Author Topic: Aspen Education Group: Any former students?  (Read 30859 times)

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Offline Covergaard

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« Reply #60 on: July 22, 2007, 10:42:41 AM »
So far I have got this information about the facilities mentioned in this tread:

http://www.secretprisonsforteens.dk/US/ ... tRiver.htm
http://www.secretprisonsforteens.dk/US/AspenRanch.htm
http://www.secretprisonsforteens.dk/US/ ... cademy.htm
http://www.secretprisonsforteens.dk/US/Suws.htm

If you can locate errors, please inform me.

I know some of the programs have altered some of their strategies during the years and fashion changes from Adventure therapy to boot camp in relationship with wilderness therapy and level systems contra peer preasure systems in TBS.

One example is SUWS. It started up at Adventure therapy - changed into boot camp and soften a little due to the deaths of detainees.

ASR changed a lot over the years. There was the quick startup to gain money for continued operations. Then there was the CEDU-inspired period, next came upscaling of the program so they could accommodate more detainees and giving up some of the psycodrama which evidently was too much for even the staff. (In the book one of the staff took a job in a cafeteria because it was too much.)

But as always. Send into to Denmark, so I can improve the site.
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Offline Anonymous

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Aspen Education Group: Any former students?
« Reply #61 on: July 22, 2007, 12:10:22 PM »
I also went to SUWS of the carolinas...ill look over the sites for SUWS and ASR and let you know what I know...

Seems Ive had my share of these shitholes...haha  :o
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Offline ISAC UK

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Re: Aspen Education
« Reply #62 on: July 24, 2007, 04:01:31 AM »
Quote from: ""dissapointed""
I worked at a facility owned by aspen education in Utah.  I as a parent would NOT send my child there.  I would like to know if anyone knows anything about how they cover up their sexual harassment cases.  I reported  harassment following ALL of the procedures.  Has anyone else been envolved with something similar?  What happened in your instances?


I would very much like to get in touch with you.  I know several people who would like to talk to you and whom you would probably like to talk to.  Please get in touch with me via www.isaccorp.org
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Offline Anonymous

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Nimda
« Reply #63 on: September 03, 2007, 07:31:56 PM »
What information do you have?
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Offline ISAC UK

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Aspen Education Group: Any former students?
« Reply #64 on: September 04, 2007, 06:59:32 AM »
Quote from: ""disapointed""
What information do you have?


Was that question directed at me?  I am not sure what you are asking.

Please email the address I gave above.  If you don't want to reveal your email address you can register with Fornits and send me a private message instead.
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Offline Pitbull Mom

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Aspen abuse/need information
« Reply #65 on: September 25, 2007, 12:56:01 PM »
Quote from: ""spirithelps""
I've encountered a lot of what you're saying about keeping their nose clean, having worked at one facility and turned in a sexual and harassment abuse report by a few of the staff.  I think they're getting ready to go public, thus the need to buy up more facilities and keep that profit margin high.



I can say that they put very little money into the program for the kids.  Office staff drive brand new vehicles, and the program vehicles for the kids have 200,000+ miles on 'em, van side door that doesn't open, no brakes, and extremely loose steering.  100 degree weather and the kids sleep in lofts with windows that won't open (due to security), no fans, no air, just sweltering heat.



They use discipline that is against state law.  They just had a duct tape incident that was swept under the carpet by the Sheriff's Office, Child Protective Services, and the State Licensor.  This happened in Utah where the Mormons are all related, or have ties, to someone else . . . the sexual offender is a police informant, CPS lady is a blood relative of the Aspen facility Director, and the State Licensor lady's husband works for another Aspen facility in a different city.  Very cozy working relationship, to say the least.  They removed the victim from the offending institution to another one of theirs up north in Utah.



I've heard that the mother of the victim is still pushing for answers and so am I.


Can you please provide me with specifics about the above incidents. I have been trying to track down this info you posted about the blood relative of Aspen working in the State Licensing Department. There is a licensing hearing going on right now regarding the death of a boy at Youth Care. this information is very pertitent to this case. I need any of the following information you can provide.

I need the date of the incident.
Case number for the police report/which county the report was filed in
the name of the CPS employee and the relative at Aspen.
If the mother of the victim wants to get in touch with me she can email it to at [email protected]

Thanks.
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Pitbull Mom

Offline spirithelps

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Someone Doesn't Want This Exposed
« Reply #66 on: September 28, 2007, 08:10:54 AM »
After spending an hour, putting together a post with dates, names, etc. from my file, it all just disappeared.  Posting this one quickly and from Word!

My witnessing of sexual abuse and receipt of employee harassment occurred on June 26, 2004.  My formal complaint was filed with TAR on June 27, 2004.  Max Stewart was the TAR Director at that time (he has since retired).

His female cousin (name unknown) was a boss in Panguitch Child Protective Services.  She was the boss of Virgil D. Sickels who told me on Friday, July 30, 2004 that he would not give up on this one.  His formal letter to me closed the case the following Monday, Aug. 2, 2004.

Every agency closed the case on Aug. 2, 2004:  CPS, State Licensing and Sheriff.

I filed my complaint with the Garfield County Sheriff on July 3, 2004 (no official copy ever obtained by me).  Our Escalante deputy, John Chambers, called me back and told me that he already had concerns due to a duct tape incident which happened the very night I turned in my complaint to TAR (which I also witnessed).  I asked why I wasn’t interviewed by them as witness in their duct tape investigation and requested that they do so (they never did).  (Deputy Chambers was shot and killed in Escalante, I believe, about a year later.)

I contacted State Licensing via email on July 3, 2004, and on July 6, got an email response from Suzanne Chavira of the St. George office that everything was AOK and good at TAR because they had let the 2 employees go who were involved in the duct tape incident.  I laughed and asked who told you that.  She said Max Stewart.  I told her that the man involved (Tom Alvey) still worked there (and he still does to this very day) and that the woman involved had already given her notice before the incident and was already in the process of moving out of state.  

I found out that Max had not abided by state law and notified State Licensing of my sexual abuse complaint against the Roundy Manager, Wayne Stinson.  (complaints against managers must be reported by the facility to the state)

On August 7, 2004, through local, native Mormon residents, I was told that:

State Licensing Suzanne Chavira’s husband also worked at an Aspen facility in St. George.

CPS boss of Virgil Sickels is Max Stewart’s cousin.

The TAR sexual abuser manager Wayne Stinson was previously a Salt Lake City cop, dismissed for behavior and attitude problems.  In Escalante, he worked for the local Sheriff Dept. as an undercover informant (residents always wondered why he was constantly driving up and down all of Escalante’s streets).

I’m happy to scan documentation into a pdf and will email to those of you whom I’ve had ongoing relationships in this forum and know.  I don’t trust others and will not mail to anyone I don’t know.  Sorry, but I don’t trust Mormons, the power of “The Churchâ€
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Offline spirithelps

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Correction & Additions
« Reply #67 on: September 28, 2007, 08:46:28 AM »
Deputy John Chambers was not shot and killed, that was a previous one.

The employee Tom Alvey, who was involved in the duct tape incident and who still works at TAR today, tried to run me off the road 3 times after I filed my complaint.

Each time he was driving a TAR truck with 3 or more male students inside.  On the first 2 occasions, I drove off the side of the road to avoid a collision.  On the third, I held my ground and our side mirrors barely missed each other.  That was the last time he tried to do it.

What I thought was even stranger was that my then husband didn't think this was bad behavior on Tom's part at all, even though we all could have been killed or maimed in 45 MPH headon wreck.

After my complaint, TAR transferred one of the locally known sexual abusers included in my complaint to a different facility (no longer at the remote place with only other male staff, never enough female staff for this semi-wild first stop facility, never enough females to meet state requirements), and he quit rather than working with the regular staff, at the regular facility.

Toni
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Offline Deborah

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Aspen Education Group: Any former students?
« Reply #68 on: September 28, 2007, 08:50:24 AM »
Quote
I’m happy to scan documentation into a pdf and will email to those of you whom I’ve had ongoing relationships in this forum and know. I don’t trust others and will not mail to anyone I don’t know. Sorry, but I don’t trust Mormons, the power of “The Churchâ€
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gt;>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Hidden Lake Academy, after operating 12 years unlicensed will now be monitored by the state. Access information on the Federal Class Action lawsuit against HLA here: http://www.fornits.com/wwf/viewtopic.php?t=17700

Offline spirithelps

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« Reply #69 on: September 28, 2007, 09:04:02 AM »
Max Stewart, Turn-About Ranch Director at the time, investigated my complaint by individually drilling female students.  Other TAR employees who were there at the time told me that Max talked with some of them for over an hour and that all of the girls were crying extensively when he was done.

I worked the evening shift and came in at 5:30 pm and none of the girls who I personally supervised in the past would have anything to do with me.  They looked me in the eye, then diverted their eyes, one got "sick" during supper and had to be moved into a private room, and others got up and moved away from me at the supper table.

Max never did inform the TAR, professionally licensed counselors of my complaint and allegations.  By state law, he could not have interviewed them one-on-one, by himself as only a male counselor (plus his professional counseling license was not current with the state).

During his "investigation", he did not remove the female students that he questioned from the abusers influence and care.

Max never talked to me personally about my complaint.  After his investigation, he gave a "TAR employee token" to my husband with the instructions to tell me that everything was OK and not to worry!  Ah, this is how the Mormons work too . . . the wives are supposed to do what the husbands say!

Toni
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Offline Che Gookin

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Aspen Education Group: Any former students?
« Reply #70 on: September 28, 2007, 10:54:20 AM »
wow....

Nice place they got going there.. would you care to be interviewed?
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Offline spirithelps

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Interviewed ??
« Reply #71 on: September 28, 2007, 11:44:17 AM »
Interviewed for what ??
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Offline Che Gookin

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Aspen Education Group: Any former students?
« Reply #72 on: September 29, 2007, 06:16:39 AM »
Check the facility questions and answers forum... in particular check the Peninsula Village thread. Mainly I seek to try to bring out as much information as possible about these places.

I'm former staff myself so I think we could pull off one hell of an interview.
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Offline Anonymous

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Re: Aspen Education Group: Any former students?
« Reply #73 on: August 05, 2008, 12:39:53 PM »
Quote from: "spirithelps"
I've encountered a lot of what you're saying about keeping their nose clean, having worked at one facility and turned in a sexual and harassment abuse report by a few of the staff.  I think they're getting ready to go public, thus the need to buy up more facilities and keep that profit margin high.

I can say that they put very little money into the program for the kids.  Office staff drive brand new vehicles, and the program vehicles for the kids have 200,000+ miles on 'em, van side door that doesn't open, no brakes, and extremely loose steering.  100 degree weather and the kids sleep in lofts with windows that won't open (due to security), no fans, no air, just sweltering heat.

They use discipline that is against state law. They just had a duct tape incident that was swept under the carpet by the Sheriff's Office, Child Protective Services, and the State Licensor. This happened in Utah where the Mormons are all related, or have ties, to someone else . . . the sexual offender is a police informant, CPS lady is a blood relative of the Aspen facility Director, and the State Licensor lady's husband works for another Aspen facility in a different city. Very cozy working relationship, to say the least.  They removed the victim from the offending institution to another one of theirs up north in Utah.

I've heard that the mother of the victim is still pushing for answers and so am I.
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Offline Anonymous

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Re: Aspen Education Group: Any former students?
« Reply #74 on: August 05, 2008, 02:31:02 PM »
Quote from: Guest on January 20, 2006, 05:44:00 PM

For any parent thinking about enrolling their child in The Aspen Achievement program, please reconsider.  As a former student of the program myself, I did not see any of the literature provided to my parents until after my return from the program.  After the initial review of videotape, and several pamphlets provided by the program I was shocked.  The program did not accurately portray itself.  According to advertisements for the Aspen Achievement Academy, the program resembled a rugged and therapeutic summer camp experience.  In reality this could not have been farther than the truth. 

It has been nearly twelve years since I spent those two months in the Utah wilderness, and my experience still haunts me to this day.  The extensive neglect and abuse that my fellow students and I experienced was unacceptable.  My parents were shocked when I came home and they saw the evidence in my backpack, and heard my stories. 

I?ll never forget the morning of May 11th, 1994.  It?s a date that will haunt me for the rest of my life.  Two strangers awaked me at 5 am.  They ordered me to get up and get dressed because I was going to Utah.  I told them I couldn?t go to Utah; I had to go to school that day!  It turned out I had no choice.  After a lengthy struggle I found myself forced onto a second rate airplane (who?s ever heard of ?Morrissey? airlines anyway) bound for Salt Lake City.  It remains one of the most emotionally devastating and difficult things I have ever been through.
I remember before the program even started, they took us to a consular, or maybe he was a physiatrist in Provo Utah to be evaluated.  One of the worst moments in my life was when he looked me in the eye and told me that he did not believe that I was a good candidate for the program.  He said he I seemed like a relatively normal and stable teenager, but that he was going to recommend that I attend despite this.  He said that he thought the program would be good for anyone, even himself.  He also told me that my parents had agreed to pay $23,000 for my time in the desert.  I don?t know where that money went, because it certainly did not go to proper care and feeding of my fellow students and I.

We were starving in Utah; I lost over 20 pounds.  We simply were not provided wit adequate amounts of food.  Often times we were given no food at all, or forced to hike, exhausted for many miles before any food was provided. On a good day, in the mornings we were able to eat half a cup of cold instant oatmeal, and then at night if we were lucky we could eat the same amount of cooked potatoes and rice.  If we could not start a fire this food was consumed raw. 

Furthermore, the healthcare was unacceptable.  There were three specific instances that come to mind concerning this subject.  The first concerns my knees.  I was born with knee problems (a tendency for my kneecaps to dislocate).  During my time with Aspen my knees dislocated twice.  This was a preexisting condition, and in no way created by Aspen. However, after each incident I was allowed to rest for a few minutes and then was soon forced to hike on the injury.  As a result I have had persistent problems to this day.  In fact, a couple of months ago I finally opted for surgery.  The surgeon found extensive scar tissue and damage.  For the last month I also walked on what felt to be a broken toe.  I was never examined, so I can?t be sure, but the pain was excruciating for several weeks.  At one point I contracted the stomach flu during the program.  I spent three days hiking and vomiting.  Eventually after I had finally fainted several times from the exhaustion, medical help was brought in.  This was not an acceptable response.

During my two months there, I was allowed to bathe only twice, both times in the same mud and cow filled stream that we drank from. The second bath came at the end of the program, right before our parents came.   Before they saw us, we had to wash and change into fresh clothes.  My Mom didn?t see the tattered truth of what I really wore until we were back home.  I remember her crying when she did. As a student I had no rights, I was not even treated like a human.  I was a prisoner.

Often times we drank from streams with high sulfur content that made us very sick.  Sore often than not the water in my jug was brow, with brine shrimp swimming in it.  I?ll never forget the feeling of them squirming on my tongue as I tried to swallow the gritty water, always to the sound of a counselor ?come on SUCK IT DOWN!? We had to drink it; we had no choice.

As a member of Aspen Group 211, I saw a thirteen year old girl turn purple and then blue as the staff sat by waiting for her to get herself up off the ground and keep walking.  We walked in circles, up and down mountains, in the heat, in the cold and in the dark. We were always lost.  For most of the time we carried a pack made of a blue tarp with seat belt material for straps.  It was painful and awkward. 

My hiking boots were new at the start of the program, and by the end the tread on the bottoms had worn down completely, they were flat. We could not know where we were or how long we would be there.  There were ?no future questions? allowed.  I remember walking along sheer cliffs with no safety ropes or harnesses, eating from dirty and rancid dishes, and having to use our bare hands to dig up and ?relocate? human "waste" on several occasions.
 
On my high school transcripts there are credits for classes from ?Wayne County High School?.  The3y are really from my time at Aspen.  These ?classes? consisted of the completion a series of ?curriculum? packets.  They were really just confusing worksheets, that had obviously been typed out by one of the Aspen staff members. 
There was a wonderful older man by the name of ?Levoy? who was supposed to be the teacher.  He would come and visit rarely, and when he did it was never for an actual academic lesson.  I do remember that never the less, his visits were one of the few pleasant things about the whole experience. 

Actually, the academic instruction was a responsibility delegated to myself, and another one of the older students.  We of course did not understand anything included in the curriculum anymore than the other kids, yet were the ones expected to ?teach?. They told us it was a reward, because we were always the first ones packed up and crushing the coals from the fire.  It seemed like a strange reward to me.   

Aspen markets itself as a 'therapeutic' environment.  There was very little actual 'therapy' involved.  Once a week, for half and hour a 'therapist' would come speak with us.  This was an occasion we looked forward to because for one, the therapist would bring each of us an apple to eat, and for two, it got us out of having to hike for a couple of hours.  These therapy sessions were to brief and far between to be of any help.  The only other mention of therapy came each morning when one of the 19-21 year old staff members would ask us to use a single word to describe how we felt for that day.  The ?therapy? was a joke.

Apparently the ?therapist? had periodic phone conversations with my parents.  I don?t know what they could have talked about; the therapist knew little of me, or my daily experiences in the program. My main connection to my parents was the letters that we wrote back and forth.  The staff had to sensor them all.  I never sent or received a sealed envelope.  I had to be careful about what I wrote.  I tried to tell my parents what was happening, but it was hard.  When I got home I found out that they warned our parents that we would exaggerate and not to believe our first hand descriptions of the program. 

To this day we rarely if ever talk about Utah.  About once every few year I casually bring up the subject.  They never do.  I still have a hard time finding the ability to forgive them in my heart.  I hated them like never before during the program.  I was not happy when they arrived in Utah for the last 2 days of the program, nor did our relationship improve once we got home.  It got worse, and to this day I still hold a grudge because of the experience.

Before I went to Utah, I was a relatively good kid.  I was seventeen years old.  I had tried smoking cigarettes, tried smoking pot (and hated it) and had sex with two people.  When compared to my peers I was fairly normal. Aspen didn?t care; they?ll take anyone whose parents will pay. After I came back from the program I had lost all sense of self worth and self-respect. I decided I didn?t care; it no longer mattered if I continued to resist the bad things in life, because I had already been punished.  Within a month of my return I had tried hard-core drugs such as Crystal Meth, become a heavy smoker, had a lot of casual unprotected sex, and even had an affair with a man in his late twenties.  Before Aspen I wouldn?t have done any of this.  For many years after the experience I was tormented by nightmares about Utah and my time there. I?ve been back to the state, and even out into the desert where the program was held, all in an effort to make peace with the memories.  Slowly, over time I did recover.  I think my parents are still paying off the loan they took out to pay for Aspen.  I wish they had used the money to help me in school instead.

Eventually I recovered, and got on a good track.  But, I feel that had I not been sent to Aspen, I would have become a healthy productive adult much sooner. 

In recent years I have heard that the program has been altered slightly.  Apparently students now progress through the program at their own rate.  It is no longer an issue to wait for everyone in the group to complete a task.  Maybe this helps to control the animosity and resentment that existed in my group.  Still, no matter how many changes are made in the program, or how many favorable accounts they post on their web site, I would NEVER recommend this program to anyone. 

Now, despite the ?Aspen Experience? twelve years later I have been able to successfully graduate from college, find a healthy love relationship, a job as a teacher, and even (very recently) quit smoking.  I have become the person my parents had hoped I would be.  But, I still have nightmares of Utah. I remember Aspen T-shirts that read, ?You?ll go to Hell and Back?.  They were half right, I went there, but it took nearly a decade for me to make it back.
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