DNY59(NEW YORK) — Two state attorneys general ordered a prominent televangelist to stop peddling an alleged coronavirus elixir on his show.Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Jim Bakker for misrepresentations about the effectiveness of “Silver Solution” as a treatment for coronavirus. Schmitt’s lawsuit came a week after the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James sent a cease-and-desist order to Bakker, ordering him to stop promoting the supplement as a COVID-19 treatment.During a Feb. 12 episode of the “The Jim Bakker Show,” guest Sherrill Sellman claimed the so-called Silver Solution was able to eliminate some strains of coronavirus.Asked if the Silver Solution would be effective against COVID-19, specifically, Sellman replied, “Let’s say it hasn’t been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it’s been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and it has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours.”According to the World Health Organization, there are no current cures or direct treatments for the novel coronavirus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there’s no known cure for other coronavirus variants that cause SARS and MERS.“Your show’s segment may mislead consumers as to the effectiveness of the Silver Solution product in protecting against the current outbreak,” the the New York cease-and-desist order said. “Any representation on the Jim Bakker Show that its Silver Solution products are effective at combating and/or treating the 2019 novel coronavirus violates New York law.”The product is available for purchase on the show’s website, and the Federal Trade Commission issued warning letters to Bakker and other companies to stop promoting Silver Solution as a coronavirus treatment.Schmitt’s lawsuit requests a restraining order and permanent injunction that orders Bakker to stop selling Silver Solution as a virus treatment.James also ordered Bakker to stop promoting the product as a coronavirus cure or treatment and to put a disclaimer on its site that says the product hasn’t been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. James’ office gave Bakker 10 days to show that it complied with the order, or face legal action.“In addition to being mindful about our health, we must also beware of unscrupulous actors who attempt to take advantage of this fear and anxiety to scam or deceive consumers,” James said in a statement.Messages to Bakker for comment weren’t immediately returned.Bakker was convicted in 1989 on multiple counts of fraud after he stole millions of dollars in a fundraising scandal. He spent five years in prison before returning to TV in 2003.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Harvard Medical School (HMS) faculty members are working with the city of Cambridge to provide mental health services in partnership with police, schools, and youth services programs, as part of a wide-ranging effort to keep kids out of court.Since its founding in 2007, the Cambridge Safety Net Collaborative has successfully diverted hundreds of Cambridge youths into structured activities — such as athletic leagues and after-school programs — and linked them to counseling and mental health services, when needed.James Barrett, an instructor in psychology in HMS’s Department of Psychiatry and with the Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance, heads the mental health assessment and treatment part of the program. Barrett meets with representatives of the other key organizations involved — Cambridge police, schools, and the Department of Human Service Programs — every other week. Together, they review cases involved with the Safety Net Collaborative and refer them to an appropriate program.Safety Net got its start in 2007, when Robert Haas arrived as Cambridge’s police commissioner. In surveying the department, Haas, who had served as the state’s secretary of public safety, realized there were limited options for officers dealing with juvenile crime. The officers could arrest the kids, disperse them, or send them home to their parents.Haas launched a youth and family services unit, assigning a handful of officers to deal exclusively with young people. The program developed ties with the schools and youth centers and approached the health alliance to provide mental health assessment and services.A diversion program is important, Haas said, because once young people become involved with the criminal justice system, more trouble tends to follow.“There’s lots of research that once a kid is in the court system, it’s difficult to get them on another path,” Haas said. “We tried to move from a reactive model to a preventive one.”The program has evolved, Haas said, and youth officers today are looked at as resources rather than merely agents of enforcement. Officers have been trained to recognize red flags in behavior that indicate a role for Safety Net, Barrett said. Each officer has Barrett’s cellphone and pager numbers.“It really is a role shift for these police officers,” said Barrett.In the years since the program was founded, it has expanded to serve younger kids. Now it routinely receives referrals for fifth, sixth, and seventh graders, rather than the older teens targeted when the program started. Some referrals come from youth resource officers noticing behavior on the streets, or from teachers concerned about classroom behavior. Some come from parents.That means the youths tend to have been involved in relatively minor issues, such as running away from home or exhibiting defiant behavior, Haas said. The result, according to Barrett and William Pollack, an associate clinical professor of psychology at HMS and senior consultant to Safety Net, is that the programs have been able to divert kids before they are involved in outright crimes.“When teenagers get into trouble, it tends to be more serious. Often there’s a legal charge,” Barrett said. “It has gotten to be more preventative than we had even hoped.”Too often, youths are ignored outside the schools until they get into trouble, Pollack said. In a city like Cambridge, with a wealth of resources — it has five youth centers —Safety Net helps to coordinate resources and reduce the chance that kids will fall through the cracks.“You often see disconnects between youth workers, police, and mental health. [In this case] they’re all connected, with Harvard and Harvard Medical School” nearby, Pollack said. “Unfortunately, our interventions for youth, especially around crime and criminal behavior, [often] occur out of fear when a major event occurs. People say, first we have to have safety, then we have to do something.”Officials involved with Safety Net shared their experiences with authorities on juvenile crime and diversion programs from around the country in October, during a workshop convened at the Harvard Faculty Club.Safety Net currently serves about 70 young people, though the number can vary. While there are more boys than girls in the program, girls make up a sizeable minority.Barrett and Pollack are beginning an in-depth assessment of the program, though there is anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness. Just two Cambridge juveniles were arrested last summer, and city officials have recently noticed fewer kids with a history with the courts applying for city jobs programs.“It’s gone well beyond my expectations when I took over,” Haas said. “It’s really been a remarkable partnership.”