Holy Cow. I’ve been blogging about Zach’s story for almost two weeks, and the latest news just about knocked me off my feet. Word is that Love In Action — the place that runs the camp Zach is attending — is under investigation for allegations of child abuse.
The state of Tennessee has begun an investigation in response to allegations of child abuse at Love in Action, a Memphis facility that advertises homosexual conversion therapy for adolescents, according to the state department of health.
K. Daniele Edwards, a spokesperson for Child Services at the Tennessee Department of Health, confirmed an investigation is underway but declined to comment on the details. She noted that she presumes the Love in Action program would require licensing by the state.
Love in Action is not licensed by the Tennessee Departments of Health, Mental Health, Human Services, Child Services or Education, according to Rachel Lassiter of Gov. Phil Bredesen’s communications office.
Refuge, Love in Action’s program for adolescents, became the focus of public concern earlier this month after a Bartlett, Tenn., teen who uses the blogger name Zach, posted online entries that say his parents had responded to his coming out as gay by sending him to a religious institution to be converted to heterosexuality.
The spokesperson for the Tennessee Child Services department goes on to say that it’s difficult to prove emotional abuse, and it’s hard to know whether a conservative state like Tennessee will tend to favor LIA of not, but it looks like an important step has been taken, hopefully one that will draw attention to the reality of places like this and the damage that they do.
If you ask me, subjecting a kid to the kind of psychological warfare and identity assault that this program sounds like ought to be considered child abuse.
One thing’s certain, this is a direct result of the attention Zach’s story got on the blogs, and the action and press attention that blogs generated.
Update: Whew, now that I’m home, I’ve been able see where else the story is being covered. At least one Tennessee news station is covering the investigation. The New York Blade has a story identical to ExpressGayNews story, as does Southern Voice and the Washington Blade. There’s also a post on The Empty Closet.
I’ll post more links as I find them.