I-Team Investigates: In the Mind of a Child

Did a prominent New Jersey psychologist prompt a little girl to make false accusations of sexual abuse against her father? That is the question some fathers in the middle of custody battles are asking the state.

Dr. Marsha Kleinman has been practicing psychology for 22 years. Kleinman says a 3-year-old girl told her during her play therapy that her father sexually abused her. However the state, and the girl?s father, says Kleinman used methods so suggestive and manipulative that they could have implanted those memories in the child?s mind. The state also says Kleinman did not report statements from the girl that might have cleared her father.

Kleinman insists she did nothing wrong during her therapy sessions. She says she was treating the girl as a therapist, not an abuse investigator.

The girl?s father is not the only person to accuse Kleinman of implanting false memories. Several other fathers claim Kleinman got involved in their divorce cases, manufactured abuse accusations and caused them to lose or give up custody of their children.

The girl?s father complained to the state three years ago about Kleinman, however, he says the state acted too late to investigate the psychologist?s methods.

News 12 New Jersey?s I-Team found out the state hired an independent expert to investigate the accusations against Kleinman. The expert?s report found evidence of gross negligence, gross incompetence and repeated acts of malpractice. The report was issued in 2005, however, the state didn?t act until this summer after a state senator made a personal appeal to the deputy attorney general.

An attorney general?s office spokesman says the ethics committee proceedings are confidential and wouldn?t comment further on the case.

Meanwhile, Kleinman is still in practice and treating children. She maintains she never tries to implant thoughts. She says she uses therapy techniques designed to ease traumatic memories.

Part I of this I-Team investigation.Part II of this I-Team investigation.

Related Information:State's complaint against Dr. Marsha Kleinman Dr. Kleinman's response to the state For more information on EMDR, the therapy Dr. Kleinman was using: EMDR Institute

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