FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW LAWSUITS FOR SEX SLAVERY AND GROSS MISCONDUCT
AT STATE PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS
July 29, 2019. Copies of Federal Complaints filed in two matters were available on request at a press conference Monday July 29, 2019, 2:00 PM, at the Union League Club of Chicago, at 65 West Jackson Blvd, Heritage Room (2nd Floor).
The law firm of Kretchmar & Cecala, P.C., has been retained by several new plaintiffs in relation to civil rights violations in an ever-widening scope of sexual abuse and official misconduct throughout the State’s psychiatric system. Under Illinois criminal statutes, any sexual contact whatsoever between institutional staff and involuntary patients, no matter the circumstances, may subject the staff member to a felony charge of sexual abuse. There is also strict policy requiring staff to report any suspicions of sexual abuse within four hours. In all of the cases, nothing was reported, or reports were quashed by someone higher up the chain of command.
The new lawsuits specifically detail new sexual abuse of patients by staff and cover-up by top state psychiatric officials. All of the federal suits name Dr. James Corcoran, a top official with statewide oversight of forensic facilities. Corcoran is alleged to have direct knowledge of the sexual abuses and to have ignored and covered up patient and staff reporting with threats of retribution. One of the suits alleges that Corcoran used his powerful position to bully staff into false court reports against patients to keep them institutionalized, not because they were too dangerous to be released but in retribution for the patients’ attempts to assert their rights within the system or blow the whistle on abuses.
One new federal suit filed today against Erica Ware, a social worker at Chicago Read Mental Health Center, alleges that Ware engaged in sexual abuse of a patient beginning in 2016 and continuing until the patient’s release in 2019.
The first two Federal lawsuits have been pending for more than a year against Christy L. Lenhardt, a social worker at Elgin Mental Health Center, who is alleged to have seduced several patients beginning in 2014, and to have continued for years to use them as her personal sex slaves. Lenhardt was indicted by a Kane County grand jury on fourteen felony counts related to these matters. Former Elgin Mental Health Center patient Benahdam Hurt, who filed a case against Lenhardt and other defendants in November of 2017, claimed that Lenhardt had a sexual relationship for two years and that she showed him other patients’ confidential mental health records and pretended to make him her social work “assistant” by asking for opinions and advice about the other patients’ treatment. In January 2018, a second accuser, Mark Owens, alleged that Lenhardt tried to get his psychiatric diagnosis altered to discredit him, and to increase his medication to hurt his memory or otherwise disable his ability to complain about her sexual abuse.
The Law Offices of Kretchmar and Cecala, P.C. have been cooperating for some months with the Internal Investigations Division of the Illinois State Police, in relation to the indictment against Christy Lenhardt and possibly other state actors.
“We have discovered systemwide psychiatric abuse and as predicted, more plaintiffs have come forward. Ultimately the public will see psychiatric slavery in Illinois as an ugly 21st Century crime against humanity,” said S. Randolph Kretchmar, one attorney for the plaintiffs.
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