Ex-Gay “Life Coach” Accused of Sexual Impropriety

Jim Burroway

July 19th, 2010

Alan Downing

Truth Wins Out released a video today featuring two former clients of “ex-gay” life coach Alan Downing who allege that as part of their “therapy”, Downing made them undress in front of a mirror and touch their bodies while the older therapist watched. The two former clients, Ben Unger and Chaim Levin, liken the sessions to a “psychological striptease” say they were harmed by what they consider unprofessional behavior and sexual misconduct.

According to a statement from Truth Wins Out:

Downing, who admits he is still attracted to men, is a major player in the “ex-gay” industry and a practitioner of so-called “reparative therapy”. He is the lead therapist for Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH) and is listed on the People Can Change website as a “Senior Trainer” for Journey into Manhood, which is a controversial “ex-gay” backwoods retreat designed to supposedly make gay men more masculine.

For more background information on Journey Into Manhood, you can read about journalist Ted Cox’s undercover report here where he describes some of the group’s homoerotic “therapy” techniques.

JONAH is headed by Arthur Abba Goldberg, who was revealed last February as having been convicted of a Wall Street swindle in 1989. He was convicted of a conspiracy to defraud the United States in a scheme to sell fake bonds to cash-strapped cities. Goldberg founded JONAH after serving his eighteen-month prison sentence.

In the latest video, Ungar and Levin describe their “therapy” sessions with Downing:

“He was encouraging me, ‘it’s okay Ben, you can take your shirt off’…here was a man that was much older than me, and I was around 20,” said Ben Unger, a former client of Alan Downing. “At that point, I was just staring at a mirror with my shirt off and he was right behind me staring at the mirror with me at my body. Then telling me to look at my body and feel my body. It was weird.”

“While I was standing there without my clothes on, he asked me to touch my genitals,” says former Downing client Chaim Levin. “Once again, I communicated that I was not comfortable with it. And he was like, you know, ‘just feel yourself. Just feel it for a second. So, you can grasp your masculinity physically.'”

Regan DuCasse

July 19th, 2010

Isn’t it LONG past time that these sorts of businesses get completely shut down?
How many scandals and exposed fraud must it take for the people at the top who CAN shut these down (FEC ?) do something about it?

Is it because there aren’t enough complaints? Is it because the client base has a confidentiality or closet problem?
You can correct me if I’m wrong, but the closeted background of the clients creates a ripe environment for exploitation.
This is yet another example of how homophobia creates problems, and can’t solve them.
I don’t have to tell you.
Were homosexuality accepted for what it is, and not what it ISN’T, then no one would be abused, exploited or vulnerable to fraud.

Any business that engages in all this, without peer or financial review isn’t supposed to be allowed to operate, right?

Why is it that gay people always have to be fair game for all kinds of bullshit schemes, from exorcisms to crap like this?
And there are no authorities to protect from such a thing?

Ben in Oakland

July 19th, 2010

I wanna be an ex-gay therapist working with 30-40 year olds. That way, I can remain monogamous and still do some good in the world. I’m sure my husband would be OK with that.

Steve in MI

July 19th, 2010

Downing, who admits he is still attracted to men, is a major player in the “ex-gay” industry and a practitioner of so-called “reparative therapy”. He is the lead therapist for Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH) and is listed on the People Can Change website as a “Senior Trainer” for Journey into Manhood, which is a controversial “ex-gay” backwoods retreat designed to supposedly make gay men more masculine.

Uh, right. Because gay men are never masculine, and masculine men are always straight. And teh gayz are only attracted to effeminate boys. Kinda makes me want to… take some reporters to a leather convention.
[Head -> desk]

paul j stein

July 19th, 2010

Now it is about time for “Chester the SEX THERAPIST/SURROGATE” to make an appearance. Ya, any other place it would be grounds for major charges for inappropriate therapy.

John in the Bay Area

July 19th, 2010

There must be a legal remedy for this sort of abuse.

Burr

July 19th, 2010

To be fair, if I was forced to strip in front of that creep I might be “cured” of the gay.

Zach

July 19th, 2010

Quelle surprise.

Elliot

July 19th, 2010

*Gasp!* No way!

cd

July 19th, 2010

It’s always the same story, different day with these people.

SpaceCoyote

July 20th, 2010

Yes, they need to make him more masculine… like a prison inmate… you won’t find any gays in there!

ian

July 20th, 2010

This is a total scam. What Alan Downing does is not turning guys from gay to straight but turning gay guys from effeminate to masculine, so they can pass for straight.

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