Here, we publish a shocking eye-witness account of the story the Southern Poverty Law Center does not tell you. What really went on in the trial against JONAH? How did this wealthy radical left-wing organization manage to put JONAH out of business? What is actually true in the report that the SPLC recently published about the trial? JONAH was sentenced by judge Peter F. Bariso to close down and was prohibited in the USA from saying what they want to say. But here is their story, as written by the witness who was there and saw everything. It is part 2 of our series on the trial (click here for part 1).
When They Came for the Jews….
New Jersey show-trial illustrates the sinister courtroom paradigm of the new rainbow-colored bigotry
Because my grandfather and great-grandfather were both judges, I grew up with a deep respect for the rule of law and the role of judges in the American system of government. At my grandfathers’ funeral, I was overwhelmed by the number of losing litigants from his courts who came – decades after their trials were over – to pay their respects. They always said that regardless of their court outcomes they knew they had always had their “day in court” when my grandfather was on the bench. I was raised to expect standards of justice, professionalism, respect and prudence from both courts and Judges in this country. In June of last year, I was present in a New Jersey Courtroom as a defense witness for part of a trial where I saw things that quite frankly appalled me. Below is the true story of what I saw, what I know from case transcripts, interviews with the defendants and their attorneys, and why everyone should take notice
1. The Case
In June 2015, a jury found a New Jersey based tiny non-profit organization, ‘Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing’ or ‘JONAH’ liable for violating New Jersey’s “consumer fraud” statute. JONAH officially closed its doors during the first half of 2016. The group was taken to court because the organization provided mentoring, information, support groups, referrals to coaches and licensed therapists as well as experiential weekends for predominantly Orthodox Jewish men who, though attracted to other men, sought to defy society’s popular collective “gay or bisexual” identity. The men of JONAH instead lived according to their own faith and conscience.
Deliberately not identifying as “gay or bisexual”, these men chose to address their experiences of same sex attraction (SSA) with individual self-crafted identities in the context of their Jewish faith and their broader lives. They developed approaches to sexuality and to life in which they sought to personally discern which aspects of their feelings towards other men were wanted, which were unwanted. They made their own choices about what to develop and what to transform.
The JONAH men defined for themselves what role, if any, same-sex attractions would play (or not play) in their lives. The existence of this community (and its independence from the “gay” community) so angered the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans-gendered (GLBT) activists, that the fanatical and wealthy Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recruited four former clients (including one formerly Mormon man) to sue the group in New Jersey’s state court for “consumer fraud.”
The SPLC asserted that (1) there is never a legitimate reason for anyone attracted to others of the same sex to resist a “gay or bisexual” identity (2) it is false to suggest that such men are even capable of responding to same sex attractions in a way that abstains from gay sex, gay relationships, or participation in a gay or bisexual social identity, (3) failure to respond to same-sex attractions by conforming to the “gay or bisexual identity” is damaging and harmful and (4) if a religious group overtly promotes views, offers insights and experiences in disagreement with the SPLC on these points, then they are by definition committing fraud.
Through cunning advertising, the SPLC exploited four recently gay-identified JONAH clients, and led them to maliciously betray their former JONAH friends, mentors and trusted kinsmen by cooperating in a sensational and largely fabricated legal complaint advancing SPLC’s agenda.
Promises of money and popularity
In exchange for this iniquity, the SPLC offered them promises of monetary rewards from a court judgment and a brief moment of underhanded celebrity in some of the most ardent corners of GLBT activism.
The case, how it was handled, and the ultimate verdict should be a cause of significant concern to all who are interested in religious freedom and the just application of the rule of law.
The JONAH trial provides an important case study in current political, ethical and legal issues related to the gay movement and freedom of conscience. The JONAH case also demonstrates how the “gay and allied” movement, once a minority legitimately petitioning society for even-handed and fair treatment, has now become a powerful and oppressive ideological majority, warranting serious re-consideration of any moral or compassionate arguments for supporting its cause.
From this case, it is critical that the public rightly understand
(1) how the propaganda and the plaintiffs’ complaint misrepresented the case and the issues,
(2) the role and trajectory of well-intentioned, but tragically imprudent “pro-gay” media and judicial bias and
(3) the wider implications for the rest of society.
2. Plaintiffs Motivations and Distortions
In order to understand the media reporting or other information regarding the JONAH trial, the purpose of the trial must first be clearly understood.
Intent to Humiliate, Exploit and Demonize
The SPLC, its plaintiffs and its judge undertook the trial unequivocally to exploit, stigmatize, humiliate and punish the private experiences undertaken by same-sex attracted men for seeking to discern a meaning of their own same-sex attractions in any ways that did not conform to the popular “gay and bisexual” identity paradigm.
The intent was to use both popular media and the New Jersey court to publicly shame JONAH’s clients such that they (and others who might ever consider alternatives to the GLBT culture and identity) would be intimidated into relinquishing any and all non-conforming beliefs or values and conform fully to a secular “GLBT” identity.
Media outlets like CNN, Newsweek, the Salt Lake City Tribune, the Atlantic Monthly and others have been willingly participating in this shaming, with sensational stories about “naked weekends in the woods” (in which the trial record shows none of the plaintiffs ever participated), “beating effigies” of parents and other figures (which were, in fact not ‘effigies’ at all) and “cuddle parties” (which were, in fact not parties at all). These news outlets never checked or reported significant facts, but instead simply took the sensational statements of the JONAH plaintiffs at face value.
Plaintiffs had agreed
Such reports fail to acknowledge that the plaintiffs had independently and deliberately sought out coaching services explicitly designed for coming to terms with feelings they had about male sexuality, the male anatomy, intimacy among men and the emotional and spiritual experience of masculinity. Within this context, it is not scandalous or salacious that the substance of such experiences would explicitly address and consider the male body, its appearance, feeling, purpose and meaning, the core and primal emotions that men have about their male sexuality in relation to their own values and with respect to the people and situations in their lives.
Shaming JONAH men
Consistent with their original stated intent – the JONAH plaintiffs have since used testimony from the trial to try to attach shame, stigma and humiliation to the vulnerability of men privately exploring these sensitive and personal issues in JONAH’s non-gay context. Readers are invited to see this shaming exploitation for the mean-spirited indignity that it is, and resist the intended bias such reports are meant to elicit.
Exposing the SPLC
With that said, it is vital to expose both the substance and the rationale of public misinformation found in the complaint, the press releases prepared by the SPLC, the judicial opinions published by the SPLC’s judge and statements made by the four publicity-hungry plaintiffs.
No ‘conversion therapy’
They falsely alleged that JONAH was a “conversion therapy” psychiatric/medical practice promising to “make gay men straight.” This politically bombastic language appears to be a favorite claim that GLBT advocates make towards any person or group that approaches same sex attractions in any way other than promoting “coming out” and adopting a generic “gay or bisexual” identity, one complete with rainbow flags and the pursuit of same sex partners or “spouses”.
The GLBT apologists’ ploy is to falsely claim that there are no men and women who experience and successfully define same sex attractions independently of a collective “gay or bisexual” social identity. Their ploy asserts as “fact” that no-one who ever experiences SSA can realize (and successfully satisfy) a truly honest, legitimate and realistic desire to resist gay patterns of romantic same-sex erotic behavior or faithfully follow different paths of identity, relationship, belief and intimacy.
False claim of “junk science”
In tandem with that ploy is the false claim that professionals in practically any profession who tolerate, harbor, support, encourage or acknowledge men and women following such non-gay paths are, by definition, engaging in some kind of medical malpractice or “junk science”-based “ex-gay” therapy.
Within the context of the GLBT apologists’ plot, accusing JONAH of “consumer fraud” was simply an attempt to institutionalize this perilous distortion of JONAH and similar groups as a matter of legal precedent.
Not an ‘ex-gay’ organization
The reality, however, is that the vast majority of the individuals in question (mostly men) choosing non-gay responses to SSA (as in the case of JONAH clients) are not “ex-gay” and have never even adopted a “gay” identity in the first place. None of the JONAH plaintiffs identified as “gay” when they approached the organization and none ever had adopted or presumed a “gay” much less “ex-gay” identity before or during their JONAH involvement.
Most of JONAH clients, and members of other similar groups to this day, have simply found that their lives are infinitely better without being controlled by the social construct of identifying as “gay or bisexual”.
No gays in JONAH
In addition, a minority of such men, who ever did at some point in life identify as “gay” have not approached groups like JONAH in attempts to shamefully hide their experience or capacity for same sex attractions.
Such men have just taken the view that the immutably gay or bisexual constructs while immensely popular – were inadequate to encapsulate who they always were. These realities are a far cry from the critics’ claim that the men are falsely trumpeting an experience of having been curatively “converted” from a deplorable intrinsic “gayness” to a utopian intrinsic “straightness”.
No “ex-gay” advertising
It is notable that the terms “ex-gay” and “conversion therapy” never appeared in any of JONAH’s advertising, or in any of its agreements with clients and no evidence was ever presented linking JONAH to the use of either term.
It is more accurate to see JONAH and other non-gay groups as competitors to the GLBT movement and its dogmatic suppositions about rigid “gay or bisexual” constructs than as antagonistic oppressors of same-sex attracted individuals. In fact, at their heart, JONAH-type groups provide more freedom (not less) for same-sex attracted individuals by representing meaningful alternatives to the GLBT movement and its constructs.
Why is JONAH controversial?
JONAH and others are controversial precisely because a great many men find these alternatives more attractive and better than the popular “GLBT” concept, and this fact threatens those who are invested in society’s adulation surrounding the “GLBT” ideal. Groups like JONAH recognize that the 21st century “gay or bisexual identity” is not a timeless reality like the earth’s spherical shape and revolution around the sun, but entirely a product of contemporary culture and beliefs.
JONAH and similar groups understand while different types of same-sex attractions have always been part of the human experience – terms like “gay” and “homosexuality” didn’t even exist as constructs of human identity until as recently as the 1860s.
Furthermore, despite widespread abuse of the term “scientific” to describe “gay and bisexual identities”, the natural sciences have never actually validated, much less developed any empirical way to test or verify even the existence of such “gay or bisexual identities” in human beings.
Notwithstanding the immensely popular folk-myth of a “proven in-born gayness”, the natural sciences have never conclusively determined that “sexual identity” or “sexual orientation” is anything other than a subjective self-perception one reaches based on an honest subjective assessment of his or her own interior passions.
Defining ‘sexual orientation’
After decades of desperately looking in the tea-leaves of everything from the size of the hypothalamus, to spurious correlations which may vary from one pair of twins to another, to urban legends about nose-lengths and finger-sizes – the natural sciences still universally acknowledge the only real way to assign a “sexual orientation” is simply to ask the individual (or the self) what seems to fit best.
With this understanding, JONAH and similar groups have operated on the long-standing premise that “gay identity” or “homosexuality as a trait” are not necessarily the only (or the best) paradigms in which to authentically understand, recognize and respond to individual experiences of same-sex attraction.
JONAH’s competing paradigm
JONAH-type groups instead offer views that persuasively compete with the generic “inborn-orientation-based-identity” concept of same-sex attraction popularized and polarized by the “gay or bisexual” movement. The competing intellectual and spiritual paradigms of same-sex attraction available through groups like JONAH feature possibilities such as mutability in sexual feelings, tolerance of religious and cultural traditions favoring chaste same-sex love over romantic homo-erotic relationships and ways of exploring how the capacity for same-sex attractions may reveal profound insights about one’s own unique history, biography and core needs.
Above all, JONAH and similar groups elevate the role of the human conscience, personal growth, individual choice and private discernment in determining one’s own sexual identity, desires and ethics. JONAH-type groups celebrate the fact that history, anthropology, psychology and yes – theology among other disciplines have long offered diverse ways to understand and respond to same-sex attractions, many of which need not conform to the dogmas, demands and behaviors embraced and advocated by today’s adulated GLBT movement and culture.
Different definitions of success
While the GLBT movement defines a “successful” sexual identity in terms of conformity first to an “unchosen orientation” (indicated by sexual and/or emotional urges), and then further conformity to popular erotic ideals of beauty, human value and sexual relationship goals – groups like JONAH offer a very different concept of success.
JONAH-type groups define a “successful” sexual identity in terms of
-(1) independence from unchosen beliefs and behaviors,
-(2) acceptance and reconciliation of sexual urges with a personal understanding of life’s deeper purposes and meanings, and
-(3) ultimate integrity with a unique and individually chosen sexual identity and world-view.
In this way, groups like JONAH and the GLBT movement have always held opposing views of success.
Compliance versus independence
The GLBT concept of success requires “discovery” and then ultimate compliance with a societally imposed generic “gay, straight, bi-sexual or trans-gendered orientation”.
JONAHs concept of success requires independent discernment and integrity with a personally determined world-view and an individually tailored sexual identity (which need never conform to any all-encompassing ‘Sexual Orientation’).
This difference regarding the meaning, measure and achievement of success in forming a sexual identity was a key factor underlying almost all of the arguments and other issues in the JONAH trial.
GLBT groups fear competition
It is apparent that the GLBT movement’s intolerance of JONAH and other similar groups is rooted not in anything intrinsically destructive about JONAH-type groups and their activities, but rather in the GLBT movement’s fear of competition.
The elites defining the contemporary “gay identity” know that as long as society accepts the dogma of “immutable gay and bisexual identity” as the sole legitimate explanation or response to same-sex attractions, such elites can control not only the identities of same-sex attracted individuals, but also the moral consciences of any friends, family, neighbors or others who may have love or concern for such individuals.
Any views of same-sex attraction that deviate from these identity-constructs (the requirements of which are constantly being defined and re-defined by GLBT leaders and organizations), may threaten this GLBT-centered cultural regime.
Loss of power
Essentially, GLBT elites and stakeholders fear that if the rainbow flag loses its monopoly status as the only accepted true and healthy way to respond to same-sex attractions, the status and power of the movement and its champions will decline.
Therefore, GLBT activists defend their social monopoly status and deny same-sex attracted individuals meaningful choices by (thus far effectively) marketing a deceptive caricature of JONAH and similar groups as somehow repressive, dishonest and destructive.
When faced with non-conforming sexual paradigms, GLBT advocates vehemently and impulsively shriek of the horrors of “ex-gay conversion therapy” even when (as in JONAH case) once again, the people in question had never identified as “gay” and most of the people being accused are not psychotherapists, but simply “life-coaches” or informal advisors who never claimed their work regarding SSA to be a curative therapy for anything. It is notable that not a single defendant in SPLC’s signature “conversion therapy” trial were therapists, and none advertised “conversion.”
Abuse of the court system
A right understanding of the JONAH trial reveals the duplicity of this caricature while also exposing how fervently it is promoted through the GLBT movement’s abuse and manipulation of America’s court system, while also abusing the good-will of America’s well-intentioned media, public and business communities as well.
The JONAH trial reveals the degree to which gay apologists have elevated the persecution, humiliation, criminalization and ultimately elimination of such dissenting groups and their members to the equivalent of a moral, political and legal imperative. The tone of their persecution presumes there is some dirty secret to be exposed by the mere fact that not everyone who feels (or has ever felt) attractions to others of their own sex wants or needs to participate in the gay movement, gay sex or the gay/bisexual group identity.
Kiss the rainbow ring
The persecution regards it as scandalous that men and women of faith would deny a “GLBT” identity while unapologetically experiencing authentic same-sex attractions, yet responding without ever bowing to kiss the rainbow colored ring of the gay movement, or ever ceding their bodies and souls to the erotic behaviors and pursuits the movement has so crusaded to normalize.
No “conversion therapy” industry
Early on in the JONAH trial it became clear that the characterization widely reported in the media of JONAH as a “conversion therapy” clinic getting rich by deceitfully promising to “make gay men straight” was entirely untrue.
In reviewing transcripts of the case, certain facts become evident. First, JONAH was not part of some lucrative “conversion therapy industry” making money by defrauding unsuspecting gay people.
No promises to “make gay men straight”
It was proven in the trial the plaintiffs (by their own admission under oath) did not come to JONAH stating that they were “gay” and did not join the organization on some promise to change that claim.
Instead it was easily shown that JONAH was a non-profit organization, whose co-directors never even received a salary or compensation of any kind in the groups’ 15 years of existence.
JONAH did not even obtain reimbursement when one of the plaintiffs (by his own admission under oath) knowingly wrote hot checks to cover the costs of experiential weekend activities.
Second, JONAH never said or published that it could (or even aspired to) make “gay” people “straight.” These were among the many lies told by the plaintiffs and exposed at trial.
In fact undisputed evidence was presented that the plaintiffs signed multiple acknowledgements (when they began work with their referred coaches and mentors) that unambiguously stated that no such promise was made.
Also it was proven at the trial that nobody at JONAH ever indicated a “cure” existed for homosexuality. To the contrary, undisputed documents in evidence showed that JONAH’s staff clearly communicated directly to the plaintiffs that using of the term “cure” with regard to same sex attractions was inappropriate.
The facts of JONAH simply never supported the “ex-gay conversion therapy business” narrative trumpeted by the plaintiffs, the SPLC, the SPLC Judge and their mainstream media bullhorns.
3. Dependence on judicial bias
However, the plaintiffs in this lawsuit were well aware of the role of the GLBT movement in the politics shaping New Jersey’s judicial appointments and the pervasiveness of the GLBT dogma in the legal profession. Consequently the plaintiffs and their SPLC chiefs banked not on laws and facts, but on well-intentioned but imprudent judicial bias to ensure their desired political outcome.
The resulting trial serves as an example of the unintended consequences that can ensue when judicial appointments and legal training seek to create a just society by institutionalizing the perceived rightness of “GLBT” dogma above and beyond basic traditional principles of justice and jurisprudence.
From the first pre-trial opinions through the final settlement at the end of 2015, the trail was a warped playhouse, hosted by GLBT champion Peter Bariso at the New Jersey tax payers’ expense. For me, it was less of a trial than a pride-month extravaganza hosted deliberately to tyrannize, humiliate and intimidate anyone who dared resist the GLBT movement and its precepts.
No room for defendants
To a large extent, the defendants themselves were not permitted to testify regarding the context, purpose or rationale of their own actions.
No experts or professionals were permitted to testify on behalf of the defendants in light of Peter Bariso’s pre-trail ruling that any opinion challenging the plaintiff’s core assertion would, by definition not be considered experts (in any field, even including Jewish theology).
Experts admit attractions can change
After stagey analogies were introduced, JONAH members were likened to “amateurs using scalpels”. Under oath even the highly biased SPLC “experts” acknowledged that:
– it is known that “sexual orientation” can indeed change,
– it would be unethical to counsel someone to adopt a gay identity if such was not their desire
– that it had never been proven in any quantitative scientific study that any particular mental illness disease or other ailment had been shown to result from activities like those involved at JONAH.
170 satisfied clients vs. 4 plaintiffs
Over 170 satisfied JONAH members offered depositions or other statements regarding the ways the organization had helped them (compared to only the 4 plaintiffs, who were the only ones with any complaints). Yet Judge Bariso did not allow most of the satisfied clients to testify.
When he did, he derisively demanded that they relate “success stories” and then forbade them from speaking in complete sentences about their JONAH experiences. Instead, he held JONAH’s clients on the stand to answer closed-ended questions as SPLC attorneys asked the men impertinent questions about their penises and whether they had seen other men naked.
The flamboyant plaintiffs giggled and pointed like saucy pubescent girls, with Judge Bariso languishing on the bench like a torpid housewife mesmerized by a salacious Lifetime television Movie.
Mention of First Amendment not permitted
After defense witnesses would leave the stand, he would regale the plaintiffs with a tyrade of what a waste of the court’s time their testimony had been. Much like the antagonistic lion Scar in Disney’s well known feature The Lion King who forbade even speaking the name of the rightful King Mufasa – Bariso angrily forbade the very mention of the First Amendment of the US Constitution or its protections for freedom of speech and free exercise of religion from even being mentioned in the Jury’s presence.
Board certified medical doctors sympathetic to JONAH were barred from the court as “non-experts” while amateur plaintiffs were permitted to testify as to the horrors of learning medical facts about GLBT health risks learned in JONAH programs.
JONAH portrayed as occult
An eccentric lesbian sociologist, formally discredited by the American Psychological Association was brought in to try to characterize JONAH as an occult organization in a feeble attempt to explain away why the plaintiffs themselves consistently spoke of the quality and effectiveness of JONAH’s program until recruited by the SPLC to say otherwise.
All four plaintiffs were exposed as committing perjury but were never or admonished for doing so. Plaintiff Ben Unger claimed under oath he was a virgin when he came to JONAH but later admitted to having sex with men for years prior to joining the group. Chaim Levin claimed under oath that JONAH had “promised to make him straight” before finally admitting to signing documents (shown in evidence) clarifying that he knew all along no such promise was made, and plaintiff Sheldon Bruck claimed under oath he was forced to inhale noxious fumes at JONAH events, only to later admit this never really happened and he got the idea for his testimony from an online article he read.
Surveys required, then not allowed
In the end, Judge Bariso, who disallowed JONAH from admitting any of its numerous and well documented member satisfaction surveys into evidence, instructed the jury that since they hadn’t seen these surveys, they would just have to rule for the plaintiffs, which they did. In this way he guaranteed the trial outcome simply by manipulating the jury.
Not a jury of peers
It probably helped that the good Judge had already categorically excluded from serving on the jury any citizen of New Jersey who admitted to attending religious services on a weekly basis (as the defendants were known to do). He further instructed jurors that if they had seen anything indicating the defendants harbored beliefs that there could be anything “disordered” about sodomy and other same-sex acts (as their Jewish faith teaches, and as the Catechism of the Catholic church also teaches) – any such statement of belief would also implicate a defendant of consumer fraud and require jurors find for the plaintiffs.
Could anyone ever imagine that such a court room drama would result from appointing or advocating the appointment of “progressive” judges to New Jersey’s bench? Who in New Jersey — who in America or anywhere in this world would freely consent to live lawfully in a society where such a deranged theatre passes for a court of law? The JONAH case is a teachable moment, to ponder by what errors of politics, judgment and public morality such a man was ever given a robe and gavel, and how such errors can be reversed.
Further reflection is warranted regarding the career consequences that may have faced this “Judge” in New Jersey if he (or any other judge) had, in fact offered a fair trial when confronted by feverish claims regarding the fictitious “ex-gay conversion therapy” boogey man.
Trial as a circus
The JONAH trial must go down in history as a reprehensible three ring circus hosted at the public’s expense, with Judge Bariso and his SPLC aficionados the diabolical ringmasters. The proceeding was more reminiscent of Arthur Millers’ The Crucible, or William Golding’s Lord of the Flies than any court of law that would be tolerated by an even marginally enlightened society.
It would be funny if it were not tragic. 20th century German holocaust resister Martin Niemöller taught of the dangers of religious and political tyranny in his chilling poem “First they came…” This time in 21st century America – an immensely popular and fiercely obstinate political juggernaut has come once again (this time draped in rainbow colored garb) – first for the Jews, bankrupting their organization, impoverishing their leaders and criminalizing their statements of faith that Jewish men can choose lives and identities according to the Torah and the Orthodox Jewish tradition.
Rising threat to minorities everywhere
The already wealthy perpetrators of this courtroom butchery have over $350 Million at their disposal and are overtly using the outcome of this trial to raise even more funds. They have already published a list of other minority religious and cultural groups and individuals who dare to tolerate and support non-gay responses to SSA for future persecutions mirroring this “first of its kind” exercise in judicial and cultural despotism.
It is crucial that everyone reading these words remember the story of the JONAH trial whenever hearing terms like “conversion therapy” or “ex-gay” used to berate, humiliate, criminalize or persecute religious and cultural minorities for resisting the gay culture and its demands. This emerging brand of bigotry now visits state legislatures, the White House, the halls of congress and other courts through America and the world.
The JONAH trial has shed a light on the GLBT movement’s overt hatred, intolerance and injustice towards those who resist its grip. The case also illuminates the effects that popular adherence to a dogma equating “gayness” with justice already has had, and will yet have on the human condition now and for years to come. Under this light, it is incumbent on men and women of faith and conscience to realize that regardless of whether one loves the rainbow flag, the star of David, the cross of Jesus, the crescent of Islam or something else–stopping this type of persecution in its tracks is the imperative for freedom loving people everywhere.
If we do not all now do our part to end this rainbow colored bigotry, we may well find that when such bigotry inevitably comes for each of us, there will indeed be nobody left to speak out, and no freedom left with which to do so.
Figure 1: Sheldon Bruck lied under oath that he was forced to inhale ammonia and other noxious chemicals during JONAH activities. He would later admit that this never occurred, and he got the idea for his testimony from an online article he read.
Figure 2: Michael Ferguson lied under oath, complaining that his work with a JONAH-referred coach had damaged his self- esteem. Ferguson would later confess that in his relationship with JONAH had led him to consider himself gifted and that his JONAH involvement had shown him he “had a lot going for him.”
Figure 3: Plaintiff Chaim Levin lied under oath in the New Jersey Court, asserting that JONAH had promised to make him “straight”, then later admitted that he had signed documents acknowledging no such promise was ever made. Even though the check he wrote to JONAH had bounced, Bariso’s court granted him a triple refund nonetheless.
Figure 4: The largest court award went to Benjamin Unger, who lied under oath about being a “virgin” when he first came to JONAH. Unger would later admit that he had actually compulsively engaged in anal sex with men for years before ever joining the group. While Unger claimed that he required over $5,000 for a psychotherapist to help him “recover” from his JONAH involvement, the same therapist testified under oath that there was no record Unger had ever personally paid for any therapeutic services after leaving JONAH and the therapist had never even heard the name of Unger’s JONAH-Referred coach until the day of the trail. Unger’s own father refused to have anything to do with his claim. Nevertheless, Bariso’s court awarded Unger over $17,000 from the two elderly defendants. The amount awarded is three times Unger’s original claim for psychotherapy costs that the therapist testified there was no evidence Unger had ever personally incurred. Claiming to be gay in a Bariso’s court is a lucrative business indeed.
(For privacy reasons, the witness’s name is known to the editors only.)