Author Topic: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities  (Read 18684 times)

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Offline Ursus

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PANI Rescues 20 Young Americans Who Suffered Various Attacks
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2011, 12:15:43 AM »
Here's an English language version of this news from InsideCostaRica:

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INSIDECOSTARICA.COM | COSTA RICA NEWS | Tuesday 22 March 2011   

PANI Rescues 20 Young Americans Who Suffered Various Attacks



The Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (PANI) - Costa Rica's child welfare agency - says it rescued on Monday a group of 20 American minors who allegedly received psychological and physical abuse by managers of a reformatory in Puntarenas.

The academy "Teen Mentor" has been operating since 2010 in the Hotel Carra in Tarcoles de Garabito, Puntarenas.

The PANI took the action to intervene following complaints from three psychologists at the academy. Ten children were transferred directly to a PANI shelter, while the case is still in under investigation.

Parents paid from us$600 per month to keep their children between the ages of 13 and 18 in the program.

PANI officials say all the youths found in the academy on Monday were all Americans.

Jorge Urbina, manager of the PANI, told the media on Monday that the U.S. Embassy in San José was in the process of notifying all the parents to come get theri children.

The action by the PANI quickly reminds that of the "Dundee Ranch" academy back in 2004.

Academy at Dundee Ranch was a behavior modification facility for United States teenagers west of Orotina. It was promoted as a residential school, offering a program of behavior modification, motivational "emotional growth seminars," a progressive academic curriculum, and a structured daily schedule, for teenagers struggling in their homes, schools, or communities.

The facility was associated with World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASP).

In May 2003, authorities in Costa Rica shut down due to claims of child abuse, and investigated the school and its managers. A new WWASP facility called Pillars of Hope was opened at the site of Academy at Dundee Ranch in 2004.

During its operation, Dundee Ranch was the subject of multiple allegations of abuse. Parents and enrollees claimed that food being withheld as punishment. Former students complained of emotional scars due to their stay there. A judgment in Louisiana caused Costa Rican authorities to investigate the facilities. A riot occurred at the facility in May 2003, leading to its closure. The Costa Rican immigration authorities found that 100 of the 193 children enrolled in the program did not have appropriate migration papers.

Narvin Lichfield, who was the director at the time of the facility's closure, was jailed in Costa Rica for a brief period at the time of the closure. He was later tried in Costa Rica on charges of coercion, holding minors against their will, and "crimes of an international character" (violating a law based on international treaties, specifically referring to torture).

On February 21, 2007 a three-judge panel found Narvin Lichfield innocent of the charges of abuse. During the trial the prosecutor told the court that there was insufficient evidence and testimony to link Lichfield to the crimes for which he was accused.


INSIDECOSTARICA
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Offline Ursus

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Comments: "PANI Rescues 20 Young Americans Who Suffered..."
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2011, 12:38:12 AM »
Comments left for the above article "PANI Rescues 20 Young Americans Who Suffered Various Attacks" (22 March 2011, InsideCostaRica.com):


Sam Jackson · 3/22
    Teen Mentor was also owned by the Lichfield family and almost certainly used the same methods. Narvin Lichfield returned to the US to operate Carolina Springs Academy which had its license revoked by the South Carolina Department of Social Services in 2009. Dozens of animals were abandoned at the property after the closure of the facility and many starved to death. Nearly every program operated by the Lichfields (WWASPS) has been shuttered for abuse, yet they still go on to open more, sometimes even on the same property with a different name.
    John · 3/22
      Sam, this is so sad and this family just keeps rolling along opening and closing centers. I looked WASPS up on the Net and 15 of these academies have been closed. What I wonder is, how this one got opened in the first place since we know WASPS and Lichfield? At least the authorities acted quickly which is new for CR.
    [/list]


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    Offline Ursus

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    Costa Rica govt. closes controversial 'tough love' youth cam
    « Reply #17 on: March 24, 2011, 10:19:37 AM »
    And... more details in this article from the Tico Times:

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    Tico Times

    Costa Rica government closes controversial 'tough love' youth camp

    Posted: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - By Adam Williams

    Another youth behavior modification center run by the Utah-based World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASP) is closed following allegations of abuse. This one was run by the association's director, Bob Lichfield, brother of Narvin Lichfield, who ran a similar center here until it was voluntarily shut down in 2003.

    For the second time in the past nine years a behavior modification center run by the Utah-based World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASP) was closed in Costa Rica for alleged psychological and physical mistreatment of residents.

    Last Friday, the Child Welfare Office (PANI) closed the center, known as Teen Mentor, which advertises therapeutic and psychological services to 21 U.S. teenagers aged 13 to 18. Parents had placed the troubled teens in the facility to address behavioral issues and problems with substance abuse.

    PANI closed the center after receiving complaints that the student residents were being subjected to physical and mental abuse from the supervisors of the program. Three PANI psychologists visited the facility to interview the students when they were alerted to the allegedly abusive conditions at the center, the daily La Nación reported.

    The organization's website, which has since been disabled, offered behavior modification services for a monthly fee. The residents had been staying at the Hotel Carara in the town of Tárcoles de Garabito, in Puntarenas, west of San José near the Pacific Ocean.

    "They rented the entire hotel for several months," said a hotel employee who asked that his name be withheld. "The boys were downstairs, the girls were upstairs. As far as abuse or things like that, we usually only saw the kids during pool time and don't really know what went on when they went to the beach or outside. When I came to work on Friday, PANI was here and by that night everyone was gone."

    Robert Walter Lichfield, the founder of the WWASP program, registered Teen Mentor as an official business in the national registry in August 2010. In the last 16 years, 15 behavioral facilities operated by WWASP have been closed due to similar allegations by child welfare organizations in the U.S. and other countries.

    In 2002, Narvin Lichfield, Robert's brother, was director of the Dundee Ranch Academy in the town of Hidalgo, Orotina, west of San José. A Tico Times investigation that year found that many of the students who attended the academy accused Dundee staff of physical and psychological abuse. In an interview with The Tico Times in 2002, Narvin explained his "high impact" behavioral modification methods, which included tactics such as making students walk 100 miles around a track under the hot Pacific sun to earn their "freedom," or forcing them to spend up to five days in "solitary confinement" as punishment for looking out of the window during a lesson.

    "I am sure 'High Impact' will be mistaken as jail, there is no doubt about it," he told The Tico Times in 2002. "But this is no different from any boarding school in England" (TT, Oct. 25, 2002).

    In 2003, PANI raided the Dundee Ranch facility after a U.S. woman living in Costa Rica, Susan Flowers, reported to PANI that her daughter was being held against her will at the academy. The raid resulted in a student riot and 35 teens escaped from the site (TT, May 23, 2003).

    After the raid, Narvin Lichfield was briefly arrested and charged with detaining minors against their will, coercion and international rights violations. When the case finally went to trial in early 2007, judges declared Lichfield innocent for lack of evidence (TT, Feb. 23, 2007). Judges did say they believed students' rights had been violated at the Dundee Ranch, but prosecutors had failed to prove it.

    "We're happy that the law and the system actually works," Lichfield told The Tico Times after the trial in Alajuela, west of San José. He added that he was "very unhappy that things that have never been proven" and that judges used "hearsay" to affirm that abuse occurred at the camp.

    For more on this story, see the March 25 print edition of The Tico Times.


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    Offline Ursus

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    Comments: "Costa Rica govt. closes controversial..."
    « Reply #18 on: March 24, 2011, 06:57:58 PM »
    Comments left for the above article, "Costa Rica government closes controversial 'tough love' youth camp" (by Adam Williams; March 22, 2011; Tico Times):


    Jonathan Firstenberg · Wednesday March 23 2011
      Our son was one of the kids left at Mentor Teen when it closed last week. We are shocked that although the CR government cares about kids...it seems they forgot to tell the parents of these children that they were about to close the facility. Instead, we received urgent, emergency calls from the U.S. State dept. demanding the we fly down to CR to pick up our kids immediately. Upon returning these calls, we were unable to reach anyone...even at emergency numbers! These "kids" are troubled teens with ailments ranging from PTSD, to BiPolar, Borderline, ADD-HD, Schizoid Effective. If CR cared so much, why didn't they let us know in advance so we could "save" our son from the trauma that was caused by PANI, not by Mentor Teen. Why didn't PANI and CR Govt see that another "Lichfield" was opening a center in their country? You would think red flags would be everywhere once they saw the name of owner. Instead, they decided to listen to disgruntled employees rant about their boss and take no, zero responsibility for their decision. It's as if they don't care about any other citizens but their own. Vacationing down there will never happen for us! Will someone out there please prove to me that there was abuse? Will the parent of the abused child please respond?
      As for U.S. State Dept, they botched getting our son on his correct flight causing further trauma to him, to us. Once we connected with U.S. SD officials, we found them rude, unfeeling, unsympathetic, uncaring, incompetent and cold-hearted. Certainly none of them wanted to take responsibility at all...in fact a Duty Office at SD said about getting our child safely home, "this is your problem, not ours." Thanks for being so helpful to both traumatized kids and U.S. citizens.
      Anyone else have an experience to share?
    Karen Burnett · Thursday March 24 2011
      Jonathan - If you'll take the time to use Google such terms as WWASP+abuse; Litchfield or Lichfield+allegations or warrant or abuse; Or Ken Kay or Jay Kay plus those same terms - or Dundee Ranch and those same terms; or Tranquility bay, or Casa by the Sea, or High Impact or Spring Creek Lodge, or Paradise Cove or Brightway Adolescent Hospital or Cross Creek or Majestic Ranch Academy or Darrington academy or Sunset Bay Academy or Morava Academy and the list goes on - anyway, you'll soon find a great deal of information indicating these men have a long history of exactly the abuses they are found to have engaged in on this occasion and more. You might want to take a look at the law suit filed by the Turley Law firm.
    http://www.wturley.com/Recent-Filings/2 ... SHEETS.pdf[/list]
    Karen Burnett · Thursday March 24 2011
      First an apology for double posting. I can't find an edit option and I need one. Oh well.

      Johnathan, you seem upset CR failed to do their home work. On what grounds do you suppose they could stop the brother from renting a hotel? How could they use his relatives "alleged" bad behavior to stop him? And if they stop the two brothers from future "program" operation, what can they do to stop their other associates - of which there are many.

      Still, I feel your frustration. This is why there have been efforts to get federal regulations passed in the states. See:
    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-911

    You might also find the GAO report on abuse in Residential Treatment Programs of interest. There are many links so I will again advise you use Google. GAO+abuse+Residential Treatment Programs.

    It is shameful the state department treated you so callously. I suppose they tire of this situation but that is no excuse. I do hope you will write the State department and complain about their shabby treatment.

    You mentioned red flags. Your right, there are man,y many red flags. And yet for some reason you didn't see them. This despite the fact you are naturally far more concerned than you can expect a Costa Rican official to be. In fairness, if they didn't care about your child's welfare they would have not bothered to check on him, much less go to the trouble they have on his account.

    You seem upset the officials have listened to "disgruntled employees" (if only you knew how familiar all this sounds) and yet how would you feel if your child was seriously injured or even killed ( http://teenadvocatesusa.homestead.com/tribute1.html ) and you then learned employees had "griped" and the officials had ignored them?

    Your a lucky man. Be grateful.[/list]
    Jonathan Firstenberg · Thursday March 24 2011
      (post appears to have been deleted. -Urs)[/list]
      Thomas Carlson · Thursday March 24 2011
        Jonathan:

        My parents placed me in a WWASPS (Lichfield owned/operated) program in Montana 5 years ago. I have been connected with others who were in WWASPS programs since I got out. Before you read this message, understand one thing: You have been scammed. You were desperate to get help for your child, and you were taken advantage of because you spend any amount to help him. These people are predators.

        I have no reason to suspect that after 15 or 20 years of working in this industry the Lichfields would begin to operate their programs differently. The environment itself is, plain and simple, abusive. We were separated from our families, our friends, and everything we knew, and locked in a cage where they could do anything they wanted to us. The education was a joke - our distance learning program was not accredited by a real accreditation agency, and none of our teachers were certified. The staff were unqualified, trained only in the program's jargon and the "proper" use of force to restrain children who either acted up or simply refused to go along with their regime. In practice they were allowed to get away with any physical punishment of students (though leaving marks was discouraged). They were paid minimum wage or less, and this attracted the sort of people that in normal circumstances you would not allow anywhere near your child. The "exercise" was repetitive and forced, if we did not comply we would be punished with a loss of points/extended stay. The intended goal was to simply drain us of all energy so we could not resist or escape. The food was, in my program, cheap and unhealthy - in others, inadequate and spoiled/infested.

        The initial isolation in phone communication with your child is intended to give them the cover they need to break your child down to the point where they no longer believe you would rescue them even if you understood the conditions they were living under. My program's parent manual included, on the first page, a description of common "manipulations" (program lingo, I would be surprised if you didn't hear it) that teens used in their letters to attempt to get their parents to pull them from the program prematurely. There would be a mix of silly-sounding complaints ("the food is bad!") and serious ones ("The staff are hitting kids") to convince parents that even serious allegations should be ignored by parents who wanted to truly help their children transform by making them complete the program. After about three months they would let us call home in the presence of a staff member, who would disconnect the call if we showed any signs of "manipulating" (asking to come home, or even crying).

        The "psychological abuse", other than that which can be inferred from what I have already stated, consisted of "group" sessions within our cabin. "Group" was not group therapy. During group individual students would be singled out by a staff member to be ganged up on by the rest of their peers. ANY form of insult was allowed (and encouraged), no matter how ridiculous or uninformed, because the point was to BREAK US DOWN. Girls were called sluts, whores, boys fags, pussies, and so on. We were yelled at - anything we had volunteered about our histories used against us - usually until we cried or showed some other sign of having broken. This happened every day. If we didn't join in when someone was ganged up on, it was grounds for being singled out ourselves. So we did.

        The only way to advance in the program was to submit to it and "fake it till you make it". Once kids realized their parents were brainwashed and weren't coming to rescue them they buckled and started doing what was expected of them (being abusive toward new students, reporting petty rule violations to staff), making up stories to make it sound like they were really terrible before they came into the program (if not it would be determined you were hiding something).

        I could go much further.. but for now I won't. What you need to understand is that these people don't care about kids. They only care about money. The goal of the program is to break your child down and "build him back up" into someone completely compliant. While these elements of my program have been common to others I have spoken to from WWASPS programs around the world, I have no way of knowing what it was like inside Teen Mentor. What I know is that these people belong nowhere near children and even the mildest program they are capable of creating will involve elements of dominance and coercion, because they don't know any other way.

        Depending on how long your son was in the program.. don't be surprised if he comes out more withdrawn, or if it takes him a while to be able to talk about what happened there. Most importantly, LISTEN TO HIM. If he did suffer abuse, it is likely he was told that YOU KNEW ABOUT IT. Tell him otherwise. Many of us have PTSD now. It's been years now and the nightmares still won't go away. Almost every day something will remind me of the program and even though there is significant distance between the person I was then and the one I am now, it is still part of me that I can't shake off. It's very difficult for me to trust people, I have a lot of difficulty in public or around large groups of people, and lots of trouble sleeping. My relationship with my family was poisoned by these monsters and it took YEARS for my parents to believe I was telling the truth about what went on inside. Please don't make that mistake. I hope someone reading this can benefit from my family's suffering in some way.
      Thomas Carlson · Thursday March 24 2011
      http://www.susanohanian.org/atrocity_fetch.php?id=3192[/list]
      Alan Jeffs · Tuesday March 29 2011
        Thomas,

        It sounds like you are very troubled... the only thing I don't hear you talking about is taking any type of accountability for your life. My guess is before Spring Creek was to blame it was probably your parents fault or the school teacher did not understand or the principal was to blame for you being kicked/expelled or whatever you want to call it.

        So a few logical questions to ask you-

        Why did your parents send you to Spring Creek in the first place?

        Are you currently using drugs?

        Do you have a job?

        Have you completed college or are in college?

        Responsible people take Responsibility.


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      Offline BuzzKill

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      Re: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities
      « Reply #19 on: March 24, 2011, 07:13:26 PM »
      Quote
      In 2003, PANI raided the Dundee Ranch facility after a U.S. woman living in Costa Rica, Susan Flowers, reported to PANI that her daughter was being held against her will at the academy. The raid resulted in a student riot and 35 teens escaped from the site (TT, May 23, 2003).

      Allow me to take a moment to pay homage to Su Flowers - who was one of the most interesting and determined women I ever had the pleasure to know. She did amazing *crazy* things simply by not worrying what anyone else thought and deserves full credit for getting Dundee Ranch investigated. I wish I had trusted her and helped her a lot more than I did.
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

      Offline Samara

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      Re: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities
      « Reply #20 on: March 24, 2011, 07:26:27 PM »
      Jonathan - Another dumbf*ck parent. Who in their right mind would warehouse their kid at an international location?   And Jesus, what type of proof does he need of abuse? The bruises are interior.  Jesus when will these people ever get it?
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

      Offline Ursus

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      Teen Mentor Academy In Costa Rica Closed By Authorities
      « Reply #21 on: March 25, 2011, 12:29:17 PM »
      Reportage from Lon's site:

      -------------- • -------------- • --------------

      Breaking News
      Posted: Mar 24, 2011 08:56

      Teen Mentor Academy
      San José, Costa Rica


      Teen Mentor Academy In Costa Rica Closed By Authorities

      Contact:
      Adam Williams
      Reporter
      506-2233-6378
      http://www.ticotimes.net

      March 24, 2011

      The Tico Times in Costa Rica, http://ow.ly/4kSK7, reported Teen Mentor was closed following allegations of abuse. The Academy, known as Teen Mentor, has been operating since October 2010 in Carara Hotel facilities in Tárcoles Garabito, Puntarenas. The owner of Teen Mentor rented the facilities.

      PANI officials inspected the facilities on Friday in response to complaints of physical and psychological abuse to students brought by three psychologists who previously worked there. According to the hotel maintenance manager at the time of the intervention of PANI, "Teen makers Mentor and youth were left alone," he said.

      According to the complaint filed with the Board, the 21 minors who were in the academy, all of U.S. origin was a violation of various rights. "It is alleged physical and psychological abuse, isolation, lack of communication between young people and their families, there was no medical supervision or clarity on the issue of right to education and recreation programs lacked," said Jorge Urbina, technical manager PANI.

      PANI Technical Manager explained that staff of that institution had interviewed the boys. The official said the children reported last Thursday they were forced to sign a document that stated they were at the site of their own volition. According to the boys, if they had not signed the document they would have been sent to an isolation room where they would have been kept eight days.

      The Costa Rican child welfare agency (PANI) officially closed the Teen Mentor Academy immediately, and according to Urbina, the U.S. Embassy in San José alerted parents of the 21 children to come and take them home. Until yesterday afternoon, the parents of 10 young people had come to pick up their children. The remaining group was in the custody of the Board.

      According to Urbina, the U.S. Embassy linked Teen Mentor Academy to the Mentor Corporation ABC Costa Rica SA, and registered on the National Register in August 2010. "It was confirmed that the program did not have permits from the Ministry of Health or of the Board to operate in the country," said Jorge Urbina.

      The article stated the owners of this program marketed the program through its website, as a rehabilitation program for young people between ages 13 and 18, with program costs starting at $600 a month.


      Copyright ©2010, Woodbury Reports, Inc.
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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      Offline Ursus

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      Child Welfare Office closes yet another teen reform center
      « Reply #22 on: March 25, 2011, 12:55:55 PM »
      Here's the afore promised update of the above article in the Tico Times:

      -------------- • -------------- • --------------

      Tico Times
      TOP STORY

      Child Welfare Office closes yet another teen reform center

      Posted: Friday, March 25, 2011 - By Adam Williams

      A youth behavior modification center run by the Utah-based World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASP) is closed following allegations of abuse.


      Not Guilty: In 2007, former Dundee Ranch administrator Narvin Lichfield, above, was found non-guilty of abusing teens at his behavior modification camp in Costa Rica. Last Friday, child welfare officers closed a similar camp run by his brother, Bob Lichfield, citing abusive practices. Tammy Zibners | Tico Times

      For the second time in the past nine years, a youth behavior modification center run by the Utah-based World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASP) is closed following allegations of abuse. This one was run by the association's director, Bob Lichfield, brother of Narvin Lichfield, who ran a similar center here until it was voluntarily shut down in 2003.

      Last Friday, the Child Welfare Office (PANI) closed the center, known as Teen Mentor, which advertised itself online as a therapeutic and psychological services program for U.S. teenagers dealing with behavioral issues and substance abuse problems.

      According to PANI technical director Jorge Urbina, PANI officers visited Teen Mentor's facilities on Friday after three Costa Rican psychologists reported that they witnessed abuse of student residents.

      Teen Mentor was operated out of Hotel Carara, in the Pacific coastal town of Tárcoles de Garabito.

      Student residents told PANI investigators that they had experienced physical, verbal and psychological abuse while at the facility.

      "We intervened on Friday and interviewed all the kids from the program. Their reports were similar to the reports made by the psychologists about mistreatment and rights violations," Urbina told The Tico Times. "It was apparent that the regimen of discipline included physical, psychological and verbal mistreatment."

      Urbina said that when PANI officials arrived, no program supervisors were present at the hotel.

      In addition to the reports of abuse, Urbina said that the program wasn't registered with PANI or the Health Ministry, thus rendering it illegal. Permits from PANI and the Health Ministry are required to run an organization that works with children under the age of 18.

      According to the organization's website, http://www.horizonbootcamp.com, residents would be offered therapy to assist struggling teens to "provide structure, supervision and discipline" for a monthly fee beginning at $500 per month.

      Urbina said that none of the 20 U.S. residents, aged 15-17, reported receiving any therapeutic guidance.

      "The place promoted itself as a therapeutic center with recreational offerings," Urbina said. "But in our investigation we found that there was no therapy being performed at the school nor was there a recreational program. It was a completely unauthorized school."

      The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica also addressed the closing of the program this week.

      "The Embassy had no role in the decision to close the school or remove the students [from Teen Mentor]. The matter falls fully under the jurisdiction of Costa Rican authorities, primarily PANI. The Embassy contacted the parents of U.S. citizen students, and has been working with the parents and the Costa Rican authorities to get them home safely."

      Second Time Around

      Robert Walter Lichfield, who also goes by the first name Bob and is the founder of the WWASP program, registered Teen Mentor as an official business in the national registry in August 2010 and began operating it here last October. In the last 16 years, 15 behavioral facilities operated by WWASP have been closed due to similar allegations by child welfare organizations in the U.S. and other countries.

      In 2002, Narvin Lichfield, Robert's brother, was director of the Dundee Ranch Academy in the town of Hidalgo, Orotina, west of San José. A Tico Times investigation that year found that many of the students who attended the academy accused Dundee staff of physical and psychological abuse.

      In an interview with The Tico Times in 2002, Narvin explained his "high impact" behavioral modification methods, which included tactics such as making students walk 100 miles around a track under the hot Pacific sun to earn their "freedom," or forcing them to spend up to five days in "solitary confinement" as punishment for looking out of the window during a lesson.

      "I am sure 'High Impact' will be mistaken as jail, there is no doubt about it," he told The Tico Times in 2002. "But this is no different from any boarding school in England" (TT, Oct. 25, 2002).

      In 2003, PANI raided the Dundee Ranch facility after a U.S. woman living in Costa Rica, Susan Flowers, reported to PANI that her daughter was being held against her will at the academy. The raid resulted in a student riot and 35 teens escaped from the site (TT, May 23, 2003).

      After the raid, Narvin Lichfield was briefly arrested and charged with detaining minors against their will, coercion and international rights violations. When the case finally went to trial in early 2007, judges declared Lichfield innocent for lack of evidence (TT, Feb. 23, 2007).

      Judges did say they believed students' rights had been violated at the Dundee Ranch, but prosecutors had failed to prove it.

      When the Dundee Ranch site was closed in 2003, another program overseen by the WWASP organization moved into the same location. Known as Pillars of Hope, a Tico Times report in 2006 revealed that the program functioned as a language school and did not abide by the same "high impact" behavioral practices of Dundee Ranch (TT, Dec. 15, 2006).

      Despite the controversy surrounding WWASP programs and schools, the academies have always produced polemic responses from former students and parents. While some former students decry traumatic abuse and punishments such as denial of food, other former students report satisfactory experiences and considerable improvements in behavior. Some report a mixture of both.

      "I feel so grateful for what the program did for me. It's worth suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, because once I get over it, I'm gonna do great," Mary Gilbert, who was 14 in 2003, wrote in a letter to The Tico Times that year.

      According to Urbina, all but one student have been reunited with family members and returned to the U.S. with the assistance of the U.S. Embassy. The remaining teenager is under PANI's care while waiting to be picked up by family.

      Without the appropriate permits, Urbina said the school would be shut down indefinitely. Since the teenagers had been in the country since October, it is unclear whether they had valid visas.

      The Tico Times attempted to contact three WWASP schools in the U.S., and one that is still operating here, but no one answered the phone numbers listed on their websites (TT, Jan. 24, 2003).


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      Offline Inculcated

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      Re: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities
      « Reply #23 on: March 25, 2011, 03:22:50 PM »
      Sheesh… well, at least relatively this one didn’t last that long… open for less than a year, but these WWASP bastards are really tenaciously determined! I mean insurrections from staff psychologists having the nerve or ethics to complain about rampant abuses, outraged parents motivated to action and raids conducted by authorities…would be daunting enough to most sickos, but not in this case. Here history repeats itself. This is the same Narvin who was being investigated for abandoning horses to starve to death a short while back, right? Where will those wacky opportunistic, sadistic Lichfield’s go from here? Hopefully to prison and only to be released on THE CONDITION THEY DO NOT POSITION THEMSELVES TO BE IN CONTROL OF OR IN CONTACT WITH ANY MINORS AND ALL ANIMALS!
      Quote
      The law criminalizing torture abroad is codified at 18 U.S.C.
      §§ 2340 and 2340A (the “Extraterritorial Torture Statute”). 18
      U.S.C. § 2340A(a) states:

      Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to
      commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned
      not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any
      person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be
      punished by death, or imprisoned for any term of years or
      for life.

      Torture is defined under the statute as:

      [A]n act committed by a person acting under the color of
      law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental
      pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to
      lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or
      physical control.

      Notably, the statute prohibits torture committed not only by US
      citizens, but by non-citizens present in the United States. 18
      U.S.C. § 2340A(b) states:

      There is jurisdiction over the activity prohibited in subsec-
      tion (a) if (1) the alleged offender is a national of the United
      States; or (2) the alleged offender is present in the United
      States, irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged
      offender.
      http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/us ... A000-.html
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
      “A person needs a little madness, or else they never dare cut the rope and be free”  Nikos Kazantzakis

      Offline thomasC

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      Re: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities
      « Reply #24 on: March 25, 2011, 03:57:32 PM »
      Comment on updated Tico Times article by WWASPS troll.  Where the fuck do these people come from? Were they just not hugged enough when they were kids or something?

      Quote
      Wow interesting but inaccurate report including:

      "Bob" Lichfield had nothing to do with the ownership, operation or etc of this business.

      Students had two individual therapeutic sessions weekly and several adolescent group sessions weekly. Hence the need for the Psychologists who later became disgruntled and stole equipment including expensive phones and computers. The psychologists Ricardo Wlaker, Karen Carprio and Soledad Giacobbe. While the therapy may not have been effective due to the incompetence of these therapists it is an uncontested fact that it took place.

      Please list in detail the "Physical, Psychological abuse and verbal mistreatment. Include who, where, when and etc. Please note that it is an uncontested fact that Ricardo Walker was the clinical director of the facility and oversaw the food service, employee training, and discipline measures of the facility.

      There were students from 13-18 years old

      All students signed agreements that they chose to be at mentor teen (no mention)

      Several reports by the students the psychologist and Pani "brainwashing the students". And making it very difficult for their return home. Several flights were outright missed by their mismanagement.

      Several students told Pani and other officials they would like to continue the program

      Mentor had a very effective recreational program including trips to Manuel Antonio, weekly movies, zip lines, crocodile tours, sea turtle releases, surfing, trips to the mall, and several trips to Jaco city and beach.

      The government entered the facility with around 60 people illegally without a court order. When told such, they pretty much strong armed their way in and left absolutely zero due process.

      Allegations are easy to make print and say yet where is the evidence?

      To think that dozens of Costa Rica citizens would be involved in mistreatment of students is an insult to the hard working people that took great care of the students at the facility.
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

      Offline thomasC

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      Re: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities
      « Reply #25 on: March 25, 2011, 04:00:47 PM »
      Given WWASPS history, and the fact that both the parent on the original Tico Times article and the WWASPS troll on the updated version refer to the psychologists who reported the program to authorities as "disgruntled", it would not be surprising if the owners have sent out a memo to all parents with all the usual excuses about abusive authorities and so on.  If we come into contact with any parents we should ask them for this letter.
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

      Offline Ursus

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      Re: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities
      « Reply #26 on: March 25, 2011, 06:02:29 PM »
      Quote from: "Nun Yazbiz"
      All students signed agreements that they chose to be at mentor teen (no mention)
      Ya know... I couldn't find it in that most recent article by Adam Williams, but here is other reportage on those signed agreements, emphases added:

      • From the translation "PANI closes youth academy students for alleged abuse" ("PANI cierra academia juvenil por supuestos maltratos a alumnos," by Karen Medina, Ferlin Fuentes and Jorge Umaña, 21/03/2011, La NACIÓN):

          ...PANI Technical Manager explained that the boys were interviewed by staff of that institution.

          The official said the children reported that last Thursday were
        forced to sign a document in which all observe that they were at the site of their own volition.

        According to the boys, if they did not sign were sent to an isolation room where they should stay eight days.
      [/size][/li][/list]
      • From Lon Woodbury's 'Breaking News' article, "Teen Mentor Academy In Costa Rica Closed By Authorities" (March 24, 2011):

          PANI Technical Manager explained that staff of that institution had interviewed the boys. The official said the children reported last Thursday
        they were forced to sign a document that stated they were at the site of their own volition. According to the boys, if they had not signed the document they would have been sent to an isolation room where they would have been kept eight days.
      [/size][/li][/list]

      => This is especially evocative of the same kind of threats doled out to students in the aftermath of Prosecutor Vargas' visit to Dundee Ranch in 2003. Students who refused to sign that form, which was also intended to indicate that they were there of their own volition, were harshly punished.

      From an article by Mark Johnson, "Academy's grip lingers as son, family transform" (Nov. 8, 2004; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), emphasis added:

        On the morning after the riot, Dundee staff gathered students in small groups and
      asked them to sign a form saying that they had been treated well and not abused.

      "I thought it was an outrageous request for the staff to make of the kids," said Bezuidenhout, who supported Dundee Ranch in other respects.

      Joel read the form and handed it back.

      "I won't sign it," he said.

      Joel and other students who refused to sign the form were placed inside the "high impact" facility, the walled compound Joel had helped to build. Academy staff stood guard at the entrance preventing the students from leaving. When Joel tried to walk out, one of the guards cracked a wooden board across his legs.[/list][/size]
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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      Offline Sam Kinison

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      Re: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities
      « Reply #27 on: March 27, 2011, 12:06:25 PM »
      http://www.ticotimes.net/Opinion/Tough- ... Tough-Luck

      Most recent editorial in the most read English speaking publication down here.The wheels are turning.I stand corrected thinking that they closed down after N.Lichfield indictment,they opened Pillars of Hope in order to abuse kids in a subtler,sneakier way.Narvin Lichfield has rights down here too.This Teen Mentor shutdown was a sign to all the pickings may be riper in another field."Low Impact"--LOL
      Some twisted people out there!
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

      Offline Ursus

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      Re: Comments: "Child Welfare Office closes yet another teen.
      « Reply #28 on: March 28, 2011, 01:55:03 PM »
      Comments left for the above article, "Child Welfare Office closes yet another teen reform center" (by Adam Williams; March 25, 2011; Tico Times):


      Nun Yazbiz · Friday March 25 2011
        Wow interesting but inaccurate report including:

        "Bob" Lichfield had nothing to do with the ownership, operation or etc of this business.

        Students had two individual therapeutic sessions weekly and several adolescent group sessions weekly. Hence the need for the Psychologists who later became disgruntled and stole equipment including expensive phones and computers. The psychologists Ricardo Wlaker, Karen Carprio and Soledad Giacobbe. While the therapy may not have been effective due to the incompetence of these therapists it is an uncontested fact that it took place.

        Please list in detail the "Physical, Psychological abuse and verbal mistreatment. Include who, where, when and etc. Please note that it is an uncontested fact that Ricardo Walker was the clinical director of the facility and oversaw the food service, employee training, and discipline measures of the facility.

        There were students from 13-18 years old

        All students signed agreements that they chose to be at mentor teen (no mention)

        Several reports by the students the psychologist and Pani "brainwashing the students". And making it very difficult for their return home. Several flights were outright missed by their mismanagement.

        Several students told Pani and other officials they would like to continue the program

        Mentor had a very effective recreational program including trips to Manuel Antonio, weekly movies, zip lines, crocodile tours, sea turtle releases, surfing, trips to the mall, and several trips to Jaco city and beach.

        The government entered the facility with around 60 people illegally without a court order. When told such, they pretty much strong armed their way in and left absolutely zero due process.

        Allegations are easy to make print and say yet where is the evidence?

        To think that dozens of Costa Rica citizens would be involved in mistreatment of students is an insult to the hard working people that took great care of the students at the facility.
      Nun Yazbiz · Sunday March 27 2011
        Post appears to have been deleted. -Urs[/list]
        Patrick Hewes · Monday March 28 2011
          This make no sense, why PANI would "brainwash" the students?
          Due process? Is this familiar?

        http://www.wturley.com/Recent-Filings/2 ... SHEETS.pdf[/list]
        Patrick Hewes · Monday March 28 2011
        http://www.helpyourteens.com/news/press ... giant.html[/list]
        Patrick Hewes · Monday March 28 2011
        http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/cr ... .insession

        and this is how they operates...[/list]
        Alan Jeffs · Tuesday March 29 2011
          Patrick you seem to have all of the answers you should start up your own program to help teens that are struggling in their home, school or community.


        # # #
        « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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        Offline Ursus

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        Re: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities
        « Reply #29 on: March 28, 2011, 02:51:37 PM »
        Man. Narvin Lichfield's got it coming from all sides now.  :D

          GREENWOOD — Narvin Lichfield won't be prosecuted in connection with about $2,000 worth of bad checks written on the closed account of his former boarding school for troubled teens.

          After being arrested Jan. 28 for driving with a suspended license near the now-closed Carolina Springs Academy in Abbeville County, Lichfield was served with three courtesy summons related to bad checks that were passed at Frugals ABC liquor store in Greenwood...


          Continue reading...[/list]
          « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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