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The co-chairman of a state task force on ritualistic abuse has filed a $1 million suit against a University of Utah professor she says defamed her during a speech.

Noemi Perelman Mattis has sued David C. Raskin for remarks Raskin made about her and therapists generally in a June 25 speech before the False Memory Syndrome Foundation in Provo.Raskin, a psychology professor, and Mattis, a psychologist, have publicly disagreed over the existence of ritualistic abuse of children.

Mattis believes the problem is widespread. Raskin claims no hard evidence points to the practice.

Raskin's June 25 speech was made before a group who also believes ritualistic abuse does not exist.

Mattis believes Raskin went too far in his comments.

"Ms. Mattis is not reluctant to discuss issues and discuss them robustly, said David K. Isom, her attorney. "If this were a disagreement about issues or politics, she wouldn't have filed a lawsuit. But this is about defamation."

In his speech, Raskin said when Mattis applied for a position in the U. department of psychology, many of the faculty looked at her qualifications and said they wouldn't even invite her to join the department as a graduate student.

Mattis cited that remark and several others in her suit, claiming the remarks impeached her reputation and exposed her to contempt and ridicule.

Raskin could not be reached for comment.

In his speech, Raskin said Mattis did unscientific work and then tried to pass it off as scientific, the suit says.

Raskin further criticized comments Mattis made on "Take Two," a local news program. He challenged information she included in a task force report to Gov. Norman H. Bangerter.

The suit claims several remarks made about therapists in general - including the claim that they have destroyed children and families - also defamed Mattis.