Owners of Wichita 'Sex Slave' Group Home Convicted on 30 Federal Charges

Information contributed by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express

Sometimes justice prevails. Owners of a Wichita, KS "sex slave farm" masquerading as a "group home for the mentally ill" were convicted Monday of enslaving the residents, forcing them to work naked and perform sex acts, and illegally billing their families and the federal government for therapy. Arlan and Linda Kaufman were convicted of 30 federal charges, including health care fraud, Medicare fraud, forced labor and holding clients in involuntary servitude at the Kaufman House Residential Treatment Center.

News accounts say the convictions could imprison the couple for life.

Not that it's long enough, say residents of the "Kaufman House."

From the Wichita Eagle:

"Vindicated," one man said Monday evening, after his lawyer from the Disability Rights Center of Kansas called to tell him a federal jury had just convicted Arlan and Linda Kaufman of a 20-year conspiracy to abuse the mentally ill people entrusted to their care.

For years, authorities, health care providers and even family ignored the residents' accusations about being forced to participate in nude therapy, performing sexual acts for a video camera or mending barbed-wire fences while naked. The stories were considered schizophrenics' delusions.

"Some of them thought they would never be believed," said Rocky Nichols, director of the Disability Rights Center, speaking for the victims. "They all voiced a great sense of relief."

Arlan Kaufman, 69, and his wife Linda, 62, were arrested on October 26, 2004 after federal agents removed six people with mental illnesses from their Kansas group homes.

Investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation said the Kaufmans forced the residents to work for them in the nude, punished residents by taking away their clothes, and used a painful stun gun on at least one resident. Authorities also accused the couple of failing to provide any mental health treatment for the last 15 years, but continuing to bill Medicare anyway.

Former residents who testified told the jury that the Kaufmans required them to be nude for much of the time, particularly during and after dinner and whenever the television was on.

A 42-year-old man, who said he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, described how he was punished for months at a time by being locked naked in an "isolation room" with only a trashcan for a toilet.

A 47-year-old resident with schizophrenic affective disorder described the home as run-down and infested with cockroaches.

"The problems in the house that could have been fixed were blamed on us," he said.

A man who had lived in a Kaufman group home testified that he and other residents were forced to work on a "clothing optional" farm to pay off expenses from a trip to Florida.

"It never ended," the man said. "We worked year after year and were reminded about that debt."

The man testified that Mr. Kaufman choked a female resident as many as 30 times. He also described twice-weekly sex "therapy" sessions in which the residents were made to perform sex acts -- with Mr. Kaufman at times touching them inappropriately and Mrs. Kaufman photographing the acts.

Justice took its time in coming, however.

The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services didn't follow up on reports of abuse -- when they investigated in the 1980s, the Kaufmans sued them. SRS settled out of court. After that, they didn't try any more investigations.

Medicaid nvestigators finally broke the case. In 2001, they came to the home with a search warrant, looking for fraud. They found over 100 hours of videotape showing sex acts and abuse. Even then, the state did nothing.

Finally, the Medicaid investigators turned to Kansas's Protection and Advocacy Agency, the Disability Rights Center, which could bring federal lawsuits, and finally the case against the Kaufmans moved forward.

Full coverage from the Wichita Eagle.

November 09, 2005 - News Department | Email this story


Comments (newest comments at bottom)

Back in my university days I heard these horror stories often. All of my psychology professors had witnessed this kind of abuse, especially in larger facilities. It is disheartening that this kind of behavior continues.

Posted by: Gimpy Mumpy on November 10, 2005 07:49 PM

This type of mistreatment and exploitation - in this case, by people far sicker than their victims ever could be - will not stop until someone rams the idea (the fact) home to the general public, once and for all, that psychiatric patients are human beings. (How many *centuries* of struggle did it take for black people to assert their rightful status as human beings?)

Meanwhile, all I see is regression, as with New York State's retrograde "Kendra's Law", which was passed in order to cover up the glaring inadequacies of the state mental health system.

Posted by: Randle McMurphy on January 11, 2006 03:38 PM

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