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Missouri authorities jail owners of Christian boarding school on kidnapping charges

The owners of a secluded southeast Missouri Christian boarding school are behind bars after authorities served arrest warrants Friday night at their facility.

Larry and Carmen Musgrave are being held in the Wayne County Jail in Greenville, Missouri, without bond. They are charged with first-degree kidnapping involving a former student.

Authorities, who interviewed all the boys at the school Friday night, took Larry Musgrave Jr., 57, into custody at the ABM Ministries campus near Piedmont, according to a news release issued late Saturday afternoon by the Wayne County Sheriff?s Department. And Carmen Musgrave, 64, was taken into custody hours later, the release said.

The Musgraves operate the school near Piedmont, a town of roughly 1,900 residents more than 300 miles southeast of Kansas City. First-degree kidnapping is a Class A felony that, if convicted, carries a minimum sentence of 10 years and maximum of 30 years, or life in prison.

?This investigation is far from being over,? Sheriff Dean Finch said in his release. He said he anticipates more charges ?with more alleged victims coming forward.?

The arrests and charges come more than a week after The Star published an article detailing how several boys had run away from ABM Ministries ? which is also known as Lighthouse Christian Academy ? since Jan. 13. Two of those boys were helped by a local resident who took them home after they flagged her down and asked her to call 911.

That resident, and another neighbor, told The Star that the boys were ?terrified? and said the 12- and 14-year-old reported that they were hit for no reason or because they didn?t finish chores fast enough. They also said they were berated by school staff, especially the Musgraves. Deputies picked up the boys and initially returned them to the school.

Finch told The Star Saturday that all five boys who had runaway from the school since mid January ?have been returned home.?

In interviews with The Star, former students have described how they said they were treated at the school over the past nearly 20 years. That included physical abuse, not being allowed to make eye contact with fellow students, standing for hours at a time looking at the wall when they were in trouble and being forced to do manual labor to benefit the school.

Several local residents said they reported the recent incident with the two runaways to the Missouri child abuse and neglect hotline but were told they didn?t provide enough information to meet the criteria to launch an investigation.

After townsfolk saw the caravan Friday night of law enforcement vehicles ? led by Finch ? head to the boarding school, word spread through a group chat that includes residents and many former students. Those former students said the activity gave them hope that after feeling their stories had been ignored for years, someone was finally listening to them.

?This will be the first night in almost 20 years that I will not have nightmares about ABM ministries,? said Aralysa Baker, who attended the unlicensed boarding school from 2005 to 2007 when it also housed girls. ?I truly hope that the boys are doing OK. Our collective survivor base has been thinking about them since we first heard news of the runaways.

?The bravery they?ve shown through this situation led us to stand together and fight for their freedom.?

Residents in the area celebrated with the former students they?ve come to know through social media.

?I got goosebumps and started crying,? said Courtney Hall, who lives 2 miles from the school and called the hotline after the two boys had run away. ?I just pray to God that they are actually doing something and these poor boys will go home.?

In Saturday?s release, Finch said after his team arrived at the school Friday evening members of his department and state troopers with the Division of Drug and Crime Control interviewed ?all the children there.? Nineteen boys were at the school, the sheriff said.

?After the interviews, Larry was located at his camper on the property and placed under arrest,? the release said. ?His wife was not at the residence. Around 3 a.m., Carmen came to the Wayne County Sheriff?s Office checking on her husband, and she was placed under arrest for kidnapping in the first degree as well.?

?Teens in need of guidance?

The boys remained at the school Friday night.

?We will be doing well-being checks of the kids periodically,? Finch told The Star Saturday evening.

ABM Ministries? current director, according to state documents, is Julio Sandoval. The Star reported in February 2022 that he had moved to southeast Missouri.

Sandoval was dean of students at Agape Boarding School in February 2021 when the Missouri Highway Patrol launched an investigation into abuse of students at the Cedar County school in Stockton. In September 2021, the Cedar County prosecuting attorney charged five staff members with 13 counts of third-degree assault. Sandoval, who had been at Agape about 10 years, left to go to work for ABM Ministries soon after that.

In September 2022, The Star reported that Missouri?s child welfare agency had substantiated 10 reports of physical abuse at Agape. Those dispositions were final.

Multiple sources at the time told The Star several staffers appealed their findings. They said Sandoval was among them.

According to Missouri?s online court database, he still has a case pending against the Department of Social Services. His next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 26. State law allows staffers to still work with children while their case is under appeal.

Lighthouse Christian Academy takes in boys 10 and older from all over the nation. The 25,000-square-foot campus is ?tucked away near the Ozarks on 250 acres with rolling hills, a spring-fed pond, and fenced pasture with animals,? its website says.

Operated by ABM Ministries, the school is ?dedicated to the training of children in a program of study, activity, and living that is Bible-centered,? according to its parents manual. Discipline at the school ?is firm, consistent, fair, and tempered with love,? the manual says.

Larry Musgrave?s LinkedIn page describes him as the founder and pastor of ABM Ministries.

?He works directly with 40 families at a time by providing a boarding school environment for teens in need of guidance,? the site says. ?With a staff of 11 people he works 24/7/365 to mentor Biblical principals.?

Court records show that Larry and Carmen Musgrave and former school principal Craig W. Smith Jr. were the subjects of a 2009 civil lawsuit in federal court. It alleged that Smith groomed a female student after she enrolled in 2005, then ?committed multiple acts of sexual bodily contact? with her ? including intercourse ? from September 2007 until June 2008.

The lawsuit says the girl?s parents notified the Musgraves in late 2007 that they were concerned about the degree of Smith?s personal relationship with their daughter, but nothing was done to prevent further contact between them. The lawsuit was settled in 2010, court records show, with a $100,000 judgment entered against Smith and a $750,000 judgment against ABM Ministries and the Musgraves.

ABM Ministries is the latest unlicensed boarding school in Missouri to face scrutiny amid allegations of abuse. Since September 2020, The Star has investigated several schools, and the lack of regulations for them in the state, and has spoken to more than 80 students who attended facilities in southwest Missouri.

Those stories prompted lawmakers to pass legislation that for the first time placed some regulations on these schools. The main element of the 2021 law is that owners must register their facilities with the state and undergo fire and health inspections.

More charges coming?

David Clohessy, former national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, went to Wayne County a week ago to hand out leaflets and talk to residents about the concerns raised after the recent runaways. He said the charges are a first step in holding owners of unlicensed boarding schools accountable.

?We?re encouraged by reports of law enforcement action at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Piedmont last night,? Clohessy said. ?? We want to encourage everyone who cares about kids to remain vigilant and to realize that a real resolution to this horror must involve therapy for the victims, prosecution for the wrongdoers and reform of Missouri?s dreadfully weak child safety laws.?

In 2021, another couple who operated a boarding school in southwest Missouri were arrested over their treatment of students. Boyd and Stephanie Householder, former owners of Circle of Hope Girls Ranch, were charged with nearly 100 felony child abuse counts. They have pleaded not guilty, and their jury trial is scheduled to start in the fall.

In Saturday?s release, Finch said he and his department had received several calls about runaways from the home, and he began an investigation several months ago.

?Sheriff Finch was contacted by a former student and traveled to Albertville, Alabama, to interview the victim,? the release said. After the interview, it said, Finch ?was able to make contact with several past students, and interviews are forthcoming.?

Finch said he anticipates more charges will be filed and plans to travel to other states to conduct interviews of former students.

?When it comes to children,? he said, he will ?leave no stone unturned until all victims are interviewed.?

?We know the citizens are concerned as well that nothing was being done, however we can?t disclose what we are doing on cases.?

The sheriff said he hopes the public will remain patient.

?When some things come to light, we will always be there investigating.?

It took 3 deaths among the students before the state Utah decided that it was enough.

Now Diamond Ranch Academy seems to be allowed to start over under the name of RAFA Academy. They even changed the name of the road from Diamond Ranch Parkway to Hope Circle in order to clear their tracks to their dark past.

What does it mean? Are they allowed to start over? Can they be allowed to operate and would it take 3 additional deaths before they will be closed down again?

The Troubled Teen Industry / Re: Trails Carolina - second death
« on: February 07, 2024, 08:33:27 AM »
Quote from: US News
Death of 12-Year-Old at North Carolina Nature-Based Therapy Program Under Investigation

LAKE TOXAWAY, N.C. (AP) ? Authorities in western North Carolina said they were investigating the death of a boy at a nature-based therapy program over the weekend.

The Transylvania County Sheriff?s Office was investigating the death of the juvenile from Trails Carolina in Lake Toxaway on Saturday, Sheriff Chuck Owenby said in an email Tuesday. The investigation was previously reported by WLOS-TV. Authorities were awaiting the results of an autopsy and don't plan to release further information at this time, Owenby said.

Staff at Trails Carolina called 911 around 8 a.m. Saturday when a 12-year-old student who had enrolled the day before did not respond to attempts to wake him and emergency personnel could not resuscitate him, the program said in a statement. Trails Carolina is cooperating with investigators and has retained outside professionals to help conduct an internal investigation, the program said.

?We are shattered by the tragic loss of a young life and our deepest sympathies are with the student's family and loved ones,? the program said in its statement. ?Our priority is to acknowledge and respect the unfathomable impact on their lives and maintain the integrity of the investigation into the cause.?

Trails Carolina, which is located about 35 miles (56 kilometers) southwest of Asheville, describes itself as a nature-based therapy program that helps 10- to 17-year-olds ?work through behavioral or emotional difficulties, build trusting relationships with their family and peers, and achieve academic success.?

Feed Your Head / Parents in the US and Russia - so alike while enemies
« on: February 05, 2024, 01:21:27 AM »
I promised to post this on behalf of EmoJanice, who make some contributions to our cause

If you have watch "Hell Camp - Teen nightmare" on Netflix, you have learned all about the US domestic fight against the teenage life. The teenagers in the US cannot like young Danes go into a shop and buy alcohol, so they will never sit down over some beers and talk. As result they live in a divided society.

The parents in the US can legally hire a firm which collects the kids and place them in handcuffs and legirons only for them to take the children to wilderness camps where some of them die or so-called private prisons called boarding schools or residential treatment centers where some also die.

Why? Tougher legislation - the fight against drugs, 3-strike laws made the parents fear for the future of their children. So these places have been allowed to kill children for several decades.

Now parents in Russia who have children who might see themselves as the other gender or a unicorn can opt to take their children to private hospitals where the so-called doctors try to "cure" the children. We all know what is going to happen.

The bodies of teenagers will start to pile up.

Why? Tougher legislation against LGBTQIA+ make the parents fear for the future of their children.

Two countries who is against each others both have parents who react the same.

Victims of the Troubled Teen Industry in the United States (Domestic Prisoners of Conscience)
In Russia, parents are having gay children abducted to be ?cured? (The Washington Post)

Group Home Teen Died Following Alleged Assault After She 'Refused' to Undress in Front of Male Counselors: Lawyer (People Magazine)

Just another to the never endling list. So sad and of course nothing comes out of it when they "investigate" it.

The Troubled Teen Industry / Renewed Hope Ranch testimonies
« on: October 28, 2023, 03:40:45 AM »
Harvested from Yelp

Quote from: Jake A
Management is truly awful. If nepotism is not on your side you are treated like complete trash. You now get in trouble if you clock in early, and you get in trouble if you stay longer to help someone out. They will continue to increase your work load without increasing compensation and unless you kiss the bosses butt you will never be treated with a shred of respect. Meetings and all trainings are required, unless you have the benefits of nepotism or you're part of management, then you get a free pass on all requirements with no consequences. Pay raises and promotions don't go out to the hardest workers, they go out to who ever has a parent in management. I cannot tell you how many times I was passed over for promotions only to find out it went to a bosses kid who is always late for work, never follows protocol and puts the kids in danger.

I feel so bad for the girls that are sent to this place by their parents. They are neglected. And it has become increasingly clear that the owners don't care about them. All the kids are to them is fat paycheck every month. This place is a sad excuse for a treatment center. Please never work here. You'll be treated like garbage, you'll be neglected and given no real chance to advance. This place is a pure scam. Every week it looks more and more run down and I have seen no signs of them planning on improving anything. The compound I stayed at in Tanzania was nicer than the girls rooms. They say they have plans to upgrade and expand, but it's all talk, they never do anything. When you get a new girl management with holds all information about them except their name. They do not try to prepare you at all on the best way to handle them. You're forced to completely wing it because management is completely useless when it comes to anything. I guarantee that every single good review this place has gotten is because management wrote it, or someone who benefits from nepotism wrote it.

Quote from: annie r.
This is from a girl who whole heartedly put their heart and soul into the program that is established at renewed hope ranch. Giving this one star is honestly even way to much. I was sent to the ranch at the end of may last year I had problems with drug use and can look back at that time and still understand that I was in a need of help. However, what is done at this facility is not right and you are grouped together almost randomly. I had drug use and huge defiant problems and those were the biggest reasons I had gotten sent to the ranch. When arrive you can be grouped with a girl who screams their head off all night and slams their head against the wall even though you personally do not have those issues. This exposes a lot of the girls at the facility and I was 16 when I was there and really couldn't imagine if I was any younger experiencing those things I was in a very vulnerable place when I had arrived and it became very easy for me to cling to any hope that I was shown. Knowing that I put my heart into this program and to come out utterly destroyed from the inside out shakes that all this place truly does is damage. If your a parent reading this I know your probably really scared and terrified to make the wrong decision about your child's life. With anything and everything you do do not send your child here you will find the right place, this place is not it trust me you do not want your child here. I only say this because looking back in my experience I can see that when I'm forced to ask to go in and out of every room, forced to wear the same color shirt, forced to only talk with a staff, forced to have a staff listen to me pee, forced to be quite for 30 second before meals, forced to give the caps to my art pens away, forced to give a book away that might just be a little inappropriate if someone else comes across it that these rules did not and do not teach me anything that I need in my real life. The justification behind the majority of these rules is they are trying to keep us safe. Which yes that is there true job to keep us safe however, these rules do not need to applied to everyone and the girls need to be separated depending on their risk level. When we are all thrown together girls are exposed to various things like: knowing what cocaine is, watching a girl kick,bite,punch each other or another staff, being exposed to eating disorders or watching on of there fellow peers try and kill themselves. I only say all these things because it's true and I can truly say that I put everything I had into this program and came out not knowing how to act in a correct manner or how to be comfortable alone. I know that I needed and I know the child that you probably love so dearly needs help. But this is not it there are other options I recommend going to a short term program or doing intensive out patient therapy I think that you will get a much better outcome and probably a really happy little girl by the end of it. I also recommend reading these articles it goes over a lot of options and programs that will probably benefit your child a lot more I hope you make the right decision always tell your kid that you love them.

Quote from: David W.
My daughter was there for eight months from December 2017 -August 2018. Her mother made that unilateral decision aided by getting it ram-rodded through the court over my objections. I was very skeptical of this as I felt she should be treated with science based treatments and ththerapy not fringe treatment. The founder /director is a licsensed clinical therapist, married LDS church going man with children and seemed to be a decent man. H e was not . He came on to her and shut off security cameras and microphones to prey on my daughter with sexual physical advances, kissing etc. , After her release he kept in contact wit her and continued to mhis advances on he now r including sending pornographic photos to her.

According to an article found online, a 16-year-old girl named Vanessa Jimenez was found hanging. They did not bother to perform an autopsy to check if there was a case of foul play. Maybe because she was placed there by the social services and the tax-payers then had to pay. Her death was discovered on March 14, 2002.

Death at Cedar Crest investigated as a suicide (Daily Telegram archive, March 16 - 2002)

The Troubled Teen Industry / Reviews for Solstice in Layton, Utah
« on: August 20, 2023, 03:33:02 AM »
Found som random views of this program:

Quote from: Savanna P. on Yelp
Please read the Yelp reviews, they can and have taken down reviews that do not go against Google review guidelines!
I left this program with better social skills but only because I was learning what to say and what not to say in order to not be punished and to eventually leave.
People were put on safety for eating a skittle off the ground.
I was screamed at and abused by a staff, that turned out to be a convicted arsonist (records are available if you call the local police station), because I didn't hear her saying to let a therapist get French fries before me when it was my turn to get food. It was so bad that I hid under a table, and it was then that she started threatening to take my level.
I was held for way too long because they wanted my mom's money.
I was berated  for loving  Harry Potter (most staff were Mormon)
Others had to use me as a stepping stool to get out of the program.
My therapist told my transgender friend that he was just a confused lesbian because he was assaulted.
Said transgender friend walked away from a conversation with staff and as a result was unnecessarily tackled to the ground and restrained by four staff.
One of my friends was on com block for a month. Which basically means they forbade her to speak for a whole month.

I was put on safety for running out of the bathroom located inside my room with a towel wrapped around me and pants on to get a shirt I forgot (I was about to be late and people were punished for not having woke up, gotten 100% ready for the day, cleaned their room and getting out of the room within 25 minutes of another resident waking us up (said resident was assigned to wake up ten minutes early to wake everyone else up and they also would keep track of the time for everybody else)) when Kim from admissions who was horrible to us started shouting, "SAFETY! SAFETY! SAFETY!" at me, if this gives you an idea of how much staff abused safety phase. Within three days of my graduation I was having nightmares and would literally wake up screaming, my mother as my witness.
One male staff was super creepy.
They made workouts unsafe.
A group was called by the before mentioned arsonist staff to tell people to not talkto me because I wanted attention.
We weren't allowed to speak to our parents for an extended period of time when we first got there, so that Solstice could use that time to make our parents think that we would say and even make up anything to get to go home.

Quote from: Sophie R. on Yelp
0 stars. abuse. neglect. i have severe ptsd from my time at solstice and i resent my parents for life for what i went thru. if you love your child, dont fucking send them away to some bull shit abusive compound in the middle of utah. fuck you if you have ever sent your child away. what a way to bail on parenting. go ahead and give up then. fuck you solstice and fuck you to the "parents" who send their children away. may you rot in hell.

Quote from: Jesse G. on Yelp
Your child will be brutally emotionally abused daily. I was there for 11 months and 4 years later my PTSD from Solstice is still so severe I have an incredibly hard time functioning as an adult. They take away every right, treat you like a criminal who deserves nothing, and constantly tell you you are a bad kid who deserves to be punished for every mistake. I promise you if your child needs this level of help they are already suffering enough, they do not need to be punished farther. This will ruin their childhood. This will drive a wedge between you and your child for the rest of their life when they get out and realize how bad it really was and that you sent them there. Please listen to the people who actually lived through it not parents. Any time parents visit they treat us completely differently. This is cruel child abuse that no one deserves. They should not be in business after they have ruined so many peoples young lives. They delete many past residents google reviews which speak volumes.

Quote from: Adrian H.  on Yelp
This place is absolutely awful. Do not send your kid here. Or anywhere in Utah for that matter. Sending a kid away to a program like this can do more damage than good, especially if the program blatantly ignored abuse and the laws. I have first hand experienced awful treatment and care that ended up with me regressing fully into the person I was before my previous programs. This place should honestly be shut down. They isolate gay kids, there's always an inappropriate staff and student relationship, and refused to respect and support my religion. They have done so many harmful things and legitimate refused to listen to listen to me ask for help. Everyone that I have met up with since, has suffered a great deal because of this place. I still wake up shaking from nightmares. If any parent needs to talk to someone about where to go, they can always reach out and contact me.

Quote from: Hollis H. on Yelp
I went to Solstice in 2012 and let me tell you, it was a mess. I am not someone who is bitter about my time there, nor do I write this to get back at the hell they caused me. I am writing this because parents and young women need to know the harsh reality of what it was like to be at Solstice. I don't even know where to begin...for starers, my therapist was terrible. Her name was Melissa and she is the main root of my trauma from Solstice. I will never forget the day she told me that my mother was never going to be stable and that I would always be as sick her. I cannot explain the amount of dread my whole body experienced when meeting with Melissa. When I explained my distrust with her, I was immediately silenced. Because I was the patient and she was the therapist. Therefore nothing I said had validity unless it was what THEY wanted to hear. I am graduating college with a double major and a minor with a 3.7 GPA. I am not a dumb girl. I know the rights and the wrongs and I know what a healthy patient-therapist relationship looks like. No one had that with Melissa.
Another instance I witnessed a terrible restraint that brought me to tears. A young girl was restrained because she was sitting on the floor. yes, she was refusing to move but I assure you this girl was simply being defiant... she was no danger to anyone. Sadly, this provided a perfect opportunity for staff to once again abuse their power. Three male staff grabbed her to try and take her away only to end up wrestling and pinning her to the ground. The girl struggled and had a panic attack to which the staff laughed and continued to restrain her. Imagine this violence against your daughter.
Lastly, I will NEVER forget when Melissa and I looked at my blog where I had a photo of myself when I was struggling with anorexia and Melissa laughed because I "just looked bizarre". She did not have any compassion for me, and apparently no knowledge on how to deal with eating disorders.
I witnessed countless girls get verbally abused by staff who would later lie when the RT tried to bring it up. I know that I grew fearful for ever slipping up, for ever losing control. The whole place was a game and you just had to learn the hard way how to play it right. Everyone threw everyone under the bus. No one was honest. I don't know a single girl that was there during my time that had a good experience. Adult staff that worked there that had quit were willing to put forth testimonies about the injustices. If that doesn't convince you I don't know what will.

email me with any questions or concerns, [email protected]

A bit about the lawsuit:


Two weeks into Wingate's program, Jacob and six other youths went hiking, accompanied by two Wingate staff members. Id. During the hike, the lead staff member temporarily left the group.  Id. The remaining staff member let the youth, at their request, climb a "seventy-foot-tall, snow-dusted rock formation." Id. at 591. The staff member provided no climbing gear, training, or physical assistance. Id. at 591-92. Jacob and three others reached the top, "but Jacob and at least one other boy found it much more difficult to climb back down." Id. at 592. While Jacob was struggling to descend the rock formation, the lead staff member rejoined the group. Id. "Neither staff member offered Jacob any physical assistance, but one of them advised Jacob to follow a certain route down. As Jacob tried to do so, he slipped on the snow and fell approximately twenty-five feet to the ground, landing on his left knee." Id. Jacob's knee shattered. Id. at 591.

The Troubled Teen Industry / Wingate wilderness - investigation thread
« on: August 18, 2023, 06:23:48 AM »
Some sources speak of their closure. It is not known if the program also closes Expanse Wilderness. They seems to have been affected by the lawsuit after a rock climbing accident.

Here are some testimonies from former victims found on Yelp:

Quote from: Becca O.
I went here while I was 15-16 for 3 months 2017-2018.  I will say that it is better than the abusive boarding schools, however you are not being told the truth as a parent. You only get therapy once a week for less than 30 minutes, they made us smile in pictures while we were covered in feces, dirt and throw up and if we refused, our therapist would tell us that we would have to stay out there longer. If we couldn't start a fire we would starve,  Often times kids would "double dragon" (throwing up and diarrhea) as we called it due to disgusting drinking water and malnutrition. If you were injured you wouldn't seek proper care. This is a universal experience at least in there adolescence program. Please be careful where you send your children. Especially in Utah, the laws are messed up.

Quote from: Jocelyn T.
Please do not send your child.  My son was neglected, abused, left dangerously dehydrated for days.  Was diagnosed with lithium toxicity and severe dehydration (dangerously low levels) and spent 10 days in ICU and hospital at a children's hospital. This was 3 weeks into the program. His feet filled with splinters and blister on top of callused blisters.  Now he has PTSD and on going medical monitoring.  This place is dangerous.  If you receive a call that your child was taken to the local hospital for whatever reason and are told NOT to come out I cannot stress enough you better get out there to make sure your child is getting the proper care.  I flew out to find my son in a bed laying in his urine, struggled to talk, walk, eat.......and all they wanted to do is hydrate him and put him back in the field.

Quote from: Gabriella B.
child abuse. if you're a parent thinking about sending your child here, please reconsider. this may irreparably damage your relationship with your child, as well as subject them to abuse and neglect. i contracted shingles here as an adolescent and was left untreated for 3 weeks. my therapist was homophobic. a past clinical director had been reportedly accused of sexual abuse and has been described as "cruel". many founders and notable staff have histories and connections with other, infamously abusive programs.

Quote from: Anna K.
This place doesn't deserve one star. It doesn't even deserve zero.
I went to Wingate when I was 16.
Staff joined in in making fun of me. A sex addict was the leader for our group of girls. He got mad at me for wearing a bra and underwear into a swimming hole because it turned him on. My group all took a staff members adderall. We were taken to the home of a man who had not had a background check. Staff talked about doing drugs. A group of boys took lsd together. I was made to carry 50lbs of weight at 75 lbs, even though you legally can't wear more than 30%. A girl had been there for 8 months even though there is a legal limit for how long you can stay. A boy broke his leg from falling off a cliff while watching us change. Staff brought in contraband. I mostly just experienced emotional abuse. Staff would tell me I was lying when I wasn't. They would tell the other campers that they were going to leave soon, then tell me that I would be here a while. The other campers stole all of my stuff and the staff allowed it because I was being difficult, and the other campers should have my stuff to make up for it. One staff member was called "jack off jake" for mastrubating in his sleeping bag. Our health was not taken seriously. For the whole time I was there, I was vomiting and pooping blood. I was not ever allowed to receive medical attention. This was a couple of years ago, and to this day, I have digestive issues.
The staff literally told us that the point of the program was to break us to get us to comply
This is only a small portion of everything wrong that has happened there.
I have been to many places and this was the worst. Please do not send your child here. They will not be safe.

The Troubled Teen Industry / Star guides - investigation thread
« on: August 10, 2023, 05:46:23 AM »
Due to a recent article, I will make this thread where I will collect some feedback to work with:

Quote from: Shelby Sticksel
I came back years later to see if anyone had had an experience even mildly in likeness that I did. Scrolling through the negative comments and seeing how demeaning Star Guides is in response is the epitome of my experience. ?We?re sorry your post care wasn?t the quality you deserve?
I attended star guides in 2016. A roughly 86 day stint. During my time I experienced a series troubling and neglectful events. Kena Frey on various occasions would come and ?therapies? the members of my group but at no point meet with me. Weeks i went without therapy to ?help me manage my need for ?control?. There are stories that are better left for a court room and not a Google review. In my time following i saw some of the best Clinical Psychologists in the country and into adulthood. Every time I?ve been evaluated there?s always a note that indicates Star Guides induced severe PTSD and panic disorder etc. There truly aren?t words for the negative impact this had on my life. No child in this kind of situation with the severity of the issues my peers had should be seen by anyone other than someone with a clinical psychology degree. Much less someone with a general masters. I now run a very successful business in the recovery space. Graduated from a top tier institution. However I?m not a success story of starguides. My parents and those around me would say i came back dark, distrusting, and traumatized. With even a larger mountain to overcome.  I?ll leave you with this. There are many many resources in the recovery space. I work with facilities everyday who work with kids of the same issues but in a way that doesn?t cut deeper. There are so many solutions and facilities who are actually looking at the science of recovery and creating challenging but healthy and safe places for recovery. I encourage all parents in this position to pursue not only care from qualified clinical psychologists but programs that promote safe healing not a military style break you down to build you up. In times of chaos or distress it?s easiest to make a rash decision.  Choosing to send your child off should be given a great deal of consideration and research. I know mine wish they had done more research. We could?ve avoided a lifetime of pain, because as we all know, the body keeps score.

Quote from: K. Schlegel
Please do not send your children here. I spent seven months in this program and any "progress" I made was short-lived and came at a high price. My education was ruined. My mental health is worse than before, though since this program is only concerned with behavior, I suppose that's to be expected. I have all but lost the ability to show and feel things like love and affection, especially towards my parents. I have struggled to re-adjust to society and wonder if there just isn't a place for me anymore. In summary, the "help" this program provides has made my life significantly more difficult. And I can assure you I am not the only one. This, and many other Wilderness Therapy Programs, have damaged many lives. We deserve a roof over our heads, a bed to sleep in, a shower, a toilet, a daily change of clothes, education. We do not deserve to be watched while using the bathroom for any reason or made to perform physical labor. Living in this kind of environment can be crushing. Unfortunately, it's a feeling many will never be able to forget. I can only hope that a parent will read this and consider a different treatment option, or that someone who has been through a similar experience will read this and feel less alone.

The Troubled Teen Industry / Whetstone Academy - investigation thread
« on: July 31, 2023, 03:06:58 AM »
After the sexual lawsuit thing which is common in that line of business, we have decided to find testimonies before their marketing department makes them go away.

From Google:

Quote from: H Freeman
I cannot day I didn?t get anything from whetstone, but I also can?t say what I got was good. All positive things I improved on were by my own doing of being so bored by the actual lack of things to do. Anything fun we had was usually taken away and then dangled in front of us as a means of getting us to comply. Then there?s the education, if the price wasn?t bad enough, my family had to spend more money on summer school to catch me up to where I was before. I would recommend just sending your kids to wilderness instead, half the price for twice the effect

Quote from: Luke Baumgardner
The teachers and hands on staff are great but in the administration building are non trustworthy. They will lie to you. Do not recommend

Quote from: Harrison spear
This place is literally aweful all they want is your money the staff are fine it?s the management that sucks

From Course Hero:

Quote from: KidHeat13220
It was six in the morning at my old therapeutic boarding school, Whetstone academy. This place is up in the mountains of south carolina. I was advancing in the program and that's when you go to a "transition house" and after dinner you will go to sleep there and do chores to get you back into a normal living state. So the day before I go see my family for christmas break something wild happens. This is where I almost died.
5:35 pm our staff that takes us to the lake house arrives. My two friends Will and shepherd are staying in the lake house with me. I noticed weird facial expressions from them at the time I hadn't picked up what was going on. I later noticed that Josh was quiet. We all got in the car and Will told me that he thought that Josh was drunk. I was very unsettled at that point in time to hear that the person that was driving the car to the lake house down very dark and rocky roads was drunk.
We all looked at each other with scared looks and Will was getting pretty scared. I noticed that we were going way past the speed limit. Then BAM! The mirror on the passenger side of the car explodes off of the car, sparks fly and at that point I was laughing at what had just happened but at the same time I was about to soil myself. We continue on and Josh does not say a word about the mirror that was dangling off of the car. Will was starting to cry and we all thought we were going to die. Josh keeps driving, swerving back and forth from side to side, we somehow are not dead yet.
We were going down the road and we started driving on the wrong side of the road and we almost hit an oncoming car but luckily the car swerved off of the road to avoid us.We family  got to the Lake House and Josh tries to fix the mirror that was shattered and torn apart from the impact of the mailbox. After Josh unlocked the door to the Lake House he went straight for the bed and passed out. He was one hundred percent drunk. We stayed in the basement of the lakehouse. Upstairs is where the owner of the boarding school lives. I wanted to go and tell him what had just happened to us, but Will didn't want me to. I shoved him out of the way because I knew that we were in a life threatening situation.
 I knocked on the door of the upstairs of the house and the door swung open. It was hard to tell him what had happened to one of his employees but I managed to get it all out. He asked me where he was and I said that he was in the staff bedroom and passed out on the bed. He was glad that I had told him about the situation and he made us go to the other house owned by the boarding school to wait there until another staff member could arrive. We called our parents when we were over there and the owner called and emailed each of our parents. After Nick, our weekend staff member, had arrived we went back into the house and Josh was gone.
After that night I went home for Christmas break and had a whole story to tell my parents. You never know what could happen at any point in time in life. It could end in an instant like it almost did for me that very night.

It is located in Indiana and there are articles on Reddit and Project Unsilenced covering it.

Quote from: Benjamin Green, Google reviews
I have lived here for one year and months and highly recommend considering you options when coming to this facility. My experience was absolutely horrendous. I was not helped when coming to this facility in fact was set further behind and was given less opportunity. There were care specialists that were clearly biased and gave favoritism to other residents. Not only this, I was promised full confidentiality of all treatment information but I was not given this respect and this caused me more troubles. I was put down by other residents and I was not helped by the care specialists. I was discharged unsuccessfully because of failed polygraph in  which I was forced to take by the facility and what was worse is I had been truthful, but had been called a liar. These polygraphs have caused the fall of so many residents and in my entire 14 months of stay,  I saw only 1 person discharge by completion of the program. These residents are undergoing a tremendous amount of stress, I know because of the social awkwardness that I still have today.  The facility also does not have a welcoming setting, I felt I was in solitary confinement . These people will walk out with more mental problems and will likely discharge unsuccessfully. In my personal opinion, avoid this place at all costs. In the mist of all this, they did offer a great christian environment but may be a problem if there were one who was not christian. The care specialists generally liked to show christian movies and shows. One more thing, the school offered had no opportunity, most of the schooling was on computer and classes offered were chosen for you, generally an elective like basic skills or Indiana studies. So complicated classes such as algebra had to be self taught on a computer. Please consider all of your options when coming to this facility, because generally any other residental is better than here.

Quote from: dillon johnson, Google reviews
Fired a good staff member for completely bs reasons and treated them poorly with clear bias for certain members. Not very understanding of staff having to do what they can to keep things under control in high stress situations with zero help from other staff even if it doesn't 110% go the way management wants it to go.

Quote from: Fox-A-Million JiffyPaws, Google reviews
As someone who successfully discharged from the facility. I say, depending on the kind of environment you want your child in, this may, or may not be a good place. They may have good staff, but many staff who work here are power hungry when it comes to position. I would recommend somewhere else, but it is your choice.

News Items / Finally they close
« on: July 15, 2023, 03:35:55 AM »
Wow. Only 3 teenagers had to die before the state of Utah decided to do the obivious. Closing them down!

Teen treatment facility Diamond Ranch Academy closing after Utah denies license renewal (KSL News)

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