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University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA: (Aug-17-07) Six people filed suit against the University of Iowa in Johnson County District Court, alleging that they or their relatives were psychologically damaged by their participation in the "Monster Study." The research was directed to induce stuttering in normal-speaking children in order to prove that the speech disorder was not an inherited trait. The research was directed by renowned University of Iowa speech pathologist Wendell Johnson and involved 22 orphans at the now closed Iowa Soldiers' Orphans' Home in Davenport. Mary Tudor Jacobs, a graduate student who conducted the experiment, used psychological pressure in an attempt to induce stuttering. Participants learned of the study's existence after the San Jose Mercury News in California made it public in 2001. Along with Mary Nixon of Des Moines, who was 12 during the study, the plaintiffs were Tonya Tolbert, representing the estate of her father, Phillip Spieker who was 12 during the study; Susan Dawson, administrator for the estate of her father, Clarence Fifer, who was 11; Hazel Potter Dornbush of Clinton, who was 15; Kathryn Meacham of Linden, who was 6; and Russell Ehrhardt of Manly on behalf of his mother, the late Betty Romp, who was 9. In a settlement reached, the state of Iowa will pay $925,000 to six plaintiffs to settle the suit. According to sources, money to pay the settlement will come from the state general fund. [GAZETTE ONLINE: STUTTERING STUDY]

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Last updated on Aug-20-07

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