BALLWIN, Mo. (KMOX) — A second woman has filed a malpractice lawsuit against a Ballwin treatment center, claiming she was hypnotized into thinking her eating disorder was rooted in “repressed memories” of cult involvement.
Leslie Thompson, 26, filed the suit late yesterday against the Castlewood Treatment Center and her former therapist, psychologist Mark Schwartz.
The suit filed alleges that while undergoing treatment at Castlewood for anorexia between December 2007 and May 2010, Thompson 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.”
“Only after she went to Castlewood and had this therapy did she recover these memories,” said Thompson’s attorney Ken Vuylsteke, “supposedly told to her by another personality that she also didn’t have before she went to Castlewood.”
The suit claims the Castlewood therapy caused or contributed to false memories and a belief that Thompson had ten personalities, including one named “Freddie” who was the “personification of the devil.”
The suit also alleges that therapist Mark Schwartz told Thompson that if she left his care and treatment, she “would die from her eating disorder,” and that if she doesn’t listen to her “parts” (multiple personalities), they “will try to kill you.”
In December, another former Castlewood patient, Lisa Nasseff, 31, filed a similar suit, claiming she had been hypnotized into believing her eating disorder was linked to forgotten memories of satanic cult involvement.
Both Thompson and Nasseff are from Minnesota, and their attorney Ken Vuylsteke thinks that’s no coincidence.
“We also allege in the petition that there was a calculation on the part of this therapist, Mr Schwartz, to target people who have unlimited insurance coverage. Both these ladies come from Minnesota , which under Minnesota law allows unlimited coverage for residential care for eating disorders.”
The suit seeks an open-ended sum in excess of $25,000. The suit alleges that Thompson incurred medical, counseling and therapy bills of $600,000 and also had an additional sum of $10,000 in medical expenses from St. Lukes Hospital Hospital.
KMOX attempted to reach Schwartz for comment late Wednesday, after the suit was filed. A woman who answered the phone at Castlewood said Schwartz was not available. KMOX left a voice mail message with the center’s director Nancy Albus, explaining that another suit had been filed and her reaction was sought.
Ken Fields with Fleishman-Hillard Public Relations firm called back, saying he was returning the call for Albus. He said Castlewood had not yet seen the suit, but he released a statement attributed to Albus:
“Castlewood has treated more than a thousand clients and is a leading treatment center for those suffering from anorexia, bulimia and compulsive over-eating. Castlewood is confident in the care that has gone on for over a decade.”
After the first suit was filed in December, Albus and Schwartz denied the allegations in media reports. Albus was reportedly vowing to fight the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, attorney Vuylsteke claims a dozen other former Castlewood patients have told him similar allegations, but most fall outside the two-year statute of limitations that allow for a suit to be filed. He claims former patients and employees are willing to step forward under oath and confirm these allegations.