A former social worker at a state mental health facility in Illinois allegedly committed sexual misconduct with at least three patients, including one who said she made him her "sex slave" for three years, officials said.
Christy L. Lenhardt, 52, was arrested last week and charged with 14 felonies: Eight counts of sexual misconduct with a person with disabilities and six counts of official misconduct. She faces up to five years in prison if convicted of the criminal charges, according to WGN9 News, while civil lawsuits seek $10,000 in damages each.
Some of the charges stem from a lawsuit filed last year by an Elgin Mental Health Center patient named Benahdam Hurt, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Hurt said Lenhardt used him as a "sex slave," forcing him into sexual encounters in her office or his bedroom and punishing him if he pushed back.
“I visit my son every day every weekend and I knew something wasn't right. I would hear things and people would slip papers to me,” Hurt's mother, D’Anntanette Lee, told WGN9 News in Chicago.
Hurt said the ex-social worker admitted to sexual activity with two other male patients, including a man named Angelo Rotunno, who escaped from the facility in 2006, and is still at large.
Hurt said Lenhardt helped Rotunno escape by hiding him in her car and driving him to an airport.
There's also another lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct against Lenhardt.
In January, according to the Tribune, a patient named Mark Owens said Lenhardt made sexual advances toward him in 2012. He was uncomfortable with her and requested to have counseling sessions somewhere other than her office, but she retaliated by allegedly telling his treatment team he was paranoid and needed stronger medication.
Owens said he reported the misconduct to his psychiatrist, but no one did anything about it, allowing Lenhardt to sexually abuse him on three separate occasions.
Lenhardt posted $10,000 bail and will be back in court on April 20, FOX 32 reported.
[Photo: Kane County Sheriff's Office]
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