Now, rehab is the last refuge of a scoundrel

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2017 may have started out as the year of the celebrity perv, but now it ends as the year of rehab – which is where all celebrity pervs go to escape the wrath of their victims.

Just ask Harvey Weinstein, or Kevin Spacey, or Ben Affleck, or for that matter Sen. Stan Rosenberg’s Pee Wee Herman-lookalike boytoy. Just last week it was the boss of ESPN, John Skipper, who at the age of 62 suddenly discovered he has a problem with “substance abuse.”

So Skipper’s judgment must have been addled – I guess that explains why Jemele Hill is still on the air.

These celebrity pervs use rehab the way illegal-alien MS13 gangbangers use PC churches – as a sanctuary from the law, or at the very least lawsuits.

Dr. Samuel Johnson once famously said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. A century later, a U.S. House speaker amended that aphorism, saying that when he was defining the last refuge of a scoundrel, “Dr. Johnson overlooked the infinite and boundless possibilities of the word ‘reform.’”

And now yet another amendment is in order:

Rehab is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

First come the headlines about perv behavior, either by a politician who is invariably described as “embattled” or an entertainer who is “troubled.” Soon – usually the next day – their publicist says they are off to an “undisclosed location” for, yes, rehab.

Sometimes they are confronting “serious issues” (as opposed to frivolous issues?). On other occasions the Beautiful Person desires to deal with “personal issues” (as opposed to impersonal issues?)

If it’s part of a plea deal, it may be called “lockdown rehab.” (Think Lindsay Lohan.)

Many celebs have been in and out of rehab multiple times. If this is your fifth or sixth trip to one of Dropkick Murphy’s successors – say, Silver Hill, or the Meadows – your flack says you’re merely checking in for a “tune up.” (Think Chevy Chase.)

Some claim they’re going in to “gain focus and insight,” or just because “I need to spend some time on myself.” Someone named Selena Gomez wanted everyone to know she was going in “voluntarily… but not for substance abuse.” Another celeb I never heard of named Demi Lovato said she had an “eating disorder.” If I had been her therapist, I would have said, “Demi, stop eating!”

For embattled perv pols, entering rehab is not a guaranteed magic bullet to avoid prosecution. Remember the photos of perv ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, aka Carlos Danger, riding a horse as part of his “equine therapy,” which is very fashionable these days in the perverama.

Alas, Carlos is now continuing his therapy – at the Devens federal prison in Ayer MA. It’s the Bureau of Prison’s perv-rehab center. I’m assuming Carlos is now attending daily 12-step meetings – “Hi, my number is 79112-054 and I was on my way to becoming mayor of New York until I perved out!”

Not every celeb has to flee to rehab. If you’re too old to worry about resurrecting your career, there’s no need spend big bucks out in the desert somewhere with no wifi. Charlie Rose and Garrison Keillor, two public-broadcasting pervs, are in their 70’s – why bother with tiresome charades about turning their lives around?

Then there’s the filthy-rich class of pervs. For instance, Matt Lauer. He turns 60 in a couple of days. His career’s over and he knows it, and so what – he’s banked more money than God. Rehab – save that jive for People Magazine!

Anyway, I’m spending this week in Florida, and Saturday night I found myself sitting at the bar of a local bistro around the corner from the old Au Bar, a former stomping grounds of yet another embattled perv pol named Ted Kennedy.

It was about 6 o’clock. My daughter looked over and whispered to me, “Do you see that woman over there – that’s LuAnn de Lesseps!”

To which I responded, “Who?”

Apparently she is, or was, in Real Housewives of New York, or something. She was a “countess,” whatever that means. I glanced over – the countess didn’t appear to have ingested a bad ice cube, at least not at that point. But as it turns out, she did not get the memo about how drinkin’ doubles don’t make a party.

Imagine my surprise the next morning – Christmas Eve –when I saw her mugshot from the Palm Beach County jail staring out at me from the websites of both the New York and Palm Beach Posts.

Seven hours after my daughter spotted the countess at the bar, she had been lugged by the local constabulary. The troubled celeb was charged with, among other things, disorderly intoxication and one count, or maybe countess, of battery on an officer.

She blamed it all on “long-buried emotions.” Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

But now, the countess told the Page Six gossip column, “I am committed to a transformative and hopeful 2018.”

I think we all know what that means. Being committed to a transformative and hopeful 2018 is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

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