McHugh in Nature Medicine, Vol 1 No 2, February 1995 p
N E W S P A P E R S
"All-New Sins of the Fathers" by Dorothy Rabinowitz in Wall Street
Journal, April 3, 1995.(Review of Frontline program)
"Amirault Case," Review & Outlook in Wall Street Journal, March 27,
"Darkness in Massachusetts II" by Dorothy Rabinowitz in Wall Street
Journal, March 14, 1995
| It was significant that retractors chose that term rather than
| term recanters. To recant implies that something had been taught.
| To retract shows that the person is taking responsibility for his
| or her own actions.
| Allen R. Dyer, MD,
| Keynote Lecture at conference
| Childhood Sexual Abuse and
| University of Kansas Medical Center, March 31,
RETRACTOR'S RESPONSE TO COLIN A. ROSS
I would like to respond to a specific portion of Colin A. Ross's
letter that was published in the February FMSF Newsletter in which he
"It is true that there are impaired therapists practicing in the
dissociative disorders field. I believe, based on my clinical
experience, that some patients with Satanic ritual abuse memories are
suffering from DSM-IV dissociative disorder not otherwise specified
resulting from exposure to coercive persuasion and indoctrination
destructive psychotherapy cult. However, the false memories are
minor component of the problem clinically. Why? What is really
patients and families is generic bad clinical practice and basic
ethical and boundary violations. It is possible to have false
in good therapy and no false memories in bad therapy.
The problem is not the existence of the false memories as such, it
is how they are managed and handled in therapy."
As someone who experienced false memories from exactly what Dr. Ross
described, a therapy cult, I beg to differ with his judgment that the
false memories are merely a 'minor component of the problem' It was
the content of the false memories which led me to believe that I was
molested by my father and then included my mother, that I was
satanically ritually abused by my grandfather and my mother and a
of others. It was the content of the memories that totally alienated
me from my parents and led to my complete inability to function as a
wife, a mother, a daughter, sister, nurse. The content of the
led me into a nightmare world where I was unable to discern what was
real and what was not. I lived in total fear, for my life even, for
months on end, that grew into years.
It was not until the false memories of satanic ritual abuse were
well entrenched that my former therapist diagnosed me as having MPD,
which led to yet another year of my further deterioration. One
if Dr. Ross bothers to listen to his patients if he truly believes
content of the memories are of only minor significance. Can he not
imagine the horror of believing that those you loved and trusted were
involved in unspeakable crimes against you? Can he not perceive that
the very thought processes that continue from believing these lies
lead on into a world of unreality and madness?
My former therapist has testified that he still believes that my
mother is a satanist, that my father molested me. Is Dr. Ross unable
to see that there is something incredibly wrong with this picture? It
was my therapist's delusional belief system and techniques involving
suggestion and persuasion that led me to believe the lies were
memories. When I doubted the reality of the memories he insisted they
were true. Not only did he insist they were true, he informed me that
in order to get well I must not only accept them as real, but
If this is a 'minor component of the problem' to Dr. Ross, I would
like to point out to him, as a former patient who believed false
memories, that he needs to spend a lot more time listening to his
patients as to the importance or lack therein of the so-called
'memories'. If my false memories had been so benign, I doubt they
would have come so close to destroying me and my family. Perhaps Dr.
Ross should spend some hours with families like mine, like yours,
before defining what is actually the cause of the harm. Perhaps
Dr. Ross should experience the reality of being falsely accused as a
child molester before so cavalierly dismissing the relevance of the
content of false memories.
It is also true that the content of the memories kept me from
working on real problems with my family, whatever they might have
when I entered therapy. That there were problems my family and I
don't deny. That we were ever going to be able to dialogue and
communicate about real problems, however, was precluded by the fact
that my personal history had been totally rewritten and was not
anything my family could have recognized, let alone dealt with. This
is one of the many tragedies of false memories and the therapy that
These are my thoughts from my own personal experiences that I felt
it was important to share. My heart continues to go out to all of you
who have been falsely accused. I am ever grateful for my loving
who never gave up hope that I would come to my senses, forgave me the
immense pain and suffering I caused them and accepted me with
unconditional love when I finally awoke from the trance.
For information about the Retractor's Newsletter:
P.O. Box 7864
Tucson, AZ 85731-7864
| Abuse victims linked to cosmetic surgery
| Guardian News, Dec, 1994, Andrew Wilson
| "An alarming number of women are opting for nose jobs, breast
| reductions, tummy tucks and face lifts as a way to cope with
| childhood sexual abuse, according to Eileen Bradbury,
| in the department of plastic and reconstructive surgery at
| Withington Hospital in Manchester, northern England. She says
| 'Some women think that by changing a certain feature, they'll be
| able to erase traumatic memories of their childhoods.'"
RESPONSE OF PSYCHOLOGISTS TO RECENT LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS
The response from the professional community to the legislative
efforts of the Mental Health Consumer Protection Act has been swift
and clear. In fact, the American Psychological Association Council of
Representatives approved the following resolution, February 17-19,
NOW THEREFORE, the American Psychological Association is opposed to
the enactment of legislation that, while seeming to protect the
consumer, actually creates a bureaucracy and unnecessary barriers
interfere with consumer access to mental health services and fails to
(One wonders what APA supported or opposed before this resolution.)
THE FMS PROBLEM
"I am enclosing copies of two pieces of correspondence -- one from
two years ago and one from March of this year. What on earth has
happened to change a loving, generous daughter into an almost
unrecognizable, hate-filled person who seems to have forgotten
everything positive that happened in her life? Not only is she
estranged from me and her brothers and sisters who love her and would
like to help her, but her false accusations are now taking their toll
on my relationship with my grandchildren. This is the second most
devastating thing that could happen in my life, second only to losing
"Without talking to members of her family, how can you gather a
psychiatric family history? What do you know about the family history
of depression? How can you know that the bizarre things that she
claims are true?"
Thank you for your love and support. I love who you are, not just
mom but as you. I am so grateful to have you in my life and in the
lives of my children. I don't know if they'll ever put your name
history book, but in my life you are not only one of the greatest
women, but one of the greatest people. You have taught me so much
about just being a good person.
(signed) Love, first name
After Starting Memory Therapy
At this time and for an indefinite period of time I do not wish to
have contact of any sort between us. I find it too painful because I
believe you are being false. I have also decided that my well being
more important to my family than the gifts and letters you send the
kids. Please discontinue...I give up the hope I've had for a real
relationship with you.
(signed) first, last names
CALLS TO THE FMS FOUNDATION
First time contacts to the Foundation have been averaging between
to 100 each week for the past few months. There continue to be steady
reports of retractions and people who are resuming contact with their
families, but by far the greatest increase in calls is coming from
students. Following is a two-day sample of phone calls from students.
From a final year law student (Australia): I am writing my thesis
for my law degree on False Memory Syndrome and hoping to present a
paper which takes into account all related interdisciplinary
would appreciate any relevant material.
From a Counseling graduate student ( Missouri): One of our
requirements for graduation is a scholarly paper and I have chosen
False Memory syndrome as my topic.
From a Doctoral student in Counseling Psychology (Tennessee): I am
currently investigating False Memory Syndrome, repressed memories and
therapeutic abuse as part of my doctoral research. I do believe
therapeutic/professional abuse is a significant problem.
From a high school senior (Illinois): I am doing my senior research
paper on False Memory Syndrome. Please send me information as soon as
From a graduate student in Counseling (British Columbia): I'm doing
a research project, and I would like to talk to some families and
retractors who are involved with False Memory Syndrome.
ARTICLES NOW AVAILABLE THROUGH FMSF
#94.891 ($5.00) Salkowski, Arizona Daily Star, "Where memory lies" a
3-part series, Dec 4-6, 1994.
#480.000 ($2.00) Berliner & Loftus, Journal of Interpersonal
"Sexual abuse accusation, desperately seeking reconciliation.
#505.000 ($3.00) Crews, NY Review of Books, Revenge of the Repressed:
#506.000 ($3.00) Crews, NY Review of Books, Revenge of the Repressed:
#517.050 ($1.00) Dinwiddie, Bulletin of Am Acad of Psy & Law,
"Multiple Personality Disorder: Scientific & Medicolegal Issues.
#550.100 ($2.00) Lanning, Child Abuse & Neglect, "Ritual abuse: A law
enforcement view or perspective.
#578.000 ($4.00) Powell, Psychological Reports, "Did Freud mislead
patients to confabulate memories of abuse?
| "The court in Daubert is telling judges not to be so deferential
| to the scientists," says David Faigman, a professor at Hastings
| College of the Law. "I would say that as a theory it's going to
| very difficult to introduce repressed memory as scientific
| evidence. The bottom line is that a federal judge now has to ask,
| 'Where are the data, what do they look like?' If counsel's answer
| is, 'Well, it's on the basis of clinical expertise.' then under
| Daubert, that evidence will not get in. No research, so far as I
| can tell, has demonstrated that repressed memories are accurate
| testable." Clinicians wanting to introduce such testimony will
| have to do so as specialists, Faigman says, using their clinical
| data to draw a particular conclusion.
| Page 86 California Lawyer, March
| "Fade Away: The rise and fall of the repressed memory theory in
| the courtroom" by Mark MacNamara
Former Patient Sues Her Therapist
March 9, 1995
reported in The Columbian by Bruce Westfall
Patricia Davison Rice, 50, and her husband are suing therapist
Regina S. Gamage in Clark County (WA) Superior Court for evoking
false memories of "satanic, ritualistic abuse," that made her
temporarily insane. Rice became convinced that she was being pursued
by members of a cult who would harm her or her children and in a
psychotic-like state caused a multiple vehicle accident in Tigard,
Oregon in which one person died. In April 1993 Rice was found guilty
but insane of a charge of first-degree murder. The suit claims that
the therapist conducted therapy or hypnotherapy without Rice's
consent. Rice is currently on 20 years probation and remains under
mental health treatment. She is asking reimbursement for medical
expenses, pain and disability and damages for future earning.
Try To Remember:
Allegations of decades-old sex abuse based on 'repressed' memoriesI
March 6, 1995
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly by Claire P. Rattigan
The sensational case of a 37-year-old woman who accused her father
of raping her from when she was in diapers until she was a teenager
has been dismissed voluntarily in Middlesex Superior Court on October
6, 1994. The woman claimed that with the help of an older sister, she
had committed murder at the age of 4 and was in a pornographic ring
involving a former mayor of Lowell, MA and a former congressman. She
also claimed she was sodomized by her uncle and a brother.
The woman claimed only scant recollection until she began seeing a
therapist in 1990, when, she says, it became clear what had happened
and how it has affected her. Defendant, 67, and his wife deny the
According to an October report in the Lowell Sun, neither side
explain the sudden decision which came as the two sides were
a jury, other than to say there was no monetary settlement. Sources
familiar with the case said the judge's decision to bar certain
testimony had hurt the woman's case so her attorneys convinced her to
drop the case. The father reciprocated by dropping his countersuit
accusing his daughter of making false accusations.
According to the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, after the MA Supreme
Judicial Court adopted the Daubert test in 1994, a special pretrial
hearing is required to determine the scientific validity of evidence
to be presented. Judge Mary Lou Rup noted for the record that she
would have admitted testimony concerning the phenomenon of repressed
and recovered memories.
Woman Sues Therapists Over 500 Personalities Claim.
March 8, 1995
reported in Houston Chronicle by Deborah Tedford
A federal lawsuit has been filed by Lynn Carl seeking $18 million
from psychologist Judith Peterson, Spring Shadows Glen and at least
other mental health practitioners and businesses, most of them in
Houston. Carl said that she spent more than $2 million on mental
health treatment after therapists convinced her she was a Satan
worshiper ritually abused since childhood. Carl claims that she was
hypnotized. According to Carl, when she told her therapists she did
not believe any such events had happened, she was told that her
memories had been repressed in order to deal with the abuse. She said
she was told that her personality had fragmented into different ones
in order to cope with the ritual murder, cannibalism and torture.
though she had no memory of abusing her own children, Carl claims
therapists forced her to report herself to the police as a child
abuser. Carl believes that her mental state deteriorated during her
two years of treatment. She is now divorced and not allowed to see
children. Lynn Carl's attorney is Skip Simpson of Dallas.
Couple Convicted Of Raping Grandchildren Seek Retrial
March 16, 1995
reported in Boston Globe by John Ellement
In 1993, Raymond and Shirley Souza, both 63, were convicted by
Middlesex Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Dolan in a jury-waived trial
on charges that they had raped and assaulted two of their
(According to reports in 1993, the children claimed, after repeated
interviews, that they were kept in a cage in the basement and raped
with feet and elbows and a big machine. No investigators ever went to
the Souza home.)
The Souzas have been under house arrest since that time. They
appealed the decision and on March 15, they were represented by
William Kunstler and Daniel Williams at a hearing before the State
(According to reports of people who attended the March 15 hearing,
one of the arguments for the appeal is that Ray and Shirley were not
tried as separate people but that the two of them were treated as
Their differing circumstances were not taken into consideration. The
other argument for the appeal is that there was no allowance for a
"recovered memory" defense. Prior to the allegations by the Souza's
grandchildren, the mother of the children, age 24, had a dream that
her parents had abused her as a child. Therapy notes indicate that
claimed to have had a normal childhood until this dream.)
A decision on the appeal will be given sometime within the next
Fells Acre Case
March 14, 1995
The Wall Street Journal Dorothy Rabinowitz
Boston Globe, March 19, 1995
These articles provide an update of the Fells Acre day care case in
which Violet Amirault, 63, former proprietor of the Fells Acre day
care in Malden MA, her daughter and son who worked there, were
convicted of rape and sexual assaults on small children. The jury
trial was heard before Judge Dolan in 1986.
The case against the Amiraults began in 1984 when the parent of a
5-year old child filed a complaint against Gerald Amirault, father of
two and expecting a third. Mr. Amirault had changed the child's wet
underpants. Several versions of the events were reported by the
and police instructed parents to ask their children about a magic
room, a secret room and a clown. Later, after intensive interviews,
these elements were found in the children's stories. Transcripts of
interviews show the children were asked repeatedly about possible
abuse and that they repeatedly denied it.
It was argued at trial that 19 children were raped by adults and
assaulted with knives without injury and without anyone telling or
noticing. The prosecution searched for evidence of child pornography
but found only photos of birthday parties and such. Prosecutor
was quoted as saying, "Just because no evidence of photographs was
found doesn't mean that there were none."
Violet Amirault, 63, and her daughter were sentenced to 8-20 years.
Tried separately, Gerald, Violet's son, received 30-40 years.
decade after sentencing, parole has been denied Violet and her
daughter because they continue to affirm their innocence. The parole
report of Violet reads, "Parole denied. Vigorously denies the
offense(s). Until such time as she is able to take responsibility for
her crimes and engages in long term therapy to address the causative
factors, she will remain a risk to the community if released."
Autistic Boy's Testimony Upheld
March 11, 1995
Kansas City Star
The Kansas Supreme Court has upheld the use the trial testimony
an autistic witness using the technique of Facilitated Communication.
The testimony of a 12-year old boy was used to help convict a person
of sexual abuse. The boy used the FC keyboard and responded with
or "no" to questions he was asked. The convicted person worked at
Institute of Logopedics in Wichita where the boy is a resident.
Facilitated Communication is a highly controversial technique that
has been discredited in many scientific tests. The tests have shown
that what is written using the keyboard comes from the adult
facilitator and not the autistic person. The American Psychological
Association has issued a statement that the program has no known
Dreams and Flashbacks and the OJ Trial
March 16, 1995
Courtroom Television Network: Journal Graphics
excerpt from Transcript #35-3
Commentary of trial proceedings
Cordoba: I dreamt about it [that Fuhrman had made racist remarks]
started to get, you know, like flashbacks of what transpired.
Phillips: Are you sure this isn't a dream?
Cordoba: No, this is no dream. I don't think it's a dream. Uh No.
Phillips: How is it that you remember a rather unremarkable first
meeting with Mark Fuhrman, and yet you forget about this upsetting
incident in which you say he not only uses the 'n' word, but
brandishes his weapon?
Cordoba: Throughout my active duty career, and being stationed in
different places in the United States, I've always run into very
reaction to a black and white situation. And the only way I could
always, say, maintain a level of calmness, is put things out of my
Phillips: You're saying that you just blocked it from your mind?
Cordoba: That's correct
Phillips: Because it's painful?
Cordoba: That's right.
Phillips: If you are capable of blocking this out of your mind, are
you also capable of remembering it wrong?
Cordoba: That's a good question. I could be capable of doing that,
but I don't think so. I
Michael Marcus, Criminal Defense AttorneyIThe prosecution should
probably go in front of Ito, if the defense wants to call him
[Cordoba], and ask for a hearing outside the presence of the jury to
say that his recovered memory is unreliable, because it's based
syndrome called 'recovered memory syndrome,' which is
now being discredited.
In this case, Cordoba says, 'I blocked it out of my mind. I only
recalled it when I dreamt about it.' And then he says to Mr.
'I may not have heard it correctly, or recalled it correctly,' all of
which raises the specter - one, that the recovery of this event is
reliable, even if you assume that there is such a concept. Right
the psychiatrists and the psychologists seem to be going on the side
of, 'This is a bogus syndrome, and we don't believe it. We think it's
suspect.' And if they bring up this kind of argument to Ito, it
very well keep Cordoba's testimony out."
Supreme Court Rejects Ohio Man's Appeal In Repressed-Memories Case
The United States Supreme Court recently rejected, without comment,
the appeal of Dennis Hood which grew out of a "repressed memory" jury
award against him by an Ohio trial court in a civil action for
and intentional infliction of emotional distress which had been
originally filed in 1989. (The person bringing the original charge,
Ms. Herald, claimed to have been abused for 12 years starting in 1962
when she was 3, but that it was so terrible that she forced herself
forget what had been done to her.) Previously, the Court of Appeals
for Ohio's Ninth Appellate District refused to overturn the verdict
and the Ohio Supreme Court, relying on its decision in Ault v Jasko,
70 Ohio St. 3d 114, 637 N.E. 2d 870 (1994), dismissed Hood's request
for review as having been improvidently granted.
An analysis of the decision provides valuable guidelines for those
involved in defending themselves against such allegations. It should
serve as a stern warning of the pitfalls that can befall anyone
involved in this type of litigation and a constant reminder of the
importance of being vigilant at every step of the proceedings, in and
out of the courtroom.
First, Hood made admissions of abuse in front of witnesses. At
he claimed to have made the statements "only because he thought it
would help in Herald's therapy." There was also a telephone call
surreptitiously taped in which Hood made statements that were
ambiguous and could not be explained. Whatever his good intentions
may have been, Hood damaged his defense and provided substantial
evidence which was used against him by his accuser.
In addition, the record makes no mention if there was any direct
medical challenge to the validity of the phenomenon of repressed
memory. Herald's therapists were able to testify that an evaluation
her physical and emotional responses indicated that she was the
of childhood sexual abuse. In fact, the court's decision reports that
Hood's own expert made findings consistent with the accuser's
witnesses. Finally, Hood attempted to raise a constitutional due
process issue related to the misapplication of the discovery rule at
the appellate level. However, the Court of Appeals held that he did
not preserve that argument at the trial level and waived his right to
have it reviewed on appeal. Therefore, whatever legal merit his
arguments may have had, it could not be considered by the court.
Treating Therapist Found Negligent In Suit Brought By Former Patient
A Texas District Court jury on February 28, 1995, found treating
therapist, Michael Moore, M.S., M.Div., L.P.C., guilty of negligence
and that his actions were the proximate cause of damage to his former
client, Diana Halbrooks. Ms. Halbrooks was awarded $90,865 for past
medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish, physical pain and
anguish. Her husband was awarded $15,000 for loss of consortium. A
hospital and psychologist had settled prior to trial. The jury found
that treating therapist, Mike Moore, bore 60% of the responsibility
for the damage to Ms. Halbrooks.
The complaint states that Ms. Halbrooks was not treated by Mr.
for her presenting problem but that instead he began to convince her
that she suffered from MPD and had been the victim of childhood
abuse. It was alleged that Moore was negligent in his examination,
evaluation and treatment. The treatment provided included improper
exposure to "support" groups and to certain therapeutic techniques,
all of which, it was claimed, caused her to believe that she suffered
from other problems and to become overly dependent on her therapist,
Mr. Moore. "Rather than assist his patient in determining if there
be rational explanations for Diana Halbrooks' thoughts and undergo an
analysis of the possibility that her 'memories' were faulty, Moore
continued to discount her attempts at understanding and dominate her
thoughts in the belief that the 'memories' that he had created were
literal reality." In fact, it was argued, that the therapist created
new problems and thereby caused harm to Ms. Halbrooks and her
FMSF Amicus Brief
The FMS Foundation has filed its first Amicus Curiae Brief before
the Texas Supreme Court in the matter, Vesecky vs Vesecky. An amicus
brief is a paper that provides background information to the court on
the issues involved with a case. A brief does not argue the merits
either side in the case under consideration. An amicus brief can only
be filed at the appeal level.
The Amicus Brief was prepared by the FMSF legal resource team. The
brief includes a review of scientific literature regarding the
reliability of repressed memories and is based on legal research
conducted by the Foundation.
The Legal Resource Team has prepared many other materials that may
be of interest. Some of this information is from the 800 "repressed
memory" cases that they have been tracking. A lot of the questions
that people call to ask the Foundation can be answered in these
papers. Since many people seem to be unaware of the availability of
these papers, we are printing the list in this newsletter.
Material Listed Below May Be Ordered From FMS Foundation.
Summary of Legal Resources for those accused of sexual abuse of
children based upon repressed memories of long duration.
Review of relevant statutes, case law and bibliographic references
for most important issues arising in "repressed memory" cases. Topics
covered include: application of the discovery rule and statute of
limitations, admissibility of expert testimony and syndrome evidence,
admissibility of hypnotically induced testimony, evidentiary issues,
access to records, the use of mediation as an alternative, duty of
care to a third party, standards of care. The materials also
copy of the 1993 FMS Foundation Legal Survey, relevant resolutions
statements by professional organizations, copies of filings and
declarations from two cases which review the theory of repression and
evaluate the issues and evidence presented. Materials prepared by
Brief of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation as Amicus Curiae in
Support of Petitioner in the matter Vesecky v. Vesecky, Supreme Court
of Texas, No 94-0856 submitted by Thomas A. Pavlinic, Esq. on
6, 1995. Brief reviews current scientific understanding of the
reliability of "recovered repressed memory" and considers Point of
Error set forth by petitioner: The Court of Appeals erred in holding
the discovery rule applied in this case.
Amicus Curiae Briefs
Set of nine amicus briefs includes:
Lindabury v Lindabury, No 87-2481 (3rd Dist. Ct., Florida)
1988 by Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Organization for
Women, et. al.
Lindabury v Lindabury, No 87-2481 (3rd Dist. Ct., Florida) brief
submitted 1989 by the Florida Defense Lawyers Association
Tyson v Tyson, No. 51908-1 (Washington Supreme Ct.) brief submitted
1985 by J. Kathleen Learned, Counsel for Northwest Women's Law
Tyson v Tyson, No. 51908-1 (Washington Supreme Ct.) brief submitted
1985 by Washington Assoc. of Defense Counsel.
Doe v LaBrosse, No. 90-97 (Rhode Island Supreme Ct.) brief
1990 by NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, et al.
State of New Jersey v J.Q., No 34,501 (New Jersey Supreme Court)
brief submitted in 1992 by the NJ Council of Child and Adolescent
State of New Jersey v Michaels, No 36,633 (New Jersey Supreme Ct.)
brief submitted in 1993 on behalf of (38) developmental, social, and
psychological researchers, social scientists, and scholars.
Perkins v State of Texas, Nos 08-93-00305-CR & 08-93-00306-CR
Dist. Ct., Texas) brief submitted 1994 by R. Christopher Barden,
Ph.D., J.D., LP.
Daubert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceutical, Inc., 113 S.Ct. 2786 (1993)
brief submitted on behalf of the American Association for the
Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Sciences in
of respondent, Jan. 19, 1993.
Ramona v. Ramona legal documents, filings from a third party suit
Collection of documents filed in third party suit, Ramona v.
et. al., Superior Court of California, Napa County, No 61898
the Second Amended Complaint, documents pertaining to duty to a third
party and motion to exclude evidence, court transcript of testimony
child pediatrician, and the special verdict. Also included are
articles entitled "Analysis of the Ramona decision" by Jim Simons,
J.D., which were published in FMSF newsletters dated June and
A set of newspaper articles chronicling the two month long trial
available separately for $10.50. Trial transcripts may be ordered
directly through the Napa County Superior Court, Napa California
Table of Published Cases,
higher court decisions related to repressed memory claims
Table of published cases with cites summarizes issues and
disposition of "repressed memory" cases. This table is updated on an
ongoing basis and currently lists over 100 civil and criminal suits.
Resources for Families accused by Minor Children
Outline and summary of current research related to children's
suggestibility -- especially on the effects of various interviewing
techniques, statements by professional organizations on guidelines
clinical evaluation of children including with anatomically details
dolls, and professional reports on litigation problems arising from
accusations of child abuse. Books, videos and organizations are also
cited. A listing of landmark decisions which concern evidentiary
issues and rights to redress when accusations are made by a minor
child are included.
Brief Bank Filings,
from over 40 repressed memory and malpractice cases
Cost of individual filings depends on length. Current listing and
prices is available for $1.00.
Pleadings including motions, deposition testimony, interrogatories,
and unpublished decisions. Filings include complaints seeking damages
under 'discovery rule" for childhood sexual abuse, complaints filed
former clients alleging psychiatric malpractice related to
of false beliefs, complaints from third party actions, motions for
summary judgment on grounds that the statute of limitations expired,
improper venue or mental competency, motions to restrict plaintiff's
expert testimony, settlement agreements, etc. Materials are
continuously added to the collection.
| Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change
| the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
This is a column that will let you know what people are doing to
counteract the harm done by FMS. Remember that three years ago, FMSF
didn't exist. A group of 50 or so people found each other and today
are over 16,000. Together we have made a difference. How did this
Washington - A Seattle group of mothers and sisters harmed by the
aftermath of Recovered Memory Therapy has formed the Women's
Brigade. They are wrestling with the question of why it is that this
generation of feminists assume that there are hundreds of women --
grandmothers, mothers and sisters -- who are too weak, lazy or stupid
to have noticed that their daughters or sisters were subjected to
horrific sexual abuse for years in their own homes? Members of the
Women's Brigade have resolved that they are not taking any more
bullying from women who are supposedly advancing feminist objectives.
They are working together to find peaceful, creative ways to air
concerns and to end the destruction of mother-daughter and
Washington - One mom looked through B. Dalton Booksellers and saw
Courage to Heal" and its workbook and also Bradshaw books. She could
not find "Making Monsters" by Ofshe/Watters, "The Myth of Repressed
Memory" by Loftus/Ketcham, "Confabulations" by Goldstein/Farmer or
"Victims of Memory" by Pendergrast. She inquired of a clerk to find
out why. The manager was summoned and he knew immediately what the
was talking about. The manager gave the phone number in New York City
to call (212-633-3311). The mom called and talked to Steve in
Service. He took down names and authors and promised to pass along
request. He cautioned that sample copies might be placed on the
shelves but, if they don't sell fast enough B Dalton will not
to make them available. Why don't readers check out B. Dalton's
Illinois - The Winnebago County Council on Aging is sponsoring the
31st Annual Senior Exhibition Fest. This year False Memory Syndrome
families and friends will staff a booth. They will hand out
information and answer questions. The Fest will be held May 12 and 13
at the Metro Center in Rockford, Illinois. Attendance is expected to
be between 10,000 and 15,000 people from Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa
Minnesota. This is a wonderful way to reach parents who have been
touched by False Memory Syndrome but who don't understand what has
Illinois - Families have been writing to educate legislators. One
Congresswoman who is a member of the Illinois Consumer Fraud
suggested that families write to their state Consumer Fraud
Committee. Most states have these committees and it would be an
excellent idea to write or call and let them know what is happening
your state. We all know things change slowly but with persistence,
letters and calls, we will eventually see a greater awareness of
Memory Syndrome. Speaking of awareness, some families are writing to
alert Ralph Nader, the original guardian angel of consumers. His
address is Ralph Nader, PO Box 19367, Washington, DC, 20036.
Pennsylvania - Summer is usually the time for class reunions. When
faced with filling out the typical questionnaire, one dad wrote that
he was active with the False Memory Syndrome Foundation and explained
what its mission was and enclosed material. One mom wrote, "5 years
ago our lovely daughter, Elizabeth, falsely accused her Dad of
sexually abusing her as a child as a result of repressed memory
therapy. It feels like we died and went to Hell! As a result we have
become active in the FMSF." I know it took enormous courage to do
this, but, if you can, what a great way to get out information and
Florida - Florida families are planning to designate May as "Garage
Sale Month" and to donate profits to the FMS Foundation. They hope
that other families around the country will join them. Florida
families have a newsletter and would be pleased to send it to
interested families free of charge. For information, call
You can make a difference. Please send me any ideas that you have
had that were or might be successful so that we can tell others.
to Katie Spanuello c/o FMSF.
| Knowing is not enough,
| We must apply.
| Willing is not enough
| We must do.
RETURNING TO THE FAMILY: ISSUES AND PROBLEMS
Notes from talks by
Harold Lief, MD and Janet Fetkewicz, FMSF Staff
How many people are affected when someone makes a 'recovered
accusation and insists that people either believe her or him or be
cut off? A case study of six families who have contacted the FMS
Foundation showed that it is not unusual for between 50 to 90
to have been affected in some way in a family. What happens to all
of these people and their relationships after the accusations? What
happens in families after an accuser tries to rejoin the family or
Harold Lief, and Janet Fetkewicz spoke at the Pennsylvania Regional
Family Members Meeting on March 25, 1995. The information presented
in their talks was based on clinical experience with affected
families and from the results of the FMSF retractor survey.
Following are notes taken during their presentations. Their
complete papers are in press.
It would be unrealistic for families to think that they will ever
the same as they were before this experience. Some families, however,
may come out of this difficult time even stronger than they were
before. That is certainly something to work for.
Although it marks the end of a nightmare for both accusers and
family members, a retraction also marks the beginning of a process.
Trust and healthy relationships are not restored overnight.
When families first experience the trauma of the accusation, they
tend to have emergency emotions. These emotions are: Confusion; Anger
and especially a feeling of betrayal; Shame because they are worried
about what others might think of them; Guilt because even though they
did not do what they were accused of doing, they still ask
"What did I do to create this Frankenstein? I must have done
something"; Fear of a number of things such as loss of their child,
the reactions of others, divorce, financial disaster,and legal
charges. Emergency emotions are those that ward off and deal with
threats. They tend to lead to "flight and fight" reactions. They lead
"away" and "against." Families at this stage often do nothing. People
often refer to this period as being paralyzed. Many people try to
what has happened in their family.
For reconciliation to happen, however, there needs to be movement
"toward." For reconciliation to happen, the "emergency" emotions
to be replaced by welfare emotions of: Love, Hope, Pride and Joy.
Families may have to work actively to try to turn their emotions in
Some therapists call the families that are caught in this tragedy
"dysfunctional families," but every family has dysfunction. Every
family has cracks. In the face of this kind of trauma, we can hope
that the cracks do not lead to fissures. Sometimes they do, and the
accusation acts like a crowbar and splits the family. Other times the
accusation can unite the family.
Families and family systems can be examined in a number of
ways. Family therapists often look at family dynamics from the
perspective of power, of intimacy, or of boundaries. No matter how
examines family dynamics, however, good communication turns out to be
critically important. Good communication requires expressing feelings
and this is scary for people who have been so hurt from the
of FMS. When people express feelings they make themselves
vulnerable. They have to be ready to take the risk that they may be
Anecdotal evidence indicates that it is the siblings of accusers
tend to be the people who are the most hurt by these traumatic
experiences. We don't know why this is the case. Perhaps it is the
fact that parents have a kind of unconditional love for their
that is not a characteristic of sibling relationships. Perhaps it is
because the siblings are torn between the generations. Perhaps it is
the case that many siblings take the biggest risks in trying to keep
the channels of communication open with the accuser. Sometimes even
after parents accept the accuser back, the brothers and sisters are
angry at what has happened that they will not welcome the retractor
Parents have many concerns at the beginning of reconciliation. They
ask "How should we act? How should we respond? Should we act as if
nothing had happened? Should we smooth over the difficulty? Should
confront our daughter? Should we express anger or would that be bad?
Will our daughter continue to believe that she was abused by us? Does
she have mixed feelings? Does part of her still believe the
Parents are often hypervigilant at the beginning of
reconciliation. They tend to look for signs of the old beliefs and
they are worried that their child is just saying things to please
them. They wonder "Will she go crazy again? Can she be trusted? How
can I deal with the anger, fear and suspicion?"
Retractors also have many concerns about reconciliation. Many
if their families will take them back and, unfortunately, the reality
is that while most do, some families refuse to accept a returning
"What will they expect of me? Will they want me to go into the
gruesome details? Will they accept my moods? How can I deal with my
own guilt? What if a family member makes me angry and it has nothing
to do with the memories? Will they accept my anger or will they think
I am overreacting? Will they really forgive me?"
"This was very difficult -- I felt my husband didn't trust me with
my son. When I decided none of it was true, he was very angry with
me. I was still afraid of my parents. They were really disappointed
and angry with me. Their friends hated me. My in-laws were
supportive until I "got on my feet," then they got real
insulting. Through all of this..the cult images kept creeping back.
We finally found a psychiatrist to help - my parents and me. My
parents have become more understanding now because my Mom's co-
worker's daughter is going through the same thing."
Retractors have to deal with the aftereffects of recovered memory
therapy in three areas: relational, psychological, and practical.
a person first retracts it causes profound changes in personal
relationships. Usually there is a loss of the survivor group support
that happens before there has been a reconciliation with family.
Retractors often say they feel a loss of credibility and don't know
who to trust and who trusts them. Retractors are very vulnerable at
this time and there have been several suicides.
Psychologically, many retractors feel distress. They feel anxious
and wonder where they belong. They feel embarrassed and ashamed. One
woman, for example, knew that her memories were false for quite some
time but she could not face her parents. Retractors most often are
still left with the problems that brought them into therapy in the
first place. They don't trust their own judgment and they feel that
they have been manipulated. "How could I have been so stupid," they
At the practical level, they often have to make up for lost time,
money and career. Many retractors express an intense need to make up
for lost time.
There is no one rule or set of directions that will apply for all
families. Each family is different and each family has a special set
of dynamics and often there are old ways of interacting, old
jealousies, that need to be dealt with. Nevertheless, there is one
starting point for all families: effective communication. In order
reconciliation to happen there must be effective communication in a
family. People need to express their feelings even if they are
confused about them. That might mean, for example, someone says, "I'm
confused. What do you want?" People must also listen to the feelings
of others. It's important that no one assume what someone's feelings
are. It is better to ask, "How do you feel about that?"
Good things are worth working for. Families can come out of this
terrible experience and be even stronger if they are willing to make
the effort. What all parties must keep in mind is that
"Reconciliation is a Process -- Not an Event".
| TV's pathetic parents
| They're too tolerant, they're weak and wimpy, they're mean or
| mouthy. Mom's often missing. Or dead. Yes, the folks are flawed.
| Why is the tube treating Mom and Dad this way?
| In the opening episode of the new television show "My So-Called
| Life," the lead character, a depressed 15-year-old girl, says to
| herself: "Lately I can't seem to even look at my mother without
| wanting to stab her repeatedly."
| You could call this reality, or you could call it gratuitous
| parent-bashing. You could also call it typical. Parents are one
| of the few remaining groups that are regularly ridiculed,
| caricatured and marginalized on television.
| Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec. 19 1994
FROM OUR READERS
Reunification: My Personal Narrative
from a son, 8th grade
When I was about to walk through the door to the apartment, I did
not know what to expect. I had not seen my mom's parents in almost
seven years, three years of that time my brother and I spent
hospitalized to keep us away from them. This time included being away
from them for family activities such as Christmas, Thanksgivings and
Birthdays. I didn't know how my grandparents were going to react to
or what their personalities were like. I didn't even remember what
they looked like. All those years we had no contact with them at all,
no pictures, no letters, no telephone calls, nothing at all.
The incident that severed our ties with our grandparents began when
my mom entered therapy and hypnosis with a doctor who believed that
could retrieve memories of things that only he knew about, claiming
mom had forgotten them. My mom then started making accusations that
my grandparents had participated in sexual abuse and other horrible
crimes. They ended up fighting and stopped speaking to each
other. With the assistance of my mom's sister, we started to make the
first contact with them.
On December 26, 1992, I was lying on my bed at our hotel, awaiting
the visit which would occur in a matter of minutes. I was scared and
anxious about meeting them and my brother was extremely curious about
meeting them. He is more open minded than me. I tend to be more
cynical. As we pulled up in the driveway of the apartment complex, we
were all saying a prayer as a family. We apprehensively greeted our
grandparents at their apartment door and walked into the apartment.
In the living room was a beautifully decorated Christmas tree and a
tray full of freshly baked holiday goodies. My grandfather is a good
chef and my grandmother gives tins of their bakery items away as
holiday gifts. My Grandma told us to fill the place of treats and
Grandpa poured us some chocolate milk. It was real hard to sit down
and talk and I kept running out of things to say, but it helped to do
something normal at the same time, like eating.
My grandparents told me how they had driven 6 hours to Chicago many
times to see us, but were turned away by the doctors at the hospital
and that they had tried to send cards and gifts to us. They told us
how they felt rejected and confused. I really understood. Grandma and
Grandpa told us that they never stopped praying for us or stopped
loving us. I finally heard their part of the story. I told them
was really confused during that time, too, and that I had hated them
and wanted them in prison so I could laugh at them for what I was
they had done to my mom and our family. I made sure they knew I did
not believe that anymore and I knew that the doctors had done
things to all of us. I also told them that we were kept away from our
dad's parents for about two and a half years, but were not back
together. Our first visit lasted three hours. Afterward I was
We started writing letters and soon more visits started happening.
They came for my eighth grade graduation in May. (I had been a
preschooler when we broke apart.) They stayed for a four days
visit. My Grandpa taught us how to fish and my brother and I both
caught our first fish with him. We shared Christmas 1993 together,
first real Christmas with them since 1985.
At Christmas time this year, we celebrated Christmas and then we
flew out to Baltimore. Our parents attended a False Memory Syndrome
Conference that was sponsored by Johns Hopkins Hospital and while our
parents were at the conference, our grandparents took my brother and
me to the national Aquarium and Fort McHenry. We also had a chance to
just spend time together watching TV, swimming and talking.
After the conference, we went to Washington, DC for a week. We
visited the White House, the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the FBI
Headquarters, Arlington Cemetery, and the Shrine of Our Lady of the
Immaculate Conception. We also visited a few Civil War sites like
Sharpsburg, Gettysburg, and Harpers Ferry. Our grandma really knows
her history, especially the Civil War.
During the Civil War, families were split and often ended up having
brother fight against brother and father against son. In the Civil
War, you could see the injured, count the dead and know families
never be together again. Our family endured a different kind of war
where we were split apart and emotionally scarred. Like our split and
injured Nation, our family is getting back together, too.
A few years ago, this vacation would not have been possible because
I never thought I would ever see my mom's parents again and I wasn't
sure I really wanted to either. We have had to travel a long and hard
road to get back together as a family, but I believe the road to
reunification was well worth the journey. I am glad we are a family
From the parents of a restored family
In late 1994, our daughter recanted her accusations of abuse and
family was reunited during the Christmas holiday. By talking with our
daughter, we have learned how she came to recover memories of events
that never happened, why she began to have doubts about them, and
finally led her to reject them altogether. We hope that what we tell
you may be of help to others who are still living the repressed
"When we read the letter in October 1993 accusing us of abuse, it
seemed incredible that our youngest daughter could believe what she
had written. We had no idea that she had been seeing a therapist. Her
two sisters knew about the therapy, but they did not tell us because
they did not want us to be hurt by the direction that the therapy was
taking. They hoped that they could help their younger sister realize
that her "repressed memories" were not true. The initial shock of the
letter left us depressed and in a state of mourning for the daughter
we were losing. After a week or so, we decided to get professional
help to try to understand what had happened. We contacted our
Assistance Program and were referred to a highly respected
psychiatrist in our state. We met with the psychiatrist and when he
read the letter he said that there was a great deal of anger in it
suggested that we not try to communicate with her at that time. This
seemed OK because our older daughter was still in communication with
her. The psychiatrist recommended that we get the whole family
together to talk to him. Because the letter contained veiled threats
of legal action, he also suggested that we see a competent trial
attorney. We made an appointment with an attorney who educated us
about the law in our state and recommended that we write to our
daughter denying her accusations. The attorney told us that failure
refute her accusations might be construed by some as a tacit
We made several attempts to make our daughter's therapist aware
her diagnosis of abuse was wrong. Our oldest daughter made an
appointment with the therapist whose mindset was obvious when she
to her, "Indeed I am an expert in this field and this child was
definitely abused. Your parents are very devious people and more than
likely you were also abused as a child, but are also repressing the
memories." We sent a certified letter to the counseling center where
the therapist worked protesting our innocence and offering to meet
with the therapist. Our letter was refused and returned to us
In December of 1993, our accusing daughter and her husband moved
from our state to another state. Our oldest daughter attended a
counseling session with her new therapist to tell her that there had
never been any abuse. Our middle daughter spoke with this new
therapist on the phone and told her the same things. In October of
1994, our accusing daughter wrote to us and said that she would like
to reconcile. We met with her and her new therapist for five hours.
The things that were discussed at this meeting were plausible
explanations for her nightmares and other fears. Two weeks later, she
phoned us saying she was absolutely sure that she had not been abused
and she asked us if we could ever forgive her for all the pain she
We had always wanted our daughter back, but we made it clear that
there had to be a complete and absolute understanding that there had
never been any abuse. We wanted to make sure that there were not any
ghosts that might cause problems later on. When she visited with us
Christmas, she said that the first doubts came when she moved to the
new state. Even though she was dealing with the stress of moving
new job, she said she started to feel better as her memories began to
fade. She said that this did not make sense to her at the time
her first therapist told her that she had to complete the process of
"recovering her repressed memories" before she would become healed.
She also told us that her doubts about the abuse were increased
because we had respected her wishes that we not try to contact her
because we did not react angrily to her accusations as her first
therapist had told her we would. During this whole nightmare, we
let our emotions control what we did. We wanted to be sure that if we
ever did get our family back together we could minimize the damage
never have to regret anything we had done.
We have heard from family and friends that our daughter has written
telling them that she was wrong, that she is sorry for the pain she
has caused and that she thanks them for supporting us. We are proud
that she had the courage to do this, but we think it is even more
meaningful because it shows how completely she has rejected any ideas
of abuse. Although this experience can never be forgotten, we have
it behind us and our family relationships are almost back to
normal. We still have to reassure our daughter from time to time that
everything is O.K. We feel that our family is making good progress in
the healing process.
A Mother and Father
Letters and Cards
My husband, my 34 year old son and I got a letter from our daughter
in September 1992 accusing my husband of sexual abuse and me as an
enabler. We were shocked -- devastated.
At an enlightening and helpful Valley Forge conference where we
spoke with retractors, they encouraged us to write letters to feed
tiny kernel of truth they assured us was always there. I did this
about every two months without any response mentioning friends,
events and always ending with love.
In the last three months, we have received Christmas and birthday
cards and finally a letter saying she was "tired of maintaining a
of silence." She proposed a meeting with us in the presence of her
therapist. We agreed.
I think it's important to think positively and not demand
explanations and a pound of flesh as the price of family unity. We
hopeful and only want our daughter back. We're not out of the woods
yet, but hopefully with patience, we can be a family again.
Trying to cope after Gloria Steinem's HBO video
My daughter's situation is classic in many ways. Attractive,
talented, she first had mental health problems in her first year at
college, where I know she abused alcohol and strongly suspect the use
of drugs. Since that time she has lived at home, lived on her own,
married and had two children, lived with her brother and his wife,
lived with her sister, divorced, and now lives on welfare and
disability in another state. She has been in many hospitals and been
in constant therapy. Her father and I and her three siblings were
emotionally and financially supportive because we loved her.
In August 1991, her social worker therapist pronounced her Multiple
Personality and she became one, with increasing numbers of "alters."
We were to have no contact with her while the search through her
childhood for an abuser was begun. We tried to help, sending pictures
and reviewing family, friends, neighbors and even foreign students we
had hosted through the years. The social worker would not respond to
Dr. McHugh's list of "Do and Don't" in the March FMSF Newsletter
completely reversed in my daughter's case. The "Dont's" were done and
the "Dos" were not done during the therapy with her social worker and
especially during two hospital stays in Dallas, Texas.
In October 1992, she told us by phone that she had visions of her
father abusing her and of a skull and blood. Again, her social worker
would not respond to our letters or contact her sister and two
brothers for a family history.
In April 1993, our daughter called to tell us she would be
on a Home Box Office video. We wrote to H.B.O, the journalist, and
psychiatrist and therapist in Texas. Not one of these persons
In July 1993, the hour long video that was the idea of and featured
Gloria Steinem as the narrator was aired many times. It showed some
the pictures we had sent our daughter and it showed her under sodium
amytal and in group therapy with other "victims." It showed her as a
frightening ugly "alter" and then the film culminated in her
her degree in psychology at a college graduation Q a graduation she
had told us we could not attend because she could not get tickets.
film implied that my husband and I were guilty.
My husband became ill that November. He had back surgery and
subsequently was diagnosed with cancer. He died on May 30, 1994 of
extremely rare adrenal cancer.
We were gratified that our daughter came home before he died. My
husband was able to directly say, "I never abused you." Our daughter
said she believed him and claimed she had never accused him. It was a
bitter-sweet family reunion with all our family together after so
In August, I learned that the HBO tape had traveled to Great
as an instructional tool. My daughter's therapist from Texas
the tape. He knew my husband had died and stated that my daughter
believed it must have been her father who abused her.
In November my daughter was home very briefly. I could not really
In December, I attended the Baltimore FMS conference. I met so many
wonderful people. That inspired me to try again to aid the efforts
responsible therapy and journalism. I wrote to Gloria Steinem because
the video had been her idea and she was the narrator. She has not
answered and so I will add Gloria Steinem's name to the long list of
those who feel that they can accuse my husband and me of terrible
things but who do not feel that they have any moral or ethical
responsibility to talk to me.
Legal action is not the optimum action, for as in any war, court
suits often result in further carnage on both sides. I do not want to
see my family exploited any further. I have five wonderful
grandchildren. Protecting them and others from further damage from
HBO tape is what I strive to do. How can the truth be found, however,
or even searched for in the void of no response? How can
and professional organizations both in psychiatry and journalism
their members to behave in this way with impunity? The silence of the
colleagues of those responsible for this video implies their consent.
It seems I have lost my dear husband as well as the daughter I
love. Will further ramifications be felt in my family as a result of
this HBO video that maligns us in such an inferential manner? How
this video affect other shattered families? No, I am not coping very
A Mother and Grandmother
| In an age when both politicians and preachers -- at least some of
| them -- seem increasingly keen on separating "them" from "us,"
| when lives are destroyed by fanciful "recovered memories" of
| satanism and sexual misdeeds, Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible"
| remains a cautionary tale.
| Scott Cantrell, Kansas City Star, 3/5/95
APRIL 1995 FMSF MEETINGS
FAMILIES, RETRACTORS & PROFESSIONALS WORKING TOGETHER
INDIANA - indianapolis
Sunday, April 23, 1:00 - 4:30 pm
Nickie (317) 471-0922 (phone);
Gene (317) 861-4720 or 861-5832
MINNESOTA - MINNEAPOLIS AREA
Saturday, April 1 - begins 9 am
Terry & Collette (507) 642-3630
Dan & Joan (612) 631-2247
Call person listed for meeting time & location.
key: (MO) = monthly; (bi-MO) = bi-monthly
ARKANSAS - Little Rock
Al & Lela (501) 363-4368
San Francisco & Bay Area (Bi-MO)
east bay area
Judy (510) 254-2605
san francisco & north bay
Gideon (415) 389-0254
Charles (415) 984-6626 (d); 435-9618 (e)
south bay area
Jack & Pat (408) 425-1430
Last Saturday, (Bi-MO)
Carole (805) 967-8058
burbank formerly valencia
Jane & Mark (805) 947-4376
4th Saturday (MO)10:00 am
central orange county
Chris & Alan (714) 733-2925
1st Friday (MO) - 7:00 pm
orange county formerly laguna beach
Jerry & Eileen (714) 494-9704
3rd Sunday (MO) - 6:00 pm
covina group formerly rancho cucamonga
Floyd & Libby (818) 330-2321
1st Monday, (MO) - 7:30 pm
west orange county
Carole (310) 596-8048
2nd Saturday (MO)
COLORADO - Denver
Ruth (303) 757-3622
4th Saturday, (MO)1:00 pm
CONNECTICUT - Area code 203
Madeline (305) 966-4FMS
Delray Beach PRT
Esther (407) 364-8290
2nd & 4th Thursday [MO] 1:00 pm
Tampa Bay Area
Bob & Janet (813) 856-7091
Chicago metro area (South of Eisenhower)
Roger (708) 366-3717
2nd Sunday [MO] 2:00 pm
INDIANA - Indianapolis area
Nickie (317) 471-0922 (phone);
Gene (317) 861-4720 or 861-5832
See State Meetings list
IOWA - Des Moines
Betty & Gayle (515) 270-6976
2nd Saturday (MO) 11:30 am Lunch
KANSAS - Kansas City
Pat (913) 738-4840 or Jan (816) 931-1340
Sunday, April 2 (MO)
Lexington - Dixie (606) 356-9309
Louisville - Bob (502) 957-2378
Last Sunday (MO) 2:00 pm
MAINE - Area code 207
Bangor - Irvine & Arlene 942-8473
Freeport - Wally 865-4044
3rd Sunday (MO)
Yarmouth - Betsy 846-4268
MARYLAND - Ellicot City area
Margie (410) 750-8694
MASSACHUSETTS / NEW ENGLAND
Jean (508) 250-1055
MICHIGAN - Grand Rapids Area - Jenison
Catharine (616) 363-1354
2nd Monday (MO)
MINNESOTA - Minneapolis Area
Terry & Collette (507) 642-3630
Dan & Joan (612) 631-2247
Pat (913) 738-4840 or Jan (816) 931-1340
2nd Sunday (MO)
St. Louis area
Karen (314) 432-8789 or
Mae (314) 837-1976
3rd Sunday [MO]1:30 pm
Retractors support group also meeting.
Springfield - Area Codes 417 and 501
Dorothy & Pete (417) 882-1821
4th Sunday [MO] 5:30 pm
NEW JERSEY (So.) See Wayne, PA
Downstate NY - Westchester, Rockland
Barbara (914)761-3627 -
call for bi-MO mtg info
Upstate / Albany area
Elaine (518) 399-5749
Family group meets bi-monthly, call for info
OHIO - Cincinnati
Bob (513) 541-5272
2nd Sunday (MO) 2:00-4:30 pm
OKLAHOMA - Area code 405
Len 364-4063 Dee 942-0531
HJ 755-3816 Rosemary 439-2459
Paul & Betty (717) 691-7660
Rick & Renee (412) 563-5616
Wayne (includes So. Jersey)
Jim & Joanne (610) 783-0396
Saturday, May 13 - 1:00 pm
TENNESSEE - Middle Tennessee
Kate (615) 665-1160
1st Wednesday (MO) 1:00 pm
Nancy & Jim (512) 478-8395
Lee & Jean (214) 279-0250
Jo or Beverly (713) 464-8970
VERMONT - Burlington Area
Kim (802) 878-1089
Tuesday, March 28 (Bi-MO) 7-9 pm
Katie & Leo (414) 476-0285
Vancouver & Mainland
Ruth (604) 925-1539
Last Saturday (MO) 1:00-4:00 pm
Victoria & Vancouver Island
John (604) 721-3219
3rd Tuesday (MO) 7:30 pm
Muriel (204) 261-0212
Call for meeting information
Adrian (519) 471-6338
May 21 (Bi-MO)
Eileen (613) 836-3294
Toronto - North York
Pat (416) 444-9078
ANNUAL MEETING - TORONTO, ON
Saturday, April 22, 1995, 1-5 pm
Holiday Inn, Warden Ave (South from 401)
Pat (416) 444-9078
Ken & June, P O Box 363, Unley, SA 5061
Task Force False Memory Syndrome of
ROuders voor Kinderen"
Mrs. Anna de Jong, (0) 20-693 5692
Mrs. Colleen Waugh, (09) 416-7443
The British False Memory Society
Roger Scotford (0225) 868-682
Deadline for MAY1995 Issue:
Wednesday, April 19th
Mail or Fax meeting notice 2 months
before scheduled meeting:
Attn: Nancy, c/o FMSF
What if, parents who are facing lawsuits and want legal information
about FMS cases, had to be told, "I'm sorry, there isn't any such
What if, your son or daughter began to doubt his or her memories
called FMSF only to get a recording, "This number is no longer in
What if, a journalist asks you where to get information about the
FMS phenomenon, and you had to answer, "Sorry, I don't know?"
What if, you want to ask a question that only an expert, familiar
with FMS can answer, and find out that FMSF can no longer provide
information? Where would you turn?
What if the False Memory Syndrome Foundation did not exist? A
frightening thought, isn't it?
Please support our Foundation. We cannot survive without your
Reprinted from the August 1994 PFA (MI) Newsletter
Yearly FMSF Membership Information
Professional - Includes Newsletter $125______
Family - Includes Newsletter $100______
Additional Contribution: _____________
__Visa: Card # & expiration date:______________________________
__Mastercard: Card # & expiration date:______________________________
__Check or Money Order: Payable to FMS Foundation in U.S. dollars
Please include: Name, address, state, country, phone, fax
| Do you have access to e-mail? Send a message to
| if you wish to receive electronic versions of this newsletter
| notices of radio and television broadcasts about FMS. All
| message need say is "add to the FMS list". It would be useful,
| not necessary, if you add your full name (all addresses and
| will remain strictly confidential).
The False Memory Syndrome Foundation is a qualified 501(c)3
tion with its principal offices in Philadelphia and governed by
Board of Directors. While it encourages participation by its
in its activities, it must be understood that the Foundation has
affiliates and that no other organization or person is authorized
speak for the Foundation without the prior written approval of the
ecutive Director. All membership dues and contributions to the
tion must be forwarded to the Foundation for its disposition.
3401 Market Street suite 130, Philadelphia, PA 19104,
Pamela Freyd, Ph.D., Executive Director
FMSF Scientific and Professional Advisory Board, April 1,
TERENCE W. CAMPBELL, Ph.D., Clinical and Forensic
Sterling Heights, MI; ROSALIND CARTWRIGHT, Rush Presbyterian St.
Medical Center, Chicago, IL; JEAN CHAPMAN, Ph.D., University
Wisconsin, Madison, WI; LOREN CHAPMAN, Ph.D., University of
Madison, WI; FREDERICK C. CREWS, Ph.D., University of
Berkeley, CA; ROBYN M. DAWES, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon
Pittsburgh, PA; DAVID F. DINGES, Ph.D., University of
The Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, PA; HENRY
ELLIS, Ph.D., University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM; FRED
M.B.Ch.B., D.P.M., Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical
Boston, MA; GEORGE K. GANAWAY, M.D., Emory University of
Atlanta, GA; MARTIN GARDNER, Author, Hendersonville, NC;
GELMAN, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, CA;
GLEITMAN, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA;
GLEITMAN, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA;
GREEN, M.D., J.D., Charing Cross Hospital, London; DAVID A.
M.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY; ERNEST
Ph.D., Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA; JOHN HOCHMAN, M.D.,
Medical School, Los Angeles, CA; DAVID S. HOLMES, Ph.D.,
of Kansas, Lawrence, KS; PHILIP S. HOLZMAN, Ph.D.,
University, Cambridge, MA; JOHN KIHLSTROM, Ph.D., Yale University,
Haven, CT; HAROLD LIEF, M.D., University of
Philadelphia, PA; ELIZABETH LOFTUS, Ph.D., University of
Seattle, WA; PAUL McHUGH, M.D., Johns Hopkins University,
MD; HAROLD MERSKEY, D.M., University of Western Ontario,
Canada; ULRIC NEISSER, Ph.D., Emory University, Atlanta, GA;
OFSHE, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, CA; EMILY K
B.A., University of Pennsyllvania, The Institute of
Hospital, Philadelphia, PA; MARTIN ORNE, M.D., Ph.D., University
Pennsylvania, The Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital,
PA; LOREN PANKRATZ, Ph.D., Oregon Health Sciences
Portland, OR; CAMPBELL PERRY, Ph.D., Concordia University,
Canada; MICHAEL A. PERSINGER, Ph.D., Laurentian University,
Canada; AUGUST T. PIPER, Jr., M.D., Seattle, WA; HARRISON POPE,
M.D., Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA; JAMES RANDI, Author
Magician, Plantation, FL; CAROLYN SAARI, Ph.D., Loyola
Chicago, IL; THEODORE SARBIN, Ph.D., University of California,
Cruz, CA; THOMAS A. SEBEOK, Ph.D., Indiana Univeristy,
IN; LOUISE SHOEMAKER, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania,
PA; MARGARET SINGER, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley,
RALPH SLOVENKO, J.D., Ph.D., Wayne State University Law
Detroit, MI; DONALD SPENCE, Ph.D., Robert Wood Johnson Medical
Piscataway, NJ; JEFFREY VICTOR, Ph.D., Jamestown Community
Jamestown, NY; HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD, M.A., Institute of
Therapies, Northfield, MN; LOUIS JOLYON WEST, M.D., UCLA School
Medicine, Los Angeles, CA.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank