Keith Bakker

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Keith Bakker
Born Keith Benjamin Bakker
(1960-11-24) November 24, 1960 (age 56)
New York City, New York, United States
Residence Hilversum, North Holland, Netherlands
Nationality American, Dutch
Occupation Mental health practitioner, television personality
Television Van etter tot engel, Family Matters
Criminal charge Sexual abuse, rape
Criminal penalty Sentenced to 5 years imprisonment in 2012
Criminal status Released
Website (Dutch)

Keith Benjamin Bakker (born November 24, 1960) is an American-Dutch former mental health practitioner. Having been a long-time drug addict himself, he specialized in drug rehabilitation and became known in the Netherlands for his addiction clinic Smith & Jones and appearances on several Dutch television programs.

Bakker was sentenced to prison for the sexual abuse of female ex clients and had been detained from April 2011 to September 2014.

Personal life[edit]

Bakker grew up in Westport, Connecticut in an unstable family environment. His father was an alcoholic businessmann who had emigrated from the Netherlands. Bakker started using alcohol and drugs himself as a teenager. He used heroin for the first time on his eighteenth birthday. In the 1980s, Bakker worked for some time as a roadie, travelling with Michael Jackson, Prince and Bruce Springsteen, among others.[1]

Bakker came to Amsterdam in 1985. The following years were those of severe drug addiction, leading a lifestyle of sleeping under bridges, scamming tourists to earn money and searching trash cans for food. He also contracted HIV after using an infected syringe. In 1989, he came into contact with a social worker of Youth With A Mission, who helped him become clean. After that, Bakker married and became a music industry manager.

In 1996, Bakker relapsed into a hard drug addiction. After a trial during which he threatened a police officer because he wanted to be convicted, he was sent to the Jellinek clinic in Amsterdam. In July 1998, he had a heart attack after having taken an overdose of drugs under a bridge. A month later, Bakker was clean again after a stay in a hospital and following the Minnesota Model therapy program in Scotland. He subsequently decided to start helping other addicts getting rid of their addiction.

The clinic[edit]

In 2004, Bakker opened his Smith & Jones clinic for drug and alcohol addicts, which in 2006 became the first clinic in Europe to focus on people with a video game addiction.[2] The clinic had establishments in Amsterdam and Wassenaar.

In the same period, Bakker also appeared regularly on Dutch television in talk shows and reality series. He was a frequent guest in Spuiten en Slikken as an addiction expert and coached troubled teenagers (and their families) in Van etter tot engel and Family Matters. 2008 also saw the release of Bakker's biography titled Pushing the Limits, written by Dutch author Leon Verdonschot.

By the end of 2009, during an interview with NCRV, Bakker stated that it was thanks to his clinic that he had managed to introduce the Twelve-Step Program in the Netherlands, which he had followed himself in Scotland.

Having become involved in a renting conflict, Bakker resigned as manager of Smith & Jones in September 2010. The clinic itself was closed shortly afterwards.[3]

Indictment and conviction[edit]

By the end of 2010, Bakker was accused of sexual abuse by several of his female clients.[4] After investigation by the Amsterdam vice squad, Bakker was arrested in April 2011 and was held on remand since then. During the trial in March 2012, Bakker admitted that he performed sexual acts with some of his clients, but denied that he had sexual intercourse with them. He declared that he used sex as a sedative. In April 2012 eventually, the court convicted Bakker for sexual abuse and sentenced him to five years of imprisonment and a ten-year prohibition of executing his profession as a mental health practitioner.[5] His clinic Smith & Jones had already been declared bankrupt in March 2011.[6]

Bakker was released from prison in September 2014.