COUNSELOR DEFENDS HIS PAST AND PRESENT Satanic-trial [sic] Therapist Has Critics, Supporte
COUNSELOR DEFENDS HIS PAST AND PRESENT
Satanic-trial [sic] Therapist
Has Critics, Supporters
Pat Brennan and James V. Grimaldi
The Orange County Register
April 14, 1991
Pages A1 & A26
The softly lit suite of offices opens into a waiting room
with a burbling fish tank and carefully layered stakes of news
and nature magazines. But behind the heavy wooden doors of
therapy rooms, clients known as "multiples" are switching from
one personality to another.
They are homemakers and parents, professionals and teen-agers
[sic], and some are recounting tales of satanic [sic] rites,
human sacrifice, group sex, torture and mutilation.
Horrific and bizzare [sic] tales, to be sure, but nothing
Timothy Hugh Maas hasn't heard before.
Few people doubt that Maas' clients believe what they're
saying. What a lot of them want to know, though, is whether the
accusations leveled against him in recent weeks in a Santa Ana
courtroom are true: Is the defrocked [sic] Lutheran minister from
Huntington Beach planting memories in his clients' impressionable
The case centered on two of Maas' patients accusing their
76-year-old mother of forcing them as children, and later one of
their daughters, now 11, to participate in bloody satanic [sic]
orgies, incest, cannibalism even murder.
In a compromise ruling Friday, a five-man, seven-woman jury
found in favor of the plaintiffs, but awarded no money to them.
Jurors voted 10-2 that the mother was only negligent, and did no
Jurors raised serious questions about the methods of Maas and
his Seaview Counseling Inc., the Huntington Beach-based chain of
therapy centers he founded six years ago.
"We felt Tim Maas and his whole Seaview organization is
lacking-- lacking in professionalism," juror Richard Thieren said
after the verdict. "He seems to have concluded they (the
plaintiffs) were all multiple-personality syndromes based on just
nine hours of session."
Maas' testimony convinced juror Delores Thomas of Orange that
Maas was simply using the women for his own personal gain.
"He sees it as a money opportunity for his Seaview clients,"
said Thomas, who was one of the two jurors who voted for the
mother. "All of his therapists are really inexperienced. He
didn't even ask for medical records."
It was when Maas was treating the two Orange County women
that they first realized they had formed multiple personalities
to repress more than three decades of satanic [sic] abuse by
their mother, a Mission Viejo resident, the women testified.
But Tom R. Allen, their mother's attorney, labels that
nonsense. Rather, Maas, a certified hypnotist, planted the
stories in the minds of the daughters now 35 and 48, Allen said,
and encouraged them to sue so he could win fame as a
satanic-abuse [sic] expert.
"I think he's scary," Allen said.
Maas denies ever suggesting or pushing satanism [sic] on a
client. He is quick to dismiss the criticism, saying his methods
"If they weren't accurate and they weren't helpful then we
wouldn't have more and more people coming in," Maas said.
Seaview Counseling, a tax-exempt, Christian-oriented center
with six locations and 23 therapists, now treats about 50 ritual
abuse clients a week, and typically signs up two new ones a
month, Maas said. Ritual abuse, he adds, now accounts for about
20 percent of his business.
Maas' colleagues at Seaview say the criticism being leveled
at him is the result of misunderstanding how he helps victims of
satanic [sic] rituals overcome years of abuse.
Seaview staff members believe Maas heals patients by
carefully guiding them through their long-repressed memories.
"He's a good teacher," said Seaview therapist Judy Possnack,
a former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, who testified at
the trial. "He shows us how to just be with somebody, and not try
to lead them in any way."
There is nothing weird or mystical about the kind of healing
Seaview practices, said Colleen Yoder, an intern-trainee who
joined the center about seven months ago. And certainly nothing
"I have absolutely zero doubt that these clients are telling
the truth (about ritual abuse)," Yoder said. "I think it's so
bizzare [sic] and so awful it's really beyond what people can
Maas said he usually tries to determine whether any physical
pain his patients feel is caused by a repressed memory. The idea
that physical symptoms are precursors to emerging memories is
common in psychology, he said.
Few psychotherapists in Orange County and elsewhere know of
him. Those psychologists who are critical of him decline to
comment publicly, citing an unwritten rule that therapists do not
openly criticize other therapists.
Orange psychologist Pamela A. Reagor, who also treats ritual
abuse patients, said she differs with Maas over some of the
treatment methods he uses.
Reagor says she uses a battery of psychological tests to
determine whether her patients have multiple personality disorder
[MPD], which is caused by severe child abuse in most cases. Maas
acknowledges he normally does not administer such tests.
Multiple personality disorder "got dramatically more
attention in the early 1980s," Reagor said. "That means we have
to counter anything (suggesting) fads or that sort of cult
phenomenon (among therapist). We just have to be real careful not
to diagnose it when it is not there."
Since the so-called "Satan trial" began last month, two of
Maas' former clients have alleged that he suggested memories to
them that they later realized were false.
A man identified in court as Greg D.-- the former husband of
the 35-year-old plaintiff in the case-- testified that Maas once
suggested during a marital therapy session that he may have been
molested as a child.
When he told Maas he had a cold, the man said, Maas suggested
to his that it could be the sign of a hidden memory.
Maas said he did not know the man's past.
Maas' ex-wife, Robin, said her former husband also was her
therapist at one time and interpreted her dreams as revealing
satanic [sic] abuse. She said he hypnotised her and also
suggested that she had been molested as a child by her parents,
which she said is untrue.
"He told me I sat in this throne thing, with this black cape,
and I watched baby sacrifices," Robin Maas said. "It's worse than
a cheap book."
Maas declined to comment on his wife's claims citing doctor-
patient confidentiality rules.
# # #
Maas first encountered tales of satanic [sic] ritual abuse,
he said, in 1983 when he was a minister working as a marriage and
family counselor at Lutheran Social Services in Garden Grove.
A patient told him she was one of several young women raped
on an alter by men in black robes. His common sense rebelled,
Maas said, and he rejected it as fantasy.
"My reaction was one of disbelief, except for the fact that
she was telling these stories with great pain and conflict," Maas
When another woman came in with a similar story, Maas said
his skepticism was shaken. About that time, other Orange County
therapists began reporting similar stories, he said, so they met
in groups at the University of California, Irvine, to compare
notes. Maas became a believer.
Maas said it wasn't a difficult leap. He had his own hidden
memory of being sexually abused by his grandfather when he was 5,
and again by a returning World War II soldier who stayed with his
family when he was 7, he said.
"It's taken me a long time to deal with that," Maas said.
Ordained a minister in 1971, Maas split from the Missouri
Synod seven years later in a dispute over the literal
interpretation of the bible. He joined the Association of
Evangelical Lutheran Churches, before it merged with another
branch of the Lutheran church.
One of Maas' former supervisors, retired Lutheran Bishop
Nelson Trout, said Maas was asked to surrender his ministerial
office in 1984 for misconduct. "He did not take his call to the
ministry seriously," Trout said. "He leaves no good impression."
Maas said he was forced to resign from Lutheran Social
Services in Garden Grove and the Association of Evangelical
Lutheran Churches because, "to the best of my recollection is had
to do with a divorce."
But Trout and another retired bishop, Will L. Herzfeld, said
many divorced ministers currently serve in the Lutheran church.
Maas said the abuse he suffered as a child led to trouble
with alcohol and with forming lasting relationships. He said he
now only drinks socially. He has been married three times.
"I would be inclined throughout my career to want to try to
help other people as an indirect way of helping myself," Maas
Maas said he does not mind if some people outside Seaview
portray him as a renegade among psychotherapists.
"I am quite willing to try to learn, or at least ask
challenging questions about treatment procedures, and not be sort
of molded into a certain kind of direction clinically," Maas
said. "But of course, unless you [sic] know what you're [sic]
doing, it's easy to get lost in the client's word rather than
Roe Case Delved Into Ritual Abuse, Repressed
Memories And Disorders
In the landmark civil case that ended Friday, two daughters
accused a Mission Viejo grandmother of subjecting them to a
lifetime of satanic [sic] terror and sexual abuse.
The women claimed their mother and late father introduced
them to a secret cult at infancy. Their litany of alleged horrors
was unrelenting: human sacrifices of kidnapped transients; baby
stabbings; animal mutilations; torture by electric shock.
The mother, identified in court documents as Ellen Roe, said
she was bewildered by the allegations. Roe said her family was a
normal, healthy one until her daughters started therapy three
An Orange County Superior Court jury returned a mixed verdict
that may further muddle the satanic [sic] debate. Jurors found
the mother negligent ut also found that she neither intentionally
harmed her daughters nor her 11-year-old granddaughter. They
awarded no monetary damages.
Jurors said afterwards that they believed the daughters had
been abused, but they weren't sure who was responsible. [IT'S
QUITE OBVIOUS MAAS WAS! -D.R.]
The Roe case delved into the largely uncharted legal area
involving ritual abuse, repressed memories and multiple
Both sides-- those who believe in the existence of satanic
[sic] cults and those who seek to debunk ritual abuse claims--
have followed the case closely because they believe the outcome
will affect whether other alleged victims follow a similar path.
At trial's end, both sides declared victory.
Timothy Hugh Maas
49, director of Seaview Counseling Inc.
$36,622 salary, plus $30,000 for housing, according to 1989
tax return. Seaview's net revenue $344,665 with reported
deficit of $6,890, according to 1989 tax returns
First obtained marriage, family and child counseling license
from state Board of Behavioral Sciences Examiners in 1981.
License is current, with notation that he is certified to
practice hypnotism on his patients.
Founded Seaview Counseling Inc. in 1985 in Huntington Beach.
Other offices in Westminster, Los Alamitos, El Toro, Tustin,
La Habra, Lakewood, and another planned in Fullerton. Seaview
also works through Parkcrest Church in Long Beach.
Twenty-three therapists work at six locations, including six
licensed marriage and family counselors, three psychological
assistants, one clinical psychologist, nine interns working
towards their state licenses, and four student trainees.
Handles 45 to 50 abuse patients who Maas said were
ritualistically abused. Gets two new satanic-abuse [sic]
clients per month.
Pastoral counselor with Lutheran Social Services of Garden
Grove from 1980 to 1984.
Counselor in St. Louis from 1976 to 1979.
Minister at two Lutheran churches in Tennessee from 1971 to
Education and Background
Associate of arts degree, Santa Monica College, 1962.
Bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis
in marketing-management research, California State
University, Los Angeles, 1965.
Divinity studies, Concordia Theological Seminary in Clayton,
Ministry degree in pastoral counseling, Eden Theological
Seminary, Webster Groves, Mo., 1979.
Ordained in the Lutheran church, Missouri Synod, September
1971. Split from the Missouri Synod in 1978 to join a branch
group; asked to resign from Lutheran Synod Services of Garden
Grove and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in
Born in Los Angeles, April 24, 1941.
Married three times, including to a former patient he met
while counseling at Lutheran Social Services of Garden Grove.
Has two daughters.
STATE REGISTRY OF CHARITABLE TRUSTS
STATE BOARD OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE EXAMINERS
INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICES
REGISTER'S SACRAMENTO BUREAU.
Transcribed by d. rice April 23, 1991
Commentary and My Two Cents' Worth By Transcriber D. Rice.
It is always distressing to see people manipulated and taken
advantage of by someone they had put their trust in--- even more
so when these people come to that person out of pain, fear, and
confusion. Maas may or may not be acting out of good intentions;
he may very well believe in the "'Satanic' Abuse" myth, or he may
have so much invested in bolstering the myth, he cannot entertain
any objective, unbiased reasoning or critical thinking which
threatens his paradigm.
"Covariance" [M. Snyder] and "cognitive dissonance" [P. Clance,
S. Imes, et al] tends to make some people more inclined to
believe the irrational, improbable, and even impossible, when
presented with convincing--- even irrefutable--- evidence to the
contrary. Couple these self-defense mechanisms with economic and
social gain, and an occult theism that has a stake in believing
magically (both of which Maas demonstrates), and one encounters
an individual who quite literally cannot observe and internalize
information that does not meet his preconceived world-view.
Unfortunately, the best way to buttress a flagging conviction
in the magical thinkers' paradigm, and quiet those murmuring of
doubt welling in his subconscious, is to infect others with the
same information disease. Maas, a certified hypnotherapist, is in
an excellent position to plant such memes in his victims.
What Maas did (and continues to do!) to his victims, to make
them believe his tales of "'Satanic' Abuse" to such an extent
that they brought civil suit against their mother, is quite
despicable for anyone to do, whether out of ignorance or intent,
but for a licensed therapist do to so it is utterly abominable.
For those who wish to query Maas concerning his phantasies,
write to the address below. One may be tempted to send him good
information that demonstrates his phantasies invalid, but it is
probable he will immediately reject it. Give him a call and ask.
Mr. Timothy Hugh Maas
Care Of Seaview Counseling
22772 Centre Drive
El Toro, California
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank