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Messages - Teen Advocates USA

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Mission Mountain School / yet another group to join
« on: October 23, 2005, 09:02:00 PM »
On 2005-10-23 17:46:00, Anonymous wrote:


On 2005-10-23 11:05:00, Antigen wrote:

"Why is there no mention in the warning signs of LGA style involvement? Or, for that matter, TOUGHLOVE? What, if anything, have they had to say about Karen Lile's sworn testimony about the Discovery Seminar?

Are these folks unaware of the origins of the Program model? That would be hard to swallow. Are they just not concerned about it?

How about the industry history going back more than just the last 15 years? Are they unaware of DFAF? Roloff? Hyde? Or just not concerned about them?

I would not let my children go to SW anymore than I would let them sleep in Michael Jackson's bed. I don't care if he was aquitted, it just ain't right.

Anonymity Anonymous"

Thank you!  I'm glad to see someone asking these questions b/c honestly, IMO you hit the nail squarely on it's head.

Bottom line is history will repeat itself if groups like A Start and Kat's fail to emphasize the origin of the problem (the anti-drug-anti-youth movement of the 70's) for it is here that today's teen helpers and their brand of one-size-fits-all programs were spawned.

Second, if society doesn't change the way it views youth and stop criminalizing and medicalizing adolescence, nothing will change,in fact, I predict if anything, there will be more REGULATED RTC's full of children forced into them because of mandatory mental health screening procedures evicting them from their home, school and community.

Don't believe me?  Already there are millions of kids being labled "deficient" and being force-fed drugs by their parents and teachers.  Generation RX, the great white hope for the future?  I don't think so.  More like the biggest failure in American history.



Sorry, I didn't remember to log in.

Here's an excerpt from one of the best articles I have read on how and why it came to be that millions of America's youth are being drugged into compliance with their parents and teachers.


This mention of Schedule II drugs brings us to a second reason for the Ritalin explosion in this decade. That is the extraordinary political and medical clout of CHADD, by far the largest of the add support groups and a lobbying organization of demonstrated prowess. Founded in 1987, chadd had, according to Diller, grown by 1993 to include 35,000 families and 600 chapters nationally. Its professional advisory board, he notes, "includes most of the most prominent academicians in the add world, a veritable who?s who in research."

Like most support groups in self-help America, CHADD functions partly as clearing-house and information center for its burgeoning membership ? organizing speaking events, issuing a monthly newsletter (Chadderbox), putting out a glossy magazine (named, naturally enough, Attention!), and operating an exceedingly active website stocked with on-line fact sheets and items for sale. Particular scrutiny is given to every legal and political development offering new benefits for those diagnosed with add. On these and other fronts of interest, CHADD leads the add world. "No matter how many sources of information are out there," as a slogan on its website promises, "chadd is the one you can trust."

One of CHADD?s particular strengths is that it is exquisitely media-sensitive, and has a track record of delivering speedy responses to any reports on Ritalin or add that the group deems inaccurate. Diller quotes as representative one fundraising letter from 1997, where the organization listed its chief goals and objectives as "conduct[ing] a proactive media campaign" and "challeng[ing] negative, inaccurate reports that demean or undermine people with add." Citing "savage attacks" in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, the letter also went on to exhort readers into "fighting these battles of misinformation, innuendo, ignorance and outright hostility toward CHADD and adults who have a neurobiological disorder." The circle-the-wagons rhetoric here appears to be typical of the group, as is the zeal.



Read entire article here:


I have posted a copy of the offical press release from Bazelon about the conference.  Not sure if any parents of children who very tragically, were KILLED while participating in a wilderness therapy program (or any other kind of teen help program) were in attendance but if so, I will try to post their remarks on the blog. Unfortunately, I believe there were many people from all over the country who wanted to attend the briefing but were not notified in time to make the necessary arrangements (e.g. some got 1-2 days notice).  However, the list of Gulag survivors, their parents/friends, children's rights advocates, private investigators, etc. who are planning to testify before Congress and/or attend the hearings is extensive and growing larger every day!  


"Adolescence is NOT a conduct disorder, it is a rite of passage".

The Troubled Teen Industry / Press Release Re: Campaign to Regulate RTC's
« on: October 19, 2005, 05:51:00 PM »
Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Unregulated Residential Treatment Facilities Exploit Children and Families, Say Mental Health Experts and Advocates; Urge GAO Inquiry, Passage of Legislation

10/18/2005 3:00:00 PM

To: National Desk, Health Reporter, Congressional Reporter

Contact: Tammy Seltzer, 202-467-5730 ext. 116 or [email protected] or Lee Carty, 202-467-5730, ext 121 or .

Among speakers at the briefing was Christine Gomez, who had unknowingly placed her son in unregulated facilities in Montana and Jamaica, where he was kept from communicating with his family for over a year and from which he emerged physically and mentally traumatized. Gomez describes "the guilt I felt over having been so na?ve and trusting." She now reaches out to other families, including "some who liquidated their assets and sold their homes to get help for their children" only to find that help was not on the program at the facilities where their children went.

In addition to professionals and advocates, speakers at the briefing included a former staff member of an unlicensed treatment center and a young woman who had been placed in such a facility. All of the speakers' remarks are online at ... sbrief.pdf . To reach former program participants and families who are willing to share their stories with the media is available, contact the Bazelon Center or the Florida Mental Health Institute (see above).

"To induce families to send their children to these programs, parents have been told that they must make immediate placements before it is 'too late,'" said Dr. Robert Friedman, chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies of the University of South Florida. "Tragically, it is now 'too late' for many young people who have died in these programs or suffered great harm. Congress must act quickly to protect other children whose families are being told the same lies."

While most experts agree that even children with serious emotional and behavioral problems can and should be served in their homes and communities, the speakers agreed that there is a place for residential care. "Residential treatment facilities should be reserved for children and youth whose dangerous behavior cannot be controlled except in a secure setting," concluded Tammy Seltzer, senior staff attorney at the Bazelon Center. "They should not be opportunities for unscrupulous and unaccountable entrepreneurs to get rich quick at the expense of children and families who need responsible and effective mental health treatment. We ask Congress to protect children and families by improving access to appropriate mental health treatment and increasing oversight of those who only pretend to have children's best interests at heart."

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is the nation's leading legal advocate for the rights of children and adults with mental disabilities. For more information on the Bazelon Center, visit .

The Florida Mental Health Institute's Research and Training Center for Children's Mental Health serves as a resource for other researchers, policy makers, administrators in the public system, and organizations representing parents, consumers, advocates, professional societies and practitioners. For more information, visit .

© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/
posted by Barbe Stamps at 1:58 PM


« on: October 03, 2005, 03:56:00 PM »
The Loose Screw Awards

By: Robert Epstein

Summary: Projective tests, recovered memories, correctional boot camps -- psychology's top 10 misguided ideas.

The mental health fields have, now and then, spawned and nurtured some completely crazy ideas. Physicians in the 18th and 19th centuries, for example, inflicted strange and extremely cruel treatments on their mentally ill patients based on equally bizarre theories of human nature. To try to shock schizophrenics into "regaining consciousness of the true self," for example, doctors bled them until they fainted, or blindfolded them and allowed them to fall through a trapdoor into cold water -- the so-called "Bath of Surprise." It's unlikely that such techniques had any therapeutic value.

Our own era has also produced theories and techniques of dubious worth. In the 1990s, for example, practitioners by the thousands began "facilitating communication" with nonverbal children by strategically guiding their clients' hands over keyboards. Some of these children appeared to claim that they had been sexually abused, and one even wrote a novel this way. A barrage of research soon demonstrated that the technique was nonsense; all of the ideas came from the facilitators, not the children. Unfortunately, no matter how persuasive the evidence, people often cling to bad ideas, including facilitated communication.

Here are 10 faulty concepts from the mental health professions that have yet to disappear. Sometimes their effects have been benign; other times, put into practice, such ideas have harmed many people.

1. The Jackson Pollock Prize for Ambiguity
Projective Tests

In the 1930s behaviorist B.F. Skinner -- known mainly for his work with rats and pigeons -- invented the verbal summator, a device that undoubtedly made some psychoanalysts salivate. A 78-rpm record played ambiguous, muffled phrases, and listeners interpreted the sounds. If you heard a strange hissing sound like mzher bsss, mzher bsss, mzher bsss, what words would occur to you? Mother's breast? My abyss? Wide-mouth bass? Psychoanalysts believed that responses on a projective test of this sort -- that is, a test that forces people to interpret ambiguous cues -- could give insights into a patient's unconscious mind. After all, someone who answered "my abyss" would presumably have far different things on his or her mind than someone who said "wide-mouth bass."

Skinner's test never caught on, but others are legendary. The most famous is the series of symmetrical inkblots developed early in the 1900s by Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach to assess personality characteristics. Even the old word-association test, in which the therapist asks for quick reactions to common words, can be considered a kind of projective test.

Early evaluations of such tests praised them as "foolproof X-rays" of personality, but eventually it became clear that responses on projective tests varied considerably with the situation, the instructions and the scorer. If different lab technicians produced dramatically different X-rays, we'd abandon that test, but projective tests are still widely used by therapists -- even in life-changing situations like child-custody disputes. A recent review of research on projective tests suggests that they rarely reveal information that can't be obtained in other, more practical ways -- like asking the client!

2. The Idea That Launched a Thousand Suits
Recovered Memories

While under treatment for depression in the mid-1980s, Patricia Burgus made a horrible discovery. Her psychiatrist, employing both hypnosis and medication, helped Burgus remember that she had been a victim of horrendous abuse as a child -- torture, cannibalism, even participation in ritual murders. She also learned that she had more than 300 alternate personalities. Burgus was hospitalized for more than two years, often in leather restraints.

Eventually she began to doubt the validity of her many "recovered" memories. She sued her therapist, his associate and the hospital where they practiced and ultimately won a settlement of $10.6 million.

Burgus was one of many swept up in the "recovered memory" craze of the 1980s. Zealous therapists encouraged clients to recall repressed memories of childhood abuse, leading to more than 800 lawsuits against alleged abusers between 1985 and 2000. Many of these resulted in incarcerations. A few led to suicides.

In most cases there was no corroborating evidence, and many accusers later recanted. But if the memories were inaccurate, where did they come from, and why did patients accept them as real?

Laboratory research by Elizabeth Loftus of the University of California, Irvine, provides a clear answer. Her studies of eyewitness testimony demonstrate that memory is remarkably susceptible to suggestion. Ask subjects who have just seen photos of a crime scene to describe the stop sign in the image, and many will "remember" the stop sign -- even though it was never there.

In other words, the source of many of the recovered memories was the therapist. Leading questions, especially when combined with drugs, hypnosis and suggestive dream interpretation, can easily produce false memories that seem quite real to patients.

In recent years, dozens of recovered-memory "survivors" have won settlements or judgments against their former therapists, but according to the director of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, recovered-memory therapy is still being practiced.

3. Meanest
Correctional Boot Camps

In the late 1970s, government leaders were desperately seeking remedies for the nation's soaring crime rate. One solution, inspired in part by the tough love message coming from mental health professionals, was to establish military-style boot camps where harsh discipline and strict regimens would set people straight. The first adult camps were established in 1983, and by the end of the decade, at least 15 states had opened or were developing similar camps for either adults or juveniles.

Although initial reports were encouraging, by the mid-1990s troubling stories began to appear about abuse and sadism at the camps. In 1998 five staff members at a boot camp in Arizona -- including the camp nurse -- were indicted in connection with the death of a 16-year-old inmate. At the time of his death, his body was covered with cuts and bruises -- 71 in all. The camp was eventually shut down, and 16 of its staff members were added to the state's registry of child abusers.

The biggest problem with boot camps, however, is that they just don't do the job. Recidivism of 60 percent or more is common -- as high as, or higher than, recidivism rates generated through more benign programs. Experts on learning have long known that harsh discipline mainly teaches people to be harsh themselves -- and to hate their abusers -- but that message is getting through only belatedly to the boot camp advocates. As the head of a National Institutes of Health panel that studied "get tough" programs nationwide summed it up a few months ago: "All the evaluations have shown [the programs] don't work."

4. Most Over-Rated
The Cult of Self-Esteem

Humorist Garrison Keillor is famous for his stories about the fictitious Lake Wobegon, "where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking and all the children are above average." Statistically speaking, however, all children can't be above average -- unless, that is, they're raised in self-esteem-obsessed America.

Feeling good -- as opposed to behaving well -- came into vogue in the 1960s, driven in part by books like Nathaniel Brandon's Psychology of Self-Esteem. By the 1980s, many schools were spending upwards of three hours a week on counseling and self-esteem classes, and at some schools all students were made "Student of the Month." Curriculum programs such as educational psychologist Michele Borba's Esteem Builders stimulated the development of more than a thousand off-the-shelf exercises like "I Love Me," in which students complete sentences like "I am" with words such as "gifted" or "beautiful" and then memorize the sentences.

But hundreds of studies have failed to show that self-esteem training produces lasting positive results. To put this another way, merely feeling good about yourself doesn't necessarily make you more effective. What's more, recent studies suggest that self-esteem training may be harmful -- that it leads many students to overestimate their abilities, for example. One study even shows that people with high self-esteem are more likely to be violent or racist.

5. Most Likely to Make Good People Feel Bad
Codependency, Enabling and Tough Love

Love and support are generally seen as good things, but in the 1980s, some substance-abuse writers and counselors claimed that the family members of alcoholics "enabled" alcoholism by being too loving. "Tough love," they insisted, was the only solution. What's more, they said, "co- dependent" enablers were themselves almost certainly victims of sexual abuse when they were children. The abuse lowered their self-esteem, which made them more likely to love and support someone unworthy of their attention. Some also insisted that all adult problems were the result of child abuse, and co-dependency was sometimes defined so broadly that almost any act of love or self-sacrifice could fit the definition. Best sellers like Melody Beattie's Codependent No More and Robin Norwood's Women Who Love Too Much thrust these ideas into the public consciousness, where they remain to this day.

Considerable evidence suggests that the codependency idea is dead wrong. In a comprehensive analysis of alcoholism treatment published in 1990, for example, Stanford University psychiatrist Rudolf Moos and his colleagues came to the obvious conclusion that family support helps ex-alcoholics stay sober. Abandoning a substance abuser in the name of "tough love" can sometimes provoke a relapse, and it's certainly hard on family relationships.

As for the child-abuse idea, it too contradicts the evidence. Not everyone who suffers from emotional or behavioral problems as an adult was abused as a child, and not everyone who is abused as a child necessarily develops psychological problems in adulthood.

6. The P.T. Barnum Medal for Mass-Market Potential
Mozart Babies

All parents want the best for their children, which is presumably why millions of moms and dads have played Mozart for their babies over the past decade -- especially the Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major. In 1993, researchers Frances Rauscher and Gordon Shaw announced that playing this piece for college students temporarily increased their "spatial reasoning ability." To be precise, some of the students were better able to make judgments about how pieces of paper would look after they were folded and cut in certain ways. The researchers suggested that the music of Mozart (but not of other composers) had a positive impact on the brain.

From this modest study a large industry has grown, driven in large part by musicologist Don Campbell, who trademarked the phrase "the Mozart Effect" and published a best-selling book about the idea in 1997.

Although there is evidence that intensive training in music may produce some general cognitive benefits, there is virtually no evidence that merely listening to music -- even to Mozart -- produces any significant or lasting effects. Even the original Rauscher and Shaw study has proved suspect; attempts to replicate it -- including a careful 1999 study -- have failed.

Meanwhile, hospitals around the country give out Mozart CDs to new parents, and the governors of Tennessee and Georgia have made this practice mandatory in their states.

7. Most Bureaucratic
Stages of Dying

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross has some very specific ideas about death. I saw her lecture just once. It was an unforgettable experience, in part because she chain-smoked during the entire two-hour talk -- on life after death, no less. Kübler-Ross, who died in 2004, is best known for her theory that terminally ill people go through five distinct stages of dying: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, introduced in her 1969 book On Death and Dying.

Her theory does sound good: First we tell ourselves that we're not really going to die, then we get angry, and so on, until we finally accept the inevitable. Her theory spread widely, and caregivers were soon pushing dying patients along this pathway, inferring from Kübler-Ross's book that any deviation from her five-step path was detrimental to the patient.

The problem is that Kübler-Ross based her stages on interviews with terminally ill people. The universality of her model was never actually tested.

As early as 1980, hospice chaplain George Fitchett published an article insisting that dying patients actually decline in their own unique ways. More recently, Michele Chaban of Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital has claimed that many of the patients Kübler-Ross interviewed didn't even know they were dying, which could explain why these very sick people were angry or in denial: They were being lied to about their ailments by hospital staff, including Kübler-Ross herself.

8. Most Twisted
Rebirthing Therapy

Ten-year-old Candace Newmaker suffered, we're told, from "reactive attachment disorder" -- an inability to form close personal attachments. In April 2000, her adoptive mother brought her to a professional "rebirther," who promised to help Candace by staging her rebirth. The technique was spawned in the 1960s by New Age guru Leonard Orr, author of the recent book Breaking the Death Habit. More than 100,000 people have been trained in Orr's technique, which mainly involves breathing in ways that supposedly allow people to return to the moment of their birth.

The rebirthers handling Candace used a creative adaptation of Orr's highly questionable methodology: Four adults pressed on Candace while she was surrounded by pillows and wrapped in a blanket -- a makeshift womb. The idea was for the girl to emerge through the simulated birth canal into her new life with her adoptive family. Instead, she suffocated, and her adoptive mother and the four rebirthers were charged with her murder.

While rebirthing is not even on the fringes of legitimate therapy, sometimes legitimate therapists, like licensed counselor Kim Waters-Rose of Atlanta, adopt such techniques to add to their therapeutic tool kit. By using rebirthing, "therapy goes a lot faster" for some clients looking for "personal growth," Waters-Rose says. She also offers "group rebirthings."

In 2002, the American Psychiatric Association said the technique "is not therapeutic and can even be fatal." But as long as therapists use it, and so long as clients don't object, rebirthing is unlikely to disappear.

9. The Breakfast Club Award
Adolescent Angst

With so many bad ideas around, it's certain that some of psychology's worst have yet to be exposed. Adolescent angst is a good example. The idea that adolescence is necessarily a time of emotional turmoil was introduced by pioneering psychologist G. Stanley Hall in 1904 and has been widely accepted ever since. It still provides a rationale for America's massive and deeply troubled juvenile justice system, which handles more than 1.5 million teens a year, and it is also at the heart of a wide range of therapeutic treatments for teens.

But Hall based his concept of adolescence on a faulty theory from biology -- "recapitulation theory," according to which each individual creature, as it develops, relives the evolutionary stages of its species. Hall conjectured that teens were reliving a time of "savagery" in our distant past -- "an ancient period of storm and stress." By the 1930s, recapitulation theory had been completely discredited, but this had no effect on Hall's theory, which had by this time taken on its own life.

Teen turmoil, it turns out, is far from inevitable. In a recent review of 186 contemporary preindustrial societies, researchers found that more than half had no sign of it. Yet the idea that teen angst is unavoidable is pervasive in our culture.

Hall's theory has probably set a vicious cycle in motion: Society responds to teen problems (drinking, drug use, pregnancy and so on) with restrictive laws and treatments, which in turn cause more teens to act out and rebel. The tumultuous stage of life we call "adolescence" is, without doubt, a creation of modern culture, not an inevitable stage of human development, and our own culture has produced far more of it than has any other culture in the world -- in part, perhaps, because of a faulty idea from psychology.

10. The Sound and the Fury Award

The idea behind catharsis is that current psychological pain is the result of pent-up energy left over from unresolved trauma. Like a fluid trapped under high pressure, energy is vented when someone relives an old experience while expressing intense emotion. In the 1960s, when extreme self-expression was all the rage, therapies in which people screamed (primal-scream therapy) or were goaded into states of near-panic (implosive therapy) became mainstream. Most people still believe that anger is some sort of force that can be "bottled up," and that it's healthy to "vent" or "let go."

But in the 1970s and '80s, prominent psychologists like Elliot Aronson suggested that expressing your pent-up anger could make you even more angry, and recent studies by Iowa State University's Brad Bushman and others seem to bolster this viewpoint.

The catharsis idea is highly suspect, but the case against it is not airtight. No one is entirely sure just when venting frustration or rage is helpful and when it's not, but for some clients, expressing anger during therapy can help them learn about and control their negative emotions. Similarly, some studies show that expressing anger through athletic activities helps people stay calm.

This is just the short list, of course. The mental-health fields have generated a dizzying number of bad ideas, many of which still affect us. Even when an idea is discredited, it's rarely abandoned; it just moves to the fringes of the field, where needy people are only too happy to adopt it. And that's the heart of the problem: We want solutions now, and we'll take what we can get. When therapists or behavioral scientists offer us even the most preliminary ideas for improving our lives, we grab them and hope for the best. PT

Dr. Robert Epstein is West Coast Editor and former Editor in Chief of Psychology Today. He is currently working on a book called The Case Against Adolescence: Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen.

Publication: Psychology Today Magazine
Publication Date: Jan/Feb 2005
Last Reviewed: 7 Sep 2005
(Document ID: 3640)

The Troubled Teen Industry / SPEAK UP FOR ROBERTO REYES (THAYER)
« on: October 03, 2005, 03:14:00 PM »
On 2005-10-03 07:52:00, Antigen wrote:


On 2005-10-03 05:31:00, Anonymous wrote:

 One report, for example, says a girl was forced to sit in a plastic tub of urine for at least 2½ hours.

?That?s disturbing,? Kanoy said.

But is it child abuse?

?I don?t know,? he said.

Hmm, gee, I wonder.... is that abuse? How could anyone know? Oh, here's an idea! How about we assemble all of Mr. Kanoy's collegues and coworkers, don't forget the janitor and the interns, and make his ass soak in his own piss for a couple of hours? Think then he'd have a better understanding or some inkling of an opinion about whether or not that's abusive?


Come the millennium,

month 12,

in the home of greatest power,

the village idiot will come forth to
be acclaimed the leader.


Jeez, ain't that the truth?  

Second, how can this prosecutor be on the fence about something that if a parent tried to do (or did do) to their own child in their own home would land them in jail charged with child abuse?

Honestly, does this make any sense at all?

Programs get a free pass to potentially violate the civil and human rights of kids because the state's child protective services, judicial system and law enforcement agencies are impotent?


As shown by the THAYER case, criminal and child protective investigations into the conditions, practices and policies of private programs can be severely limited by virtue of the program's "PRIVATE" status.  This is particularly true in private, for-profit UNLICENSED programs where state licensing regulators and inspectors are "stopped at the door".  They simply do not have the legal authority to do their job.

Please learn from the example of other parents whose children have been abused, even killed, while participating in a private program.  In most cases, these parents had no other recourse but to bring a civil lawsuit as a means of holding the program owners/operators accountable for allegations of CRIMINAL negligence, abuse, fraud, death.

It is a rare scenario, indeed, when criminal charges are filed against a private program but when they are, the penalities for conviction can and often do amount to nothing more than a "slap on the wrist".  In cases where jail time has been ordered, the sentence can be shockingly light (e.g. 6 years for the death of Tony Haynes). Plea bargains are made, fines levied, programs closed and reopened under different names, and it's business as usual.

Second, I'd like to stress that the tendency for program parents to believe the "end justifies the means" comes about through program conditioning and strict compliance with the program's expectations and demands. Parents are often unaware they are being "manipulated" by the very people charged with changing/controlling the so-called manipulative behavior of their children.

Sadly, it is all too common for program parents to fall victim to acquiring a false sense of security about the safety and efficacy of their child's program when in reality, there is no rational basis for them to put their trust (or their child) in the hands of people who "make and play by their own rules".

This inherent risk must be factored in by parents when considering an out-of-home placement in a private program.  

Bottom Line:  Steer clear of UNLICENSED programs and make sure that you, not the program, is in control of your child's basic human and civil rights ... even if that means making unannounced visits or periodically demanding to speak to your child without their case worker/counselor/therapist monitoring the conversation.  

Lastly, under no circumstances should you be made to completely sever the lifeline to your child's health and safety as a condition for their participation in a program. You are the child's parent, not the program.  Enforce your parental rights and if need be, tell the "program" that if they don't cooperate, you will cancel the enrollment agreement and remove the child from the program.  

In the end, MONEY TALKS, and I can assure you, programs will listen.

TAUSA ... Death.html

[ This Message was edited by:  on 2005-10-03 11:27 ]

The Troubled Teen Industry / SPEAK UP FOR ROBERTO REYES (THAYER)
« on: October 03, 2005, 12:58:00 AM »
Personally I find this report very disturbing and hope everyone who is interested in speaking up for Roberto Reyes, will write or call the "powers that be" (listed below report) and remind them that THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE OF CHILDREN IN THE NAME OF "TREATMENT" or "THERAPY" or "GOD" and that it's time for them to be proactive instead of reactive (e.g. why does a kid have to die to get the attention of lawmakers?) ... Death.html


TAUSA[ This Message was edited by:  on 2005-10-02 22:37 ]

More Details ....


But doubts persist about Thayer


The Kansas City Star

KIDDER, Mo. ? Eleven months after the death of a 15-year-old resident of a home for troubled teens, the local prosecutor said he doesn?t expect to file criminal charges.

Yet questions persist about the death of Roberto Reyes and previous unrelated allegations of child abuse at Thayer Learning Center.

Caldwell County Prosecutor Jason Kanoy said he?s not convinced any criminal abuse or neglect was involved in the death of Roberto, a Californian who had been at the northwest Missouri military-type boarding school for less than two weeks. His death was attributed to a spider bite.

?The question boils down to: ?Did somebody commit a crime to cause his death?? ? As of right now, I just haven?t seen that sticking out like a sore thumb,? said Kanoy, who admits his investigation was hampered by lack of access to the private facility.

In a response to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Roberto?s parents, Thayer?s owners, John and Willa Bundy, denied wrongdoing. In a statement submitted to The Kansas City Star shortly after Roberto?s death, Thayer officials said general allegations of abuse were ?ludicrous and false.?

The Bundys, who opened Thayer in mid-2002, have not responded to several recent interview requests. But an attorney for Thayer, Rhonda Smiley, said in a Sept. 22 letter faxed to The Star that ?Thayer chooses to try the facts of this lawsuit in the appropriate forum, not in the newspaper.? She called the allegations unsubstantiated.

Despite Kanoy?s reluctance to file charges, he said it ?sounds like there?s (civil) negligence all over the place? in Roberto?s case.

A five-month investigation by The Star found that:

? According to a state investigative report, a former Thayer student said that Roberto had been ?almost lifeless? for several days before his death. Two former students told The Star that Roberto had barely moved when they saw him in the days before he died. And a business owner who installed surveillance equipment at Thayer told The Star that Roberto had been unable to climb a short staircase the day before he died.

? A state investigative team said ?it appears that those responsible for the safety and well-being of Roberto Reyes failed to recognize his medical distress and to provide access to appropriate medical evaluation and/or treatment.? A panel of county and state officials previously had determined that earlier medical treatment ?may have prevented this fatality.?

? Two local experts in spider-bite care told The Star that, in a combined 51 years of experience, they had never seen a spider bite induce the condition that killed Roberto.

? Police reports reviewed by The Star show that since April 2003 at least seven persons had reported more than a dozen allegations of child abuse at Thayer to the Caldwell County sheriff?s office.

? Kanoy has asked the attorney general?s office to assist in a criminal investigation of the alleged abuse of more than a dozen students.

After looking at police reports and portions of the state investigative report on Roberto?s death, Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison said, ?If half of what some of these people say is true, then there are some serious problems there that I think would probably allow for some criminal justice system intervention.?

Kanoy said he hasn?t filed charges against anybody at Thayer because some allegations don?t rise to abuse, some can?t be proved and others simply aren?t credible. And investigations at Thayer are difficult, he said, because under state law, private facilities that provide care ?in conjunction with an educational program? are exempt from state licensing and regulation.

?We can?t get in the front door,? Kanoy said.

Since Roberto?s death, The Star has spoken with 14 former Thayer employees, 18 former students and the parents of 10 other former students.

Many of those students have troubled pasts, but their descriptions of life at Thayer generally were consistent.

Many of those students, as well as many parents and former employees contacted, noted a reluctance by Thayer officials to seek medical attention for sick or injured children. Many characterized the rigorous exercise regimen as capricious at best, sadistic at worst. Some described painful punitive measures.

Anjani Vyas, 18, of Pennsylvania, who attended Thayer from December 2003 until November 2004, said she had suffered through a stomach virus without getting medical care and had been forced to stand with her legs bent and her back against a wall for long periods.

?My right knee still hurts to this day,? Vyas said. ?I hated being there.?

Roberto?s death

A state social services investigative team spent more than four months examining Roberto?s death, then sent its findings to Kanoy.

The team?s report criticized the lack of medical treatment in Roberto?s case and included written testimony from a 16-year-old former student who currently lives in Florida. According to the report, he told a state investigator that Roberto sometimes couldn?t stand on his own to clean up after he had defecated on himself, that Thayer officials had dragged Roberto up steps and that he had seen dark bruising all over Roberto?s upper body before he died.

That student wrote that Roberto had been so lifeless he could not get off the floor to lie on a nearby cot. He also wrote that he had told a Thayer employee that the school ?would be in a lot of trouble if a cop saw this.?

?I will be happy to speak to you anytime about more details,? the student wrote.

The student?s mother, Carol Rickless, asked that her son?s name not be used. She said she had contacted the state investigator, but her family has not been questioned since then by law enforcement or state officials.

In their wrongful-death lawsuit, filed in Buchanan County Circuit Court, Victor and Gracia Reyes alleged that Roberto?s failing health ?would have been present for a significant period of time prior to his death? and that he would have survived had he received competent, timely medical care.

In court records, Thayer officials denied those and other allegations. The case is scheduled to go to trial in June.

The autopsy report identifies ?complications of rhabdomyolysis? as the cause of death. It says the rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle fibers, probably was due to a spider or insect bite.

But Steven Simpson, a pulmonary and critical care physician at University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., and an expert in spider-bite care, said the mortality rate for spider bites is ?exceedingly rare.? He said that if a bite was life-threatening, the person likely would be unusually sick within 24 hours.

Simpson also said that, in 16 years of practice, he had never heard of a spider bite inducing rhabdomyolysis. From his experience, the primary cause of rhabdomyolysis is lying motionless or even comatose for a lengthy period.

Another less-common cause of rhabdomyolysis is dehydration and over-exertion triggered by excessive physical activity, he said.

Gary Wasserman, a physician and chief of medical toxicology at Children?s Mercy Hospital, has written chapters on brown recluse spider bites for three toxicology textbooks. He wouldn?t discuss Roberto?s case specifically, but speaking in general terms, said he had dealt with hundreds of spider-bite cases in 35 years and couldn?t recall a single one in which a bite had triggered rhabdomyolysis.

?It?s not impossible,? Wasserman said. ?But it would be very unusual.?

Miguel Laboy, the physician who performed the autopsy for the Jackson County medical examiner?s office, said the diagnosis was based on toxicology tests and other factors. He said he identified ?an area of ulceration on the skin with infection, with inflammation? that was the likely location of the spider bite.

Police and autopsy reports also referred to several abrasions and bruises on Roberto?s body.

The state?s investigative report quoted witnesses who said Roberto had struggled to keep up with the rigorous exercise regimen during his short stay at Thayer. Some witnesses said he had complained of sore muscles or needed assistance walking and at times used other people as ?a crutch.? It also said that, according to one witness, Roberto was forced to carry around a 20-pound bag of sand shortly after he had gotten to Thayer.

Two former students told The Star that Roberto looked normal shortly after his arrival. His parents sent him to Thayer after he had struggled with grades and run away from home.

Erik Ayers of South Carolina said Roberto had ?looked horrible? as long as five days before he died.

?You could tell something was wrong,? said Erik, 15. ?He really needed help.?

James Young, 17, of Oregon, said he had seen Roberto ?probably three times? over two or three days.

?He was just lying there, like sleeping, all day,? James said.

Bill Sanders, who operates Security Protection Systems and Sanders Private Investigations in Paola, Kan., said he was hired by Willa Bundy in October to install surveillance equipment at Thayer. Sanders said he was paid more than $100,000, and that he and Willa Bundy have a dispute about an outstanding balance of about $3,000.

Sanders remembered seeing Roberto after he had collapsed at the bottom of some stairs. As school officials ordered him to get up, Sanders said, ?Roberto was literally trying to climb up the stairs on his arms. He just couldn?t do it.?

Roberto was helped to the top of the stairs, Sanders said, collapsed again, then was walked to the dining hall by fellow students and school officials.

The next day, Sanders said he saw Roberto lying on the floor as three or four school officials berated him shortly before lunch. Roberto was eventually picked up and placed on a cot in a small room, Sanders said. Sanders walked into the room at least twice to work, he said, and ?never saw him move once.?

Police reports said that on Nov. 3, Thayer officials found Roberto unresponsive and began performing CPR. They called 911 at 3:32 p.m., and Roberto was pronounced dead on arrival at Cameron Regional Medical Center about an hour later.

In interview excerpts in the state?s investigative report, the Bundys and some Thayer employees said they didn?t know or didn?t think Reyes had been sick before he died. One witness said Roberto appeared lazy, and another said he had had a bad attitude.

Records questions

The investigative report also said that interviews and evidence ?suggest significant contradictions and possible deliberate falsification of written records? by Thayer officials. In court records, Thayer officials denied altering any written records, which were kept by Thayer staff about various students and their activities.

Kanoy said there were some ?alarming? elements in the state report.

?I think we have a decent idea of how this child spent the last five or six days of his life. ? I think he was in a world of hurt,? Kanoy said. ?I think he was in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people who may not have been treating him as nicely as he would like. I think he may have been in pain. I certainly think he was uncomfortable.

??? Do I think there?s all kinds of fodder for a lawsuit? You bet.?Both Morrison and Kent Gipson, a criminal defense attorney and adjunct professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, were alarmed at reports that Roberto hadn?t received prompt medical attention.

?That?s particularly troubling,? Morrison said.

Gipson said, ?My impression is: It looks like there is certainly enough there that a prosecutor could file charges if he wanted to.?

But he added that prosecutors ?have almost unfettered discretion. Obviously, there are some disputed things. ? It would be hard for me to categorically or unequivocally criticize a guy for not filing charges based on what I know.?

For former Thayer employee Kim Gertz, who has some fond memories of Thayer, it wasn?t just Roberto?s death that he found so unsettling. According to the state report, he didn?t witness any physical abuse of students but wrote in a statement: ?What strikes me most about my experience at Thayer is that after Roberto?s death, no one seemed particularly concerned, and policy was not changed. ?

?I am convinced that I was terminated because of my raising the issue of (inadequate) medical care.?

Other allegations

Allegations of abuse and medical neglect began trickling out of Thayer long before Roberto died, according to police reports.

They came from students like Brittany Herrmann, who wrote in a complaint to the sheriff?s office in April 2003: ?I have been dragged outside on the ground by my wrists after being pushed down by a sergeant. I have scrapes and bruises all over me, particularly on my arms and legs. ? I am very scared in writing this, for fear of further abuse. ? There?s much more going on with other kids.?

Herrmann, now 18 and living in Texas, said recently by phone, ?It totally blows my mind that a place like that can continue to run despite the complaints that have been filed.?

Theodore Rights, a Hamilton, Mo., doctor who saw Herrmann for a possible urinary tract infection, wrote in a statement to sheriff?s deputies: ?(Herrmann?s) hysterical cries were that she was afraid of what they would do to her if she went back. She wanted protection.? Rights told The Star he had seen no signs of physical abuse on Herrmann but he wrote to sheriff?s deputies, ?I have witnessed evidence of neglected medical problems in two other cases.?

In January 2005, former Thayer student Elizabeth Ramirez, 15, of California faxed to the sheriff?s department several allegations, including:

? A student was ?taken down? and said, ?I can?t breathe,? as her face turned red and purple.

? A girl?s gums began to bleed because she was forced to brush her teeth for four hours.

? Students were denied medical attention for things such as infections.

She also sent the allegations to a state investigator.

Reached recently by phone, Ramirez said, ?(Thayer) didn?t help me at all. I think it?s evil.?

Some allegations have come from employees.

According to the state report, former Thayer Director Gail Ledesma said she once got into trouble with John Bundy for having a student with a swollen and infected knee taken to a doctor. Another time, she was denied permission by John Bundy to take three girls to the doctor because, Bundy told her, the students would run away if they got the chance.

Kris Kessinger and two other Thayer employees went to the sheriff?s office in May 2004 and outlined an array of allegations involving more than a dozen students:

? A drill sergeant was ?helping? a student do push-ups, causing the student?s head to bounce off the concrete.

? A student was tied up and dragged around a sand track behind an all-terrain vehicle.

? Students weren?t allowed to use the rest room and, consequently, suffered bladder infections, kidney infections and constipation.

Two of the three women said they were fired almost immediately, and they thought it was because they had contacted law enforcement. They said the third woman also was fired, but she could not be reached for comment.

Sheriff?s Deputy Donald Fuller said he found the women?s reports credible.

Fuller asked Kanoy to subpoena medical records that might substantiate the allegations. In a report he submitted to Kanoy, later included in the Reyes lawsuit, Fuller wrote, ?I have a reasonable belief ? the crime of abuse of a child has been committed at Thayer Learning Center.?

Kanoy said he subpoenaed records of Thayer students from Renee Claycamp, a Hamilton, Mo., physician. It?s in connection with those allegations that Kanoy, 31, the sole prosecutor in his office, asked for assistance from the state attorney general.

?We?ll work with the prosecutor in determining whether there?s sufficient evidence to file charges,? said Scott Holste, a spokesman for Attorney General Jay Nixon. ?But that decision will rest with Mr. Kanoy, ultimately.?

Claycamp?s office referred calls to attorney Ed Proctor in Liberty. Proctor, who previously represented Thayer, said Claycamp was cooperating with the investigation.

Kanoy said his office takes abuse allegations at Thayer seriously. But some allegations don?t name the victims or are second- or third-hand reports. He?s not sure others constitute criminal behavior. One report, for example, says a girl was forced to sit in a plastic tub of urine for at least 2½ hours.

?That?s disturbing,? Kanoy said.

But is it child abuse?

?I don?t know,? he said.

There are also reports about kids being pushed and dragged.

?When you?re trying to motivate somebody who?s very obstinate, very anti-establishment, is pushing them and dragging them abuse?? Kanoy asked. ?Personally, I don?t think so.?

Kessinger though is haunted by the memories of what she saw at Thayer. Now a full-time nursing student, she worked at Thayer from November 2003 until May 2004.

?I knew in my heart I?d be having this conversation one day about a child dying,? Kessinger said.

Lax regulation

Some provisions in Missouri law allow certain individuals to safeguard children if abuse is suspected. But other laws are so lax that it?s difficult for state agencies to afford protection to children in private facilities such as Thayer.

For example, law enforcement officials and physicians who have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering from illness or injury or is in danger of personal harm may request that a juvenile officer take a child into protective custody. A law enforcement official or a physician also can take temporary protective custody of a child but only if there is reasonable cause to believe the child ?is in imminent danger of suffering serious physical harm or a threat to life as a result of abuse or neglect.?

The Department of Social Services, however, cannot make unannounced visits to private facilities or remove children without a court order. And the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has no oversight over private schools.

State social-service workers don?t have the authority to speak to students on demand, and they can?t shut down an unlicensed facility.

Officials with the Division of Children?s Services investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect with law-enforcement agencies and officers of the juvenile court. But even sheriff?s deputies have been turned away at Thayer, Caldwell County Sheriff Kirby Brelsford said.

Kanoy said, ?There has to be a search warrant to get in the front door, or consent.? He?s been inside Thayer on one occasion, he said, but ?consent has never been given? pursuant to any investigations. He said state officials ?kind of get stonewalled? at Thayer, and that he?s never had sufficient evidence to pursue a search warrant.

In a statement submitted to The Star in December 2004, Thayer officials said, ?No state agency or law enforcement agency has substantiated any improper activity at Thayer. These agencies have scrutinized Thayer frequently over the past 2½ years and found any and all allegations unsubstantiated or unfounded.?

Brelsford said that, most of the time, Thayer officials eventually let officers see the students in question. But it?s often several hours later, and sometimes he?s been told that the students are no longer at Thayer.

He?d like to see legislation enacted that would force schools such as Thayer to be licensed and regulated by the state.

?I?d love to be able to go to that door and walk in whenever I need to,? Brelsford said.

But Missouri is hardly alone with its lax licensing requirements.

U.S. Rep. George Miller, a California Democrat, is so concerned about the troubled-teen industry nationwide that he has introduced legislation that would provide more monitoring of facilities such as Thayer. The End Institutional Abuse Against Children Act would, among other things, provide $50 million to states to support the licensing of child residential treatment programs. A spokesman in his office estimated that there were hundreds of unlicensed facilities throughout the United States and that only about a dozen states ? Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania, among them ? have any type of licensing requirements.

The Washington, D.C.-based Child Welfare League of America submitted a letter to Congress in August urging the Government Accountability Office to conduct a nationwide investigation. It urged Congress ?to take action to ensure the safety of the children? and said ?allegations of neglect and abuse at many of these programs include ? the employment of vigorous physical means of restraint or individual seclusion or isolation.?

The letter also said, ?Since there is little public oversight of these residential programs and camps for troubled children and youth, we do not yet know the full scope of the problem.?

The Child Fatality Review Panel, composed of county and state officials and charged with looking into all child deaths in the state, addressed the lack of state oversight in its final report on Roberto?s death: ?The panel feels appropriate legislation dealing with access to the facility by juvenile authorities, social services and law enforcement should be enacted to help remedy the lack of cooperation.?

State Sen. Pat Dougherty, a St. Louis Democrat who has proposed legislation in the past that would regulate schools such as Thayer, said he doesn?t expect Roberto?s death to be a catalyst for legislative change ?unless there?s a lot of public outcry.?

?Missouri legislators should step up to the plate and engage this and find a solution,? Dougherty said. ?But it?s so easy to push it back and to ignore it, because people jump up and cry, ?Here?s big government again.???

Sen. Matt Bartle, a Lee?s Summit Republican, said state intervention wasn?t necessarily a cure-all. ?A lot of times, I think, state licensing gives the appearance of oversight, and the reality is: There?s very little,? he said.

Sue Warner of Connecticut, whose son attended Thayer for four months in 2003, said Missourians needed to wake up. She submitted a lengthy letter to the Missouri attorney general?s office two years ago, outlining various complaints:

? Her son hadn?t received medical care for his injuries.

? She hadn?t been advised that Thayer and Parent Help, the referral service that recommended Thayer, were both owned by the Bundys.

? The academics of the program were ?inaccurately and inconsistently communicated.?

Nothing ever came of her complaints, she said.

?I?m far away, obviously, but it?s become obvious to me that people (in Missouri) almost have their hands over their ears and their eyes and don?t want to know,? Warner said. ?I think that?s a travesty.?

The Star?s Scott Canon contributed to this report.

Here's the prosecuting attorney's contact info if anyone would like to express their thoughts/opinions on this matter:


Missouri prosecuting attorneys:

Missouri Office of Prosecution Services
The Missouri Office of Prosecution Services is a state governmental entity established to assist Missouri's prosecuting attorneys. MOPS is located in the Attorney General's Office in Jefferson City. The office provides technical assistance, training and continuing legal education for prosecutors.

Elizabeth L. Ziegler is the executive director.  
Missouri Office of Prosecution Services
P.O. Box 899
Jefferson City, MO 65102
573-751-1171 FAX

E-mail Elizabeth Ziegler

Sun, Oct. 02, 2005
Boot camp won't face charges in death of resident

Associated Press

KIDDER, Mo. - A home for troubled teens will not be charged in the death of a 15-year-old resident, after the county prosecutor said he had found no evidence that criminal abuse or neglect was involved in the death.

Roberto Reyes, of Santa Rosa, Calif., died Nov. 3, 2004, after being at the Thayer Learning Center in northwest Missouri for less than two weeks. His death was blamed on a spider bite.

His parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the boarding school, alleging that physical exertion and abuse caused or contributed to Roberto's death. They also alleged that their son would have lived if had he received timely medical care.

"The question boils down to: 'Did somebody commit a crime to cause his death?'" said Caldwell County Prosecutor Jason Kanoy. "As of right now, I just haven't seen that sticking out like a sore thumb."

But Kanoy, who was not given access to the private facility, added that it "sounds like there's (civil) negligence all over the place" in Roberto's death.

Thayer's owners, John and Willa Bundy, have denied wrongdoing and said allegations of abuse at the school were "ludicrous and false."

An attorney for Thayer, Rhonda Smiley, said in a Sept. 22 letter faxed to The Kansas City Star that "Thayer chooses to try the facts of this lawsuit in the appropriate forum, not in the newspaper." She called the allegations unsubstantiated.

The Star reported Sunday that a state investigative report said a former Thayer student reported that Roberto had been "almost lifeless" for several days before his death. Two former students told The Star that Roberto had barely moved when they saw him in the days before he died. And a business owner who installed surveillance equipment at Thayer said that the boy had been unable to climb a short staircase the day before he died.

The state investigative team said it appeared those responsible for Roberto's safety did not recognize his medical distress or provide adequate treatment.

Police reports reviewed by the Star show that since April 2003 at least seven people had reported more than a dozen allegations of child abuse at Thayer to the Caldwell County sheriff's office.

Kanoy has asked the state attorney general's office to assist in a criminal investigation of alleged abuse of more than a dozen students.

Kanoy said he hasn't filed charges against anybody at Thayer because some allegations don't constitute abuse, some can't be proved and others aren't credible. And investigations at Thayer are difficult, he said, because state law makes private facilities that provide care "in conjunction with an educational program" exempt from state licensing and regulation.

"We can't get in the front door," Kanoy said.

In interview excerpts in the state's investigative report, the Bundys and some Thayer employees said they didn't know or didn't think Reyes had been sick before he died. One witness said Roberto appeared lazy, and another said he had had a bad attitude.

In court records, Thayer officials denied all the allegations. The case is scheduled to go to trial in June.

It's another sad day in America when a child dies while in the care and custody of a residential treatment center and no one is found to be at fault .... except the victim ... a 15 year old boy.

Let's hope the civil lawsuit brings justice for Roberto, his family and friends.

In the meantime, may I suggest those who are interested write their congress reps. and ask them a simple question:

Why should kids who are in a private (meaning parent funded) institution not have the same rights as kids who reside in state-run and/or federally funded institutions?

Private placement kids are being shortchanged in ways that put them at risk of serious injury and even death at the hands of their "caregivers".


Thank you,

[ This Message was edited by:  on 2005-10-02 20:21 ]

The Troubled Teen Industry / Anchor Academy for Boys in Havre, Montana.
« on: September 28, 2005, 10:40:00 AM »
On 2005-09-28 07:06:00, Dysfunction Junction wrote:


This past August I was privileged to travel to Havre Montana, to work at the Anchor Academy for Boys Camp (ACC) under the direction Pastor Trevor Spencer and Bro Dennis McElwrath, this ministry is a blessing for young men that have trouble with authority. Both Pastor Trevor and Bro. Dennis worked in the Roloff Ministries and saw a need for such a facility in the open fields of Montana. Located at a former AirForce Strategic Air Command Base the camp is renovating a vast number of structures.

Seventeen members of Peoples Baptist Church spent a week assisting the ministry in a variety of needs, the CAAS has provided drawings for the relocation for the existing school and the general offices. We also have over a dozen projects that will take place over the course of the next five years. The Largest is the renovation of a radar tower into a five story dormitory. Bro. David and Debby Newby , former members of PBC are on staff at this ministry. Please pray for this ministry.


It's a Baptist "Mission" relocated from Texas.  It has been referred to as "Anchortraz" by some of its "clients."

Looks pretty sketchy...

OMG, Roloff?  

Thanks DJ -- you are the best!


The Troubled Teen Industry / New Kid on The Block?
« on: July 01, 2005, 01:55:00 AM »

Anybody have any first-hand experience with this outfit? If so, can you tell me what they are?  A referral agency?  A program selling other programs?  

Personally, I have never heard of them but it appears they (the registered domain owner) is based out of St. George, Utah.


The recommended programs TOP FLIGHT ACADEMY and BIG BROTHER ACADEMY (which appears to be a new program owned and run by Max Ahquin, the former owner of the boy's group home in Cedar City that closed after the death of counselor Anson Arnett).

The Personal Growth Seminars called REFRAMING.  

The links to familiar "resources" in the teen help industry.

The negative feedback about private referral agencies who accept fees paid by programs yet praising EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANTS.  A question of ethics and/or bias?

The Troubled Teen Industry / Remembering Aaron Bacon: March 31, 1994
« on: March 24, 2005, 01:23:00 PM »
It's the "wilderness experience" at its most extreme--rehabilitation of wayward teenagers delivered with the in-your-face discipline of a boot camp. But in the past five years at least four young people have died, the victims of alleged beatings, starvation, and emotional abuse, and the so-called therapy is looking more like murder.

The long-distance connection was good, but as Sally Bacon stood in her Phoenix kitchen, she couldn't make sense of what she was hearing. A month before, she'd sent her 16-year-old son, Aaron, to a Utah wilderness school called North Star Expeditions. Now a disembodied voice from North Star was telling her, "Aaron is down. We can't get a pulse."

"What does that mean, you can't get a pulse?"

"Aaron's been airlifted to the hospital in Page, Arizona," came the reply. "Call your husband. He's been given the hospital phone number." Sally frantically dialed Bob Bacon at his office. Sounding numb, he repeated what he knew: Aaron had collapsed in the desert. It was a freak accident. There was nothing anyone could do. Their son was dead.


To read entire article click here:

Special Message to Parents:

Please remember that no program is a good program if your child's attitude and behavior is subject to being controlled and/or changed in an environment ruled by FEAR.  

If you believe or even suspect your child is at risk of abusive care and treatment (including being deprived of an education) please take the appropriate and necessary steps to protect and enforce your child's safety and well-being.

Thank You,

Barbe Stamps
http://www.teenadvocatesusa.homestead.c ... Ahome.html

The Troubled Teen Industry / Updates Re: Murder Trial of Chuck Long II
« on: January 03, 2005, 08:46:00 PM »
This is fantastic news ... justice has indeed been served and I, for one, am extremely grateful the jurors in this case were able to come to a unanimous verdict. God Bless you "anonymous" juror for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings.  I do believe you when you say this was the hardest thing you ever had to go through but I trust you are at peace with your decision to hold Charles Long accountable for the tragic and wholly preventable death of Tony Haynes.

Barbe Stamps
Teen Advocates USA

http://www.teenadvocatesusa.homestead.c ... aynes.html

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