L.A. rehab owner gets more than 52 years in prison for sexually assaulting 7 women

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The founder of a chain of Los Angeles drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities was sentenced Tuesday to more than 52 years in state prison for sexually assaulting seven women, authorities said.

Christopher Bathum, 58, “preyed upon female patients” at the now-shuttered Community Recovery of Los Angeles, which he owned and operated, along with other centers in Southern California and Colorado, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

Christopher Bathum is seen in a booking photo released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on Nov. 10, 2016.

Bathum would give the women drugs while they were trying to overcome their addictions, and then he sexually assaulted them while they were under the influence, prosecutors said.

The women were all in their 20s and early 30s, and several of the assaults happened at the facilities Bathum operated, according to the news release.

Bathum dubbed himself the “Rehab Mogul” and operated 13 L.A. and Orange county recovery centers, which he founded despite having no education in health care, the O.C. Register reported.

He would portray himself as a father figure to women, and offer some internships at his facilities in return for sex, according to the Register.

A jury found him guilty of 31 counts, including forcible rape, sexual penetration by foreign object, forcible oral copulation and sexual exploitation back in 2018.

The charges stem from incidents involving several female patients between 2014 and 2016.

In addition to his prison sentence, Bathum was ordered to register as a sex offender for life, the DA’s office said.

Bathum was also sentenced to a concurrent 20 years in prison for running a $175 million fraudulent health care billing scheme in which he and co-defendant Kirsten Wallace, 47, billed former clients even after their treatment ended and used clients’ personal information to obtain multiple health care insurance policies for them without their knowledge, the District Attorney’s Office said.

About $44 million was paid out by five insurance companies.

He had pleaded no contest earlier this year to seven counts of grand theft, five counts of insurance fraud and one count each of identity theft and money laundering.

Wallace pleaded no contest to 46 felony counts in connection with the scheme and was sentenced to 11 years in state prison in 2018.

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