Treatment Executives At Missouri Rehab Arrested

By John Lavitt 02/04/14

Two treatment center employees were detained after interfering with police by claiming client confidentiality.

Matthew David Walker Photo via

Two treatment executives at the Missouri rehab Bridgeway Behavioral Health have been charged with “interference with legal process” when they refused to allow police admittance to their facility. Bridgeway site director Stacy Glenn and assistant site director Chrissy Rupp did not comply with a search warrant because they failed to see a reference to federal regulations ensuring client confidentiality. According to police, this delay allowed the suspect to escape.

On the morning of Thursday, November 14, 2013, three St. Charles police officers showed up at Bridgeway’s residential treatment site with a warrant for the arrest of Matthew David Walker, 23, on a parole violation. The police learned that Walker was at the Bridgeway facility from a family member. When police arrived at the center, they reportedly saw Walker smoking a cigarette outside. Upon seeing the police, Walker quickly ducked inside and disappeared.

When the officers went in to arrest Walker, workers barred their entrance. Under the umbrella of 42 CFR Part 2, a federal regulation from the 1970s that protects confidentiality of patients in designated substance abuse treatment facilities, the treatment executives claimed the right not to cooperate. Frustrated, the police officers left.

Several officers returned later that evening, armed with a search warrant for the premises. The two treatment executives on site at the time, Christine Rupp and Stacy Glenn, still would not comply. The treatment executives “delayed and obstructed police” by claiming that without the warrant containing the proper language, they could not break patient confidentiality. During this delay, Walker climbed out of one of the facility’s windows and fled on foot.

The program manager David Chernof explained the position of the rehab: “We don’t want to be seen as a safe harbor for criminals, yet many of our clients - people in treatment - have arrest records and sometimes active warrants. We cannot simply open our doors when the police are looking for someone…. It would be a huge barrier for people if they thought their treatment was in jeopardy because the police were going to be able to walk in and arrest them.”

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.