Dr Phil sued after teen who appeared on TV show allegedly sexually assaulted

Dr Phil sued after teen  who appeared on TV show allegedly sexually assaulted
Dr Phil’s spokesman said the lawsuit would be ‘vigorously contested’

A teenager who says she was sexually assaulted at a Utah ranch is suing Dr Phil and CBS for negligence for allegedly pressuring her to seek treatment at the facility.

Hannah Archuleta is seeking unspecified damages for harm suffered at the Turn-About Ranch in Escalante, Utah, according to a lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court this week.

Ms Archuleta, who is being represented in the lawsuit by famed victims’ advocate Gloria Allred, appeared on the Dr Phil TV show in October 2019 along with her parents when she was 17.

The complaints says she had been suffering with suicidal thoughts, and claims that after the show Dr Phil, real name Phil McGraw, and his staff allegedly encouraged her to go directly to the Utah ranch for treatment.

The complaint alleges that Mr McGraw told Hannah that she “needs to go to the Ranch to have any chance at a good life,” and she should go there “right now and today”.

The staff of the Dr Phil show said Mr McGraw “was personally invested” in the Archuleta family and that he would continue to help them, the complaint alleges.

On the day of the taping, the show’s staff allegedly arranged for a medical service to whisk Ms Archuleta from the Paramount studio in Los Angeles where the show is filmed to the airport so she could fly straight to Utah.

Staff offered to pay all of Ms Archuleta’s expenses, including car rental, airfare, meals and lodging.

According to the lawsuit, Ms Archuleta was groped twice by a male staff member within weeks of arriving at the ranch.

After the alleged sexual assault, she contacted her father Tony who flew from their home in Colorado to Utah, removed her from the ranch, and filed a complaint with the local sheriff’s office.

The ranch markets itself as a Christian residential treatment programme for troubled teens.

But the lawsuit alleges McGraw withheld troubling incidents that had occurred there from the family, including the killing of a camp counsellor there by a teenager in 2016.

The Independent has approached Viacom and a spokesman for Mr McGraw.

Neither immediately responded.

In a statement to the LA Times, Jerry Sharell, a spokesman for Mr McGraw, said case will be “vigorously contested”.

“After Hannah Archuleta’s appearance on ‘Dr Phil’ in 2019, her parents chose to seek treatment at Turn-About Ranch. None of the defendants in this case had anything to do with her program at that facility, as documents signed by the Archuletas reflect.

“We understand that she subsequently sued Turn-About Ranch but that case was dismissed and recently refiled.”

In a statement, Gloria Allred told The Independent: “We look forward to fighting for justice for Hannah.”