Author Topic: Benchmark Requires A State/Federal Criminal Investigation  (Read 2298 times)

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Offline Anonymous

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Benchmark Requires A State/Federal Criminal Investigation
« on: April 07, 2009, 11:04:12 PM »
I offer my sincere, heartfelt, and nearly sobbing thanks for the courage of everyone on this forum to stand up to this criminally abusive institution.  As a former "student" I can say that the "school's" programs are SEVERELY psychologically abusive and damaging at best and I'm not sure it would be inappropriate to literally call their policies a form of torture.  I'm currently gathering resources to see who I can file some anonymous reports/complaints with.  

I don't think it's nearly good enough to say that Janie Longnecker and her staff should be shut down.  Janie should, in my opinion, be in prison doing hard time, twenty to life, for the abuse that goes on at this facility.  I will relate in this post a level of abuse that can literally lead - probably has literally led - to death for troubled young adults.

The counselors she and her staff hire to treat these very troubled young people are usually all former addicts themselves who have no accreditation whatsoever and have been in 12-step programs for years, which is thought by Janie to increase the program's effectiveness on the idea that "only an addict can treat an addict".  This is used whether or not the "student" in question actually has any sort of drug problem going in.  I didn't, but was told that I was an addict anyway.  In my experience, most of these counselors are still suffering from SEVERE problems and feelings of powerlessness related to their addictions and past, which usually results in their trying to use their authority to dominate the "students" in order to reassure themselves that they are powerful.  They use their positions to psychologically place themselves in positions of power in which they can vindictively try to destroy the personality of anyone who won't "get with the program".  Students" are frequently humiliated by counselors verbally in group meetings if they don't do what the counselors want - even a single word against the counselors can result in punishment.  One of the ways they do this is by putting their youth "on bans", which means the student literally is not allowed to talk to anybody else for days to weeks at a time, removing that person's ability to effectively communicate any sort of psychological pain they may be in.  If a "student" continues to speak out for his or her rights, a further punishment is literally to drive that young person to a motel room and tell them they're not allowed to leave until they do whatever the counselors say.  And the "successful" "students" in the program who are willing to abide by the program's harsh rules frequently are given positions of power over the others, and they often imitate the abusive and destructive tactics of their mentors.  They do not understand the concept of trying to help people as anything other than the practice of trying to break spirits and minds until one does whatever they say.

I personally can attest to this.  I was placed on bans by a particular counselor who seemed to feel let down by me, who had been very kind when I entered but who quickly turned cruel.  I was placed on bans and verbally humiliated for daring to talk to a "student" of the opposite sex there in the process of trying to find some self-confidence in this area, after another student spoke silently to a counselor about my having done so.  "Students" are encouraged to "turn in" their program-mates for minor violations, so to speak, and are rewarded with favors and better treatment by the counselors for doing so.  This counselor frequently later conferred with another counselor that this counselor happened to be in a romantic relationship with about having my punishments increased, usually without looking at me so as to reinforce, almost seeming to go out of her way to do so and to take a particular pleasure in it.  I saw this happen to a lot of other people in the program as well, but it seems almost trivial compared to some of the other abuses that I'm about to relate.  

Ready?  Those were the easy abuses.  I could have suffered those and mostly been okay, I believe.  The ones that follow were not as easy by any means.

They also put me on psychiatric drugs that were known from prior experience to cause dangerous adverse reactions in me, completely, willfully and easily ignoring the advice of a prior and very effective psychiatrist and one of my parents as well, which caused a serious (thankfully temporary) deterioration of my mental state at the time.  

As my own punishment level for not "getting with the program" (as they say) increased, I was driven around the town at one point by a counselor who I engaged in conversation.  He mentioned that he used to go "hunting" - I believe he was really trying to help at that point - but when I asked what this counselor used to hunt, he said "people".  I didn't say much after that.  I'm not making this up.  

(Another counselor had been repeatedly placed in mental institutions himself - we had a long discussion about his "51/50" at one point when he was trying to "help" me with my various problems, and I have reason to believe this was quite common with counselors there who'd suffered from drug problems in the past.  But this pales in comparison to the earlier discussion.)

Just as another note about the neglect that goes on when active abuse isn't being committed, I also believe quite a few of my articles of clothing were stolen by various other "students" during my time there, but this is really almost insignificant to the point of making me want to laugh when compared to everything else.

If this website is to be believed - http://http://homepage.mac.com/psyborgue/index.html - apparently at least one student has committed suicide there, with the result hushed up by Ms. Longnecker and her team of very willing lawyers, and another troubled youth literally slit his wrists to try to be placed in a mental hospital to escape.  I can relate.  I literally joined the military to escape that program myself.  This wasn't all bad, as the diagnosis I got in the military actually turned out to be the right one in the long run - but it attests to the utter medical ineptitude of the people running this place.  While I was waiting to join the military, Benchmark still collected a check to the tune of four or five figures for two months while her staff housed me in the same kind of low-cost motel rooms I had been put in in the first place and gave me forty dollars a week to purchase food with.  The motel room had no stove and nothing but a microwave to cook food with;  I also had to buy silverware and a plate the first week out of the forty dollars.  I remember being very happy one day when I was able to trade part of a pie for a ride back to my motel room so as to not have to walk back two miles with my groceries in my hands, and also nearly sobbing when I realized that the cheap chicken meat that I had bought to try to provide myself a source of protein one week was more or less inedible, as it had cost five dollars - one-eighth of my total weekly food budget.  Bear in mind that I was, at the time, suffering from an untreated medical psychiatric disorder that NOBODY at this point thinks was my fault, and still left to walk the streets of Redlands, sometimes at night, alone, trying to provide for myself on forty dollars a week.

It is literally only as I'm writing this that I realize that I may have been in the most danger of my entire life simply trying to survive this program without injury, incapacitation, or death. Had it happened, I believe Ms. Longnecker would have simply and quietly tried to squash any uproar or consequences with the vast resources at her disposal to do so.

Benchmark Young Adult School is run for profit, and Janie Longnecker drove a very expensive car even when I was there, which was years ago.  Given that they charge literally either close to or above five figures per month per student, if I remember correctly, I have to suspect that Ms. Longnecker is a VERY, very, very rich woman by now, with the power to hire any legal team she likes accordingly.  I have to be somewhat vague here, because this institution will not hesistate to threaten and harass with legal action to the point of eventually suing any individual who speaks out against them.  But I can't be silent anymore.  The thought that they are doing to other people what they did to me and other youth during my time there makes me as deeply frightened for humankind as I have ever been.  It still hurts a lot to think about the place.  But the idea of Janie and her associates being given free license to make hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars a year from desperate families while at the same time abusing troubled kids and putting their lives literally at risk hurts worse.  

Just as a rough estimate of the kind of money I'm talking about, I do believe that the fee is something in the low five figures per month per student, or was when I was there.  They usually have at LEAST thirty to forty students at any one time.  Thirty students at ten thousand per month times twelve months a year is $3.6 million dollars.  I do not know what their operating costs are, but given that they run the "main facility" out of a warehouse in an industrial park in an out-of-the-way part of town and that the main "student" housing is an older apartment building that the "students" do most of the work of cleaning, I suspect that they are not high.  It chills my soul to think of these kinds of profits being made in the practice of abusing youth who have already usually gone through hell and high water from drug or psychiatric problems by the time they get there.  And it is worth noting that in a lawsuit brought by a former student against the facility, no less than FIFTY anonymous plaintiffs are listed along with the one named plaintiff in the legal paperwork.  There is an example here - http://http://benchmarktruth.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/opp-to-mts-mauer-decl.pdf.  The page this comes from is from a page Benchmark has up called "Benchmark Exposes Lies" in which it tries to assert that claims of abuse at the facility are false.  http://http://benchmarkyoungadultschoolblog.com/read-sworn-declaration-in-support-of-benchmark-young-adult-school/

To summarize, I do not believe it is possible to send a child to Benchmark without exposing him/her to psychological damage which will last years at the very least, possibly the rest of that person's life, and exposes that child to the risk of a covered-up death at worst.  I am quite afraid as I write this that the facility will recognize enough of my story to attempt to legally harass or harm me, and they certainly extracted every dirty secret I ever had in the past through tactics such as leaving me alone in a room until I'd written down everything I ever considered wrong that I ever did in a "Fourth Step", all of which could be used to try to attack my reputation in court.  Benchmark needs to be investigated criminally at a state or federal level, and collected evidence of years of abuse be used to prosecute Janie Longnecker and many of her staff members with the penalty of state or federal imprisonment if they are found guilty.  The level of abuse that goes on there is still hard to wrap my mind around, even having lived through it.  

I only hope that this institution does not use my speaking out to attempt to destroy my life any further than they have already damaged it.

Best wishes to all who have suffered so that Ms. Longnecker and her associates might profit.  I hope that all of us that have survived it to an extent to be able to speak out can try to heal, and I wish the best to everyone in doing so.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Anonymous

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Re: Benchmark Requires A State/Federal Criminal Investigation
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2009, 11:29:51 PM »
I'm sorry, I made a major error in my figures, after checking with some sources from the time for a more accurate figure.  It was roughly five figures a quarter, not per month - I was never given to understand the figures directly.   I apologize for my error.  I have NO desire to repeat things that aren't true. Whatsoever.  I would rather suffer great personal harm rather than lie about a subject this important.  

According to this link - http://http://www.privateschoolreview.com/school_ov/school_id/35815 - annual tuition for Benchmark is $33,000 a year.  It is worth noting that, despite the error, this is the level of tuition more often charged by private colleges offering moderately-to-highly-accredited four-year or graduate degrees, who employ accredited teachers and administrators and have maintenance costs on large, well-tended campuses.

That means that, instead of $3.6 milion per year as I estimated, the actual intake would be something closer to $900,000 a year.  This isn't quite as egregious.  It is, still, however, a lot of money, particularly given that considering the rather low-rent neighborhoods and facilities it operates out of, I don't think their expenses can be anywhere near that range.  And as I said, the "school" is run for profit, and as I also said, Ms. Longnecker drives a very expensive car.

I feel terrible for my error.  This is too important an issue to err on.  So let me reiterate - as the fees for Benchmark (while I was there) were something like $2500 per month, not $10,000.  As I said, I was never really clear on how much was being paid.  

At any rate, it changes nothing important about the narrative.  The abuse is there.  They could be accepting "students" for free and it would still be unconscionable.

If any administrator reads this, I would appreciate the chance to be able to edit these posts so as to make sure the information is truthful and remove the possibility that the error might harm my chance to speak out credibly against this very, very dangerous and harmful institution.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Che Gookin

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Re: Benchmark Requires A State/Federal Criminal Investigation
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2009, 06:21:18 AM »
Hey there.. If you were around for Psy's protest last year then you probably saw his sidekick. The big one with glasses and a goatee.. yeah that was me.

Glad to have you here, and I'll mention your posts to psy when I chat with him next to clean up any factual errors.

Did you hear that Ol' Jane lost her lawsuit against Psy and is now in the hock to Psy's lawyers for some absurd amount of money?

Keep the faith and never give up.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Anonymous

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Re: Benchmark Requires A State/Federal Criminal Investigation
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2009, 03:54:33 PM »
I did not.  I'm very, very happy to hear it.  Very happy.  I sent Psy a letter myself and just hope I can remember the e-mail password to the decoy account I set up to protect myself.  Maybe they'll have to shut down that irresponsible madhouse.

I do fully believe that Janie's husband and son-in-law may have used their connections to take suicide attempts off the police blotters, however.  That kind of corruption is ugly and soulless.  More than likely we as former "students" fighting for our human rights will not be able to get deep enough to root out that kind of rotting nepotism, but anything we get here is a major victory against this kind of self-righteous psychological violence and a step towards a better world.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Che Gookin

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Re: Benchmark Requires A State/Federal Criminal Investigation
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2009, 09:35:49 PM »
Nothing wrong with being careful and I'll holler at Psy some more to get our footage of the protest up. You'll find it enlightening.


I have to agree that old crackwhore Jane has more than likely been using her police connections through her son and hubbo to keep reports off the public record. The neighbors reported the police coming around way to often for there not to be any reports. Yet, not much is even around.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »