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Iowa seeks dismissal of lawsuit: Monster Experiment induced stuttering

Fri, 11 Jul 2003

CNN reports that the State of Iowa seeks a lawsuit dismissed against the University of Iowa, claiming immunity. The suit was filed on behalf of three surviving people who had been victimized as children in a cruel experiment that deliberately caused them to stutter.

Unless held in check by legal restraints scientists are capable of designing and conducting cruel and inhumane experiments on unprotected, vulnerable human beings in pursuit of their research objectives.

A Iowa University experiment induced orphan children to stutter in 1938. It was dubbed "the Monster Experiment" by University students. The experiment was designed and supervised by Dr. Wendell Johnson who became one of the nation's most prominent speech pathologists. A graduate student of speech pathology deliberately taught a group of orphaned children to stammer--to see if it can be done.

The experiment only came to light when a reporter with the San Jose Mercury News, who had access to the University of IOwa archives, reported it in 2001. He was forced to resign from the paper for his efforts. For details about the experiment see: http://www.ahrp.org/infomail/0601/11.php

http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/07/10/stutterers.lawsuit.ap/index.html
CNN

Iowa seeks dismissal of lawsuit filed by people taught to stutter

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) --The state has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of six people who said they were taught to stutter as part of research conducted by a renowned speech pathologist in 1939.

Special Assistant Attorney General Craig Kelinson and Assistant Attorney General Bruce Kemkes argued in a court document Wednesday that since the events happened before passage of the Iowa Tort Claims Act in 1965, the state is immune from such a lawsuit.

The Legislature determined the state was potentially liable only for claims after January 1, 1963, they said. Before the act took effect, the state had immunity, the motion states.

No hearing date on the motion has been set.

The lawsuit, filed in Johnson County District Court in April, seeks unspecified damages. Only three of the six defendants are still alive.

The six-month research project was led by University of Iowa speech pathologist Wendell Johnson, who tried to induce stuttering in children to prove that the speech impediment resulted from environment rather than genetics.

Mary Tudor Jacobs, the graduate student who conducted the experiment, used negative psychological pressure to try to cause stuttering in the children, who lived in the now-closed Iowa Soldiers' Orphans' Home in Davenport.

The university issued a formal apology in 2001 following the publication of articles about the study.

The plaintiffs claim the study amounted to fraud and caused them decades of emotional problems.

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