Timberlawn psychiatric hospital in Dallas, Texas, owned by Universal Health Services (UHS), announced it is closing its doors, following state officials threatening to shut it down in the wake of allegations of patient sexual assault, including the rape of a 13-year-old girl under its care. Timberlawn is one of hundreds of behavioral hospitals owned by UHS that boasts being the largest psychiatric hospital chain in the U.S. The facility, along with other UHS behavioral facilities in Texas and other states, has been plagued by allegations of sexual and physical assaults against patients. On January 19, 2018, The Dallas Morning News, which has done extensive investigations into and stories about abuses at Timberlawn, detailed how in recent years the psychiatric facility has been under scrutiny over safety and other issues, including a patient who warned she was suicidal but hanged herself in the facility in 2014. And a female patient alleged a male patient entered her room and raped her.
Massachusetts State Auditor Finds Widespread Rape and Sexual Abuse in Foster Care but DCF Officials Won’t Report It
On December 7, 2017, Massachusetts State Auditor Suzanne Bump released an appalling audit of her state's Child Protective Services, the Department of Children and Families (DCF). The audit, which covered 2014 and 2015, found that there were many instances where children in state care, whether in foster homes or group homes or other facilities under DCF care, were abused physically or sexually, but DCF failed to report the incidents to the proper authorities. DCF officials told Auditor Suzanne Bump that they don't see sexual abuse as a serious enough problem that they need to report it.
Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a mental health industry watchdog, says that amidst the growing reports of sexual abuse and intimidation coming out of the entertainment industry, the systemic sexual abuse of patients within the mental health industry must be brought to public attention. According to CCHR, since allegations of sexual abuse against Harvey Weinstein broke, 15 psychiatrists and psychologists have committed sexual violations, including those criminally charged or found guilty, had their licenses to practice suspended or revoked, or had civil charges brought against them for sexual violations. Kenneth S. Pope, Ph.D., reported in his book, Sexual Involvement with Therapists: Patient Assessment, Subsequent Therapy, Forensics, that research studies also suggest that at least 50 percent of all therapists will encounter a least one patient who has been sexually abused by a previous therapist. Several of the sexual assaults were against children, one as young as nine years old while one was only four years old. Dr. Pope says that in a national survey of therapist-client sex involving minors revealed girls as young as three and boys as young as seven were abused. Laura S. Brown, a clinical professor of psychology at the University of Washington, said any sex between therapist and patient “is an abuse of a vulnerable person by a person that should know by virtue of their training that this is harmful.” Further, “This is not just an affair.” There have been 15 psychiatrists and psychologists who were criminally charged or found guilty, had their licenses suspended or revoked, or had civil charges brought against them for sexual violations with patients since early September 2017.
Medina County Texas Sheriff Randy Brown had some harsh criticisms of Texas Child Protection Services (CPS) this past week after they arrested a 58-year old man for sexually abusing 5 former foster care children. The man, Miguel Briseno, had at various times taken care of up to 12 girls at one time, and a total of 180 girls had passed through his care. Sheriff Brown told the San Antonio Express: "It's not a question about whether there are more, it's just about how many." "Those girls were taken from some environment and then you have some jackass like him abusing these girls that already have troubles," Brown said. "I'm aggravated at the whole system. I'm aggravated at the company that placed these girls. It was a money-making deal, the way they were running those girls through there like livestock. It wasn't about making a better world for them. They were making a profit off them."
Currently there are over 415,000 children in foster care in the U.S. today, according to the 2014 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). What if you accepted that foster care was not a decision made “in the best interest of the child” but rather a financial decision made in the best interest of the state? What if you realized that the majority (75%) of children being removed from their home and placed into foster care was not due to imminent danger of abuse, but rather due to poverty, and are now being abused by the foster care system? What if you acknowledged that many of the foster homes these children are being placed into was worse than the one from which they had been removed? What if you learned about some of the stories of children who were abused in foster care, children who suffered emotional trauma of being “kidnapped” from their home, forced to take psychotropic drugs for the resulting emotional traumas they endured, physically, emotionally and sexually abused, or even used in sex-trafficking rings? What would you do with this information?
In a shocking interview recorded on the Robert Scott Bell Show Thursday January 29th, 2015, Leanna Smith gave details of how her two daughters were taken away by medical authorities and CPS in Arizona, and explained how her youngest daughter has allegedly been sexually and mentally abused while in State custody. While allegations have been made against the parents as a reason for removing their two daughters, apparently no criminal charges have ever been filed against either the father or the mother. So why did Arizona take these two children away from their biological parents?