Monday, November 07, 2005

It would be laughable....

...if it weren't so pathetic.

The owners of a Wichita Kansas group home for the mentally ill were convicted Monday of enslaving their residents, forcing them to work naked and perform sex acts, and illegally billing their families and the federal government for therapy. Arlan Kaufman, 69 and his wife Linda, 62 were convicted of 30 federal charges, including health care fraud, Medicare fraud, forced labor and holding clients in involuntary servitude.

Federal prosecutors contended the Kaufmans controlled the lives of the mentally ill residents, including forcing them to work on their farm and deciding who could wear clothes.
The couple was accused of forcing residents to masturbate, fondle each other and shave each other's genitals _ activities Arlan Kaufman videotaped.

The Kaufmans claimed that nude therapy sessions and other treatment methods had therapeutic value for schizophrenic patients, and that having residents act out problem behavior helped them avoid repeating it. Arlan Kaufman insisted at trial that the residents' behavior was voluntary.

Prosecutors called it abuse and said it spanned more than 20 years while the couple billed Medicare more than $216,000. The Kaufmans incorporated their unlicensed treatment center in 1980 and ran it until their arrests in October 2004.

That's the pathetic part. The humorous part is the lengths a defense attorney will go to these days to prove their client not guilty. According to Arlan Kaufman's lawyer in a speech to jurors, "It was therapy. No one was harmed. They were helped." Oh...oh...and Linda Kaufman's lawyer told the jury that prosecutors had no solid evidence against her. Why, in one of the videotaped sessions, she was reading a newspaper and didn't even look at the nude resident.

Oh that's all right then.

Luckily the jury didn't buy these defenses any more than I do, and found them guilty as charged. Am I alone in thinking that some defense attorneys credit jury panels with little or no intelligence whatsoever? No one was harmed? That smacks of the bleating of kiddie pornographers and the people who subscribe to it. And no, sitting reading a newspaper while this crap goes on right in front of you does not expunge your guilt in the process. It just shows how jaded you are by the whole thing after 24 years of making interesting home movies.

Hopefully the judges in Kansas are a little more on the ball than the ones in Florida (see story below) and throw the book at these nasty little people who abused these poor folks who were not in any position to do anything about it.


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