Treatment Abuse, Behavior Modification, Thought Reform => Facility Question and Answers => Topic started by: hurrikayne on December 11, 2007, 12:19:31 AM

Title: White River Academy
Post by: hurrikayne on December 11, 2007, 12:19:31 AM
The below post has been edited from its original submission...
A family member was put into White River Academy, Delta, Utah in October.  He is not a child that ever needed to be sent sister had the school pick him up from another location, by what me and friends have appears as though this is one of the very BAD ABUSIVE schools. 
My parents are wanting to get custody of my nephew as they know he is in harms way....we are just having a hard time getting appropriate help.....I have been literally sick to my stomach after researching this institutions, and I want to not only help my nephew get free, but all of the other children as well, and I will not stop until there is a stop to this criminal act.....what kind of parent would ever send their child off....I just do not understand this, and will go to great length to help end this about children having no voice....I just am shocked and sick by all of this....I NEED ANY HELP YOU CAN GIVE AS FAR AS THE DETAILS OF THIS SCHOOL. AND HOW TO HELP GET MY NEPHEW FREE AS WELL AS SHUT THIS SCHOOL DOWN.  Any and all advice would be most appreciated,

I just wish these places were federally regulated if nothing else, but I have read more than enough and think every single school should be completely shut down and EVERYONE employed by these places deserves serious prison time....not to mention the ignorant parents who did not do their proper research

Thank you again, and like I mentioned above I would appreciate any help what-so-ever.

Child & relative assisted.
Title: White River Academy
Post by: Che Gookin on December 11, 2007, 06:07:01 PM
First things first.. get your nephew out... then blow the place down..

BUMPing for epic need of info... come on people.. help out if you know something.
Title: White River Academy
Post by: Anonymous on December 11, 2007, 09:10:17 PM
Here's what I know:

White River Academy was originally located in Puerto Rico.

Randall Hinton was involved with that program (owner, part owner, investor??) after he reportedly quit "Teen Help".

Not sure how White River was being marketed when Hinton was involved.    Someone else may know.

Definitly not a program I'd ever want one of my friends or relatives in for several reasons, the number 1 reason being it's in Utah.  Check out Utah's track record for dealing with negligent programs, even where deaths occurred.  Or Whitmore Academy.  The proverbial slap on the wrist doesn't cut it where kids lives are at stake, IMO.
Title: White River Academy
Post by: Che Gookin on December 11, 2007, 09:53:47 PM
I agree...

wwasp lineage have they now??
Title: White River Academy
Post by: Oz girl on December 12, 2007, 05:53:31 AM
The fellow in charge is called Chris Cary not much on him in google. Are there any kids out there that were at a place he has previously been involved with?
Title: Re: White River Academy
Post by: Ursus on September 17, 2008, 04:06:15 PM
Their website, as far as I have been able to determine: (
Note that this is a "teenhelp" site - a marketing arm of WWASPS.

See also this post, from a thread re. the transformation of Brightway Hospital into Eagle Ranch Academy (blurb on Justin Nielson of White River Academy within this post):
viewtopic.php?f=44&t=25530&p=315339#p315339 (

Interestingly enough (or perhaps not), that first link above contains "Associated links" to "Caring 4 Youth" (marketing arm of USA Guides, run by the Cowdells; also described in the second link), and "Strawn Support Services" (another transporter, lots on him here on fornits - do a search).
Title: Re: White River Academy
Post by: Ursus on September 17, 2008, 04:52:32 PM
Apparently they were originally in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. Here is a "press release" in which they describe the move to Utah:

White River Academy Relocates to Delta, Utah; and Expands Services

White River Academy has just moved from Puerto, Rico to Delta, Utah. We have also redesigned our website; increased our services to offer indvidual counseling, added to our staff, and more.

January 24, 2007 (FPRC) -- We are pleased to announce the much awaited relocation ofWhite River Academy, a boarding school for trouble teens, from Rio Grande, Puerto Rico to Delta, Utah. We have also redesigned our website: ( and we have added nine new articles about Positive Peer Culture.

On November 23, 2006, we made the long journey from Puerto Rico to the Salt Lake City International Airport. We then drove two and one half hours south west to Delta. It was an arduous trip, but it is very rewarding to be at our new facility.

We are anxious to continue the expansion of the services we offer. A new addition to our services is Individual Counseling twice per month where therapy is given to increase emotional development and to evaluate behavior. Also new is the ability for parents to speak with our Licensed Counselor up to four times monthly for progress review and Family Counseling.

On January 11, 2007, we received our first visit, in this new facility, from The Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges for accreditation purposes to further our academic program. In the next few months, we hope to add a music class to our curriculum in which students will be able to learn to play the Guitar and take vocal lessons.

White River Academy is a therapeutic boarding school that uses Postive Peer Culture to help troubled teens. We believe in helping teens help themselves. For more information: please call 1-866-679-8336 or visit our website: (

Send an email to Sky of White River Academy

Keywords: boarding school, troubled teens, positive peer culture ... 03238.html (

Another site that came up on a Google was ( which appears to be a relatively inactive site containing a number of other links (same teen transport ones as noted in my previous post, amongst others). However, whatever was on there re. White River Academy has long disappeared, even on the cache. A WhoIs domain registration search (http:// yields the following info:

   2601s 3rd street plaza
   omaha, Nebraska 68108
   United States

   Registered through:, Inc. ( (
      Created on: 01-Dec-03
      Expires on: 01-Dec-08
      Last Updated on:

   Administrative Contact:
      hinton, jason (
      96 Mowat Avenue
      Toronto, Ontario M6K 3M1
      +1.4165350123      Fax -- +1.4165312516

   Domain servers in listed order:

"Jason HINTON?" SKYCorp? Hmm.
Title: Re: White River Academy
Post by: Anonymous on September 17, 2008, 06:01:43 PM
From Fornits Wikis datasheet (http://

In December 2006 two of the detained boys managed to escape. Despite lack of court order regarding their status as detainees, they were returned to the facility for further confinement [5].

In January 2007 a stabbing took place at the facility. A 17 year old boy was stabbed by a 16 year old. The wound was 4 inches deep and the victim ended up at the Delta Community Hospital [4].

4) Millard teen arrested in stabbing at school (http://, Deseret News, January 15 - 2007.
5) 2 teen escapees from Delta facility are caught (http://, Deseret News, December 4 2006

It seems like a place with some kind of action.
Title: Re: White River Academy
Post by: Anonymous on October 19, 2008, 07:20:26 PM
Hey, i know what all of you are talking about. I attended white river academy and received the help needed. I am only 13 years of age and i missed both christmas and many other important holidays. The experience was tough, but worth it I am now a fully functioning teen.


Title: Re: White River Academy
Post by: WRA attendee on February 07, 2012, 06:06:59 PM
I attended White River Academy for 1 year. I was at the facility in Puerto Rico and the one in Delta UT. I was 16 at the time of entry, I had my 17th birthday there, and I also spent Christmas there; because of good behavior I was allowed to go home for Thanksgiving. When I went in I was a junior in high school, but because of my bad grades I was still considered a freshman. I am now 21 years old and majoring in English at a prominent University in the state of Georgia, where I currently hold a 3.4 GPA. I also plan to attend law school either at UGA or Emory. I never thought I would be defending WRA, but it's really not that bad of a place. They were never abusive in any way (even though there were definitely times that called for it). Was it miserable? Very miserable, but I had made some very bad decisions in my life. I'd already been to rehab twice and had a couple run ins with the law. By the time I was 16 I'd seen and done more things than most people do in a lifetime. Was it strict? Incredibly strict. Did it seem unfair? Of course it did, I was 16 and pretty much done whatever I wanted my whole life. Was it difficult? I'd say it was the most difficult thing I've ever done in my short existence, and hopefully the hardest thing I'll ever have to do. You'd have to know what it's like but it's too much to go into. But the experience taught me that if I could conquer that place, then I can conquer anything. I reached the highest rank there faster than anyone else had, and probably faster than anyone else will, and I was basically the leader of a group of 15. It taught me responsibility and prepared me for the world. My parents took me out before I graduated the program so I would be able to graduate, on time, with my high school class. This isn't a bad place for your children to go. It wasn't all bad. There were a lot of very fun times there. Justin, the director, cares about these kids. I literally saw him crack his head open trying to save one of the kids in Puerto Rico. He welcomed ME into his home and introduced me to his family, even after knowing my background. As for the newspaper articles listed above, I was there for both those incidents. I knew the 2 that ran away and I knew the 2 that were involved in the stabbing. One of the kids that ran away was actually also the one who did the stabbing. It's a school for bad teenagers! They're going to run away, Google it; they run away from home! And honestly, that kid that got stabbed deserved it. I'm not saying send your child here if he acts up. I think parents should exhaust all other options before trying something like this. Don't send your child off to teach him a lesson. Teach him a lesson on your own. Send him off because he needs to change the direction of his life.
Title: Case against White River Academy
Post by: Oscar on December 04, 2014, 08:01:58 AM
The lawsuit also includes USA Guides.

Quote from: Court House News
'Wilderness Experience' Called a Private Prison (
By JONNY BONNER, Court House News, May 06, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - A "private prison" posing as a "wilderness experience" tormented a teen into "robotic obedience" by forcing him to work in burning sand without shoes or adequate water, leaving "a trail of post-traumatic stress, nightmares, and damaged, destroyed families," a family claims in court.

Ryan, Shawn and Mark Stencel sued White River Academy, USA Guides and four individuals, in Federal Court.

The Stencels, of Alaska, claim the "private prison" locked up Mark Stencel against his will and without consent, based on false promises of "a supportive, safe, healthy, camp-like setting with regular and productive therapy/counseling."

White River Academy, in Delta, Utah, markets itself as a boarding school, academy, therapeutic treatment center and wilderness experience "designed to straighten out troubled, truant or failing teenage youth," according to the lawsuit.

Mark Stencel was among many teens damaged at White River, the Stencels say, which relied on "rough tough love" to enforce its supposed treatment.

"Mark Stencel was thrust into White River without the slightest understanding of what he was getting into, and had no choice in the matter. For White River, Mark represented one in a string of damaged teenagers that it boasted of helping, accompanied by some unjustified theory that rough tough love was just the treatment they needed," the 24-page complaint states. "At White River, there was no forum for complaint, explanation, appeal, or grievance against the placement, before, during, or after it occurred. The only option available to Mark was to bear it, for White River is a lock down, closely guarded private prison, where punishments are harsh for any rule infraction, real or imagined."

Mark Stencel was made to complete "mindless tasks of blind obedience enforced by cruel punishment" at White River, the Stencels say, and was punished by isolation and loss of earned privileges.

"Mark was forced to work in 100-degree weather without protection and insufficient water, no shoes to protect against the burning sands, cuts, thistles, or other foreseeable injury. This was done to thwart any potential attempt to escape to seek help and freedom and to intimidate Mark in to robotic obedience to any and all commands by White River," the complaint states.

Mark was not properly fed or clothed while at White River, the Stencels say.

"Defendants failed to provide nutritious food, clothing, shelter, and education, even though they represented to the Stencels that they were doing so and specifically lied to them about the living conditions at the facility, to the detriment of Mark's well being," the complaint states.

"Defendants were negligent in adopting and implementing regimens and tactics specifically designed to induce anger, helplessness, and worthlessness in Mark Stencel and other inmates, much to their mental and emotional distress, with lasting effects, potentially changing the entire course of Mark Stencel's life unless plaintiffs prevail in this case so they have the means to continue to help Mark with the additional issues and pain caused by White River, in addition to the initial problems that caused the Stencels to seek help for Mark by sending him to White River."

Defendant USA Guides, "a transport service trafficking in minors ... kidnapped Mark by force" and took him to White River, the Stencels say in the lawsuit.

White River then charged "extravagant" fees for its bogus treatment, the Stencels claim.

"Mark Stencel was emotionally and physically harmed at White River and his parents did not receive the quality care, services, and facilities, destined for Mark and for which they paid," the complaint states.

"Defendants were aware that the harm caused to children at these facilities, including Mark Stencel, was so grave that the Utah Department of Human Services should have stepped in and shut down White River, but it did not."

Individual defendants include White River owner Justin Neilson; camp therapist Gary Anderson; parent liaison Barbara Habe; and Robin Reber, allegedly "responsible for propagandizing the plaintiffs about White River."

Delta, pop. 3,436, is in central Utah.

The Stencels demand a refund and punitive damages for fraud, false imprisonment, involuntary servitude, intentional infliction of emotional distress and constitutional violations.

They are represented by Thomas Burton.