A defamation suit by one psychologist against another psychologist over the issue of recovered memory will go to trial, a judge has ruled.

Last week 3rd District Judge Timothy Hanson denied University of Utah psychology professor David Raskin's motion for summary judgment in the suit filed by Noemi Mattis.Hanson said there were issues of fact that must be resolved at trial.

Mattis sued Raskin in 1992, four months after he delivered a speech before the Provo chapter of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Raskin had criticized Mattis and other therapists who claim to have enabled people to recover suppressed memories of childhood sexual or ritualistic abuse.

Mattis was co-leader of a state task force on ritual abuse.

In his speech, Raskin said the FBI has found no evidence of such abuse and that therapists who treat patients with recovered memories "do not know the scientific literature" and "have no reality orientation." He said Mattis' academic credentials were so weak that she would not be accepted at the university as a graduate student in psychology, let alone as a faculty member.

Mattis sued Raskin for $1 million, claiming his speech contained false statements that damaged her personal and professional rep-u-ta-tion.

Raskin responded with a motion for summary judgment, arguing that his statements about Mattis are true or substantially true. He also argued his statements are constitutionally protected expressions of opinion; that Mattis is a public figure, making the statements privileged; and that his comments are not defamatory.

Hanson said in his seven-page ruling that summary judgment would be appropriate only if "the record is so clear that the court can say as a matter of law that no reasonable person could find that the statements by the defendant, Dr. Raskin, did not defame the plaintiff, Dr. Mattis."

Hanson said Raskin's comments about Mattis' credentials were one area where "reasonable minds might differ."

"Suggesting that a person who holds the scholastic achievements that the plaintiff has acquired would not even be an appropriate candidate for graduate school could be considered by a reasonable jury to be defamatory, making summary judgment inappropriate," Hanson wrote.

Raskin's attorney, Aaron Nelson, said the ruling is disappointing but declined to comment further. Raskin was unavailable for comment Monday.

George Haley, attorney for Mattis, called Hanson's finding "a big victory . . . . We're looking forward to our day in court."