Court of Appeals majority holds counselor may be responsible for use of techniques that create false memories of abuse
This week two judges of the Court of Appeals agreed that Lale and Joan Roberts could sue Kathryn Salmi and Salmi Christian Counseling, if they can prove that Salmi was negligent in using techniques on her patient that negligently created false memories of sexual abuse. The third judge would have held that Salmi owed no duty to the Roberts because she was treating their child and owed no duty to a non-patient.
The majority judges took care to point out that the case did not involve negligence in reporting child abuse allegations or in responding to allegations. Rather, the fundamentalist Christian parents were arguing that the practitioner used professionally negligent techiques that created false memories of abuse. Noting that child sexual abuse is perhaps the most heinous allegation that can be made against a parent--or any individual-- the judges ruled that if the parents can support their claim with reliable expert testimony, the practitioner owed a duty to meet the standard of care in treatment.