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Saturday, August 20, 2005

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Two Psychiatrists Honored by National Alliance for Mentally Ill (NAMI)
Sentenced for Sexual Misconduct with Emotionally Disturbed Patients

A third NAMI honoree sentenced for commercial/military insurance fraud
In 1992, Vermont psychiatrist Peter J. McKenna was named an "Exemplary Psychiatrist" by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). NAMI's Executive Director, Michael J. Fitzpatrick, says the honor is bestowed on "caring professionals who go the extra mile to help their communities. They share NAMI's commitment to ensuring individual dignity…. The awards…come from people who need their help the most—consumers and their families."

In July 2005 McKenna admitted he sexually abused Robyn Levy, a fragile young female patient, for several months during "therapy" sessions with her. Levy told the judge that McKenna had sexually abused her for months: "He knew I'd succumb to any wish or sick desire, no matter how disgusting or perverted…. He abused his credentials, and his license to treat people. He realized how alone I was and he played that card for all it was worth."

McKenna was sentenced to just 60 days in a work camp, indefinite probation, and was ordered to donate $1,000 to a center for adolescent girls—something Levy wanted—and to return $6,000 in fees he charged for Levy's care.

New Jersey psychiatrist Henry Wijaya had sexual intercourse with a female patient a dozen times between 1981 to 1984 and again from July 1993 to August 1994. Also in 1994, he was a NAMI "exemplary." In 1997, the New Jersey Attorney General charged him with two counts of gross and repeated acts of malpractice and professional misconduct for The state revoked his license in 2002. Wijaya was granted an appeal but In February 2004, the Superior Court ruled in favor of revocation.

Georgia psychiatrist Todd W. Estroff was one of NAMI's honorees in 1992. In February 1995, he was sentenced to 7½ months of house arrest and three years supervised release for defrauding both private insurers and the US Defense Department's military insurance for over $365,000.

These three are truly exemplary (in the sense of "serving as an example") of the profession of psychiatry as a whole. NAMI, in their "commitment to ensuring individual dignity," should consider the dignity of the patients violated by their "exemplary psychiatrists" and formally announce the removal of their names from the list of past awardees and the reasons why.

Literally hundreds of psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health personnel have been criminally convicted and jailed. The details of over 800 such cases can be viewed at

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) portrays itself as an advocacy group for mental patients and their families. But NAMI is actually an organization that serves the interests of the psychiatric industry by presenting dangerous, mind-altering psychiatric drugs as the solution for "disorders" that psychiatry has never proven actually exist.

No one questions that people get depressed and suffer emotional upsets. But these conditions have never been—and never will be—proven to be due to a "chemical imbalance" or other condition in the brain. NAMI continues however to pass off psychiatric theory as medical fact to an unwitting public.

NAMI's website's "About Mental Illness" page states, "Mental illnesses are biologically based brain disorders." But no scientific studies back up this theory. On the contrary, it has been discredited time and again by authorities such as psychiatrist David Kaiser: "...[M]odern psychiatry has yet to convincingly prove the genetic/biologic cause of any single mental illness.…Patients [have] been diagnosed with 'chemical imbalances' despite the fact that no test exists to support such a claim, and...there is no real conception of what a correct chemical balance would look like."

Obviously, NAMI is not so much concerned with patients and their families as with serving the drug companies that fund their salaries. According to documents obtained by Mother Jones magazine, "…18 drug firms gave NAMI a total of $11.72 million between 1996 and mid-1999. These include Janssen ($2.08 million), Novartis ($1.87 million), Pfizer ($1.3 million)…and Eli Lilly and Company, which gave $2.87 million during that period."

NAMI's website also reveals that, almost exclusively, they suggest psychiatric drugs as the solution to mental disorders. The "Specific medications" section offers information for several drugs that the FDA ordered to carry a "black box" warning—the FDA's strongest—about suicidal side effects. Also no surprise is that they count among their membership 1,100 members of the American Psychiatric Association, who have the same agenda — fraudulent psychiatric diagnoses followed by the use of dangerous, addictive and mind-altering drugs.

With all this deception, it is no surprise then that NAMI would honor unethical and criminal psychiatrists.

Help CCHR continue to expose psychiatric criminals. It is through your support that we are able to make progress in stopping these abuses. Please give generously and give now. All donations are welcome but we ask you to make a tax-deductible donation of $2,500 or more to CCHR International. Click here to donate, call 800-869-2247, fax to 323-467-3720, or mail your donation to:

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