Lawsuit revisits a Bellevue family’s demise
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Sunday March 2, 2003
King County Journal, Mar. 2, 2003
by Noel Brady, Journal Reporter
At a small church near downtown Issaquah, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor urged his secretary, Terry Rose, to join a counseling circle of more than a dozen women.
That was news to the then-40-year-old Bellevue woman, but it explained her bouts of depression. As her treatment intensified in 1995 — to four sessions per week — so did her faith in Campbell’s cult-like world of demons and followers.
Psychiatrists now attribute Rose’s mental frailty to the trauma of a previous abusive marriage. But that was not the focus of her counseling sessions. Diaries she kept at the time reveal a growing obsession with the occult, including fears and suspicion that her husband at the time, Jerry Rose, was possessed by demons.
As her feelings intensified, Terry Rose conspired with her 15-year-old daughter, Sarah Starling, and a hit man to kill Jerry Rose. The murder-for-hire plot failed, and in March 1999 the hit man instead killed Sarah, for reasons that have never been explained.
Campbell has since been dismissed from the now-defunct Issaquah Seventh-day Adventist Church and discredited as a counselor. Psychologists and psychiatrists who examined Rose after her arrest found no evidence of multiple personalities, and she later was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder.
No criminal charges related to Sarah’s death or the plot to kill Jerry Rose were ever brought against Campbell, who remains in the area. But neither has he explained the role he played in events leading up to those crimes.
When questioned shortly after Sarah’s murder by King County sheriff’s detective Scott Strathy, Campbell claimed pastoral immunity and later invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. He has consistently refused to speak with police, prosecutors or the press, and he declined, through his attorney, to be interviewed for this story.
The Journal has pieced together Campbell’s story through court documents and interviews with Jerry Rose, the women Campbell counseled, police, church officials, psychiatrists and attorneys.
Lawsuit against Campbell
Jerry Rose has filed a civil lawsuit against Campbell, 61, the Western Washington Corporation of Seventh-Day Adventists and the General Conference Corporation of Seventh-Day Adventists.
He claims Campbell took advantage of psychologically fragile women, including his wife, Terry Rose, in counseling sessions sanctioned by the church. Jerry Rose, who has since been divorced from Terry Rose, believes that by planting horrific false memories of Satanism, Campbell crippled the women mentally and took control of their lives. In the process, he says, Campbell destroyed his family.
Campbell’s attorney, John Woodbery of Bellevue, denied all allegations cited in the lawsuit, but said any potential responsibility for damages should be shared with the church. The General Conference Corporation of Seventh-Day Adventists has filed a cross-claim, placing all potential blame on the pastor.
In his response to Jerry Rose’s civil suit, Woodbery writes that Campbell was merely acting as a chaplain to his multiples group. He also asserts that the claims against his client are frivolous and past the statute of limitations.
On the question of the church’s role in Campbell’s counseling, Woodbery said: “He had the backing of the church. They knew what he was doing.”
Campbell and church officials often have been at odds.
A decade ago, elders at a Kirkland church wrangled with the Seventh-day Adventist general conference for months to have Campbell removed as pastor. He finally was transferred to the West Seattle Seventh-day Adventist Church, where he stayed for a couple of years before being transferred to Issaquah.
In March 1999, shortly after Sarah’s murder, the Washington SDA conference dismissed Campbell as pastor of the Issaquah church amid disagreements over his counseling work and allegations that he stole thousands of dollars from one of the women in his multiples group.
On behalf of his murdered stepdaughter, his ex-wife and himself — all of whom received counseling from Campbell — Jerry Rose intends to hold the church and its former pastor accountable.
“If you can’t trust your pastor, who can you trust?” Jerry Rose asked, shaking his head in his attorney’s office. “You think they’re all-knowing and perfect, so you never question them.”
Jerry Rose’s lawsuit demands not-yet-specific compensation from Campbell and the church for the damage done to his family and for his own mental anguish, lost work time and legal fees. He wants Campbell to be punished for posing as a psychiatrist and misdiagnosing his wife with multiple personalities. And he still wants answers to questions that remain after two lengthy criminal trials:
* How much did the church know about Campbell’s bizarre counseling sessions?
* How had he become so hated that his stepdaughter and wife wanted him dead?
* What role, if any, did Campbell play in the plot to kill Jerry, and in Sarah’s death?
Friend, pastor, employer
Shortly before Campbell joined the Issaquah Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1995, Terry Rose was hired to clean the church during evenings. After she met Campbell, he hired her as an administrative assistant, and the two became friends.
Campbell was someone Rose felt she could trust, someone eager to help her through her long bouts of depression. Campbell suggested she work away from her house, and soon Terry Rose was doing Campbell’s laundry, ironing and other chores at his Kirkland apartment in addition to her clerical work at the church.
Campbell showed special interest in her struggle with depression, and began spiritually counseling her as well as her husband, Jerry, and her daughter, Sarah, Jerry Rose said. Campbell soon became such an integral member of the Rose family that he often could be found at their house.
But he never counseled the husband and wife together, and routinely brushed off Jerry’s questions about strains in their marriage.
As Terry Rose cleaned the church one evening in 1995, Campbell suggested she sit in with his spiritual counseling group for people he claimed were struggling with multiple personalities.
Rose never suspected she might have “multiples” or had been subjected sexual and physical abuse during satanic rituals until the pastor introduced the notions, Jerry Rose said. But as she shared her stories, fears and hopes with the group, she came to believe Campbell’s suggestions were true, so much so that she defined her 33 personalities on paper, her handwriting changing with each. She was attending the group meetings four times a week, court documents state.
As the sessions continued, Terry Rose began giving her alternate personalities names like “Martha” and 5-year-old “Sunni.” In May 1996, she even had Campbell baptize one.
“There are lots of people that have the dark; I call them dark people,” Terry wrote in her journal as a multiple she called Big Terry. “That big person Jerry is very scary; he tries to be nice sometimes but he’s a dark person.”
Michele Shaw, Terry Rose’s defense attorney, said that “next to Sarah, Pastor Campbell was the most important person in Ms. Rose’s life.
“Pastor Campbell was more than a pastor and boss to Ms. Rose; she was in complete and total awe of him. He made her feel loved, important, cared for and special. She had been a lost soul, but he was always there for her.”
At Sarah’s funeral service, several people recalled, Terry Rose introduced the pastor as Sarah’s father.
The counseling sessions
A few women from Campbell’s multiples group were willing to talk about their experiences.
They described how Campbell used church-endorsed psycho-therapeutic methods and even a form of drug-induced hypnosis; psychiatrists who have since worked with Terry Rose believe Campbell used the hypnosis to implant false memories of grotesque satanic rituals.
Some of the women continue to believe their memories are based on actual experience — that Campbell lured them into a satanic coven that involved orgies, blood drinking, child rape and even infanticide. Some say Sarah’s murderer, Jason McDaniels, attended several of Campbell’s coven meetings, though all of their memories must be considered suspect.
Jerry Rose’s attorney, Susan Johnson, said regardless of whether satanic rituals actually occurred, the evidence clearly indicates that Campbell falsely presented himself as a professionally qualified mental health care provider, telling parishioners he specialized in treating people with multiple personalities, also known as disassociative identity disorder, as well as for satanic ritual abuse and bereavement.
If rituals involving Campbell are fantasies arising from therapy, psychiatrists say, a therapist must have conjured them as false recovered memories and encouraged the women to believe them.
According to noted Seattle psychiatrist August Piper, the specific nature and relative similarity of the women’s memories suggest Campbell intentionally planted the horrific images in their minds in order to control them.
Shortly after Campbell was transferred to the Issaquah Church in June 1995, he told church members and a dozen or so members of his multiples therapy group, most of them women, that he was considering an offer to become a resident psychiatrist at Harborview Medical Center.
He also stated, church members said, that he worked with Seattle police in identifying some 17 satanic covens he claimed were operating in the area.
Johnson said her pre-trial investigation indicated that Campbell holds no degrees or any other clinical training in psychology. According to his associates, the only psychiatric training he ever underwent was a weekend seminar on Neurolingustic Programming, a Seventh-day Adventist-endorsed therapeutic technique that claims to help subjects overcome fears, increase confidence and enrich their relationships with God.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that something weird was going on there,” said Steve Altabef, an Everett therapist who accepted at least four of Campbell’s group members, including Terry Rose, after the pastor referred them to Altabef for one-on-one therapy.
“I thought it was a little weird that he had in his church such a group of DID (disassociative identity disorder) people. That’s an unbelievably high number of people coming out of the woodwork of one small church.”
After being dismissed as pastor in Issaquah, Campbell moved to Portland, Ore., where he lived with a friend for a year. Last year he returned to Seattle and began working at a chain home store in Tukwila. When approached there, Campbell refused to comment or answer any questions.
Sarah’s body was found the evening of March 10, 1999, face down in the brush of densely wooded Kingsgate Park. Investigators determined that she had been beaten and stabbed in the neck.
Over the next week, acting on tips from two teenage girls, detectives arrested three men, including Sarah’s recently estranged boyfriend, Jason McDaniels.
As detectives interviewed more of Sarah’s friends, evidence of another crime rapidly came into focus. The girl’s mother, Terry Rose, then 44, had approached a few of the boys in Sarah’s group of friends, including McDaniels, with a proposition to kill her husband in exchange for $10,000, Jerry’s Dodge Durango and airline tickets to Hawaii.
McDaniels, who was living with the Roses at the time, accepted the offer, and signed an actual written contract. He coaxed his friend, Justin Hanson, then 17, to help him carry out the deed. The plan was to ambush Jerry Rose at his home as he returned from work one evening in mid-February, 1999.
But on the night of the planned attack, Jerry Rose burst into his house through the wrong door and foiled the plan.
A month later, police stood over Sarah’s battered and bloody remains. Some speculate McDaniels and another friend, Thomas Mullin-Coston, killed her because she started blabbing about the plan to kill Jerry.
Two separate King County Superior Court juries convicted McDaniels and Mullin-Coston of first-degree murder for Sarah’s death. A jury also found McDaniels guilty of conspiring to murder Jerry Rose. McDaniels received 42 years in prison. Mullin-Coston was sentenced to 31.
Hanson cooperated with prosecutors in exchange for a lesser charge of rendering criminal assistance, to which he pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 17 months in jail.
Terry Rose, now 48, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and waived her right to trial. At her sentencing a judge agreed with prosecutors that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from beatings she received from her previous husband, Bobby Starling. She was sentenced to five years in prison, far less than the standard minimum of 15 years, and will be out in June.
Throughout the trials, testimony concerning Campbell raised questions about his history with the church, his counseling methods, his preoccupation with the occult and his intentions.
Those close to the pastor said he had been with the Seventh-day Adventist Church since the 1960s. In 1967, he was arrested in Stevens Point, Wis., on investigation of fraud and violation of a solicitor’s license.
Details of his pastoral history between then and the early 1990s are unclear.
Campbell was assigned to the Kirkland Seventh-day Adventist Church in the early 1990s. He was transferred there from an unknown church in Eastern Washington, but he quickly wore out his welcome in Kirkland in 1993 when he began devoting most of his time to counseling depressed and psychologically needy women.
In November 1999, King County sheriff’s detectives began investigating Campbell and his relationship with one of his multiples group members, Megan Sekijima.
In May 1997, court records state, Campbell obtained power of attorney over Sekijima and became a signer on her account to help pay her bills. Detectives suspected Campbell took some $65,000 from Sekijima’s account to pay for his own car and truck and a condo for his son.
Campbell later repaid much of what he owed, and Sekijima stopped pursuing charges.
According to court documents, $10,000 was withdrawn from her account about the time of the planned hit on Jerry Rose, the same amount McDaniels said he was promised to kill Rose. About the same time, the value of Jerry Rose’s stock holdings in his family’s business, Cost-U-Less, reached an all time high of $400,000.
Sekijima could not be reached for comment. And neither King County sheriff’s detective Ken Migita, who investigated the claim against Campbell, nor Sekijima’s attorney, Henry Skidmore, would comment for this story.
He `raped my mind’
“Pastor Campbell raped my mind,” said Elise King, a member of Campbell’s multiples group. “Basically he got so far inside my head that I no longer thought for myself or made decisions for myself.
“It was the whole idea of creating fear and loyalty in people and setting up himself as the only person able to save me after he cut down everybody around me,” King said. “He was setting himself up as the person with all the answers … to the point where I was telling him every single thing in my head and not moving forward until I received permission or actual direction from him.”
King, who’s 27 now, bottomed out emotionally and psychologically during her years in counseling with Campbell. The pastor persuaded her to release her 3-year-old daughter to a foster family he found in the church, she said.
Elaine Dreger and her husband, Clint, were the first couple to take in King’s daughter. Dreger wasn’t a multiple herself but an assistant to Campbell with experience working with the mentally ill. She attended Campbell’s sessions to help support group members as a “prayer partner,” she said
“(Campbell) was very interested in women that were vulnerable,” Dreger said. “He did plant a lot of things in their heads. It was a Catch 22 for those people because they could trust me and talk to me, while Pastor Campbell would get inside of them.”
Campbell’s techniques involved a process of visualization, Dreger said, a way of categorizing the dozens of personalities that his group members believed they possessed. Among other exercises, Campbell instructed group members to draw with pen and paper a storeroom with shelves or a large square conference table with seats. Then, for instance, he would have them draw the front door to the board room and the stairs or an elevator. He’d ask, which is Jesus’ seat or area? Which is the eating room? Which is the video room? Which is the recovery room?
“It sets you up for him getting inside you,” Dreger said. “He just used the Seventh-day Adventist name,” she said. “He didn’t practice that doctrine. I was just feeling in my gut that something was wrong.”
A turning point
In counseling under Campbell, Terry Rose recovered memories of childhood satanic rituals. Soon afterward, the pastor declared her husband, Jerry, “had demons,” according to Terry Rose’s statements in court records.
Sometime in 1995, Jerry Rose said, Campbell told him “the relationship you once had with your wife will now cease.” Campbell informed him then that his wife would never again have sexual relations with him.
And she didn’t, Jerry Rose said.
Fearing that her husband was somehow in league with the devil only made Terry Rose more susceptible to the pastor’s influence, said Terry Rose’s attorney, Shaw.
“He told her of characteristics identifiable with her husband that were `things that try to make us go to pit without Jesus,”’ Shaw said. “These included, `that whistle, sometimes the ringing in our ears, jingling noises — keys and coins, the basement and darkness.”’
During the conspiracy and murder trials, suspicions of Campbell grew.
Sarah’s best friend, Jami Kahl, testified that Sarah had prepared a rose box containing her stash of drugs and paraphernalia to give to Campbell, so police wouldn’t find it during the inevitable investigation that would follow her stepfather’s murder.
Kahl said she saw the box in Sarah’s room two days before the murder was planned to happen. The morning of the failed ambush, Jamie said, she was in Sarah’s room again, and the box was gone.
And then there was $400 Campbell gave to McDaniels to repair a gun safe in Jerry Rose’s garage.
On the day Jerry Rose was to be murdered, McDaniels used a hammer to try to break into the gun safe, but succeeded only in ruining the locking mechanism. Jerry Rose figured out McDaniels was responsible and had planned to call police.
After her arrest, Terry Rose told detectives that, at her request, Campbell gave McDaniels $400 to repair the safe, hoping to persuade her husband not to go to police.
But Jerry refused the deal, according to court documents, and McDaniels used the money to buy drugs.
A powerful influence
In court documents, Karil Klingbeil, an adjunct associate professor at the University of Washington’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, compared Campbell’s control over Terry Rose to that of a cult leader.
“Her association with Pastor Terry Campbell and his cult-like following of multiple personality disordered devotees convinced Terry Rose that she too has suffered this malady,” Klingbeil wrote. “As an authority figure, he had an enormous and powerful effect on Ms. Rose, and through a technique referred in the literature as `gaslighting’ he was able to convince Terry of almost anything.”
Gaslighting is a method of manipulating a subject by making them doubt their own perception of reality. The name comes from a 1944 film titled “Gaslight,” in which a man attempts to drive his young wife insane in order to steal her family’s precious jewels.
“He literally took over the husband-father-confessor-teacher-leader role,” Klingbeil wrote in a letter to the judge who sentenced Rose. “Terry Rose in my opinion was at her most vulnerable during this time frame that she was associated with the church and Terry Campbell was instilling in her all kinds of (DID), satanic and ritualistic thought processes.”
Lapses in time
None of the women in the multiples group who was interviewed for this story recalls being hypnotized by Campbell or any other therapist around that time. According to psychiatrists, therapeutic hypnosis is the most common way false memories are implanted in people.
However, most of the women in Campbell’s group, including Terry Rose, mentioned periods of time lost — hours and sometimes days.
One of the group members who still believes she witnessed rituals of human sacrifice conducted by Campbell, Donna Kelly, said the pastor gave her and the others certain drugs to aid in their therapy sessions. Specifically, she said, he gave her Rohypnol, the brand name for the drug flunitrazepam, better known as the “date-rape drug.”
“Anything that he did to me while I was on that drug isn’t going to be in my memory,” Kelly said. Now studying psychology at a college on East Coast, Kelly said she’s had no contact with other members of the multiples group for at least three years.
Campbell had no credentials to prescribe Rohypnol or any other drug; if true, Kelly’s accusations indicate criminal acts by Campbell.
Speaking through his attorney, Campbell refused to comment on the allegation that he gave Kelly or anyone else Rohypnol. However, the attorney Woodbery said the claim was preposterous.
The date-rape drug
Rohypnol takes effect within 30 minutes and peaks within 2 hours. It may persist for up to 8 hours or more, depending upon the dosage. Adverse effects include decreased blood pressure, memory impairment, drowsiness, visual disturbances, dizziness and confusion, all creating a hypnotic state in the user.
“The drug lowers the threshold for implanting memories,” psychiatrist Piper said. “In other words, it greatly decreases your ability to decipher between memories that are real and fantasy. It increases one’s suggestibility.”
What’s unclear in cases of false memories recovered through hypnosis, Piper said, is the therapist’s intentions. In some cases, atrocious false memories have formed by accident with no malice. In other cases, he said, therapists have knowingly used their ability to conjure horrific memories of Satanism to influence and hold dominion over their patients.
Another noted researcher on false memories and psychotherapy, Richard Ofshe, says false recovered memories such as these can only be planted intentionally by a therapist.
“It’s incorrect to call these recovered memories,” said Ofshe, a social psychology professor at the University of California at Berkeley and co-author of the Pulitzer-prize winning book about false memories titled “Making Monster.”
“They are beliefs that come into existence solely through the influence of an authority figure,” Ofshe said. “The therapist has to want it to happen. He has to work at it.”
In most cases, Ofshe said, the therapist’s basic motive for creating beliefs in a patient is power. That power often is used to gain money, sexual favors and other classic payoffs.
In search of answers
A former high-rise construction worker and executive in his family’s retail business, Jerry Rose has been out of work due to illness and emotional strain since his wife’s arrest. He said he hopes the civil suit will answer remaining questions about what destroyed his family.
Rose doesn’t hate his now ex-wife or his slain stepdaughter for trying to have him killed, he said. In fact, he wept in court at the sight of his stepdaughter’s photographed remains.
He simply wants answers.
“I don’t hate Terry,” Rose said. “I think she got caught up in something that got her daughter killed.
“I believe firmly in my mind that Terry Campbell was at the bottom of the whole thing.”
CORRECTION 3-4-03: A book about false recovered memories co-authored by Richard Ofshe, a psychology professor at the University of California at Berkeley, was referred to incorrectly in Sunday’s front-page story about former Issaquah Seventh-day Adventist Church Pastor Terry Campbell. Ofshe’s 1994 book, “Making Monsters,” was not a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. However, Ofshe was a co-recipient of the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for public service reporting in another publication.
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