4. At her trial, Patty told of her brainwashing at the hands of the SLA
In the 1970s, forensic psychology was nascent at best. Patty was put on trial for the crimes that she had committed; seeing as there was surveillance footage of the bank robberies, there was no denying that she had indeed committed them. However, at her trial, she told of how her captors had brainwashed her. Getting an acquittal on such grounds was unprecedented, as one customarily had to prove insanity during the committal of a crime. Still, there were clear signs that her “Tania” person was the result of her extreme trauma. Forensic psychologist Margaret Singer, who became an expert in social and religious contexts of crime, examined her.
Singer found that immediately following her arrest, Patty tested at an IQ of 83, abysmally below her pre-abduction IQ of 130. She also described her as having a “low-effect zombie.” Within a few weeks, her IQ had spiked up to 112, but it remained below her previous level. She also had severe nightmares and smoked heavily, things that she didn’t do before, and had memory lapses of what her life was like before she adopted the Tania persona. The court appointed Louis Jolyon West, an expert in brainwashing, to determine if she had been brainwashed. He believed that she had.