The ISSTD & The Death of Jude Mirra

By Lucien Greaves

Thursday, May 08, 2015, multimillionaire Manhattan socialite, Gigi Jordan, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the manslaughter of her eight-year old autistic son, Jude Michael Mirra.  Jordan never denied that she had intended to kill her child by way of forced pill overdose five years previous in a New York City hotel. To her troubled mind, the forced pill overdose was a “mercy killing”, preserving the child from the inevitable horrors he was to suffer at the hands of an unseen, yet omnipresent, Satanic cult conspiracy. Warning signs of Jordan’s dangerous state-of-mind had been clear for years. Jordan expressed deeply paranoid, irrational fears that the cult was actively tracking her every activity while ritually abusing Jude into a state of trauma-induced cognitive disability (he was, in fact, severely autistic).

Jude Michael Mirra
Jude Michael Mirra

Many questioned what, if anything, was true in Jordan’s suspicious, delusional allegations. However, few questioned the competence of the therapists and other experts whom Jordan had consulted, who failed to recognize Jordan’s dangerously delusional state, failed to balance her fantastical beliefs with critical inquiries, and even apparently encouraged and cultivated her most deranged and deadly convictions. Oddly, even when reporting on the trial, journalists seemed entirely blind to evidence of professional incompetence, the influence that sanctioned pseudoscience seems to have played in Ms. Jordan’s destructive beliefs.

A Delusion of Conspiracy

Ms. Jordan contacted the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation in 2008 with a bizarre, sprawling and disjointed tale of Ritual Abuse and constant, unshakeable surveillance. She was detained, on an emergency basis, for a mental health evaluation. Jude was taken into custody.

“I couldn’t make sense of what she was saying,” special agent Bruce Dexter would later testify, “She was jumping around to different topics, different areas. It was a very convoluted story.” [1]

The stories Ms. Jordan would tell of her son’s suffering at the hands of a Satanic conspiracy were indeed convoluted. By her own telling, she never left the boy’s side, yet she would report that Jude communicated to her (not that she witnessed) that he had been made to receive electric shocks to his genitals, forced “to drink blood, kill animals and have sex with several babysitters and close relatives.” [2]

Before arriving in Wyoming, specifically for the purpose of reporting the Satanic cult crimes to the investigators, Jordan traveled with Jude to various locations across the nation, staying in hotels, relocating at a moment’s notice in an attempt to throw Jude’s pursuers from their trail. Having contacted the Wyoming office in advance, Ms. Jordan was met by Law Enforcement at the airport. Jude, the agents noted, was without socks or underwear on his person, nor did Jordan’s luggage contain any fresh clothes for the boy. The agents were further alarmed by the copious amounts of unlabeled medications Jordan carried for Jude’s seemingly ad hoc “treatment” regimen.

Physical examination would yield “no evidence of sexual assault of any kind” [3]. More discrediting to Jordan’s claims, however, was the fact that Jude, the alleged source of the abuse allegations, appeared to have very little verbal skills with which to communicate the allegations at all.

Against medical advice, Ms. Jordan was released “of her own recognizance” after her emergency mental health evaluation, following which the Court considered evidence indicating that Jordan presented an imminent danger to her son. Clearly not at all convinced of Ms. Jordan’s sanity, or Jude’s safety in her care, the Court also didn’t feel that the legal burden of evidence was met to justify placing Jude in foster care.

“I’m sure the time will come when recriminations are made saying somebody in authority should have seen this coming and acted to prevent it,” the District Court Judge in Wyoming stated presciently when remitting the child back to his mother’s care. “That’s what’s on everybody’s minds here. That’s the elephant in the room that nobody talks about.”

Citing “improper” criticisms directed toward those who failed to prevent the Virginia Tech mass shooting, perpetrated by an openly disturbed student, the Court preemptively apologized for Jude Michael Mirra’s murder, stating, “Our system doesn’t work that way. You don’t go arrest somebody because you’re afraid they might do something. Those are made after the fact looking back, and I think we’re dealing with a situation like that here.” [4]

Just under two years later, on February 03, 2010, Ms. Jordan checked into the Peninsula Hotel in Manhattan with Jude, after hours of aimless cab rides throughout New York City. Late at night, while the boy slept, Jordan crushed about 20 Xanax pills and 40 Ambiens into a mixture of vodka and orange juice that she then forced down the 8-year old’s throat while sitting atop him “using enough force to bruise that boy on the face, the nose, the chest,” according to the prosecution. [5]

Media reporting on the case almost universally focused on the superficial narrative: the shocking tragedy of a millionaire mother, desperate and delusional, driven to the most unthinkable act of crime. Ms. Jordan had, some 20 years previous, started a successful home health care service upon which her affluence was built. The recriminations against “somebody in authority”, fearfully predicted by the Wyoming District Court, never manifested. Troublingly, nobody asked, following the murder, why Jordan’s dangerous mental state, so obvious to Law Enforcement untrained in Psychology, could have seemingly escaped the notice of the mental health care professionals whose services Ms. Jordan had retained.

Facilitated Communication

Jude was 7 years old when Florida-based “trauma therapist” Carol Crow diagnosed him with Multiple Personality Disorder (more recently known as Dissociative Identity Disorder [DID]). It’s a diagnosis that is problematic even in ideal therapeutic settings, as the condition enjoys no scientific validation and is largely viewed as discredited. In Jude’s case, however, such a diagnosis is further complicated in that it was arrived at by analysis of the boy’s own self-reports — reports he was clearly unable to convey in reality, but that were manufactured in his name via “facilitated communication.”

Facilitated Communication (FC) is defined by Oxford’s Dictionary of Psychology [6] as “A teaching method and therapeutic technique in which facilitators or partners help people with severe developmental disabilities to communicate by providing sufficient manual guidance to enable them to convey messages through a keyboard, a picture board, or a speech synthesizer.” This method “often appears to reveal unexpected literacy and a far higher level of intellectual functioning than the person was believed to possess, but single-blind studies and double-blind studies have revealed that disabled people are unable to respond intelligently to stimuli that are unseen by their facilitators and that the facilitators unwittingly control the responses.”

Over 20 years ago, scientific debate concerning FC was already quite settled. In 1995, the journal American Psychologist published a paper titled A History of Facilitated Communication [7] noting that

Controlled research using single and double blind procedures in laboratory and natural settings with a range of clinical populations with which FC is used have determined that, not only are the people with disabilities unable to respond accurately to label or describe stimuli unseen by their assistants, but that the responses are controlled by the assistants.

The authors were blunt in their conclusion: “FC is a pseudoscientific procedure serving anti-scientific ends.”

Convinced that her child’s apparent autism was actually a grossly improbable psychophysiological response to traumatic sexual abuse, Ms. Jordan believed she could facilitate Jude’s articulate cries for help. Helping guide Jude’s hand over a computer keyboard or Blackberry device, Jordan would “assist” him in producing typed conversations. As one witness testified, a nurse and forensic interviewer attempted communication with Jude and determined that his alleged typed responses were fully attributable to Jordan, and “not at all in any way, shape, or form Jude.”

“[Jude] was, basically, very lethargic and not even looking or paying attention to what was going on, and Miss Jordan was guiding his hand on the buttons to push on the laptop computer.” [8]

Multiple Personality Disorder

The theory behind Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), now rebranded as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), is that some traumas, particularly childhood sexual traumas, are so horrific and incomprehensible that memories of their occurrence are “repressed,” relegated to some dark corner of the mind, outside of immediate consciousness where they develop new, alternate, or “alter” personalities of their own. Intuitive as this might now sound in a culture wherein this premise has served as a well-worn dramatic plot device, none of it stands up to scientific scrutiny. While proponents of DID theory currently like to claim that the condition lies somewhere on a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) spectrum, Dr. Richard McNally, Professor and Director of Clinical Training at Harvard University’s Department of Psychology, points out, “[t]he hallmark of PTSD is involuntary, intrusive recollection of traumatic experiences,” [9] not selective, protective amnesia.

And while evidence for the existence of “repressed” traumas — often alleged to stem from long-term episodic extreme childhood abuse — is dubious at best, there is still no reliable evidence that DID even results from childhood trauma. [10][11] The “evidence” cited to support the claims of DID’s relationship to child abuse comes primarily from self reports of the DID-diagnosed.

But if the memories of abuse have been “repressed,” how can one report upon something that they have entirely redacted from their minds? Often, hypnosis and other memory retrieval techniques are employed to draw forth what is presumed to be accessible in the subconscious mind. Unfortunately, this digging about for “repressed memories” can serve to create false memories that almost always conform to the assumptions held by the therapist. (With this in mind, Dr. Numan Gharaibeh, staff psychiatrist at Danbury Hospital, CT, suggests that “a DID diagnosis causes memories of childhood sexual abuse,” [12] rather than the other way around.)

False memories can be cultivated into deeply-held convictions, even when those memories are extremely bizarre and improbable. Hypnotism has been employed to “regress” subjects into “remembering” their own births, or even confabulated past lives. It is primarily recovered memory narratives that are responsible for the modern folklore of alien abduction. (“Abductees’” false memories, in fact, are measurably as traumatic as memories of real, corroborated traumas, which gives some idea of the gross, unforgivable incompetence that therapists employing suggestive memory retrieval techniques in search of childhood sexual abuse are party to.) [13]

It was, in large part, the recovered memory testimonials of individuals being treated for Multiple Personality Disorder that sustained an embarrassing modern witch-hunt known to sociologists today as the “Satanic Panic.” Spanning a period beginning in 1980 and declining into obscurity after the mid-90s, this bizarre moral uproar saw a temporary mainstreaming of hysterical conspiracist claims related to Satanic Ritual Abuse and cult criminal networks secretly working toward the destruction of all societal moral order. Daytime talk show hosts, from Oprah Winfrey to Geraldo Rivera, regularly, and entirely uncritically, aired Satanic abuse “survivor” stories, despite a complete absence of corroborating evidence. It was a literal witch-hunt. Lives were ruined, families torn apart, decades of innocent lives wasted away in prison cells, and much of this, beyond any sensible doubt, was urged forward by incompetent therapists hypnotically probing their clients for revelations of repressed abuse.

The obvious parallel to the Salem witch trials has often been noted, but as one recent historical account points out, “[a]fter the panic died down in Salem, however, there were apologies and reparations,” […] “[n]o such apologies followed [the Satanic Panic], and there hasn’t been much in the way of reparations either. […] Of the many hundreds of people who were investigated [during the panic], some 190 were formally charged with crimes, leading to at least 83 convictions. Undoing these convictions proved to be a slow, halting, and very painful process.” [14]

Despite being thoroughly and completely discredited by law enforcement, scientists, and journalists, the conspiracy theory of Satanic Ritual Abuse as an intentional, DID-creating trauma-based mind-control program, still holds currency among certain professionals in mental health care, and many of the mental health professionals who were instrumental in fomenting panic in the 80s still hold strong to their methods and theories today.

Though the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) is carefully presented as a scientifically sanctioned “professional association organized to develop and promote comprehensive, clinically effective and empirically based resources and responses to trauma and dissociation,” [15] it remains the final, largest refuge for conspiracist mental health professionals still invested in DID theory and irrational, absurd, fully debunked notions of Satanic mind-control plots. [16]

While most of what the ISSTD publicly presents attempts to defend “recovered memories” and seeks to legitimate dissociative multiplicity as a naturally-occurring response to trauma, the organization also maintains a “Ritual-Abuse/Mind-Control Special Interest Group (RA/MC SIG)” dedicated to furthering “dialogue, knowledge, research, and training on the etiology, evaluation, and effective treatment of trauma and dissociation in clients reporting histories of ritual abuse or mind control.” [17]

The first of three contacts listed for the ISSTD’s “RA/MC SIG” is one Ellen Lacter, a San Diego-based Clinical Psychologist with bizarre beliefs in Satanic conspiracies and government mind-control.

It was to Ellen Lacter that Gigi Jordan took Jude in search of validation for her delusional and paranoid fears. Unsurprisingly, it appears she found it.

Ellen Lacter

In 2008, Ellen Lacter filed a Suspected Child Abuse Report [18] to the Child Welfare Services agency in Santa Barbara, California. The report was dated April 02, only one day after the Emergency Shelter Hearing had taken place. In the report, she stated:

Gigi Jordan, mother of a boy, Jude Jordan (DOB: 07/13/2001), reports that Jude has recently (since early, 2008) disclosed to her that Emile Tzekov (Jude’s biological father who has relinquished his parental rights) abused him (Jude), including penetration, anal penetration (unknown if digital or penile), forced ingestion of feces, putting needles under his fingernails and in the webs between his fingers, choking him, and needle-pricking his chest and legs. Jude has suffered developmental delays and medical conditions that may be a direct effect of this alleged abuse.

In a follow-up correspondence with the agency, Lacter noted, “The police questioned Ms. Jordan and did not believe her disclosures. They placed her on a 72-hour hold in Cheyenne Regional Medical Center Behavioral Unit, and placed her son with Family Services.” However, “the hospital released Ms. Jordan on her own recognizance prior to her scheduled hearing of 4/1/2008, apparently having assessed her as credible and sane.”

In reality, Ms. Jordan had been released against medical advice, nor was she adjudged either credible or sane. As shown above, the Court very explicitly expressed grave concern for Jude’s safety in his mother’s care, while explaining, seemingly apologetically, that they did not meet the legal burden necessary to take Jude from her custody. A psychologist and licensed forensic examiner who assessed Ms. Jordan stated at the hearing that Jordan seemed to hold “a fixated focus that presented itself as almost delusional that had a paranoid realm to it,” [19] and he expressed concern for Ms. Jordan’s degeneration into a “full-blown delusional system with paranoid ideation.” [20]

Ms. Lacter, however, seemed to see none of Ms. Jordan’s apparently obvious delusional paranoia, even as Ms. Jordan spoke of an omnipresent Satanic cult conspiracy. How is this possible?

Lacter explained in her report,

Ms. Jordan first contacted me, having found me through my website on ritual abuse (, concerned that ritual abuse might explain her son’s behaviors and the disclosures he had begun to make, Jude’s behaviors and disclosures, reported by Ms. Jordan, were consistent with that of other victims of ritual abuse. Ms. Jordan retained me to provide her with consultation to help her to keep her son safe and to help him psychologically.

Screenshot from Ellen Lacter's website

A look at Ellen Lacter’s website clearly reveals that she would be the last person to disabuse anybody of paranoid delusions related to Satanic conspiracies.

On the homepage of End Ritual Abuse, one finds a wealth of information related to “mind control,” “ritual abuse,” Satanic cults and “Witchcraft Abuse.” Her recommended reading list contains such heady titles as, Other Altars: Roots and Realities of Cultic and Satanic Ritual Abuse and Multiple Personality Disorder; and apocalyptic titles such as, Mind Control, World Control. Her site also includes instructions for ordering a book titled, Thanks for the Memories, The Truth Has Set Me Free, by Brice Taylor, one of the most outrageous tales of conspiracist delusion ever penned. Both Ellen Lacter and Brice Taylor have presented at annual conferences for an organization known as S.M.A.R.T. (Stop Mind-control And Ritual abuse Today). S.M.A.R.T. conferences discuss such pressing current mental health issues as dissociative disorders brought on by Freemason, Illuminati, and Satanist ritual abuse activities, as well as government mind-control plots. When I attended a S.M.A.R.T. conference in 2009, I noted a sales booth offering a “more advanced species of tinfoil hat,” [21] baseball caps lined with a metallic fiber weave meant to block electromagnetic transmissions. I also observed a speaker by the name of “Royal” at all of about forty years of age claim that she was a personal slave to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele.

“My experience with Mengele”, Royal explained in a lecture (the gist of which was that Satan uses abortion as a means of traumatic mind-control), “involved much of the trauma-based mind control involving core programming (such as End-Time programming) that is connected to the global take over. He used the Psychic/Spiritual dimensions using, what I have come to call ‘demonic harmonics’, which involves using musical tones and quantum physics to open up portals into the spiritual realms. I also have core programs set up that were created using abortions as a means to develop them and more.” (It’s also worth noting that a current member the ISSTD’s Board of Directors, Adah Sachs, was presenting at this carnival of lunacy.) [22]

In Thanks for the Memories, Brice Taylor claims to have recovered memories, following an automobile accident, which revealed to her a hidden past of government mind-control in which she was programmed to act as a sex slave for distinguished people of power. According to Taylor, the late comedian Bob Hope acted as her primary keeper during her enslavement, in which time she was made to provide carnal comforts to world leaders and famous entertainers, from Elvis Presley to Neil Diamond. Among Taylor’s rambling list of absurd claims is the charge that she was made to participate in the filming of dolphin porn directed by Sylvester Stallone, for the amusement of then-president Ronald Reagan:

“Another auxiliary project, one that brought in proceeds, was dolphin pornography. Dolphin porn was filmed in Malibu and in the dolphin tanks at Point Mugu. It was convenient because they had cages already built and so the dolphins could be housed there for use almost anytime. [Ronald] Reagan really loved the dolphin stuff. He watched a porn video of [my daughter] Kelly and I with a couple of dolphins. During the viewing he smiled, patted my leg and said, “I’ll be with you later.” He wasn’t into sex with children and didn’t have sex with my daughter. When the film was over he said, “Watching you do underwater ballet is beautiful, but seeing you with the dolphin is out of this world!” He laughed and looked up, like he was seeing a missile or shuttle launch. Lots of dolphin porn was filmed. I believe Bob [Hope] gave copies of it to Prince Charles, Prince Phillip and Margaret Thatcher, who is a lesbian.” [23]

But if one were to conclude that Ms. Lacter were a New World Order conspiracist, she points out, in one interview, that she doesn’t believe in the lunatic theory of some single, all-powerful force of evil conspiring to rule the world: “I believe that there are a number of different organized groups that all have the agenda of ruling the world. There’s the Satanic network, and I don’t believe that that is all networked, there’s the witchcraft network,” etc. [24] In fact, “They” are everywhere, and they are all masters of trauma-based mind-control.

By Lacter’s reckoning, “there’s probably well over a thousand children being abused horribly in cult practices here [in San Diego] and I don’t think San Diego is worse than any place else.” [25]

Naturally, these cults revel in infant sacrifice, sometimes going after babies that are in utero to satiate their bloodlust: “[…] they’ll force the delivery early so seven or eight months gestation and that baby will be sacrificed and then that person will be programmed [by way of mind-control] to believe that she just had a miscarriage,” [26] however, Lacter continues, “a lot of the children who are sacrificed in rituals are brought in from third world countries.” This, apparently, explains the lack of evidential corroboration for Lacter’s outsized claims of ritual sacrifice activity.

In fact, there is no credible evidence for Lacter’s claims at all, only the “recovered memories” of mistreated clients in DID therapy, and the lunatic claims of her associates, like Brice Taylor. But the absence of evidence, according to Lacter’s extremely deluded narrative, is merely evidence of the insidious power these cults wield. Having established themselves at every level of society, They secretly manipulate the unwitting public to prevent the truth of their existence from surfacing:

Most of the perpetrators of the most organized abuse never get arrested and they raise their kids to have jobs in law enforcement. They raise their kids to have jobs in child protective services and the District Attorney’s offices, etc. So they have their own network established in the institutions to erase records to disbelieve these reports. They have a very organized never-let-it-come-out campaign. [27]

Naturally, the media has been infiltrated as well:

The most organized groups have raised some of their children to be reporters who definitely write articles saying none of this is true, these therapists are crazy, these survivors are victims of their therapists putting memories in their minds. So the media is very influential and is one of their main ways of keeping the truth from being exposed. [28]

Perusing Lacter’s material, one gets the distinct sense that she has never been approached with a claim too deranged or schizophrenic for her to doubt the teller’s sanity:

Ritualistically abused children and adults are usually misdiagnosed for years as psychotic and delusional, due to their reports of hearing voices and extreme state of fear. The voices belong to dissociated personalities and to spirits and demons they perceive as having been attached to them during ritual ceremonies.

This is the therapist that Gigi Jordan sought for consultation when apparently at the height of her paranoid delusions of Satanic cult persecution: Ellen Lacter, who, acting under licensed professional mental health sanction, purveys conspiracist notions to the potentially mentally vulnerable. Had Gigi Jordan put her trust into a sane, rational, mental health professional at this critical time in this tragic story, perhaps Jude might still be alive today.

And it gets worse, the shame upon the mental health profession is more profound still; Ellen Lacter can occasionally be found speaking at professional conferences for mental health professionals in which her convoluted conspiracism enjoys peer acceptance. She is but one in a fringe community of therapists, social workers, and counselors, who presume to see evidence of Satanic mind-control in their susceptible clients. It is not uncommon that such conspiracy-based conferences, purveying theories of Satanic abuse, government mind-control, and recovered memory therapies, offer Continuing Education Units to licensed attendees in the field of mental health care.

Lacter is very guarded about her practice, and she did not reply to my inquiries regarding the services she provided in keeping Jude “safe” and “helping him psychologically.” It is my contention, however, that the very licensure of one as flagrantly deranged, mentally incompetent, and in obvious need of psychiatric care as Ellen Lacter is herself, is indicative of a system of mental health care that is in desperate need of massive reform.

Frank Putnam

A psychologist and licensed forensic examiner for district court at United Medical Center Behavioral Health Services testifying at the 2008 Emergency Shelter Hearing described the Facilitated Communication Jordan used with Jude. “I guess [Jude] has an arm that is somewhat flaccid, and [Jordan] was able to [facilitate his typing], and he was able to point to certain things on the keyboard, and she was able to piece together some potential [responses].” [29] A doctor from a Children’s Clinic who examined Jude in 2008 didn’t equivocate when asked whether or not Jude was capable of cohering the complex thoughts required in relaying the narrative of sadistic Satanic abuse being attributed to him: “No. He cannot respond to direct questions.” [30]

During the 2014 trial of Gigi Jordan for the murder of Jude, prosecutors also pointed to the extreme unlikelihood that an 8-year old boy (much less an autistic boy with communication deficiencies) could possibly possess the vocabulary and spelling abilities that were present in his alleged communiques; words like “aggressively” and “sadistic.” [31]

There was, in fact, no question at all that “Jude’s” statements, including the narrative of victimization at the hands of a Satanic cult conspiracy, were derived from Facilitated Communication. Nonetheless, an expert witness for the defense, Frank Putnam, MD, a Professor of Pediatrics and Child Psychiatry from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, submitted an Expert Witness Report to Jordan’s counsel that directly contradicted the established facts. According to Putnam, “There are a number of statements in therapists’ records and affidavits attesting to the witnessing of Jude’s independent use of a texting device to communicate with others.” [32] [Emphasis added]

In an appearance on the Dr. Phil Show, Putnam went further.

Jude was able to communicate what had happened to him using the texting. I’ve seen this kind of texting with a number of children now. I’m quite struck. Even though they may not be able to speak and many people assume they must be in some ways mentally retarded or challenged that they often can text at very high levels of language. [33]

But what exactly is Putnam talking about? What does he mean when he refers to “this kind of texting”? Is he referring to “facilitated” texting and, if so, why does he claim Jude could text independently? And why is it that Putnam failed to mention the element of Facilitated Communication at all? Does he deny that FC was being used at all, or is he claiming that there were occasional instances of independent texting?

I asked Dr. Putnam some time ago, via email, if he could elaborate upon his comments related to Jude’s alleged independent typing, but he never replied. I also posed another poignant line of inquiry within the same email asking if he didn’t feel that Ms. Jordan’s “perception that her son was being abused by a Satanic conspiracy helped motivate her to kill him?” And, if so, “would it not be accurate to say that a medical professional who failed to realize and relay to Ms. Jordan that her perception of her communication with her son was inaccurate (and thus allowed her to create a delusion of Satanic abuse allegations) is complicit (by way of incompetence) in the murder itself?”

Of course, Putnam could only be considered something of an accessory after the fact, as he provided his mystifying analysis of Jude’s alleged communications after the murder took place. But, if Putnam was looking to obfuscate the facts of the crime, he was likely at least as motivated to defend the diagnosis of DID and its narrative of extreme abuse as he was motivated to keep Jordan out of prison. In his report, Putnam describes himself as an “authority on child and adolescent dissociative disorders,” and under “professional organizations” on his CV, we see listed the ISSTD. Putnam was the ISSTD’s recipient of their annual Cornelia Wilbur award in 1990 “for outstanding clinical contributions to the treatment of dissociative disorders.” (Cornelia Wilbur was the psychiatrist who we now know conspired to manufacture a false narrative of Multiple Personality Disorder for her famed client known as “Sybil”.) [34] In 2013, Putnam was recipient of the ISSTD’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

With no physical medical evidence to support the claims of Jude’s sadistic sufferings, Putnam attempted to match the self-reports allegedly typed by Jude to possible psychological symptoms of traumatic abuse. This necessitated that Putnam both reject Jude’s diagnosis of autism — attributing his cognitive difficulties instead to psychological trauma — and accepting the alleged self-reports attributed to Jude as legitimate communications from the boy. In rejecting the autism diagnosis, Putnam pointed to atypical features in Jude’s autism symptoms, concluding, “it is highly probable that some of Jude’s unexplained and unusual medical problems were unrecognized injuries from physical and sexual abuse.” However, as another doctor noted, in recognition of Jude’s positive response to steroid treatments, “most cases of autism are not immune-mediated. There are however, rare cases of autism, variants of autism that are immune-mediated.” [35] Jude, it seemed, was one of those cases, nor could any idiosyncrasies in Jude’s symptoms change the unlikelihood that he’d suffered the tortures claimed, for which he remained physically unscarred.

Apparently desperate for at least the appearance of some type of physical corroboration to support the extreme abuse claims, Putnam embarrassingly noted dental abscesses Jude had received treatment for in 2004, stating that they “could well have been the result of being made to eat feces, an abuse Jude that [sic] reported to several individuals […]”

A Need for Reform

Another regular ISSTD annual conference presenter, Bessel van der Kolk, submitted expert testimony intended to describe how trauma could manifest itself in ways that could look like autism. The court excluded his testimony, but there is a certain audacity to a man like van der Kolk submitting expert testimony at all. Back in 1996, while being deposed as an expert, defending recovered memory veracity and legitimacy, van der Kolk’s testimony was excluded after attorney Christopher Barden revealed severe problems in a research paper van der Kolk used to support his position. A graduate student, who had collected van der Kolk’s data, had been expelled for scientific dishonesty in falsifying data. Merely removing the student’s name from the list of co-authors, van der Kolk’s paper remained otherwise unrevised.

However, as Barden pointed out,

The questions that eliminated van der Kolk were not so much questions about his old researchers or testimony in the Hungerford case but rather his shocking ignorance of his own profession. It is amazing to me that van der Kolk had been deposed and cross examined by dozens of lawyers over many years and not one ever asked him to specify the limitations on the testimony of experts included in the AMA and ethics codes. Not one lawyer ever asked him to discuss the differences between the concepts of reliability and validity. Not one lawyer asked him to discuss the actuarial prediction vs. clinical prediction research. Not one lawyer assessed his knowledge of testing, psychological measurement, the cross-cultural history of “dissociative phenomena” or other relevant matters (note for example, van der Kolk’s stunning errors in discussing Greek literature). Not one of these attorneys engaged him in a dialogue about his own research methods including how he assessed the reliability and validity of his own measures and procedures. Not one of these attorneys apparently asked him about the Coping and Resiliency research literature and not one even discovered that his old mentor was Bruno Bettleheim — now believed to be one of the great frauds in psychology in the 20th Century. Van der Kolk’s failure to answer these basic and critical professional questions about science, methodology and history doomed his credibility as an “expert” in this field and he knew it the moment those questions were asked. [36]

It is exasperatingly disappointing that in all this time nothing has changed. Harmful and discredited theories are being put forward by the same unwavering individuals, to the detriment of mental health care consumers, to the detriment of the mental health care profession, and with occasional tragic consequences. Indeed, given the consensus among scientists, it would appear that only a “shocking ignorance” of advances in memory research and cognitive science could account for the dogged persistence of discredited DID therapies and repressed memory retrieval techniques. It is an outrage that a pseudoscience-based organization such as the ISSTD (much less an organization like S.M.A.R.T.) can offer Continuing Education Units while propagating conspiracy theories. Fully debunked by empirical studies, the use of Facilitated Communication by a licensed therapist to arrive at a psychiatric diagnosis should, at the very least, cause for revocation of professional licensure. Obvious public displays of paranoid delusion, such as those expressed by Ellen Lacter, should, at the very least, cause for revocation of professional licensure and mandatory psychiatric evaluation. The fact that Ms. Jordan, harboring paranoid delusions, could have her delusions supported and affirmed by licensed mental health professional is a monstrous mental health scandal.

The facts are these: an 8-year old autistic boy was diagnosed with a debunked psychiatric disorder. The diagnosis was arrived at by discredited methods. The professional pseudoscientific assumptions surrounding the boy’s “treatment” likely contributed to paranoid delusions in his openly disturbed mother, who ultimately killed the boy in order to spare him from the horrors of a nonexistent threat. While the boy’s mother now serves a prison term for her crime, the worse-than-incompetent “professionals” who not only failed to prevent her from committing the murder, but may have actively fed the paranoid delusions that acted as her rationale for the deed, remain unapologetic and without censure. It is my contention that proper professional mental health intervention may well have prevented this woman from murdering her son. The fact that her filicidal delusions could be reinforced by mental health professionals should be cause for outrage and reform.

Please consider signing and sharing this petition to have Ellen Lacter’s Psychology license reviewed by the state of California.


  1. Exhibit P, page 9
  2. McKinley, James C. At Murder Trial, Gigi Jordan Testifies About Abuse She Believed Son Suffered. New York Times, 15 Oct. 2014.
  3. Exhibit P, page 16
  4. Exhibit P page 73
  5. Nazaryan, Alexander. Autism, Murder and a Women on the Ledge. 14 Oct 2014
  6. A Dictionary of Psychology (Oxford Quick Reference), Oxford University Press; 3 edition (April 1, 2009)
  7. Jacobson, J. W., Mulick, J. A., & Schwartz, A. A. (1995). A history of facilitated communication: Science, pseudoscience, and antiscience. American Psychologist, 50, 750-765.
  8. Exhibit P page 17 -18
  9. McNally, Richard J (2003). Recovering Memories of Trauma: A View From the Laboratory.Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12, 32-35.
  10. Piper A, Merskey H. The persistence of folly: a critical examination of dissociative identity disorder. Part I. The excesses of an improbable concept. Can J Psychiatry. 2004;49(9):592-600.
  11. Piper A, Merskey H. The persistence of folly: critical examination of dissociative identity disorder. Part II. The defense and decline of multiple personality or dissociative identity disorder. Can J Psychiatry. 2004;49(10):678-683.
  12. Gharaibeh N: Dissociative identity disorder: time to remove it from DSM-V? Curr Psychiatry 2009;31:30–36.
  13. McNally, R.J., Lasko, N.B., Clancy, S.A., Macklin, M.L., Pitman, R.K., and Orr, S.P. 2004.Psychophysiological responding during script-driven imagery in people reporting abduction by space aliens. Psychol. Sci. 15:493 -497.
  14. Beck, Richard. We Believe the Children: A Moral Panic in the 1980s. Public Affairs, 2015 (pg. xxi)
  15. Website for the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) (retrieved 20 Jan, 2016) (url updated 17 Jun 2019)
  16. Mesner, Douglas; Rivera, Sarah Ponto. Where the Witch-hunters are: Satanic Panic and Mental Health Malpractice. 2015
  17. Website for the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) (retrieved 20 Jan, 2016) (url updated 17 Jun 2019)
  18. Exhibit N
  19. Exhibit p page 61
  20. Exhibit p page 64
  21. Mesner, Douglas, Report from the S.M.A.R.T. Ritual Abuse/Mind-Control Conference 2009, Part 1 
  22. ISSTD Board of Directors, 2015,(retrieved 20 Jan, 2016)
  23. Taylor, Brice. Thanks For The Memories … The Truth Has Set Me Free! The Memoirs of Bob Hope’s and Henry Kissinger’s Mind-Controlled Slave. Brice Taylor Trust, 1999
  24. Dr. Ellen Lacter on Ritual Abuse and Helping the Victims & Survivors – Interview With Vyzygoth, YouTube,  (2:15)
  25. ibid (1:37)
  26. ibid (50:30)
  27. ibid (26:34)
  28. ibid (27:27)
  29. exhibit p page 58
  30. exhibit p page 42
  31. Sanchez, Ray; Remizowski, Leigh. New York businesswoman guilty of manslaughter in son’s death. CNN. 05 Nov. 2014.
  32. Exhibit S page 5
  33. Dr. Phil Show. Death on 5th Avenue: Millionaire Mom Accused of Murdering Son Speaks from Rikers Island. CBS, aired 31 Oct, 2014
  34. Nathan, Debbie. Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Multiple Personality Case. Free Press, 2012
  35. Exhibit E page 2
  36. Mesner, Douglas. Bessel van der Kolk, Scientific Dishonesty & the Mysterious Disappearing Coauthor.,