Climax Reached in 'Stuttering' Scandal Uncovered by San Jose Paper

By: David Pitt, The Associated Press The state has agreed to pay $925,000 to unwitting subjects of an infamous 1930s stuttering experiment ? orphans who were badgered and belittled as children by University of Iowa researchers trying to induce speech impediments.

The six plaintiffs, who said the experiment left lifelong psychological and emotional scars, had originally sought $13.5 million.

He said it was a prudent outcome for the state because of the high costs of litigation and the difficulty of finding witnesses to events so long ago. He noted that the settlement provides a resolution for plaintiffs who are now in their 70s and 80s.

Over a six-month period, Dr. Wendell Johnson, a nationally renowned pioneer in the field of speech pathology, and his staff tested his theory on 22 children who were in the care of the state-run Iowa Soldiers? Orphans? Home. Some were subjected to steady harassment, badgering and other negative therapy in an attempt to get them to stutter; the rest served as a control group.

The university kept the experiment and its methods under wraps for decades. It was not until 2001 when the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News published an investigative story about the study and its methods did the former subjects learn about the experiment?s true purpose. The newspaper based its story on statements made by Mary Tudor, one of Johnson?s former research assistants, who lived in California at the time the story was published.

The settlement pays $900,000 to five of the plaintiffs, Hazel Potter Dornbush, Kathryn Meacham, the Betty Romp estate, the Clarence Fifer estate and the Phillip S


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