Gay Conversion Therapy Group Found Guilty Of Fraud (VIDEO)

On June 25, after just three hours of deliberation, jurors brought back a verdict of “guilty” against the group Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH). The group has also been referred to as Jews Offering New Alternatives To Homosexuality. The jury found that the group violated New Jersey consumer fraud laws, by claiming to offer therapy that could turn gay people straight.

During the trial, former clients testified about their experiences while undergoing the group’s prescribed “therapy.” In one instance, clients were subjected to anti-gay slurs during a role-play exercise that was set in a men’s locker room. Participants were told to undress in front of a mirror, each other and their “counselor,” who would take his own clothing off as well.

Following the verdict, JONAH attorneys lamented the loss of their clients’ religious freedom, saying:

“This is a sad day, not just for my clients, but for America: Our freedom to choose to live according to Biblical values is being restricted by powerful forces, which in this case included the refusal to allow highly qualified expert witnesses to testify that change is possible for many people.”

Right, what will happen to America if religious fraudsters lose the right to lie to people and exploit them? What will happen to religion if pseudo-counselors like JONAH founder Arthur Goldberg can no longer coax people into getting naked with them, all in the name of “curing the gay?”

Victims of JONAH’s fraud had a much different view of the verdict. Benjamin Unger, one of several plaintiff’s that brought the suit, said:

“I am so grateful that the jury has decided conversion therapy organizations do not have the right to lie to and deceive people. It is a victory not just for me but for other victims of this harmful therapy.”

Plaintiff Micheal Ferguson, said:

“I am thrilled beyond words for the chance to expose these harmful practices for the fraud that they are.”

A third party to the suit, Chaim Levin said:

“Now the world knows about their destructive, refuted practices, I took part in this lawsuit to take a stand. I don’t want another person to endure the anguish and harm JONAH put my loved ones and me through.”

Levin appeared on the David Pakman Show last year. Here’s the video of his interview, in which he talks about the destructive, abusive “therapy” he received through JONAH.

The jury awarded the plaintiffs more than $72,000 in damages, three times what was spent by all plaintiffs, combined, on the fraudulent therapy. The plaintiffs’ request to have JONAH’s business license revoked is currently under consideration by the judge. He’s expected to issue a decision in the coming weeks.

David Dinielli, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, described the verdict as “a monumental moment in the movement to ensure the rights and acceptance of LGBT people in America.” Dinielli went on to address the heart of the matter, saying:

“Conversion therapy and homophobia are based on the same central lie — that gay people are broken and need to be fixed.”

*Featured image credit: Will Choi on flckr, creative commons license 2.0