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The Fall of Carmine Baffa *UPDATED*

SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF ENTRY.

Carmine Edmund Baffa, 52, ran seminars across the country, stalking through starry-eyed crowds hanging on his every word, wearing a headset mic as he instructed others on how they could achieve “life improvement.” Baffa was all about “Human Performance Engineering.” He tacked Ph.D. at the end of his name, and apparently, plenty of people bought into what Baffa was selling.

Baffa, a resident of Lawrenceville, GA, was arrested April 9 and is in the Gwinnett County Jail, charged with raping two teen girls, aged 13 and 19. While local Atlanta media has referenced “two separate incidents,” Baffa’s charge sheet, available online as of April 17, shows multiple charges. They include aggravated sexual battery, aggravated child molestation, and rape.

While Baffa traveled nationwide for seminars, his alleged crimes occurred in a private setting at his Georgia residence. The victims told police that they were raped during therapy sessions. Though Baffa was supposedly a hypnotist, his alleged victims were not under any kind of hypnotic spell. Police believe Baffa committed rape as part of furthering the patients’ “treatment.”

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Gwinnett County Police Department spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman told local reporters that adults being treated by Baffa “[S]aid they knew what was going on, but were convinced that it would help their treatment.”

Spellman also said that legitimate therapists referred patients to Baffa, who presented himself as a psychotherapist. In reality, Carmine Baffa was “not a licensed therapist” in any way, according to Cpl. Spellman.

For his “Mindsight” seminars, Baffa traveled to Chicago and Los Angeles in addition to holding seminars in the Atlanta area.

Baffa’s website, Carmine.net, appeared to be “under construction,” but at one time it contained a great deal of writing by Baffa, some of it quite creepy in light of the recent charges against him. He’d posted many of the articles as responses to various discussions in Usenet groups, message boards that have been online in one form or another since the 1980s. Some were still online as of April 17, 2008, but it looked as though any links to the writing from the main page of Baffa’s website had been severed.

One “Internet Response From Carmine Baffa, Creator of Human Performance Engineering,” was titled, “NLP and Sex.” NLP referred to “neuro-linguistic programming.” Wikipedia described NLP as “an interpersonal communication model and an alternative approach to psychotherapy” that was “based on the subjective study of language, communication and personal change.”

In “NLP and Sex,” Baffa wrote the following:

This, by far, is one of my favorite subjects. At least that’s the way I feel today. I often wonder about how so many people could experience anything other than wanton desire that moves toward passionate sexual arousal. My question has been the opposite. How do I turn it off?

Of course, the results of having internalized the skills of NLP has only added to my misery. Now, not only do I live in a state of heightened sexual arousal, it has become very contagious. Or is that contiguous, as the feelings have connected to everything else. I can’t go anywhere without profoundly eliciting in those I come into contact with deeply felt arousal and attraction…

Baffa paused the slithery digression into his “heightened sexual arousal” to explain some things:

Putting the fun aside for a moment, let me seriously answer your question. First, you learn, in so far, the entire skill set called NLP, then you elicit anything you want, period…

Later, Baffa expanded on what NLP had done for him when it came to getting “anything” he wanted:

For me, the process of learning NLP/DHE(TM) has been an adventure. One that has enhanced every single area of my entire world. Life for me is fantastic! I continue having the ongoing experience of being able to do what ever I want to do. I only work an average of three hours a day while making as much money as I want to. I am involved in the most enjoyable, caring, fun, loving, dynamic, pleasurable, intimate relationship imaginable. I do what I want, learn what I want, go where I want, get what I want, experience what I want to experience – always! In fact, my life while awake is far better than any dream I have ever had. And since I only need about three hours of sleep in every twenty-four hour period, I have plenty of time to enjoy it all.

Why stop at just sexual arousal and attraction when you could live all of your dreams? Every single one of them!

Carmine Baffa’s words described an ideal existence for a predatory, antisocial personality — little to no work and constant self-satisfaction. In light of the charges against him, his words about neuro-linguistic programming and sex induce some queasiness. The message — for it was originally posted in a newsgroup that by and large loathed him — seemed to hint that he’d been doing what he wanted for some time.

A similar “Internet Response” from Baffa addressed “Kids Learning NLP.” Baffa wrote:

Pretty much as a rule, when people have attended one of my trainings their children were always invited for free. I have had children ages seven to over sixty attend trainings.

As I think about it, when there were children in the trainings, they always wound up becoming my assistants. It was as if they were learning the information by osmosis…

Baffa is now charged with multiple counts of child molestation, so there was no small amount of irony in a later part of the same “Response”:

Some of the side effects, if you will, that have materialized through the children who have attended these trainings are: 1. the automatic ability to effectively calibrate how far a particular person can be trusted, 2. accelerated learning abilities – where actual study time was cut to a fraction while comprehension increased (not only that, but how they were able to usefully utilize what they were comprehending was uncanny), 3. the automatic ability to make better decisions about the choices that were offered to them in all contexts…

If the charges against Baffa are true, those children who learned how to “calibrate” a level of trust for another through NLP should have run screaming from the seminar leader himself.

Because Baffa traveled a great deal and had other potentially vulnerable patients, anyone with more information about the phony therapist and alleged rapist should Gwinnett County investigator Diane King at 770-513-5356.

I’ve started a thread about this case here.

Additional links:

Carmine Baffa was also a freelance videographer with a full set of camera equipment.

One of Baffa’s confirmed e-mail addresses led to this private MySpace:

http://www.myspace.com/100740839

Note the age given on the profile. Baffa is 52. Public records indicated a marriage in Texas to a woman in her thirties in 2001, but she would be approaching 40 now.

Other blogs: The Dreamin’ Demon has a post up about Baffa.

UPDATE, 6:18 p.m. ET

Carmine Baffa’s birth date, according to the list of inmates currently in the Gwinnett County Detention Center (he was first on the list as of 4/17), is 02/15/1956.

In Broward County, Florida court records, partially available online, there was a felony case involving a defendant named Carmine Baffa from October, 1985. That Carmine Baffa’s birthdate was 02/15/1955. The charge was for “dealing in stolen property.” The case’s status read “disposition entered.” Here’s how the Broward County Courts website explains that status:

Case and count status of “disposition entered” signifies that although either a Court ruled on or disposed of the underlying case or count, or it was otherwise disposed of by operation of law, it nonetheless allows for the possibility that there may still be other actions or matters pending or due on or related to that case or count, including but not limited to, fine, fee or cost payments due; probation, restitution or special conditions pending; attorney’s fees motions pending; defendant declared unable to stand trial and committed to a hospital; appeals pending; and others…

This post may be updated and revised.

(The video below was another promotional video Baffa posted on his website. He titled it “Changing Personal History.” Something he’d probably like to do right now.)