A fourth negligence suit was filed against a Geneva hospital Monday, alleging a psychologist who formerly worked there used witchcraft in treating patients, including instruction in speaking to the dead.
Kenneth Sutter is asking for more than $50,000 in damages from Geneva’s Delnor-Community Hospital for psychological services he received for several months in 2003 by Letitia Libman, a clinical psychologist.
Sutter claims that the hospital failed to monitor Libman, who he says tried to “induce him into witchcraft” under the guise of therapy, instructed him in speaking with dead people and suggested that in lieu of his prescribed medications he should smoke Native-American herbs.
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The first suit, which seeks $1 million in damages from Delnor, was filed March 16 in U.S. District Court in Chicago by Shelley Standau, formerly of Woodstock and now living in North Carolina. It alleges Libman used witch’s spells for the patient to practice in order “to resolve her mental problems and attain her goals in life.”
Two more suits were filed in March and April in Kane County court by two other former patients, both seeking more than $50,000 in damages. Deanna Whetstine, who once lived in Libman’s home, said she initially underwent therapy with Libman for pain management because of a neurological condition, and that not only did Libman use Tarot cards and love potions in her treatment, but also once threatened her with a gun.
Last week former patient Kathleen Carlson filed a suit against the hospital claiming that she sought therapy in September 2002 through January 2004, after a divorce, and that Libman asked her for a sample of her ex-husband’s DNA so that the psychologist could “perform a spell” on him.
Libman, who denies any connection with wiccan practices or organizations, said she is saddened by the “outrageous” claims in the suits.
“These claims are totally without merit,” she said Saturday, adding that she respects all religions, but that “there is no place for religion in therapy.”
“If anything, I am eclectic spiritually,” Libman said. “It’s my hobby,” she said, adding that being knowledgeable about many forms of religion helps her better understand her patients’ belief systems and be a better therapist.
She said she personally follows beliefs practiced by Native-Americans, something which she learned from her father, who is half-Native-American.
Libman does not recall having Sutter as a patient, she said. But as far as suggesting he smoke the herbs, Libman said: “I doubt it very highly that I would say something like that in session. There is nothing that you can smoke from Native-American herbs that would take the place of anything. Those are mostly for ritual,” she said.
Delnor-Community Hospital spokesman Brian Griffin said the hospital launched an internal investigation “immediately” after receiving a patient complaint in January of this year and that Libman is no longer working for the hospital. Libman said she resigned after the hospital confronted her with the allegations.
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