Paris Hilton alleged she was sexually abused while attending the Provo Canyon School, the Utah boarding school she spent a year at as a teenager. In a New York Times video op-ed, Hilton recounted her experience, marking the first time she’s opened up in detail about specific instances of abuse.
“Very late at night – this would be around 3 or 4 in the morning – they would take myself and other girls into this room, and they would perform medical exams,” Hilton claimed. “This wasn’t even with a doctor. It was with a couple different staff members, where they would have us lay on the table and put their fingers inside of us. And I don’t know what they were doing, but it was definitely not a doctor.”
Along with the alleged sexual abuse, the star, who has been a strong advocate for the closure of Provo Canyon in recent years, has also previously said she was physically and mentally abused during her time at the treatment center.
Hilton shared her experience for the op-ed titled “Can You Punish A Child’s Mental Health Problems Away?” alongside a number of other participants who were sent away to similar treatment facilities as teenagers. “It was really scary, and it’s something that I really had blocked out for many years,” she added. “But it’s coming back all the time now, and I think about it. And now, looking back as an adult, that was definitely sexual abuse.”
She went into greater detail in a Twitter thread while sharing the op-ed, writing: “Sleep-deprived & heavily medicated, I didn’t understand what was happening. I was forced to lie on a padded table, spread my legs & submit to cervical exams. I cried while they held me down & said, ‘No!’ They just said, ‘Shut up. Be quiet. Stop struggling or you’ll go to Obs.’ “
Hilton first opened up about her experience at Provo Canyon School in the 2021 YouTube Originals documentary This Is Paris. She accused staff members of inflicting emotional, physical, and psychological abuse on her through verbal assault. She also claimed that attendees were regularly monitored while using the bathroom and showering. Last year, Hilton appeared in a Utah court to testify against Provo Canyon School.
“This was a recurring experience not only for me but for other #survivors,” she added on Twitter. “I was violated & I am crying as I type this because no one, especially a child, should be sexually abused. My childhood was stolen from me & it kills me this is still happening to other innocent children.”
Provo Canyon School was purchased by Universal Health Services in 2000 and has declined to comment on allegations prior to the new ownership. But it also hasn’t commented on the alleged continued abuse experienced by patients in the two decades since.
In 2020, Universal Health Services agreed to pay $117 million to resolve alleged violations of the False Claims Act, which prohibits billing for medically unnecessary inpatient behavioral health services and failing to provide adequate and appropriate services. Still, despite continuing to deny these allegations, the company and its centers currently face multiple ongoing lawsuits. In one suit, which names 49 plaintiffs, more than two dozen people allege sexual abuse by a former medical director, according to the Times.
“It’s important to open up about these painful moments so I can heal & help put an end to this abuse,” Hilton wrote.