The outrage over the sexual abuse of young American gymnasts by their “doctor” is totally justified. The only trouble is that people might think abuse like that is unusual, and that maybe it’s some kind of mental disorder. When somebody is convicted of criminal sexual abuse, he or she very often gets sent to DSH with an NGRI verdict. Maybe they are put on K or L Unit....
DSH and the rest of the so-called “forensic psychiatry” establishment create a whole culture where sexual abuse is bound to be rampant. If you believe that people whom you’re totally in charge of are irredeemably screwed up, perhaps a bit sub-human, and if you are the expert in what’s wrong with them while they can be said to “lack insight”, you might conclude that you can use them any way you like. What else is forced “treatment”? It certainly doesn’t cure mental illness, no psychiatrist anywhere would try to claim it does. If you can justify forcing drugs into a resisting human being’s body, you’re hardly more than a step away from sexual abuse anyway.
Christy Lenhardt did nothing less horrendous to the two current federal plaintiffs than what Larry Nassar did to the young women he was supposedly “treating”. Both Lenhardt and Nassar were in positions of sufficient power to overwhelm their victims. Arguably, Lenhardt wielded an even larger power imbalance than Nassar did. In fact, that may be precisely why Nassar has been prosecuted and Lenhardt has not, at least not yet. Lenhardt has an entire government agency and an entire profession (over which no one wants to exercise oversight) backing her up. Nassar controlled young gymnasts’ futures in gymnastics, but Lenhardt controlled her patients’ freedom and their entire life futures. Without her support they had no freedom, even to choose what went into their own bodies. As long as Lenhardt had free reign, her patients knew they had to have sex with her when and if she wanted it.
A great deal of damage is done by sexual abuse. The victim impact statements at Larry Nassar’s sentencing could just as well be given by the two young men who are plaintiffs against Christy Lenhardt.
“This is what it looks like when the adults in authority do not respond properly to disclosures of sexual assault. This is what it looks like when institutions create a culture where a predator can flourish unafraid and unabated.” These were the words of Rachel Denhollander in Judge Aquilina’s courtroom.
Christy Lenhardt flourished unafraid and unabated for years at DSH. Long before Ben Hurt or Mark Owens were asssaulted, she was turning other patients into her sex slaves. Angelo Rotuno was an admitted child molester, and Christy helped him escape from DSH, actually drove him to O’Hare airport and put him on a plane out of the country, so he could roam the streets of Europe and find more victims for eleven years.
In fact, the plaintiffs against Christy are far less likely to be believed or acknowledged as victims, because they are young men, not women, and because they have criminal records. But guess what: they are every bit as human, and they hurt just as much, as the young female gymnasts who were assaulted by Larry Nassar. There is no justification under the law for any kind of punishment of these young men. They were supposed to be at DSH to be helped.
Now they have an awfully long way back that they will have to walk, to ever again believe that any offer of help is anything but an intention to betray. Christy Lenhardt offered help, and she was a licensed clinical social worker, part of a treatment team in a hospital, and the state of Illinois and its people were all promising help and claiming they knew how to help. It was just like the “examinations” that Larry Nassar gave young girls, sometimes with their parents right there in the room.... How could it be so wrong? How can anyone ever know what is wrong?
But people do know what’s wrong, in their hearts.