Husband testifies to wife's condition

The Times Plus/June 20, 2002
By Kareesa Wilson

Monroe -- Marilyn Daly was a happy wife and mother for 26 years -- before she began therapy at The Monroe Clinic, according to her husband Thomas Daly who testified Wednesday and this morning during the second and third days of a jury trial expected to last six weeks.

The suit, filed more than three years ago in Green County Circuit Court, alleges Drs. Wendell Bell and Rachel Long, both psychiatrists, and Dr. Robert C. Beck, a psychologist, implanted false memories of childhood sexual abuse and trauma during hypnosis sessions and misdiagnosed Daly with multiple personalities syndrome.

As a result, Marilyn Daly alleges she suffered from False Memory Syndrome, a psychological condition in which a person believes that he or she remembers events that have not actually occurred.

Besides her husband, Marilyn's youngest son Jonathan is also listed on the lawsuit filed against all three doctors, The Monroe Clinic and their insurance companies.

Thomas Daly, who taught junior high math at Monticello Public Schools for more than 30 years, took the stand at around 11 a.m. Wednesday and answered questions from his attorney, Pam Smoler. Daly's testimony continued for the rest of the day and resumed this morning. As of press time, his testimony continued and cross examination had not yet begun.

Dressed in a three-piece suit, Daly broke down and sobbed Wednesday when he described flashbacks his wife began suffering after starting therapy. Marilyn Daly, seated in the courtroom, got up and left when he described the flashbacks of abuse and trauma. He said Marilyn became agitated and anxious, tossing and turning and dangerous to herself.

"I would try to comfort her to no avail," he said, fighting back tears. "She would want to get out of bed, sit on the floor and bang her head against the wall. She would tell me 'I have to finish this, I need to feel pain.'

"She would plead with me 'please, I have to feel pain,'" Daly said and completely broke down. The judge called a 10-minute recess for Daly.

During the five hours of testimony Daly described a happy marriage that, ironically, began at St. Clare Hospital, now The Monroe Clinic. He was hospitalized for a traffic accident there in 1965 and Marilyn was his nurse. The two were married later that year after a quick courtship. Up until 1991, Daly said they were a happy family with five children including Jonathan who was eight years younger than the next oldest child.

The downward slope allegedly began in 1990 when Marilyn signed up for a weight loss program at the Clinic. By 1991 she had lost more than 100 pounds and met Beck at a therapy session associated with the diet program. She began seeing Beck on an individual basis.

Smoler flashed many pages of notes Beck made during the 1991 and subsequent 1992 therapy sessions including one of the first: "Marilyn grew up in an alcoholic home where her father was very cold, distant and at times, abusive."

Daly denied ever knowing anything about abuse in his wife's past prior to the therapy sessions which ended in 1991 when Marilyn was apparently improving and then started up again in early 1992. The therapy continued for several years.

When Daly questioned Beck, he said the doctor told him the memories his wife began to have were suppressed when the incidents allegedly occurred while she was a very young child. The doctor told him sometimes a tremendous weight loss can trigger the mind to remember, Daly testified.

According to her husband's testimony, during the two years of therapy, Marilyn Daly recovered memories of being sexually abused by several relatives, neighbor boys, strangers and witnessing a murdered woman being sexually abused.

Bell, who specialized in multiple personality disorders, was called in when Daly grew progressively worse, suffered flashbacks and became suicidal. Bell, in notes presented Wednesday during testimony, described Daly as having multiple personalities. He described one personality, 6-year-old "Pip," and "Nasty," a cocky, angry alter ego.

Notes from Beck presented this morning said that during a hospitalization in 1993, Marilyn Daly remembered more past traumas and her doctors worked with her alleged alter egos. One note recorded that after one particular session of therapy, Marilyn Daly was curled up on the floor and "felt sick and dirty." Beck wrote that Marilyn Daly wanted to continue therapy and the "alters are leaving her alone" because of this work.

Daly testified that by the end of this hospitalization, which lasted about a month and ended in February of 1993, Marilyn Daly was not working, not doing anything at home, was self-mutilating and suicidal.

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