Canton, MA

"Autism Treatment Providers" Team Up To Cover Up Alleged Abuses of Applied Behavior Analysis

Mike Moates, MA, QBA, LBA, LMHP

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CBS Boston

Council of Autism Service Providers

According to the Council of Autism Service Providers, "No. “Punishment,” as that term is used in ABA, is not bad. Unfortunately, though, that term is exploited by those who are misinformed about our practice. “Punishment” never involves retribution or harm to the recipient of services."

They made this statement in their frequently asked questions for behavior professionals. This statement is however false.

Judge Rotenberg Center

Providers at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts engage in the "designs and implements Applied Behavior Analysis (“ABA”) treatment plans." Their attorney states that they use "skin-shock."

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Letter from Attorney Representing Judge Rotenberg CenterMichael P. Flammia, Esq. of Eckert Seamans

Both the Council of Autism Service Providers and the Judge Rotenberg Center claim that punishment is "harmless" or "never involves retribution or harm."

The Judge Rotenberg Center has been investigated by the United Nations, the National Council on Disability , and more.

The Founder Matthew Israel was forced to resign after destroying evidence to cover up the centers practices and misleading a grand jury. He was criminally indicted.

The centers "harmless" shocks led to a student being treated for first degree burns. These are minor children according to Forbes. One student was shocked for not taking off his coat. They tie and strap these children down.

To electrocyte someone is defined as "to kill or severely injure by electric shock." It is the opinion of the author that first degree burns are serious injuries that meet this definition. The author notes JRC disputes this.

United Nations and Personal Testimony Regarding the Judge Rotenberg Center

The United Nations disputes this claim that it is harmless. According Juan Mendez, the Special Rapporteur on Torture, "The use of electricity on anyone's body raises the question of whether this is therapeutic or whether it inflicts pain and suffering tantamount to torture in violation of international law,"

One student alleges, "I was burned many times, and I still have scars on my stomach from being repeatedly shocked there..." he continues with "The electrodes had actually burned into my skin. I experienced long term loss of sensation and numbness in my lower left leg, after getting a shock there. I felt searing pain all the way down to the bottom of my foot, and was left with no feeling in my skin from the knee down for about a year."

One teacher alleges, "I can testify to seeing bloody and crusty scabs all over student arms, legs, and torso, on numerous students, caused mostly by the GED-4, which was most evident when helping certain nonverbal students to sponge-bathe at school, called “self-care”.  A number of the nonverbal students with whom I worked received 30 shocks in a day, including while tied to a restraint chair."

MotherJones classifies it "The School of Shock" and asks the question "How many times do you have to zap a child before it’s torture?"

According to the New York Magazine, a student was shocked 31 times.

Watch this video and see for yourself. Do you think this is torture?

The Judge Rotenberg Center has engaged in the practice of trying to censor people engaged in sharing their opinion of this horrifying practice. They do this by sending various legal threats.

A copy of various legal threats can be read below:

Judge Rotenberg Center Legal Threat To NeuroClastic

Judge Rotenberg Center Legal Threat to the Global Institute for Behavior Practitioners and Examiners

Across various petitions, over 834,373 members of the public used their voice to stand up to this horrible practice.

Association of Behavior Analysts International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International continues to give a platform to this organization. For years, ABAI has given them a platform to promote this practice.

Something interesting worth noting, the Executive Director of ABAI is Maria Malott. On the Board of Directors at the Judge Rotenberg Center is Richard Malott. Now this by itself could be a coincidence, however, both of these people also worked for Western Michigan University. While circumstantial, it is plausible to assume that they are related and that the possibility of a conflict of interest exists. Favoritism should not be a factor when considering the health of the population.

NewsBreak reached out to both people and did not hear back prior to publishing.

This year, two members of the program committee for the 2022 Convention resigned in protest to the Judge Rotenberg Center. You can read their letter below:

Behavior Analyst Certification Board

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board is used by many states to license behavior analysts. In order to get a license to practice the state requires you to be certified by this third party certification board.

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board certifies members of the Board of Directors, faculty, and former staff members at the Judge Rotenberg Center (according to public records) including:

Kali Kuharevicz, M.S.Ed., BCBA, LABA - Case Manager

Justin Halton, BCBA, LABA - Director of Special Education

Dawn O'Neill, PhD, BCBA-D, LABA - Clinical

Olivia Treves, M.S., BCBA, LABA - Clinical

Maryellen Newman, M.S., LMHC, BCBA, LABA - Clinical

David Plante, M.Ed, BCBA, LABA - Special Education Teacher

Casey Gallagher, M.Ed, BCBA - Testing Coordinator

Robert von Heyn, PhD, BCBA - Director of Clinical Services

Nathan Blenkush Ph.D, BCBA-D - Clinical Services

Jessica E. Van Stratton, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA - Board of Directors

Richard Malott, Ph.D., BCBA-D - Board of Directors

Joshua K. Pritchard, PhD, BCBA-D - Board of Directors

Nick Lowther, MA, BCBA

R. Nicolle Carr, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA-OK - Asst. Director of Clinical Services

Irene McNulty, M.A., BCBA, LABA - Special Education Teacher

Daniel Ivanov, M.S., BCBA, LABA(MA) - Residential Coordinator

Brittany Greene, Ed.S., NCSP, BCBA, LABA - Mental Health Asst.

Aydrien Cathcart, MSEd, BCBA - Special Education Teacher

Kelly Ilsley, PsyD, ABPP, MBA, BCBA-D, OTR - Psychologist

Fabio Bertuol, M.Ed. BCBA - Special Education Teacher

Shane Schofield, M.S. BCBA - Case Manager

Danny Qian, EdS, BCBA - Case Manager

Mencia Lopez, MA, BCBA - Behavior Specialist

Alan Dias-Martin, MA, BCBA - Case Manager

Asli Unver, MA, BCBA - Clinical Asst.

Dr. Christine C Sands, PSYD, BCBA

Sarah Connely, PhD, BCBA-D

Litigation

A copy of lawsuits involving the Judge Rotenberg Center can be read below:

Federal Court:

Alleyne v. New York State Education Department (1:06-cv-00994)

Glinton v. Judge Rotenberg Center (1:03-cv-11597)

JUDGE ROTENBERG EDUCATIONAL CENTER, INC. v. U.S. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (1:17-cv-02092)

State Court:

JUDGE ROTENBERG EDUCATION CENTER & others vs. DIRECTOR, OFFICE FOR CHILDREN & another (DAR-08208)

JUDGE ROTENBERG EDUCATION CENTER & others vs. DIRECTOR, OFFICE FOR CHILDREN & another (SJC-07101)

COMMISSIONER OF MENTAL RETARDATION vs. JUDGE ROTENBERG EDUCATIONAL CENTER, INC.; and BRISTOL PROBATE AND SUPERIOR COURT and APPEALS COURT, as nominal parties (SJC-07093)

COMMISSIONER OF MENTAL RETARDATION vs. JUDGE ROTENBERG EDUCATIONAL CENTER, INC.; and BRISTOL PROBATE AND SUPERIOR COURT and APPEALS COURT, as nominal parties (SJ-1995-0625)

IN RE: PHILLIP BENNETT, and fifty other residents of BRI/JRC, (SJ-1995-0286)

JUDGE ROTENBERG EDUCATIONAL CENTER & others vs. DIRECTOR, OFFICE FOR CHILDREN & another (SJC-07045)

JUDGE ROTENBERG EDUCATION CENTER & another vs. DIRECTOR, OFFICE FOR CHILDREN & another (SJC-06990)

JUDGE ROTENBERG EDUCATION CENTER & others vs. DIRECTOR, OFFICE FOR CHILDREN & another (SJC-06956)

JUDGE ROTENBERG EDUCATIONAL CENTER & others vs. DIRECTOR, OFFICE FOR CHILDREN & another (SJ-1996-M002)

JUDGE ROTENBERG EDUCATIONAL CENTER, INC. F/K/A BEHAVIOR RESEARCH INSTITUTE, INC., et al vs. PHILIP CAMPBELL, in his capacity as Commissioner of the Department of Mental Retardation (SJ-1995-M057)

Guardianship of S.B. THIS CASE CONTAINS IMPOUNDED MATERIAL OR PID (2014-J-0237)

OLGA CEPEDA, IND/ADX vs. JOSEPH ASSALONE & others (2002-P-0791)

G.D., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. BERNARD KENNY THE HUDSON COUNTY DEMOCRATIC ORGANIZATION INC

McCollins v. Judge Rotenberg Center

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Michael Moates is a Journalist at NewsBreak. Moates is a Licensed Behavior Analyst with the Virginia Board of Medicine. He is a lifelong scholar focusing on studies in psychology, communications, education, and emergency response. He has an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Psychology, a Master of Arts with Areas of Study in Psychology and Communications, and is currently finishing up a Doctor of Education. He has been published by the Dallas Morning News, Daily KOS, Independent Journal Review, The Blaze, and the Denton Record Chronicle.

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