Category Archives: Sexual Misconduct

Two Hope House Employees in Albany New York Arrested for Allegedly Having Sex with Drug Rehab Clients

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Well… It’s good to hear from an insider that it happens all the time! :-/

Two Hope House employees were arrested and charged with raping clients last week. In response to these articles, I came across a chemical dependency services worker claiming that this is very normal in the chemical dependency field. This is not surprising; there have been two movies detailing serious ethical concerns (PDF) about the industry in just this last year: The 13th Step and The Business of Recovery. It’s even more complicated, she says, because “addicts are con artists”, suggesting that any ‘mutual’ sex between an addict and a professional is the “addict’s” own plot to destroy the professional. The New York State Supreme Court seems to agree with this view that an OASAS worker accused of serial sexual misconduct is probably an innocent victim of clients’ and co-workers’ symptomatic behavior.

But anybody looking at the laws and her reasoning behind why this woman said it’s pretty normal to have sex with a client — they “go to meetings together” and have “that bond” and it’s “mutual” — would say that it’s insane that someone who’s worked in this field for a long time would have never even heard of the idea that this is illegal, or that it is her duty to be concerned about it.

It would seem pretty crazy, unless, of course, they knew that Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services employees traditionally lack required basic social work training and education, and that OASAS likes it that way. That being the case, it’s not much of a stretch to think that organizations accredited by OASAS, like Hope House, would have a pretty low bar for training of employees.

You can sign the petition to make health workers aware of the problems with the culture of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Samsaratan Counseling

I filed a complaint with the Justice Center which was formed to collect complaints against OASAS and the NYS Education Department and other organizations that cannot seem to manage complaints. I filed it against the NYS Education Department Office of Professions for basically refusing to investigate ‘the AA thing’ (as the investigator said…’we don’t look into that‘), and that the complete refusal to even acknowledge this complaint had led me to be hospitalized for suicidal ideation multiple times over the past few years, each time after having my complaint ‘officially’ disregarded. Thursday morning at about 5:30 am the Oakland Police called my phone and told me to meet them at my door. About eight cops told me that someone told them I was dangerous to myself, but could not tell me who did. I told them about my complaint and that i was not going to kill myself, that this was just yet another complaint that I have been trying to get someone to acknowledge for about 2.5 years now… but they proceeded to handcuff me, put me into a police car until an ambulance came, then drove me to a psychiatric hospital. I told them I did not agree to go. So, I was there for the last five days, where I was again expected to enroll in a AA treatment (detox) center! I refused. Today I was discharged, and found my way home with no shoes, keys or wallet. I’ll be waiting for the ~$30k bill that MediCal will probably be paying.

Here’s a investigative report on the hospital I was involuntary sent to last week:

Then I got a letter stating that my condition as described by the hospital did not merit inpatient treatment. So that’s another mystery.

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It seems that even if the psychiatric doctors no longer think I’m insane, somebody (probably someone in New York State government or from Samaritan Counseling Center, or both) still wants me to be ‘treated’ instead of acknowledging my complaint.

Anyone v. NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS 13-Stepping)

Amos Doctor v. OASAS (PDF) (Doctor appears to be the surname)

Here is a case of sexual harassment by an OASAS counselor where the AA curriculum of admitting ‘honesty’ problems was used to completely undermine the complaint.

“At the conclusion of that hearing, the arbitrator dismissed all four charges and specifications against petitioner finding, among other things, that the testimony offered by client A and the intern was not credible. Specifically, the arbitrator noted that client A admitted that she had “feelings” for petitioner and that she had acknowledged – on a self-assessment form completed in connection with her treatment – that she was only sometimes honest with herself and others.”

(Client C was also found to have admitted she was ‘honest with herself and others only some of the time’). The intern was also found to be ‘not credible’.

So, after being told to depend on a sober person for her very life, and then being told that the reason she doesn’t recover is because she has problems with being honest, her complaint is thrown out because she had ‘feelings’ for her counselor and had admitted as part of her 12-step ‘work’ that anything she says might be a lie.

This is How it Works. New York State doesn’t look into the ‘AA thing’. But actually, my whole blog is about this exact dynamic: client develops feelings for the person supposedly saving his/her life, counselor gets off on it, client gets confused by being constantly described as powerless, insane, defective, selfish and dishonest, then counselor denies everything and says addicts just make shit up out of nowhere for no comprehensible reason.

So, I guess it’s only OK to fool around with clients if the client has admitted on paper that s/he is “constitutionally incapable of being honest”, according to New York State Supreme Court. Doing the mandatory AA homework is equivalent to signing all your rights away. In AA, ‘honesty’ is directly correlated to ‘sobriety’, and people who are not helped by the program (or the ‘treatment’ providers) are encouraged to admit problems with ‘honesty’ and confess their thoughts and feelings, which are then inevitably used against them.

‘Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates.’

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After Two and a Half years, this complaint is disregarded by New York State

The last complaint to New York State Department of Education Office of Professions (the licensing board). The investigator told me that he called my therapist and she just denied everything, so he said it’s a ‘he said she said’ thing. He also told me ‘We don’t look into the AA thing”.

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SilverSamaritan (PDF)

I am writing in support of my brother (PDF 2nd Letter)

So, there are two letters explaining just how much has gone ignored by Samaritan Counseling, Samaritan Institute, New York State Licensing Board (which is staffed by the Clinical Director of Samaritan Counseling at the time), and the Justice Center. For anybody who thinks this is an isolated incident, like I initially thought it must be, please consider the following comments found on a FaceBook post about two Hope House employees getting arrested within the same week for having sex with rehab clients:

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The pattern is clear and should not be ignored. It is a product of 12-step culture. Invoking high-school-level “addicts are con artists” or “only sometimes honest with themselves and others” after having some fun with them doesn’t fly when you’re supposed to be a treatment provider. People have basic human rights and deserve to be taken seriously, and Medicaid and insurance shouldn’t be paying for the “Spiritual Recovery” Dating Game.

Doe v. Samaritan Counseling

“Clergy sexual misconduct gets the most attention when boundary violations are discussed. Olsen and Devor believe that focus gets in the way of addressing the need for other kinds of boundaries that help ministry to flourish.” – The Christian Century Review of Saying No To Say Yes by David Olsen, Executive Director of Samaritan Counseling and Nancy Devor

I just found this case today and the arguments set forth seem highly relevant, not only because it has to do with Samaritan Counseling, but because it has to do with mishandled transference and employer v. employee liability based on whether the misconduct is within the scope of job requirements.

Here is the Supreme Court of Alaska’s decision. I don’t totally understand all the legal terms.

Doe v. Samaritan Counseling

“Jane Doe argues that Samaritan should be held liable for the acts of one of its pastoral counselors, Reverend/Dr. John Garvin. Doe went to Samaritan for emotional and spiritual counseling. During two of her sessions with Garvin, kissing and fondling allegedly took place. After Doe cancelled her counseling sessions with Garvin, the two allegedly met and had sexual intercourse. Doe claims that she suffered emotional harm as a result of Garvin’s abuse of their therapist-patient relationship. On summary judgment the superior court held that Samaritan could not be held liable for Garvin’s actions on grounds of respondeat superior…

…this relationship was found to have caused the patient emotional problems so devastating that years later she attempted to commit suicide.”

Bad Samaritans Make Dangerous Precedent: The Perils of Holding an Employer Liable for an Employee’s Sexual Misconduct

“This illustration suggests that a clinic should not be vicariously liable for a therapist’s sexual misconduct simply because the transference phenomenon the therapist manipulates is a common factor in both a responsible and irresponsible relationship with a patient. The real issue is whether his sole motive in manipulating this phenomenon is for his personal gratification. The very nature of a therapist’s deliberate sexual misconduct indicates that his motive is purely personal because such behavior completely undermines his authorized role as a counselor.”

I would argue that this argument of personal gratification (and the one about noncommercial businesses being incapable of assuming responsibility/liability for things like this because their overall public benefit is more important) is simply Samaritan avoiding responsibility for the dynamics of degradation and control inherent in the 12-step ‘rehabilitation’ process which is not coincidental but ‘part of the job’ at Samaritan Counseling. This article does mention the possibility that *unintentional* mishandling of transference (such as in a supervised scheme of emotional extortion to coerce 12-step treatment) in carrying out the demands of the employer would not absolve the employer of responsibility in the same way.

I would also add that these cases could be handled better (mishandling a mishandled transference complaint, especially in the manner 12-step programs do, is often more damaging than the sexual incident itself) and this piece does seem to say that negligence regarding these imposed dynamics would be a better argument.

“In congregational life, too often clergy become the scapegoat for their congregations.” – David Olsen

Clergy Sexual Misconduct and 12-step Treatment

If the Spotlight 2015 movie made anything clear, it is that sexual misconduct by clergy is a very real and systemic problem. Part of the problem is the power and secrecy that these priests hold over others, but another part of the problem is the same religious treatment system that constantly fails for drug treatment. Both of these facts being clear, it is amazing that pastoral trainers like Clergy and Congregation Consulting of Samaritan Counseling would 1) advocate more secrecy and diversion when sexual misconduct occurs, and 2). advocate 12-step treatment for sexual misconduct.

“Priest [12-step] treatment unfolds in costly, secretive world”

“Such treatment is typically paid for by the diocese, and has cost the church at least $50 million over the last 25 years [as of 2002], estimated A. W. Richard Sipe, a psychologist and ex-priest who treated clergy for 40 years.”

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13th Step the Film Available on DVD

This is the film I’ve been posting about for almost a year now available on DVD. It was Monica Richardson’s three year effort, and in that process we’ve all learned a lot about the real AA. It’s far from the ideal program the public knows. It’s more like a destructive cult business that has little or nothing to do with alcohol treatment.
After she saw people get murdered by violent people repeatedly sentenced to AA as plea deals who had learned how to speak the AA language and appear to be wise old-timers, she (a member for 35 years) tried to get AA to provide safety guidelines to its members letting them know that members do not have to ‘maintain the anonymity’ of another person if they see a problem.

This was a simple request. AA world headquarters chose to ignore it as if it was an irrational resentment that disturbed their serenity.
Actually, it’s becoming clear that they ignored that simple request because it would open a huge can of worms. Since then she’s interviewed hundreds of people who were harassed or financially scammed or abused by people or professionals in AA who had learned through AA how to ‘blame the victim’, and uncovered the fraud inherent in the 12-step rehab industry.

Now AA is getting sued, and they are getting exposed here, just like the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The film contains some disturbing material, but it is all true, and important to watch because it is enlightening. I hope everybody buys a copy.

The 13th Step available on DVD!