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June 26, 2015

N.J. Jury Finds Fraud by 'Gay Conversion' Nonprofit

A faith-based New Jersey counseling organization was found Thursday to have committed consumer fraud by charging for therapy that promised to help gay men overcome same-sex urges, NJ Advance Media and the Associated Press report.

A jury in Jersey City deliberated for about three hours before returning a verdict against Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, or Jonah, which was sued in November 2012 by four former clients in the first case to put the controversial practice of "conversion therapy" on trial.

Jurors found that Jonah violated New Jersey's consumer-fraud act by offering to turn gay men straight through therapy that included having clients spend time naked with their fathers and beat effigies of their mothers. Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that Jonah used methods with no scientific basis and lied about its success rate. A lawyer for the counseling group said it would appeal, calling the verdict a blow to religious liberty.