APn 04/28 0157 Metaphysical Case Copyright, 1990. The Associated Press. All rights reserve

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

APn 04/28 0157 Metaphysical Case Copyright, 1990. The Associated Press. All rights reserved. By DAVE PEGO Associated Press Writer DALLAS (AP) -- An instructor of metaphysics, questioned after nine people associated with her died during a 13-year period, has been the victim of a witch hunt, her attorney says. "It's Salem all over," Fred Time, attorney for Terri Hoffman, said Friday. "They've called her a Manson, a Jones in Guyana. It's crazy, without facts, and a defamation of character." Dallas County District Attorney John Vance said Thursday that prosecutors lack evidence to send the matter to a grand jury for a possible criminal indictment. The case had been set for presentation next week and subpoenas had been issued to witnesses, including Ms. Hoffman. Those subpoenas have been canceled. "I have to remain calm and quiet," said Ms. Hoffman, who referred questions to Time. "But one of these days I will tell my story." Prosecutors began looking into Ms. Hoffman's affairs after a former college professor and his wife who followed her teachings were found dead last fall. Police said two may have killed themselves. Four other followers of Ms. Hoffman have committed suicide, including two of her husbands. Two other followers died in apparent accidents, as did the housekeeper of one of the followers. Some accounts of the case have included mention of Ms. Hoffman's son, who died on the job in a construction accident. His death did not come up in the investigation. Some of the followers had given or bequeathed her money and property. Ms. Hoffman ran a concern called Conscious Development of Body, Mind and Soul Inc., through which she sold books and tapes. She ran classes on meditation and spiritual sessions. Assistant District Attorney Cecil Emerson, who directed the investigation of Ms. Hoffman, said earlier this year that he was trying to determine whether "mind control" could legally be blamed for contributing to a death. After Thursday's announcement, Emerson said: "I would just hope that if something further presents itself, we will consider it." Ms. Hoffman still faces a civil lawsuit filed by two stepchildren, who claim she contributed to and profited from their father's September 1988 suicide and the deaths of six other associates. Trial is scheduled in August.


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank