Second lawsuit alleges sex abuse at Elgin psychiatric hospital

A second lawsuit alleging sexual abuse was filed against the state-run Elgin Mental Health Center on Wednesday in federal court.

Former patient Mark Owens has accused former social worker Christy Lenhardt of sexual misconduct. Lenhardt is also at the center of a lawsuit filed in November, said S. Randolph Kretchmar, Owens' attorney.

Kretchmar's firm represents both Owens and Benahdam Hurt, the plaintiff in the first case. He said that both men have described similar scenarios involving their former social worker.

The most recent lawsuit alleges that Lenhardt "basically threatened Owens with a change in his diagnosis and his medication" if he refused her advances, Kretchmar said.

The lawsuit names not only Lenhardt, but also Elgin Mental Health Center and several doctors believed by the plaintiffs to have known about the allegations.

The matter is under investigation by the Illinois State Police.

Lenhardt's attorney and representatives from the hospital were not immediately available for comment.

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