According to The New York Post, a mother of four said her state-appointed drug counselor used her for sex and then attempted to abort her unborn child with his bare hands. The mother, Johanna Bernal, was eight months pregnant and suffered from schizophrenia, depression and drug addiction. She had just left an abusive relationship with the father of her three oldest children.
In 2000, 61-year-old George Alejandro started “treating” Bernal and kept her in a drugged state for four years while having sex with her. He also threatened to hurt her family members if she complained or told anyone about their relationship. Court papers revealed that Alejandro held an attempted-manslaughter conviction, didn’t have a drug-counselor license when he started seeing Bernal and had two child-support liens against him.
Family Court found that Alejandro was the baby’s father in 2004, and Bernal’s family filed a $20 million lawsuit against the city of New York and the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). However, apparently, Alejandro still works as a counselor for a different agency and has denied a sexual relationship with Bernal.
Additionally, in 2005, Alejandro received a state certificate as a certified drug-abuse counselor. The ACS said they are “reviewing the matter,” and the state agency that issued Alejandro’s credentials said they were aware of his criminal background.
“My family has suffered a lot at the hands of this man. I live in fear,” Bernal, 35, told The Post, speaking in Spanish. Bernal, who came to the United States from Colombia at age 9, had become increasingly depressed by 2003 after sustained beatings from a boyfriend, with whom she had three children.
Her mother, Alicia Alvarez, reached out to the city Administration for Children’s Services and was referred to a taxpayer-funded agency called Vida Family Services, which employed Alejandro. But he had some unorthodox treatment methods. Alejandro took Bernal to a hotel on Aug. 14, 2003, the night of the Northeast blackout, to have sex, court papers say.
He later showed up at the family home in Queens saying he wanted to check on his client. Alvarez, in court papers, said she caught him in her daughter’s room massaging her legs. He maintained he was “lowering her stress,” court papers say.
Alvarez installed a camera in her daughter’s room to monitor future house calls. In a video referenced in court documents, Alejandro is apparently seen in a liplock with Bernal. Bernal was eight months pregnant when Alejandro invited her to a Queens hotel room in 2004. The family says the counselor pounced on her, using “four fingers to [attempt to] abort the baby. He wanted to rip the baby out,” Alvarez told The Post.
When Bernal began to hemorrhage, he took her to a hospital where doctors stopped the bleeding, according to court papers. A sobbing Bernal called her mother from the hospital. “Mama, he wanted to take the baby out of me,” she cried. A furious Alvarez threatened to go to the police and to ACS but was stopped by Alejandro’s threats. “He said he would kill us.” Alvarez said.
The abortion attempt failed, and Bernal gave birth to Jennifer in May 2004.