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Lindsay Lohan said to violate probation by leaving rehab

The actress agreed to undergo 90 days of treatment after a reckless driving case, but prosecutors say she left a Newport Beach center shortly after arriving.

May 03, 2013|By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
  • Actress Lindsay Lohan violated her probation Thursday by leaving a rehab facility in Newport Beach, prosecutors say.
Actress Lindsay Lohan violated her probation Thursday by leaving a rehab… (Chris Pizzello / Associated…)

Actress Lindsay Lohan violated her probation Thursday by leaving a Newport Beach rehabilitation facility where she was to begin 90 days of treatment in a reckless driving case, prosecutors said.

Mark Heller, Lohan's attorney, told Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Dabney on Thursday morning that his client had already begun her therapy at the Morningside Recovery facility after opting not to go to a Long Island recovery center.

Heller told the judge the facility met all the conditions of Lohan's plea agreement in a case in which she was also convicted of lying to police. The "Mean Girls" star's Porsche rear-ended a truck on the Pacific Coast Highway June 8, but she denied she was driving.

Lohan arrived at the Newport Beach facility after 11 a.m., according to observers.

Santa Monica Deputy City Atty. Terry White, who prosecuted the case, said he learned that Lohan spent just a few minutes at the rehab center before leaving. "Ms. Lohan is in violation of her probation, that much is clear," he said.

White said he did not know Lohan's whereabouts but that if she didn't return, he would seek an arrest warrant. Lohan was required to check into a rehab facility Thursday or face being sent to jail.

Lohan's lawyers could not be reached for comment.

The judge had previously warned that any violation of his order would mean time behind bars. "I will send you to jail for six months. I will max you out. We won't be having these conversations," Dabney said.

In March, Lohan entered a no contest plea in her case and agreed to enter rehab, spend 18 months in psychotherapy and serve 30 days of community service.

During Thursday morning's hearing, White objected to the last-minute change in rehab facilities. He said Heller had informed him that Lohan was going to a Long Island facility that he had checked out and believed was a suitable program. White said he was not allowed to check out Morningside to see whether it complied with the sentencing terms.

"This is highly improper," White protested to the judge, noting that he learned from media reports that Lohan had chosen a different facility.

During the hearing, Dabney cautioned that the rehab program must "fall within the parameters of the plea agreement."

"If we decide the program doesn't measure up to the plea agreement, she will have to move to a different program," Dabney said. The judge gave White a week to examine the facility and raise any objections.

On Thursday, state officials said the Newport Beach facility was not licensed to provide residential drug or alcohol treatment.

"They do not have a license to operate a 24-hour-a-day, residential treatment facility; what they do have is a certification to provide outpatient services at a clinic," said Millicent Tidwell, deputy director of the licensing division of the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. "In Ms. Lohan's case, she was ordered to go to a residential treatment facility."

Tidwell said licenses for three Costa Mesa facilities run by Morningside Recovery were revoked in 2012. She said the Newport Beach facilities were "unlicensed" and could only operate as sober-living facilities.

In a prepared statement, Mary Helen Beatificato, chief executive of Morningside, said it was "completely false" to report Morningside had "no license/certification to provide drug and alcohol treatment."

She said treatment was conducted by licensed clinicians at a 6,300-square-foot state-certified clinic and not at the sober-living homes in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.

"No treatment is conducted in these homes," Beatificato said, noting that the license that was suspended and then revoked was for residential detoxification services.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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