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Paris Hilton details sex abuse at Utah school

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Paris Hilton speaks as she joins Gov. Spencer J. Cox, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, Sen. Mike McKell and Rep. Brady Brammer at a ceremonial signing of SB127, Human Services Program Amendments, in the rotunda of the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

Paris Hilton speaks as she joins Gov. Spencer J. Cox, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, Sen. Mike McKell and Rep. Brady Brammer at a ceremonial signing of SB127, Human Services Program Amendments, in the rotunda of the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Paris Hilton is speaking up about being sexually abused at a Utah boarding school when she was a teenager.

In a video for The New York Times, Paris Hilton, 41, describes her experience at Provo Canyon School, a treatment center for troubled teens that her parents sent her to as a teen in the 1990s, in which she was regularly sexually abused by male staff members.

“Very late at night, this would be around like 3 or 4 in the morning, they would take myself and other girls into this room and they would perform medical exams,” Hilton said in the video.

This wasn’t even with a doctor. It was a couple of different staff members who 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. And it was really scary, and it’s something that I really had blocked out for many years. 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.

The video of Hilton was part of a larger piece in The New York Times about the “troubled teen industry.” Several other survivors spoke up about the emotional and physical abuse they endured at various facilities.

In a Twitter thread, Hilton states that she is sharing her experience now in order to help other survivors:

“My childhood was stolen from me & it kills me this is still happening to other innocent children,” she continued. “It’s important to open up about these painful moments so I can heal & help put an end to this abuse.”

Hilton previously advocated for a reform bill in Utah that passed unanimously in 2021, as the Deseret News reported. The bill prevents treatment facilities from using “cruel, severe, unusual, or unnecessary practice on a child” such as strip searches or body cavity searches.

Hilton has pushed for national reform similar to the bill passed in Utah.

“It’s clear that state-by-state patchwork of limited, weak oversight and inconsistent licensing requirements is not working,” Hilton said at the U.S. Capitol last year, according to the Deseret News. “Federal law and funding are desperately needed to bring real reform and true accountability to congregate care in America.”