To: Los Angeles Superior Court, New York City Supreme Court, Dallas County Criminal Court, Superior Court of Fulton County (Atlanta), and Cook County Circuit Court (Chicago)

Judges: Stop Sending Sex-Offenders & Violent Criminals to AA Meetings

Each year, the legal system sentences more than 150,000 people to join AA. Sex offenders and violent criminals plea-bargain their way into AA meetings where they systematically prey on women in their most vulnerable states--all under the guise of anonymous.

Why is this important?

Karla Brada Mendez was one of these women. She met Eric Allen Earle in AA. Karla was there to seek help with alcohol and drug overuse; Earle was court-ordered to attend AA for the fourth time. He had already spent two years in prison and had six restraining orders against him. Court records clearly documented his relapses with alcohol and violent behavior towards those closest to him.

According to his friends, Earle, age 40, trolled meetings for emotionally vulnerable women who would take him in. He had a string of girlfriends that he all met in AA, and Karla, age 31, would soon become one of them. After enduring months of escalating domestic violence, Karla was found strangled in her apartment in 2011. Earle now faces charges for her murder.

Karla’s story is not the only one. AA has built a reputation among predators as a place to find victims. Sexual predators learn how to rise up the ranks of AA and use their power to target women with less than one year of sobriety, who they consider the most vulnerable. This phenomenon has become so common that members refer to it as ‘the 13th step.’ Meanwhile, the organization’s leadership has done little to implement safety measures at their meetings and judges continue sentencing violent offenders to meetings in droves.

Every citizen and every AA member deserves the right to safe recovery. Please demand that the courts find somewhere else to send sex offenders and violent criminals. Lives depend on it.

Monica Richardson, Safe Recovery Advocate & Director of The 13th Step Film
Jaroslava Mendez, Safe Recovery Advocate & Karla's Mother


Reasons for signing

  • I know for a fact how vulnerable women can be in "the rooms" and when a person is at his or her most vulnerable and is ENCOURAGED to attend an AA meeting by believing the common understanding that it's a safe and supportive space, we will see more and more victims when people who don't WANT to be there are OBLIGED to be there.
  • Personally, when I attended AA by choice, I was put off greatly by the court mandated attendees. I was going for support and sharing my own experiences with being an alcoholic, growing up in a home with an alcoholic father and being married to an alcoholic. It was never comforting hearing the “pffft’s” and the “huffs and puffs” of people HAVING to attend vs attending willingly. I think those meetings should definitely be separated! I didn’t feel comfortable sitting there sharing my worries an...
  • I am not safe at AA anymore.