Rehab mogul Christopher Bathum, who has been accused of sexual battery and fraud, will appear on ABC News’ 20/20 tonight. Correspondent Matt Gutman will interview former clients who have filed suit against Bathum. This evening, we will hear their stories of his “unwelcome sexual advances“, and how his actions have thwarted their recovery.
Read on to find out more about Christopher Bathum.
1. He’s Involved in Over 50 Lawsuits
According to Broadly, Bathum is “embroiled in over 50 lawsuits, the accusations in those suits ranging from fraud to pumping his female clients full of hard drugs to prey upon them sexually.” In April, Bathum was sued by two former patients who alleged that he supplied them with heroin and meth.
“He isolated and targeted [the] plaintiffs and other women to prey on their addictions by using and supplying drugs around them, moving them around to isolated hotel rooms and remote locations, encouraging them to use drugs with him, and sexually molesting them when they were high and/or incapable of consent.”
In February, one of Bathum’s former clients, Amanda Jester, filed a lawsuit claiming that that he molested her during a meditation session. According to LA Weekly, another of his patients, Erika Braukis, said that Bathrum “gave her crystal meth and made sexual advances towards her.” The last patient to file suit in February was Dana Reardon, who alleged that the rehab mogul gave her meth and heroin, and forced her to watch him engage in sexual acts with two of his other patients.
LA Weekly reports that days after the incident with Reardon, Bathum overdosed on heroin and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
Two months ago, he filed a countersuit against these three women.
2. One of His Alleged Sexual Battery Victims Is Now Dead
In July of last year, one of Bathum’s former patients, Julie Hluchota, passed away. When she was just 21, Hluchota signed in to a drug rehab clinic in Malibu called Seasons, where Christoher Bathum was the co-founder and director. She spent 90 days in the program, and then began working as an employee at the facility. Two months after beginning the job, Hluchota relapsed.
According to LA Weekly, Bathum came to check up on Hluchota at her apartment, and, as described in the lawsuit, “began stroking [Hluchota’s] hair and rubbing her shoulders. Bathum began telling [Hluchota] that if she came back, he ‘would take good care of her.’?” He reportedly said, “I can take care of your body any way you want me to. I have to be professional at work, but you are so beautiful. … I just wish I could take you to a hotel and ‘do’ you.”
The Elkart Truth cites addiction as the cause of Hluchota’s death.
3. He Is the Owner of More than 20 Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centers
Bathum is the founder and board chairman of more than 20 sober living houses and output clinics. His company, Community Recovery Inc, made over $30 million in revenue last year. The company, which has offices in Colorado and California, consists of over 20 sober-living houses and outpatient clinics. Bathum guesses his facilities can house 200 clients.
4. He’s Denied Nearly Every Allegation
Bathum denied Julie Hlochota’s allegations of inappropriateness and unwanted sexual advances. He reportedly said, “I deny completely the allegations of inappropriateness with Julie Hluchota. Why people do false accusations, in general, is interesting, and I don’t really understand all the pieces of it. I know that she got dope and got sympathy and got attention for a while. But this is a dead young woman. It’s actually a…tragedy.”
According to ABC News, Bathum also denies Reardon’s claims, and says that he was a victim of identity theft. He has countersued multiple women who have filed lawsuits against him for libel.
5. He’s Not a Licensed Drug Counselor Therapist
LA Weekly writes, “…a cloud of allegations has followed Bathum, who is a convicted felon and, by his own admission, not a licensed drug counselor or therapist. He doesn’t have a college degree, and the only certification he holds, he says, is to practice hypnotherapy.”