I waited several weeks for a reply, then tried to call the Holland Hospital rehabilitation director three times. He neither accepted nor returned my calls, so I wrote to the executive director of the hospital:
Dale Sowders, President
602 Michigan Avenue
Holland, MI 49423-4999
Dear Mr. Sowders,
“PHILADELPHIA — Msgr. William J. Lynn, the first Roman Catholic Church official in the United States to be convicted of covering up sexual abuses by priests under his supervision, was sentenced Tuesday to three to six years in prison.”
“. . . The [Penn State] former university president Graham B. Spanier, who was forced out last fall . . . A former Penn State senior vice president, Gary Schultz, and Athletic Director Tim Curley face criminal charges . . .”
Several weeks ago, I notified your Director of Rehabilitation Ken Puruleski that there was reason to believe that you have a sexual predator on your staff. Consequent phone calls to Puruleski went unanswered.
Richard Gottlieb, MSW, is a psychotherapist on your rehabilitation staff. He has sex with his patients.
[Summation of evidence against Gottlieb.]
I think it probable that after I spoke with Puruleski, he spoke with Gottlieb and Gottlieb convinced him that I’m a poor, sick, bitter woman who he—Gottlieb—only tried to help. Gottlieb does not usually lie; he distracts the questioner so the questioner doesn’t realize his questions have not been answered. He is extraordinarily charismatic, and adept at manipulating people.
If you do not initiate a full and fair investigation, and provide me with written information satisfactorily documenting that you have done so, then I will notify so many other entities—medical, legal and media—that you won’t be able to sit down for years.
And I want Ken Puruleski fired for failing to follow up.
You have been notified and you are now responsible.
Several weeks later, I received a one-sentence letter from Holland Hospital stating that the matter had been referred to some Michigan state government office. The letter was not signed.
Then Don told me that about twenty victims have now been identified, including students back when Dick was teaching at the college level.
Last Friday I was admitted to St. Joseph’s hospital for treatment of urinary tract infection, diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus. I am on the second floor, one flight down from the psychiatric unit where I was hospitalized about twenty-five times for a total of about a year and a half. There I was abused. I was humiliated, degraded and disrespected. I have post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the time I spent locked up on inpatient psychiatry. This surfaced at the Empathic Therapy Conference where I met Dick and he spent weeks talking me through it.
Now I am back in the hospital, one flight down from hell. The PTSD resurfaces and I am suffering enormously. Dick was a splendid fellow, kind, generous, understanding, compassionate—dare I say loving? What—do you think sexual predators come in shabby clothes with long dirty fingers and green snot dripping from their noses? How would they get any victims? Jerry Sandusky was a good guy, wasn’t he?
Longing for the comfort of Dick, I call to listen to his voice mail message. This time, instead of getting Dick, I hear a woman’s voice say that he no longer works there. I have gotten him fired. I call Don and he reports that the case against Richard Gottlieb, our friend and a splendid fellow who has been sexually violating students and patients for decades, is now in the hands of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.
Why do I tell you all this?
I wake in hell because of the abuses heaped upon people with psychiatric diagnoses by the treatment system. I need you to know that. It is within your power to change the system. I call you to act. In the name of God, please change the psychiatric system. I should not have to go through hell just because I am hospitalized where the psychiatric unit is one flight up.