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Archive for Sunday, September 25, 2005

Controversial Christian linked to skyrocketing number of predators

September 25, 2005

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— Psychologist Rex Rosenberg believes in demons.

He believes it's possible to measure demonic influence with a survey he created.

Does the subject of the survey smell foul odors? Are they homosexual? Do they deny Jesus of Nazareth is God?

If the answer is yes to these or the other survey questions, that could indicate demonic possession.

Some say Rosenberg shouldn't be the state's chief evaluator of who is committed to the state's sexual predator program at Larned State Hospital.

"It kind of makes me of the opinion that he's got some real issues," defense attorney Bill Muret, of Winfield, said of Rosenberg, his adversary in at least three sexual-predator trials.

Rosenberg's demon survey has subjected him to growing criticism from attorneys and fellow psychologists. His critics question whether he's qualified to be in such a powerful role.

And since he took over evaluations at Larned four years ago, the percentage of people labeled as sexual predators has skyrocketed.

Increase in the number of people being labeled predators.

Increase in the number of people being labeled predators.

Rosenberg said his religious beliefs have nothing to do with his work at Larned.

"It seems that there is tolerance for anything except that which is Bible-based and those who adhere to biblical teaching," he said of his critics.

Meet Rosenberg

Rosenberg, 59, is a short, trim man with erect posture, a reddish-blond goatee and half-frame eyeglasses. He's a Great Bend native, a motorcycle enthusiast and a chaplain in the state's Christian Motorcyclists Assn.

His office at Larned lies out of the way of sexual-predator inmates, through several sets of locked doors at the end of a hallway lined with empty bedrooms.

"For someone who tries to keep a low profile, I haven't done a good job," he said.

Rosenberg has a master's degree in clinical psychology from Fort Hays State University. He said he never wanted to get involved with sexual predators.

"It wasn't something I chose to do," he said.

But after the state's predator law came into effect, he was notified he would be one of about 10 people assigned to do the evaluations.

About four years ago, he was asked to become the lead evaluator. Since then he's done the majority of the sexual predator evaluations.

His word on the witness stand can help a sex offender coming out of the prison system to Larned indefinitely for treatment.

Survey details

Rosenberg said he was skeptical about religion until an experience 20 years ago shortly after a divorce. He was sitting in a bar drinking a beer and watching people on the dance floor.

"All of a sudden the spiritual eyes opened," he said.

He put down the beer, left the bar, and realized his life had changed. He said in his work as a psychologist, he'd heard people talking about their demons, but he always believed it was a manifestation of the person being psychotic.

After his conversion, he began thinking demonic influence was worth more study.

The survey he developed has two parts. The first asks people to say whether they've had any of 96 experiences that, according to Rosenberg, can be signs of demonic influence. The list includes many things that could apply to sex offenders, such as, "tendency to commit violent acts," "abnormal desire for sex" and "compulsive masturbation." It also lists hearing voices, severe depression and inability to read the Bible.

The second part lists behaviors and activities that can make people vulnerable to demons, such as fornication, adultery and holistic health practices such as meditation.

When Rosenberg posted the survey on the Internet in the late 1990s, he added a preface that said the work was being censored by "those who scream tolerance and multiculturalism and diversity."

Rosenberg said he's been surprised by the controversy generated by the site since a defense attorney, Bob L. Thomas of Olathe, stumbled across it during an Internet search while researching a 2002 sexual-predator case. The site has since been taken down.

"Every time I go to court since then, this has become an issue," he said. "It's a big thing for the defense attorneys to hammer me on."

Credibility questioned

Rosenberg said that in late 2003, a supervisor told him he couldn't do evaluations any more because the Web site had damaged his credibility in court. But after about two months, he was told without explanation it was OK for him to resume his work.

"There had been some concerns as related to his Web site," said Mike Deines, an SRS spokesman. Deines said the state wanted to investigate whether there were signs Rosenberg was letting the demonic survey influence his work.

Supervisors at the hospital "found that Rex was using concrete information, that his conclusions were just fine," Deines said.

Rosenberg said the decision to temporarily take him off evaluations was a "bigoted, intolerant, anti-Christian approach."

Rosenberg said it's true that, among Larned's evaluators, he has one of the higher rates of labeling people as predators. He estimated it to be 73 percent. But he said he takes the evaluations more seriously than some.

"If I see that they meet the (legal) definition, that's what I'm going to call," he said. "I don't do spiritual assessments of those people, but I would say this: If things are encountered in the life of a person, whether they're in the predator program or not, that open those doors, there may well be that influence there."

'Hard to believe'

Rosenberg's critics say they believe he's allowing his religious beliefs to influence his work during evaluations.

"For somebody to have posted this site and supposedly to believe in his, quote unquote, research in this area makes it awfully hard to believe he's not," said Muret, the defense attorney from Winfield.

Tim Davis, a former Larned staff member, said Rosenberg "applies the criteria a lot more liberally than the other evaluators do."

Rosenberg said he resents the idea he is solely responsible for sending people to the sexual-predator program, given that juries make the final determination.

But Muret said the evaluations are a key part of the commitment process. If the evaluator labels the person a sexual predator, the person can either agree to the findings or seek an independent evaluation - a step that often leads to trial.

Muret said if the case reaches trial, jurors are unlikely to acquit someone once they've heard from a trained evaluator who labeled the person a predator.

"It doesn't take much for the jury to say, 'Hey, this guy needs to be put away.' It's an uphill battle for these people, and really, if the evaluation comes back that they're a sexual predator, they're pretty much nailed," he said. "If you're coming back and you're finding everybody to be a sexual predator, you're bypassing the first protection level for these individuals."

Rosenberg, who is nearing retirement, said he recently asked to be removed from the evaluations. It's partly because he wants to be able to clear his caseload before he retires, but partly because he's tired of what he considers to be abuse.

"Maybe when I'm gone, they won't have Rex Rosenberg to kick around anymore," he said.

Comments

average 9 years, 3 months ago

Who better to evaluate someone who is posessed by voices than someone else who is possessed by voices? Just keep him locked in Larned with the rest of the loonies, and he can evaluate all day long.

John1945 9 years, 3 months ago

The headline in and of itselfitself is Christian-baiting at its worst since it implies that Christianity is somehow to blame for creating sexual predators. Very poor choice of words.

bradlrz 9 years, 3 months ago

As a licensed mental health professional I find this man's behavior absolutely outrageous. I looked at his survey on the internet. He has items suggesting that if one is a Jehovah's Witness, Mormon, or Christian Scientist they might be demon possessed. He indicates that individuals who have heard voices may be demon possessed. This is religious bigotry and potentially very damaging to clients receiving mental health services. It is amazing to me that his license hasn't been revoked and all the cases he evaluated thrown out of court. This guy is dangerous to the public and to mental health clients.

Ragingbear 9 years, 3 months ago

People like this guy need to get a real grip on reality. People like him attribute all good things to God, and all bad things to Satan. What a load of pickled horse crap! Humans are responsible for what they do. Sure, some people may be predisposed towards certain things, but the choice to act upon them is still entirely up to them. Furthermore, putting somebody in the category of demon possessed shows that this trained mental health professional here, is more interested in shoving a near Phelps like philosophy down people's throat by labelling all non-christians, or people with alternate lifestyles, or religions he doesn't agree with as a danger to society.

This guy should not be on this evaluation board, and there should be an investigation to see if he should have a medical licence.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 3 months ago

Why does it seem that government can do NOTHING without screwing things up?

If he's supervising psychological evaluators, shouldn't he have a PhD?

I'm a christian, and I DO believe that much of what falls into the realm of "mental illness" is caused by sin and the overall effects of sin on individuals and society. I also totally belief that Satan is real and that demons exist. BUT, I also believe that for someone to think that they have been able to put demons under a microscope and "evaluate" the effects of demonic forces on a person's life is not only bad science, but bad theology and ARROGANT.

If this man has not publicly retracted the statements made on his web site, then it is safe to assume that those concepts still influence his clinical work.

The Bible is hard for me to read when I'm struggling with sin. Scripture talks about how it is hard for us to approach God when we are wrapped up in sin. If I'm in the midst of a sin struggle in my life, I may have some difficulty picking up and reading my Bible or difficulty praying. That may be due to a demonic force in my life... but it does not mean that I'm possessed by a demon!

Demon possession is depicted in scripture by showing people who are COMPLETELY out of control. Living like an animal in a graveyard, throwing one's self into a fire, speaking not your own words but the actual words of the demon within, that kind of craziness.

I'm glad to see a greater Christian influence in government today, but not all things labeled "Christian" should be rubber stamped. It's not in the best interests of this program for the state to turn a blind eye to him just because he's a Christian.

Chrometuna 9 years, 3 months ago

Christ on a broken moped!

p>www.landoverbaptist.com couldnt come up with something THIS freaky, bizzar, whacky and...well,....funny, if it wasn't true!

Any wonder why the recidivism rate of these predators is so high? Its because we have psycho-babbling dopes like this whack-job in our corrections systems!

Moderateguy 9 years, 3 months ago

All I can think is... Holy Crap!!!!! How do these people get in places of power? Isn't there some place on this planet that is not chock full of religous nut jobs? I know Kansas must be a long way from that place if it exists, but I thought at least Lawrence might be a little saner. Then, a few months ago, I went to see a doctor, and he asked me if I would like to pray with him at the end of the appointment for my recovery. Wholly inappropriate.

Baille 9 years, 3 months ago

The horrifying aftermath of the redemption of Rex Rosenberg in his own words:

"....and that's when the demons intensified their efforts to seduce and deceive and then to kill him.........(of course they don't exist------ DO THEY??)

"it took a while and the struggle was terrible and he almost died but he was set free from them....and eventually he noticed others had trouble with them too and the voices he used to think indicated "psychosis" now told patients to stay away from him or hurt him and things worse than that......(although some voices are alter personalities) and his colleagues think he's nuts cause he knows alters and demons exist (he does know other things too contrary to what they say) and he knows they can be picked up in lots of ways and his work is..."

http://web.archive.org/web/20021204133913/www.awav.net/wzeroall/

http://web.archive.org/web/20021204134431/www.awav.net/wzeroall/survey.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20021219032347/www.awav.net/wzeroall/survey2.html

Sigmund 9 years, 3 months ago

Psychology has replaced religion as the arbiter of "good" and "evil". Personally I'd rather have churches in that role. At least the local pastor can't use the power of the State to keep you in prison for a lifetime unless he is also a psychologist.

The Kansas law should have been found unconstitutional on the basis that it is too vague and amounts to a sentence of life in prison for crimes that otherwise would carry a much shorter sentence. From the article; "These statutes - of which Kansas' is exemplary - really are a pretense for efforts to lock up sexual offenders for an indefinite period of time," said Appelbaum, a University of Massachusetts professor. "Although they come framed as therapeutic in intent, everything about them suggests that treating these people is not the real goal." Or even possible I might add.

As far as I can determine, the psychological community's stance on the sexual predator is "once a sexual predator, always a sexual predator" and "I can't precisely define it, but I know it when I see it." Finally, psychology can't really predict the future behavior of a particular individual and the courts and the law require them to do just that; make a determination that the individual is not likely to re-offend.

If I were a psychologist I'd never let anyone out. I wouldn't want the community to see what a failure and a fraud modern psychology has become every time one of these "patients" re-offend, despite all the time and money taxpayers spend on the "treatment." Psychology, cloaked in the vestments of "science", has become society's new religion, replacing "psychosis" for demon possession and drugs are the holy sacraments. The Salem witch hunt is replaced with a wave of daycare providers convicted of sexual child abuse with no more than an accusation of an adult and a psychologist leading interview of the child that plants false memories in the "victim".

At the end of the day only the individual can change their own behavior. 12 step programs that require belief in a "higher power" have as good, if not better, success rate in the treatment of drug/alcohol abuse, than expensive psychological treatments. Religion, for all its faults, has a better chance of making the inner change necessary to impact the future behaviors of the "saved" than psychology has of providing a "cure."

ryanjasondesch 9 years, 3 months ago

I have a degree in Psychology and this is unacceptable. The unbiased, impartial, and unpredjudiced nature that are ethically a must for a Clinical Psychology seem to be quite lacking in this gentleman. Clearly there is a conflict of interest, and that is a grave injustice to his patients. Unbelievable.

Jamesaust 9 years, 3 months ago

Okay, for those who thought it was a unique Bush thing to appoint unqualified cronies to "minor" government jobs, here is an example of how any petty government role can be filled by the quasi-shaman, credential spouting wackjobs. It is people like this that form my foundational distrust in government. The only demonic possession I am aware of are those who, like the devil, spout the Bible's words to justify everything the God of Love opposes. Mr. Rosenberg: do not use my Christ as a shield in an attempt to cover your own bigotry, sir! Hands off!

John1945 9 years, 3 months ago

Speaking of nutjobs, look at the batch that Christian-baiting headline brought out today. Yessir, Lawrence, KS our state's hotbed of bigotry. This message board must be the Chamber of Commerce' biggest nightmare.

Chrometuna 9 years, 3 months ago

Isnt Rosenberg a JEWISH name?

But, I know of a place where a whack job like Rosenberg could get a job...and appearently not have as many inconveniences with reality:

http://www.loveinaction.org

http://www.asafeplace.org

http://www.washblade.com/thelatest/thelatest.cfm?blog_id=2475

Hell, Rosenberg has more credentials then ALL of the staff at love inaction put together!

ryanjasondesch 9 years, 3 months ago

"Francis Schaefers trilogy", no interet in reading garbage. Would "See Spot Run" suffice? I have read that.

soluschristus 9 years, 3 months ago

If Rex Rosenberg used the teachings of Bhudda in his work, the Journal-World article would be filled with praise about what a courageous pioneer he was. Because the man is a conservative Christian, and applies his beliefs to real-world situations, he is labeled as a nut case. Tell me it isn't true!

soluschristus 9 years, 3 months ago

wendt;

Lets say that Mr. Rosenberg used meditation techniques taught in Buddhism as an evaluation tool, rather than stuff from the Bible.

Do you honestly believe that this would even raise an eyebrow? Not bloody likely.

It is quite obvious that you are a person who either has NO religion or does not allow his/her religion to "interfere with the real world". How sad for you to be so closed minded.

Get down to Signs of Life and read Francis Schaefers trilogy. Then, perhaps we can have an intellectual dialogue.

Until that time I would thank you to keep your opinions regarding MY posts to yourself. Stick to posting your opinions about the article in question. You don't want to pick a fight that it is impossible for you to win.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 3 months ago

Wendt,

You threw out a lot of bible stuff, too much to respond to, really. But, I'll say this in hopes that you understand what I mean. Many of the Bible's "heros" are depicted as flawed people who made mistakes. Abraham is a good example. He's the "father of faith", yet at the same time the Bible shows us how many times he acted faithlessly (like telling people his wife was his sister so he could save his own neck). Just because the Bible doesn't come right out and say that Abraham's actions were wrong doesn't imply that they were considered "OK".

Also, some of the verses and their apparent "problems" are not taken in light of the entire teaching. For example, this quote of yours says that a man could have as many affairs as he wished. Not really. If a man had relations with an unmarried woman (not a servant and not someone elses wife/betrothed) he was to marry her.

These references you make are incomplete unless you take them with ALL of the Mosaic law. When you do that, it is clearer that there was justice in the law of Moses. If you take it all one verse at a time, you may see things that are alarming if they are misunderstood.

Now, if we look at ancient Jewish practices, you do see a lot of abuse of women. The traditions that the ancient Jews instituted under the guise of "keeping the Law" were worst than what you've discribed here. This is what is wrong today: men like Fred Phelps and [fill in name of televanglist] give people that they are "representing" the faith of Christianity. So, people like yourself who don't know better, then reject the entire faith because what they THINK is real Christianity is something that disgusts them. You see an ugly, public side of the religion that has little to do with God and His love for your soul. You see all the crap, which is why you may never see His love.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 3 months ago

Wendt,

It's nice to hear that your "faith in Christians is refreshed", but I'd be happier to hear that you are finding faith in God, not in Christians. Us Christians... we'll just keep disappointing you.

BOE 9 years, 3 months ago

"Maybe when I'm gone, they won't have Rex Rosenberg to kick around anymore," he said."

-- (Demonic possession indicators from the good Dr.'s survey)

Water or other dowsing

Masonry/Shriners/Job's Daughters/DeMolay/Eastern Star/Daughters of the Nile

Jehovah's Witnesses

Mormonism --

Maybe when Rex is gone, he can devote more time in the private sector to promoting a bias against (or "kicking around") the groups listed above, instead of institutionalizing it in the public sector.

Groups of folks who in my neck of the woods, contain many Christian conservatives.

Calliope877 9 years, 3 months ago

The idea that demons cause mental illness as a result of sin has LESS to do with Christianity and MORE to do with blatant ignorance. People who believe that mental illnesses like schizophrenia or depression are signs of demonic possession, or that all that needs to be done to cure it is to pray or "not think about it," are likely to not have suffered or to have known someone who has suffered these crippling ailments.

That way of thinking ostrasizes and demeans people who are already misunderstood and mishandled by society due to the fact that their genes unfortunately contained the recipe for their illness (I'm strictly referring to depression, and in some cases schizophrenia can be passed down from generation to generation). I refuse to believe that my little brother committed some henious sin at the age of seven (when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia), and if anyone were to tell me face to face that my brother is possessed by demons I'd knock them out...maybe that wouldn't be a very Christian thing to do, but it's not very Christian to be arrogant enough to think that just because someone isn't fortunate enough to have stable mental health, or doesn't hold the same beliefs as you, they must be possessed by demons. We don't live in the Dark Ages any more people! Wake UP!!!!

And they should fire anyone who allows their religious beliefs to interfere with such an important position. It sounds to me that this idiot is on a power trip and he believes himself to be God by inciting judgement on other people. We need someone who is rational enough to decipher the differences between those who are true sexual predators, those who may have other mental issues, and those who just think differently.

mitzibel 9 years, 3 months ago

Beautiful. I deny Jesus of Nazareth as God; I always thought that was because I'm Jewish, now it turns out I'm posessed! Somebody get me a crucifix, 'cause it's gonna be a hot time at our house tonight!

kiwimac 9 years, 3 months ago

As a Minister of religion I can only add that I am appalled at the sheer arrogance of Rosenberg's Occult activities and manifestations survey

Why for example are the following included as criteria for assessing someone as a sexual predator?

  1. Heavy Metal music No Unsure PEI / CRI
  2. Palo Mayombe No Unsure PEI / CRI
  3. Witchcraft/Wicca No Unsure PEI / CRI
  4. Masonry/Shriners/Job's Daughters/DeMolay/Eastern Star/Daughters of the Nile No Unsure PEI / CRI
  5. Jehovah's Witnesses No Unsure PEI / CRI
  6. Mormonism No Unsure PEI / CRI
  7. Swedenborgianism No Unsure PEI / CRI
  8. Non-Christian religions No Unsure PEI / CRI
  9. Rosicrucianism No Unsure PEI / CRI
  10. Theosophy No Unsure PEI / CRI
  11. Association for Research and Enlightenment No Unsure PEI / CRI
  12. Astara No Unsure PEI / CRI
  13. Children of God No Unsure PEI / CRI
  14. Scientology No Unsure PEI / CRI
  15. The Church Universal and Triumphant No Unsure PEI / CRI
  16. Eckankar

Rev. Dr. Ray McIntyre

KansasHeretic 9 years, 2 months ago

I've read Francis Schaeffer's (that's "Shaeffer" with two "F's") Trilogy, and discussed it, in detail, with Christian friends. My take on it was that it was more obfuscatory than intellectual. Too much flowery language; not enough substance. If only Schaeffer had been Catholic, Pope JPII would have been proud. I've still got a few notes from the discussion of "Escape from Reason," - not to mention the Trilogy itself - in case anyone wishes to be schooled on how fatally flawed it is. Nevertheless, I don't think we could have an intellectual discussion unless you've first read Michael Martin's "Atheism: A Philosophical Justification"... since we're putting absurd reading requirements on this, and all.

To the person who has trouble reading the Bible after sinning... I find that odd, as my experience is just the opposite. Oftentimes, when reading Song of Solomon, I find myself excited, and have to "relieve" my excitement, after which I can continue reading. And then there's also that hot scene in Ezekiel 23:20 that really gets me going. Perhaps Rosenberg should add that to his list - "If reading the Bible makes you all hot and bothered, you might be possessed."

I must say, I was quite surprised to find out that this Rosenberg guy is for real. When someone at the Internet Infidels board posted the link, I thought it was just a parody. I mean, I know there are a few total wingnuts out there, but I didn't know they would be forcibly promoted to, and kept in, positions of such power.

I also agree with some of the other posters, in that the amphibolous article title seems unnecessarily incendiary. An honest oversight, I'm sure, but isn't that what editors are there to catch? The content of the article itself seems fine, though. I think anyone who would complain about the criticism Rosenberg has received should consider the possibility that they might have a persecution complex.

And finally... Isn't motorcycling often associated with evil influences? It has sort of a "bad boy" image, does it not?

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