LAWSUITS CLAIM TAXPAYERS SUPPORT TORTURE
Medical and legal malpractice complaints were filed November 24, 2014 in the Ohio Court of Claims and November 28, 2014 in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court by the attorney for John J. Rohrer, a 34 year old author and musician who is currently confined at a state psychiatric facility. According to the suits, Rohrer has been confined since September 1, 2009 in state facilities where he has been subjected to assaults and forced drugging – without there first being evidence that he was mentally ill.
Named in the suits are two public defenders, a handful of government psychiatrists, two common pleas court judges and several government agencies, including the former Ohio Department of Mental Health. Rohrer’s attorney, David L. Kastner, states in the complaints that he only discovered earlier this year that the original order confining his client in January, 2010 was not a lawful commitment order because, among other rights violations claimed, it was based on a proceeding in which no evidence was presented.
The complaints state that Rohrer was forcibly injected with Risperdal Consta for more than 3 ½ years although the drug is known to cause irreversible brain damage. The manufacturer of Risperdal has been found in several other multi-million dollar lawsuits around the country, to have been criminally responsible for having fraudulently marketed the drug. The Rohrer suits claim that the forced drugging with Risperdal and other drugs was done without legal or medical justification.
In November, 2011 Ohio voters approved Sec. 1.21 of the Ohio Constitution, which bans health care services by force. The United States is a signatory to a United Nations treaty, the CRPD [Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities] which considers forced drugging to be a form of torture. Federal law also defines psychotropic drugging by force to be a form of torture.
The Rohrer suits attack the former Department of Mental Health, now known as OMHAS, for promoting non-scientific theories to justify excessive drugging of patients and medicare billings. The suits cite published studies and an affidavit from Pulitzer prize-winning science reporter Robert Whitaker, to conclude
“more than half of people studied who continue to take psychotropic drugs as prescribed, will become permanently physically and/or mentally disabled and a burden to taxpayers.”
The 25 studies cited in the suits suggest that patients who reduce their pharmaceutical drug intake fare significantly better than those who take them as prescribed.
The Rohrer suits contain more than 400 paragraphs of allegations, including statements accusing two state hospitals, Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare and Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare [ABH], of refusing to provide a safe treatment environment, leaving patients prey to assaults by others. ABH has been a named defendant in two other recent lawsuits filed by patients. In 2010 Amy and David McCualsky initiated litigation against ABH for improperly drugging Mrs. McCualsky and then negligently leaving her vulnerable to being raped. The McCualsky matter is going to trial in the Court of Claims in March, 2015. In 2011, attorney Richard V. Zurz filed a complaint in Athens County Common Pleas Court naming ABH and several of its employees in connection with an alleged sexual assault and excessive drugging at ABH. One of the defendants in that case pled guilty to a lesser felony after he was charged with sexual misconduct at ABH.
Unlike the other patients who sued ABH after they left the institution, John Rohrer is still a patient there. According to one of the Free John Rohrer supporters, “we are very concerned about more retaliation while the suit is pending, but his attorney was forced to file it now because of the statute of limitations.” Judge Leonard Holzapfel, one of the named defendants in the Rohrer suit, issued decisions on November 3, 2014 in Ross County Common Pleas Court in which he terminated the forced drugging against Rohrer but declined to order his release from ABH confinement. An appeal is expected.