Second Woman Claims Clinic Gave Her “False Memories” of Satanic Rituals

Kevin Killeen

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.”

img 3371 Second Woman Claims Clinic Gave Her False Memories of Satanic Rituals

Attorney Ken Vuylsteke, representing two former Castlewood patients

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.

Copyright KMOX

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  • JL25

    Perhaps it is because she suffered from a severe eating disorder that she was warned it would be dangerous to leave treatment until it was stabilized.

    With the first lawsuit, Schwartz denied ever hypnotizing Nasseff and states the center did not use hypnosis. He denied discussing satanic cults with her. He stated she got a lot better during treatment there. Other women in the article and comment section here stated the center also helped them get better.

    Perhaps the woman was in a cult and now denies this. Dr. Schwartz deserves a fair hearing just like anyone else. It is important not to draw conclusions on the case until it is tried and completed.

  • Jim

    It is interesting that both of the clients live in Minnesota and are filling the same same. Dr. Schwartz would not do such a thing and is a great man and has saved many lives.

  • JL25

    It is insulting and false to call the hard training and work of many licensed clinicians “psychobabble.” These clinicians work hard in the field and train for many years. Therapy does not produce MPD/DID, nor does it cause repressed memories. Scientific evidence shows that MPD/DID is caused by severe, repeated abuse and memories of severe trauma may be repressed until a person is better able to deal with them. This happens to both war veterans and abuse survivors. There is no evidence yet that Dr. Schwartz has hurt anyone. He deserves a fair trial just like anyone else.

  • Monica Pignotti, PhD

    Not so, JL25. The scientific evidence weighs heavily in favor of the Sociocognitive Model of DID, not the Posttraumatic model. The evidence DID is caused by repeated abuse and severe trauma is very weak. Here is a link to a summary of a recent review published on the scientific evidence on this topic:

  • JL25

    Not true. The scientific standard for diagnosis used by clinicians in the US, the DSM-IV-TR, states that people with DID report had severe sexual and physical sexual abuse during childhood. It states that reports of people with DID are often validated by objective evidence. The DSM-IV mentions that the sharp increase in reported cases of DID/MPD might be due the greater awareness of the DID/MPD diagnosis, which caused the increased identification of people that were previously undiagnosed.

    For those looking for research showing a clear correlation between dissociation, DID and trauma, see:

  • JL25

    A study showing objective corroboration of the abuse of DID sufferers:

    The sociocognitive model of DID cannot explain the varying symptoms of DID sufferers, nor are there any clear scientific studies showing that any social phenomenon or technique has actually created a DID sufferer’s symptoms or diagnosis.

    • JL25

      Your insults do not prove your point and are in essence meaningless in terms of serious discussion of the issues at hand. Readers should see through these insults and weight out the scientific evidence by reading the articles cited on this page and other serious scientific articles on the topic.

  • JL25

    It may be you that is destroying lives by attacking a legitimate field of therapeutic practice that helps trauma survivors heal from their severe abuse. The damage done limits their resources and chances of getting help. Comparing legitimate scientific research accepted by the majority of practitioners (the DSM-IV-TR) and therapeutic practices to past unrelated injustices is wrong and untrue. Will you admit that you are doing this?

    • JL25

      Just because you repeat the same thing over and over again does not make it true. The lack of scientific rigor is on the side of those that do not believe that trauma causes dissociation and the dissociative disorders. A good example of this is that the new DSM-V, the foremost diagnostic manual in the United States, will have the dissociative disorders in it again, including DID. Traumatic memories can be repressed. Look at the studies of war veterans, Holocaust survivors and child abuse victims for evidence of this. The “very vocal” minority is on your side. And the research does not support your position.

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