CCHR: Therapists Sentenced for Death of 10-Year-Old Girl Highlights Criminal Abuse in Mental Health Field

Jun 20, 2001, 01:00 ET from Citizens Commission on Human Rights

    LOS ANGELES, June 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The tragic death of a 10-year-old
 Colorado girl, Candace Newmaker, who begged for air while fighting her way out
 of a sheet used for a psychotherapy procedure called "rebirthing," should
 sound alarm bells among parents, according to the Citizens Commission on Human
 Rights (CCHR) International, a psychiatric watchdog.
     Last Monday, a Colorado judge sentenced therapists, Connell Watkins and
 Julie Ponder to 16 years in prison for the death of Candace Newmaker.  A video
 of their "rebirthing" procedure chillingly revealed how the therapists
 responded with sarcasm to the girl's cries that she was dying.
     "The case is representative of the disproportionate number of mental
 health practitioners being convicted of criminal acts against their patients.
 Then there are the scores of children who have died from psychiatric restraint
 for which there were no criminal charges," CCHR warns.  CCHR's website,
 PSYCHCRIME.ORG, details more than 800 convictions in the last decade,
 involving crimes of murder, assault, sexual abuse, rape and fraud.
     Flanking this site is CCHR's newly released Permanent Exhibition on
 Psychiatry:  A Human Rights Abuse and Global Failure, featured at its
 international headquarters in Hollywood.
     "Every individual, parent, teacher or medical doctor has the right to be
 armed with the information on our website and in the exhibit before placing
 their trust, and the well-being of their child or themselves, in the hands of
 today's mental health practitioners," CCHR says.
     Established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology, CCHR investigates and
 exposes psychiatric violations of human rights.
     For more information visit, or tour CCHR's free
 exhibit at 6616 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California.
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SOURCE Citizens Commission on Human Rights