Throwback Thursday – Aubrey Levin, Mike Pence & a return of “conversion therapies”

Throwback Part 1: Here’s looking back and catching up on new and old developments. Most of you are perhaps aware by now that last Spring, “Dr.” Levin was released on parole and is now living in a half-way house.

The CBC report (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/aubrey-levin-sexual-assault-parole-1.3483928) states:

Despite being in denial about his sex crimes and displaying a lack of remorse, former court psychiatrist Aubrey Levin was granted day parole and is living in a halfway house.

The Parole Board of Canada granted Levin’s release from prison last October, though it denied the 76-year-old his request for full parole.

The information is contained in a document recently obtained by the CBC.

“You have claimed the victims lied and that the police and the courts ‘had it in for you,'” reads part of the Parole Board’s decision.

Convicted of sexual assaulting three of his patients between 2008 and 2010, Levin was handed a five-year sentence. But it wasn’t until April 2014 when Levin began serving his sentence after the Alberta Court of Appeal denied his bid for a new trial.

All of Levin’s victims were facing charges and ordered by the courts to be treated by the psychiatrist.

“You appear to have little concern for your victims,” according to part of an assessment considered at the hearing. “You are described as manipulative and present yourself as a victim of the system.”

A psychological assessment prepared for the hearing was just as scathing in its findings, though Levin was deemed to be a low-risk to reoffend.

“You were also noted to deny any sexual motive or basis for your sexual offences.”

Levin told the psychologist that he wasn’t aware that what he was doing was a criminal act in Canada as it’s allowed in his home country of South Africa.

Levin kicked out of religious gatherings

There were two incidents during Levin’s time in custody that were of concern to the panel.

During group sessions, Levin was disrespectful to the rabbi, he competed for leadership, was disruptive and got kicked out of the religious gatherings.

One time while waiting for health care staff became concerned when Levin was discussing another inmate’s physical ailment based on his previous offences.

But by the time Aubrey Levin gave evidence at his parole hearing in October 2015, he was able to tell the panel he acknowledged that his “overall attitude towards the victims has evolved over time,” and that he lacked sympathy at the time of the trial.

Levin also admitted that he inflicted “terrible damage” on his victims.

As part of his release conditions, Levin was ordered to avoid his victims and their families, participate in counselling to address his sexual deviance and not to be in a position of authority.

Throwback Part 2: Conversion therapies make a return in the news thanks to new US Vice-President Mike Pence, part of Donald Trump’s cabinet of sociopaths, oligarchs, Wall Street goons and white nationalists. Last year-end the New York Times reported extensively on the connection between Mike Pence and “conversion therapies.” You can read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/30/us/politics/mike-pence-and-conversion-therapy-a-history.html?_r=0

Excerpt:

Since Gov. Mike Pence was chosen as Donald J. Trump’s running mate in July, he has faced complaints from groups critical of his record on gay and transgender rights, who said he has long been an opponent of the gains made by the L.G.B.T. community in recent years.

Mr. Pence has been particularly dogged by accusations that he is a supporter of “conversion therapy,” the practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It has been discredited by the medical establishment and denounced by gay and transgender groups.

Mr. Pence’s spokesman, Marc Lotter, denied to The Times over the weekend that the vice president-elect supports the practice, saying a past campaign statement had been misinterpreted. But L.G.B.T. groups remain skeptical, pointing to his record of opposition to gay rights as a member of Congress and as governor of Indiana and an approving reference to conversion therapy in the 2016 Republican Party platform.

So, what is conversion therapy, and why is Mr. Pence so closely associated with it?

What Is Conversion Therapy?  The phrases “conversion therapy” and “reparative therapy” refer to discredited psychotherapy methods that aim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Spiritual efforts to accomplish the same goal are sometimes called “ex-gay ministry.”

Conversion therapy has been condemned by a range of groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, which said it was based on the view that homosexuality is a disorder, an idea “that has been rejected by all the major mental health professions.”

Conversion therapy practitioners “often frame the inability to change one’s sexual orientation as a personal and moral failure,” adding to its harmful effects, the A.P.A. said.

In the past, efforts to change someone’s sexual orientation sometimes involved extreme measures like institutionalization, castration and electroshock therapy, according to the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Today, critics contend that conversion therapy still sometimes includes physical abuse. For example, a New Jersey organization convicted of fraud last year was accused of sexually abusing its clients and forcing them to participate in violent role-play exercises.

Continue reading the main story

Dr. Shock: a detailed look

Recently, the esteemed Canadian magazine “The Walrus” featured an excellent and well-constructed piece on Levin written by Richard Poplak titled “Dr. Shock: how an apartheid-era psychiatrist went from torturing gay soldiers in South Africa to sexually abusing patients in Alberta.”

Here is the link: https://thewalrus.ca/doctor-shock/

INSPECTED from above, there is nothing—just the converging serpents of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers, and a plateau surrounded by endless tracts of veld. In 1970, a military camp was built here, overseen by a psychiatrist who believed firmly in the curative power of pain. In apartheid’s darkest corners, he was known as die Kolonel, his camp was christened Greefswald, and no two terms inspired more dread in the members of the South African Defence Force, themselves experts in the creation and dissemination of terror….(continue reading on https://thewalrus.ca/doctor-shock/)

Aubrey Levin’s wife Erica Levin gets conditional sentence for bribery attempt of juror

Erica Levin will receive an 18-month conditional sentence with house arrest and 180 hours of community service for her failed attempt at bribing a juror at her infamous husband’s trial.

All the details are in the following links:

The Calgary Herald with full details: http://calgaryherald.com/news/crime/erica-levin-faces-jail-for-attempting-to-bribe-juror-at-husbands-sex-trial

…..Saying she had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression at the time of the incident, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Karen Horner handed the 72-year-old woman an 18-month conditional sentence with house arrest and 180 hours of community service.

Horner called Ms. Levin’s crime “selfish” and “reckless.”

“The emotional distress the juror was put through was no fault of her own,” said Horner. “She said after speaking to Ms. Levin she was in such shock she had to get away from the court house and go home. She reported it to the judge after the weekend.

“I do not accept that trying to bribe a juror is the same as trying to bribe a witness. A juror is one of 12 judges. To single out a juror is the same as trying to bribe a judge.”….(contd. in the above link)

From Global News Canada (contains video): http://globalnews.ca/news/2001222/woman-gets-18-month-conditional-sentence-after-bribing-juror-in-husbands-trial/

From the French CBC Radio-Canada: http://ici.radio-canada.ca/regions/alberta/2015/05/16/001-peine-sursis-erica-levin.shtml

From the English CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/erica-levin-not-going-to-prison-for-trying-to-bribe-juror-at-husband-s-sex-assault-trial-1.3076386

From the Calgary Sun: http://www.calgarysun.com/2015/05/15/wife-of-disgraced-calgary-doctor-escapes-jail-time-after-attempt-to-bribe-juror-during-husbands-sexual-assault-trial

President Obama Calls for End to ‘Conversion’ Therapies for Gay and Transgender Youth

If there was any doubt that the “conversion” process Aubrey Levin was imparting in South Africa was evil, or that such practices are criminal – please note that this is a topic taken seriously even by the highest govt. authorities. Justice Canada, are you listening? Once again, how could you let a known criminal like “Dr.” Levin enter Canada and give him a medical license to practice and a professorship?

President Obama Calls for End to ‘Conversion’ Therapies for Gay and Transgender Youth – The New York Times, April 8, 2015

The following is the text from the original article by Michael D. Shear published in The New York Times and can be accessed by clicking on this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/09/us/politics/obama-to-call-for-end-to-conversion-therapies-for-gay-and-transgender-youth.html?_r=0

Obana

WASHINGTON — A 17-year-old transgender youth, Leelah Alcorn, stunned her friends and a vast Internet audience in December when she threw herself in front of a tractor-trailer after writing in an online suicide note that religious therapists had tried to convert her back to being a boy.

In response, President Obama is calling for an end to such therapies aimed at “repairing” gay, lesbian and transgender youth. His decision on the issue is the latest example of his continuing embrace of gay rights.

In a statement that was posted on Wednesday evening alongside a WhiteHouse.gov petition begun in honor of Ms. Alcorn, Mr. Obama condemned the practice, sometimes called “conversion” or “reparative” therapy, which is supported by some socially conservative organizations and religious doctors.

The petition has received more than 120,000 signatures in three months.

In an interview on Wednesday, Ms. Jarrett said Mr. Obama had been moved by the story of Ms. Alcorn’s suicide. But she said the problem went far beyond Ms. Alcorn.

“It was tragic, but I will tell you, unfortunately, she has a lot of company,” Ms. Jarrett said. “It’s not the story of one young person. It is the story of countless young people who have been subjected to this.”

Mr. Obama will not explicitly call for a federal law banning therapists from using such therapies on their patients, but he is open to conversations with lawmakers in both parties, White House officials said on Wednesday. Instead, he will throw his support behind the efforts to ban the practice at the state level.

Mr. Obama began his national political career opposed to gay marriage and accepting of limits on gays’ serving in the military. But he now supports same-sex marriage and has sought greater equality of treatment for gay men and lesbians in the government and the private work force. In his first term, he pushed the Pentagon to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that had kept gay service members from serving openly.

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama’s top aides also heralded new protections for gay federal workers that went into effect this week. Last summer, Mr. Obama issued executive orders to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation by federal contractors.

Officials also announced the creation of an “all-gender restroom” in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where many of the White House staff members work, to provide an additional option for transgender individuals who are not comfortable using either the men’s or women’s restrooms.

Therapists who advocate the use of the gender identity therapies promote them as a way of helping gay people change their sexual orientation. Those therapists reject claims that sexual orientation or identity is unchangeable and argue that gay or transgender identities should be reversed so that people can embrace their “authentic” heterosexual selves.

“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression,” the group said in a statement.

In Ms. Jarrett’s letter, which was posted on WhiteHouse.gov, the White House says that stopping the gender identity therapies will help make the United States a more welcoming place for gay people.

“Tonight, somewhere in America, a young person, let’s say a young man, will struggle to fall to sleep, wrestling alone with a secret he’s held as long as he can remember,” the statement says. “Soon, perhaps, he will decide it’s time to let that secret out. What happens next depends on him, his family, as well as his friends and his teachers and his community. But it also depends on us — on the kind of society we engender, the kind of future we build.”

David Pickup, a licensed family therapist in California and Texas, said in an interview on Wednesday that the president and gay rights advocates were purposely misconstruing the work that he and others do. He said that minors should never be forced into therapy, but he insisted that being gay was often brought about by serious emotional problems or sexual abuse.

“We believe that change is still possible. People go to therapy because they can change, because it really does work,” Mr. Pickup said. “We help people grow into their authentic selves.”

Mr. Pickup said he and others were actively lobbying against the proposed state bans, and he urged Mr. Obama to “wake up and understand the rights of people who he doesn’t know anything about and need his help and need his compassion.”


RELATED COVERAGE:

Levin’s Aversion Project is Salon magazine’s No.2 among the top 10 most evil medical experiments.

http://www.salon.com/2014/09/04/10_of_the_most_evil_medical_experiments_in_history_partner/

Aubrey Levin and the Aversion Project is voted as the second most evil medical experiment in September 4, 2014’s Salon article: “10 of the most evil medical experiments in history:The subjects are often society’s most vulnerable, and the doctors have rarely had to answer for their crimes”

Click on the link below to read the full story. There are a few exaggerations I believe, in the style of writing the article, but the general gist is correct.

http://www.salon.com/2014/09/04/10_of_the_most_evil_medical_experiments_in_history_partner/

Aubrey Levin’s Appeal Denied and “Dr. Shock” begins his prison sentence

From the CBC, original story here http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/convicted-court-psychiatrist-aubrey-levin-s-appeal-denied-1.2619311:

Convicted court psychiatrist Aubrey Levin’s appeal denied

Levin found guilty on sexual assault charges for fondling patients

The Alberta Court of Appeal has denied former court psychiatrist Aubrey Levin’s bid to have his convictions thrown out.

He was found guilty of three counts in January 2013 for fondling men who had been assigned to him as patients through the courts.

Levin was given a five-year prison sentence.

With Levin’s appeal dismissed, he now has 48 hours to turn himself him.

“There were arguments about whether or not the Crown should have, for example, gone out and conducted an investigation or the police should have conducted an investigation at the direction of Dr. Levin’s counsel, and that’s not the law,” said Maureen McGuire with Alberta Justice.

“We don’t conduct investigations at the direction of counsel.”

Levin faced other charges. He was found not guilty on two counts of sexual assault and a mistrial was declared on four counts.

From Huffington Post Canada, http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/04/23/aubrey-levin-appeal_n_5199792.html

Aubrey Levin Loses Appeal, Must Turn Himself In

 By Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

CALGARY – The Alberta Court of Appeal has refused to overturn a psychiatrist’s three convictions for sexually assaulting his court-appointed patients.

Dr. Aubrey Levin was found guilty by a jury in January 2013 and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Levin, 75, had asked the Appeal Court last October to dismiss the convictions and order a new trial. He had remained free on bail while the appeal was being heard.

But the court has ruled that there is no merit in any of the appeal arguments raised by Levin’s lawyer.

“The appeal accordingly is dismissed,” writes the three-member panel in a decision released Wednesday.

“We direct that Levin turn himself into custody within 48 hours after the filing of this judgment, failing which a warrant for his arrest will issue.”

The original allegations against Levin came to light in 2010 after one of his patients came forward with secret videos he had recorded during sessions with the psychiatrist.

The patient was on probation at the time the videos were taken and had been ordered by a court to see Levin twice a month. The man said he had told authorities about previous assaults and no one believed him, so he bought a spy camera and brought it to his appointments.

At the time of Levin’s convictions, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on four other charges.

The Crown retried Levin on two of them and last month a new jury was again unable to reach a consensus.

Levin, who immigrated to Canada from South Africa, was frequently used by the courts to assess people and provide expert opinions at hearings.

He served briefly as director for the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon and was licensed in 1998 to practise psychiatry in Alberta.

Levin is no stranger to controversy over his work. He faced heated accusations about his time as a military psychiatrist during apartheid in South Africa, where he earned his degree in 1963.

In the 1970s, he was a psychiatrist at a military hospital where aversion therapy through electric shocks was allegedly used in an attempt to change the sexuality of gay soldiers. Levin is mentioned in a report that aimed to shed light on abuses of gays and lesbians in the military by health workers.

Highly Recommended: On Global News Canada  (includes Global News’ 16 x 9 report on Levin’s crimes in both South Africa and Canada) 

Sex-offending Calgary psychiatrist to begin jail term    Direct Link: http://globalnews.ca/news/1289441/sex-offending-calgary-psychiatrist-to-begin-jail-term/

In French – Radio Canada: http://ici.radio-canada.ca/regions/alberta/2014/04/25/005-aubrey-levin-autorites.shtml L’ancien psychiatre Aubrey Levin se rend aux autorités”

PRISON SENTENCE COMMENCES

Disgraced psychiatrist Aubrey Levin begins prison sentence

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/crime-and-justice/Forensic+psychiatrist+Aubrey+Levin+reports+prison+sentence/9776940/story.html

The lawyer for disgraced former forensic psychiatrist Aubrey Levin hasn’t ruled out taking the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Levin turned himself in to the Calgary Remand Centre on Friday to begin serving a five-year prison sentence for sexually molesting three male patients.

“We’re considering our options,” defence counsel Chris Archer said afterwards.

Levin would first have to be given leave to go to the country’s top court, and it would have to be of sufficient national interest.

Crown prosecutor Shane Parker said he was advised by city police Levin reported to the holding jail in northwest Calgary at 8:45 a.m., just over an hour before the deadline imposed by the Alberta Court of Appeal in its dismissal of Levin’s appeal on Wednesday.

Parker said he was unaware whether Levin would be taken to Edmonton Institution to be classified or would go directly to another prison.

The prosecutor also hinted there may not be a third trial on two other similar charges, which recently ended in a second mistrial because a jury couldn’t reach a unanimous decision.

He said he will meet next week with his superiors to discuss the situation. It was always believed that if the three convictions were upheld, the other two would be stayed.

Levin, 74, was convicted of sexual assaults on the three men under his care between 2008 and 2010.

He had been out on bail pending the result of his conviction appeal heard last October, but the Alberta Court of Appeal dismissed all of his grounds for being awarded a new trial and gave him 48 hours to turn himself in or they would have a warrant issued for his arrest.

Chief Justice Catherine Fraser and justices Carole Conrad and Bruce McDonald also dismissed an application by Levin’s lawyers to admit fresh evidence on appeal.

(For the rest of the story – follow the above link)

A fresh breath of some sense of justice at last….very late; but the sweetest feeling is that of having the mask of a hypocrite ripped apart to expose the lies, the lack of ethics and the incorrigible smug narcissism that lay within.

A missed trial. And another mistrial.

From CBC News:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/2nd-mistrial-declared-in-aubrey-levin-sex-assault-case-1.2581743

A Calgary judge has declared a second mistrial in the sexual assault case against former court psychiatrist Aubrey Levin.

Levin first went on trial in 2012 for nine counts of sexual assault against former patients.

He was found guilty of three counts in January 2013 for fondling men who had been assigned to him as patients through the courts.
Levin was given a five-year prison sentence, which he appealed. That same jury found him not guilty of two counts and a mistrial was declared on the remaining four charges when the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

A new trial for two of those charges began earlier this month in front of a new jury. But on Friday that jury was also unable to come to a verdict.

It’s an outcome the Crown says is rare and frustrating.

“For everyone … part of the process, for the accused, for the complainants and certainly from the Crown’s perspective it is too. We’d like to see finality to proceedings,” said Shane Parker.

Crown considering 3rd trial

Levin remains out on bail pending the appeal of his sentence.

His lawyer said the drawn out process is tough on his client.

“Obviously it’s difficult,” said defence lawyer Chris Archer. “It’s hanging over him. As I’ve said before, he’s 74 years old, so it’s even more difficult when you factor in his age.”

The Crown is considering a third trial, but one legal expert questions that decision because of the costs involved and the likelihood of finding another jury that hasn’t been tainted by all the media coverage.

“These 12 people that sat on the jury could not come to a unanimous decision so there seems to be something that’s deadlocking them. Is that likely to happen again?” said Janne Holmgren, an associate professor in justice studies at Mount Royal University.

The Crown says there’s a lot to consider, including having victims testify again.

“Every time it’s not getting any easier for them, it’s getting harder,” said Parker. “They’re in a different place in their lives now, and we’d have to respect the fact if they said they want to move on.”