PENNSYLVANIA: Private Religious School Admits They Lied About Forcing Student To Watch Ex-Gay Video

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

A year ago, when a former student accused the Milton Hershey School of forcing him to watch a video meant to convert him from homosexuality, the school called the allegation “outrageous” and said it would never condone such behavior.

Now in court documents, the school’s lawyers admit that such a video was used by Hershey house parents and that it was shown to at least one student. The school maintains it doesn’t know whether the tape was shown to Adam Dobson, the former student who is now suing the private school in federal court.

Dobson contends that he was forced to watch the hour-long gay conversion tape as punishment, and that it was followed by a campaign of prayer sessions and other efforts to get him to change his sexual orientation.

“We would pray together to have God help me from being gay,” Dobson told his lawyers. Dobson said he was told by his house parents of “terrible things that happened to other gay people.”

There’s much more at the link. The video Dobson was forced to watch starred shrieking nutjob former Exodus International leader Sy Rogers. There are tons of his clips on YouTube.

  • j.martindale

    Cruel. They should pay!

    • metrored

      Get That Money!

    • KCMC

      sue them into tribulation!
      Don’t make me put on my favorite new T and tear over there!

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      As I always say to these born again types: sorry darlings, but I have no need of being born again, I got it right the first time.

      • clay

        My Christian mother had the same saying, because she actually read what the first four chapters of the Gospel according to John were saying.

      • dr tod

        Many have suffered hypoxia in the rebirth canal.

        • RoFaWh


          Really. Somewhere one can read more details. This is something I can well believe true.

          If true then it suggests that the standard of care during childbirth should include making sure the brat is properly oxygenated at all times.

        • Jean-Marc in Canada

          It explains so much.

        • (((GC)))

          Does that explain Rethuglicans?

  • bkmn

    Sy sure looks ‘ex’-gay to me.

  • Alpha 50327

    They lied about not forcing students to watch the tapes.

  • mark99k

    A religious school lied about its actions? That’s unbelievable. /s

    • narutomania

      Yes, you know (yawn) from the Book of Testes … or something, Verse 3.14 … (stretch) … you know, “Thou shalt not … umm … (scratch scratch) like, chop down a cherry tree and lie about it …” Well, there’s something about lies. Yeah, so, you see, we can’t tell ’em. Lies, I mean.

  • clay

    Dobson said he was told by his house parents of “terrible things that happened to other gay people.” . . by his house parents, or their allies, most likely.

    • Treant

      “And then we beat the fag to death. So change, or…”

  • Treant

    Fun Fact: You take the Hershey Highway to get to the Milton Hershey School.

    (No, not really, but at least it’s funny fake news).

  • liondon#iamnotatraitor

    strange cult like behavior…

  • liondon#iamnotatraitor

    check out wikipedia.. he “suffered” from sexual confusion and gender identity issues

  • IamSmartypants

    This is surprising to me. A close college friend teaches at the school and she’s always described it as positive and accepting. I wonder if this was a case of fundie house parents trying to impose their views on the kids. Regardless, school still has to be accountable.

    • RoFaWh

      Why didn’t they notice the detrimental religiosity of those house parents when they interviewed them for the job?

      • Gustav2

        “They seemed like good people, moral people! They went to church every Sunday…”

  • m_lp_ql_m

    Hershey or Himhe?

  • Uncle Mark

    Religious School bears false witness…breaking one of The Ten Commandments.
    Shouldn’t they lose their accreditation to call themselves religious then?

    • ted-

      No, religion in itself is a lie. You have double down on your lies when you come close to seeing the truth, so you go further down the lie hole.

      • Uncle Mark

        I won’t be so quick to dismiss another’s beliefs, except where it’s clearly cruel, bigoted, and hypocritical. I have had the pleasure of meeting some folks, who live up to the best of their religion/beliefs, and I have met and tangled with those, who have used their “religion” to further hate & hypocrisy. I do have fun shitting on the faith of the latter party…especially when I use their own sacred tome against them.

        • ted-

          Internally, I dismiss all religion. Never any proof of a deity. However, openly, I just keep my opinions to myself. Nothing a non-religious person can’t do good things that a religious person is capable of doing: Steven Weinberg, “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil – that takes religion.” I think we’ve seen enough of this philosophy destroying the LGBT society.

          • Uncle Mark

            I do agree with you there, though I have to admit that a thinking person of good conscience would stay the fuck away from injurious religions, whereas an asshole will find ways to cherry-pick and twist their “sacred” tome to match their own hatreds/bigotries/politics. Unfortunately, there are a lot of unthinking people and many with no conscience…and an ark-full of assholes that prop up the injurious “faiths.”

            And spare us all from the “my faith is more relevant/valid than your faith” crowd; they always seem to be at war with the other faiths, including those that are only slightly different than theirs.

            Lastly, I despise the “you have to believe in god to be good & moral.” How many people do things for each other only because it is nice or the right thing to do, not because a deity would otherwise smite them? I’ve known atheists often to be among the most moral & decent, forgiving…and the least judgemental !!

          • ted-

            You should meet my born again sister. She’s vile and repugnant.

          • (((GC)))

            Atheists accept that you live, you die, that’s it. There’s no afterlife where everything will be set right. Secular humanists recognize that life matters, and that being good and moral is the way to make the best of it.

        • Nowhereman

          All religions that are based on the supernatural are based on lies, and that’s pretty much all of them.

  • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

    At least he wasn’t raped or hazed to death at Penn State.

    • Silver Badger

      Or thrown off of a building.

      • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

        Go on!

        I mean go on, there’s plenty more to pick from.

      • clay

        (or bridge)

  • Ninja0980

    Gee, more religious folks choosing to ignore parts of the Bible?
    Who would have thunk it?

  • pj

    this video starring this raging queen who travels the world with his slick performance and visuals is more than disturbing.

  • Todd Allis

    Yes, “terrible things that happened to other gay people.” Like being forced to watch conversion tapes.

  • Gustav2

    And the call themselves “Spartans” Harrumph!

    • Treant

      “Come back with your shield, on it, or being assisted by your gay lover.”

    • coram nobis

      Didn’t the Spartans worship some other gods? Zeus and Ganymede and Poseidon and that crowd?

      • Gustav2


      • 2guysnamedjoe

        They rassled nekkid, too.

  • Ken M

    PA stills allows it. He turned out gay anyway. He can’t prove he was the one who was “forced to watch and pray.” If he wants to make a real statement, he should take his story to the state legislature, not the courts

    • clay

      The state legislators will ignore him if he cannot show a lack in state law by, say, losing the suit. If the school received any Federal assistance, they are liable to US Federal sexual discrimination and harassment limits. PA state also disallows sex discrimination in educational offerings.

      • Ken M

        There is no law that was broken. The school got it wrong the first time. If he manages to win, all he will do is add another gay stereotype in an already conservative state. The “greedy gay guy”. Hershey trust is over 12 billion, that’s a lil lawsuit and some seriously damaging press for the LGBT community.

        • clay

          I’m not going to just butch it up and take anything they give out to prove I’m a real man just to avoid creating another example of a gay stereotype. That’s called the closet and it just damns the next generation, too.

          • Ken M

            so does gay teen suicide, let him give his winnings to that

  • Tommy

    What kid is gonna look at that video and think: “Please God don’t let me be gay.
    Let me be a bald, androgynous space alien like Sy Rogers!”

  • coram nobis

    8th Commandment? The one about false witness?

    • (((GC)))

      That’s only about false witness “against thy neighbor.” Huge loophole.

      And isn’t there also something about how it’s perfectly fine to lie if it’s for Jeezus?

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Wait, the guy who opens his mouth and has Dorothy’s red slippers fall out is ex-gay? Well, if that’s the case, I’m bloody well an Alpha Masc Male….well, ok, I kind of am, but still, bitch please.

    • JWC

      just sparkle with pixie dust don’t he

      • Jean-Marc in Canada

        I’m surprised no one was concussed by one of the slippers as they flew out of his mouth.

        • JWC

          one ditsy bitch

          • Jean-Marc in Canada

            Ain’t it always the way.

          • JWC

            yup How be you guys today

          • Jean-Marc in Canada

            Hot…very, very hot. Thankfully, we have central A/C, a pool and nice, freshly cleaned cool water jacuzi out back. Tonight it will be kolbasa, cheese, grapes and wine for dinner….no cooking in this house tonight. And you my dear?

          • JWC

            Live right on the ocean with a tree barrierr 24.2 light breeze

  • JuanGalicia

    The hell do they mean by House Parents? *CLICK*

    • KCMC

      former house parents? Not teachers, dorm staff.

  • fkevin

    What religious affiliation? Never heard of one. I grew up and live again twenty minutes from Hershey and have never ever heard it described as religious. I am not saying services were not offered, but this sounds something some religious house parents may have done. BTW, the Hershey trust is $12 billion.

    • amandagirl15701

      Me too. And here I was, thinking of sending my autistic son there.

      • clay

        They might decide he does not meet their non-disruption and ability to benefit standards– they’ve denied entrance to a student with HIV within the last decade.

      • Skeptical_Inquirer

        I’m glad you dodged a bullet then.

      • JWC

        luv your name I am currently rewatching Anna Madrigal 28 Barberry lane

    • clay

      No official affiliation, but from the school’s website:
      “Education in the Judeo-Christian faith, the heritage of the School’s founders, is part of the MHS program . . .
      1) required, weekly, youth-oriented chapel service held each Sunday morning.
      2) Student Home devotional program which takes place in the student home where students are led in an age appropriate devotional to stir thinking about God, spiritual things, and the students life and character.
      3) “Off-campus worship” – Students are transported to various churches within Hershey in order to enable students to further develop their personal faith. This program requires signed permission from the student’s sponsor in order for any student to participate. This attendance does not take the place of, but enhances the school’s Sunday morning chapel service.
      4) Supplemental teaching by the Religious Programs staff in the student homes and in the classrooms.
      5) Various other religious events designed to promote character and faith, such as but not limited to concerts, retreats, lectures, etc.”

      Who, exactly, are their “religious programs staff” is unaddressed, as is the training or affiliation of the House Parents leading the Student Home devotional program(s).

      • RoFaWh

        Sounds like a once-secular school has been commandeered by the fundies.

        “The heritage of the School’s founders…” is a very suspicious phrase.

        • clay

          The School’s founders weren’t overtly religious, but their heritage was relatively strict German Reformed (Calvinist Protestant), even old order.

          • Gustav2

            Well, there you go, Calvinist!

      • Bj Lincoln

        Sounds too religious for me and my son.

      • kareemachan

        That sounds pretty effing religious to me.

  • Vista-Cruiser

    These are the people who control the entire country now, because our side no longer bothers to vote in elections.

    • TexasBoy


      • Tomcat

        Thank God we were saved from Killery. /s

  • Sy Rogers could be a decent stand-up comedian. As a performer, he’s pretty impressive, but HOLY FUCKIN’ CHRIST he is the gayest pseudo-straight guy I’ve ever seen! It’s like if ghost Liberace and ghost Paul Lynde simultaneously possessed Jack McFarland.

  • J.E. Pizarro

    write the check now…..

  • TexasBoy

    He opens his mouth and bolts of chiffon come flying out.

    • To be fair, there are about gay to straight conversion not queen to butch

  • ceeenbee

    “the school called the allegation “outrageous” and said it would never condone such behavior.”

    Well, the admission they “would never condone such behavior” and found the mere suggestion “outrageous” followed by the LIE that that they indeed did condone the outrageous behavior should add a minimum of one ‘zero’ to any future settlement.

    Good work fellows.

    • clay

      Back in 2011 they said the allegation that they would discriminate on the basis of physical disability (they provide full medical care) “outrageous” and said that they would never condone such behavior. . . in a case where they refused to admit a student with (undetectable) HIV, claiming he was a threat to the other students.

  • Jerry Kott

    Am I alone in getting a bit suspicious in that there is a dark side to boarding school culture. That at some point, I won’t be surprise if behavior is revealed of a sub culture of “experimenting” to jump start sexuality.

    • GeoffreyPS

      Haven’t you heard of the book “Lights Out At the Boys’ School” by Holden and Sharon Dycks?

  • David Walker

    The Milton Hershey School is not a religious school. It is a private school originally for orphan boys and quite a while ago became co-ed and expanded its definition of “orphan” to the loss of one parent.

    Hershey home parents are accountable for what happens in their dorms, but the school administration doesn’t know what’s going on if they aren’t told. Shit happens, but it’s obvious the house “parents” took it upon themselves to harass their ward. They have taken “in loco parentis” to new depths.

    • clay

      As the School explicitly assigns the House Parents to lead Bible studies, the School is on the hook for some responsibility for overseeing those programs.

      • David Walker

        OK. However, when one says that it is a religious school, that implies (at least to me) that is an arm of the Southern Baptists or United Methodists, and that is not the case.

        • GeoffreyPS

          Strange. Many denominations have schools. Where I live the religious schools are Catholic, generic Evangelical, and Seventh-day Adventist.

        • clay

          Except for the Southern Baptists and the Roman Catholics, many “religious” schools’ affiliations are pretty loose. Some have become nearly secular (Temple, Vanderbilt, SMU, Oberlin, etc.)

          • David Walker

            Understood. I went to a small xn college (for small xns) and the name of the college in no way indicated or even hinted at being run by a fundamentalist denomination. That’s another story, except to say that everything about it was branded Evangelical United Brethren (which went tits up and was bought by the Methodists, primarily for the colleges the EUB already established…and the “United” in United Methodist is a passing reference to the EUBs). The thing is, Milton did not seek out funding from the Presbyterians or Methodists or Seventh Day Adventists, nor did any of them start it and convinced him to use his name as cover. My argument is over the word “religious” and how I react to the use of the word when describing a school that is not affiliated with a church.

          • clay

            The US Air Force Academy wasn’t affiliated with a church, nor even private, but it sure got itself in trouble for being religious. 😉

          • David Walker

            But would you label it a “religious” academy? (This is fun, Clay. I like semantic discussions.)

    • kareemachan

      Sorry, the administration by definition is responsible for those kids. If they didn’t know, they either looked the other way or are exceedingly stupid and unfit to do their jobs.

      • David Walker

        And I would say “more than likely” to both possibilities you propose. My point is that Milton did not establish his school as a Presbyterian or any other established (or unestablished) name brand xn school. Referring to it as a “religious” school is inaccurate. As I said to Clay, I don’t know why I’m bothering to defend them. I suspect I’m arguing the use of the word.

  • Michael

    Give me a flipping break. First they would NEVER show that tape to anyone, then had to admit they showed it to “one” person but don’t “know” if they showed it this guy.

    Lie once & you will lie again.

  • BobSF_94117

    [never mind]

  • Joseph Miceli

    I’m hearing this guy for the first time and I have one thing to say…

  • FAEN

    This should be classified as torture plain and simple.

  • JCF

    Horrible. Milton Hershey (funded by candy) is a charity boarding-school—its students (captives) are EXTREMELY vulnerable. Assholes!

    • Ernest Endevor

      “Funded by candy” and vile chocolate it is. Tastes like sweet lard.

  • whollyfool

    I agree: it is outrageous.


    This the same private school years ago that expelled a student because he was HIV positive. The other students were afraid of him.

  • ‘Til Tuesday

    By the way, Chick-fil-A is still funding anti-gay organizations (see Think Progress). Their”PR” campaign was bullshit. I hope you aren’t giving them your money.

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  • Homo Erectus
  • bdsmjack

    Milton Hershey School home of the SPARTANS. Ironic.

  • Sy Rogers may consider himself “ex-gay,” but he’s still as queer as a three-dollar bill.

  • Ben in Oakland

    I wonder if the video showed the fun of cruising the Hershey highway?