Author Topic: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities  (Read 18683 times)

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Offline Ursus

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Tough Love, or Tough Luck?
« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2011, 12:11:07 AM »
Quote from: "Sam Kinison" ... 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!
Here's the full piece, for posterity's sake... Fwiw, if I'm not mistaken, this op-ed piece appears to have accompanied the second article that the Tico Times put out on this incident. For some reason, I missed it at the time. Thanks for posting the link, Sam!

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Tico Times

Tough Love, or Tough Luck?

Posted: Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bob Lichfield's decision to locate what a website calls "Horizon Boot Camp" in a country with no army is bizarre.

Deciding what to do with a troubled teen is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of parenting. It's an all-inclusive burden that can be physically, emotionally and spiritually draining. So it's not an impulsive decision when parents – in perhaps a desperate last plea for help – choose to send their troubled teens to a foreign land and place them under the care of total strangers. There is no miracle cure for anything, particularly when it's promised by anonymous people on a website.

Last week's closing by Costa Rican child welfare officers of Teen Mentor, a behavioral modification program for troubled youth from the United States, is cause for concern (see story, Page 7). While the psychologists who recommended the program be shut down should be applauded for placing the teens' welfare above other concerns, there are still plenty of questions that need answering. Foremost among them is how the center was allowed to open in the fist place.

Robert Walter Lichfield, Teen Mentor's director and the intellect behind the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASP), perhaps a creative spin on the World Wide Web, where he makes his money, believes in tough love, itself a seemingly contradictory term. Lichfield likely believes that through punishment there is conformity, and through conformity, order. From order comes happiness, and through happiness, prosperity. But for whom?

Readers may have heard the name Lichfield before. Bob Lichfield is the brother of Narvin Lichfield, whose similar experiment, called the Dundee Ranch Academy, went horribly off-track after a Tico Times investigation exposed allegations of abusive treatment back in 2002. Narvin Lichfield was arrested and charged with detaining minors against their will, coercion and international rights violations. The charges stemmed from a "non-therapeutic behavior modification" program for teens he was operating in a country that prides itself on respect for human rights.

Like his brother, Bob Lichfield's decision to locate what a website calls "Horizon Boot Camp" in a country with no army is bizarre. Narvin Lichfield, by the way, was eventually cleared of those criminal charges – four years after he was arrested. The case's prosecutor – incredibly – admitted during the trial that there was not enough evidence to convict. A possible explanation for this is that the prosecutor – Edgar Oviedo – didn't call any witnesses, despite the willingness of several young adults who had been through the program to pay their own way from the U.S. to testify. Oviedo "lost" the allegedly incriminating evidence and didn't realize it until it was time for closing arguments. Trial judges took the uncommon step while they were rendering their verdict of "innocent" to add that they believed students at the Dundee Ranch were abused and had their rights violated. Narvin Lichfield denied those charges and called the judges' statements "hearsay."

Former Tico Time reporter and ex-Nica Times editor Tim Rogers first broke the Dundee Ranch story in October 2002. Costa Rica's Child Welfare Office, or PANI, finally issued a report based on a four-month investigation in May 2003, when it also filed a criminal complaint against the Dundee program with the Prosecutor's Office. Dundee Ranch was shut down in chaotic fashion that same month. The disorganization left many teens out on the street, with no Spanish-language skills, no money, no clothes and no passport. One teen was lost in downtown San José before a Good Samaritan helped him make contact with his mother in the U.S.

An investigation found that most of those teenagers were in the country with expired visas.

The fact that PANI shut down Teen Mentor only five months after it began operating in the Pacific town of Tárcoles de Garabito is a good thing. The fact that all the teenagers but one were reunited with their parents is another good thing.

But according to at least one parent of a teenager at the program, the Costa Rican government did not tell parents they planned on closing the facility. Parents received an urgent call from the U.S. State Department telling them to fly to Costa Rica and pick up their kids immediately. According to one parent's account, the ordeal was nearly as much a fiasco as it was in 2003 when Dundee was closed.

Here are some questions to ponder: Why (and how) was Teen Mentor allowed to care for troubled teens, many who suffer from emotional and psychological health disorders, without permits from PANI and the Health Ministry? Were the kids' visas expired? Why wouldn't WWASP operate these programs in the U.S., where kids could be closer to their parents? Why have at least 15 behavioral facilities operated by WWASP been closed in the U.S. and abroad in the past 16 years? Until these and other questions are answered, parents, it's best to keep looking for better solutions. There is still hope.

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Offline Ursus

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Comments: "Tough Love, or Tough Luck?"
« Reply #31 on: March 30, 2011, 11:17:44 AM »
Comment left for the above opinion piece, "Tough Love, or Tough Luck?" (March 24, 2011, Tico Times):

Thomas Carlson · Sunday March 27 2011
    They didn't apply for the permits, so I'm assuming they were just flying under the radar. PANI may not have even heard of them until they got the complaint. They like to locate schools overseas because they are cheaper to operate (land/labor/expenses), and the separation makes it easier to keep parents in the dark. They are offered as a "budget" alternative to the programs operated in the states. I realize these questions are rhetorical, but for any parents who come upon this article at a later date: troubled teen programs have a natural lifespan because they are abusive by nature and new staff or ex-students will eventually report what is going on inside to authorities. Don't send your kid away. If you have sent your kid away: demand an unmonitored phone call, go yourself and retrieve them, and don't take no for an answer. Your child's well being is worth more than the money you have already sunk into this pyramid scheme.

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Offline Sam Kinison

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Re: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities
« Reply #32 on: April 01, 2011, 06:59:51 PM »
Front page this week's Tico Times ... il-01-2011

Please PM me if you want to contribute as I will be in touch with author and editor next week!
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Offline Ursus

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Parents revile Teen Mentor, others claim program's value
« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2011, 07:21:48 PM »
    I was duped. I was at the end of my rope with my son and someone was telling me that they could help me out. They said he would receive therapy, go to class six to seven hours a day, participate in yoga, go to the beach and work out his issues. I believed it. I'm ashamed to know that there are people out there that would take advantage of struggling parents. I'm ashamed at myself for believing them.
      — Shelley Sylvester, Teen Mentor parent[/list][/list]

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      Tico Times

      Parents revile Teen Mentor, others claim program's value

      Posted: Friday, April 01, 2011 - By Adam Williams

      In wake of the closure of the Teen Mentor youth residential program on March 18, differing opinions were shared this week about the reports of alleged abuse taking place.

      Tough Love, Nice Pool: Citing allegations of abuse, child welfare officers on March 18 shut down Teen Mentor, a youth behavioral modification program held at Hotel Carara, in the Pacific town of Tárcoles. A former program employee denies the abuse took place. Alberto Font

      Teen Mentor, a behavioral modification center that officials from the Child Welfare Office (PANI) closed March 18, is under fire by a group of parents whose children attended the program. Some former staff members, however, defend the now-defunct center.

      Many parents of U.S. teens who attended the center, which was located in the Hotel Carara in the Pacific coastal town of Tárcoles, in Puntarenas, say they now feel they were tricked during the program's admissions process, and that some information they were told by program administrators appears to be either erroneous or false.

      A network known as the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS) operated Teen Mentor. In the last 15 years, at least 16 programs operated by WWASPS have been closed due to allegations of abuse or lack of operating licenses.

      Shelley Sylvester, who had to make an emergency flight to Costa Rica last week to retrieve her 16-year-old son after the program was closed, says she was told that her son, who had been struggling academically and behaviorally, would be in good hands with the staff of Teen Mentor.

      "I was duped," she said. "I was at the end of my rope with my son and someone was telling me that they could help me out. They said he would receive therapy, go to class six to seven hours a day, participate in yoga, go to the beach and work out his issues. I believed it. I'm ashamed to know that there are people out there that would take advantage of struggling parents. I'm ashamed at myself for believing them."

      According to Jorge Urbina, PANI's technical director, a psychologist who visited and worked with the teenagers in the program sent a report to PANI that warned of abusive practices against residents of the facility. Urbina and other PANI officials then visited the program on March 18 to investigate. When they arrived, they found no administrative staff to supervise the 20 U.S. teenagers participating in the program.

      Also, some residents told welfare officers that they had witnessed or experienced abuse during the program.

      "We intervened 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" (TT, March 25).

      Urbina also said the program was not licensed to operate by the Health Ministry or PANI, which was another reason for closing it.

      PANI officials removed the teenagers from the hotel and contacted their parents via the U.S. Embassy. Several parents said they received urgent phone calls from embassy or State Department staff requesting they make emergency travel arrangements to Costa Rica to pick up their kids.

      Brande Ridd, an independent contractor with the WWASPS organization and who worked at Teen Mentor for two months, said the allegations against the program "are not correct," and that she felt the majority of the parents and residents had positive experiences with the program.

      "I know the facts and I know that it was a really, really good program," Ridd said. "These kids are difficult kids. They have pushed their parents to a limit and they need help, they need an intervention. They beg to go into these programs... I know that the people who ran this school are very kind and very loving. But I also know that some of these kids are trying to manipulate their parents by telling them false accounts of what happened."

      According to Ridd, residents were making progress in the program before PANI intervened. She said that many of the residents and parents were disappointed with the closure of the program and have already expressed plans to enter their children into WWASPS facilities at other locations.

      She also said the psychologist filed the complaint while the primary administrator of Teen Mentor, Robert Walter Lichfield, was out of the country visiting his family in the U.S.

      "PANI took over and made everything into disarray. They didn't ask questions, they didn't give anybody an opportunity to get to the bottom of anything," Ridd said. "It caused a lot of turmoil with all of these families. Some of them had to pay a minimum of a few thousand dollars to fly to Costa Rica and get them. Several of the kids and parents were angry. Kids were saying, 'There was no abuse. We were doing good.' Several parents were angry with how PANI handled their kids."

      The case is currently being investigated by the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ).

      A Long History

      The Teen Mentor program is the second WWASPS program closed in Costa Rica in the last eight years.

      In 2002, Narvin Lichfield, Robert's uncle, 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 (TT, Oct. 25, 2002).

      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.

      In 2003, Dundee Ranch was closed when PANI officials raided the 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).

      WWASPS was founded by Narvin Lichfield's brother, Robert Browning Lichfield, who is the father of Teen Mentor operator Robert Walter Lichfield.

      Since opening the first program in the 1990s, at least 16 worldwide residential programs operated by WWASPS have been closed. According to documentation in a pending civil lawsuit against WWASPS in the state of Utah, "no WWASPS facility has ever been licensed by any state regulatory authority as a 'treatment center'."

      The lawsuit was filed by Dallas-based Turley Law Firm and Salt Lake City, Utah's Parker & McConkie, both in the U.S. Court filings shows that 353 plaintiffs joined the suit against WWASPS. The civil lawsuit accuses WWASPS organization of negligence, fraud, breach of contract, battery, assault, false imprisonment and a host of other charges.

      Of the thousands of parents who sent their children to WWASPS-run programs, many say they found the centers online, thanks to high visibility advertising. A Google search this week of the words "Teen Mentor Costa Rica" turns up 40 results. The first six link to WWASPS-operated programs. Each website has a different domain name and provides a different contact phone number, although the sites have nearly identical home pages and graphic images, as well as matching promises of therapy at a low-cost.

      Veronica Barger, whose 17-year old son was at Teen Mentor for three weeks prior to its closure, told The Tico Times that she looked up residential programs and teen behavioral centers online and found WWASPS programs "nearly everywhere I looked." After communicating with representatives of the program for several weeks, Barger said she was convinced the program was right for her son.

      "They told me they would do everything in their power to help him," Barger said. "They said Costa Rica was beautiful, that the kids would be raising local sea turtles, that [my son] would be involved in extracurricular activities and that the program was a good fit for him. It all sounded so good. I put my confidence in them, even started a friendship with the woman that helped me. I trusted them."

      Parents say visibility and a strong Internet presence have led them to WWASPS programs for years.

      "I sent my daughter to a WWASPS program in 1999 at a time when the Internet was still very young," said Sue Scheff, who says that her daughter was abused at a WWASPS program in 2000. "Around that time, it seemed like everything you typed [online] about residential programs or teen help, [WWASPS] would come up in every search. It was a great marketing technique. It's scary to think that it is still working."

      Yet despite the allegations of mistreatment in WWASPS programs, Ridd claims organization isn't deserving of its bad publicity.

      "There are parents out there that didn't get it their way when their child was in program and they have made it their mission to destroy WWASPS," she said. "There are thousands of kids and parents that are so thankful for what the program did for them. It forever benefitted their lives."

      Repeated attempts to contact Robert Walter Lichfield via telephone and email were unsuccessful by press time. The Tico Times called several toll-free numbers advertised on WWASPS websites, as well as Lichfield's Costa Rican cellphone and residential numbers, and the Hotel Carara, where the Teen Mentor program was held.

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      Offline Ursus

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      Re: Parents revile Teen Mentor, others claim program's value
      « Reply #34 on: April 04, 2011, 01:01:52 PM »
      From the above article:
      Quote from: "Adam Williams, of the Tico Times,"
      Since opening the first program in the 1990s, at least 16 worldwide residential programs operated by WWASPS have been closed. According to documentation in a pending civil lawsuit against WWASPS in the state of Utah, "no WWASPS facility has ever been licensed by any state regulatory authority as a 'treatment center'."

      The lawsuit was filed by Dallas-based Turley Law Firm and Salt Lake City, Utah's Parker & McConkie, both in the U.S. Court filings shows that 353 plaintiffs joined the suit against WWASPS. The civil lawsuit accuses WWASPS organization of negligence, fraud, breach of contract, battery, assault, false imprisonment and a host of other charges.
      Gotta wonder if these recent events surrounding the Teen Mentor program might give the Turley suit a good shot in the arm...
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      Offline Ursus

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      Comments: "Parents revile Teen Mentor, others claim..."
      « Reply #35 on: April 05, 2011, 08:57:10 PM »
      Comments left for the above article, "Parents revile Teen Mentor, others claim program's value" (by Adam Williams; April 01, 2011; Tico Times):

      Johnnathan Lopez · Saturday April 02 2011
        its important to encourage the good health for all of the children, but at the same time looks like the PANI was too fast to make a chaos of the situation
      Michele Ballard · Tuesday April 05 2011
        There was no abuse at Mentor and if PANI would have come in and done a professional investigation with cross checks, reviewed student's histories, and interviewed adults ( Staff ) they would have came to same conclusion.

        Instead they rushed in to make headlines with no court order or approval, no due process, ignored students who stated there was no abuse, and believed manipulative student without checking their history or background of lying and fabrication.

        In the process they robbed dozens of Costa Ricans of good jobs and thousands of dollars to local vendors and service providers.

        With unchecked Government officials like this, Costa Rica will struggle in attracting business to the country.

        Many of the parents have discussed a lawsuit against PANI not only for the way the handled the investigation but for the lack of supervision and way they handled the students taken in their care.
      Michele Ballard · Tuesday April 05 2011
        Excerpt from sworn statement by Staff at Mentor.............

        Let their be no mistake!..... This center was initiated as a "help center", and functioned as such until its wrongful closing......

        I here by proclaim that since my collaboration began with MENTOR TEEN CR., (on the second day of November, 2010).... Which ended on the unfortunate day
        of the improper closure.

        ! Have not been whiteness to any sort of mistreatment, of any kind, of any student enrolled in this program !

        David Brendon C.
      Ken Kay · Tuesday April 05 2011
        To Whom it May Concern:

        As the president of WWASPS, Worldwide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools, I was very dismayed with your article titled, “Parents revile Teen Mentor, others claim program’s value” dated April 1st, 2011.

        Mentor was not ever involved with WWASPS in any way. The WWASPS has actually done no business with any school for nearly five years and has no members nor does it provide any services of any kind to any school or other organization.

        Ken Kay
        President, WWASPS
      Michele Ballard · Tuesday April 05 2011
        I spent several weeks living on campus Mentor as a volunteer. I’ve worked in a variety of settings with different age groups including group homes and schools, before coming to Costa Rica and I naturally developed a rapport with the teens at Mentor. There was never any mistreatment or abuse. In fact, I was impressed by the Staff and the care, supervision, and treatment they gave to students.

        I was really impressed by the staffs commitment to motivate the kids to want more for themselves and be willing to work for it–and to strive to be accountable. This process can be extremely turbulent and many teens end up struggling to negotiate these challenges effectively. I found that Mentor was working with teens to help them get their lives back on track by learning to evaluate their choices, communicate more effectively, and cultivate healthy relationships with their families and those around them.

        Further I was there when PANI raided the place without Court Order and they made no effort to conduct an appropriate investigation. It was very unprofessional and damaging to the students. As Mr. Lopez said, “its important to encourage the good health for all of the children, but at the same time looks like the PANI was too fast to make a chaos of the situation.”

        A Dedicated Volunteer
      lynne stephenson · Tuesday April 05 2011
        My daugher attended Mentor Costa Rica for a little over two months. I want people to know that our experience with the program was consistently one of absolute excellence. Our daughter is 17 years old and we have been struggling for at least 5 years to get her help for the various issues she has. Mentor was the first program we have found where she truly found tangible benefit in a very short period of time. My husband and I were consistently pleased with all of the communication we had with the staff throughout her stay and we are so very sorry the program ended the way it did. I personally feel that the sudden shutdown of the school was handled improperly and there was a rush to judgement without a thorough examination of the facts. I have read the various horror stories about the WWASP history and I am not clear about any possible connection between Mentor and WWASP. All I know for a fact is that our experience with this program is 100% contrary to what I have read about any prior history.
        We are left as a family to pick up the pieces and start all over again. This should not be the case. I have spoken with all of the parents of the girls that were there and we all felt the same way, our girls were finally getting the help they needed and were making true progress. How sad that this wonderful experience was cut short with such drama and trauma laden on kids who are already very troubled to begin with.
        I would also like to add that once PANI was in control, we as parents in the US were left pretty helpless. I received a call one Friday evening from the US Embassy in Costa Rica demanding that I fly immediately to Costa Rica to retrieve my daughter. The demands were very unreasonable and there was absolutely no coordination between the 'authorities', the former therapy staff of Mentor and the Embassy. I was not impressed at all by these authorities who essentially kidnapped our kids and shut down a great facility without conducting a thorough and objective investigation. The damage they caused to my daughter and my family will take a long time to get over.

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      Offline Ursus

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      Michele Ballard and
      « Reply #36 on: April 06, 2011, 10:32:18 AM »
      With regard to all those Michele Ballard comments, I have to wonder if this is the same "Michele Ballard" who has a few "articles" floating out there on the internet re. ADHD/ADD kids (e.g., 1, 2), with the website provided as a "helpful" resource apparently manned by Michele herself. Quote from top right hand corner of the home page:

        If you would like to ADD A BOARDING SCHOOL to our directory send us an email with your school information. [email protected]
        Domain name: MYBOARDINGSCHOOL.COM

        Administrative Contact:
          Netscraper WebServices
          Netscraper WebServices ([email protected])
          50 South State Street
          La Verkin, UT 84745
        On the right side of's home page is the descriptive of "2 Types of Schools," with the option of selecting from "Troubled Teen Boarding Schools" or "College Prep Boarding Schools." The latter leads you to a rather incomplete database. The former leads you to a page where you can fill out a form with your particulars and someone will get back to you. Sound familiar? :D

        Another banner, on the left hand side, features "Parent Resources - Options for Struggling Teens," which enables you to select from a variety of 1-800 numbers for "boarding schools," "military schools," "boot camps," "teen treatment" and "free home program."

        "Featured Specialty Schools" on (bottom left hand corner):
          Cross Creek Programs
          Horizon Academy
          Red River Academy
          Quote from near bottom of the page: "*The phone numbers listed on this website may be answered by a number of organizations that specialize in helping struggling teens."

           :rofl:  Jeez Louise...
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          Offline BuzzKill

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          Re: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities
          « Reply #37 on: April 06, 2011, 11:42:05 AM »
          I just want to thank you for finding this and posting it.
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          Offline Ursus

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          WWASPS -> Supporting Teens -> Teen Revitalization
          « Reply #38 on: April 07, 2011, 08:48:02 PM »
          From the above comments, emphasis added:

            Ken Kay · Tuesday April 05 2011
              To Whom it May Concern:

              As the president of WWASPS, Worldwide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools, I was very dismayed with your article titled, "Parents revile Teen Mentor, others claim program’s value" dated April 1st, 2011.

              Mentor was not ever involved with WWASPS in any way.
            The WWASPS has actually done no business with any school for nearly five years and has no members nor does it provide any services of any kind to any school or other organization.

            Ken Kay
            President, WWASPS[/list][/list]

            Shucks, that's technically correct... as long as you don't look too carefully beneath the surface!

            After a brief fling under the umbrella of a company known as Supporting Teens, all the former WWASPS schools just happened to undergo a change in ownership some time in 2006. The "new" company is called Teen Revitalization. :D
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            Offline Ursus

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            Comments: "Parents revile Teen Mentor, others claim..." #s 7
            « Reply #39 on: April 10, 2011, 12:40:02 PM »
            Some more comments left for the above article, "Parents revile Teen Mentor, others claim program's value" (by Adam Williams; April 01, 2011; Tico Times), #s 7-10:

            Robert Walter Lichfield · Wednesday April 06 2011
              I Robert Walter Lichfield the founder of the now bankrupt METOR TEEN in Costa Rica would like to add a few points of clarification to this article and the previous article written by Mr. Williams on March25, 2011.

              Regarding the Previous Article "Child Welfare Office Closes Yet Another Teen Reform Center"

              • Pani Technical Director Jorge Urbina made comments that show his and Panis' extreme ignorance and bias. For instance he stated" "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."

              That therapy was provided to the students individually and in-group settings several times weekly is a known fact that would be easily discovered. The Parent's of our students received Therapeutic Progress Reports weekly and the Psychologist gave professional recommendations for administration and staff based on these sessions that being said, it should be noted that at no time did any of these recommendations or any other time prior to quitting did any of the Psychologists or any other staff express any major concern for MENTOR'S policies or procedures. In Fact, Mr. Ricardo the Clinical Director made many if not most of MENTOR'S policies and was in charge of the food service, the student point system (which included discipline) and staff training. Mr. Ricardo was employed in this role for several months.

              Regarding the activities, All students that attained level three went on weekly activities which included surfing, turtle release, multiplaza shopping, canopy zip lines, Manuel Antonio, and going to Jaco beach and city. Level three students also went to our beachfront daily (or had the option to) and went in town several times weekly.
              Mr. Urbina also stated our students were between 15-17 when they were actually between 13 and 18.

              The fact that PANI so grossly mislead the public on things that are easily provable otherwise show their incompetence, ineptness and extreme partiality.

              • Make no doubt about it, Pani didn’t come to check out some reported allegations when they showed up on the 18th of March they cam to close MENTOR down. They came with 60 people/police surrounding the hotel like a swat team would surround a dangerous situation not like impartial authorities trying to determine the welfare of our youth.
              • I did respond by email to Mr. Williams email to me dated March 31, 2011 on April 1, 2011 stating that I would be willing to clarify things for him
              • At no time did I witness or hear of any mistreatment of any student I would like to know if Pani still claims such to outline in writing the student, date and how they were mistreated. In fact, I spoke with the students individually and collectively several times each week and while I was "told things are better when you are here" I was never told of any mistreatment outside of one minor instance of a Staff calling a student a name which the staff was promptly written up and didn't do it again.
              • While there were occasional inconsistencies regarding the food service the food portions and quality overall was on par with or exceeded most Costa Rica typical restaurants that I have been to and certainly was adequate. The students ate three meals a day along with three snacks. The food was typically very healthy and had a combination of fruits and vegetables as well as pasta, meats and rice and beans. Again, Mr. Ricardo our clinical director and the primary person spearheading the PANI thing when he became disgruntled was in charge of our food service. Staff also ate the food everyday same portion same food except staff didn't have the thrice daily snacks.
              • Any student that had a medical need promptly saw a medical doctor. I would guess 6 or so of our students saw a medical doctor for various issues. Not one instance of a student requesting to see a doctor was denied whereas we had many students that chose to not see a doctor when asked f they would like to. To my knowledge we had at least two medical doctors on our campus. In addition, We had a referral from a Psychiatrist of a student that had previously been discharged well after the student was home which obviously, wouldn't happen if there was anything improper.
              • Myself and one of our Psychologists met with both Miss Barger and Miss Sylvester privately at length and afterward gave each a tour of our facility whereby they spoke with MENTOR staff, other students and etc. They individually must have been impressed because they enrolled their precious children to MENTOR'S care.
              • All of the students but one signed a document outlining their needs were satisfactorily met and they stayed at MENTOR through their own volition. The sole student that didn't agree, we informed his parents' to make arrangements to pick him up.
              • It should be noted that MENTOR'S attorneys believe that the PANI and other officials violated several Costa Rica laws in their entrance of our facility and the subsequent hijacking of MENTOR students and its forced closure. In addition, their timing when they presumably knew ( the Psychologist knew I was going to the USA) I was with family in the USA and late on a Friday afternoon leaving no opportunity to file an injunction was believed to have been done strategically in an effort to entirely bypass the judicial system and afford no proper due process.
              • Pani and the US Embassy demanded that the childrens' parents pick them up in Costa Rica and then discriminately later allowed some children to leave without such showing inconsistencies and bias and on some that they did allow to leave unaccompanied they messing up on getting students to the airport on time and thereby forced them to miss their flights.
              • I came across something the other day that I wish I would have known before opening Teen MENTOR and that is the World Bank's Index on "Ease of Doing Business" which ranks Costa Rica amongst the bottom 33%. Costa Rica was most recently ranked at 125 out of 183 ranked countries. The Ease of business index factors such things as corruption, protection of investments, access to due process, governmental hurdles and etc. I believe that although Costa Rica is a beautiful country with an educated populace that is hard working, Miss Chinchilla will not realize her dream of having Costa Rica be the first developed country in Latin America as long as Costa Rica ranks so poorly on the things that this index measures. These government authorities closed our campus without any due process based upon their bias from my uncle's business from years ago that had nothing to do with teen mentor (My uncle was exonerated of all charges as a matter of fact) and the disgruntled feelings of a few former Psychologists one of which was the person in charge of the student living and discipline of the students (and if anything was amiss would be the person that should be disciplined loose his license and etc.). We had dozens of visitors to our campus (which was in the middle of town next to the police station) every week including doctors, former NFL players, musicians, artists, police, community members, perspective clients, perspective employees and etc. and not one felt or voiced concern over any improprieties. In any event, the governmental authorities caused the disruption of literally hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in the local community through wages, professional services, support services and etc. Unfortunately for many of the fine Costa Rica citizens that put their heart and souls into assisting our student's lead more productive healthier lives are without the employment that they need doing the work they love.
            Patrick Hewes · Wednesday April 06 2011
              In Costa Rica any and I mean ANY psychologist can and should report on any alleged mistreatment they believe, assume or overheard by a third party. This is also valid for around the globe.
              Most of the times PANI don't go further with the alleged accusations and these are just filed and archived, because of not enough evidence or lack of consistency provided by the alleged victim or victims. This was not the case!

              Teen Mentor was not close because the one psychologist was disgruntled, it was close because not one, not two but three yes, you heard right three psychologist "believe, assume or overheard by a third party" about the alleged abuses. They went to PANI which is the Child protection branch, and PANI went to talk to the kids, most of the kids confirm what was reported.

              Besides, the facility that the program had at a different location was similar to those reported on
   web page. At this site they had no psychologist, no nurse no doctor the only staff there was guards watching the door of just plain dark rooms without ventilation, without water, without bathrooms, and the objective of having the kids in those conditions was merely for them to sit and think, while they write essays and if refuse to do so they was deprived of food, water or any of their basic needs.

            Costa Rica is a great country to invest, but you can't just rent a Hotel, hire people and call it a Center, you need permits, for whatever activity you are planning to operate you need permits, Teen Mentor didn't request none of the required permits and thought they could fly bellow the radar.
            If your kid was at Teen Mentor because of drug issues, they needed a permit that they failed to request to the proper authorities.
            If your kid was at Teen Mentor because of school, they needed a permit that they failed to request to the proper authorities.
            If your kid was at Teen Mentor and he/she took medication they needed a Nurse or/and Doctor and Teen Mentor didn't have any on their payroll and having an ambulance service is not the same of having a nurse or/and doctor on site. And so on.

            The similarity and coincidences with WWASP are just too carbon copy to not think they are not part of it, but then again, that is behind the point.

            These are the things that their lawyer should have advise them about.

            So my fellow Americans yes you can visit Costa Rica, yes you can Invest in Costa Rica, yes you can continue to send your kids to programs that are based in Costa Rica, next time just make sure you request a copy of the permits, it is your right to do so, and we are obligated to produce them for you.[/list]
            Alan Jeffs · Thursday April 07 2011

              I guess you were there when all of this went down? Or by reading your post sound like a business lawyer in Costa Rica or a brilliant investor.

              Just so you know Costa Rica is not a great place to do investments they barley rank in the top 10 in Central America which is not saying much at all

            When you rank 125 out of 180 of Ease of Doing Business I don't think that supports your statement

            When Tourism is your number 1 industry that is not saying much.

            Where is Mr. Ricardo's and the other Therapist Written Complaints prior to the facility being shutdown? The therapist did not act in the best interest of the students or families instead of focusing on the children safety and security they focused on there own person vendetta and feelings.

            Don't know if you are one of Sue Scheff's puppets but you are referencing a so called Child Advocate Group ran and started by Sue Scheff

            All real child advocates and ex-disgruntled students have little regard for Sue Scheff and her trying to play both sides.

            I guess anything you say we should really consider the source or who's saying it.

            Patrick please post your resume I am sure a lot of companies will want to work with you and your excellent insight[/list]
            eddie u · Thursday April 14 2011

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

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            Re: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities
            « Reply #40 on: April 15, 2011, 03:39:11 PM »
            A bit of History:

            Subject: Experience of Dundee Ranch Academy from ex-Director

            To the Minister of Child Welfare:

            I worked as the Director at the Academy at Dundee Ranch from March to
            August of 2002. During this time, Mr. Joseph Atkin was the Financial Director.

            Mr. Kenneth Wilson was the Student Director. I replaced Mr. Ron Del
            Aguila  (who replaced Mr. Randall Hinton). After I left in August of 2002, Mr.
            Joseph Atkin replaced me. Mr. Atkin left in February of this year, and has
            been replaced by Mr. Francisco Bustos.

            I feel that Dundee Ranch Academy should not be allowed to operate
            because it is poorly managed, takes financial advantage of parents in crisis, and
            puts teens in physical and emotional risk.

            Dundee Ranch Academy is poorly managed, and this is why so many
            directors have left in the short 18 months that the school has been open.
            Company policies and procedures changed daily on the whims of Mr. Narvin
            Lichfield, the owner. While I was there, Mr. Lichfield and his wife (girlfriend at
            the time) often made it impossible for my staff and myself to do our jobs.
            For example, Mr. Lichfield and his wife often changed the rules of the
            program without informing the staff. They would give kids special permission to
            break rules, until it got to the point where the staff gave up trying to control the students. Mr. Lichfield and his wife often demanded that structural changes be made to buildings or that new buildings be built without obtaining the necessary building permits. Orotina authorities
            visited several times and threatened to close the place if construction was
            occurring when they returned. However, because the construction workers
            were more afraid of Mr. Lichfield and his fits of rage than they were of
            the local authorities, they would go right back to work as soon as the
            authorities were out of site.

            The purpose of Dundee Ranch is not to help teens in crisis or their
            families. It is to make millions of dollars for the owner. Although
            the profit margins are approximately 50% -75%, Mr. Lichfield is unsatisfied.
            He continues to try to squeeze out every penny he can. This is achieved by
            hiring unqualified, untrained staff, providing the bare minimum of food
            and living essentials, and by adding huge margins to additional services.
            For example, if a student needs a ride to San Jose to visit the doctor,
            Dundee charges the parents $250 when it costs them $50. If a student sees the
            Doctor, parents are charged $50; Dundee pays $15. If a student needs
            medicine, parents are charged $30; Dundee typically pays $2 - $3.
            Parents pay $95 per month for "incidentals" like toothpaste and deodorant.
            These incidentals, while I was there, cost Dundee $15 per month.

            While I was in the process of resigning from Dundee Ranch last August,
            an American male staff member assaulted and raped a female staff member at
            a location of about 100 meters from where all the students are housed. I
            was not on the premises at the time, but was involved in reporting the
            incident to the Costa Rican authorities and staying with the employee's mother
            who flew in from the United States. The parents of students who were in the
            program were not informed of the incident. Mr. Atkin, one of Dundee's
            many Directors, dismissed the incident to a Tico Times reporter as a
            "non-issue." One of the reasons that the incident was not made public was because
            the employee who committed the crime was a recent "graduate" of an
            affiliated program. The program claims a 92% "success" rate, and a drunken assault
            of a graduate would not be seen as a success.

            This leads to another issue-untrained, unqualified staff. None of the
            staff members are trained to work with at-risk youth. The only reason we had
            hired Mr. Andy Lamb, a young 19-year-old with a history of abusive
            behavior, is because he knew the program, and was willing to work for the very low
            wage offered by Mr. Lichfield. According to the Mr. Lichfield, "there
            was not enough money in the budget" to hire trained, qualified staff. Here
            are some other highlights:
            * The owner, Mr. Lichfield, has been involved with these types of
            programs for at least 15 years, but as the Marketing person, not as a clinical
            * The current director, Mr. Francisco Bustos, (as Mr. Atkin
            recently got fed up with the chaos and also left Dundee Ranch) has no experience. If you
            look at their website, it states that he has experience owning and
            operating 5 pizza restaurants. The reason he was hired is because he was a
            longtime friend of the owner's wife, Ms. Flori Alvaredo.
            * The "Family Fathers", the staff who spend all day with the
            students, give corrections and punishment to the students, and who are supposed to
            teach and kindly correct the students, are minimum wage workers who do not
            speak English.
            * The "Family Representatives", the staff that hold daily
            counseling sessions (called "Reflections") with the students have no training or
            background in this area. They are also the only point of contact
            between the program and the students and often find themselves in a family
            counseling role, for which they are not qualified.
            * They have only one trained psychologist on staff, who visits
            once a week, but parents must pay an additional $75/hour for his services.
            * I am the first to admit that I was not even qualified to be
            there. I hold a degree in Secondary Education, but took only one class in working with
            at-risk youth.In addition to this, when I was there, most of the staff were
            disgruntled and frustrated with the way they were treated. Often their paychecks
            did not arrive on time or with the right amount of money. They often took
            their frustration at the administration out on the students. They treated
            students poorly (yelling at them, giving them extra "consequences".)
            Staff turn-over is very high. This creates additional instability with the
            students. During the year 2002, there were four different Directors.
            "Family Representatives" and teachers came and left monthly. This
            created additional emotional instability in the students who were already torn
            from their parents and allowed extremely limited time to talk with the other
            students in the program. The only chance they often had to talk was
            with staff, and those staff continued to leave the program.

            As an employee, the only training I received was on how to manipulate
            parents. I was told many times that "there is no reason for a student
            to return home before 'graduating' the program". Once they are in, they
            are there to stay. This process takes 12 to 36 months. There were many
            students who had psychological, medical, or special education needs that
            we could not meet. When I suggested that they be sent to another place
            where they could receive the help they needed, I was told to "keep my mouth
            shut and make sure that their parents kept them there." I was threatened
            with my job. If there were students who would be better off going home or
            entering another program, I was not allowed to suggest this to the parent.
            Ironically, if the parents had concerns about what was going on, we were
            told to tell the parents that their children were "just manipulating

            Students were not allowed to communicate freely with their parents, or
            anyone else. They were allowed to write a weekly email and letter, but
            the staff was instructed to read the email and letter and take out anything
            they did not like, or write comments to the parents. The students were not
            allowed to express their true feelings. Students were not allowed to
            talk with their parents until they were "Level 3", which could take anywhere
            from 4 to 24 months. At that point, they were allowed a 15 minute phone call
            once a month. Staff was instructed to hang the phone up and terminate
            their conversation if the student said anything negative about the program.

            Students were not allowed to talk without permission. Typically, they
            would be able to speak with their friends for about 15 to 30 minutes a day.
            They were isolated from the outside world. They did not have a chance to
            view a newspaper or the internet. Emotionally, this was very difficult for the
            students, as many of them processed their emotions by talking about

            When I first arrived, "restraints" were common. This was when a staff
            member would twist a student's arm around their back and throw them to
            the ground or against a wall. I know of at least one case where an arm was
            dislocated. I insisted that this stop, and I am fairly certain that it
            did not happen while I was there. However, I have heard reports that this
            was started again after I left. Further investigation should be done.

            Another punishment was writing "essays" of 3000 to 150,000 words.
            Students were required to sit in a dark room without proper back support, and
            write these essays until they finished the required number of words. Often,
            staff members, for no apparent reason, would rip up the essays and make the
            students start over. Students were required to write for 8 hours a day
            until their words were completed.

            The worst punishment was "OP" or "Observational Punishment." In this,
            students were required to stand, kneel, sit, or lay on a cement floor
            without moving for 30 minutes at a time. They had to do this for 8
            hours a day, until they had "served their time". When some of the kids accepted
            this, the staff made them run 100s of laps around the pool, just to make
            it miserable enough that the kids would want to comply.

            Students had no voice. If they had a complaint, they were supposed to
            write a "grievance" on a piece of paper. Often, these were lost or
            confiscated by staff who did not want to look bad.

            I stayed at Dundee because I wanted to make things run well, because I
            believe that when administered well, the program can be effective for
            some teens. However, many of the teens that were there at the time (and
            probably still there) would be much better served somewhere else. This was not
            an option because it would take money out of Mr. Lichfield's pocket. I also
            realized that my efforts would never be successful. I could not hire
            and keep trained staff. I could not spend money on things the kids needed.

            Several times we ran out of toilet paper and the kids had to use
            notebook paper. I could not get Mr. Lichfield to begin the dorms that were so
            desperately needed, and that he promised to parents "were in the works".
            Everything was focused on the profits Mr. Lichfield could make, not on
            the health or welfare of the students. Some additional examples of this
            * The city water was disconnected and students were given well
            water to drink, because the city water was "too expensive". Shortly thereafter,
            approximately 40 students got diarrhea and eventually drinking water was
            filtered. This may have been a coincidence. But even if the water did
            not have any problems, they should have tested it before they began giving
            it to students.
            * The kids are crowded in their rooms. There are as many as 15
            kids in what used to be a single hotel room. They were required to sleep from 8:00
            pm to 6:00 am to save on staff costs. (We only needed 2 staff when the boys
            were in their beds, versus 6-8 staff when they were awake.) Mr. Lichfield did
            not want to spend the money to hire additional staff.
            * For the first 10 months that the school was open, there were no
            trained staff administering medicine. After several students were given the
            wrong medicine, or were not given their medication, I insisted on hiring two
            full-time nurses. Before that, the minimum wage staff members who could
            not speak English were required to pass out medicine.
            I did not have the resources or support necessary to provide what I felt
            was a humane and safe environment for these teens. I was also concerned
            about the "High Impact" extension that was a copy of a program that was shut
            down in Mexico because of the death of students. For these reasons, I
            decided to resign in early August.
            It would be my pleasure to speak to someone about these issues. I can
            be reached at this email address, or by phone at - during
            the day, or at  -  during the evening.

            Kind regards,
            Amberly Knight
            « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

            Offline BuzzKill

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            Re: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities
            « Reply #41 on: April 15, 2011, 03:42:23 PM »
            From: Martha Martin
            Sent: Mon 3/3/2003 10:38 PM
            To: [email protected]
            Subject: Academy at Dundee

            March 3, 2003

            To the Minister of Child Welfare,

            I am a parent of a former student at Dundee. My son was there from November, 2001 – August, 2002. I am very concerned for the children that are still there. I worked closely with the school while my son was there, but still did not get answers to the questions that I asked.

            It started with the lies that were told to my husband and I. We were looking for a boarding school for our son. After looking into many schools, we thought we found the perfect one. WWASP explained to us that Dundee had an aggressive academic program, a program to work with the locals to learn a new culture and a strict environment where teens would learn accountability. We were never told of the “program”. We felt comfortable sending him to beautiful Costa Rica.

            My son went through the first “levels” quickly so we were allowed to speak with him on the phone. He knew what kind of school we were looking for. He told us that this was not what we were told it was, that it was a program and not a boarding school. He said that the staff read his e-mails to us and when he had something to tell us, he had to wait and talk on the phone. When we addressed this with the director at the time, we were told that we were being manipulated by our son. Over time, I realized that this is the answer the staff gives the parents for any complaints that the students have. This was a red flag for me.

            We decided to keep him there until PCI. This is the first time that parents are allowed to visit their children. This was one of the lies told to us from the beginning, that we would be able to visit our son after 2 1/2 to 3 months. We waited almost 6 months. I was concerned with what I saw. The staff was inexperienced. They were very nice people, but not one of them had the credentials to be able to speak to me about my son. The bottom line for them was to say anything they could so that the parent would not pull their child from the school. I knew that this was a rustic place, but the overcrowding was terrible. There were 12-14 grown boys in a small room. The beds were small and close together. The doctor even said that it was not healthy to have them so close together. When one got sick, they all did. The kids were really out of shape. Not enough organized exercise. Their diet wasn’t bad, but very little meat and vegetables. The academics were not what was promised. And the rules were somewhat scrambled. When I returned to the states, I wrote a long letter to the school with my concerns. I represented many other parents. We couldn’t believe how much of our money was being taken in, and how little was spent on the kids. I was granted a phone call from Narvin Litchfield about these concerns. He proceeded to tell me about all the great plans he had. He even sent me the blue prints of what the school would soon look like. To this day, with the quick growth of this school, I don't think that they have built the new dorms yet. It hasn’t changed much except for the building of the “High Impact”.

            This brings me to a major concern. When I was there in August to pull my son from this school I saw “High Impact”. This is a place where children are taken to if they do not behave. Dundee already has a punishment system that I feel is very excessive. OP as they call it is a place of isolation. Some kids stay there for weeks at a time until they conform to every rule. The children often have to lie on a cement floor, hands behind them for long periods of time. You may end up there for a very minor infraction. This is something that I would appreciate someone looking into. I don’t know if the High Impact building is open yet, but it is something that really needs to be looked into. They closed the one down in Mexico, where a teen died. Once a child is taken behind those walls, I don’t feel that there is anyone there to be able to make sure that no real harm comes to this child.

            Another event happened while I was there in August. A male staff member seriously attacked and raped a female staff member. They were both graduates of the program and returned to this school to work. This happens frequently in these schools, as grads work for very low wages. I was in Joe Atkins office while he was talking with authorities to try and find this boy. It was pretty serious at the time, but later Mr. Atkins shrugged the story off in the Tico Times.

            I feel that there is both physical and mental abuse to these teens. Some of the children that are there may have been headed for jail back home but there are also many of them like my son, whose parents wanted them to have an opportunity. An opportunity to catch up in school, learn a new language and culture and get back on the right path. The parents are so manipulated that they don't really know how there son or daughter is doing, and would never get a call from the staff that they thought that this was to harsh for them and they need to go home. I don't believe this has ever happened in any of the WWASP schools. With vertually no screening of these teens before they enter the school, it is hard to understand that some one would not recognize that this is not the place for everyone. Once you enroll your child, you are pressured into thinking that he will only succeed if he "graduates the program". This can take from 18-24 months.

            I do believe that there is physical abuse going on. I understand that there are times when a child may need to be restrained, but I believe it is happening to often. The mental abuse is worse. They are not allowed to talk with each other except in group to talk about their problems. They have absolutely no contact with the outside world. They can not read a newspaper or hear a newscast. Current events are taken away from them and my son had no idea what was happening in our world while he was there. I was told that there was a music department at Dundee. I had to fight to let my son have his guitar. They said that he needed to concentrate on other things. It was so sad when I left the school with him last August. So many of the kids were upset and crying because my son would play his guitar at night while they were trying to go to sleep. This was the closest thing to real life that they had.

            Mr. Narvin Litchfield, his brother and friends own many of these schools, both in and outside of the U.S.. The ones in Cancun, Samoa, and The Czech Republic were closed down. Carolina Springs is often visited by child welfare in the states and has been cited with many violations. One important one is that the upper level children give out punishment to the lower levels. This is illegal in the states. Children can not dole out punishment to other children. There is also overcrowding.

            I also have concerns about your organization interviewing the students. There are ramifications that can happen if the staff or owner do not like what the students say. The children don’t have any representation while at this school. If they say anything to their parents they are called liars and manipulators. From my experience, the parents are just as manipulated as the students in this program. You are told to “trust the program” and let them do whatever they feel is right for your child. Not a good concept when no one at the facility is really trained or qualified to be working with teens.

            If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

            Thank you,
            Martha Martin
            « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

            Offline BuzzKill

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            Re: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities
            « Reply #42 on: April 15, 2011, 03:51:52 PM »
            K says:
            Do you find yourself missing Dundee?
            M says:
            M says:
            I feel so free at home, even though I live with really strict rules in this house,
            M says:
            and sometimes I feel so alone, and when I was at Dundee, I always had someone there
            M says:
            you know what I'm saying?
            K says:
              does too - even tho it was pretty awful in so many ways. I wonder how it differs for the boys and girls. Seems like the girls mostly complain of hygiene factors, where the boys starve and are knocked around.
            M says:
            I think it was the same on both sides,
            M says:
            just people have different pet peeves,
            K says:
            Sure, that makes since. Did you see the crocodile?
            M says:
            yes ma'am
            K says:
            That thing worried me. Its not like you can tame them.
            M says:
            And a lot of the kids were stupid, and they stuck their hands where it could easily bite them,
            M says:
            and then they would take it away,
            M says:
            and the teachers were always feeding it,
            M says:
            and when the boys went out on work projects,

            K says:
            where you ever sick while there?
            M says:
            M says:
            I have endomietriosis,
            M says:
            and while I was there I had my first symptoms,
            M says:
            and so they said that I was manipulating,
            M says:
            and made me go to the group,
            M says:
            while in really bad pain
            K says:
            Thats awful.  was real sick once. I think it must've been when they cut off the city water and gave you kids well water.
            M says:
            I remember that,
            M says:
            I drank the water, and was fine with it,
            M says:
            because here in Reno, the water is kinda the same,
            M says:
            only they take out the dirt specs
            M says:
            K says:
            They never told me a thing about it. I have no idea what kind of shots they gave him. He said he got a bunch of shots. I think maybe it was to stop an allergic reaction. But because they told me Nada about it, I can only guess.
            M says:
            M says:
            They injected you with morphine for a lot of different reasons.
            K says:
            Are you kidden me?
            M says:
            And gave you the same pain killer for all the same reasons too
            M says:
            No, I am so serious.
            K says:
            Did they tell you it was morphine??
            M says:
            They told us that it was morphine,
            M says:
            my friend Kri knows aboot that too.
            M says:
            The sad thing is nobody believes us
            K says:
            Well I do, but this is the first I've herd of morphine.
            K says:
            Damn - did they use sterile equipment??
            M says:
            Yes ma'am, I'm pretty sure they did,
            M says:
            I never really thought to look,
            M says:
            But I'm sure they did
            K says:
            Well thank God in Heaven for that.
            « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

            Offline Ursus

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            Comments: "Parents revile Teen Mentor, others claim..." #s 1
            « Reply #43 on: June 10, 2011, 06:51:51 PM »
            Some more comments left for the above article, "Parents revile Teen Mentor, others claim program's value" (by Adam Williams; April 01, 2011; Tico Times), #s 11-13:

            Emp MTR · Monday April 18 2011
              As a volunteer who stayed 24/7 at the facility for several weeks, I can say there was no abuse or mistreatment.
              I was there and the Therapist did not quit because there was abuse or mistreatment, they quit because there was
              some policy changes requiring them to be more responsible and they didn't like that.

              If there was abuse or mistreatment, the Therapist would have:

              1. Never taken the job or quit immediately. They would never worked for months as a party to abuse and
              mistreatment. No reasonable Therapist would do this,

              2. Informed the Operators of the abuse or mistreatment. Never once in meetings, emails, or discussions did
              they mention to the Operators that they had seen or had a concern of abuse and mistreatment. In fact, they
              stated many times both verbally and in emails their support of the program.

              3. At a minimum, the Therapist would have informed parents of any abuse or mistreatment. Never once prior to the closure did they inform
              or notify parents of any abuse or mistreatment. In fact just days before they quit, in tours and phone calls from
              prospective parents they recommended to the parents they enroll their Teen. No reasonable person would
              or should have recommended Parents enroll their child in a program they believed to be abusive.

              4. They would have Not told the Program lawyer ( after they quit ) that they didn't see any abuse or mistreatment, they just disagreed
              with staff policy changes and wanted severance pay. When this wasn't agreed to, they then took action to close
              the program.

              The evidence is clear. the Therapist issues had nothing to do with abuse or mistreatment of students but was about
              job requirements, pay and eventually severance. Otherwise, if it had been abuse the Therapist would not have worked
              as a party to that for months, told parents and prospective parents that they whole heartily supported the program, and
              sent emails of support to the operators.
            liz weaver · Tuesday June 07 2011
              I find it very sickening that a few of the owners of the WWASPS facilities all of a sudden are accepting no responsibility for any/ most of the abusive programs that were shut down due to neglect, abuse, and many many other reasons. they say that they have nothing to do with their programs. what about high impact that was closed down years ago. they still are saying its not a WWASPS owned facility when it clearly was. all the payments were through the WWASPS billing process. they all seem to have the same type or new types of abuse being created. i went to cross creek and high impact. mind you ive been in quite a few facilities, but both of those facilities were the worst one ive ever been to. to be honest... i would wake up every day wondering if i would be alive to go to sleep that night. or if it would ever end. im not going to say some of the things that happened there. but i still suffer from major PTSD and flashbacks, nightmares and everything due to just these 2 places. my parents were lied to completely just to get me into these places. cross creek was telling my parents that i wasnt working the program. (well duh... i never got a chance because i was kept in their isolation rooms the whole time) the y told my parents of this gret place in mexico that has a realy good turn out rate, but denied my father the right to transport me to the facility. high impact. they knew that if my father saw it i wouldnt have stepped foot into that program. they tried to break me down by saying my parents hated me and that my father said it was ok to abuse me as long as it got me to cooperate. i spent days in their dog cages. im not sure why these people, Robert Litchfield, Narvin Litchfield any of these people that are part of owning the WWASPS facilities run when one of their programs get shut down. but i can almost assure that within time, all their places will eventually be shut down. and what links all these places together is their forms and techniques of abuse... enough said on my behalf.
            liz weaver · Tuesday June 07 2011
              i forgot to mention earlier... i find it also odd, that most of the staff from the places are shut down, just go to other facilities that are still open. that proves that the abuse remains through these people that have the nerve to call themselves "staff". at high impact we had to call the females "momma____ or papa_____" i thought that was just sick.

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

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            Re: Teen Mentor (Costa Rica) shut down by authorities
            « Reply #44 on: August 17, 2011, 07:36:15 PM »
            ok i will give you the facts right here my name is dallin. i was in mentor. all the rumors of abuse are completly true. but see bob had plenty to do with the operations of the school what he said went. on multiple occasions it was robs decision on how long i was in the intervention room i spent upto 3 days in there at once. i also saw rob tackle a student who was following his directions he then came and talked to some of the students to make it seem as if it was necessary. this school cant hold u once ur passed 18 and rob did not like that he tried telling me he wont give me my passport when i left i replied with have fun in prison i will report it stolen my passport was suddenly on school grounds. rob thought i was going to cause hell to his school so 5 days before my b day they moved me to another town an hour away and on my birthday they gave me a trashbag of my clothes and 3 dollars. luckily i was able to work and gain enough money to return. o wait did i mention i have not seen my laptop we paid for my digital camera or the most important one my birth certificate. Rob you ruined my life and u knew u were doing it you fed us bullshit. you asked me personally what food i was allergic to and disliked ha i should of known u would pull something my meals for the next week consisted of the only two foods i named. after these other students made it home i was still stranded in another country. Rob told me i would not make it 2 hours on my own and said it is gonna be embarrassing when i came back hahaha guess what Rob i told u from day one im not doing ur bullshit and it worked out for me i worked my ass off mixing concrete for 2 dollars an hour but anything is better then mentor teen. btw Rob nina is a BABE haha
            « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »