Author Topic: TLC Responds to Possible Justice Department investigtion  (Read 2080 times)

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Offline hanzomon4

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TLC Responds to Possible Justice Department investigtion
« on: October 24, 2007, 09:33:11 AM »
Thayer Academy Responds to Possible Justice Department Investigation

An important member of Congress has called for a Justice Department investigation into the death of a 15-year old boy at the Thayer Learning Center, a boot camp school in northwest Missouri. The founder of the school, in her first media interview, has told the Missourinet the investigation will show no wrongdoing.

Thayer founder Willa Bundy and husband John proudly show photographs of some of the 750 teenagers who have gone through the program in the last seven years as they agree to their first media interview The student who died in 2004 is the only fatality in school history.

Congressman George Miller, the House Education chairman, says a Government Accountability Office

report raises questions about abuse and lack of proper medical care. The GAO report says the boy had 30 scrapes and bruises on his body when he died. He says the committee "might very well be on solid ground asking for oversight from the Justice Department" on the death of student Roberto Reyes. The boy died about a week after going to Thayer. An autopsy said a spider bit might have been a contributing factor to the boy's death. The GAO report suggests the boy was mistreated by school staff who did not realize he was ill and thought he was lazy and rebellious. The report says the boy had 30 cuts and bruises on his body by the time he died.

Bundy says she's not an expert and cannot comment on the boy's appearance after his death. She says the GAO relied on statements from websites that are the equivalent of a supermarket sensational tabloid. She says she is shocked by the lack of fact-finding in the GAO report and the investigator's reliance on some statements that are completely inaccurate.

No criminal charges were filed after the boy's death. The school and the boy's parents settled a lawsuit the parents filed, reportedly for one million dollars

Bundy says Thayer has never been found to have abused any child including the boy' who died. The school does not come under state regulation although Bundy says she would not object to regulation as long as it does not interfere with parental rights.

[The entire interview with Willa Bundy (belowoo) is her first response to the GAO report, which was given to the House Education Committee on October 9, and to the committee chairman's comnment that the Justice Department should investigate].

[Note, they have a 60min audio interview at the end of the article on the page the article is pulled from(follow the link to get there)]
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Offline Deborah

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TLC Responds to Possible Justice Department investigtion
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2007, 02:59:59 AM »
FBI Investigates Mo. Boot Camp Death
By SAM HANANEL – 2 days ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional investigators looking into the death of a student at a Missouri boot camp for troubled teens have referred the case to the FBI for further investigation.

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said the Government Accountability Office made the referral after completing its report on thousands of allegations of abuse, neglect and deaths at treatment programs around the country.

Fifteen-year-old Roberto Reyes died in 2004 after spending less than two weeks at the Thayer Learning Center, a military-type home in Kidder, Mo., about 50 miles north of Kansas City.

Reyes' death was blamed on a probable spider bite, but the GAO report found he had been ill for days and punished for being too weak to exercise. He also was forced to wear a 20-pound sandbag around his neck.

"In light of the seriousness of this case, in which neglect, if not outright abuse, likely contributed to the death of a child, I urge the FBI to treat this referral with urgency," Miller said.

Officials at Thayer and the FBI did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

At Miller's request, the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, launched a nationwide investigation into residential treatment programs for children and released its findings at a congressional hearing earlier this month. Miller wants Congress to regulate such camps more strictly.

Reyes' parents sent him to Thayer Learning Center after the California teenager's grades dropped and he repeatedly ran away from home. The GAO's review of camp records showed that Reyes had an oozing bump on his arm by the second day of the boot camp phase of the program and told staff he was feeling ill.

Camp records showed that Reyes vomited, defecated and urinated on himself numerous times over the next few days, but the staff believed he was being rebellious.

"When we see evidence that warrants further investigation for potential criminal activity or abuse, we make a referral," said Gregory Kutz, head of GAO's forensic audit and special investigations unit.

"There was clear evidence to us that he was abused before he died," said Kutz, who met with FBI officials about the case earlier this month. "The people there misinterpreted the signs of a spider bite and thought he was faking something, so instead of getting him medical treatment, they tortured him."

After his death, Reyes' parents sued the camp and several staff members, eventually settling the case for slightly more than $1 million. No criminal charges were filed against the camp.

Camp officials have denied claims in the lawsuit that physical exertion and abuse caused or contributed to the boy's death.

The camp, which houses more than 100 troubled teens, has been the subject of several claims of child abuse.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Hidden Lake Academy, after operating 12 years unlicensed will now be monitored by the state. Access information on the Federal Class Action lawsuit against HLA here: http://www.fornits.com/wwf/viewtopic.php?t=17700