North Point, Florida - June 30, 2011 -
Florida police are investigating a high school principal who hypnotized three students who later died. They say Doctor George Kenney admitted to hypnotizing a 16-year-old boy who committed suicide one day after a private session. Kenney hypnotized two other students who died tragically, one took her own life and another died in a car crash.The doctor didn't immediately admit to having private sessions with the students.But many people at school and in the community knew what he was doing.
One teacher told investigators Kenney insisted on parental permission. A school report found that he continued the practice after three separate orders to stop. Kenney claims the students were happy to be hypnotized. Many were taking part in competitive sports and he said the hypnosis helped them focus. But he also acknowledged his passion for helping may have caused him to use quote "poor judgment."
Kenney hypnotized up to 75 people at the school, including students, parents, staff members and their children. A teacher at the school was also killed in a car crash while driving to work. It is not known whether she was hypnotized by Kenney.http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Three_Hypnotized_Students_Die_Principal_Investigated__124769169.html
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Principal George Kenney could have avoided the threat of arrest had he stuck to hypnotizing North Port High School students for academic and athletic improvement.
North Port High School Principal George Kenney defied three orders to stop hypnotizing students in individual sessions and later lied when questioned about his use of hypnosis according to a school district investigation into his activities. Kenney was placed on leave May 17.
But investigators say the educator's use of hypnosis evolved into new territory over the past year — including hypnotizing colleagues to break smoking addictions and diagnosing a school resource officer with Tourette's syndrome and offering hypnosis as a treatment.
Legal experts say those actions, divulged through stories recounted by students and staff, could push Kenney's behavior into the realm of "therapeutic" hypnosis, which is against the law in Florida unless conducted by or under the monitoring of a licensed medical professional. Kenney took hypnosis training courses, but does not have a medical license.
Yet, even if Kenney's behavior did morph into therapy, prosecution would be unlikely because the law is so vaguely written, experts say.
Bradenton lawyer Mark Lipinski said the statute lacks the crucial definition of "therapeutic," leaving investigators with only its broad dictionary definition.
"The law is obscure, vague and unenforceable," he said. "I honestly just don't see a crime and any case would be a stretch, in my opinion."
Florida's law regulating hypnosis has been rarely used since it was enacted in 1961.
A Herald-Tribune review of criminal cases statewide over the past 15 years found the law has been used only once.
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