Nine civil lawsuits against Genesis Associates of Exton, a controversial therapy center specializing in drug and alcohol counseling, and its two founders, psychologist Patricia Mansmann and social worker Patricia Neuhausel, have been settled.
The accusations against Genesis ranged from medical malpractice to personal injuries, according to court records and attorney Rodger Mutzel, who represented six of the plaintiffs.
Mutzel said he could not discuss the settlements. "My clients were very satisfied with the resolutions of the claims," he said.
Mansmann's and Neuhausel's attorney, Cornelia Farrell Maggio, did not return calls yesterday.
Former Genesis clients have claimed they were ordered to break ties with family and friends, and that they were encouraged to recall sexual abuse or abusive satanic rituals that had never happened, according to state records.
One of the nine cases, in which Carol and Martin Ritter of Pomeroy and their daughter Christina claimed mistreatment, was scheduled to begin Monday. The other cases were scheduled to follow in Chester County Court, through June. Mutzel said he had been prepared to select a jury for the Ritters' case.
All of the cases were settled through a conference before Chester County Judge Robert Shenkin on Monday.
The other plaintiffs represented by Mutzel are Peter Fulginiti Sr., Peter Fulginiti Jr. and Brian Fulginiti of Wallingford; Elizabeth Johnson of Santa Fe, N.M.; Stacy Good of Reading; Joseph and Kathleen Kelly; and Richard Stinger of Blue Bell. Joseph Rizzo, who has represented at least five other clients who have settled with Genesis, represented Laurence Byers, Jennifer Holmes and Michael Mayer, who also settled on Monday.
Genesis is also under investigation by the state, which considered at one point permanently revoking Mansmann's and Neuhausel's licenses. The state filed charges in 1996 against Mansmann and Neuhausel for engaging in harmful practices.
According to a complaint filed by the state Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, Genesis, founded in the late 1980s, used a controversial form of therapy known as "detachment therapy."
Clients were encouraged to maintain relationships only within the Genesis network, according to the complaint.
State records indicate Mansmann and Neuhausel continued practicing after their licenses were suspended in 1996.
Carol Ritter claimed in the lawsuit that Genesis had her brainwashed and told her that her husband and daughter were "toxic" people.