If you were paying attention to the Menendez brothers trial in the '90s, you may remember their therapist Dr. Jerome Oziel, who found himself wrapped up in the case. After Erik and his brother Lyle killed their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez, with shotguns in their Beverly Hills home, Erik later broke down and confessed to Dr. Oziel, per CNN. This confession and more comments made by the brothers in future sessions with Oziel eventually led to the brothers' arrests and conviction (they're both still in prison). But what is Dr. Jerome Oziel doing in 2017?
Oziel, who is listed on his website as "Jerry" now, is currently in the business of hosting relationship, marriage, and sex seminars in Portland, Oregon. Per his website's description of his seminars,
"Dr. Oziel also focuses on seminars for single, widowed, or divorced women and mother/daughter seminars that provide extensive practical advice on how to deal with men in hundreds of situations in which women tend to make major mistakes."
Bustle reached out to Oziel, who says that his "seminars have 100 percent approval/satisfaction ratings." That 100 percent stat is also touted on his website. He also added that he is writing "several books," gives talks, and has "a large number of business interests having nothing to do with the seminars."
Though once a practicing psychologist, according to the Board of Psychologist Examiners in Oregon, Oziel's license has lapsed. The expiration date of his license is listed as 1996, so he has not practiced psychology in some time, instead transitioning into hosting seminars and the like.
According to a 1997 article in The Los Angeles Times, Oziel had been "accused by a state panel of breaking confidentiality rules and having sex with female patients," and "surrendered his license to the state Department of Consumer Affairs' Board of Psychology" that same year. In a lengthy statement to Bustle, Oziel says he did surrender his license, but he denies that he did so because of the accusations that were leveled against him at the time. "I did not surrender my license due to the accusation, which implies I gave up my practice because I did things alleged in the original accusation," he writes. "That is flatly and completely false." He adds:
"The fact is, I had phased out my practice because I had a major business offer that was highly lucrative and moved to be the CEO of a large business in another state A YEAR AND A HALF PRIOR to the surrender. And the surrender DRAFTED BY THE BOARD was with a complete denial of every single allegation in the accusation and the BOARD ACCEPTED THAT. I didn't 'defend' the complaint because I had moved from California a year and a half prior, the license was nonoperational, I was heading a large business and I would have had to close the business with 200 employees and leave my family for three months to defend it. This was purposeless when I would never be in that state again and the Board agreed to settle the complaint with a finding of NO WRONGDOING. Where is the story there? No agency ever found I did a thing that was improper or wrong."
Though Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders calls itself a dramatization, Oziel expressed displeasure with the series in a follow-up email to Bustle and claimed to be in litigation on the matter (Bustle has reached out to NBC for comment):
"In case it wasn't completely clear, the fictional drama you mentioned was ENTIRELY fiction. It was not a documentary nor was intended to be and it was not news. Where I'm concerned, there was not one characterization that bore any relationship whatsoever to the truth or facts. Nothing portrayed happened. Period. ... I would call the show junk soap opera that pretended to have something to do with real events ... I will repeat I am in litigation in this matter."
In another email, Oziel expressed frustration at the case being brought up because of the NBC series and other similar programs focusing on the '90s case.
"For a little perspective, this event is current in some people's minds who follow famous murder cases, but I moved on nearly 25 years ago! It was something that happened that I happened to be a witness to, but really has nothing to do with my life over the last...QUARTER CENTURY!!! In no way do I identify with it nor does it in any way define me. You can let outside events 'control' you or you can decide to in no way let that happen. That is what I did ... I have a great life. When someone throws a lemon your way, you need to make lemonade. You will have stumbling blocks in your own life. We all do. Take charge of your own life and move past them in a healthy and positive direction when they occur."
While the Menendez brothers' case remains a popular one for true crime retellings, Oziel has clearly moved on.