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Thomas Radecki

by Hawke Robinson last modified May 10, 2022 11:56 PM
Oft cited by anti-RPG supporters. License to practice as a doctor of psychiatry, famous in the battle against role-playing games in the 1980s, repeatedly revoked license, and a repeat offending violator of practice, and convicted criminal...

Associated with Patricia Pulling[+] 's anti-RPG organization Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons ( B.A.D.D.[+] )....


The Pulling Report section on Radecki:

Dr. Thomas Radecki

Dr. Radecki is the founder of the National Coalition of Television Violence (NCTV). He has been a prime ally for Pat Pulling since her early war on games. On one of the NCTV’s press releases concerning “game related deaths” Pat Pulling is listed as a person to contact.67 Radecki describes himself as “A board-certified psychiatrist with a busy private practice and... a research director [with] the NCTV.68

In a Comics Journal interview, Radecki was asked if the NCTV had any ideological bias. He replied:

I hope not. I imagine that – you know, we’re only human. But I hope not. ...I don’t know where the ideological bias would be. I’m not aware of one.69

Despite that denial, a look at NCTV material gives a different view. In one issue of the NCTV newsletter Dr. Radecki himself authored an article entitled, “Christ, Forgiveness, Pardon, and Trust70 in which he proceeds to explain, with copious Biblical citations, the true meaning of Christ’s teachings on the subject of forgiveness. On the Bob Larson Radio Show, as a spokesman for NCTV, Radecki repeatedly criticized Saturday morning cartoon violence as being contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ, once again using numerous Biblical quotes to back himself up.71

The difficulty posed by a Fundamentalist Christian bias is two-fold. First, as a tenet of faith, a Fundamentalist accepts the existence of the devil and his ability to exercise power in the real world. This means he is predisposed to seeing Satanism and declaring it evil. From there it is a simple step to link anything he perceives as evil backward with Satanism.

This link forms a very strong bond that precludes value neutral examination of a subject because, in the war between God and Satan, neutrality cannot exist. Either you are with God, or you are of the Devil. This is the magical world view again with its full Christian trappings. Putting a Fundamentalist in charge of an investigation of Satanism would be as foolish as having an all New York Umpire crew for a Mets-Dodgers World Series.

The religious bias of the NCTV is less of a problem than their research methods. Their study of best selling books from 1905-1988, was undertaken “to determine whether there has been an increase in violent themes in bestseller books during the 20th century.72 One would assume, given the scope of the study, reviewers would be asked to read all of the books on the list and to rate the books for acts of violence, both pro- and anti-social. This, however, was not how the study was done.

Dr. Radecki explains:

NCTV invested hundreds of hours of work in the bestseller study so as to be as objective and fair as possible. The total cost of the study with all its aspects is close to $8,000 and took over three years for its initial beginning with many reworkings. [The study has one primary researcher and two other major contributors.] NCTV considered reading the entirety of the 800 books involved in the bestseller study, but found that some of the books would have been difficult to obtain and the cost of the study would have tripled, beyond the financial abilities of NCTV to undertake.73

While sympathetic to Dr. Radecki’s plight, the author cannot help but wonder if Dr. Radecki has never heard of borrowing a book from a library. If the library does not have the book, obtaining it through Inter-Library Loan is a very common and simple practice. As well, with research projects of merit, grants are often available, and a grant could easily have provided the money necessary to get a copies of the books unavailable from the library or through ILL.

Having gone through the list Dr. Radecki supplies with the study, the author of this report has determined there are, in fact, only 725 books on the list because some books appear on the list in two or more years. In fact, one book, The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas, made the list four times (#7 in 1942, #1 in 1943, #2 in 1945 and # 1 in 1953 again). Despite this remarkable track record, this book was not read for the study.

If the books were not going to be read, how was their violence rating obtained? The study itself outlines the methodology used:

Book reviews were used for the study from the Book Review Digest, published annually by R. R. Bowker: New York....While some of the book reviewers may not have been as sensitive to violence as they should have been, a sampling of books actually read by NCTV and their reviews found that ratings from the book reviews agreed or were close to agreeing the vast majority of the time.

...We have found that sometimes book reviewers are not sensitive to violence, themselves being sensitized. NCTV has documented this in the case of Time Magazine74 reviewers. The pattern is very similar to that of film reviewers. Some are sensitive while others positively enjoy and mistakenly promote the sadistic and sick.75

Instead of reading the books themselves, given 3 people and 3 years in which to read 725 books (1.5 books per week for the course of the study), book reviews were used to determine the violence ratings for the bestsellers from 1905-1984. It would be assumed that the correct books would be dealt with, but the description of The Yearling suggests that errors did creep in. The book, which is about a boy and a deer, is described as “[Jody] and his horse run free, which upsets his parents, and as the horse grows larger and stronger, they force Jody to give up his yearling.76

Moreover, a second phase of the study was conducted with even less stringent controls:

The second part of the study reviewed book covers of popular paperback books randomly selected from the shelves of Waldenbooks and B. Dalton Books in Champaign, Illinois. The various categories of popular books were compared and the brief sketches on the book cover were presumed to be related to the contents of the books.77

It does not take a rocket scientist to remember that judging a book by its cover is a dangerous thing. Moreover, as a published novelist who knows many other published novelists, the author of this report can state, categorically, that covers and cover blurbs often bear no connection to the work inside. More often than not, back cover copy is written by a marketing individual who has not even read the book! The idea that a paragraph on the back of a book or the eye-catching excerpt printed on the inside front page could sum up a novel of over 100,000 words is absurd and insulting.

This survey technique, not surprisingly, reported the following results: “An incredible 79% of all paperback books featured violent themes.78 Also not much of a surprise, 100% of Spy/Intrigue and Crime/Detective books were considered violent, while Sword & Sorcery, Horror and Science Fiction weighed in with violence percentages of 98, 96 and 81 respectively. Aside from an unexplained “Other” category, the least violent books appear to be Modern Romances in which only 33% were considered violent.

The definition of violent, according to the NCTV is, “Any book whose plot involves physical violence in a significant or crucial manner. Actual or attempted homicides or rapes are to be few in number. Also, any book in which the hero (or anti-hero) wins by using violence in a significant or crucial manner....Romantic books that teach the rape myth belong in this category.79

For perspective, Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy was rated XUnfit. That classification is defined as “extreme and sadistic violence with graphic and gruesome characteristics. Intensely callous and degrading sexual material, especially when associated with violence tends to fall in this category as well.80 The Hunt for the Red October earned the same rating.

Clearly the methodology of the study is flawed. Judging a book on the basis of a review is nonsensical because one cannot begin to control for all the different biases of reviewer, any interpersonal animosity between reviewer and author, or simply a review that was edited down for space as the magazine went to press. More importantly, there is no way to determine if the reviewer actually even read the book, or if the review was written on the basis of promotional material sent out by the publisher. The only way to determine the content of a book is to read it and, if the book is one of a set, to read all of them.

It is with this perspective, then, that we can take a brief look at the problems with the list of “cases” concerning games and their diabolical content that both Dr. Radecki and Mrs. Pulling tout so heavily. Perhaps the author’s favorite of the Pulling cases is the very first one that appears on the NCTV list: “Name withheld, details confidential at request of family, age 14, 1979, suicide.81 This sort of reporting with vague details is characteristic of 5 other cases on the list of 37 NCTV first presented.

In yet other case listings, the fact that a person was reported to have played D&D, as seen above in the Sean Hughes case, is enough to make his death related to the game, even though the case has not be solved or closed by the police. If there is any way for BADD and NCTV to link anything to D&D, the link is forced and the chain of manufactured evidence grows longer.

One of the “non-fatal” cases listed points this out in exquisite detail:

A 15-year old girl was reportedly raped in Angleton, Texas by Armando Simon, 33, a prison psychologist counseling inmates for sexual crimes. According to court testimony, the girl was enticed into sex through an extended D&D game in which she was given the role of “someone who would lose her powers after doing something wrong.” Simon played a character constantly interested in women and his wife would often play a lesbian. The wife encouraged the sex by showing the girl photos of Simon naked with other women. She told the girl, “He always wanted a virgin as a gift.” The psychologist and the girl first had sex after returning from a D&D convention in Houston (Houston Chronicle, 8 May 85)82

Not only is it absurd to suggest that the above crime took place because of D&D, but it is ridiculous to even imply that it would not have taken place were D&D not around. In her book, Pat Pulling quotes Dr. Arnold Goldstein, Ph.D, director of the Center for Research on Aggression at the University of Syracuse, as saying, “We psychologists use role-playing in therapy... to bring about good effects.83 Simon’s seduction of the girl was abuse of trust between patient and therapist and had nothing to do with a game.

In 1985, the BADD/NCTV list contained 37 dead individuals and 5 “non-fatal” cases of D&D violence. They note “...there are 8 more deaths (6 suicides and 2 murders) in which the information is confidential. Pat Pulling & Tom Radecki are investigating an additional 7 murders that have been recently reported to us in 3 separate cases. Deaths are being reported at the rate of about 5 per month.” [Emphasis added.] In a January 1987 release, however, the list has only grown by two murders and the above rate projection has been amended to read, “Deaths are being reported at the rate of three to four per month.”

In that two years a couple of changes were made to the list. NCTV deleted one case (1985, #16, an anonymous suicide). They updated one case (adding the name Mike Cote to 1985, #37/1987, #36). They added two cases with a total of 3 victims (Patrick Beach and Cayce Moore). They also add the Roland Cartier case to this list, but have it under its own section: “Reported D&D related deaths with less information available.”

Despite the shuffling, the fact is that 120 new cases did not materialize between 1985 and 1987. Likewise, 108 new cases did not arise between 1987 and 1990, despite NCTV’s dire predictions. In fact, the only new cases to come to light are those of Sean Sellers, Jeffrey Meyers, Cliff Meling and Daniel Kasten. Adding the 8 deaths between those four cases to the 39 NCTV has already still puts us rather shy Pat Pulling’s reported 125 cases.84

As an aside, the 1985 release is the one in which Dr. Radecki quotes from “the investigative book, ‘Mazes and Monsters’ by Rona Jaffe.85 Jaffe’s book is a novel, set at an imaginary college in an imaginary town in Pennsylvania. The fact that it is fiction does not stop Radecki from quoting a letter written to the school’s newspaper about the dangers of D&D as if it were a testimonial. For one who spends a great deal of time trying to determine if kids know the difference between fantasy and reality, Dr. Radecki, like Mrs. Pulling, seems to have developed his own problem in that area.

Dr. Radecki, while pursuing the admirable goal of eliminating violence from society, has engaged in “research” that has been less than scientific in its methodology. His conclusions, therefore, are suspect. Likewise is his continued willingness to publicize data that can only contribute to hysteria.



Update on Radecki

Addiction doc who swapped drugs for sex, had baby with patient gets long prison sentence

Dr. Thomas Radecki had offices in Clarion, DuBois, Kane, Seneca

Published  1:32 PM EDT Jun 02, 2016

CLARION, Pa. —A former Pennsylvania doctor accused of overprescribing anti-addiction and anti-anxiety drugs and trading them for sex with female patients -- including one who bore his child -- has been sentenced to 11 to 22 years in prison.
Thomas Radecki, 70, was sentenced Wednesday by a Clarion County judge after two hours of testimony and argument from police, state prosecutors, and Radecki.
State police have announced a list of drug seizures made in the second quarter of 2016. Here's how they rank in terms of street value.
"I never prescribed a pill I didn't sincerely think wouldn't be helping patients out and I never pressured patients to do anything in exchange for treatment," Radecki told President Judge James Arner. "At no point did I think I was breaking the law or doing anything but helping patients out."
But Deputy Attorney General Mark Serge told the judge that Radecki's four clinics operating in Clarion, Clearfield, McKean and Venango counties under the name "Doctors and Lawyers for a Drug-Free Youth" were nothing more than an illegal empire.
At one point, Radecki had more than 1,000 patients, most of whom he claimed to be treating with drugs like Subutex to wean them away from heroin and other addictions. Prosecutors contend he was merely getting them hooked on the anti-addiction drugs themselves.
Clarion County District Attorney Mark Aaron testified, telling the judge that addictions fueled by Radecki's practice are still ravaging that county.
"An addiction bomb went off in Clarion County," Aaron said. "We're still dealing with the effect of the actions of Dr. Radecki to this day."
He was convicted in April of charges including illegally administering controlled substances by a doctor, conspiracy, and running a corrupt organization.
Radecki voluntarily surrendered his Pennsylvania medical license before the grand jury report charging him was publicized by state prosecutors in 2013, a year after his offices were raided and closed by state agents.
The grand jury determined Radecki also used his home to store about $5 million worth of prescription drugs, based on the street prices he allegedly charged at his all-cash practice in 2011 and early 2012.
"Radecki referred to his residence as an 'income-sharing commune' and repeatedly invited female patients to move in with him there," the grand jury found.
Radecki would first move his new girlfriend/patient into an apartment across the street, then into his home as he jettisoned whichever woman was currently living there, the grand jury found. Radecki's girlfriends also allegedly worked at his clinics and were given money and drugs. Radecki also illegally prescribed Adderall and Ritalin, which are stimulants commonly used to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, authorities said.
Radecki must also pay $430,000 in fines from the assets of his practice that he can liquidate, the judge ruled.

Filed under: ,
Tlb1973 says:
Jul 13, 2020 09:04 AM
I grew up in Decatur,Il where I was treated by Dr. Radecki as a teenager in that has been about 30+ years ago. I never really knew what happen to.him and didnt care as didnt see.him. However, i know he had more victims when he pracriced in Decatur, yet when his.Illinois license was revoked due to innapropriate patient, whatever, I never knew and those who at the time who knew I wSnunder his care, professionals, never me, never asked me about my.time in his care. Which was a very screwed up time and he screwed me up even more. How come Illinois didnt make his case more public? How come his victims there didnt see any justice? victims ever see justice. the first.time.i have reached out and asked any questions. Maybe you have no answers, but my.voice has been put out there. How can I find old records? I have called the hospital i at the time but those.records have been destroyed. What records when he was in illinois? Inpray someday maybe I can help others he has abused and has been hard. We go into theze Dr.s care because we arw already dealing with trauma and he it and probably made it more difficult to heal and created.more.anger.and.rage in us that he so proudly attempted to makes us feel bad.for.feeling angry. Angry.was.unhealthy. sorry. Signed, The girl hidden behind the table escape him be punished with being the locked down ward. I know you have no answers and thay is ok. I just.wanted know he has destroyed more lives than anyone could possibly kn9w. for listening.