There'll be the Devil to Pay: The Future of America's Recovered Memory Movement is at Stake in a $35M Lawsuit

The Independent/October 17, 1994

London -- "After seven years in therapy, in and out of hospitals until February 1992, Kathryn Schwiderski [who entered therapy for mild depression] is divorced and has no contact with her husband, children, grandchildren, sister or parents. She was subjected to criminal investigation and interrogation and reported to the Child Protection Services, she says, without any evidence. She became convinced she was a member and victim of a satanic cult since her childhood and that she sexually and physically abused her own children; now she believes the memories were false, implanted by therapists through hypnotism and drugs. She continues to experience extreme emotional problems."

Dennis Schwiderski, Texas oil company executive, was "investigated by a grand jury for allegedly abusing his son, but the case was not pursued, he says, because there was no evidence against him." He is trying to find one of his children, Kelly 23, who has disappeared and believed to be hiding. She apparently still believes she was a member and victim of a cult.

The family contends that "therapists created false memories as part of a scheme to collect millions of dollars in fees for treatment of non-existent abuse at the hands of a satanic cult." The case will go to trial next year. "The defendants include some of America's leading exponents of recovered memory techniques. They are Judith Peterson, a psychologist from Houston, who first treated the family; Roberta Sachs, a psychologist from Illinois; and Bennett Braun, an Illinois doctor who specializes in multiple personality disorder. The family members are also suing the hospitals where they were treated. In total, there are 25 defendants. Not all face every allegation, but all are defending the action."

"Over the years, Dennis was sent bills totaling $2 million -- health insurance covered most of it."

"All the defendants have filed a defense denying the allegations without detailing their arguments, as is common in US courts. They stand by the therapists' diagnosis that the Schwiderski family were members of a satanic cult and therefore their treatment was justified."

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