CITY HALL -- Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell introduced a resolution Wednesday that supports SB 524, which seeks to regulate the industry of residential programs that claim to help “troubled” youth, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
The issue became a hot topic when the documentary Kidnapped for Christ was released in 2014. In the film, a teenager reports he was abused at a residential program because he was gay. According to David Wernsman, “the program was an endless nightmare of torture including public beatings and humiliation, hard labor, and sometimes solitary confinement in a windowless cell where we relieved ourselves in a bucket.”
“Breaking someone's spirit because of who they are is unconscionable,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, chair of the City’s Arts Parks, Health, Aging, and the Los Angeles River Committee. “We must stop the abuse of those forced to live in the shadows because of their sexual identity. I applaud Senator Lara for his work on this issue, as well as the LA LGBT Center and Survivors of Institutional Abuse, who helped co-author the senate bill. Through this action, we will provide protection to minors who will otherwise be vulnerable.”
O’Farrell’s resolution was seconded by Councilmembers Paul Koretz, Nury Martinez, Mike Bonin, and Mitchell Englander. O’Farrell and Bonin are two of three openly-gay elected officials in the City of Los Angeles.
O’Farrell’s resolution will be heard in the City’s Rules, Elections, and Intergovernmental Relations Committee.