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Former Patient Sues Alsana Castlewood

Updated: Feb 20, 2022

ST. LOUIS COUNTY — A patient of an eating disorder treatment center was psychologically abused and exploited by an employee and driven away from her longtime partner, a federal lawsuit filed Monday says.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in St. Louis against the Alsana Treatment Center and Riverside Partners LLC, as well as employee Brittney Gibbs and other unnamed employees.


Alsana was known as the Castlewood Treatment Center until 2018. The suit was filed by a woman from Arizona identified as Jane Doe, who was admitted to the facility near Ballwin on June 15, 2021.


Gibbs, of St. Charles, could not be immediately reached for comment. Alsana provided email addresses but not phone numbers for Gibbs and CEO Gayle Devin. Neither immediately replied to emails.


The suit says when Doe arrived, she was assigned Gibbs, an unlicensed therapist with no experience in treating eating disorders, and a “deeply disturbing” series of statements on social media. Among those statements, the lawsuit says, are: “I reflected and realized I hurt others on purpose because it makes me feel good,” “There’s a darkness in me,” and “... Some days I hate myself, and I cause hell in other people’s lives.”


Therapy sessions were canceled or disorganized and leaders were unprepared, the suit says, and therapists like Gibbs were not properly supervised.


Gibbs convinced Doe to break things off with her partner, socialized with her outside the center, and maintained contact after she left, talking with her sometimes for hours a day, the suit says.

Gibbs also criticized Alsana’s program and disclosed information about other patients in conversations with Doe, it says.


The suit says Doe was also given medications belonging to others, was not given her medication on time, and was not given medications prescribed for a pituitary condition for the first two and a half weeks she was at Alsana, part of an “alarming” lack of communication on medical issues.


It says Alsana kept Gibbs as an employee even after being notified about her behavior.


Doe’s attorney, Steven R. Dunn, of Dallas, said he also represents other patients with potential claims against Alsana.

In a statement last week, Devin, the Alsana CEO, said new admissions were being halted at two residential programs and one outpatient program after allegations that “employees may have been involved in inappropriate conduct involving a client receiving outpatient care at our St. Louis program.”


An initial review, the statement says, showed “significant violations of company policy, and we have taken immediate action to remove the employees involved from any client setting.”


The lawsuit also revisits lawsuits and allegations of misconduct that the center has battled in the past, including a suit alleging the center’s founders brainwashed a patient, creating false memories of sexual abuse and satanic cult activity. The center and its staff denied the accusations. The allegations spawned a website, castlewoodvictimsunite.org, that has heavily criticized treatment there.


Castlewood was founded two decades ago by psychologist Mark Schwartz and his wife, Lori Galperin. Schwartz and Galperin stepped down from Castlewood in 2013, and Castlewood changed its name to Alsana in 2018.



Robert Patrick - St. Louis Dispatch

February 1, 2022




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