Friday, September 22, 2023
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That’s not ‘Therapy,’ Mom Says

LAS VEGAS (CN) - The mother of a boy with Asperger's syndrome claims a man working "in a therapeutic capacity" at a counseling center played a "game" with her son in which he poked the boy in the chest until he cried if he couldn't "guess the rules" correctly.

Anna Madrid sued H.O.P.E. Counseling Services, three individuals and Nye County School District, in Clark County Court.

Madrid says she sought the services of H.O.P.E. in the fall of 2010 after learning that her son, FM, was "depressed and feeling suicidal." She says a counselor at the Nye County School District referred her to H.O.P.E.

In March, she discovered that her son "had bruising across his chest and torso - including 9 large bruises," according to the complaint.

Madrid says she learned that H.O.P.E. employee Patrick Long "would make up rules, and if he, LM, did not guess the rules correctly, Long would poke his fingers in his chest until FM cried, leaving these bruises."

The mom says her son repeatedly asked Long to stop, but "Long would not but rather laughed and ridiculed him in front of the other HOPE students."

The complaint continues: "There has never been any denial by HOPE that Long was the perpetrator of these bruises, but merely the defense - notwithstanding the statements by Long that he was engaging in therapy with FM - that they were playing a 'game.'

"Anna never consented to the 'games' or the battery on FM and FM has no capacity as a mentally disabled minor to consent to battery, whether a sadistic 'game' or as part of his 'therapy.'

"Long perpetrated these actions in the course and scope of his employment."

Madrid says the game "has since been ratified and defended" by defendants Katherine and Adrian Moldovan, the principals of the center.

Madrid withdrew her son from the program.

She seeks punitive damages for assault, battery, false imprisonment, professional malpractice and violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

She and her son are represented by Roberta J. Ohlinger with Harris, Yug & Ohlinger, of Henderson.

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