Transcript for Women Say Rehab Founder Targeted Them, Exploited Their Addictions: Part 3
Reporter: Erika braukis and Dana Reardon share more than a stint at the drug treatment center community recovery. They, like Amanda jester, are part of a lawsuit against Chris bathum, accusing him of targeting them and then exploiting their addictions. He's been victimizing the people who are easy to victimize. Drug addicts and alcoholics in recovery are easy targets. Reporter: Their lawyer, Alan schimmel, says bathum had a method he used to try to seduce certain clients. He's been really smart about how he operates and who he picks on, and how he gets away with it. Reporter: Both Erika and Dana came to community recovery hoping for something better. Erika, a former model in los Angeles, says she was a drug addict for a decade and that in her darkest hour, she was homeless. You'd blown through all the money you made during modeling? I had no money, no car, no phone, no job, no contact with my parents, or family. Reporter: Dana Reardon says heroin also controlled her life, with a devastating impact on her family. I've just put them through absolute hell. And the drug was so powerful, I was willing to say good-bye to loved ones just to get that next fix. Reporter: In Dana's first months at community recovery, her mother, who asked that we not show her face, to protect her business, says Dana was thriving. She was sober. She was back to her old self. Reporter: And you had Christopher bathum to thank for that. Yes. I thought this was like the miracle place. Reporter: As part of her treatment, Dana says she was in a sexual trauma group run by bathum, a man with no certification or training in therapy, in which clients share their most intimate secrets. I had shared about getting molested as a child. Some of the stuff that I shared with him, I hadn't shared with anyone my entire life up until that point. Reporter: God, it must have taken a lot to finally open up. Yeah, because I felt comfortable there, and he sets it up that way. And afterwards, he thanked me for being courageous and sharing about it. Then I started Facebook messaging with him. That's how I would communicate with him. Reporter: She provided us with these messages, in which she says he tells her, "You are loved here, girl." She responds, "It warms my heart to feel loved." Dana says that bathum quickly became a father figure to her. He would say that I was special. Reporter: Are you susceptible to compliments like that? Very much so. And I think you need that when you are that beaten up and vulnerable and broken. I had no self-esteem. It just made me feel really, really, really good about myself, for the first time in a long time. Reporter: Just like Dana, Erika says she too attracted Chris bathum's attention in a sexual trauma therapy group. And after the group I remember he came up to me and was like, "I would like to do some, you know, one-on-one work with you. Some one-on-one therapy about some of the past issues you've had." And I remember looking at him and being like, this guy looks sketch." And so I turned him down. I said I think I'll be all right without that. Reporter: She says bathum persisted, and that about a month into her stay at community recovery, he had a proposition. He offered me an internship. Being his assistant. Reporter: As an intern, she helped in the office, ran errands, and sometimes would drive bathum to and from work in his tesla. And the perks? She says use of a company BMW, a Mac laptop, and a new iPhone. Were you wondering, "Why me?" I mean -- I didn't really have to, 'cause he made it very vocal that he thought I was special, and that he thought I was beautiful, that he liked doing all these things for me. Reporter: Erika says during their rides together, bathum would take on the role of a therapist. He really liked to try to get me to cry. Reporter: Did it help you? I don't think it was really effective in really doing anything but kind of just re-traumatizing me. Reporter: One day, she says she told bathum she wanted to leave the rehab and get high. She says his response was one she never would have imagined. He told me that there was a way I could still get high and be loaded. He could pick me up in his tesla from the treatment center. And take me to his house, and we could smoke meth there together. I would be allowed and sanctioned to do that just with him, and only that drug. Reporter: She says the lure of the drugs was irresistible. So, the head of the treatment center is saying that you can smoke meth, but only with him? Uh-huh. Reporter: I mean, did that sound a little bit off to you? It sounded completely off. Reporter: So, he picks you up in the car, takes you to his house. He sits at his desk and he brings out a huge tin that's completely full of giant shards of meth, and then we both got really, really high. Or at least I did. Reporter: You had to fight, I imagine, to stay sober for six months. This is not an easy thing. Yeah. Reporter: And so going back to using, that must have felt like an enormous defeat. I felt a lot of shame. Reporter: Within days, Erika says, she was out of the program. And I started smoking meth every day again. And I got back into heroin, and I moved in with my dealer. I really self-destructed. Reporter: Erika says bathum repeatedly reaches out to her, and eventually, she agrees to come back to the program. I was really strung out, so I agreed to go back. Reporter: And she says, this time, the special treatment included spa treatment in one of the fanciest hotels in town, the four seasons near bathum's home. Remember, that's the same place bathum allegedly took Amanda. The only catch with getting to go to the spa was, I would come up to the hotel room and he would be in his underwear on the bed. And, you know, and I would tell him, I would be like, "This is really inappropriate. Reporter: How would he explain being in his underwear? That he was comfortable like that. Reporter: How many times does this happen? Happened three times. And on the third time, he came over and he tried to put his hands on me. Under the guise of, like, "I'm gonna give you a massage." And I was like, "I can't. I don't want you to touch me." He was getting even more, like, sexually aggressive with me. Reporter: Bathum says Erika's story is absurd. He says he didn't act as her therapist. That although the four seasons spa was sometimes used by clients, hotel rooms were not. And he says, "I never touched braukis inappropriately." As for Dana, bathum says he quote, never heard her disclose anything about her past or trauma, calling that "Utter nonsense." But Dana, too, says that bathum did drugs with her, and tried to have sex with her. She says she and bathum and two other female clients were at this malibu motel, once a place reportedly frequented by James dean and Marilyn Monroe. But like the upholstery there, the glory had faded. Dana says, for her, the promise of drugs is too much to resist. So this is the motel? Yes, this is the motel. Reporter: This is where he took you to get high for three days? Yes. Reporter: And had he gone to work? Did he leave and come back? Yes, he left and came back. Reporter: And then he starts making these sexual advances on you guys? Yeah. Reporter: And how did that materialize? Before I knew it, both girls were half-naked on the bed. When he started to touch me. And I thought I could go through with it. Then I realized that I couldn't and I told him to stop. Reporter: It just sounds so preposterous that the head of the treatment centers would take you here to get high and have sex, and -- I know. I still am having a hard time believing myself that this happened. Reporter: Bathum says her story is completely untrue. But Dana says, the next stop for bathum after the motel room is the emergency room. His lips were purple. 9-1-1, what's your emergency? Reporter: But bathum says he wasn't there. You did not pass out from heroin and one of your clients did not try to revive you? I did not. Reporter:
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