Tuesday, December 18, 2012

BobaFettzroth at Turn-about Ranch (From Reddit.com)

The author known as BobaFettzroth made this comment on the webpage Reddit. All rights belong to the original author.

It sounds like the program has changed since I was there.

Similar thing happened to me when I was 17.

During high school, I was kind of a punk...or rather....kind of an obnoxious little brat, much like most 17 year olds of my generation. After a particularly loud argument with my father, we got into a fist fight which caused my mom to call the police.

When they arrived, My father's face was a mostly bruised and bloodied, where as I didn't have a scratch on me (my father was really only trying to hold me down while I thrashed at him). As the cops were beginning to cart me away I made just about the dumbest decision of my life. I turned to glare at my father and said "I'll kill you."

Needless to say, 30 minutes later, I was being escorted by 3 officers into the juvenile ward of a mental hospital. I spent a week imprisoned there with all sorts of drug addicted/bipolar/schizophrenic kids, not once hearing from my parents. During the course of my stay, I was stabbed with a dirty syringe, peed on, bitten, had feces thrown at me, and worst of all, woke up to my "roommate" lying dead in his bed, bedsheets tied around his neck. Now you must realize....I was a pretty well adjusted teenager.

I had nice friends, played music and sports, and did pretty well in school. I had never even been in the same room as any kind of drug. At worst, I was a brat with an additude problem and slight video game addiction. So going through all this scared me absolutely shit-less.

Finally my parents came to visit me, though rather than riding to my rescue like I thought they would, they only came to explain that they were sending me off to "somewhere that could help me". I was handed off the the two largest men I've ever seen, handcuffed and shoved into a car, and driven 18 hours to Middleoffuckingnowhere, Utah (aka Escalante, Utah).

I arrived at a place called Turnabout Ranch. From what I could see, it was basically a very small cabin, a barn, and a couple cows. I was greeted by a pair of haggard old rednecks, 1 man 1 woman. I was told not to speak a word to anyone except them, and only when directly spoken to. They brought me to a lean-to in front of the cabin, and a circle made from rocks, no bigger than 2 feet in diameter. I was told not to leave the circle, unless it was raining in which case i could go under the lean-to. I spent 3 days there, only leaving to go to the bathroom and sleep on the wood floor of the cabin.

After those three days, I was allowed to move "freely" around the ranch and talk to others. It took me about 2 days to attempt my first escape, 3 days for my first suicide attempt, and 1 week to finally get shipped off to another program for being to "unstable".

I was then shipped to Loa, Utah, and another program that I can't recall the name of. I was given my first meal since I arrived in utah that didnt consist of trail mix or ramen. I believe it was rice and beans. I spent a night in a small empty warehouse, sleeping on the floor with a few other kids, surrounded by adults armed with tazers.

In the morning, I was given a sleeping bag, a bedroll, a water bottle, a small sack of rations, placed in a car, and driven to what can only be described as the middle of the Mojave Desert. I was again greeted with more large men with tazers. There were 5 other kids in my "group", all of whom were completely amazing and supportive of each other, unlike our staff who mostly only spoke the threaten us in some way.

We hiked no less than 10 miles a day to resupply points where we could re-fill our clean water and rations. I spent 6 months in that desert, hiking day in and day out, until my 18th birthday when I was required by law to be released. During my time there, I wore only 2 separate changes of clothes, never brushed my teeth, took 5 or 6 "showers" via a bucket with holes in the bottom, was bitten by 2 snakes (and countless bugs), and broke my right ankle twice (i was still required to hike).

When I returned to my hometown, I explained to my parents all that had happened, and when I was done I didn't speak to them for over a year. It was only through a lot of counselling and a very large "We're sorry" monetary gift that I decided to let them back into my life.

Today, we're pretty close. I understand why they sent me away, and they regret not researching these programs more. There are still times where old feeling will emerge and I'll refuse to speak to them for a few days, but it's mostly all passed.

TL;DR My parents sent me to a mental hospital, and 2 separate and abusive "rehab programs" for 6 months.

Sources:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Deirdre Sugiuchi at Escuela Caribe


This testimony was given by Deirdre Sugiuchi in another Blogspot blog. All rights belongs to the author.

On January 4, 1990, I boarded a plane in New Orleans for the Dominican Republic. I was headed to Escuela Caribe, an evangelical Christian reform school (also the setting of Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres). The school had been referred to my parents by the influential religious organization, Focus on the Family.

My life would never be the same.

I thought I was going to a Christian boarding school. Instead I entered a two year long nightmare where I lost all basic human rights. I quickly learned to ask permission from my “housefather” to stand, to sit, to use the bathroom, and to enter each and every room. If I didn’t I was punished with hours of forced exercise, sometimes holding stress positions (push-up position, or holding my arms out to the side weighted with books) for long periods of time. Staff and fellow students watched my every gesture, keeping track of my “progress” on a daily point sheet.

One of these days, staff said, I would move up the school’s level system, confronting those with lower rank than me. I promised myself I would never do that.

I lied.

Awful things happened. Kids being beaten, molested, put into solitary confinement. Being manipulated in God’s name intensified the pressure. When the first Gulf War began, we were told it was “the beginning of the end of the world.” Girls who had undergone abortions were denounced as “baby-killers.” One housefather refused to allow my friend to see a counselor on the anniversary of her dad’s death because she refused to recognize Jesus as her Lord and Savior.

All letters to and from home were censored. All phone calls were supervised and taped. There was no way to tell anyone on the outside about the abuse.

Over time, I changed. I became a high-ranker, confronting lower ranking students in ways I had previously vowed never to engage. I sucked up to staff members by debating Scripture.

Eventually I graduated and made my escape. I was so spun out from the trauma that I couldn’t even write, but gradually, I achieved stability. Lots of my friends weren’t so lucky.

Unreformed seeks to open the eyes of America to the consequences of imprisoning our youth in residential treatment facilities, putting a human face to the statistics, a cultural context to the numbers and psychological insight into the practice, propelled by the memories of what happened to my friends and myself.

Some died. Most survived. We all changed.

This is our story.

The facility seems to have been closed early 2012 properly due to the negative attention of the public.

Reference:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mike Burnette at Agape Boarding School

This testimony was made by Mike Burnette on a marketing page for boarding schools. All rights to the story belongs to the author

My name is mike burnette.

I arrived at agape in july of 2006 and spent 6 months there. I left the program without graduating due to my horrible experience there(and i did return home to finish high school and am about to begin my third year of pharmacy school in San Antonio, TX).

When i first arrived, i was stripped searched, and all of my personal belongings (from my shoes to my boxers) were confiscated from me. Then i was moved into another room (now only in boxers) and they shaved my head.

Then orientation began. Orientation lasted 3 weeks and consisted of non stop workouts in triple digit heat from the time i woke up until the time i went to sleep. Not to mention i was allowed absolutely no contact with my family for the first 30 days i was there. We were also not allowed to speak to one another. Do you know what it’s like for a teenager to not be able to carry on a conversation with his peers? It’s absolutely horrible.

Then there was “restraint.” This is a form of punishment when 4-6 of the staff members take you into a small room and manipulate your pressure points, and throw you around a little bit. During my time at Agape, i was restrained numerous times, and evertime i was restrained, i walked out of the restraint room bleeding, or bruised. I remember one specific time Brother Brian (the son of the founder and owner Mr. Clemens) elbowed me in the back of the head, causing my face to slam against the concrete-reinforced wall in the restraint room(Agape is located in tornado alley so therefore has concrete reinforced walls). This left a giant bruise and cut on the left side of my face that i still have a scar from.

Brother Brian routinely bragged about his “jurassic-elbow” and the effect it had on us. And thats coming from the son of the owner? And they clame to be a Christian school?? Thats hard to believe when the men that preach to you also physically beat you.

My experiences at Agape were horrible, and because of that, i returned home a worse son then when i first arrived there. I came back with the bitter resentment that my mother had sent me to that wretched place. I had all this pent up anger towards the staff at Agape, and i took it out on my family. And it stayed that way until i began seeing a psycologist. I would not suggest Agape Boarding School to any family out there. I am so cionfident that you can find a better boarding school for your son that will use much better tactics for reform.

Oh and as for the school, it is non-acreditted. Meaning that all school work done there cannot be transferred to another school. Having a diploma from a non-acreditted school also means youre son is less likely to get into college. Due to the fact that some colleges do not reconize diplomas from non-acreditted schools.

Sources:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Book: The Discarded Ones: A Novel Based on a True Story

This book by James Tripper tells the story of Charlie Hoff trying to survive an abusive therapeutic environment.

From Amazon:

They had many names: Cedu School, Rocky Mountain Academy, and Cascade School. Some called them cults, some said the schools saved their lives. But, none of them were free to leave. Charlie Hoff was there. Soon you will be, too. Unlock the mysteries of The Academy with Charlie as he faces the hardest decision of his young life: escape or assimilate. Neither is going to be easy.

In the recent year the authorities have intervened and close a number of these school but some are still existing destroying the young lives of teenagers until legislation hopefully will prevent the from continuing their operation.

Source: About the book on Amazon

Sunday, November 4, 2012

JYA survivor, mother - about Julian Youth Academy

The testimony below was published in LA Times on November 6, 2008. All rights belong to the author:

I am a survivor of a faith-based residential treatment center called Julian Youth Academy, located in the mountains of San Diego, CA. Although the extent of my abuse was psychological and emotional, I consider the damage to me as harmful as any other form of abuse, such as physical abuse. Broken bones may heal in 6-8 weeks, but hearts sometimes never heal.

My goal has been to legally support the regulation of private institutions. I want private institutions that house children (minors) to be held accountable to the same basic civil laws that public institutions are, such as access to advocacy. There lies a problem with regulation and accountability in private institutions.

The scars that “programs” inflict are not seen on the outside or on one's skin. They go much deeper. With respect to what daughters and children go through at home and in life--I believe that those experiences are necessary in order to reach maturity, which is the ability for a young adult to make decisions on their own. I believe that programs not only prolong this important part of social development, but that they cause sometimes irreversible damage to a person with the isolation and lack of trust or belief which programs like Julian Youth Academy’s staff encourages: thinks is "helping."

I believe children should be seen, heard, and most importantly, believed.

Here is the exact truth about my personal experience. Nothing is falsified or exaggerated. I am a real person who feels obligated to share my experience in effort to expose the truth about this program. I support Senator Miller’s bill H.R. 6358, Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2008.

My Testimony:

At 14 years old, I was awakened on a cold August morning at 5am to strangers who forced me to either dress in front of them or remain in the scant pajamas I was in. I chose the latter for obvious privacy reasons. I was not granted permission to use the restroom, or any other personal hygiene habits before what I was told would be "a long trip." My younger brother was asleep, and I would not get to see, write to, or talk to him until a year later. My older sister, I will never forget, stared into my eyes with such sadness and intensity that I was stricken to muteness and shock for the entirety of the 6 hour car ride to Julian, CA. I knew not that I would also not have contact with her, nor family other than my mother and father, for about a year.

As the escorts asked me if I knew or wanted to know where they were taking me, I remained in shock and was unable to speak or express needs to these strangers.

Upon arrival, I remained in “intake” status for almost nine hours, refusing to dress and demanding that I should get one phone call, “Even criminals get a phone call.” I was not a criminal, nor was I ever involved in using drugs or alcohol, promiscuity, or otherwise physically harmful behavior. I was a victim of a statutory rape crime, and the perpetrator is now walking the streets! Due to the emotional trauma that caused and the abandonment I felt from my parents not seeking understanding from me, retrospectively I hold to the fact that I “rebelled” as mildly as any “normal,” healthy teenager would.

During my imprisonment at Julian Youth Academy (aka JYA), which was a period of fifteen months and sixteen days, I was treated like property through lack of sympathy, lack of care for emotional needs, lack of care for health needs, constant disbelief from staff and directors and punishment for expressing my human and health needs, lack of anyone to trust, zero advocacy, and lack of experienced and trained staff.

When taken down from 4,000 ft elevation to 3,000 ft to attend mandatory church services every Sunday for fifteen plus months, I would suffer from debilitating and extremely painful migraines. The first two Sundays, I was given no more than 400mg of Tylenol each instance, which was 200-400mg less than the recommended dosage for my weight and age at the time. The third time I was suffering from these migraines, I was denied medicinal relief of any kind, was told I was manipulating staff for merely requesting medicine, and was verbally forced to stop crying or making any noises or movements in attempts to relieve or take my mind off the excruciating pain. I was never granted medicinal relief for the remaining fifteen months, and was forced to suffer in silence with the threat of punishment if I ever asked for medicine for my headaches again. I know that had I had access to an object that could puncture, I surely would have punctured my brain just to relieve the blood from my head. Seeing and reading about the sufferings and numerous deaths of children under the “care” of treatment facilities, my suffering seems humble, but valid nonetheless.

The other regulation I’d like to emphasize is the need for one or more neutral, medically or otherwise qualified third-party evaluation(s) prior to admittance of a child (US resident under the age of 18) into a residential or non-residential private treatment center. The reasoning behind this is that parents do not always know how to approach their children when a problem is suspected or have the courage or rapport with their children to do so anyway. A neutral and qualified third party evaluation can significantly bridge the gap of communication between parent and child, and can positively influence the parents’ ultimate decision to be an appropriate one.

I have forgotten, by choice and through determination of self, a lot of what happened at JYA. Happenings were not easy to push out of my mind, and it took years to do so. I do remember as clearly as it was at the time, the cloud of fogginess in my head and in my heart following leaving the program. My brain had fully disassociated with true reality because of the false reality that took place within the walls of the program. I was lost. It would be years before I could be alone in a room or even a public place without having a panic attack. I also suffered from panic attacks when in environments that shouldn't have been socially overwhelming, like a baseball game or the city college. I had to start from scratch, as if the program literally re-programmed me (Its no wonder why they call it that) and none of my software was in yet. I walked like a zombie, not knowing what windows to open to get where I needed or wanted to go. Its like they erased all my drivers (for those of you who don't know about computers, those are what run each program). So I knew where I wanted to go, but was emotionally, mentally, physically unable to connect where I was to where I needed to be. I was always an A student before the program, now I was finding it difficult to take regular college classes that would have been a breeze for me if I hadn't been "dumbed-down" by the lack of trained professionals present at the "school." 90% of my school-related questions (the only questions we were allowed to ask) were unanswerable by the "teachers"--most staff had little more than high school education.

I was emotionally detached. I was unable to feel love for my parents, even when I tried. My younger brother and I grew apart, when previously we were the two playing cars in the dirt together. My sister has always been here for me, and I can truly say that without her love and support, I would not be where I am today. I had much difficulty in relationships, and felt uncomfortable around people in general. Because I was never able to stand up for myself and be assertive in my needs, those needs went unmet in my marriage which of course led to periods of marital separation. I suffered from not only the panic attacks (sometimes total loss of consciousness) I mentioned, but sexual difficulty as well, which had to do with my past abuse (only the statutory rape, no other family or other sexual abuse) but more so the fact that I never received professional help for healing for that trauma.

My physical health covered up the damage inside. I smiled for years after the program while crying on the inside, because that was the only "coping" method I knew how to do. I had carried that same smile for the last 15 and one half months.
These are some conditions of the facility, and some of the rules I can remember:

  1. No freedom of speech
  2. Calisthenic punishment for minor infractions, such as forgetting water bottle or looking at other student you were not allowed to talk to ("no talk")
  3. Forced eating
  4. Monitored communication in all forms
    • letters were to be handed to staff without closure, to allow for strict monitoring and alteration, up to and including having to re-write as many times as necessary to fit the standard of what was allowed to be written to parents NOTHING "considered "negative" against the program was allowed at any time
    • phone calls were "earned" and only after four months, to parents only, completely monitored, staff would hang up if anything negative about the program was said
    • parent visits on campus were constantly monitored closely by staff (conversations required staff presence), and parents were required to tell staff if daughter spoke negatively in any way about the program.
  5. Bathroom resrictions, inadequate facilities during school hours (one double bathroom to 30+ girls), only two girls allowed to use restroom at a time, which was a walk to and from the facility 100 ft away, next buddy group unable to ask until the last group came back. (sometimes we'd have to wait 45 or more minutes to use the restroom)
  6. Continuous student cleaning. we did all maintenace of grounds, including chopping trees, which gave me bloody, blistered hands. Raking each and every single leaf of large forest or endure punishment. Extreme cleaning standards. all cleaning done by students. Staff did for a short time upon my arrival, help with cleaning/chores, but then staff was not permitted to help per superior staff.
  7. Students were held responsible for other student's failures to follow rules. Low level students were spoken for by higher leveled students. Low level students were not allowed to speak directly to staff unless spoken to or if higher leveled student asked for them to speak with a staff member. Low level students were restricted from speaking to (in any form of communication, including glancing) other students who had not yet attained a certain level of the program.
  8. No treatment for individual issues. Speaking about issues were not allowed until staff approved (average length of stay before allowed to speak about issues at home or personal issues: 8-9 months). All students were regarded as manipulative, untrustworthy children (all students were over the age of 13) who deserved no respect and were not regarded as individuals.
  9. Forced attendance of church services.
  10. I was forced to grate blocks of cheese until I had blisters on my hands.
  11. Denied proper medication. Medication not dispensed by licensed or qualified medical personnel.
  12. Forced calisthenics in mountainous terrain, hills so inclined and at such high altitudes (4,000 ft) that I was nauseous, dizzy, and felt like I was going to faint (I'm not sure how I didn't). I believe this was part of the mental breakdown prior to and during brainwashing.
  13. Not permitted to speak with siblings until a certain level (usually after one year), and only if those siblings supported the program. I never saw my sister, who felt what my parents did to me was wrong, the entire time of being held at the program. I was not allowed to write siblings or grandparents or any other immediate family, only parents.
  14. Never permitted to communicate with friends at home.
  15. Not allowed to express creativity, such as drawing or musical instruments, until reaching a certain level (usually about 4-6 months after admittance, and only if you attained that level). No "secular" (non-Christian) music, and music was only played in the car in the way to church.
    That's just the tip of the iceberg. Most rules were mild, and punishment did not include physical abuse reported in other programs. What is wrong about this and all other programs in this class is the brainwashing tactic. The mental and verbal abuse and conditioning, and monotonous strict schedule conformed us into thinking that everything was okay, and that we would have died if we hadn't been sent there. The threat which stopped me and probably most others was the fact that we'd get sent to the physically abusive programs if we did not comply.

Girls there are not allowed to talk to each other very much. A girl is on what's called "no talk" (no communication whatsoever, including gestures and eye contact) automatically for the first 4-5 days. She can only tell her "up buddy" (a girl who has been there a certain amount of time and has achieved a certain level in the level system they use) if there's a need to use the restroom, or wants to talk to a staff member. Those first 4-5 days is when you're supposed to observe the rules and are expected to know and follow ALL rules after that time is over.

However, this is really difficult because you cannot talk or be spoken to. right after those first days, you get off "no talk." and are allowed to talk to your own up-buddy (everyone is either an up buddy or a down buddy depending on the level achieved) and she is supposed to tell you all the rules. If you have a bad up buddy (isn't helping you at all) then you won't know the rules and will go punished a lot because you are then expected to know and follow them. Another person's up buddy is not allowed to help another person's down buddy with rules.
The level system goes A-L3. A is the first 4-5 days of no talk. after that, girls go to B automatically. C-J are levels where they receive "privileges" (I would call them rights) back. for instance, you cannot draw pictures until you are on D. you get to use stickers on level C. I can't remember what you get on E. plus these might have changed a bit, and can be revoked at any time for an individual (i.e. if staff thinks you're drawing "too much" at their discretion they will take that "privilege" away without notice or reason.), or for the whole group.

Once they get to level G, girls can talk to all the "down buddies." It's very difficult at first because you're not used to being discerning about who you can or can not talk to. in the real world, obviously you have the ability to choose who you want to talk to. You can also become an up buddy, and usually do at some point if staff thinks you're ready, at level G or H or so. Level F is one 15-20 minute phone call to the parent. They're not allowed to keep a journal until E or F, even then staff reads everything and they can't write friend's names and they can't talk about anything in your past unless it's positive. Things may have changed, but knowing the changes that were made shortly after I left, they must be less lenient.

When I was there, they did not have cameras, just speaker boxes in the corner of each room. Just before I left, they added cameras in each hallway and when I went back for "graduation" there were cameras in the rooms. I do not know if there are cameras in the bathrooms. As the place burned down a couple years ago, everything is new and I'm sure the technology has been updated.

The fact that JYA expects uncompromised, unquestioned dedication and commitment from parents is one of the scariest signs to me and is reflective of many cultist organizations. Personally, I question my doctors, my therapists, and any professionals recommending treatment or solutions for me. I believe it is my right to refuse treatment and my right to know the intentions of those professionals. As far as I know, they do not require parents to seek professional opinions regarding their child's mental, emotional, or physical state prior to acceptance of entry into the program. Programs telling parents "your child will die without us" is another very scary statement, and parents who are vulnerable (of course) and at their last ounce of emotional strength will believe them. I probably would, too, if I didn't know better.

This is where I stand, and I am not a professional but I am a mother. I am currently in an early childhood education class where I am learning a tremendous amount about children and humans as the social beings that we are. Because my parents were supportive and truly wanted the best for me, I believe that would have been enough, in addition to professional therapy, to get me through the non-violent trauma I endured as a teenager. I was a victim of a crime, and being sent away couldn’t have been further from the healing I needed. It was isolation at its worst, when all I needed was hugs, comfort, support no matter what mistakes I made, and unconditional love, especially from my parents and especially at times when I was hurt the most. Not receiving that affection due to being isolated at JYA has affected me in every single area of my life.

Tags for this letter
my perspective:
youth
now a parent who will NEVER pay to send my child to be raised by someone else, that is our responsibility as parents.
concerned citizen
Program types:
therapeutic boarding school
behavior mod program
faith-based program
reasons sent:
family conflict
breaking rules
other issues (psychological trauma, rape)
experience in program:
escort/transport service
medical care
facility conditions
discipline
privacy violations
human rights violations
abuse
suffering
no access to advocates

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A testimony from Diamond Ranch Academy (II)

A human organisation HEAL-ONLINE has collected a number of testimonies from teenagers who have been forced to live at the facility. Here is one covering a period between 2007 and 2008. All rights belong to the original author:

(Dra, Apple Valley;st george, apr14-Feb12,)

I want to remain anonymous

Diamond Ranch Academy exposed

Ok bear with me everyone.

Im sorry if any information is scattered but please just read all of it,Thank you.

It started april 12 2009 I was driving down the road in St george. I was looking for somewhere to get caught up in school.My parents and I went to go check out this place they said they could me caught up in school so I took their word for it.They sat my parents down and told them that it was a good school and it would get me caugh up in school they said it was a boarding school not a rehab I knew their were drug addicts there but they made it seem like a school.I wouldnt have went there if I knew all their rules they don't fill you in on any of these until you parents signed documents you had to be there for 10 months some 12.

I think it is unjust because some people can get their problems fixed in under 10 months.

With that in mind I went in with a positive attitude and was their for school only, but Dra they took all my freedoms away besides getting food and water they strip you your first day. Im a good girl, Im already mormon but they violate that when they leave the door open when your taking a shower in the homeless program.I broke down crying because I didn't know it was a lockdown and nobody would talk to me.

My staff that night told other staff I was going to run away because I was breaking down.They put me on run watch and took me shoes and put me in flip flops for 3 weeks.Its all apart of their drama scheme they actually live off drama there the staff they hire at least.I learned this after being there staff would make fun of girls as well especially if they were homeless they'd call you girl in orange and tell you tobe positive or you'd stay in homeless longer. They treated you badly I had a panic attack a few times

One staff walked in the lunch room one day and was like I don't feel bad for any of you I read your papers. Dra automatically treats girls like they are below you by eating good food in front of you and teased us about it daily they were happy when they treated us like lower humans.I will not dramatize this but I want to make it known there is some things to look into at dra that are yet to be exposed.I can't begin because you have to "see for yourself" they have a clan of people working to make money for them and are using teens to serve as a purpose to do so.

At 18 I signed out and I chose to be homeless for a few days and lived in the mountains,but I survived because I went into town and a lady at Maverick asked me whats wrong.I told her everything and she said look you need to have a home and I dont want to see you on the streets.I told her "ok but I can't go back to Dra,I didn't like the way it made me feel" When I got to her house she treated me far better even as a stranger she didn't treat me like I was in a rehab I was very nice, and I let her know I wouldn't steal from her she clothed me properly and told me her house is open and her kitchen and let me take a shower.

At dra they don't respect you as nice as the lady I met at maverick, they automatically think your going to steal and just do everything bad,they need to change the way the operate because it won't be successful if they think something like were going to steal it's bound to happen.That's how they operated they used all their rules to make it seem effective but it backfired if someone broke one they'd add like 2 more rules everytime.Its based on scare tactics the staff actually yells at you I repeat yells at you even when working out or at dinners(everywhere).

Even when I was ready to leave they wouldn't let me go they got me to come back after I legally signed out on my 18th birthday.They even got the head staff cody to come looking for me to give me their contact card to come back.He told me and the lady who took me in that he'd buy me dinner.Instead he dropped me off at this hotel that I couldn't even get into. Yes the lady was blown out of her mind how cruel and uncaring these people were.She told me to stay with her and I did until I stayed in a motel for a couple days refusing to go back.Well I called his number after because my family told me to and he Manipulated me by saying you can leave in 3 weeks if you come back. Though they lied I was there longer for like 5 weeks longer then I was suppose to. Well after I got my ged my only way out I had a recognition February 13th. ( 2 months after my birthday)

Which brings me to another subject abuse was huge at Dra entally,verbally,physically. If you didn't participate they'd say what don't yo want to leave?Whats the matter with you? Do army crawl, do 50 man pushups ,when I say down down.They use their power for control over us they know we can't leave when we first get in so they use their power to push us around. As aggressive as they were I remember countless times they restrained girls for no reason one girl didn't want to go to homeless and the staff cody grabbed her wrists and yelled at her then shoved her into the cart, so she hit him after, but it was provoked .

Well for me I did what I could I had to put on a show that's what Dra teaches you tell on other girls, say you love the place, never tell your parents the truth if you said you hated it and told them anything negative they end your phone call.If they were real honest to goodness program they wouldn't care what children told their parents even if it wasn't good. They are trying so hard to look good that it' actually backfired there is now groups on facebook not rallying against it but they are voicing their opinions about the abuse.Dra needs to be shutdown sometime it is getting more powerful though so we need as much help as possible to help us.It is not a way to rebell I really feel like this program abuses kids when their purpose is to get kids off drugs it actually abuses them in the process which might trigger their relapse and feelings they play too many mind games and deny us of fresh water.

Please Go to http://www.heal-online.org/diamond.htm

Well I never had tried drugs alcohol smoking or taken part in anything sexual.I know that it's not all their fault that girls relapse but they would even let girls listen to songs about weed and M.I.A's drug songs this was the Girls campus head staff "Brigham".

They let the girls on the basketball team hear lyrics about drugs in a rehab...that should be forbidden.Once again staff didn't follow the rules so there was not a good example for girls there.They have staff who've committed felonies,been in jail,sold drugs, even our first homeless staff amber was a heavy alcoholic,and partier.A homeless staff! You could tell by looking at her and they would hire anyone to work for them.Even obese ladies and woman who use to be drug addicts and still were.

Let me tell you there were some good things I weighed 118 when I left I looked like a rail who hadn't eaten much and had all her portions under control and much excersise. I learned that I can do bootcamp hard things but life is not this way.It was a real transition program

Well I had a panic attack a few times and the least they could do was send me to homeless.After crying being in the bathroom saying I want to go home and shaking and shaking.I couldn't help it I was losing my mind I believe.Well a staff was called to my doorm and his name was Bryant he told me Id have to get up im like no im staying here.He said well you need to go to bed I was like I can't stop shaking.He says why Im 'like I don't know Bryant I don't know.He replied "well I'm going to have to restrain you if you don' get up,"They then radioed staff and 1 mean staff from guys side I will tell you his name once I remember it(THIS NEEDS TO BE REPORTED)

This man was escorted with a nurse into my doorm they took me to the med closet and were like I'll give you benadryl..and I said I don't want it I just want to go to the hospital.

I knew I needed medical attention since I was having a severe panic attack.Anyway they looked at me like I'm just trying to help and I said i'm sorry I just don't want medication.Well the man yelled at me and threatened to restrain me and put me on my bed,so he threatened to touch me and force me on my bed and go to bed.

He told me I was a "waste of their time and also faking this whole thing and stop playing games."Well I wasn't it was a panic attack and Dra doesn't care if your out of breath or shaking he also told me not to have another panic attack again. It was a haunting expirience I was scared and forced to lay on my bed,but I was still shaking. (This was 1 of my 3 panic attacks at dra also keep in mind I hadn't had one for 3 years)

So they resisted to give me medical attention at the hospital.This is what they did, and theres even been a death in January 2009, because they denied to give a student medical attention all happening in 2009. Its not a good place to send kids for that reason.

For me My bad habits started after going here I never did a drug tasted alcohol anything even sex!Well 4 months after my depart of Dra I went to my first rave in June and tried ecstasy and cigarettes and hung out with addicts who've done heroin and were heavy boomers.I know I never would have done this but in a way it actually reminded me of Dra.They talked about drugs in good ways and I wanted to try it.It didn't stop I also went to another rave In august and did ecstasy with coke.I can't and won't do that anymore still I believe dra had alot to do with my curiosity.I tell you this because I've actually been to a rehab before when I was 12 but it was for anger issues not drugs or anything else.I can honestly say they dont help your kids, everyone I know has either relapsed or worse and I was the girl who never tried sex,drugs,alcohol,or anything at all before Dra.Now I am alot more expirienced when it comes to substances.

I went to Dra to get caught up in school I was 1 year and a half behind I actually saw it online.They don't tell you a thing about it until your locked down and physically prevented from leaving.That place is electrically fenced and surrounded with water making it a harsh environment if a Kid actually did run away and succeed he'd die.

Thank you for your time, but I do want to say it made me very skinny I highly believe this program produces eating disorders our portions were sometimes smaller then a fist.


Sources:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Aaron at Diamond Ranch Academy

A human organisation HEAL-ONLINE has collected a number of testimonies from teenagers who have been forced to live at the facility. Here is one covering a period between 2007 and 2008. All rights belong to the original author:
I, _____ Aaron [Private]_____________, declare and state as follows:

  1. [NAME OF PROGRAM]..Diamond Ranch Academy
  2. [LOCATION OF PROGRAM] Hurricane Utah
  3. [PERIOD OF INTERNMENT MM/YY TO MM/YY] 6/23/06-12-23-07
  4. [DECLARATIVE STATEMENT] Yes

    Living with the ghosts--a donation to the present and future

    There I am torn from reality into a pseudo-society which my dog gets better treatment then these people. I have eaten out of a bright metal bowl on the ground while Utah thunderstorms shed ounces of water into my 16 oz of barely thawed out rice. Slowly and slowly I started to realize how much I had changed from a hard drug addict to a Brainwashed cult member. Being locked in a 450 square foot white cinderblock room hopeless while I am seriously wishing I was in jail where I can be myself. Everywhere I went they went single file without a word being spoken. Many nights I remember crawling in my bed with drops of urine on my sheets from a top bunk that had a teenager with a bladder issue. I found myself at times in a shower that had feces in it from a teen in my family of 10 who did not belong at a tough love facility... Adding to the issue there where a lack of nursing for anything. All types and sorts where sent to this tough love camp, anywhere between children dealing with family lose to gang members Aged 12-17 ½. I didn’t see my parents for 7 months at a time. That was against the law so they had to make an exception.

    Therapy was meaningless and most of the time was overlooked here you can see myself with my therapist. The kid who did all that on my mattress is in the green.(http://www.diamondranchacademy.com/therapy/therapeutic-program.php)They legally have to take you out once a week to speak with you and once every two weeks you can call your parents. In this picture my therapist decided to double up sessions to accommodate the increase in people. When this happened the normal 8 beds per dorm maximum turned into 8 people in bunks and six on the floor. Not to get into more detail about malpractice I can recall a therapist being fired for an “issue” with a girl. No one said anything and the girl got pulled from the program. Obviously something happened. A lot of this went on daily the thing is in the middle of nowhere next to a polygamist colony no one really cares.

    They had a system of cites which was a alternative of punishment. I ended up with over 365 or pieces of paper each paper for a different thing I did wrong one week. That’s how much I stopped caring and ended up being sent to homeless for a good 7 months of my program. This was there hardest form of punishment which had happened to be the first part of the program. I had a lot of exercise a lot of rice a lot of punishment. When they are bored at 3 am and want to torment someone you get sent out at 3 am in the morning. In the middle of winter for things as little as sharing food you would receive this. I lost over 10 pounds of muscle all my body fat and due to the fact I was always sitting Indian style I have herniated l4 and l5 discs. I was involved in and everything that functioned there and pretty much helped out at every job. I knew how they worked and it pissed them off that I knew that they lied to my parents that I was losing weight naturally. Go ahead and put fat camps out of work if you must but this is more like a concentration camp. I would try and write home or tell my parents how I felt on the phone but the more I let out the truth the more they hung up or tore up my postcards. Check this out though this is the most important factor of the program. If you write your parents your being abused they rip it up.

    I have seen a male physically restrain a girl while she screamed for him to get off her and started crying from the amount of force he applied to the restraint. WHERE WAS THE FEMALE STAFF HMM? Sounds FOXY to me.

    I have seen friends restrained in urine while urinating due to lack of bathroom and being forced to drink a gallon of water daily. Obviously they told you when you can speak, eat, sleep, turn you head to look, use the bathroom. The worst part out of everything was the rice and lentils. I would go days without any nutrients. There is mold all over the ceilings above the kitchen. When you stole staff food you would be forced to eat food with nothing but rice soaked in pickle juice and sauerkraut. They even went as far to soak oatmeal in hot pickle juice. It was so acidic kids where throwing up and I would get a bowl down and try to not throw up. Yet the thing is they made rules like if one person stole food in homeless they would make everyone suffer. That’s called blanket punishment so I gave up and stopped eating sauerkraut. After being threatened to be restrained for 30 minutes and have a fat feeding needle stuck in my arm I had a bowl of sauerkraut a day to keep the needle away. The third week there I received serious food poisoning from rice that had hand sanitizer snuck into it by a deranged kitchen staff. He was making food unsupervised at snuck behind the camera. So the cooks leave at night and leave the cooking up to the kids. Most of the teens did the work due to that fact. You can find proof that they let 13 year olds handle and manage large amounts of food without any certifications or permits after they fed “fresh” food to goats. Hands and dishes never washed. Out of everything that pissed me off I find that the place ends up taking in the teens and baptizing them into a LDS and this is with the family that owns the place. There is no limit to what the family would do. One time I tried to tell a parent and her son not to come here and was lectured on how I should express those feelings to her directly. So if reading this and trying to figure out this place get in touch with any kid and ask did you enjoy it.

    As far as dorms go nasty beds that have been used from 2002 have holes dust mites and 90% have urine and other fluids on them. Mold in the pipes no hot water at night unless its summer. 5 minute showers without soap sometimes. Other malpractices include hiding bedding when state inspection comes. I have spoken with state inspection but they seem to give three craps in the wind what I had to say.

    There have seen combinations of cocktails given to recovering minds such as high doses of three different psychotropic mood controllers and high doses of amphetamine based medication while taking a benzodiazepine. . In the morning we would be forced to take medication and eat food which had no nutritional value. Lucky me I had been given only one anti depressant. There was this big book that had all our names in it that we would sign with our name next to the medication we took. Sometimes I would catch of others pages. It seemed to me they loved giving out lithium for about everything.

    Early one day I witnessed a child have the most intense panic attack I ever have seen. The kid told us he had been raped beaten and abused his whole life the staff knew this and yet he had to pull a cart by himself while we watched when he snapped they had four staff one per limb towards breaking point. Not the kind of treatment someone with that emotional baggage deserves. With knees on the back of his neck, and being PINCHED on every pressure point the fifteen year old had. This also was the most distraught I have ever seen someone yet he still managed to barely breathe. I have over 30 different voices screaming out that echo in my mind from this treatment. I can recall my first day in the beginning stage where I was sent face down into lava rocks by the programs owner son, yet there was grass next to the lava. I thought to myself later on in the program what I had gotten my first day beats getting your arm broken like a thirteen year old 90 pound sixth grader did for not obeying program structure. Who did this didn’t believe the 13 year old child and forced him do psychical exercise with a broken arm. Then when the kid started crying, he was forced to do something else other and then forced to keep running.

    Who may ever send your child here this place is filled with deception (http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=viewImage&friendID=381747488&albumID=1143602&imageID=17232469) The kids are told to smile and that’s are places/websites you can look up there so many cover ups and the staffs past which include but not limited to resisting arrest dealing and hard drug usage. The family uses this place as a front for stealing at the damage to many young struggling individuals. My family is in debt over 100,000. The things I’ve come forward about will help close doors that have been open too long and I will not rest tell this is my gone to an end. There will be more of these letters as I am very connected with lifelong friends who suffered here. There will be others including staff willing to aid in this effort. I added personal links of pictures due to my creditability based on the facts I have. It is great to read a letter of one of my homeless students (homeless is the beginning) I had mentored at the end of my program. I am grateful for a website such as this and will do all in my power to make the best description. Please understand this is an account of over a year and a half of my life.

    http://www.diamondranchacademy.com/program/testimonials.php They believe that there 49 percent of my custody during 6/21/06-12/21/07 “ENTITLES” them to any picture taken or letters written of or by me. I am still on DRA’s website .I called the family to take me off from a unblocked number giving my name. Yet they still have my name and a few pictures. DIAMOND RANCH ACADEMY TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE A RIGHT -THAT’S WHAT YOU TOLD ME-PLEASE HELP IF YOU HAVE SUFFERED UNDER THE CARE OF DIAMOND RANCH ACADEMY.

    I give HEAL permission to use this statement. I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on ___July 20th________________, 2009.


Sources:

Monday, October 22, 2012

A testimony from Diamond Ranch Academy

A human organisation HEAL-ONLINE has collected a number of testimonies from teenagers who have been forced to live at the facility. Here is one covering a period between 2007 and 2008. All rights belong to the original author:

I, ____Anonymous (verified)_____________, declare and state as follows:

  1. Diamond Ranch Academy
  2. Hurricane, Utah
  3. 11/17/2007-9/26/2008
  4. They're coming back. All my bad memories are coming back.

    November 17th, 2007 5am. Confusion. Where were these strangers taking me? Looked to my parents for answers. But they're faces had none. All I saw was sadness from my mom and blankness from my dad. I remember getting in their care. Seeing my parents for the last time for 5 months. I remember both of their faces. At the airport confusion was still my main emotion. Where was I going? The only bit of information I knew was that I was going to "school". The plane ride was full of questions that the 2 transporters would not answer. They covered it up with food and drink offerings. I was neither hungry nor thirsty. We landed in Las Vegas. I was tired so I slept on the car ride to my destination.

    I remember waking up on a highway. Desert all over. I wasn't in Las Vegas. I was in Hurricane, Utah. Middle of nowhere. In the distance I could see assorted metal buildings. Not to compare my experiences with Nazi concentration camps but you will see many similarities throughout this passage. I felt as if I arrived at Berkanau.

    They tried to make the place look decent. It did from one view, and then you turn your head and its desert or weathered trees. I arrive at what was called the "blue house". Looked exactly as it sounded. I entered a small room and was sat down. "What's your name?" Asked a muscular assistant program director. "CJ Clark" I said. "Your real name" he asked getting tempered already. "Christian" I said. I was stripped of all my possessions except for my shoes and coat. I was told to remove my clothes. My clothes were then searched and I was made to turn around many times, naked, to make sure I had nothing on me. They provided with me a bright orange hoodie and sweat pants. You'd think that the desert is hot all year round. Not in winter.

    I was told I was to be sent to the first component of the program called "homeless". I was literally homeless. Outside all the time. Breakfast was oats. Not those brown sugary oats you would usually eat for breakfast. It was oats, water, and powdered milk. That's it. That was breakfast every day. Lunch and Dinner were always the same. Either undercooked or burnt rice and a bean called a lentil. That's it. 16 days of freezing winds outside every day.

    Also the homeless component contained the most rigorous physical training throughout the program. First day I arrived I was to run a mile straight. No walking at all. You walk you'll run longer. I hadn't run more than a few meters in years. First 1/2 a lap I was dying. My chest was burning. Very little oxygen was going into my brain. My other companions in the component attempted to pep talk me to keep going. They were scolded and made to run more. There was no talking between anyone in this component. I staggered my way another 2 laps before just giving up. In this level of the program you had to pass 14 successful days. I failed my first day for this incident.

    The rest of this level was filled with 2 work projects a day. Out there in the freezing cold literally digging tracks for a new parking lot. I was a slave laborer. There was nothing I could do. The best part of my day was sleeping. The only rest I got. I looked forward to it every day. I completed my 14th successful on my 16th day.

    I had to make a fire out of a bow and some wood. I was then upgraded a level. I was now a student. I got to eat regular food. Not allot but it was somewhat normal. I got to go to school. It felt pretty good. Now think of this. Your life seems fucking amazing because you get to eat peanut butter and jelly instead of burnt rice. Your life is 10 times better because you now get to attend school. Regular school. While in the "inside" you were able to talk to other program students during very short time slots. During those all we talked about how we look forward to life on the outside. To see civilization again. Have a small piece of chocolate. Having the privilege to speak with your own family when you want. All these things were distant memories for us. When we weren't being terrorized by the simple fact of little contact with your family the staff had fun with your emotions. When you broke a rule you received a citation. Each cite is worth a certain amount of points which at the end of the week would add up and determine if we got put on what's called "unemployment".

    This was another component after school for kids that broke too many rules. You were to pull around a large cart everywhere you went. You did physical training just like you did in the first level. You were to sit silent in a room and work for hours on end. Back to playing with emotions. Staff had the power to cite anyone at anytime. So they played with you. Even if it was during a time where you were allowed to talk they would take that away. If you talked you were cited. Cites equaled a more miserable life. Even if you didn't break the rule they would cite you just to see you break down. They'll say this never happened but ask any kid that's been there. It happens all the time.

    And then there were the restraints. If you were out of line a staff could take you down and bend your wrist behind your back and apply pressure to "calm you down". If you have never been in a bent wrist control hold basically it sucks. But then there were the kids that couldn't help their actions. Mentally retarded kids aged 12, 13, and 14. I recount a student that was autistic. Very nice and caring kid. 13 years old. But couldn't control his anger and energy. He has his outbursts and he was cranked just like anyone else. Except he got it way more than regular kids. He had a handicap. HE COULDN'T HELP IT. And yet he was still made to run and taken down when he thought he was not doing anything bad. Think about this. Think of a brother, cousin, friend that has a mental handicap. Put him in a situation with nothing to look forward to. Always being run and restrained. Little contact with his family. I can't imagine.

    I've witnessed kids being emotionally terrorized by staff. I remember and instance where everyone was to partake in what was called an amnesty. We were to write down everything we'd done wrong or witnessed someone else do something wrong. Every director was there. These people had control of your life. We were given strict instructions not to look up from our paper. There was a 13 years old kid that got to see his parents for the first time in 5 months later that day. He looked to the left for 2 seconds. He was yelled at. The program director said that his visit was cancelled. He would not be able to see his parents for another long while. He straight up cried in front of everyone. Nobody came to comfort him. He was alone. We were all alone. Take a look at their website: http://www.diamondranchacademy.com

    90 percent of what is on that site is a lie. Ask me anything about it. It's most likely a manipulative try to get the parents' money. Everyone all I can say is do your best. Don't get sent away. Don't go through what I did. You can prevent it.

    I give HEAL permission to use this statement. I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on __May 5th_________________, 2009.



Sources:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A parents viewpoint on Diamond Ranch Academy

We found a review made by a parent who was convinced to send his son to the ranch. The original review can be found on Yelp.com

First statement was made april 8, 2010:

I am on the fence with this one right now.

My ex-wife and parents wanted to send our son to DRA. I was not 100% on board. As, time went on I have seen a change in our son, during the parent calls he never says anything bad about DRA and seems to be improving.

At first he was very rebellious about being there, then changed his whole attitude. Well he just went back after a home visit. Seems he is afraid to say anything bad about DRA so as not to be 'Owned' That is taken down physically by staff. Also, seems he has learned to accept and go along with the program after realizing it was the only real way to fight and get out of there. Resisting and they fail your weeks and you stay there longer, go along even through the motions and you get to go home sooner. All the Mentors who are students tell the new arrivals just go along with it, it is the way out. He actually seems a bit scared to go back.

He has 6 weeks to go, yet got in a lot of trouble when he went back for not having the same shoes on when he left. The shoes he was wearing were wore out with holes in them so he got a new pair while at home. Really questioning finishing or not. What else is he not supossed to tell us? all calls and letters are monitored.

The next statement was given on december 13, 2010:

Son is home now.. I will change my review from 1 star to 2. It was quite an experience for him and for us. The first months back he was a new person. I got the feeling he was afraid to not be. Now he has settled in. He has relasped a bit here and there. Not sure if this was the best thing for him or not. Next time I think we will save the boat load of cash and instead send him off to some cult in the desert to be brainwashed... oh wait maybe that is what happened...

In fact most special boarding schools and programs which have something to hide use monitoring of all communication. If any facility suggests limiting the communication with your child due to therapeutic reasons, then pull your child. The hiring process is based on the potential of qualified workers found in the often dense populated areas facilities like Diamond Ranch Academy is located in. Similar facilities have experienced sexual abuse of the teenagers by counselors. In other cases the staff had no license to work in the particular state.

Second: If you cannot keep a changed environment once your child return home, then don't send your child. 99 percent of the problems the child will show you are based on learned behaviors and the inspiration is you. You are the parent and human children are not born blind like most animals. Their problems are learned behaviors. You might not be an addict or practice the inappropriate behavior, but at some point you didn't pick up the important signal you child was trying to communicate to you. Fact is: You can change it by starting a therapeutic process for you. If you don't change before you try to change your child you will experience what the professionals call a honeymoon period. Your childs behavior will be fine for 3-6 months - in some cases even up to two years before the old behaviors will return.

Work with yourself. Then your child will be helped for a fraction of the price a residential placement will set you back.

Source:
The original review on Yelp.com


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Zach at Diamond Ranch Academy

This testimony was found on the Diamond Ranch Survivors website. All rights belong to the author Zach.

I am going to tell you my story.

I went to Diamond ranch Academy thinking I was having my first born child and I was sent to DRA. When I first got there I was on Suicide watch and had to get fully naked in-front of people I don’t even know for 3 to 5 minutes. for 10 days breakfast, lunch and dinner, and sometimes after excercising. I was miserable but the whole time i was there I was protecting the mothers number of my unborn child. I spent many more weeks at DRA because of this but I kept it and held it close. I was starving I was almost anorexic before I got there because my step father would not let me eat in “his kitchen” sometimes…. So I was starving even worse when I got to Diamond Ranch Academy and We didn’t get much to eat then we had barely a minimum amount of food we needed to feel full so mentally I felt insane and I have staff eating full meals in front of me when I am starving, feeling crazy.

So personally blame it on them being Mormon being so teased and tortured by it…. The place is a cult of Mormons. I told my therapist how I felt and of how I felt the Mormons were antagonizing everybody including my myself inside of DRA. He then told me “well Zach I am Mormon what do you think of that?” I never could get a real vent or conversation with him after that and being my second month he would just ignore what I said and I was mentally and physically in a prison.

I have so many Negative experiences I neglect to share because of their uncivilized manner it was almost a cult of antagonizing bullies. I left there a year later with just myself and I come to find the child I was waiting for wasn’t mine….

I got into forms of meth tried my hardest to try and not come home smoked pot drank and partied. I then 3 years later I have my real blood daughter newly born unto me and find the love of my life I now am getting married this year and I thank God for the plan he had waiting for me and I am against Diamond Ranch completely and am here to say I am a real person , an adult , and a father and you guys are not alone.

-Zach

Source:

Friday, October 19, 2012

When a boy died at the ranch

January 10, 2009 should have been a day just like any other. At the ranch a 14 year old boy was in the final stages of his stay at the ranch, when he fell ill. The ranch located miles from the nearest town was not a place where you should fall ill.

Even ordinary illnesses could turn fatal and then of course the so-called counselors - the musclemen guarding the teenagers - have to be convinced that the complaints of one of the residents are not act planned to get them to transport the teenagers to a place where it is easier to escape. When the boy entered the hospital it was too late. His life was cut short and ended way too soon.

All that delay which is kind of ordinary when taken into the account that the victim lists of teenagers who have died while they were placed in such treatment programs are way too long. There is only one conclusion for parents thinking of sending their children to facilities like Diamond Ranch Academy: If you child have even the slightest health problems then keep them at home!

For the 14 year old James Richard "Jim" Shirey his stay at Diamond Ranch Academy ended with his death. Back in 2009 they tried to find the cause of his death several times. It is not clear whether the cause was found. Maybe the autopsy was performed locally under the stress of keeping jobs in a small community with few jobs and an economy under pressure. In fact it would not be the first time when the cause of death is altered to keep the facility out of the case. Just remember the Martin Lee Anderson case.

There is no reason to blame his parents. They fell for a very crafty marketing machine. How many websites are promoting to fix the problems of teenagers? Thousands!! A lot of the so-called educational consultants are paid by both the parents and the facilities when they recommend certain wilderness programs and facilities to the families. In fact most in the Ed-con industry would not be able to keep their business running if they were not small recruiting outlets for the wilderness programs and special boarding schools.

It is a business built on scams. Just look at the cases where parents have been made into believing that a certain boarding school is better than a local offer by a school district. Modern school district have experts. They know about the double payment educational consultants receive and they are no longer giving in. They take their day in court and they do often win.

But unfortunately parents are still being fooled. They don't have the knowledge professionals inside the education system have. They are easy pray, when parents in some cases are paid or given discount in exchange of praising a certain schools or wilderness programs.

It is easy to say that deaths can be accidental and fewer children dies at the ranch compared with other schools but when is a death one too much? We believe that every death is one too many and that even one death should result in an evaluation of the entire business.

The tragedy which took place on January 10, 2009 should have resulted in a suspension of the operations just as it has been the case with many other schools and wilderness programs. For reasons unknown to us it did not happen.

James Richard "Jim" Shirey got only 14 years in this world. May he rest in peace. We will pray that he is in a better place than the "hell ranch".

Sources:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Samantha at Diamond Ranch Academy

This testimony was found on the Diamond Ranch Survivors website. All rights belong to the author Samantha.

I was there for 18 months, Oct. 2008-April 2010.

I was there when they called the first level “homeless” and only fed us rice and lentils mixed with food from the day befores dinner. Because I was vegetarian I usually only had undercooked carrots/or green beans, and rice and lentils. I spent a lot of time in that component of DRA because I was a “tough” case. I didn’t want to conform and go with the flow of the program, and I didn’t honestly want to to home so I was stuck. Some horror stories I have are like my first day there as we were warming up for our 6:30 am calisthenics there was a “code red” which was a student running. A boy was trying to outrun a homeless staff on the boys campus. He was caught, restrained and even while he was barely moving, I guess he told the staff if they let go he would run again so the staff “Tucker” broke his wrist. Later that month, Tucker had to “leave” his DRA job.. I’m pretty sure the kids parents weren’t to happy. Another experience I had is we had a diabetic/suicidal girl named Shelby Cron who had little control on her diabetes.. and during one of her sugar highs or lows? she was restrained for being too angry. this was done by a higher up named Cody.. a program director on girls campus at the time. She was screaming to let her go and she was fine and we could hear her in our classrooms and it was a little horrifying.. and of course, the stories go on.. I had a girl in homeless with me toward the end of my program, Devyn Stange? Stangy? something like that, who was prone to seizures. As we were standing in line to use the porta potty (which if you’re in homeless you have to during the day during one of the 2 or 3 scheduled bathroom times) Devyn had a seizure and fell to the ground. Because I was in homeless again and had been at the program for a year by then the staff trusted me to find a higher up staff to call 911. The staff didn’t believe me at first and only called our own nurses to go down there.. who told them she was having a seizure. Finally close to 20 minutes later an ambulance came for her. She came back later that day close to dinner and the staff was told to let her rest, and that she had already ate at the hospital, but the staff failed her day because she “refused to eat” and “refused to join in calisthenics”

then some lesser stories, I wasn’t allowed contact with my mom at the end of the program, my last month there, because they knew she wasn’t going to pay the next month and was pulling me. One of the homeless staff, Kyle Carter, was arrested for being part of a prostitution sting in March of 2010.. his wife was a staff as well, we had a staff named Dory, who hated us and admitted it. She looked through our files for fun one day and came downstairs to tell us that she didn’t feel sorry for any of us, we were all bad. She would cite people if their underwear was showing when the bent over, or if they farted near her or something.. she was an extremist.

Jim Shirey died while I was there, but I wasn’t allowed to tell me mom about it, and my first week there the girls in my dorm poured water in my shoes, and urinated in the bathtub if they knew it was my turn to clean it..

Although I was there so long, my relationship with my mother was never fixed.. I walked on my 18th birthday in February of 2010 and Ricky told me I was stupid and would never make it on my own.. So after spending a couple of nights with an older gentlemen, I went back because my mom agreed that I could just get my GED and come home.. and they were very cocky and frustrating to be around since I had “caved” in and come back. Because I live clear in Missouri and nobody could help me out I really didn’t have a rescue team to bring me home haha. Although I was never brainwashed from the program, my mom still is, and recommends it to people.. I have told her time and time again how terrible I had it. but whatever. I made the best friends of my life there, and I made tons of drug connections.. now in my life, I’m sober because I’m married and have a 1 year told beautiful little girl. I keep minimal contact with my mom, and its easier to move on with my life.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Focus week: Diamond Ranch Academy


In the state of Louisiana a 17 year old girl is soon risking banishment to Utah. Originally the father wanted to take the daughter to a country in the Middle East, but everyone knows the movie with Sally Fields so it was not an option.

Until recently she was happily living with her mother but the surroundings and values was too western and liberal to suit the opinions of her father, so he sought some place the court could accept. A behavior modification facility marketed as a therapeutic boarding school with a shady past which forced them out of Idaho to Utah where they are located today has accepted to detain the girl until she is 18.

Because we work for liberty and basic human rights for children, we have decided to make Diamond Ranch Academy as the facility is named the attention of some articles.

For the next couple of days parents and former residents will provide testimonies regarding their experiences with Diamond Ranch Academy. We will also provide information about the past of Diamond Ranch Academy and their time in Idaho.

We hope that the increased awareness will help ending the ordeal this girl will be put through. If it is not the case we hope that this special focus series will lower the enrollment at Diamond Ranch Academy and other facilities just like them.



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Friday, October 12, 2012

Rosita at Potters Girls Home (From: Fornits)

This story was originally written on the message board called the Fornits Home for Wayward Webfora. All rights belong to the original author:

My name is Rosita Rodriguez and I was 16 when I was sent to the Potter's House via a recommendation from the youth pastor at my church. This place is still open and I'm trying to get it shut down for good.

I wrote a review about the place that kind of explains a little bit of what I went through. My friend that went there was forced to give up her baby to adoption just because none of the "Leadership" (girls who have been there for over 2yrs and told you what to do) liked her, while another girl who they loved got to keep her baby.

I helped to get this place shut down temporarily but I see that it re-opened. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Having a daughter of my own I can't let this place continue their disgusting ways. My email is xxxxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx if you want to help put these backwoods perverts in jail.

"I attended during the summer of 2003 along with 20+ other girls. This girls home is ran by an older couple in their 70s (back then) named Sandy (woman) & Manny (man). They charged my parents and most folks $800/month supposedly for food & board, forced you to give up custody of your kid to them, and addamantly pitched to the parents that they were active christians and would teach their children better morals then those they came to the home with.

On the day you arrived, both owners were present, they assured you that Sandy would always be present, any unchristian items were taken away from you, and your hand was tied to another girls hand (who'd been there for a long time) in front of your parents to show the seriousness of their words in front of them. What they DIDN'T tell you is that they used that money to buy a dozen horses, and Sandy was NEVER present (which left Manny to "tend" to the girls alone) because she would take their daughter & grand-daughter up to North Carolina with a horse of two to race them.

Some of the girls were promised that they would be allowed to ride the horses as long as they signed a contract stating that they would wake up at 3-4am cleaning up horse crap, clean the stables, then finally wash and fully groom each horse on a day-to-day basis. These girls already had other chores to do on top of that and would miss school because of it.

Now as far as paying for food comes into play, they should be charged with for starvation and feeding under aged kids rotten food. They would get expired and moldy food from a nearby grocery store to feed us. For breakfast/lunch we'd have 15mins each course to stuff our faces with who knows what and if we didn't our chores perfectly then they would take away our time to eat and time to sleep. Girls would try to get their chores done so badly that they'd miss meals (if you'd call them that) and sleep. Isn't that border line torture? Now as far as Manny goes he shouldn't be allowed to step miles near any child.

During the first week my shoulder was sore so he attempted to give me a sensual message to which I elbowed him and told me to never touch me again or else. I understand that they want to "help" girls out but you don't touch someone else's child and there is NO excuse. I had to pull a girl out of his lap because because she said that her head hurt so he told her to put her head in his lap because "the power of god runs through me" and began to message her head and shoulders.

There was a girl that I we were all convinced was having relations with him. She was constantly obsessing about how great he was, and always all over him. The reason why we thought that there could even be a possibility is that he never pushed her off of him, told her that it was not right because he was 55yrs older than her and that he was married, and in fact would call her over to sit RIGHT next to him. A girl was caught sleeping with a knife under her bed because she was scared of him.

For all of our chores we earned points to visit/call our family but they would always get taken away for some b/s reason. So when my family demanded to visit I told them exactly what was going on and threatened to take me out right then and there. They would have, but the thing is that YOU HAVE TO GIVE UP YOUR PARENTAL RIGHTS IN A CONTRACT GIVING CUSTODY TO THESE TWO STRANGERS YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. So Manny threatened to call the cops and have my grandmother who can barely walk arrested and told them flat to their faces that he can do whatever he wants and get away with it.

This is a scam and your daughters will be forced to spend months with a pentecostal old pervert while his wife takes your money to ride horses. She could care less and was in fact known to beat up on the girls if they didn't listen to her. Punches, choke-outs, belts..the phrase was "anything to get you down". After my family left from the visit I received extreme punishment, 5min meals, no school, and hardly got to sleep.

2 weeks later my family threatened to sue and reveal the happenings of the school. I still think to this day they should have and I am trying to track down the girls I went there with to make sure it closes for good. After I left another girl from my church was sent to the girls home and had VERY similar experiences. Her father had to be taken away by family members because he was about to beat the crap out of Manny for touching his daughter. Please hear my warning."

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

StopTHEM at The Potters house girls home (From: Insiderpages)

This story was originally written on Insiderpages. All rights and credits goes to the author known as "StopTHEM":

DO NOT SEND YOUR DAUGHTER THERE!!! IF SHE IS THERE GET HER OUT NOW!!!

I was a girl there. I was sexually abused before being sent there and a victim of neglect and abuse with a severe eating disorder and horrible depression. They do not provide counseling and when I told sandy I was purging in the bathroom and severely depressed she called me "a pain in the a** and tied me to another girl and made me wear a sign that said I have a big mouth that I cant keep shut".

I went so far as to leave in a tampon for three months praying to die of toxic shock syndrome when my depression peaked. I was drowned in that pond out front in the middle of the night, made to eat a bowl of salad with mold all over it because I let a brown piece slip past me when making dinner and moldy salad was my punishment, I was also forced to spend a 3days in 105degree weather without water shoveling horse pop for Sandy's garden because I loved school and books were my escape they would punish me by denying me school and books. They tortured me. I have reported it to child services but the girls in there are forced to lie for fear of repercussions.

Your daughters may act changed but they have no choice I cant tell you the torture they will endure if they say a wrong thing. You will be off the phone or gone after the visit and there will be nobody there to protect them. I had bibles thrown at me, was forced to sleep outside when the wheat-er went down to forty degrees and was sleep deprived. Prayed every night for death.

I am twenty-five now. A 4.0 GPA college student and still suffer post traumatic stress disorder. Any parent who leaves there child here should be charged with child abuse and forced to pay restitution to the child for as long as they live for the irreversible mental ailments the child will suffer.

As for sandy and Manny, I hate you for what you did to me!!!! I dare you to summons me for speaking the truth so I can counter that for child abuse, negligence, child endangerment, and intentional infliction of emotional duress with malice intent, as well as close down the fraud you have going on and save these girls you are currently imprisoning.

Parents get your daughters help at the right place. I beg the world to shut this place down!!!

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Girl from SC at The Potters house girls home (From: Insiderpages)

This story was originally written on Insiderpages. All rights and credits goes to the author known as "Girl from SC":

I also wish to not state my name as to the connections they have. I dont know about the sexual abuse cause Manny never physically touched the girls when i was there.

Hm... where to start. Well when i first came there i was court ordered so yes i was a troubled teen. Yes, they took me and the girls to church, and I can say that Manny and Sandy are NOT the ones who changed me at all. It was myself and making the choice to believe in Jesus as my lord, the people at the church are the ones who led me there. It says that you get counseling and whatnot at this program but as far as Manny or Sandy they did not. As for some of the reviews stating about precautions that you would receive being there if you made even a tiny mistake, I can vouch and say they are out of this world.

I remember being outside for hours at a time like from 8 in the morning to I wanna say 8 at night working in the summer heat. I asked to go to the bathroom and got screamed at and punished for it. Sandy does use the girls for personal slavery. I was so behind in school because all I did was slave away. All they talk about is the world is ending and if you are not perfect then you wont be in heaven. For this reason, I have serious paranoia and I cannot enjoy life like I used to. I am for 90% of the time depressed.

DCF has been called many of times on this house and nothing has been done about it because Sandy does scare you into lying to them for fear of not being able to go home because she will lie to the parents and say you did something wrong. Yes, she brings you to movies and shopping but I feel its a tactic to make you think for a bit that you are really not in such a bad situation.

They are extremely rascist and will bluntly talk about it. If you are so Christian than you should know that God created all men, not just white men. I remember staying up til 3 in the morning wrapping gifts for only their toddler. If you walk into her cottage, you cannot even go through the halls because its filled to the top with things that she takes for herself that are supposed to be donations for the girls home. Onto that note, if the parents are paying for the child to live in this home, and they receive thousands and thousands of dollars in donations, and united way gives them a grant every year why are the girls eating expired donated food from kash and karry(now sweetbay)?

I recently applied for food stamps as to I was struggling, and when I was accepted I received no card. My husband called DCF to find out what was going on and they said that I already had one. But funny thing is I never applied for food stamps in my life. They then told me it was located at the address 140 Dunty Road Lake Placid Fl. I asked my mom if she signed any papers about medicaid or food stamps cuz I know I didnt and she didnt either. I asked if it was ever active at one time and it was back when I lived at this house. So I wanna know why Sandy and Manny were able to fill three to four fridges up of food to the top and the girls had only donated food never bought?.... so they are playing the state too. But as someone else said they have so many connections that I'm sure they will never get caught.

They said that if the girls left the program early they would end up dying. Well out of all the girls that i heard of or knew only 3 out of 100's are a success. Think about that. I never finished school because I am one who got pregnant but because I was scared of not living a life as to the world was ending. I could say alot more but what is the use. Oh and speaking of therapy... I want to say the only thing Sandy considers therapy would be defacing somebodys belongings (i mean egging an exboyfriends close to new mustang) She went so far as to buy two cartons of eggs and bring a few girls dressed in black and drove them to his place of work and Sandy was the lookout.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"believe us124" at Midwest Academy (From Antiwwasp.us)

This story was originally written on a webpage called antiwwasp.com, which sadly is not online anymore. All rights and credits goes to the author believe_us124, who posted the original story on antiwwasp.com.

Antiwwasp.com has been relaunced as antiwwasp.us. Unfortunately without the testimonial part and as a message board only.

yea i just found this website tryin to find someone somewhere who believed me, the only thing that gets me is the fact that there will never be a parent who will understand the experience.

I personally wet to Midwest Academy. I went there with the maximum sentence of 13 months cuz of my 18th birthday being that far away. Needless to say they hooked my parents and to this day my folks won't believe me about anything i say. To those parents who havn't been hooked line nd sinkered for the love of god would you listen to me.

I was a drug addict I'll admit i had my problems but i never thought I would actually want to kill myself. Not having the right to speak 1st off takes away my 1st amendment right of free speech but it is also torturous. I've also been to jail and that was after the program. Jail was even more habitable than the program and i mean that from the bottom of my heart.

I will also admit as someone else posted that Ben Trane and Mike Holker were good people. They were basically just drug dealers tryin to make their money by manipulating people into their product. To a parent thats a hell of a drug and seems too good to be true and like most drugs, it is.

I will say fi your child is older they have a better chance of making it through minimally brainwashed due tot he fact that the can leave, but for the younger once who can be stuck there for years, my heart goes out to you. I swear by that. The young ones dont have the disciplne for tha type of torment. I say negative words about this becase i feel negatively about it and "my experience of it is that it is permanently scarring to them."

I did not graduate. I ran on a homepass. I had to, i was afraid to go back. They didnt beat me at Midwest but the emotional abuse was horrific. I am a strong person and can handle anything just as i did the time in the program until i got my chance to break free of its grip.

The education was less than par. I didn't even have to cheat. I jus memorized the answers from the lessons as the tests were word for word from the text. I learned nothing. I did 2 years of schooling in 10 months. It was a joke. I went to school 1 day a week and passed what i was told to.

I faked my way through seminars by crying and making up fake stories about my past. I was sent to intervention once for freaking out because i did not get mail from my parents. Wouldn't you know it my 1st 4 letters were not sent home due to a "flaw" in the system.

My family rep was a retard. He was addicted to porn as he personaly told each and every single 1 of his students. His name was Derek Helling. He knew nothing of what he was doing and had n credentials as most of the staff including the teachers. O and if i didn't know an answer to a problem i would raise my hand and a "teacher" would give me the answer. What a great environment to learn.

The showers were infested with little gnats that flew around and hung out in the showers. I don't have anything to say about that except it was gross. I didn't find it sanitary. Would you?

I watched 4 kids try to kill themselves while i thought about it every single day but didn't because well i knew i was gana get out sooner or later and rejoin reality.

Needless to say i am scarred for life. I wake up with sweats from dreams of being there. I didn't gain anything there except for how messed up someone must be to want to do that to a kid. I'm still a kid at 19 and at this point its been a year and some since ive been tot he program and 1 day i will be back there. 1 day when im older and the worst part about it is... they wont even let me past the iron door that kept me locked in there because i didn't graduate.

Even a prisoner can go back and see his old cell. Why can't i go see my old bunk, they got somethin else to hide behind those walls and elelectric fences? You tell me. my name is mike and i will gladly talk to any person whose willing to listen.

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