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 The Newsletter of the Australian False Memory Association

 Part 3

 Concerning Recovered Memories

  Volume 7 No. 1 April, 2000


 | Part1 | Part2 |




Kevin's Story
Three and a Half Years of Hell

Dear Mike

I am not a member of AFMA but I intend to become one in the near future. I received a Bulletin from your organisation and was interested to read the Bulletin, Volume 6, No. 3, November, 1999. Whilst reading this, my mind went back to just over three years ago when I was first faced with the similar charges against myself, instigated by my daughter and her mother and brother.

These children were from a former marriage of which I was divorced in 1967. I had not seen my daughter since early 1969 until February, 1998 in Cairns Court House for a hearing resulting in my being committed for trial in August, 1999.

When the police first contacted me at my work in June, 1996 and asked me to come to the Police Station, they wanted to question me, but they would not tell me what they wanted to question me about. I could not go because of work commitments. Then I telephoned the solicitor, Mr Kerry Dean of Dean & Bolton, who advised me not to talk to the police unless he was present. I would like to point out that this was the one factor that helped me greatly in my defence because if you say anything to the police even innocently, it can be turned around and used against you in a court. Lesson 1 - Don't talk to the police.

The second thing that I had in my favour was that my second (current) family were strongly supportive and provided much needed strength. You are going to need to stand up to the situation you find yourself in overnight. It all comes out of the blue, without warning. You can't imagine unless you have been through it. The physical and emotional drain on your system which occurs the moment the police hand out the summons and you know that you are going to go to court to answer charges of which you know there are no basis, but you cannot prove it. By some coincidence, the firm where I was employed received a letter to say they were employing a paedophile and they should be ashamed of themselves. This resulted in my dismissal which put me at an even bigger disadvantage, because I then did not have the finance to fight the case. On top of that, at 62 you can't go out and find re-employment easily. In fact, I sat home by myself and just worried myself sick while my wife went to work. This was a big part of hell I was going through as I have never been a person who went to church or even believed in God to any great extent, I was fighting the battle inside myself. My family tried to help me in every way they could, but there was something they could not help me with. Your mind can't rest awake or sleep; this constant worry never leaves your mind.

Through the day I used to get talking books from the local library and with a small walkman, I listened all day to hundreds of books to keep my mind away from the case. This worked to some extent, but I still had to sleep and that was where the nightmare started. When I was a young man I worked as a Prison Officer at Long Bay Gaol in Sydney and I knew what being in gaol was like, and I knew I could not live under those conditions, because I can't be locked up in a small room. I am claustrophobic. I would go insane. Many nights I awoke from the same nightmare, I was locked in a small cell with my heart almost tearing its way out of my chest. It was beating so rapidly and I was gasping for air. I used to sleep away from my wife because most of the night I would be walking around the house unable to sleep because of the nightmare. On top of this, we were earning very little money because my wife's work was reduced to part-time. This forced my wife to take on another part-time job to make ends meet. Bills were still coming in.

This went on until March, 1999 when we had a major car accident which resulted in our car being written off, but we were not insured because we did not have the money that year to insure it. So we got very little back. My wife needed a car for her work, so we were forced to find money to buy another car on time payment, which meant we had less money coming in to the house, as the other car we owned outright. On top of this, my daughter charged me with the same crimes in New South Wales which resulted in me having to find more money to travel down to see the solicitor and barristers in order to defend myself against the new charges. The only way I could afford to travel was by bus and it took three days each way to Sydney and back. This was on top of my health deteriorating rapidly. I do not have a strong heart at the best of times, but now my heart was playing up rather badly. On top of that, in the car accident I had damaged my spine and I was in constant pain for months, but I did not realise it was as a result of the accident. I only found that out later. About two and a half years ago, a friend of mine came to see me. I don't know how he found out about my case, but he was a breath of fresh air. He gave me good advice and was a constant friend. He introduced me to a Minister who, after hearing my story, told me she would do what she could for me. By this time I had lost faith in getting help from anybody to do with the Government, as I felt they were responsible for my position, which was of course wrong. I even blamed the police, which was of course wrong again. The people who were totally to blame were my former family. Wendy Edmonds succeeded in creating enough interest in my case that the Chief Prosecutor in Brisbane, Mr Miller, decided to reinvestigate the whole case. This was unheard of according to my solicitor, because I had already been committed for trial in Cairns.

The investigation found six points of her statement that could be checked on to be untrue. They started to wonder how many more things that could not be checked on were also untrue. At this stage of my life my health was down. My spirit was in the gutter. Our finances were shot to pieces, I had to confess to my solicitor that we would not have enough money to pay him. However, Kerry Dean, the blessed man, said to me "Kevin, I know you are innocent, and I will do everything in my power to see you a free man. You can pay me when the cases are over." You don't get many solicitors like this! I was so fortunate that Kerry had so much faith in me. And this buoyed me up for the court battle ahead. During this time, New South Wales police came to Queensland and told Kerry that they were proceeding with charges against me in New South Wales. You can just imagine how devastated I was to hear this. Most people only have to answer to one court of law which is quite enough, but looking down the barrel at two court cases! And no more money to spend, I was fortunate to be told that the Crown Law Society in New South Wales had given the New South Wales Legal Aid $500,000 dollars to be spent as they saw fit. Luckily they granted me $50,000 to fight my case. Back in Queensland with my committal behind me, which was February 14th 1998, I was now awaiting the court action in the Supreme Court. This started on August 23rd 1999. It took three days. My defence consisted of A NOT GUILTY PLEA, ably assisted by my legal team.

On the afternoon of the third day at 2.30 pm the Judge asked the jury to retire and consider their verdict. At 2.40 pm they were ready to come back with the verdict. Just ten minutes was the time it took to consider their verdict. They found me 'not guilty' on both charges. I was a free man. But I was not free until the New South Wales case had come to its conclusion.

On September 12th 1999, I was required to go to New South Wales to attend the court case on September 20th. One working day before the trial was to begin, they dismissed the case against me. I did not have to go to trial. I was finally a free man to return to my home.

Looking back on the situation, I can't believe it all happened to me! I had never heard of it happening to anyone before, but after it happened to me, I found there were hundreds of people in Australia being charged or investigated with this crime. Apparently, my daughter had been receiving counselling for some time in Queensland, ACT and also in W.A. This is the practice of psychiatrists throughout Australia, involving themselves in this type of technique which may keep their appointment books full of potential clients. There is no account kept of the damage to families, apart form the cost in human destruction which is being caused with the full cooperation of the State Government throughout Australia. I am only one of hundreds of people who has been through or are about to go through this horrible nightmare.

However, I am pleased to tell my story to anyone who will read it because I am a survivor. People I would like to thank are first of all, my wife and family and secondly, my legal team. I would also like to thank my friend, Chris, Mike Cox in Queensland and many others in New South Wales, Canberra and Victoria who tried to help me with deep sincerity. Hoping someone will read this and take heart from my story. If I can help anyone with some of the experiences I had, I am willing and happy to do so.

- Kevin


Beth's Story

The story began in the fall of 1992 when Beth, then 19, was having trouble sleeping because of work-related stress in her job as a nurse's assistant. Her father suggested she talk to Mrs Strand.

After three sessions over four months, Beth reported that her stress was relieved, but she mentioned having dreams in which she and friends were being raped in the presence of her father.

According to the lawsuit, Mrs Strand told her those dreams were an indication of early childhood sexual abuse.

Without her parents' knowledge, Beth returned for at least 64 sessions, during which Mrs Strand taught the young woman how to enter a trance-like state through self-hypnosis.

Under the woman's encouragement, the Rutherfords say Beth recalled a string of vile false memories between the ages of 7 and 14; being raped by her father with a curling iron, having a clothes hanger abortion by her father and being raped by her father while her mother watched.

To this day, Beth said, she is not certain where the thoughts came from. "Had I only known that this type of thing could exist, I think it would have saved our tragedy," said Beth Rutherford (churchgoer)

"I can tell you one thing for sure, they did not come from my mind," she said. "There are times in my therapy sessions that I have no memory of what happened."
The lawsuit said two younger sisters also were interviewed by the counsellor but had no memories of abuse.

Nearly two years passed and the Rutherfords still had no knowledge of their daughter's allegations. But the Strands had informed the General Council of the Assemblies of God, where Mr Rutherford worked. He was confronted with the allegations and forced to resign on October 14th 1994.

"We were just blown apart, in shock," Joyce Rutherford said. "You think they have the wrong name, the wrong family." But they didn't and it soon grew worse.

Tom Rutherford, now 46, took any job he could find, from seasonal postman to janitor. Many friends turned away. Yet he never revealed to the church that he had had a vasectomy when Beth was 4, making her pregnancy allegation physically impossible.

"I never told them because I was so personally outraged", he said. "I thought I'm going to preserve a little dignity of my own and not tell them. I knew my innocence."

"It took nearly another year of being away from home and away from the hypnosis counselling for Beth to know his innocence, too," they said.

In October, 1995 at the insistence of the family's attorney, Beth underwent a gynaecological examination. It showed she was still a virgin.

The Rutherfords have settled a defamation and malpractice law suit for $1 million against the counsellor and the church. They plan to use the money as they travel the country to warn others of the dangers of Recovered Memory therapy.



 This next case highlights the question - What sort of 'investigation', if any, is made by the police before a person is charged?

Assault 'A Dream'
- by Roy Gibson
from "The West Australian"
dated Wednesday, November 19, 1997

An intellectually handicapped woman who claimed her former foster father had sexually assaulted her has admitted in court that she was only dreaming.

The 30 year-old woman, who cannot be identified, told a District Court Jury that sometimes her dreams seemed to be real - and that her evidence about being sexually attacked by her foster father had been a dream.

Prosecutor, Robert Mazza, then told the court that the case could not proceed and Judge Valerie French instructed the jury to return 'not guilty' verdicts on the three charges.

The 71-year-old Balga man had pleaded not guilty to two charges of sexually penetrating the woman and one of indecently assaulting her. The man and his wife had been foster parents to the woman for ten years and the offences related to one alleged incident in the family home in 1991.

Mr Mazza told the jury that the woman was vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

Mr Mazza said the matter was reported to the police some years later. The man was interviewed by detectives in June last year and denied the allegations.

Under cross-examination by Richard Bayly, for the foster father, the woman admitted she was angry when the couple decided they could not continue as foster parents because of age and poor health.

Mr Bayly : Do you sometimes have dreams?

Witness : Yes.

Mr Bayly : And you tell people about your dreams?

Witness : Yes.

Mr Bayly : Sometimes your dreams seem to you to be real?

Witness : Yes.

Mr Bayly : Did you dream about (the accused man) doing these things to you?

Witness : Yes.

Mr Bayly : You're telling us about what you remember from a dream, aren't you?

Witness : Yes.

Outside the court, Mr Bayly said "My client was always confident the true story would come out in court, but it has been a very stressful time for him since he was charged more than a year ago."

Book Reviews
- from Eric Krock

Fight FMS by writing on-line Book Reviews, praising books that have exposed it, and condemning anything that appears in book form defending memory retrieval therapies.

Books like Bass and Davis, The Courage to Heal that caused the FMS epidemic, continue to be sold and to mislead unwary readers.

Write on-line reviews at :
Amazon.com. and BarnesAndNoble.com.

Also at :

Reviews may be submitted with or without a name or email address.

A book by Brown Scheflin and Hammond, Memory, Trauma Treatment and the Law is written by two repressed memory therapists and a lawyer, funded by a malpractice insurance company, according to Campbell Perry from Quebec in Canada. In his review of this 674-page book, he points out that although it is aimed at both judicial proceedings and scholarly discourse, it is basically a selective reading of evidence that, at times, borders on polemic.

The warning is that courts may not have time to study this book closely, and it may unduly influence legal opinions. The authors review data concerning the effects of hypnosis on memory. They also deal with issues relating to repressed memories that turn out to be false. Perry states "There are now well-documented reports from several countries of middle-aged and elderly parents being accused of sexually abusing their offspring during childhood and being found innocent by a law court."

Compelling evidence and resources on this topic have largely been ignored. The work uses generalisations that cannot be sustained, and their studies use small samples, sometimes with some variables not taken into account.

A Second Review of the Same Text
by Richard McNally, Harvard University

McNally also delineates many weaknesses in this book. The authors sometimes misconstrue the results of experiments; relate assessments of brain structure to brain processes; disagree with the official position of the American Medical Association and vigorously oppose world renowned authorities on hypnosis; and show limitations in their methodology which undermine their sweeping assertions. This reviewer states that their empirical basis for traumatic amnesia "� is extremely weak, and its theoretical foundation is equally shaky." He advises readers not to confuse its length with its merit.


NSW Get-Together

The Conference held in Melbourne was the main topic as nineteen members met in October, 1999. It was suggested that the 2000 Conference, probably to be held in Canberra, should last for two days setting aside the second for the Annual General Meeting and AFMA discussions. All who attended felt encouraged and uplifted by the exchange of ideas and support.

Other topics covered were the developments in the Anglican Diocese in Sydney regarding the Anglican Counselling Service (which has now been instructed not to use Recovered Memory Therapy), personal problems, and suggestions of members.

Thanks to all those who contribute so much to our Get-Togethers.

- Gloria

- from Noel


This is the website of the Australian False Memory Association (AFMA), which is currently being developed as a source of information about false memories and the effects of these memories. At this site you will be able to view answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQ's) about false memory. The site gives access to resources, international links and AFMA newsletters. It gives Australian contacts where information and support can be obtained, as well as details on membership.


This website is a USA site of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) which was founded in 1992. This is a very informative site with a list of newsletters which document the struggle with false memories from early 1994 until today. Court cases against therapists are also documented. The FMSF also has a very impressive Scientific and Professional Advisory Board. The December 1999 newsletter has in the Editorial and Legal Corner some useful information which shows that the struggle is being won in the USA. The site is being re-developed in the wake of the changes occurring in the USA.


Elizabeth F Loftus is Professor of Psychology and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Washington. Professor Loftus is the author of the books Eyewitness Testimony and The Myth of Repressed Memory. The website has a chapter from The Myth of Repressed Memory. The site also has relevant articles which have been published in professional journals.


Paul McHugh, MD is Henry Phipps Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore. Professor McHugh gives an historical perspective into the Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) problem. He confirms a belief, which I had independently come to over the past two years, that the real problems of MPD patient care are being totally overlooked in favour of the induced hysterical symptoms. Professor McHugh's article on Psychiatric Misadventure is well worth reading. Just click onto "Paul McHugh on Psychiatry Today" at the bottom of his web page.


The above geocities website with its links cover many of the aspects of Recovered Memory Therapy (RMT). There is a list of books at the end of the main page. Some of the books have a review and most may be purchased via the Internet. One book Talk of the Devil by Richard Guilliatt, an investigative journalist once with "The Sydney Morning Herald" deals with some of the bizarre effects of RMT in Australia.

 WHAT'S NEW? See this site www.stopbadtherapy.com/main/whatsnew.html



The AFMA does not condone child abuse.

  • To offer support to families claiming to be falsely accused by adult
    children who have recovered memories.
  • To keep abreast of the latest information.
  • To publish a Newsletter regularly to disseminate information.
  • To adopt a professional approach to the media.
  • To encourage objective discussion and study of memory.
  • To bring together an Advisory body of persons of professional
    standing drawn from a variety of disciplines.
  • To assure all persons contacting the Association that their enquiries will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.


Whilst the members of the Professional Advisory Board support the Aims and Objectives of the Australian False Memory Association, the views expressed in this newsletter may not necessarily be held by some or all of the Board members. Equally, the Association may not always agree with the views expressed by any Board member.



Graham Burrows, A.O., M.D., Ch.B., D.P.M., F.R.A.N.Z.C.P., F.R.C. Psych., M.R.C.M.A., Professor/ Director of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Austin Hospital, Victoria.

Andrew Gibbs, B.Sc.[Hons],M.Sc.,Ph.D.,M.A.P.S., Senior Neuropsychologist, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne

Robert McNeilly, M.B.B.S., D.Obst., R.C.O.G., Psychotherapist/Founder, Centre of Effective Therapy, Melbourne

David Millikan, B.A., B.D.[Hons], Ph.D. Uniting Church Minister, Broadcaster & Author, Bronte, NSW

Edward Ogden, M.A.[Hons],M.B.B.S.,B.Med.Sc. Forensic Physician, Department of Forensic Medicine, Victoria Police, Melbourne.

Donald Thomson, LL.B., B.A., M.A., Ph.D., F.A.P.S. Professor of Psychology, School of Social Sciences and Liberal Studies, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, Barrister, Victorian Bar.

What you can do to remedy the disaster of false/ recovered memories.


  • Educate yourself about recovered memories so you are able to clearly understand the issues from all viewpoints.
  • Write to your State and Federal Politician.
      The contact details for your electorate can be obtained from the Australian Electoral Commission, listed in the White pages of your telephone directory.
      Hand-written letters can have a significant impact as opposed to form-written typed ones.

  • Copy this newsletter and mail to interested others.
       Those who may be interested- politicians, media outlets, church and charity organisations, etc�

  • Remember to seek assistance and help if the burden becomes too much.
    It is important to also care for oneself, in order to care for one�s family and others.
  • If you are not a financial Member of the AFMA, become a supporter. The AFMA has very limited means.

(In confidence)

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The AFMA is a voluntary non-profit "shoe-string" organisation coping with the devastating aftermath of false recovered memories. It receives no government or external assistance. Any support, be it financial or via one�s skills, or sympathy with the aims of AFMA, is greatly appreciated.

THANKING you sincerely for your support to keep the AFMA ..

Caring for individuals and families.



 | Part1 | Part2 |

Australian False Memory
    Association (Incorporated)

Australian False Memory Association
Caring for Families and Individuals

Email the AFMA at false.memory@bigpond.com

PO Box 74
Campbelltown SA 5074

Ph: 1300 88 88 77

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