Trial begins in fraud suit against Orthodox ‘conversion therapy’ group


(JTA) — The fraud trial for an Orthodox Jewish group that promotes so-called conversion therapy for homosexuals opened in New Jersey.

In opening statements Wednesday in state Superior Court in Jersey City, an attorney for four former patients accused Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, or JONAH, of offering “junk science” and lies, The Associated Press reported. Meanwhile, an attorney for JONAH, which is based in Jersey City, said the group’s practices are widely used, with some patients reporting satisfaction with the results.

In 2012, the four plaintiffs, three from Orthodox families in Brooklyn, filed the lawsuit, claiming that JONAH breached state consumer fraud laws and that their treatment had included such practices as stripping naked during therapy sessions and listening to anti-gay slurs.

Gay rights groups are trying to outlaw conversion therapy in more than 12 states, according to AP. The therapy claims to help homosexual men become heterosexual.

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