Former Lake Alice Patients Vow To Continue Fight For
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 23, 2005
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND--Advocates and former Lake Alice Hospital patients said they would continue their push for justice this week, even after police said they have no evidence that Dr. Selwyn Leeks abused them three decades ago.
According to Wednesday's New Zealand Herald, a national police spokesperson announced that there was "no disclosed activity or intervention with patients at Lake Alice that amounts to criminal offending on the part of Dr. Selwyn Leeks."
The spokesperson added that police are, therefore, not required nor authorized to seek Leek's extradition from Melbourne, Australia, where he now practices.
"We're not giving up now," said Citizens Commission on Human Rights executive director, Steve Green. "We are still working with victims and are still going to be filing criminal complaints."
Leeks ran the child and adolescent unit at Lake Alice from 1972 to 1977. More than 30 former patients have called for criminal charges to be filed against him for his part in their abuse. The average age of the patients at the time of the alleged abuse was 11 years.
Those former patients claim that staff at the institution, under Leek's direction, routinely used electric shock to punish the youths for everything from getting poor grades to not eating their meals. In some cases, other patients, including children, dealt out the punishments. They also claimed that they were locked in rooms with adults who sexually abused them.
Former patient Paul Zentveld said he was preparing a complaint against Leeks.
"Let them turn us down at the moment but we aren't going away," Zentveld said. "Justice will be served one day."
In recent years, several millions of dollars have been paid to hundreds of former patients of New Zealand mental institutions who claimed they had been abused while at the facilities.
Nearly all of the facilities have been closed in favor of community-based supports. The adolescent unit at Lake Alice was closed in 1978.
"Culture Of Abuse At Former New Zealand Institutions" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)