Controversial therapist put on probation

Published: Thursday, Feb. 21 2008 12:00 a.m. MST

A licensed therapist accused of planting false memories in her patients was placed on voluntary probation this week.
In the face of a lengthy legal battle, Barbara Snow voluntarily agreed to probation with the state's Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, according to a statement from her attorney, Elizabeth Bowman. The terms of her probation were not released Wednesday.
"In the end, Dr. Snow felt it was in her family's, clients' and former clients' best interests to enter into the stipulation by ending what promised to be protracted litigation," the statement said.
Snow treated extended family members in 1997 and parts of 2004-05. Snow admitted to destroying a man's computer after allegations surfaced that he sexually abused one of Snow's relatives and had pornographic images of the child, which he threatened to distribute, according to the attorney's statement.
Snow also admitted to adding two incorrect dates to her notes when she "attempted to assist state investigators in not confusing the chronological order of the undated notes," the statement said. "The state did not find this either unprofessional or unethical."
In exchange for Snow's voluntary probation, state officials dropped allegations that she imposed false memories and used leading questions in her sessions.
Snow's practices came into question during the late 1980s, when allegations of sex-abuse "rings" surfaced in Lehi, Bountiful and Midvale. Then employed with the Intermountain Sex Abuse Treatment Center, Snow treated a number of children who came forward with allegations of abuse.
The children spoke of satanic rituals where they would be abused by groups of adults, according to reports. Most of the sex was homosexual and involved costumes.
The state investigated the allegations for nearly three years, charging one man along the way. The probe later became the subject of a KUED documentary.
In 1987, Allan B. Hadfield was convicted of sexually abusing and sodomizing a 12-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl. Hadfield's attorneys accused the therapist of being overzealous in her approach and said Snow "brainwashed" the children.
Two years prior, a jury convicted Arden Brett Bullock of sexually abusing three boys who had seen Snow for treatment.
Imprisoned for nearly two decades, Bullock maintained his innocence and said he believed Snow played a role in his incarceration.
"The one thing that these b------- can't take from me, that I won't give them, is my integrity. I won't sell out," Bullock told the Deseret Morning News in 2002. "The truth is, I'm innocent, and I'm not going to sell out to get a false sense of freedom."
Robert Parrish, a former assistant attorney general and the chief prosecutor in the case against Hadfield, said such claims against Snow are without merit. He said the therapist's probation was unfortunate.
"The kids' disclosure was basically an accident, it wasn't a result of leading questions," Parrish said. "(There) was no evidence of leading questions."
Snow was leading a safety inventory with a child who answered "no" when asked if the child felt safe at home, Parrish said. Snow then asked why the child did not feel safe, Parrish said, and the child wrote on a piece of paper, "My dad has been touching me."
Parrish said Snow's whole story was not told at the time of the Hadfield trial, leading people to assume her guilt.
Snow defended herself in a 2002 opinion piece in the Deseret Morning News. In it, Snow defended her practices and said, "Sexual predators are master manipulators."
"We cannot have it both ways," she wrote. "We cannot decry child abuse publicly and tolerate it privately if the offender is a white, upper-middle-class member of our religious congregation."

Contributing: Catherine Smith
E-mail: afalk@desnews.com

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