An alleged former patient claims the TV therapist treated – and touched her – inappropriately
A woman has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Dr. Phil McGraw, two producers and another doctor in what she alleges is a case of false imprisonment, practicing without a license, indecent exposure, battery, fraud and more.
Shirley Rae Dieu, 56, of Irvine, Calif., claims she was seeking therapy from Dr. Phil in his Hollywood office in 2007 when she allegedly was held captive and “forced to be in the same room with a completely live naked man while he exposed his entire naked body, genitals and all,” according to her filing.
Dieu further alleges she was deprived of sleep and food, “brainwashed” and “subjected to edited tapings depicting her as a different personality other than her own.” On Oct. 9, 2007, she claims Dr. Phil touched her left breast during a therapy session.
Representatives for McGraw did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“[Dr. Phil] is nothing like what he’s like on TV,” Dieu told PEOPLE by phone, adding that another woman will be joining her suit. “You have no idea what I and this other woman went through.”
It’s unclear how much she is seeking in damages but Dieu – who filed a malpractice suit against an Orange County hospital in 2002 and sued a car dealership in 2007 – is acting as her own attorney, and her filing is filled with misspellings and grammatical errors. Records also show she filed for bankruptcy in May 2008.
This is not the first time someone has tried to haul Dr. Phil, 59, into court. In 2006, he was sued by two men who claimed he implied they were suspects in the Natalee Holloway case. In 2005, he was sued by three consumers of a diet pill he endorsed.
On Thursday, Dr. Phil issued the following statement:
“All of Shirley Rae Dieu s claims are without merit. As with all of the occupants of the DR. PHIL House, Ms. Dieu participated voluntarily, having submitted her personal story with the hope that she could confront, and overcome, her individual issues.”
“Dr. Phil is never alone in the House with any of these guests and all of his interactions are captured on video and/or audio tape. All guests are, of course, free to come and go as they please and once Ms. Dieu expressed her discomfort, and producers ascertained there was nothing they could do to help her, they called a car service to return her to her home.”
“Ms. Dieu filed a claim with the Los Angeles Police Department some 9 months after the incident, which was investigated and ultimately not pursued by the Los Angeles City Attorney. All guests of the show are treated with dignity and respect and the show stands by the manner in which she was handled while participating on the show.”