Retired University of Utah psychology professor David Raskin has sued the school for not defending him against a defamation suit.
Raskin, who retired this summer, was sued by Salt Lake City psychologist Noemi P. Mattis after he criticized her views on the reliability of so-called "recovered memories" of child abuse.Mattis called his 1992 speech a mean-spirited personal attack and sought $1 million in damages.
After Utah's Division of Risk Management refused to defend Raskin, his homeowner's insurance companies paid Mattis a settlement in April. Details of the amount of the settlement were kept confidential.
Now Raskin and the companies who insure him, Fire Insurance Exchange and Farmers Insurance Exchange, are suing the university for the amount of that settlement and for attorneys' fees totaling $80,000.
Raskin, who now lives in Alaska, also seeks unspecified damages for emotional distress and time lost from work.
The lawsuit filed claims Tuesday that as a professor, Raskin was encouraged and expected to give public speeches expressing his opinion on subjects of public interest.
"It was his position that he was giving that speech as part of his responsibilities as a professor, which includes doing things of a community-service nature," said Raskin's attorney, Alma Nelson. "There was a lot of encouragement from people at the university to do things like this."
The speech was delivered to the Provo chapter of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, an advocacy group for people accused by people claiming to have recovered memories of sexual abuse or other childhood traumas.
Mattis, who was co-chairman of a state task force on ritual child abuse, maintains many adults have recovered, through therapy, suppressed memories of ritualistic satanic abuse they suffered years earlier. Raskin argues law-enforcement agencies have found no evidence of such abuse.
Karen McCreary, associate general counsel for the university, said she could not comment on the lawsuit because the university had not received a copy.
The state also is a defendant. Attorney general spokesman Palmer DePaulis said his office also had not been served with the suit.