The "Sarah" Trial, Commentaries

Name: Evelyn #6 @7 VirtualNET Thru Gateway #2 @2850
Date: Fri Dec 18, 1992 22:25
From: Love Galaxy [218-773-8330]
Re: By making the statement that
By: Happy Dog Potato #145 @5415 HealthNet

You said: in many states it is illegal to have a sexual or romantic "relationship" with someone who is certified "insane," I am not passing judgment; I am simply citing law.

I take it there's been a complaint about someone having an affair with a multiple. I'll charitably pass over the idiocy of referring to a multiple as certified insane, and see what I can do to untangle the rest.

I think he is referring to the Sarah case which took place about two years ago. A Wisconsin woman with multiple personalities brought rape charges against a man who had taken advantage of her condition in order to have sex with her. This is why multiples should exercise extreme caution regarding disclosure. This woman knew the man fairly well and thought she could trust him with the knowledge of her other selves. He proceeded to manipulate her into bringing out a naive, childlike young woman, and got her to have sex with him.

During the trial, the woman was asked to bring out various personalities on the witness stand in an effort by the prosecution to portray her as "too mentally ill to know what she was doing". Wisconsin law does in fact prohibit sexual liaisons with persons of that description.

There was the usual amount of media exploitation. Multiple personality was described as a mental illness, even as a disease. National Public Radio stated that few believed the woman actually had multiple personalities, because of the ease with which she switched from one to another, rather than the cinematic convulsions usually associated with the idea of "entities taking over the body". There was a clear implication that she could have been making up the entire story. The jury voted to convict, but of course the judge later overturned that conviction on a technicality, and the man walked free. Rape convictions rarely stick unless the rapist is black: in this case, it was a white man's word against that of an Asian-American woman with a "mental illness."

In other words, another tiresome example of misunderstanding, half truths, and deliberate obfuscation portrayed as a "victory for the rights of the mentally ill". A few more victories like this one, and they'll be able to throw away the keys.

Name: Anthony #5 @7 VirtualNET Thru Gateway #2 @2850
Date: Fri Dec 18, 1992 00:23
From: Love Galaxy [218-773-8330]

You said: "in many states it is illegal to have a sexual or romantic "relationship" with someone who is certified "insane," I am not passing judgment; I am simply citing law."

You said: "...However, the law is the law, and the law in many states says that it is illegal to have a relationship with someone "of unsound mind" as the legal definition has it."

Yes, but you as a lay person are not entitled to decide this outright. One need avoid sexual behavior only if one has reason to suspect mental incapacity to be a "consenting adult".

In the "Sarah" case, her boyfriend was reported to have known she was a multiple, and that he deliberately sought out a vulnerable personality to seduce, rather than approach Sarah's presenting self for an honest relationship. As I understand it, this is not citable as case law on "insane multiples" because conviction was overturned on a technicality.

Insanity, "unsound mind", and equivalent phrases are legal terms referring to a mental condition which renders one unfit to enjoy liberty of action because of unreliability of behavior. A variety of psychological tests are applied to determine whether an individual lacked the capacity to appreciate the wrongness of their actions, or lacked sufficient control over their actions, at the time of an alleged crime or wrongdoing.

Insanity is not a modern medical term. It is a legal definition which changes from time to time. To the best of my knowledge, there is no statutory law (as distinguished from case law or common law) in the United States which includes Multiple Personality Syndrome in the legal definition of insanity. This could change next week if legislators anywhere so decided. But it would apply only within the jurisdiction of that legislature.

The Milligan case was decided under the statute of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity. His judge made a general interpretation of the existing laws concerning insanity, because, apparently, there was no prior statute, case, or English Common Law specific to MPS. This particular determination of insanity applies only to Bill Milligan. However, it creates a case law precedent, which can be used to influence future judges, juries, and legislatures.

In order to be literally "certified insane", some agency of government is usually involved, because a person may require commitment, treatment, or financial assistance. Rarely, a private agency or person might have reason to request such a certification by a private psychiatrist. However, in making such a determination, the psychiatrist must apply existing legal standards. A psychiatrist cannot arbitrarily declare a person "Insane" because, again, that is a legal term, rather than a medical one. Indeed, a psychiatrist or other professional who did not apply some sort of legal standard in "certifying" someone "insane" is open to a medical or legal malpractice suit.

Furthermore: a lay person who, without legal proof, libels or slanders an identifiable individual as being "Insane" --and thereby causes financial loss or other compensable harm to that person-- can be sued to recover damages in actual dollars. If the jury is sympathetic, they can often award punitive damages as well.

[By the way, did you know that calling someone a "Bastard" is libelous because it is an attempt to deprive someone of their inheritance?]

A. Temple with help from Black's Law Dictionary and friends

A Message to Astraea From Sarah's Personal Friend
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 22:32:11 -0400
Subject: Re: (no subject)

P.S. Thanks to your earlier message, I found the Sarah materials at your website. Just thought I'd let you know the reason that the conviction was overturned. Perjury by the DA's chief witness. He lied when he said that he had explained Sarah's multiplicity to Peterson. The DA knew that his chief witness had been having sex with Sarah -- or with Ginger, if Sarah said no -- on a regular basis for over a year. He charged Peterson because it was a hot media item. The real crime was committed under the guise of enforcing the law and protecting the vulnerable.

Newsline interviews Dr. Nancy Perry, "MPD expert"

Articles on the trial

A Multiple Choice Examination by Sheila Berry. Gives you some idea of her personal take on multiplicity, with speculations from "Seth Speaks", New Age channeling, and past life recall.

Violation and Virtuality By Sandy Stone. Another look at the Sarah case; and an online persona, invented by a singlet, taking on a life of its own.

Click here to buy "My Name Is Legion" Fictionalized account of the trial and its aftermath by Sheila Martin Berry.

Astraea's Bookstore... a full line of books on multiplicity & beyond

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