Lawyer seeks gag order in "brainwash" case against psychologist, treatment center

March 3, 2012

Lawyers for Castlewood Treatment Center in west St. Louis County want a gag order placed on all parties involved in a lawsuit against the center that has attracted international media attention.

Lisa Nasseff and Leslie Thompson, who stayed at Castlewood for treatment of eating disorders, have filed separate lawsuits against the center and its chief psychologist, Mark Schwartz, with similar allegations that the women were brainwashed into believing they had been sexually abused and involved in satanic cults.

Castlewood staff have denied the allegations through spokesman Ken Fields with Fleishman-Hillard, a public relations agency.

No decision was made on the defendants' motion for a gag order during a conference Thursday, held in the chambers of Judge Robert Cohen in St. Louis County Circuit Court. A follow-up hearing has not been scheduled.

Comments made to media including the Post-Dispatch by the women's attorney, Ken Vuylsteke of Webster Groves, have tainted the jury pool and put Schwartz's right to a fair trial at risk, according to a motion filed in the Nasseff case by Castlewood attorney John Schultz of Kansas City.

Attorneys on both sides declined to comment Thursday.

Both women who are suing Castlewood stayed on the campus off and on between 2007 and 2010. The women were encouraged to stay for lengthy periods because their insurance would cover their medical bills, which topped $600,000 each, according to their lawsuits.

The lawsuits have prompted other women to come forward to tell similar stories of being implanted with false memories under hypnosis at Castlewood.

More than 1,000 clients have been treated at Castlewood since it opened more than 10 years ago. The center is a last resort for patients who have failed to recover in other medical facilities, according to a statement from Fields.

Source: Blythe Bernhard, "Gag order is sought in Castlewood lawsuits over brainwashing," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 24, 2012.  


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