Community and reality star Paris Hilton on Monday described to Utah lawmakers the “everyday” abuse he said suffered in a facility designed for troubled youth in the 1990s when he urged lawmakers to pass a bill that would protect today’s teenagers from experiencing what she experienced.
“They were verbally, mentally and physically abused every day. I have been cut off from the outside world and deprived of all my human rights, ”Hilton told the Utah Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee about his relationship with employees at Provo Canyon School, the residential center where he almost spent. as a teenager.
“I was forced to take medications that made me feel numb and exhausted. I didn’t take fresh air for 11 months and didn’t see the sunlight. It was zero privacy. Every time I used the bathroom or took a shower, it was watched, “he said.” When I was 16, as a child, I felt their prickly eyes staring at my naked body. I was just a kid and I felt offended every single day. “
Hilton’s emotional testimony at the legislative hearing was one of three the Utah committee heard in support of a bill backed by Republican state senator Michael McKell calling for more regulation of institutions that become part of so-called troubled teenagers.
“I can’t sleep at night knowing there are kids who suffer the same abuse that I and many others have experienced. You neither. I am proof that money does not protect against abuse, ”said the hotel’s heiress.
At the committee meeting, McKell’s bill was unanimously approved, and now the entire state senate must be approached there to be considered there before finally turning to the governor’s table for approval.
If enacted, the bill would require treatment facilities to document physical restrictions and involuntary closures and ban chemical sedation and mechanical restrictions, NBC subsidiary Salt Lake City KSL-TV reported.
Hilton, 39, said it was “scary” to talk about something so personal, but said she was forced to speak up for children who are still in these facilities.
“I’ve had a recurring nightmare for the past 20 years when two strangers were kidnapped in the middle of the night, searched in a lane and locked up in a facility,” she said, referring to the night she was taken. Provo Canyon. “I wish I could say that this spooky nightmare was just a dream, but it’s not.”
“I don’t know if my nightmares will ever go away, but I know hundreds of thousands of kids are going through this, and maybe if I stop their nightmares, it will help me stop mine,” he said.
One of his worst memories, he told lawmakers, came from Provo Canyon staff, who were locked up in solitary confinement.
“This small room, covered in scratches and smeared blood and with no bathroom, is one of the most vivid and traumatic memories I’ve experienced in my life,” Hilton said.
His parents were sent to a number of other residences in front of Provo Canyon when he rebelled as a teenager under their strict parental supervision. He first discussed his time at the institutes in his YouTube documentary “This Is Paris,” which premiered in September.
Since then, the entrepreneur has become an activist for teenagers who are still in such facilities. While in Provo Canyon, he said he could not report the abuse because all communication with his family and the outside world was monitored.
“I’ve been listening for too long,” he said Monday.
Provo Canyon did not immediately respond to NBC News’s repeated requests for comment in response to Hilton’s testimony.
However, the school made earlier allegations following its allegations, noting that since the school was sold to its current ownership in 2000, after Hilton spent time there, “therefore, we cannot comment on previous operations or the patient’s experience”.
“We can say that the school provides a structured environment for teaching life skills, behavioral health therapy, and continuing education for young people who address us with pre-existing and complex emotional, behavioral, and psychiatric needs,” Provo Canyon said. is part of a statement issued in October when Hilton organized a gathering of survivors from the troubled teenage industry and called for the closure of Provo Canyon.
“While we acknowledge that there have been people over the many years who think the program hasn’t helped them, we are delighted by the many stories former residents have told about how crucial their stay has been in improving their lives – and many case in savings – lives. “
THE statement, McKell said he is grateful to survivors like Hilton who “use their platform and voice to raise awareness of an industry in dire need of reform. As a state, we are taking the necessary steps to increase transparency and security to prevent further abuses. “
The former star of “Simple Life” said he wants to fight for more regulation across the country over the troubled teen industry.
“I’m not telling my story to make anyone feel bad about me,” Hilton said Monday, “but to shed light on the reality of what happened then and is happening now.”
Kurt Chirbas consented.