Suits accuse therapist of witchcraft
By Angela Fornelli
GENEVA — A psychologist accused of performing witchcraft under the guise of therapy on her patients at Delnor-Community Hospital denies the claims, saying her accusers are only seeking financial gain.
Kathleen Carlson, of St. Charles, last week filed the third and latest suit against Delnor-Community Hospital, claiming that clinical psychologist Letitia Libman advised her that "witch's spells were the manner in which to resolve her mental and physical problems" and instructed her to "perform a seance" to help her deal with the emotional distress caused by her divorce.
After receiving a complaint in January regarding Libman, Delnor conducted an internal investigation. Libman has not seen patients since January and is no longer employed by the hospital, said Craig Livermore, the hospital's president and CEO.
Richard Stavins, an attorney representing the three women, said his law firm has begun interviewing another possible plaintiff and expects another suit to be filed.
The first suit was filed in mid-March by Shelley Standau, who claimed Libman directed her to talk to the dead, instructed her to take a witch name and to order books on witchcraft, convinced her to join her witch's coven, coerced her into engaging in nudity and self-mutilation, and engaged in erotic behavior with another female patient in her presence, among other claims.
Deanna Whetstine, a Kane County resident, filed the second suit in late March, stating similar allegations plus claims that Libman convinced her to divorce her husband and move in with Libman and a former patient, who was her lover.
Whetstine's complaint also states that Libman told her to stop taking medications prescribed by her neurologist, threatened her with her gun and handed Whetstine her gun and asked her to shoot Libman's former patient and lover.
As a result, all three women have experienced severe depression, anxiety or paranoia; loss of family relationships; and other mental and physical injuries, according to their complaints.
Seeking $1 million
Standau, previously from Woodstock but now residing in North Carolina, is seeking $1 million plus costs. Settlements being sought by Whetstine and Carlson were not stated.
Libman, of St. Charles, said she was "devastated" when she heard of the lawsuits.
"I can tell you that it's not true," Libman said, adding that she believes the women are solely seeking financial gain. "We have sort of a copy-cat thing going on now."
She said it would be "absurd" to think that a therapist could perform such acts without another staff member overhearing in their busy, sometimes shared office environment.
According to the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, Libman has been a licensed clinical psychologist since 1982, and disciplinary action never has been taken against her license.
Delnor has replaced Libman with a licensed psychologist with more than 10 years of experience at major medical centers.