Mr. Downing Is Lying And Playing Head Games With Former Clients To Save His Career, Asserts TWO
NEW YORK – Truth Wins Out (TWO) challenged scandalized “ex-gay” life coach Alan Downing (pictured) to take a lie detector test and a No Lie MRI today, after he denied in The Jewish Week that he engaged in sexual misconduct with two male clients. Former Downng patients, Ben Unger and Chaim Levin, made allegations of impropriety in a Truth Wins Out video released last week that has more than 11,000 views. They allege that during individual therapy sessions, Downing made them undress in front of a mirror and touch their bodies while the significantly older therapist watched.
“Regarding the video recently posted by two men identifying themselves as former clients of mine, I deny the allegations of malicious intent that are made in this video,” Downing asserted in a written statement to The Jewish Week. “I also emphatically deny the falsehoods being promulgated by activists and commentators; their accusations are not true. I am deeply concerned about the use of these young men to advance a political agenda, and the impact this publicity will have on them. I plead with those who choose to use them in this way to put their well being ahead of political goals.”
In light of his public denial, Truth Wins Out offered to pay for both a polygraph and a No Lie MRI for Downing, so he can prove his alleged innocence. When taking a No Lie MRI, if a person speaks a mistruth, a portion of the brain lights up on a scanner.
“We believe that Alan Downing is not telling the truth and that his brain would light up like a Menorah if he took a No Lie MRI,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “We are offing the test to Downing any time and on our dime. So far he has refused our request because, perhaps, he is consumed by guilt.”
“It is highly unethical for Downing to play head games with his victims and pretend he cares about their well-being,” continued TWO’s Besen. “The fact is, he harmed his clients when he acted inappropriately and asked them to strip in his office. He should be offering apologies instead of obfuscation.”
Tellingly, when The Jewish Week asked Downing to describe the therapy sessions, he elected to remain silent. The man who referred Unger and Levin to Downing, Arthur Abba Goldberg, co-founder of Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH), defended the bizarre practices of Downing, essentially saying that “fondle therapy” and “therapeutic lap dances” are misunderstood.
“The video misrepresents common therapeutic techniques used by many types of practitioners who work with men with body image wounds and shame; they are often very successful.”
“No doubt these peculiar and dangerous practices are common for JONAH, but they are rejected by all respected mental health associations,” said TWO’s Besen. “Goldberg’s ‘quack defense’ lacks credibility and is not backed by science.”
Goldberg, a Wall Street criminal mastermind, was convicted in 1987 of “fraud of spectacular scope”. Upon completing parole, Goldberg secretly reinvented himself as a moral leader who “cures” gay and lesbian people. Known as “Abba Dabba Do” in the financial world, Goldberg was sentenced to 18 months in jail for bilking poor communities with complicated bond schemes and served six months in prison.
Downing, who admits he is still attracted to men, was 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 – until the scandal broke — was 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.
In Truth Wins Out’s illuminating video, Unger and Levin discuss what occurred in Downing’s office.
“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.’”
Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that fights religious extremism. TWO monitors anti-LGBT organizations, documents their lies and exposes their leaders as charlatans. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.