Conversion therapy provider must dissolve, pay millions, judge rules

One of the country’s most infamous providers of so-called conversion therapy — a contentious practice that tries to change a gay person’s sexual orientation — will be forced to pay up to $3.5 million after it was found to be in violation of a 2015 court order to shut down.

“It’s a deterrent and a warning shot,” Michael Ferguson, one of the plaintiffs in the case, told NBC News. “If you’re practicing conversion therapy, make no mistake that you will be found out and you will be punished. We are not going to tolerate these practices on members of our community any longer, particularly the most vulnerable.”

On Monday, Judge Peter F. Bariso Jr. of New Jersey Superior Court granted a permanent injunction against Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), a conversion therapy organization based in Jersey City. After a six-person jury found JONAH guilty of “unconscionable commercial practices” in 2015, its offices reopened under a new name: the Jewish Institute for Global Awareness (JIFGA).