Testimony of Multiple Selves
Ruled Admissible in Minnesota

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 27, 1997

Court allows split-personality testimony against psychiatrist

PAMELA HUEY / Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A Wisconsin woman and another patient with multiple personalities deserved to testify as their alter egos against a psychiatrist who sexually abused them, the Minnesota Court of Appeals says.

The ruling upholds testimony of someone in a "dissociative state."

Two years ago, the women won a multi-million-dollar judgment from the estate and insurer of psychiatrist William Routt, who committed suicide in 1991.

Tuesday's ruling by the appellate court in St. Paul sent the women's lawsuit against Routt's nurse, Kathy House, back to Hennepin County District Court.

The women, from St. Paul and Baldwin, Wis., argued that House, as the doctor's sole nurse and assistant, was aware of the abuse but failed to intervene or report it.

Both women had numerous personalities, some of whom testified at the 12-week trial in July, August and September 1995. Both women had been victims of sexual abuse before seeing Routt, according to court papers.

They testified that Routt took advantage of them and their mental fragility during therapy sessions. Routt would hypnotize them or call for their alter personalities, sexually abuse them and swear them to secrecy while the women were in their dissociative state, the appeals court ruling said.

One personality, 4-year-old Elizabeth, testified that when she was nervous or scared about touching Routt as he directed, he would "put a needle in me and then I wasn't as scared anymore," the court ruling said.

Another personality, 10-year-old Anne, testified that Routt drank alcohol during therapy.

House challenged the reliability of the testimony because she said the women were in a hypnotic state each time they became a different personality.

But the appeals court said the women were not under hypnosis and the trial judge was correct to find the women "sufficiently competent" to testify.

The women named House in their original lawsuit because they said she violated the Minnesota Vulnerable Adult Act by not reporting Routt's abuse. At the trial, House denied having any knowledge of inappropriate conduct by Routt or that he drank on the job.

The women's attorney, Sheila Engelmeier, said she hopes the case can be tried sometime in the next year, calling House's conduct "egregious" and a violation of her ethical responsibility as a nurse.

The appeals court cited a Georgia court case where a victim of childhood sexual abuse was allowed to testify in a dissociative state over the objection of the defendants. Engelmeier said that is the only other civil case where such testimony has been allowed.

(c) Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Astraea's Bookstore... a full line of books on multiplicity & beyond

Email | Guestbook | FAQ | Home | Multiplicity | Religion | Politics | Anti-Psych | Anti-FMSF | Silly

Back to where you were