"Israel, then as now, put his trust in punishment."
A complaint has been filed.
February 18, 2010This has happened before, people complaining.
Re: Judge Rotenberg Center, DJ 202-36-233
The Department of Justice has received your complaint alleging that the Judge Rotenberg Center has violated title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189. This office has opened a routine investigation of the complaint.
In 1994, Connie Chung did a report on the Behavior Research Institute, now the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC). Penny brought this to our attention the other day and even had a drop-in by the accused in the comments.
The latest inquiry into the school has set off a coordinated response, as have the previous inquiries and challenges. Not that surprising considering that the institute has come under criticism for about four decades, miraculously always ending up with the required stamp of approval from "the authorities," to wave in everyone's faces as proof that they can't be doing anything wrong.
This old NYT review of Chung's program gives a good idea of how long Matthew Israel has been answering his critics.
Dr. Matthew L. Israel, the institute's executive director, was a disciple of the behaviorist B.F. Skinner at Harvard University. Those whom Dr. Israel calls clients or students come, he says, from "that very small percentage of developmentally disabled individuals who bang their heads to the point of brain damage, gouge out their eyes or engage in other forms of life-threatening mutilation and aggression." To discourage such doings, he uses a combination of rewards, in the form of pennies and snacks, and punishments, particularly brief but painful electric shocks.^^^^^^^
...Ms. Chung's promise of "dark allegations" was fulfilled in the next 23 minutes, which were dominated by strong criticisms, including the charge that Dr. Israel himself had twice lost control and had to be restrained from a fit of smacking children with a rubber spatula, the institute's tool of choice for spanking. Viewers were left to choose between the vivid charges and the soft-spoken denials by Dr. Israel, who seemed startled and taken aback.
There has been a lot written about this.
First, some history about Matthew Israel.
Following his time at Harvard, Israel started a commune in 1967 in Arlington. He hoped to grow it into his utopia. The previous year Israel had founded the Association for Social Design, whose objective was to "establish a network of associated experimental communities in cities throughout the world," writes Hilke Kuhlmann in the 2005 book Living "Walden Two": B. F. Skinner's Behaviorist Utopia and Experimental Communities. Israel's Arlington commune was the first step toward something he was tentatively calling "Walden Three."
At the commune, Israel lived next to a spoiled three-year-old named Andrea. Andrea whacked people with a broom. She screamed. She cried. She wanted always to barge into Israel's room. He asked Andrea's mother if he could try behavioral techniques on the girl. She agreed. Israel rewarded Andrea when she behaved well—going on walks with her and giving her treats. And one day when Andrea screamed as she sat in time-out, he flicked his finger against her cheek. The girl quieted down, and he left the room. A few minutes later, she started up again. Israel returned and once more flicked his finger. The crying stopped for good. In the days and weeks that followed, Israel could look at Andrea when she acted out and shake his head, and the girl would stop. She became a "charming individual," Israel once told Mother Jones.
Soon after that, Israel's commune fell apart. As did a second he started in the South End. As did, ultimately, the Association for Social Design, despite the fact that it had expanded to three other cities. In Living "Walden Two," Kuhlmann blames Israel, suggesting he, as the commune's patriarch, wanted his inhabitants to live lives based on altering one another's behavior; the others in the communes and the association thought this was no life at all. Israel says the communities fell apart because the people living in them didn't get along. Simple as that.
But he wasn't ready to give up. He thought if he opened a school, he could provide the commune's inhabitants with jobs. A self-sustaining economy might lead, ultimately, to utopia. Plus, he kept thinking about the success he'd had with Andrea. Skinner had experimented only with rats and pigeons, but Israel had had this little girl, a real person, whose behavior had changed as surely as Skinner's vermin's. Israel wanted his school to serve autistic children—their actions could be changed with fewer social ramifications, Kuhlmann writes—where he could implement the theories his predecessor had tested in the lab. But the pupil would differ from his teacher: He would punish the children when necessary. Skinner never advocated that.
Six people have died in these schools. The first death was in 1981, in California. Staffers restrained 14-year-old Danny Aswad face-down on his bed and he died in that position. In 1985, Vincent Milletich suffocated after being restrained in a chair, his hands and feet bound, his face masked, his head helmeted, with white noise pumped in the earphones.
In the fallout of Millitich's death, Israel brought one of his most self-abusive students before Judge Ernest Rotenberg at a hearing at the Bristol County Probate Court in 1986. Rotenberg ruled that the student was unable to make her own treatment decisions, but if she could, she would choose BRI. How convenient is that? Pay attention... this is how you get a center named after you.
Then Linda Cornelison died in 1990.
Five years later, 19-year-old Linda Cornelison, who had the mental capacity of a toddler, refused to eat. On the bus to school, she clutched her stomach; someone had to carry her inside, and she spent the day on a couch in a classroom. Linda could not speak, and the staff treated her actions as misbehaviors. Between 3:52 p.m. and 8 p.m., staffers punished her with 13 spatula spankings, 29 finger pinches, 14 muscle squeezes, and 5 forced inhalings of ammonia. It turned out that Linda had a perforated stomach. She died on the operating table at 1:45 a.m.
She weighed 90 pounds. Extensive ulcers had perforated her stomach. The symptoms of perforated ulcers include: internal bleeding, anemia, tarry black stool, weakness, dizziness, frequent vomiting, vomiting blood, and fainting. It doesn't happen overnight.
The woman, who was mentally retarded and could not speak, began [???] showing signs and symptoms of illness on December 15 and 16, 1990: she refused her food (she had always had a hearty appetite), she was restless and fidgety and made unusual noises. By December 17, she was pale, disoriented, had "glassy eyes," and kept attempting unsuccessfully to vomit. During this time, because staff mistook her attempts to communicate her pain and discomfort for "target behaviors," she was punished repeatedly -- forced to smell ammonia, spanked, pinched, and forced to eat "taste aversives" -- either a vinegar mix, or jalapeno peppers or hot sauce. She received a total of 61 aversives on the day that she died.This is the day she died, after becoming emaciated over the course of a year of their "treatment," and probably after suffering agonizing pain for the previous three days, which she tried to communicate and was punished for. They got away with it.
Because the woman's death was gastroenterological in nature and related to ulcers, DPPC and DMR investigators and their experts also investigated her treatment through a "specialized food plan." On the specialized food plan, she had to earn her daily meals by not engaging in certain behaviors and/or working on a computer. Ironically, staff confirmed that although her meals depended on her getting right answers on a computer, she neither understood the relationship between getting fed and getting the right answer on the computer, nor how to get the right answer on the computer. "If she didn't earn her food, it was thrown out. She got real thin, she was skinny," said one staff member. Staff also said that she was "always wanting to eat." The program allowed the 19-year old to be limited to as few as 300 calories a day, 20% of her minimum calorie intake for the day. ... In less than a year, she had lost 35 pounds, 28% of her body weight.AFTER this death, Israel created the first shock device. From what I understand, the shock devices are designed and created internally. No independent body reviews them or apparently has any oversight.
And when a clear opportunity for oversight arises, look what happens.
The local district attorney's office examined the circumstances of Vincent's death but declined to file any charges. In Linda's case, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation investigated and found that while Linda's treatment had "violated the most basic codes and standards of decency and humane treatment," there was insufficient evidence to prove that the use of aversives had caused her death.Very convenient.
I could spend a lot of time telling you the story, or you can just read this:
Mother Jones: School of Shock, 710 comments
Autism News Science and Opinion blog: Judge Rotenberg Center, May 2006, 265 comments
Let's look again at the old NYT review of Connie Chung's report:
Dr. Matthew L. Israel, the institute's executive director, was a disciple of the behaviorist B.F. Skinner at Harvard University. Those whom Dr. Israel calls clients or students come, he says, from "that very small percentage of developmentally disabled individuals who bang their heads to the point of brain damage, gouge out their eyes or engage in other forms of life-threatening mutilation and aggression." To discourage such doings, he uses a combination of rewards, in the form of pennies and snacks, and punishments, particularly brief but painful electric shocks.Here you can read about one of the students. This parent supports the JRC:
"Before placing my daughter Julissa at JRC, I suffered tremendously because of her behaviors. She did not obey my rules, she did not listed to me, and she used to go out without permission. When she returned home and I tried to talk to her, she used to get very angry and hit me. When she did something wrong and I tried to give her advice, it was for nothing because she did not listed. One time, she even took money from me without me knowing. She took my ATM card, and since she knew my pin number, she took out $700.00 dollars that I was saving for that month's rent. At home, we hardly ever slept. My other daughter, my granddaughter, and I were very nervous because of Jusissa's behaviors.”
Julissa was admitted to the Metropolitan Hospital in two occasions. Also, she was admitted once at Holewood Hospital in Queens. Every time she left the hospitals and returned home, she exhibited the same behaviors.”
“Even though my daughter was admitted into two different hospitals and was placed into different treatments, and many prescribed medications, nothing really helped her. I give my testimony of faith that nothing has been better than the treatment or better said the discipline that JRC school has.”
Oh. I missed the part about how she was gouging out her own eyeballs. Hmm. It was the mother who suffered, see? And Jurissa is sent off to the JRC to be "treated."
My mind sees patterns, it sees many familiar things in this story. I don't know if they are related to the story or not. But it reminds me of several other things I have researched.
1. I am reminded of the Jesuits. Of Ignatius Loyola doing mental gymnastics to deal with pain and turning those into spiritual exercises. Of spying. Of sadism.
Indeed, the Jesuits spy on each other. This is taken from The New Underworld Order by Christopher Story, p. 384.From School of Shock, notice the similarities with the spying and the sadism (page 6):
All intelligence services today, and most of their nefarious practices, are modeled, to a greater or lesser extent, upon the Jesuit precedent. Under the Jesuit Constitutions, the chief occupation of Jesuit spies, or 'syndici,' is to watch fellow Jesuits, and to send 'informaciones' about them to the local Provincial, or else to the General himself, at the Jesu, in Rome. Novices are taught the art of official and unofficial spying on their fellow Jesuits, under the rubric of 'manifestation of faults' - the same technique as was and is employed by Moral Re-armament to strip targeted individuals of all natural personality protection mechanisms, and to deprive them of their psychological integrity. Spying is put before Novices as 'a holy and salutary practice.' The necessity for spying is justified by the need for 'progress in humility', 'progress in spiritual perfection', and so 'that the Superior may know them better.'For an in-depth treatment of the Jesuits, see The Jesuit Enigma by E. Boyd Barrett, 1927.
...The Jesuit espionage system is so comprehensive that Headquarters is kept fully informed about every Jesuit in the Order.
...On certain occasions, so-called 'informatores', four in number, are secretly nominated, and are ordered to deliver secret reports about individual Jesuits.
...Significantly, the German Jesuit tradition has always been especially keen on denunciation as a primary component of espionage.
The repressive, deceptive Jesuit environment grossly distorts the young men who are tricked into it, thinking they enter into a life of holiness. According to Barrett, this oppressive system of espionage turned some fine people into despicable, scheming tyrants with bizarre personality disorders, including sadism and masochism.
'Sadism (the torturing of others) and masochism (self-torture) are apparently common in The Order. I have known some Jesuits to lash boys with hard leather straps in a state of passionate excitement, while the boys writhed in agony, and blood flowed from their hands. These sadistic Jesuits, with flushed faces and dilated pupils, seemed to glory in their orgy. As to masochism, I have seen Jesuits invite boys to throw hard balls at them with as much strength as they could; to hit them with sticks; to squeeze their fingers with wrenches until the blood almost oozed from under their fingernails; and to inflict other suchlike tortures upon them.' (The Jesuit Enigma, p. 146)
I met this former teacher at a restaurant, and our meeting stretched on for six hours. At times it felt less like an interview than a confession. "The first time you give someone a ged is the worst one," the teacher said. "You don't want to hurt somebody; you want to help. You're thinking, 'This has got to be okay. This has got to be legal, or they wouldn't be doing this.'" At the Rotenberg Center, it's virtually impossible to discuss such concerns with coworkers because there are cameras everywhere, even in the staff break room. Staff members who want to talk to each other without being overheard may meet up in the parking lot or scribble notes to each other. But it's hard to know whom to trust, since Israel encourages employees to file anonymous reports about their coworkers' lapses.
In addition, staff members are prohibited from having casual conversations with each other. They cannot, for example, say to a coworker, "Hey, did you see the Red Sox game last night?" "We don't want them discussing their social life or the ball games in front of the students or while they're on duty," Israel says. "So we'll sometimes actually have one staffer deliberately start a social conversation with another and we'll see whether the other—as he or she should—will say, 'I don't want to discuss that now.'" Monitors watch these setups on the surveillance cameras and punish staffers who take the bait.
Former employees describe a workplace permeated with fear—fear of being attacked by students and fear of losing their job. There are so many rules—and so many cameras—it's not easy to stay out of trouble. Employees quit or are fired so often that two-thirds of the direct-care employees remain on the job for less than a year.
Thank you for bringing Israel's tortures to light. I am one of the researchers who helped prepare the Connie Chung report. I placed an ad in the Providence, R.I., newspaper where Israel's operation was then located asking current or former employees to call me. "Journalist wants to know." Sorry I said that because nobody wants to know about Israel's "probings." Probing is his private, extreme torture of children in his care. Yes, it is videotaped, I learned from former employees, but he's the only one allowed to watch the tapes. That employee was able to smuggle one of the tapes out to Connie Chung's producers, and even they didn't want to use it because it was so repulsive and frightening. When Israel and his attorney (Eric MacLeish) turned the tables on me as they did on your reporter and gave my number to parents, I'd hear them out and then ask, "Has Dr. Israel conducted a 'probing' on your child?" What's that? Why, ask him yourself. The calls from parents stopped coming, but more than 50 employees and former employees called me with horror stories before the story aired. That's the truth. You can contact me to confirm it at 785-272-2578. I am the editor of Mouth Magazine.
[size=10px]Posted by: Lucy Gwin on August 23, 2007 1:19:28 PM[/size]
So there's that.
2. I am reminded of mind-control, and the use of electroshock and Disney characters in Monarch programming.
The initial process begins with creating dissociation within the subject, usually occurring from the time of birth to about six years. This is primarily achieved through the use of electroshock (ECT) and is at times performed even when the child is in the mother’s womb.Go here to see many pictures of the JRC. They are big fans of Disney there, and bright colors, and visual stimulation. Here are a few selections:
Due to the severe trauma induced through ECT, sexual abuse and other methods, the mind splits off into alternate personalities from the core. Formerly referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder, it is presently recognized as Dissociative Identity Disorder and is the basis for MONARCH programming. Further conditioning of the victim’s mind is enhanced through hypnotism, double-bind coercion, pleasure-pain reversals, food, water, sleep and sensory deprivation, along with various drugs which alter certain cerebral functions.
The next stage is to embed and compress detailed commands or messages within the specified alter. This is achieved through the use of hi-tech headsets, in conjunction with computer-driven generators which emit inaudible sound waves or harmonics that affect the RNA covering of neuron pathways to the subconscious and unconscious mind. "Virtual Reality" optical devices are sometimes used simultaneously with the harmonic generators projecting pulsating colored lights, subliminals and split-screen visuals. High voltage electroshock is then used for memory dissolution.
Programming is updated periodically and reinforced through visual, auditory and written mediums. Some of the first programming themes included the Wizard of Oz and Alice and Wonderland, both heavily saturated with occultic symbolism.
Many of the recent Disney movies and cartoons are used in a two-fold manner:
- desensitizing the majority of the population, using subliminals and neuro-linguistic programming
- deliberately constructing specific triggers and keys for base programming of highly-impressionable MONARCH children.
3. I am reminded of Holly Grieg, and pedophile rings that extend into the community and involve social workers, police officers, judges, etc. I am reminded of people who abuse vulnerable populations.
It seems that a lot of the hostility and defensiveness of people who support the JRC stems from how difficult the children are, which outsiders don't appreciate. But it's not the case that they are all self destructive and gouging their own eyeballs out. That's not the trouble. They seem to have other inappropriate behaviors. From the comment section, scroll down:
I sympathize with the parents of these children. Those of you who scream, "This is child abuse!" don't have a clue. I agree with Dr. Slaff. If you're so appaled by this treatment, take one of the patients into your home for a month. Walk a mile in the parent's shoes, then come back to this forum and report your feelings. It's different when they hit your wife in the face, sexually abuse YOUR children, and attempt to set your house on fire. Dealing with that will change your pov.
[size=10px]Posted by: Matt on August 26, 2007 3:27:23 AM[/size]
To the lawyer: It's so nice that you are still ambulance chasing with no success. I am one of the parents who has a child that your fraudulant lawsuit has affected. Why don't you tell the bloggers where your client is now. Is Sagamore State Hospital still holding him down with meds and a straight jacket? What about the fact that he sexually assaulted his siblings. How about the area residents he robbed and harrassed during his stay at home. Let's not forget the fact that his "mom" put him there to keep him at of jail. And why did "mom" leave him alone with his siblings knowing he was dangerous. Oh that's right she was celebrating her birthday! Mr. Ken Mollins you are like all the other leeches who talk alot but don't really care. You hyped this up knowing it was bull. You and his "mother" had no idea what you were in for. Sure mom took him out of JRC but where is he now? NOT AT HOME!!!!!!! If his mother was so distraught about her son's treatment she would have took him home. That's not what she did and you are misleading the public by making them think this is some poor family we should feel for. The real deal: JRC uses skin shock as an additional form of treatment. There is no lasting effect on the child. They accept children that no other school will and they actually help them. Mr. Mollins client knew exactly what JRC was about when she brought him there and to say otherwise is a straight up lie. The enrollment process is two hours long and when you leave your child there you know everything about the school. This child's mother not only knew what was up she or one of her family members used it on her "son". Like Rob this kid didn't need JRC he needs jail. Mr. Mollins client was abused from birth and like anyone in his situation he fought back. His method was wrong because his "mother" did not re-direct him. I guess she had too many other foster kids to handle him. As a parent it is your job to maintain your child. If you know your child is trying to live the "thug life" then don't send them to a school drop them off at the police station. If you allow your child to grow up with a free rein don't complain later. JRC's treatment plan is not for everyone. They do not force anyone to enroll their child there. As a parent I would remove my child in a heartbeat if I found their treatment to be less than acceptable. This whole lawsuit is about the money it costs. The school has been there for years but somebody found out the cost and now they are upset. If they shut down the school where will these kids go? No answer! Why because there is no place. My child is ompleting her last year at JRC. Because of their help she will be coming home instead of going to a state facility. All you bleeding hearts should come to NYC and take a look inside OMRDD's group homes. The abuse and neglect is outrageous. But it's ok right? Don't use skin shock but it's ok to kick somebody in the head or push them down the stairs and break their leg.(see New York Daily News article Sunday Aug.19,2007 page 9) To Mr. Mollins and his bandwagon: Mind your own business. I don't see anyone jumping up to take any of these children into their home. But you think you have the right to dictate to us. Why don't you focus your energy on the kids walking the street doing what your client has done. And to everyone who feels the need to speak on this issue know what you are talking about. Lawyers are actors. They are supposed to spin the web but as thinking adults with some intelligence we are supposed to look past the script and look for the truth. Get off the bandwagon unless you can produce a viable alternative which to date nobody has done.
[size=10px]Posted by: Sue Handon on August 24, 2007 6:05:02 AM[/size]
So, it seems that some of the parents think that some of the other parents are sending their rotten thug children to the school, and that is ruining it for the other parents who need the school because their children have no other options. And that JRC is the VICTIM of these parents who send their thugs to the school, because JRC is so good, and they have a policy of not turning anyone away.
4. And that argument reminds me of organ trafficking. Remember how the poor hospitals aren't the FBI so they can't do all that pesky paperwork to discover whether the organs come from legitimate donors?
Once the donor signs that paperwork, the hospital just needs to look the other way, which they do.Kind of similar. The poor JRC got snookered by parents who just wanted to offload their criminal offspring. ?
GRIFFIN: A few weeks after answering the ad with a promised pay off of $20,000, Rosen said he was flown to New York and hustled to Mt. Sinai Hospital where he and the patient he never met before told hospital staff they were cousins.So you see, if you look at it this way, the hospitals are actually the victims here, of deceptive people who use their facilities to procure illegal organ transplants, despite the "rigorous" screening. 'Kay?
They didn't ask for family records or anything like that?
GRIFFIN: So, basically, you were just two guy that came in, declared yourselves as cousins --
GRIFFIN: Dr. Barbara Murphy is in charge of the hospitals kidney unit, she says screening is rigorous, but --
DR. BARBARA MURPHY, MT. SINAI HOSPITAL: We're not detectives. We're not the FBI. We don't have methods that they have at our disposal and people can on occasion deceive us.
We know that organ trafficking is very profitable, so there are incentives for hospitals to look the other way.
So what's JRC's excuse? WHY would the JRC allow themselves to get hoodwinked like that, by accepting people who belong in jail not in school? Wouldn't it behoove them to have a screening process in place that could DISTINGUISH the difference?
But that's not what happens. Maybe it has something to do with the gravy train, since the TAXPAYERS pay the $200k annual tuition, not the inner city parents obviously.
So maybe the school decides to take these children because they get $200k a year for each one? Just a guess. Hey great deal. And some of the parents really don't care because they have just offloaded a big problem? Hey it's a WIN WIN. And in the mix are other parents who had the school suggested to them by their local authorities, and they sent their child there only to be horrified and want them out. Et cetera.
It's a mix of people with different situations and different motivations, but it is NOT:
"that very small percentage of developmentally disabled individuals who bang their heads to the point of brain damage, gouge out their eyes or engage in other forms of life-threatening mutilation and aggression."The story has been broken open, years ago. This is not rocket science, but nothing happened.
That indicates corruption. Major corruption. Follow the money.