The phrase, ‘Here there be monsters’ was inscribed on old maps to indicate unchartered waters. According to some historians, ancient cartographers didn’t know what was out “there” before the great explorers had touched all parts of the globe. What was beyond the explored region remained a mystery. The assumption was there was something terrible waiting for them.
Monsters can be found in many different places and in many different shapes and forms. Predators who prey upon the weak, the vulnerable, our loved ones who are in pain. Sometimes, those predators are such that they seek to cause pain simply because it makes them feel good. They would watch the world burn if they could be ‘Queen of the Ashes.’ This reality requires our unrelenting vigilance. Especially in the mental health treatment arena.
On November 5, 2021, Michael Jacksa, a former therapist at Timberline Knolls pled guilty to criminal charges perpetrated against seven (7) patients at that facility. Seven (7) young women entrusted to the care of that facility. All of his victims were betrayed in the worst possible manner. And whereas the criminal cases are concluded, the horrific emotional scars left by this monster will undoubtedly linger for years.
With regard to mental health treatment, families entrust their most precious beloved treasures to treatment providers. The decision to place “your baby” into the hands of another to provide potentially life or death treatment is agonizing. There are so many doubts, fears and yes, guilt.
As such, families must be able to rely on the integrity, transparency and expertise of treatment centers. Families must rely upon the belief that these treatment centers carefully vet their employees; that they conduct thorough background checks to lessen the likelihood that a predator will be let loose upon vulnerable potential victims.
That is because predators know places where they can find deep pools of potential victims. Predators know where they can hunt the most vulnerable. A treatment center must be resolute in its process to protect our treasures entrusted to them. It must have sound policies and procedures in place to ensure that it is only employing the highest quality persons. The stakes are incredibly high. So, when a treatment center discovers, or is advised that a predator may be in its employee pool and has gained access to our loved ones, it must take immediate action. Its action must be swift, direct and decisive.
But, what if that treatment center is advised of a predator in its midst, but either elects to take no action or conducts only a rudimentary investigation, brushes off the complaint and allows the predator to continue to have access to our loved ones? Doesn’t that surely make the treatment center complicit in the predator’s conduct? And shouldn’t the consequences for the treatment center’s complicity be justifiably draconian?
As unlikely as that fact situation may appear to be, evidence suggests that that very circumstance is happening today.
On November 23, 2021, Castlewood/Alsana, through counsel, received correspondence which contained the following language:
“Be advised I represent Ms. Jane Doe and Ms. Jane Roe. Both were former patients at the Castlewood facility in St. Louis. Both were preyed upon by Ms. Brittney Gibbs, a therapist employed at Castlewood’s St. Louis facility.
Of the many hurdles, obstacles and life-threatening issues confronting persons suffering from severe eating disorders, being mentally, emotionally or sexually exploited by the very person from whom they seek help, guidance and sometimes even salvation is nothing short of reprehensible.
I am still investigating the claims. But, the facts about which I know leads to the conclusion that Castlewood is once again, employing a predator in the role of a therapist. In each instance, Ms. Gibbs convinced my clients that their respective spouses were the causes of trauma in their lives, that their spouses did not support them and that their lives would be much better if they moved on without their spouses. In each case, Ms. Gibbs established a “friendship” relationship with them after they left Castlewood. After leaving Castlewood, as a result of Ms. Gibbs’ horrific conduct, both patients separated from their spouses. Ms. Gibbs maintained a personal relationship with both patients.”
Documents corroborate those facts. Some of the communications from Ms. Gibbs include the following:
“And proud of you for not listening or allowing your mother to tell you to continue to be abused. You have others supporting you and see what [Husband] is doing. They will in time but who cares.”
“You have to do what is right for you and your boys and that’s happy healthy peace love. [Husband] is none of that your doing.”
“I realize and feel that I’m inputting too much of my opinion and I don’t want to jeopardize our progress in our relationship.”
“Can you see if there’s a warrant out?” [for the arrest of Gibbs]
“Everything has to be strategic. There are no emotions when talking to him [Husband] strictly strategic to get full custody and spouse and child support.”
“I was told to start doing guided meditation on Spotify cause of my voice by the clients and there trying to get me paid for what I do in groups as a side hustle…”
“If I can come back from losing my daughter, you can overcome food.”
“Apart of me is sad that I upset you becuz of my pain but that’s what I am practicing telling my friends when I’m drownin and I’m not perfect it gets dark sometimes I forget all the good I didn’t mean to scare you but I was honest you made me promise to do that.”
There are many other communications, damning communications, communications which will necessarily come out in the litigation process. But until then, we can speculate as to whether Castlewood/Alsana could have discovered the darkness within Ms. Gibbs before offering her employment. The answer to this issue is clearly yes.
Just two years before Castlewood/Alsana accepted Gibbs as an employee, Gibbs attempted to write some blog articles. These articles can be found here:
Reviewing these blog articles, some of the more alarming statements made by Gibbs include the following:
“Fuck love. Love hurts. Get a hobby.”
“I reflected and realized I hurt others on purpose because it makes me feel good.” … “There’s a darkness in me …” [emphasis added]
“How aware are you of your past traumas and how they effect [sic.] the relationships you have in your life.”
“I sit here watching the little mermaid with her [her daughter] praying she doesn’t grow up, and hate me the way I feel towards my mom.”
“I can be toxic to the people I love.”
“I participated in the toxic behaviors I didn’t know any better, and sometimes I knew better but did not care.” “But, some days I hate myself, and I cause hell in other people’s lives.” [emphasis added]
“One day I wont say things to people strictly to hurt them.”
“I became strong built from rage, and hate.”
Castlewood/Alsana could have discovered these article by simply conducting a rudimentary google search … “Brittney Gibbs social media.” After reading the blog articles, any parent would be justified in asking whether this is the person you want responsible for saving their child’s life. Or whether a parent would want this person as far away from their child as possible.
What escalates this issue into the realm of defying belief is the fact that at the time Castlewood/Alsana unleashed this person on its patient population, Ms. Gibbs was still in training! It is unknown whether she was being supervised by any experienced therapist. Further, Ms. Gibbs is not eating disorder certified. When you review the persons she is following on Twitter (87 persons), not one person is involved in the eating disorder community. Not one respected clinician. Not one university professor. Not one organization.
Ms. Gibbs’ alarming content in the blog articles is reflected in her misconduct. And her misconduct has severely damaged at least two, vulnerable victims. And their family members, parents, grandparents, children, spouses. Castlewood/Alsana let her loose on its patient population without thoroughly training her. And to exacerbate matters, despite being warned, Castlewood/Alsana, has upon information and belief done nothing.
On December 13, 2021, I was advised that Ms. Gibbs is still an employee of Castlewood/Alsana and still has access to your loved ones. TWENTY (20) DAYS AFTER BEING ADVISED OF SERIOUS ISSUES WITH GIBBS, CASTLEWOOD/ALSANA IS STILL ALLOWING GIBBS ACCESS TO PATIENTS, YOUR LOVED ONES.
I find it incredibly hard to believe that a treatment center can be so arrogant, so blind, so callous as to continue to let a predator prey on the vulnerable. Is that where the industry is now? Where is the outrage? Where is the accountability? Where are the consequences?
Or must we simply believe that as precious as our children, our loved ones are to us, to some, they are merely corporate commodities.