CALABASAS (CBSLA.com) — A Malibu rehab mogul is accused of sexually assaulting his patients.
And the LA County Sheriff’s Office told KCAL9’s Erica Nochlin they believe there are even more victims who haven’t come forward.
They say Christopher Bathum sexually assault the former patients at his rehab centers known as “Community Recovery.” They say he took advantage of the women at their most vulnerable time.
Moreover, officials say he is also involved in one of California’s largest insurance fraud cases.
Nochlin spoke to the mom of one of his former patients.
Bathum used to own at least 13 rehab facilities in LA and Orange Counties as well as six more in Colorado.
Amanda Jester is one of at least eight women accusing Bathum and she is also suing him. Nochlin said there are at least three lawsuits against him, as well.
“There’s been a lot of hurt, there’s been a lot of pain.” says mom Thayer Jester.
A year ago, Jester said she turned to Bathum to help her daughter and a drug problem.
Instead of helping her, Jester says Bathum forced drugs, and himself, on her daughter. She said he put meth on his fingers and molested Amanda.
“I was mortified, I was disgusted, I was heartbroken. I am angry that predators like him exist in the world,” Thayer says.
Bathum was arrested Thursday morning for alleged sexual assault.
“My daughter had to be really brave to come forward. I just encouraged her to stand up for what was right and to hold him accountable,” Thayer said.
In a 20/20 report before his arrest, Bathum denied all the allegations.
A colleague, Kiersten Wallace, was also arrested. The California Department of Insurance accuses both of them of grand theft and fraud.
They are accused of keeping hundreds of people in a never-ending cycle of treatment while billing insurance companies more than $76 million in fraudulent claims.
“I feel like it’s evil on the lowest level,” says Thayer. “To take advantage of people seeking help.”
Her daughter is now in recovery. She’s healing and hoping other possible victims have the courage to come forward.
“I’m just do proud of her,” says Thayer.
The state says they are making sure they close all his facilities. He’s being held on a bail of several million dollars.
Nochlin said he’s expected to face a judge Monday.