Sat. Feb 27th, 2021

By SOPHIA EPPOLITO, Associated Press / Report for America

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Paris Hilton testified about the abuse she says she suffered at a boarding school years ago Utah, As it lobbied Monday for a bill to regulate the state’s troubled teen industry.

Hilton was sent to Provo Canyon School for 11 months at the age of 17, where she says she was abused mentally and physically, remembering that staff members would beat her, giving her anonymous pills. Will force her to take it, watch her shower and send her to solitary confinement with clothes. The socialite and reality TV star talked about the abuse in a documentary titled “This is Paris” that was released this fall.

Hilton testified in a state Senate committee, hearing in the Utah Capitol in favor of the bill, that youth residential treatment centers would need more government oversight and document when they would use the restrictions. The measure passed unanimously after emotional testimony from Hilton and several other survivors.

“It’s something personal to talk about and still terrible,” Hilton told the committee. “But I can’t sleep at night knowing that there are children who are facing the same abuse that I and so many others went through, and neither should you.”

Hilton, 39, said the treatment was so “painful” that she has been experiencing nightmares and insomnia for years.

The Prvo institution is now under new ownership and the administration has said it cannot comment on anything that came before the change, including Hilton’s time. A statement on the school’s website stated that the previous owners sold the school in 2000.

Since the documentary was released, other celebrities have talked about their experiences at school or others like it, including Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris Jackson and tattoo artist Kat Von D.

During her testimony, Hilton called President Joe Biden and leaders in Congress to take action and said she intended to pursue federal law.

“This is just the first step,” Hilton told reporters. “This bill is definitely going to help a lot of children, but there are obviously more things to do, and I’m not going to stop until the change happens.”

Apolito is a corps member for the Associated Press / Report for the Statehouse News Initiative of America. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that puts journalists in local newspapers to report on undercover issues.

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