Disabled patients in Iowa state-run home used as "guinea pigs" in sexual arousal experiments, lawsuit charges

A federal civil rights lawsuit filed this week claims that severely intellectually and physically disabled patients at a state-operated home in Iowa were used as "guinea pigs" in sexual arousal research experiments.

A 38-page complaint was filed on Monday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.

In it, former University of Kansas assistant professor and child psychologist, 63-year-old Jerry Rea, is charged with experimenting on the "highly vulnerable" patients at the Glenwood Resource Center.

The Des Moines Register reported that Jerry Rea's affiliation with the University of Kansas ended when Rea moved to Iowa. Rea was fired from Glenwood when the feds started looking into abuse allegations last December.

"The deeply disturbing allegations come after the same Iowa facility found itself in federal law enforcement crosshairs," reports Olivia Messer at The Daily Beast:

The lawsuit claims that Rea, along with the facility's other top administrators, used taxpayer money to purchase tools under the auspices of research, including silk sheets, boxer shorts, sexual lubricants, a computer, a software program, and pornographic images. The facility's administrators did not "obtain informed consent" from the patients' guardians prior to beginning research and later "scramble[d]" to "get consent on behalf of patients that had been experimented on after receiving notice of a new Department of Justice investigation" in 2019, the suit claims.

The plans for Rea's research allegedly included the use of a portable GPS device for measuring sexual arousal, and the plaintiffs note he and a partner received a federal patent in 1998 for a device designed to detect and monitor the sexual arousal of an individual while they are exposed to "real-life sexual stimuli."

The initial 1996 patent application describes how the device measures, in males, the size of the individual's penis using "a penile plethysmograph" and, in females, "vaginal wall reflectivity," as well as heart rate, blood pressure, and skin temperature.

Read more:
Rogue Professor Ran Sexual Arousal Experiments on Disabled Patients: Lawsuit
[thedailybeast.com, Olivia Messer, Published Feb. 13, 2020 3:58PM ET]