REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- A prosecution expert witness testified Wednesday that the victim in the Cameron Hooker sex slave case was not brainwashed but was subjected to continuing coercion.
Dr. Chris Hatcher, a University of California psychologist, said that with brainwashing a person is not only pressured to do things but 'their whole thought process and way of looking at the world is changed.'
Hatcher, who studied the Peoples Temple tragedy and cases involving captives, said he knows of only five or six cases of true brainwashing. He said coercion ranges from gentle to extraordinary pressure, and what was involved in the Hooker case was 'simple coercion.'
On the witnessstand he was read a lengthy hypothetical account paralleling the story of Colleen Stan, 28, the alleged victim, who said she was abducted near Red Bluff, Calif., in 1979 by Hooker and subjected to whippings, torture, rapes as his sex slave until she fled last year.
Hooker, 31, a lumber mill worker, has pleaded innocent to 16 criminal counts and the defense was expected to begin presenting his case Thursday. The defense will contend Stan could have fled her bondage situation at almost any time.
Hatcher said the facts in the hypothetical account 'would be sufficient to coerce the majority of individuals into a desired behavior pattern and to break any resistance they may have.'
He gave a nine-step outline of how to completely coerce a person in which the first step was sudden and unexpected abduction and quick isolation.
The next several steps include physical and sexual abuse, disorientation by removal of the normal day-night pattern and removal of privacy concerning a person's body functions -- all steps strengthen the captor's control.
Further steps create 'a world of total dependence' on the captor by reducing food and water, making the captive ask permission for everything, and establishing the captor as the sole source of food, water and human contact.
After her abduction Stan lived with Hooker and his wife and two small children. The wife was given immunity from prosecution and has testified for the prosecution at the trial, a proceeding moved to Redwood City because of pretrial publicity in Red Bluff.
The more Hatcher testified, the more he listed specific tricks employed by captors to subjugate their captives. He said tricks allegedly used by Hooker, such as having Stan sign a contract and threatening her family members, are powerful techniques.
Hatcher commented on 11 of 80 old pornographic magazines found in Hunter's home. Those 11 contained giving specific ideas for gaining control of another person, he said.
The psychologist likened Hooker to a hunter who is 'initally concerned with stalking or capture. Then instead of killing the prey, they want to see how far they can train the person. The enjoyment comes from allowing contact with outside people and have the captive still come back.'
What Hatcher's testimony attempted to establish was that each action of Hooker was part of a carefully crafted attempt to coerce.
His testimony will continue Thursday.