A Utah therapist whose expert testimony helped convict at least two men of sexually abusing children is in danger of losing her license.
Barbara W. Snow is under investigation by the state's Division of Occupational and Professional licensing for allegedly providing counseling services to several family members and crossing professional boundaries, according to a notice of agency action filed Jan. 12.
She also allegedly imposed on them false memories about being sexually abused and being subjected to military testing, the notice states.
Snow could not be reached for comment but has apparently hired an attorney, said Jennifer Bolton, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Commerce. A hearing on the case has not yet been scheduled, she said.
Judges have questioned Snow's testimony in past sexual abuse cases, including the 1985 high-profile prosecution of alleged abuse involving children and adults in Lehi.
The division's discipline notice alleges Snow has recently violated numerous Utah codes defining unprofessional conduct, as well as principles defined by the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics.
During one clinical session, the notice states, Snow convinced a male relative he was sexually abused by his father.
In a different session, with a relative by marriage, Snow "imposed fictitious memories," convincing the woman she was the victim of satanic abuse and military testing. The woman never volunteered such information, the notice states.
When state investigators questioned Snow, she allegedly provided them with made-up notes about those sessions.
On one occasion, Snow went to the woman's house and used a baseball bat to destroy computer equipment and other property she had taken there at an earlier time, the notice says.
In two earlier cases:
Alan Hadfield was found guilty of sexually abusing two children and sentenced to 10 years probation and therapy. Snow, the children's therapist, testified as an expert witness.
In 1990, the Utah Supreme Court granted Hadfield a new hearing, questioning Snow's credibility.
Arden Brett Bullock was convicted in 1986 of sexually assaulting three boys. The Utah Supreme Court upheld his convictions but in a dissent, Justice I. Daniel Stewart raised questions about Snow's role. The boys initially denied to parents and Snow that Bullock was involved, the judge noted.
One of the boys maintained that position to the end. Bullock served 18 years in prison.