A staffer at a women’s rehab center that’s treated celebrities including Kesha and Demi Lovato has been accused of sexually abusing at least six patients there last year during private therapy sessions.
Allegations against clinical counselor Michael Anthony Jacksa, who has worked at Timberline Knolls in Lemont, Illinois for two years, emerged last summer.
Former patients told police Jacksa, a 39-year-old married father-of-two from Joliet, raped them, fondled them beneath their clothes, forced them into oral sex and digital penetration during their private sessions at the facility.
Timberline Knolls is a nationally recognized 43-acre residential treatment center for girls and women who have attempted suicide, are addicted to drugs, or have mood and eating disorders.
Clinical counselor Michael Anthony Jacksa, 39, is accused of sexually abusing six female patients at the Timberline Knolls treatment center starting in December 2017
He was involved in the faith-based therapy program at Timberline Knolls, a renown 43-acre center in Lemont, Illinois where celebrities like Kesha and Demi Lovato have been treated
One of Jacksa’s alleged victims described him as a ‘nicely dressed, good-looking Christian dude’ who talked about ‘Christianity and sports’ with the women he cared for.
Jacksa faces 62 felony counts of criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse and one misdemeanor battery charge for allegedly stroking a patient’s groin area during treatment.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is currently in Cook County Jail awaiting trial.
Timberline said they waited at least three weeks prior to contacting police in order to conduct their own internal investigation, according to the Chicago Tribune.
After police got involved they fired him on August 10.
The alleged abuse started in December 2017, as per court and police records.
Timberline staff were flagged to Jacksa in early July after they discovered journal entries by a patient describing sexual encounters with Jacksa and confronted her while he was there, as per police reports.
After the confrontation, the woman ‘went back to her lodge and broke a mirror, intending to hurt herself or commit suicide over the embarrassment and emotional distress the whole situation with Jacksa had caused’. She was later transported to a hospital.
He allegedly raped his patients, fondled them beneath their clothes, forced them into oral sex and digital penetration during their private sessions at the facility. Jacksa pictured right, center front row with his colleagues at the facility
Timberlane Knolls is a rehab center for women who struggle with suicide, eating disorders and drug addiction in Lemont, Illinois and has treated celebrities including Kesha and Demi Lovato
Six women accused Jacksa of abuse during treatment at the 43-acre residential rehab center
Following that incident the facility received other reports of abuse from former patients or their relatives. Following allegations, Jacksa was twice suspended then reinstated by the facility.
One woman told police Jacska complimented her on her looks when she cried during their one-on-one therapy sessions. On one occasion he penetrated her from behind and said something to the effect of ‘That should make you feel better’. Afterwards she ran to her bedroom and broke down.
Another victim told police he allegedly would look at her strangely and say, ‘Wow, just wow.’ He offered to massage her claiming to be a massage therapist. By the end of their sessions he’d hug and kill her then forcully press her to a wall, slide his hands to her pants and grope her.
When she protested he said ‘it’s fine, it’s fine’ and continued.
Yet another victim said she wanted to avoid private sessions with Jacksa so badly she used an eraser to give herself friction burns so she’d be placed on ‘constant observation’ and could avoid being with him.
The renown facility, which houses 122 beds, hired Mike Jacksa in 2017 as a licensed clinical counselor who had a decade of experience working with families in crisis and youths in detention.
Prior he worked at the Will County Health Department for six years until leaving in 2013.
The facility internally investigated initial allegations of abuse. Finally they reported him to police and fired him on August 10. The facility is known to have treated pop singer Kesha (above)
Jacksa faces 62 felony charges and has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Disney star Demi Lovato was also treated at the facility
He was active in the faith-based counseling program that was based on New Testament scriptures and attracted many women who wanted Christian-influenced therapy.
When he was interviewed by police on August 10 where he became increasingly nervous, dry heaved, confessed to developing feelings for one patient and ‘agreed he crossed the line during therapy’, according to a Lemont police report.
He also admitted to pulling down a woman’s pants and groping her with his fingers.
He said he thought everything he did with women at the facility was consensual.
Timberline spokesman Gary Mack said the attacks were ‘an isolated incident’.
‘Facility administrators were greatly saddened by this whole situation and believed they acted swiftly and certainly to take Jacksa off the street,’ the facility said to the Tribune.
His firing comes amid a surge of 14 police reports alleging patient-on-patient sex crimes or batteries at the facility. Timberline also reported 10 missing persons or runaways in 2018 compared to seven total over the previous three years.