April 17, 2008 -- Carmine Edmund Baffa describes himself as a hypnotist and psychotherapist who hosts coaching seminars in life improvement in Georgia and around the country.
Police in Gwinnett County, Ga., say Baffa's a rapist, child molester and fraud who preyed on a pair of teens in 2006 and 2007 during "therapy" sessions at his former home.
A "preliminary investigation indicated that Mr. Baffa posed as a hypnotist and psychotherapist," the Gwinnett County Police Department wrote in a Wednesday release, 10 days after Baffa's arrest.
"Mr. Baffa would conduct therapy sessions where a 13-year-old girl and 19-year-old woman told investigators they were raped by Mr. Baffa," according to the police release.
The 13-year-old said her "sessions" with Baffa occurred between August 2006 and August 2007. The 19-year-old told investigators that she met Baffa in the fall of 2006 and that he raped her Jan. 1, 2007.
Baffa, 52, was arrested without incident by Gwinnett's special victims unit. He remains behind bars at the Gwinnett County Detention Center.
Other Victims in the Past?
Baffa already has been charged with felony rape, sexual assault, child molestation, aggravated child molestation and aggravated sexual battery. Police believe the purported therapist may have targeted other victims who have not yet come forward.
"This investigation has also revealed that there may be other victims involved," police wrote in the release, asking anyone who may have had "inappropriate" contact with Baffa to contact authorities.
In addition to using his house as a training venue, Baffa hosted hypnotism and psychotherapy seminars at hotels in Gwinnett and Cobb counties in the metropolitan Atlanta area as well as nationally, according to police. His seminars, originally called "Mindsight," were recently renamed "Precious Video Productions."
Baffa offered individual coaching sessions to both adults and children, police said.
The exact nature of those seminars remains unclear, though information posted on the Internet by a Baffa client and his own Web site provide some insight.
'Human Performance Engineering'
A Web site registered to Baffa from 1997 to 2007 bills itself as "a substantial collection of Dr. Carmine Baffa's writings about NLP, hypnosis and other rapid change work."
Baffa listed three training opportunities available in Atlanta in 2007, including 2½-day seminars titled "The Power of Language" and "There's So Much More, Even More Than That!" and a 3½-day seminar called "How to Model Behavior."
Descriptions and pricing for the seminars are not provided, but there is a phone number and e-mail for reaching Baffa with "questions about the training." The number listed goes to an unspecified voice mail. It is unclear whether Baffa has hired an attorney.
The Web site calls itself the home of "human performance engineering," a trademarked term that involves a range of lessons, such as "modeling excellence" and "public speaking mastery."
A man identified as Michal Wallace, the webmaster of the site www.manifestation.com, described traveling from his home in Roswell, Ga., to Atlanta to attend a Baffa seminar called "Ericksonian Hypnosis and NLP."
NLP stands for neuro-linguistic programming, a trademarked term defined as a type of study of structured behavior in which "programmers" -- such as Baffa -- use behavior and communication models to build a person's speed and effectiveness of thought, according to descriptions posted on Richard Bandler's NLP Web site. Bandler is described as a co-inventor of NLP, which was introduced in the 1970s.
In a lengthy posting about attending a Baffa seminar, Wallace described reading Baffa's writings online before signing up for the session, which took place in a room with 30 chairs arranged in rows and a taller chair for Baffa.
Wallace said he emerged empowered by the experience and described Baffa in glowing terms, "like a celebrity at a Thanksgiving Day parade," and the "most dynamic and energetic public speaker" he has ever seen.
Wallace also describes being "tranced out" by one of Baffa's helpers at his own request.
"The weekend is a blur to me," he wrote. "My blood was rushing, I couldn't stop smiling and I could almost feel my brain cells rearranging themselves."