‘Social Emotional Learning’ Guru May Have Concealed Sex Abuse While Pushing ‘Young Teens’ To Enjoy Sex

Psychologist running ‘social emotional learning’ programs in schools opposes mandatory reporting of child abuse and may have failed to report instances
Youth counselor Jennifer Freed, left, in a closet full of sex toys / Facebook screenshot

A leading “social emotional learning” program that contracts with schools and holds intimate talks with children is led by an astrology-peddling mystic who pushed girls as young as 12 to have sex and appears to have failed to report child abuse and at least one case of rape, according to an investigation by The Daily Wire.

Sex guru, astrologist, and psychologist Jennifer Freed is the founder of AHA! Santa Barbara, a poster child of “social emotional learning,” the newest fad in K-12 education. Her local California education non-profit won a high-profile visit in May from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to herald its purported mental health benefits for youth.’

A woman told The Daily Wire this month that Freed encouraged her not to press charges against a teacher who assaulted her when she was a minor. Now, a review of Freed’s past writing suggests that it may be part of a pattern.

In a 2003 graduate school dissertation written for the Pacifica Graduate Institute, Freed casts light on her philosophy regarding the sexuality of young girls, as well as laws designed to protect them from sexual predators. In the dissertation, obtained by The Daily Wire, Freed argues against laws requiring mental health professionals to report certain crimes based on the age of sexual partners.

“In the State of California it is reportable as child abuse for a minor 13 years or under to have sexual relations with anyone 14 years or older,” Freed writes. “This type of statute may not encourage some young women to come forward about their young sexual experiences. I believe that legislating sexual activity among minors may prevent crucial dialogue between youth and adults.”

In the more than 300-page dissertation, After Sex? A Study Of Young Female Teens, Freed interviews four girls who had sex with older boys when they were between the ages of twelve and fifteen. She reveals that her own positive sexual experiences as a teen gave her a “fertile passion” for talking about sex with youth — she recounts that having sex before she was in junior high school was a religious experience.

Freed said she entered the conversations with girls as young as twelve wondering how their male sexual partners “taste.”

“Entering junior high school… we slowly progressed to genital play, where we delighted in the miracles of our mutual arousal,” she recalls. “When we were joined as one, my skin and sex were holy places, and he was the ‘body of Christ.’”

Freed says she wants to be a guide to help “young teens” attain that same mystical experience. And she has ascended to the national stage to do so, through connections such as a close friendship with Gweneth Paltrow. Her astrology-based self-help book, A Map To Your Soul, is sold on Paltrow’s website alongside anal sex toys and candles scented like Paltrow’s vagina, and currently tops the non-fiction bestseller list in Canada.

All of the teens Freed interviewed for her dissertation outlined some level of apparent criminal conduct, but there is no indication that Freed reported it to authorities. At the time, she was a mandatory reporter who had “been working as an educator and psychotherapist for teenagers for the last 25 years,” she discloses.

The dissertation included transcripts of the interviews, and all four described strongly regretting having sex at a young age. But Freed asserted that they secretly enjoyed it and culture was to blame. They “seemed reluctant to admit their desires, as if that made them less acceptable,” her dissertation concluded. “Most girls have counter narratives to disguise their own desires, and protect themselves from social judgment.”

Freed, the transcripts show, attempted to steer them to treat their experiences as positive, including one girl who told Freed she was raped.

The first of the four teens described, at 13, getting “really drunk” before an “older” guy “took my virginity.” She did not want to have sex, but “he was very aggressive,” she said. The man, whose exact age wasn’t disclosed, left the bedroom and had sex with the girl’s friend, and is now in jail for killing someone, she said.

Freed, after learning the details of the encounter, went on to ask the girl whether she got “pleasure” out of the experience. She did not, the girl told Freed.

“Now in the actual sex of it, did you get any pleasure?” Freed asked.

“It was more forceful and it wasn’t any, any kind of pleasure,” the girl said.

Freed asked what she would wish for other young teens, and the girl says “that they’d be able to say no.” Freed interjected, “If they wanted to,” and concluded, “So it sounds like in your mind, sex is a great thing and a wonderful thing.”

Jennifer Freed discusses her work in schools through AHA! / Screenshot via

A second interviewee, who was 14 at the time of the interview, told Freed that at the age of 12, she lost her virginity to a 16-year-old.

“So I’m 12 years old, I’m making love with this guy. Was it a positive thing for you socially? …. It’s like you got your soul back being with him?” Freed asked. When the girl said “uh huh,” Freed said “That’s great.”

The girl said she regretted the experience and that if she were an adult guiding a 12-year-old in her position, “I definitely would say don’t be sexual,” the girl said. But Freed steered her back to an affirming view of underage sex.

“Let me ask you this. In an ideal world, how do you think a girl should be treated if she falls in love and has sex before the age of 14?” she asked. “How do you think parents should be around this, ’cause that’s like the biggest thing. There are so many girls now that are having sex before 14 and some of them really enjoying it.”

But the girl didn’t take the bait, saying many of her peers regret it. Freed challenged her to imagine that “we didn’t live in a culture that made girls feel ashamed of sex,” but the girl said that was not the issue. “At that age it’s really not as great as you think it is,” the girl reiterated.

A third teen described being raped by a 19-year old when she was 15. “How was it for you? I mean were you aware of your own desire?” Freed asked the girl.

A third teen, 18 at the time of the interview, described being raped by a 19-year-old when she was 15 years old while she was drunk at a party. Again, Freed focused on the potential for pleasure.

“And did you enjoy the sexual relationship or how was it for you? I mean were you aware of your own desire?” Freed asked. “Did he know what he was doing? Like was he a good lover?

The girl said that as a result of her experience, she now believes sex at a young age is “a bad thing to do” and she thinks young people should only do it “when you’re married.”

But Freed seemed to try to convince her otherwise, saying “what do you think about people that say it’s good to have a lot of experience before you get married so you don’t get bored when you’re married?”

A fourth teen, 17 during the interview, described being 13 and losing her virginity to a 15-year-old.

“Did you learn a lot about sex?” Freed asked. After the girl told Freed that sex has “become a little bit of a problem” for her, Freed said “You love the physical part of it… that’s been real positive for you?”

She said, “Well, yeah, but it has caused a lot of problems,” including a sexually transmitted disease. “I wasn’t ready,” she said.

Freed seemed to suggest that more experience could help. “How would you get to know yourself well?” Freed asks. “Do you think you’ve gotten a lot more mature and wise kind of because you did so much early?”

The girl repeatedly said she had “regrets,” but Freed concluded for her: “Now you’re still really enjoying sex, but it’s with somebody that you’re very committed to?”

“The actual sex I usually don’t [enjoy] that much,” the girl answered.

Freed acknowledges in conclusion that the girls’ testimony did not support the purpose of her thesis and her career: the idea that children’s lives would be better if they had an adult with whom they discussed the intimate details of their sexual liaisons. “Most girls were somewhat unclear about what would have been helpful to them. It was as if their right to have help was a new idea to them,” she wrote.

She asserted, however, without citing any examples, that her research showed the need for “An affirmation of female sexual power and desire” and an “attitude of openness and acceptance regarding young female sexuality.”

Freed said she entered the conversations with the young girls wondering how their male sexual partners “taste.”

Jennifer Freed dissertation

Jennifer Freed dissertation

Freed declined an interview request from The Daily Wire, and stated that she has followed all rules on reporting sexual abuse.

“As a mandated reporter I have followed all rules and regulations in reporting child abuse. All cases are confidential.”

Nothing in the 336-page dissertation gives any suggestion that Freed viewed the stories as something to be reported to authorities, and it also includes follow-up reflections from the interviewees a month later, which give no impression that they were visited by authorities as a result.

“Wow this was interesting. I forgot about everything we had talked about,” one interviewee said.

One woman who was involved with Freed and AHA! Santa Barbara as a high school student told The Daily Wire Freed pushed her not to report a teacher to authorities after he bit her ear and touched her butt, urging her to consider a “restorative approach instead of going to authorities” because the teacher was a black man. Freed denied to The Daily Wire that this ever happened. The teacher–whose wife sits on the board of an AHA funder–was ultimately convicted and fired.

Freed’s organization, AHA! Santa Barbara, conducts “social emotional learning” programs in schools, and has been paid directly by the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

RELATED: Woman Abused As Teen Says School’s ‘Social Emotional Learning’ Guru Pressed Her To Drop Charges Because Her Teacher Assailant Was Black

RELATED: ‘Scared For My Safety’: Sexual Assault Victim Stunned As Leftists Defend Teacher Who Attacked Her

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘Social Emotional Learning’ Guru May Have Concealed Sex Abuse While Pushing ‘Young Teens’ To Enjoy Sex