Harry Nelson was quoted in a KPCC story about a “rehab mogul” who was convicted of sexually assaulting eight woman at substance abuse treatment centers.
From the article:
Christopher Bathum, owner and operator of Community Recovery in L.A., Orange County and Colorado, was found guilty of 31 counts, including rape, forced oral copulation and sexual exploitation. He faces up to 65 years in prison.
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office said the victims’ ages range from their 20s to their early 30s. It said the 56-year-old Bathum “preyed upon female patients between 2014 and 2016 by providing them with drugs as they battled to overcome their addiction” and then sexually assaulted them “while they were under the influence.”
KPCC then turned to Harry for commentary:
L.A.-based health care attorney Harry Nelson, chair of the American Addiction Treatment Association, said he regularly hears stories about abuse in the addiction and recovery industry.
“I do think that the problem of sexual abuse and other violations of resident’s rights is still, unfortunately, a widespread problem,” he said.
“You have a lot of people who are very vulnerable as they’re trying to recover from a substance use issue. And it’s important that there be standards and training so that people are protected from bad behavior,” said Nelson.
Since the Affordable Care Act expanded health insurance for people with mental health issues, the treatment and recovery industry has exploded in size, he said.
“Inevitably—as always happens with insurance reimbursement—a lot of opportunistic behavior occurred and a lot of profit-seeking occurred,” said Nelson.