Judge rules Jewish ex-gay therapy group might be liable for damages

'These self-proclaimed experts inflicted grave damage upon our clients...'

Judge rules Jewish ex-gay therapy group might be liable for damages
07 June 2014

An ex-gay therapy group from the US state New Jersey might have to write a check to redo the damage caused to former clients.

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Peter F. Bariso Jr. pronounced on 6 June that Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) is potentially liable for three times the costs plaintiffs needed to reverse the effects of conversion therapy.

Michael Ferguson, Benjamin Unger, Chaim Levin and Sheldon Bruck maintain that part of the counseling JONAH offered included stripping to relive past sexual abuse; they were charged between $60 (€40) and $100 (€70) an hour.

Their case is supported by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a US nonprofit whose specialty is fighting hate crimes.

‘These self-proclaimed experts inflicted grave damage upon our clients, who believed JONAH’s claims that it could "cure" them of being gay,’ David Dinielli, SPLC deputy legal director, said in a statement.

‘These young men were left with guilt, shame and frustration,’ Dinielli continued. ‘No amount of money can fix the damage JONAH caused, but recognizing that JONAH can be held accountable for the cost of repairing that damage is an important step.’

Judge Bariso also dismissed JONAH’s motion to limit its liability.

Arthur Goldberg,  the organization’s co-founder, is a co-defendant. The group was launched in 1998 by two New Jersey Jewish couples with gay children.

On its website the group says ‘homosexuality is a learned behavior and anyone can choose to disengage from their same-sex sexual fantasies, arousals, behavior and identity – if motivated and supported in that process.’

Ex-gay therapy has been discredited by the American Psychological Association.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Chris Brown slams gay rumors as 'lies'

Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Bow Wow outed by former B2K boyband member Raz B
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

‘Gay’ Saudi Arabian prince to face jail at home

Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz Bin Nasir killed his manservant while in a London five-star hotel, and is being transferred to Saudi Arabia
No thumbnail available

Historian says famous Titanic passengers were gay

On 100th anniversary of ship's sinking, historian examines two prominent passengers' sexuality
No thumbnail available

Gay activist conference raided in Uganda

Uganda cabinet minister Simon Lokodo broke up a gay rights conference claiming it was 'illegal'
No thumbnail available

The beginner's guide to Eurovision in six bits of trivia

On Saturday (18 May) approximately 100 million people around the world will watch the Eurovision Song Contest. But what if you have no idea what's going on?
No thumbnail available

Backing down, Russia will allow trans people to drive a car

Health Ministry advises driving bans will only be given out in extreme conditions
No thumbnail available

England's green and pleasant land goes quirky in the Cotswolds

Neo-classical meets Shoreditch trendy in the heart of the Cotswolds courtesy of Mr and Mrs Smith
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

CNN's Anderson Cooper says he stayed closeted partly for safety reasons

'I traveled to a lot of places where they kill gay people and still continue to kill gay people'