Jerry Mungadze, the North Texas therapist Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker credits with his mental health recovery, has a history of controversial statements and treatments, including a variation of “conversion” therapy and a belief that choice of crayon color can reveal whether a patient has been possessed by a demon.
Why it matters: Walker’s mental health and recovery have been a pivotal component of his campaign and a focus of both supporters and opponents.
- Earlier this year, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley tweeted that Walker is “living proof that hard work and determination pay off.”
- Walker’s history of violence, which he attributes to mental illness, has also been the subject of attack ads from primary opponents.
Flashback: Mungadze made headlines in 2014 when he was featured in a British television special called “Cure Me I’m Gay” and when he told televangelist Benny Hinn that crayon and colored pencil drawings of the brain can reveal demonic possession.
- Mungadze later told the Dallas Morning News that he’s not a “gay conversion” therapist.
- He did not reply to Axios’ requests for comment.
Catch up quick: Mungadze diagnosed Walker with dissociative identity disorder after a 2001 incident when Walker says he sped around suburban Dallas fantasizing about executing a man who was late delivering a car he’d purchased, which Walker outlined in his autobiography.
- That same year, police in Irving received a call from Mungadze because Walker was armed with a gun and scaring his estranged wife, according to a police report obtained by The Associated Press.
- A former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader told Irving police in May 2002 that she believed Walker had been lurking outside her house, per the same AP report.
- In January 2012, another woman told Irving police that Walker “lost it” when she tried to end her relationship with him, telling police that Walker threatened to wait outside her apartment and “blow her head off,” according to another police report.
Mungadze and Walker became friends, according to Mungadze’s website, and Mungadze wrote the foreword to Walker’s 2008 book, “Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Disorder.”
What he’s saying: In a December interview with Axios Atlanta, Walker said he’s accountable for past violent behavior toward his ex-wife, but denied the two other women’s allegations.
- Walker has become an advocate for mental health awareness. “Most of the things I’ve done after my struggles have shown people that you can get knocked down, and you can get up,” he told Axios. “And that’s what I want people to realize.”
- He said he’s “better now than 99% of the people in America. … Just like I broke my leg. I put the cast on. It healed.”