UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ))) ) ) Magistrate Case No:
SCOTT BLOCH ))DEFENDANT )
VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT OF JANET LOUISE PARKER,
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MEDICAL WHISTLEBLOWER
My name is Janet Louise Parker and I am the Executive Director of Medical Whistleblower, in Lawrence, Kansas. As a human rights defender, Medical Whistleblower steps forward to directly advocate for those who report medical fraud, abuse and neglect and human rights violations.(1) Medical Whistleblower provides educational materials to enhance understanding of human rights issues especially those issues involving health care and the medical community. Medical Whistleblower also runs a non-profit human rights advocacy network, the Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network. The Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network works in collaboration and cooperation with other non-profit organizations and individuals, to publicly promote human rights advocacy and enforcement. The Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network provides public petitions for purposes of encouraging legislation that will promote human rights and protect human rights defenders. In 2010 the Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network provided the United Nations with a report for the USA’s Universal Periodic Review. (2)
I advocate for other whistleblowers, human rights defenders2 and mandated reporters, such as a foster parents (3) and medical professionals 4 to file this victim impact statement, under 18 U.S.C. ' 3771(e) (5) Victims’ Rights Laws 6 and Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 32. (7 8 9 10) I wish to advocate for all persons who have been harmed because of Scott Bloch’s lack of enforcement of whistleblower protections, lack of enforcement of civil rights protections and refusal to enforce international human rights law. I was a cooperating witness to a US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Chairman Congressman Henry Waxman. Scott Bloch as his role as Special Counsel for the Office of Special Counsel did not do his duty to protect those who provided valid whistleblower complaints even those brought forward by human rights defenders and mandated reporters and also failed to protect the human rights of US citizens and to protect human rights defenders. All US Attorneys have the responsibility and obligation under United Nations Declaration on human rights defenders, General Assembly resolution 53/144 of 8 March 1999 and A/RES/58/178 of 22 December 2003. A defender of human rights is defined under international law and is a person who, individually or with others, acts to promote or protect human rights. Human rights defenders are those women and men who act peacefully for the promotion and protection of those rights.
In order to protect our civil liberties and rights guaranteed under the US Constitution and all of its amendments and the Bill of Rights, we as a nation must ensure the protection of human rights defenders. The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders A/RES/58/178 of 22 December 2003 (11) is addressed not only to States and human rights defenders but to all individuals, groups and organs of society. Article 10 of the Declaration states that “No one shall participate, by act or by failure to act where required, in violating human rights and fundamental
freedoms.” The United States of America has an obligation as a nation state to protect the rights of defenders against abuses by third parties. (12 13)
A whistleblower is a person/informant who raises a concern about wrongdoing occurring in an organization or body of people, often from within their workplace. Usually the whistleblower is from within that same organization. A whistleblower exposes the wrongdoing in the hope of stopping it and who feels the public has a right to know. Whistleblowers are usually workers who have attained professional competence in their field. Whistleblowers have access to information at a high enough level to be able to detect fraud, governmental corruption, abuse and neglect but also brave enough to alert others to the problem. Whistleblowers come from all walks of life and many professional disciplines. Nowhere is it more important to have persons of honor and ethical and moral character than in our governmental service.
Persons who are whistleblowers are often by definition defenders of human rights as well, when they are persons who have stepped forward to provide information about public health issues, medical fraud against vulnerable populations, patient abuse and neglect, and human rights violations. These defenders of human rights are concerned about human rights involving violations of minor children, elderly, disabled, mental health patients, prisoners, migrants, immigrants and patients in hospital treatment for addiction. Patient abuse can be physical, financial, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse. Human rights defenders who are in the medical community are called upon to report inequality and discrimination in regards to the delivery of health care. They often are face to face with the difficult realities of the managed care system in the U.S.A. and on the front line against medical fraud against vulnerable populations like those economically disadvantaged, immigrants, migrants, the elderly, persons of color, those of different religious faiths or national origin, those who have a disability or
different sexual orientation. Medical professionals who are also human rights defenders also need to speak out about gender related inequality in health care.
There are state and federal mandated reporter laws in the U.S. A. requiring medical personnel and other professionals to report certain types of concerns for public health and safety, abuse, neglect and human rights violations. Mandated reporters can be medical professionals but they can also be airline pilots, certified public accountants, prison guards, law enforcement personnel, civil engineers, nuclear safety officials, NIH researchers, FDA inspectors, educators, patent attorneys and many other professionals. For example a civil engineer might be reporting a problem of toxic waste leaking into a public water supply or an airline pilot might be reporting toxins leaking into the cabin air of an airplane. A certified public account might be reporting Medicaid/Medicare fraud against a vulnerable population. A prison guard might step forward to report a problem of prison rape and a FBI agent might be reporting sexual assaults on Native American women on Bureau of Indian Affairs land.
It takes great courage to be a whistleblower within our national government and human rights defender especially for those in national security or intelligence positions who are already working in a dangerous environment. But brave defenders have stood up for human rights and braved the stigma of being a whistleblower within the U.S. government including those in national security, law enforcement or intelligence professions. It must be pointed out that many of these professionals although not in the medical profession may have contact with those who need medical care and assistance or who have suffered abuse, mistreatment or even torture. There has been an increased use of governmental contractors in many capacities, especially in the Department of Defense, airline security, and in the private prison/corrections facilities. These subcontractors perform duties normally considered functions of government without direct
governmental supervision and control. So protection of whistleblowers who are acting as defenders of human rights by providing us valid complaints against federal contractors is critical. Defenders of human rights who work in governmental service represent significant sources of intelligence about criminal activity and violation of public trust and issues in regards to the public welfare due to their unique access to information not readily available to law enforcement. Nowhere is this more evident than in the FDA and in complaints regarding the Food Safety Act and in regulation of prescription drugs where whistleblowers bring forward issues critical to the health and safety of the American public. In addition, many medical professionals do serve in national security positions or work with the security forces.
Scott Bloch, who was formally nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate to protect the public trust, has instead repeatedly violated that trust. Scott Bloch’s misconduct has had a very negative impact on the lives hundreds of individual whistleblowers and on the entire federal workforce because of his dismissal of hundreds of whistleblower complaints. Some of these whistleblower complaints were brought forward by those who were defending human rights or reporting under mandated reporter laws. Scott Bloch therefore did not perform his duty and obligation as a federal officer to uphold international standards regarding human rights. Scott Bloch did not investigate these valid complaints of whistleblowers and human rights defenders which left hundreds of dedicated federal employees potentially subjected to unlawful retaliatory conduct with no remedy. In addition, Scott Bloch did not abide by the principles of international human rights law or even longstanding federal policy when he discriminated against federal employees on the basis of their sexual orientation. He therefore left numerous federal employees discriminated against on this basis, who previously would have been protected by the OSC, with no remedy. Scott Bloch’s retaliatory actions against these
governmental whistleblowers had a tremendous negative impact on the lives and careers of the OSC employees who he terminated or forced into involuntarily transferring. Scott Bloch’s retaliatory actions created tremendous anxiety, emotional distress, financial losses, and career damage to these loyal federal employees, which continues to this day.
Executive orders and administrative measures have been used to limit the action of human rights defenders, in the name of security. Governmental personnel often face retaliation when reporting to the Merit Systems Protection Board or the appropriate Office of Inspector General. The Office of Special Counsel under Scott Bloch’s leadership has not responded properly to whistleblower complaints, nor provided proper protection to mandated reporters. Federal employees continue to suffer when they raise concerns about waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government. Instead legal protections for federal employees should be enhanced and current existing rights protected. Protecting their right to provide testimony regarding issues of fundamental human rights is critical to our national health and safety and also to our national security and defense as well. The use of the States Secrets privilege has been used so that the government could throw out valid whistleblower cases including those of defenders of human rights.
Persons who step forward to report under mandated reporter statutes are promised on paper that they will be protected when they disclose problems but in reality there is no agency in the state or federal government empowered to protect them or to track the progress of a human rights defender case through the system from initial intake to final resolution. Instead what usually happens is that the human rights defender’s identity is leaked to the person, organization or corporation that they are making the allegation against. This means almost immediate retaliation against the human rights defender and possible loss of employment and even
potentially the loss of their career. Systems such as the Merit Systems Protection Board and the Office of Special Counsel which are expected to protect defenders of human rights and mandated reporters fail to protect them and under Scott Bloch’s tenure there was little or no protection for whistleblowers even if they were mandated reporters or defenders of human rights. Mandated reporters encounter a corrupted judicial system that denies due process through covert activities and ineffective legal representation. Professionals often lose license to practice or their right to employment in chosen careers if they perform their mandated legal duty. It is important that our government publicly reaffirm the importance of the work carried out by human rights defenders. Human rights defenders helping victims to access justice for violations of human rights law or international humanitarian law, even attorneys, are regularly subjected to threats, violence and harassment. Human rights defenders can be prevented even from providing humanitarian aid to victims of human rights violations.
When facing this kind of retaliation human rights defenders in the U.S.A. do not have a known agency that they can turn to for protection because the Office of Special Counsel has not adequately protected whistleblower rights. The Department of Justice does not cover protection for investigations that occur in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Health and Human Services Department (HHS). The investigators for the FDA are not trained law enforcement officers and therefore do not have law enforcement authority to initiate protection for persons who provide them testimony. Local departments of Child Protective Services (CPS) also do not have the authority to protect their witnesses when an investigation regarding child abuse is launched. Therefore the person who comes forward to provide information regarding human rights abuses such as child abuse are immediately targeted for reprisals and there is nowhere they can effectively go for protection or to report the retaliation. In addition, those
wishing to silence the defender of human rights can come anonymously against the defender’s professional license and/or security clearance. Violators of human rights, in order to defend themselves, launch counter attacks on the defender’s professional and personal reputation. Lack of proper training of investigators on how to protect both the integrity of the investigation and the professional reputation of the mandated reporter has often negatively impacted the well being and safety of the defender. Defenders who are women or who are from a minority group are particularly vulnerable to particular kinds of abuse when they step forward to report human rights violations.
Whistleblower retaliation is a form of abuse or assault (psychological violence), which has serious and devastating consequences not only for those targeted, but also for any organization within which it is allowed to prevail. Although it can be an overt form of abuse, in the workplace the perpetrators usually act covertly and systematically to undermine, control, and their targets. It has been observed that elements of psychological abuse in the workplace correspond with elements of torture and have similar emotional outcomes for the target. The perpetrators are often superficially charming and may appear to others to be an asset to the organization. In the workplace, the underlying cause of retaliation or bullying is usually power abuse, with the perpetrators choosing as their targets anyone whom they perceive as a threat to their assumed power. When those targeted resist the perpetrators' attempts to control and intimidate them, the perpetrators will simply intensify the abuse until the targets either leave or break down under the stress of what is happening. Most whistleblowers are originally of a very strong constitution. They are usually self confident adults who have good self esteem and were fully capable of handling difficulties in their own lives. Therefore whistleblowers have many coping mechanisms to hide the emotional damage the retaliation has caused them and just try
harder. But under extreme or prolonged stress even very emotionally strong people often undergo an apparent personality change. It is important to remember that there needs to be intervention from outside to protect the whistleblower and prevent further retaliatory abuse.
Thus when Scott Bloch in his position in the Office of Special Counsel did not protect whistleblowers from further retaliatory abuse, he permitted continuing retaliatory abuse and thus long term emotional and psychological consequences for the whistleblowers. This retaliatory abuse or psychological violence can eventually lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The whistleblower who is the victim of the retaliation is not inherently weak or inferior. In fact, any human being has the potential to develop PTSD. Whistleblowers who are being bullied should be encouraged to seek support sooner, rather than later, and should be able to do so with the assurance that they will be believed and effectively supported, rather than be treated as if they themselves were the problem. But this did not happen because of lack of response by Scott Bloch on the OSC whistleblower complaints. The stressed and/or bullied whistleblower found themselves facing disciplinary proceedings when what they really need is rest and support. In addition the use of forced hostile workplace psychiatric evaluations were used to discredit the whistleblowers’ allegations. This hostile workplace evaluation action, often taken by those accused by the whistleblower, then renders it almost impossible for whistleblowers to seek adequate professional help for their stress induced needs without risking their creditability on their whistleblower complaint. It is a common tactic to remove classified security clearances, medical licenses, pilot’s licenses and other professional credentials from human rights defenders in order to halt their advocacy.
These competent whistleblowers when faced with the effects of workplace bullying and whistleblower retaliation may become unassertive, overanxious, compliant and even unable to
cope with even the most trivial of stressors. The symptoms of stress breakdown and PTSD are frequently misunderstood (by family, friends, co-workers and employers) as those of inadequacy or inefficiency. Some typical human reactions to severe and persistent stress are the loss of emotional control, apparent over-reactions to seemingly trivial stimuli, showing hypervigilance, and being on constant alert for further abuse. Being targeted for whistleblower retaliation almost always leads to feelings of powerless. Those retaliated against usually feel ashamed of what is happening to them, and by the time they seek help are likely to be already showing signs of stress breakdown. At the point these competent whistleblowers finally admit they need help, they are likely to present as over emotional. In these circumstances it is all too easy believe the person's account of workplace psychological violence or bullying as over-reacting when in fact the symptoms of emotional stress should be recognized as actually corroborating what they are saying. There can be secondary traumatization when the persons, whose misdeeds the whistleblower is reporting, retaliate by fabricating complaints against the whistleblower. These fabricated complaints against the whistleblower do not need to even have the appearance of truth in order for the bully to be protected by the Good Samaritan Laws and their false allegations protected by governmental immunity. People may also disbelieve the whistleblower, and side instead with those in power or authority. Co-workers may ridicule him/her, abandon, blame, ostracize, sabotage, threaten, and betray him/her. These painful and dangerous reactions can come from family, friends, and authorities as well as from people associated with the perpetrator. Co-workers may fault the whistleblower for the hostility in the workplace. The whistleblower may be unable to recover until they leave the stressful position, but may be unable to find a new position until they have recovered. Employers, therefore, need to be aware of the potential for compounding the problems of stressed/bullied whistleblowers by unjustly disciplining them.
Where the stress has been caused by workplace bullying, it also allows the perpetrators to switch the focus of attention away from their own abusive behavior by inferring, (usually under the guise of sympathy and support), that the person they are targeting is mentally ill, and that it is their "mental illness" which is responsible for the current problems. Whistleblowers need ongoing reassurance that they are not to blame for what has happened. Referring stressed people for work-based counseling helps perpetuate the myth that it is the person who is the problem, rather than the working environment. It is important that employers and service providers take stress reactions seriously and remove the whistleblower from the stress before the damage becomes more serious or permanent. Whistleblowers, who are generally highly committed people, are particularly likely to ignore their own symptoms and struggle on, since seeking help is too often regarded as an admission of weakness or professional inadequacy. It is also common to put the stressed/bullied whistleblower back into the same stressful/bullying situation and expect them to "prove" themselves. Thus protection at the level of the Office of Special Counsel is particularly important to prevent whistleblower retaliation trauma and its long term after effects and the loss of human potential for the whistleblower.
Scott Bloch as former Special Counsel at the United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC) failed to uphold anti-discrimination laws and whistleblower protections for federal employees and also failed in his duties at the Office of Special Counsel to protect human rights defenders as required under international human rights law. We need to see the Office of Special Counsel abide by its nondiscretionary statutory duties to enforce the laws within its jurisdiction, particularly 5 U.S.C. §1214(e), as well as ascertaining that the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) studies whether federal employees are adequately protected from reprisal and other
prohibited personnel practices (PPP’s), per 5 U.S.C. §1204(a)(3), and how agency heads have interpreted their nondiscretionary statutory duty to “prevent PPPs,” per 5 U.S.C. §2302(c).
Many whistleblowers and human rights defenders reported human rights violations within programs funded by grants from the White House Office for Faith-based and Community Initiatives. The United States of America has a primary responsibility for protecting the human rights of its citizens (14) and for protecting human rights defenders. Scott Bloch refused to “investigate complaints relating to the provision or violation of the rights of a crime victim” and did “willfully or wantonly fail” to protect those rights. (18 U.S.C. ' 3771(f)(2))(15). All US Attorneys have obligations under State and Federal law to report suspected child abuse. In this great nation, the United States of America, we have a blemish on our record of defending human rights, because high governmental officials turned a blind eye while children were neglected and abused in Teen Challenge and other residential treatment centers.(16 17) Scott Bloch, former Deputy Director and counsel to the Department of Justice's Task Force for Faith-based and Community Initiatives (2001-03) was responsible for failing to protect the human rights of US citizens in the Teen Challenge programs and other non-governmental organizations funded by that office. We cannot stand as an example for other nations when we have not yet secured the protection of human rights for our own children on our own soil. When mandated reporters or human rights defenders come forward to report concerns to governmental authorities such as the Office of Special Counsel, we must provide them adequate, and meaningful protections and effective action on their complaints. Whistleblowers within the US government deserve the right to be made whole, including compensatory damages.
When Scott Bloch was appointed as Deputy Director and counsel to the Department of Justice's Task Force for Faith-based and Community Initiatives, Teen Challenge centers already
had a well known public reputation for child abuse. Their tactics were known to be remarkably similar to documented abuse within Straight, Inc. which was the most abusive "behavior modification" clinical trials (18) and insurance fraud ever documented in the U.S.A. (50,000 children and adults were in Straight Inc.).(19) Melvin Sembler, former head of Straight, Inc., now operates the Drug Free America Foundation, (20) which endorsed and made direct referrals to Teen Challenge. Thus Teen Challenge may be acting as the de facto inheritor of Straight, Inc.'s legacy of child abuse and neglect as well as their business model using troubled teens for profit. The abuse of children in residential centers has not stopped but has gotten even more governmental power to hide its true nature from law enforcement and regulators. Abusive teen rehabilitation centers are now even more numerous and the industry is still not regulated by the US federal government. There is no adequate means to monitor these facilities for human rights abuses.
Teens who ended up in the Teen Challenge programs did not really “volunteer.” Teen Challenge gets the vast majority of its residents either directly from the jails or from courts which sentence them to a live-in program in lieu of jail. This usually happens after the judge gives the individual a choice to go to a correctional facility or Teen Challenge for year. (21) Any student leaving Teen Challenge without completion of the 12 month program can be court ordered to a correctional facility for non-completion of the courts requirements. Teen Challenge also actively recruits right from the jails. Law Enforcement Assistance Agency (LEAA)(22) grants were responsible for the rapid growth of teen rehabilitation centers which did not need to meet the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) standards for clinical research using human subjects.
Teen Challenge in Texas was the first facility exempted from licensing and inspection regulation. (23) The arrangement between governmental financial support and Teen Challenge
raises questions about the constitutional separation of church and state. As exempt faith-based drug treatment centers, Teen Challenge facilities are not required to have licensed chemical dependency counselors, conduct staff training or criminal background checks, protect client confidentiality rights, adhere to state health and safety standards, or report abuse, neglect, emergencies and medication errors.
(24) Amid continuing complaints of physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse, (25) Teen Challenge programs are reported to foster a deliberate atmosphere that was both anti-gay (26) and anti-Semitic. (27) Several former students of Teen Challenge say that staff 1) use physical punishment (28) 2) ridicule intimidate and/or verbally abuse children (29) 3) use chemical restraints (30) 4) employ cruel or humiliating treatment or other emotionally abusive behavior (31) 5) abuse sexually (32) 6) assign excessive exercise or work duties 7) deny food, clothing, shelter, medical care (33) and/or prescribed therapeutic activities (34) 8) deny contacts with family, counselors, or legal representatives as a form of punishment (35) 9) force them to do missionary activity (36) which may be also a violation of child labor laws (37) and 10) force them to sign over paychecks to Teen Challenge.(38) Teens confined to Teen Challenge have also been victims of forced labor scams (39) such as an unlicensed telemarketing scam in Florida that paid workers only 33 cents a day for a 40 hour work week while at the same time swindling the public with a fraud scheme.(40) There are cases where teens have been subjected to cruel and degrading treatment and even what could be considered torture (41) with no possibility to escape from their abusers as they are court ordered into the facility and refused contact with the outside world even their families.
Teen Challenge facilities were cited for abuse as early as 1998. (42) As a US Attorney, Scott Bloch demonstrated a lack of proper due diligence in his work and clear bias, as he awarded start up grant money (2001-03) to Teen Challenge programs even though the facilities
were not required to meet regulatory health and safety standards, and were not inspected. Amidst all the media coverage over Teen Challenge child abuse and without this influx of federal funding, the centers would surely have lost clients and probably closed. But the combination of jail recruitment strategies and extensive funding supplied by the Faith-based and Community Initiative grants along with an exemption from having to demonstrate compliance with existing standards, faith based facilities were flourishing. In Florida and Texas, Teen Challenge centers were being accredited by the Texas Association of Christian Child Care Agencies (TACCCA) and the Florida Association of Christian Child Care Agencies (FACCCA). The programs have no medical component and center instead of around prayer, Bible study and religious conversion. With no regulatory control over the quality of the staffing, Teen Challenge in Winthrop Maine hired registered sex offenders for staff. (43) Teen Challenge facilities did not uphold First Amendment rights and also did not enforce workplace anti-bias laws. (44) There was also lack of proper oversight over the educational standards of the program. (45)
Torture is the calculated physical and psychological assault on the individual, a practice used to instill fear, punish or degrade, to dehumanize, or to obliterate the self. The true goal of torture is soul murder. It is often said that anyone who has been tortured remains tortured, long after the physical wounds have healed. Torture is the deliberate infliction of severe pain by one human being against another, thus it leaves particular kinds of mental and psychological scars. This soul wrenching trauma is different from other traumas because torture is a violation committed in secret and in spite of official denial. Many believe that torture only occurs in the most repressive regimes, but the reality is that torture is widespread in all parts of the world. Although it is often perpetuated by police or security forces, it can also be carried out by detaining authorities such as immigration officials, prison staff, hospital staff, and in Teen
Challenge it is done by peer mentors and staff. Torture can be physical or psychological. Many can understand severe physical abuse as being torture. But psychological torture like that practiced by the staff at Teen Challenge or any of the Straight Inc. derivative centers can be just as traumatic. The psychological wounds of both physical and psychological torture last a lifetime. The coercive and abusive methods of Straight Inc. which were mimicked by Teen Challenge staff were designed to obliterate the sense of self and instill fear and obedience to authority in young teens. These abusive methods included sleep deprivation, beatings, sexual humiliation, sexual assault, prolonged sitting or standing in forced positions, isolation and detention for prolonged and indefinite periods of time, forcing one teen to abuse another and prolonged denial of rest, sleep, food, water, and adequate hygiene.
Many victims continue to suffer in silence and torture victims commonly report feelings of fear, guilt, shame, anger, disillusionment, insecurity and humiliation. For victims of torture coming forward to speak about what happened to them is very difficult. This is true for the tens of thousands of US children who were physically and psychologically abused and even sometimes sexually abused in the program called Straight Inc. and its legacy program Teen Challenge. What happened behind the closed doors of Teen Challenge is very deeply personal and highly traumatizing and so speaking about it can evoke for survivors a range of emotions. Survivors are afraid to speak publicly and may not have fully revealed their experiences to families and friends, in some instances they may not have come to terms with it themselves.
Survivors of torture find it very difficult and challenging to try to move forward with their lives. Many who had spent time in Straight Inc. and other abusive teen rehabilitative centers such as Teen Challenge speak with frustration that the fact, that their torture actually occurred, has never been publicly acknowledged. This denial wounds the soul. Teen Challenge
survivors have individual and often different conceptions of justice, some speak of the importance of criminal prosecutions, and others speak about civil compensation, rehabilitation or prevention of recurrence. But for everyone there is a need to restore that sense of dignity and control that was taken from them when they were tortured.
The United States of America which has signed the UN Convention Against Torture and therefore has an obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish those who do torture. But the reality is that society has a deep seated prejudice toward the weak or powerless and there is a special stigma in the cases of persons who claim to be psychologically injured and who need to seek compensation or support. Governments are a reflection of the pervasive reactions to the horror of torture and so therefore denial, indifference, avoidance and repression are common. Impunity of the perpetrators will prolong, or in some cases deepen, the mental scars borne by the victim or by members of their families, as denial of the wrong makes psychological healing difficult. To obtain any justice through the court system, the torture victim is expected to testify to and provide a recounting of the violation suffered in order to create a public record of the event, and while this truth– telling may have a reparative value for many victims, it may also be deeply traumatic bringing to the surface old emotional wounds. In addition those suffering from the mental anguish of torture do not always show physical scars and thus it is easier to deny the extent of their trauma and suffering. The right to reparation for victims of a wrongful act is a well-established principle of international law. (46) I believe that we can no longer afford to endorse the kinds of political compromises that give rise to de jure or de facto amnesties for perpetrators or enablers of torture within the teen residential treatment industry.
The Special Counsel at the United States Office of Special Counsel should scrupulously comply with the law in discharging his/her duty and that includes communicating with Congress
and cooperating with the US Department of Justice. The US Congress has just newly enacted Public Law 111-122 The Human Rights Enforcement Act of 2009 passed on Dec. 22, 2009. Participating for the first time in the Universal Periodic Review Process, President Barack Obama has publicly announced our nation’s renewed commitment to the principles embodied in international human rights law. So now is the time to enforce the protection of human rights here in the U.S.A.
I believe that the highest officials of Department of Justice should keep faith and human solidarity with victims, survivors and future human generations, and reaffirm the international legal principles of accountability, justice and the rule of law, by demanding accountability for those who did not take action to stop the abuse of children and adults in Teen Challenge.
Many victims of Teen Challenge feel that a public apology including acknowledgment of the facts and acceptance of responsibility is particularly pertinent. Officials such as Scott Bloch, former Special Counsel at the United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC), were supposed to uphold whistleblower protections for federal employees and act on their complaints, especially complaints regarding the abuse of children.
I submit this victim statement not just for myself as a human rights defender but also for all who have had their human rights violated because of the lack of enforcement of whistleblower rights, civil rights, and human rights. I hope the Court will consider that there have been grave violations of human rights due to the lack of proper enforcement of both federal law and international human rights law by Scott Bloch. Scott Bloch plead guilty to criminal contempt of Congress for withholding from the US Congress and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee "pertinent" evidence concerning his misconduct in office. Scott Bloch’s actions could be construed as intent to hide these human rights violations from the US
Congress, the US President and the Supreme Court of the United States. Scott Bloch’s actions withheld critical whistleblower information regarding concerns for the health, safety and wellbeing of the US public. I believe this should be considered when determining his sentence in this criminal case and the range of time he could be incarcerated. Sentencing Scott Bloch to incarceration would send a clear message that US public officials need to properly discharge their duties prior to giving out federal grant moneys to unlicensed, uninspected and unregulated residential facilities. Sentencing Scott Bloch to incarceration would also reaffirm the obligation of the Office of Special Counsel to uphold the civil rights and international human rights of whistleblowers, mandated reporters and defenders of human rights.
Executive Director, Medical Whistleblower
Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network
1 The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has supported this right of every individual to form and freely participate in organizations and non-governmental groups for the purpose of observing, denouncing/reporting, and promoting human rights, Kawas Fernández v. Honduras
2 United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders A/RES/58/178 of 22 December 2003 The United Nations Charter and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the General Assembly resolution 53/144 of 8 March 1999
3 42 U.S.C. ' 13031(b)
4 42 U.S.C. ' 13031 Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance – Federal victims’ rights laws - The core statutes are 18 U.S.C. ' 3771 and 42 U.S.C. ' 10607, Mandated Reporters (Covered Professionals). Healthcare professionals subject to the Federal child abuse reporting requirements.
5 18 U.S.C. ' 3771(e) Enforcing the rights enumerated in article I.B, a victim is “a person directly and proximately harmed as a result of the commission of a Federal offense or an offense in the District of Columbia” (18 U.S.C. ' 3771(e)) if the offense is charged in Federal district court.
6 18 U.S.C. ' 3771(a) Rights of Crime Victims
7 Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 32(d)(2)(B) Victim Impact Statement
8 Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 32 “Before imposing sentence, the court must address any victim of the crime who is present at sentencing and must permit the victim to be reasonably heard.”
9 Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 32 “In Camera proceedings, Upon a party’s motion and for good cause, the court may hear in camera any statement made under Rule 32(i)(4).”
10 18 U.S.C. ' 3771(a)(8) With respect victims’ privacy and dignity
11 A/RES/58/178 of 22 December 2003 The United Nations Charter and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the General Assembly resolution 53/144 of 8 March 1999, adopted the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, known as the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and subsequent resolutions.
12 United States has a responsibility in relation to actions and omissions of non-State actors Article 12, paragraph 3, of the Declaration, also reiterated by numerous human rights bodies, the Human Rights Committee and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
13 The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the right to life and freedom of association and expression, should be protected from violations not only by State agents, but also private persons or entities. Human Rights Committee, general comment No. 31 on article 2 of the Covenant on the nature of the general legal obligation imposed on States parties to the Covenant, 26 May 2004.
14 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
15 A crime victim may also file an administrative complaint if Department employees fail to respect the victim’s rights. The Attorney General must take and “investigate complaints relating to the provision or violation of the rights of a crime victim” and provide for disciplinary sanctions for Department employees who “willfully or wantonly fail” to protect those rights. (18 U.S.C. ' 3771(f)(2))
16 42 U.S.C. ' 13031 All Federal law enforcement personnel have obligations under State and Federal law to report suspected child abuse.
17 The US House under the leadership of Congressman George Miller conducted investigations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) during the 110th Congress uncovered thousands of cases and allegations of child abuse and neglect since the early 1990’s at teen residential programs. Currently, these programs are governed only by a weak patchwork of state and federal standards. A separate GAO report, also conducted by at the committee’s request, found major gaps in the licensing and oversight of residential programs – some of which are not covered by any state licensing standards at all. GAO concluded that without adequate oversight “the well-being and civil rights of youth in some facilities will remain at risk.” State reported data to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System in 2005 found
that 34 states reported 1503 incidents of youth maltreatment by residential facility staff. Of the states surveyed by GAO, 28 reported at least one youth fatality in a residential facility in 2006. GAO concluded both of these statistics understate the incidents of maltreatment and death.
18 In 1971 the United States Senate's Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights under the directorship of Senator Sam Ervin began an investigation of the US government's role in behavior modification. Senator Ervin's 650 page report was published in November 1974 under the title "Individual Rights and the Federal Role in Behavior Modification."
19 The Seed, a network of teen drug rehabilitation centers was closed after a US Congressional Investigation into child abuse at their facilities. Melvin Sembler, Betty Sembler and some other Seed parents formed their own Seed-like program which they called Straight, Inc. Straight was quickly accused of criminal child abuse by Florida's licensing and investigating agency the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS) with Bob Marshall as the principal investigator. But Straight Inc. still went on to become the largest juvenile drug rehabilitation program in the world and one of the most destructive. There were many lawsuits by victims of abuse with large jury awards of damages. Other suits were settled out of court. In 1985 the Semblers fearing civil suits by the victims of the abuse and fearing possible criminal prosecution, changed the mission of Straight, Inc. from "treatment" to "education" and its name from "Straight, Inc." to "Straight Foundation, Inc."
20 After Straight Inc. had to be closed, the name of the educational foundation became the Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF). So today Straight has morphed into an organization called the Drug Free America Foundation, which specializes in helping small businesses set up Drug Free Workplaces, and in promoting national and international drug policy that allows coercive and abusive treatment methods.
21 UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Article 10.1
22 Straight Inc. managed to get two startup grants from the Law Enforcement Assistance Agency (LEAA) in 1976 and again in 1977 for $50,000 each. Unlike the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Law Enforcement Assistance Agency (LEAA) had not been setup to fund programs involved in human experimentation and thus it had no policy for human consent forms.
23 Lester Roloff, who founded Roloff Homes, had a showdown with the Texas Attorney General and left Texas in 1985. Wiley Cameron Sr., assumed control of the Roloff Holmes and strategically lobbied for the alternative accreditation law. Then Cameron was appointed to serve on the board of directors of Texas Association of Child Care Agencies (TACCCA). Roloff Homes moved back to Texas and was able to open 5 facilities accredited by the TACCCA. By 2000, reports of physical abuse, beatings and sadistic punishments resurfaced. Roloff Homes’ administrators were criminally convicted in 2001. Teen Challenge facilities were also cited for abuse as early as 1998. Other law suits involved the Texas InnerChange Prison Program. All these were faith-based programs.
24 Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies is just the same as the Texas agency and Teen Challenge center in Florida are members of Florida Association of Christian Child Care Agencies or FACCCA. Not surprisingly, evidence of extensive abuse has turned up with the Florida facility of almost an identical manner to what was documented in Texas. http://www.heal-online.org/childtortureusa.htm#teenchallenge West Florida Teen Challenge Boys’ Ranch in Bonifay, Florida is a confirmed abusive teen program. The contract parents must sign with Teen Challenge states that the Florida Association of Christian Child-Caring Agencies’ (FACCCA) "intent" is to "insure the physical and spiritual health, safety, and well being" of the children and therefore that the boy’s ranch must meet FACCCA’s "minimum standards." Parents have to agree to hold the ranch and its employees harmless from "any and all liability" for injury to the child "even injury resulting in death." Parents must agree "that God desires that they resolve their dispute with one another within the church and that they be reconciled in their relationships in accordance with the principles stated in I Corinthians 6:1-8, Matthew 5:23-24, and Matthew 18:15-20." If they cannot resolve their disagreement privately within the church, parents must accept resolution through "biblically based mediation" by rules of the Association of Christian Conciliation Services. There is no refund of tuition or deposits if the boy leaves the ranch before 15 months even if the ranch has expelled him. A detailed report provided by Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, Inc. Nov. 4th, 2004 newsletter. http://childrenshealthcare.org/
25 Dallas Teen Challenge Boys Ranch in Winnsboro in January 1996 was sued because a counselor and convicted drug trafficker sexually molested a young man there and two other boys, one of whom also was 16 or younger. The law suit alleged that "(The counselor) sexually molested (the plaintiff) on at least six different occasions at the ranch." The lawsuit further alleged that the church, ranch executive director Paul Ecker and the ranch's board knowingly employed men with criminal histories as counselors despite being informed by state regulators the practice was illegal. According to the lawsuit, most of the residents
were there as a condition of probation or deferred adjudication and had psychological or substance abuse problems. During the day, they performed chores, including caring for livestock, and took part in religious education. At night, they were "locked down" and monitored by alarm systems, to prevent unauthorized departures. Many of them had substance abuse problems and were admitted to the program as part of their probation despite the repeated citations from state regulatory authorities, The Assemblies of God entities continued to send men who had criminal records involving narcotics and physical violence to the facility.
26 Minnesota Teen Challenge is run by the Assemblies of God, the world’s largest Pentecostal denomination and in their The Official Teen Challenge Student Handbook instructs students to “conduct themselves in a manner pleasing to God” and strictly forbids any “homosexual behavior”, as being gay, along with addiction, is a sin.
27 Proselytizing Report: "Teen Challenge" July 26, 1984, by Rick Ross to the Religious Advisory Committee to the Arizona Department of (ADOC) on May 10, 1984. Chaplains throughout the ADOC are expected to facilitate religious programming in a neutral, non-biased manner. Teen Challenge which openly admitted that its’ primary purpose is the promotion of a specific religious belief system through confrontational evangelism. Teen Challenge is run by the Assemblies of God. Any chaplain who engages in facilitating a program for Teen Challenge could easily be seen as assisting in proselytizing. The Teen Challenge program has often been equated to a drug rehabilitation theme however they do not do substance abuse treatment and do very little medical treatment at all due to a lack of medically qualified staff. However, in the organization's literature the "Teen Challenge Cure" is stated as follows: "The only cure for . . . drug abuse, is Jesus Christ." The connections between Teen Challenge and the penal system of the State of Arizona are numerous. Many full time jail and prison chaplains have dual positions as both volunteers and/or coordinators for Teen Challenge in addition to their staff position funded by the State of Arizona. Teen Challenge therefore presents an obvious problem. Teen Challenge also poses a serious problem regarding the abrogating of parental authority with minor children within ADOC juvenile facilities.
28Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5 No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
29 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 16.1 & 2
30 UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 7
31 UN CAT, Article 1. 1 “For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”
32 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 34
33 UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 12.1
34 UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 10
35 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 13.1
36 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18
37 UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 7
38 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 4
39 UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 8
40 Former Sanford, Fla. Teen Challenge director Wayne Gray was forced to resign when his unlicensed telemarketing scam discovered that Teen Challenge only paid workers 33 cents a day for a 40 hour work week. They pretended to sell timeshare vacations form the “Disney Planning Center Resort”. Men convicted of financial crimes took the customer’s credit card information over the phone. The
investigation revealed that this scam which had no relationship to Disney. Wayne Gray moved on to Oklahoma Teen Challenge as Executive Director. (Action 9 news)
41 UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Article 1.1
42 In 1998, a boy filed suit against Dallas Teen Challenge Boys Ranch and Assemblies of God, alleging that a counselor, who was a convicted drug trafficker, sexually molested him and two other boys. The lawsuit also claimed that the ranch’s Executive Director, the church and the ranch’s board knowingly hired people with criminal histories to serve as counselors." (Austin American-Statesman, 5/13/1998) More here: http://www.texnews.com/1998/texas/molest0513.html
43 Registered sex offender, Shondi Fabiano was director of Teen Challenge in Winthrop, Maine and was convicted of Second Degree Child Molestation in Rhode Island. She is listed on the National Sex Offender Public Registry http://www.nsopr.gov She is listed officially as a co-head of Teen Challenge New England by the website of the Northern New England District of the Assemblies of God, and who is officially listed as a lifetime-registered sex offender for second-degree child molestation and sexual assault in the third degree. An online check of sex offender registries, including the Florida sex-offender registry run by Florida Department of Law Enforcement, also shows Shondi Fabiano also has a history of 2nd degree sexual assault conviction in Kent, RI. 3rd degree sexual assault in Rhode Island is essentially statutory rape of a 14- to 16-year old minor by a person over the age of 18, 2nd degree sexual assault is sexual assault of an incapacitated person or sexual assault using force or coercion, and second degree child molestation is what is generally termed as frank pedophile rape--sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14. Fabiano would have been nearly 24 years old at the time of the offense. Fabiano apparently in Rhode Island committed the crimes 10 years ago under her maiden name Shondi Barbato; she was originally charged with 1st degree child abuse (which involves sexual penetration of a child under the age of 14). It also appears Fabiano (under her maiden name of Barbato) has additional criminal history for she has a conviction for fraud (specifically attempts to obtain money under false pretenses, insurance fraud, and conspiracy) and a dismissed charge of possession of a controlled substance. Fabiano is still head of Teen Challenge New England despite not only state laws that prohibit sex offenders and persons convicted of crimes against children from working in children's homes. In fact, technically Fabiano should not legally be able to work at Teen Challenge at all, much less have her residence listed as Teen Challenge in Maine's sex offender registry; Maine has some pretty strict laws regarding contact with
minors by registered sex offenders. But Shondi Fabiano is not the only rapist employed by Teen Challenge in Winthrop, Maine. They also hired Dennis Knox who was convicted of gross sexual assault after raping an unconscious female. He is listed on the Maine Sex Offender Registry http://sor.informe.org
44 UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination Article 5
45 UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 13.1
46 The right of torture survivors to reparations as a matter of international law. Chorzow Factory Case (Germany v Poland), 1928, PCIJ, ser. A, no. 17, p. 47