Gag order is sought in lawsuits over brainwashing

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ReligionNewsBlog.com — Lawyers for St. Louis, MO treatment center want a gag order placed on all parties involved in a lawsuit against the center that has attracted international media attention.

Last week Leslie Thompson filed a malpractice lawsuit against the Castlewood Treatment Center and her former therapist, psychologist Mark Schwartz, claiming she was hypnotized into thinking her eating disorder was rooted in “repressed memories” of cult involvement.

She was the second woman to make such claims. In November 2011 another woman, Lisa Nasseff, also sued Castlewood Treatment Center and Mark Schwartz, Sc.D., (Doctor of Science), saying that the therapist hypnotized her while she was on psychotropic drugs, inducing false memories of being raped and belonging to a satanic cult.

In a motion filed in the Nasseff case, Castlewood attorney John Schultz claims that comment made by the women’s attorney, Ken Vuylsteke, have tainted the jury pool and put Schwartz’s right to a fair trial at risk.

The motion was heard by Judge Robert Cohen in St. Louis County Circuit Court, but no decision been made and no follow-up hearing was scheduled.

Craig Cheatham of St. Louis TV station KMOV says

Former staff at Castlewood told me the treatment methods at Castlewood included hypnosis and psychotropic drugs.

Three former Castlewood employees say Schwartz claimed an  extraordinarily high percentage of patients were victims of satanic abuse who developed multiple personalities or dissociative disorders to avoid dealing with their painful experiences.

Nasseff and Thompson insist those memories were false.

Dr. Schwartz talks more about the treatment methods used at the center in a video posted on the YouTube channel for Castlewood Treatment Center For Eating Disorders.

Cheatham says that During an interview, Ms. Nasseff cried as she recalled the impact of believing she had murdered a child as part of a satanic ritual. She claims Schwartz brainwashed her into believing something that never happened.

Thompson says she was led to understand that she had “multiple personalities,” and that she had repressed memories of participating in satanic rituals, even “witnessing the sacrificing of a baby.”

Last week the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported

The lawsuit says Schwartz told Thompson she would die if she left Castlewood, just as if she had walked away “in the middle of surgery.”

Thompson’s medical bills at Castlewood reached $600,000, according to the lawsuit, which alleges that Schwartz wanted to keep her at the center because she could pay for long-term treatment.

The lawsuits have prompted other women to come forward to tell similar stories of being implanted with false memories under hypnosis at Castlewood.

“I know that I came out of there worse off than I came in,” said Brooke Killebrew, 31, of St. Louis, who stayed at Castlewood for about five months in 2010 and said she was heavily medicated. “They make you believe that you must have had a traumatic experience … even if you are expressing to them that you didn’t have one.”

A former Castlewood employee backed up the women’s claims about Schwartz.

“He knows how to manipulate your mind and your feelings,” said Jim Ballard, 52, who worked as a landscaper and driver for two years. “(Women) would say that when Mark wasn’t able to get them to give whatever information he was looking for, he would say they were protecting their cult. It never made sense to me.”

Hypnosis for Eating Disorder Led to False Memories About Satanic Cult Abuse, Suit Says
Second Woman Claims Clinic Gave Her ‘False Memories’ of Satanic Rituals
False Memory Syndrome
Satanic and/or Ritual Abuse and Related Issues

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This post was last updated: May. 9, 2014