HOUGHTON, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court has cleared the way for a lawsuit to advance against a counselor in the Upper Peninsula who is accused of planting false memories of sexual abuse in the mind of a teenager.
The lawsuit was filed in Houghton County by the girl’s parents, who say Kathryn Salmi’s counseling techniques led to allegations that the father had sexually abused his daughter. No charges were filed against the dad after an investigation.
The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments in April. But in a brief order dated Friday, the justices said they’ve dropped interest, which means an appeals court decision in favor of the parents will stand.
The issue at hand is whether mental health professionals have a duty of care to third parties who could be harmed by certain techniques, something that the appeals court said yes to in 2014.
“They investigated her background. They met with her to get a feeling for her, her practice, and her particular style of treatment,” Zachary Kemp, an attorney for the parents, told the Supreme Court. “They had to put their trust in (Salmi) in hopes that she would do her job, not harm her child, and certainly not implant false memories of abuse that never happened.”
Salmi denies any malpractice and said she doesn’t practice repressed memory therapy.
“In the context of allegations of physical or sexual abuse perpetrated on a minor, the loyalty of the therapist lies only with the patient and not third parties, particularly third parties who are the alleged perpetrators of the abuse,” said Salmi’s attorney, Beth Wittmann.
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