Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania requested $400,000 in taxpayer dollars be given to a local LGBTQ center that advocates for transitioning children and has a history of sexual abuse allegations.

The funding request was proposed in the congressional budget released Thursday by elected officials for the 2025 fiscal year. If passed, the funding would go to the Mazzoni Center, a local LGBTQ health and wellness center that was embroiled in scandal in 2017 after Dr. Robert Winn, the medical director of the center at the time, resigned following allegations he had engaged in sexual relationships with patients.

Mazzoni offers hormone therapy, “Gender marker change letters for Social Security and Birth Certificate updates” and letters of support from mental health professionals for sex-change surgeries, according to their website. The center also offers pediatric and adolescent care for patients who identify as transgender but does not list the specific treatments for patients under 18, instead noting that their team works to create a “comprehensive and individual treatment plan for each patient.”


In 2017, the center came under intense scrutiny when accusations were made against Winn, who had faced allegations of sexual misconduct four years prior, that he was abusing his authority and engaging in inappropriate behavior with patients, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The center conducted a third-party investigation into the accusations and Winn resigned that same year alongside Mazzoni’s CEO Nurit Shein, who had been accused of ignoring Winn’s behavior.

Members of the Philadelphia City Council wrote a letter to the center expressing concerns about its leadership and transparency about the abuse allegations. The city requested more information be provided to the council regarding the investigation and how Mazzoni intended to prevent this from happening again.

Despite this, concerns remained that the center did not handle the accusations properly or resolve the problem. As a result, Sultan Shakir, president & executive officer of Mazzoni, released a statement in April 2022 attempting to reassure the community that the center had put in place “recommendations” suggested during the investigation.

He noted that the center had created an anonymous hotline to report abuse, ‘”formalized requirements for LGBTQIA+ competency training, anti-discrimination training, and anti-harassment training” for staff and put in place policies to establish “appropriate boundaries” between employees and patients. Shakir did not mention the specific findings of the investigation or if it was made public.

In the years since, Mazzoni has struggled to make ends meet, with recent financial statements indicating that the center had failed to adhere to a loan agreement, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The center lost $2.9 million on $12 million in revenue in 2022 and $1.5 million on $13 million in 2021.

Mazzoni is still listed as a partner with the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center “for complete care before and after your gender-affirming surgery,” according to the school’s website.

Casey and Mazzoni did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

Kate Anderson on March 21, 2024
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