Sunday, March 23, 2014

A stay at Spring Creek Lodge Academy (From: CAICA)

This statement was given to the human rights organization. All rights belongs to the author who wants to be I was there from 1999 to mid 2001.

I was picked up at school by an escort service. I was put in hand cuffs and driven straight to the airport. I was told I was going to a two week campout in Montana, where I would get to go horseback riding, skiing, camping, talk to girls and have a great time all awhile working on my drug problems.

The first week I was there, a student named Chris was playing around after shut down. Laughing and talking, just being a teenager. The “Calvary” was called in to take him to the hobbit. They yanked him off of the top bunk and slammed him on the ground. Two staff held his legs and two more held his arms, and one lay down on his back. He was struggling and cussing. The shift leader proceeded to put his hand around his neck and push down. He started to plead with them that he couldn’t breath and to please let him up. When his cries became more desperate it seemed like the harder they tried to hurt him. The staff ignored his complaints about not being able to breath, and so three of us including myself jumped off our bunks and started to pull the staff members off of him.

They called for even more back up and when they got there we were all restrained in the same manner. We were taken up to the hobbit and we didn’t get breakfast or lunch the next day.

A student by the name of Gabe was viciously restrained in front of the trailer at Spring Creek Lodge. Another student had flicked the back of his ear while standing in a heel toe line, he stepped out of line to tell the kid to quit, and was given a Cat 2 out of area. He started to walk off, and a staff member got him in a rear bear hug. Gabe said a few choice words and stomped on the foot of the staff member. The staff then proceeded to lift him up and slam him down on the asphalt face first. It cracked a few teeth and busted up his lips pretty good.

A young boy of the age of 12 was in the hobbit. He had quite a mouth on him, and he was spitting everywhere. He would spit on staff, on myself and all over the hobbit. The main hobbit staff came in there and told him if he spit on any thing else he was going to mop it up with him. The boy looked up at the ceiling and spit a large one. The staff grabbed him by the crotch and the neck and climbed up on the top bunk and sure enough mopped him up with it and then slammed him down on the tile floor from the top bunk.

The young boy was pretty shaken up by the whole thing.

One night after shut down the cabin was awoken to a blood curling scream from the next room over. Not caring if I got a shut down violation I went next door to see what was going on. Jeff had apparently gotten a piece of glass somewhere on the facility and proceeded to slice his arm up from where your arm bends at the elbow, all the way down to his wrist. Not just one or two cuts, but he went up and down his arm repetitively. On the wall next to his bunk, in large letters written in blood he wrote “FREE ME” then took his bloody hand print and slapped it against the wall and drug it down. It was gruesome. They made another student scrub the wall to get it clean.

There was a young man there who had obvious mental problems. Our case representative told us it was paranoid schizophrenia and I am sure some other ailments. We were having a facility meeting where Cameron Pullan just talked to us about this and that and Daniel kept on blurting out extremely random things. He would interrupt Cameron to ask him when he would be going home, and just really off the wall things. Cameron asked me and another Jr. Staff to get him out of there and take him up to the hobbit. He also told us if he gave us any problems or tried to run away to “Kick the shit out of him”.

Well we knew he wasn’t going to listen to us, and of course he didn’t. We took him up to the hobbit and as we were walking in he suddenly bolted for the woods. The other Jr. Staff and I tackled and restrained him. We got him up in the hobbit and he made numerous attempts to get out with little success. He claimed that he had to go to the bathroom, and there were no bathrooms in the hobbit. The students would have to go out side in a Porto potty that was rarely ever emptied; we the students called it the “Blooper”.

There would be times that it was so full that human waste would be leaking out of the toilet seat and fecal matter was all over it. He went to the bathroom and as soon as he came out he bolted for the woods again. We tackled him pretty hard and on the concrete.

We didn’t know what else to do; we weren’t trained for this kind of thing. To make this long story short, the young man ended up getting pretty beat up from all the times he tried to run.

One time a student was in the hobbit and he asked to use the rest room. They took him out to the “Blooper” and he refused to come out. So the staff working the hobbit in turn dumped the Porto potty over on the door. The young man was covered with a weeks worth of human waste and tampons.

Cameron would have us do some pretty wild stuff just for his amusement. He would call facility meetings and have us all line up on the court with our family’s in a heel toe line (this all being in the middle of winter) and he would randomly tell people to go and jumping the frozen pond right off the side of the court. They would have to break the ice over the pond first. Sometimes he would take students, blindfolded into Thompson Falls, and make them jump off a bridge in to the river. If the students didn’t want to jump, they were pushed.

Towards the end of ones program you must go through a process called trail of lights. It starts off with a big meal and then goes into a strenuous workout. Pushups, jumping jacks, sit-ups, running, and what ever else they can think of. After a long day of jumping jacks, they blindfolded us and started leading us through the woods. They would walk us through creek beds and into trees. The staff was laughing the whole time at our discomfort. They had us climb up a very steep rockslide still blindfolded; several students fell down and rolled all the way down to the bottom. At the end of the night every one had cuts and gashes all over their body from running in to trees and walking through thorn patches, and rolling down rocky hills. It was one of the most pointless processes I have ever been through.

The seminars were horrible. They would make you tell you’re deepest and darkest secrets only to have them rubbed in your face the rest of the time you were there. “My dad molested me when we were younger, my moms boyfriend raped me and she knew about it and didn’t do anything” stuff like this and they wouldn’t let it go. If you didn’t tell them things about you, they would kick you out of the seminars and you couldn’t go back until the next month. You need the seminars to advance in the program to go home.

One seminar in particular, called Accountability would have kids walking around and using all of the knowledge of kids problems, try to tear them down. This pushed a lot of kids to the edge. They would have Jr. Staff standing against the walls as security, so if anyone went out of control, they would restrain them.

Kids restraining kids, kids handing out consequences to other kids. It’s all abuse. If a Jr. Staff member didn’t like you, they could consequent you for absolutely nothing. It is basically up to the Jr. Staff to decide when you are ready to move up and go home.

Parents don’t really know what is going on up there and if the students tell them in letters, the letter won’t reach them and we were punished. The place doesn’t work. I still smoke weed, and drink like a fish. I still have anger issues. People are killing them selves because of this place. Cory a student, who graduated the program and was in my family, ended up killing himself when he got home. A young lady on Oct. 4 of this year hung herself in the cabin; Jeff tried to kill himself because he couldn’t stand being there. These people are not helping any one out, other than the parents who want to get rid of their kids.

The facility closed 2009


Friday, March 21, 2014

Petition: Outlaw the use of private "escorts" to transport minors to residential treatment centers

Text from the petition page:

Before dawn when I was 14 years old, three large men burst into my room while I was sleeping. As my parents watched, they pulled me from my bed, forced me to get dressed, handcuffed me, and dragged me from my house.

I had committed no crime; these men were not law enforcement agents. Nor was this a kidnapping. My parents had hired these men at the suggestion of a private residential treatment center for the purpose of transporting me to the facility by surprise. These men were professional "escorts", making a living legally abducting minors at their parents request, often transporting them across state lines, as happened to me. I was taken from my home in Florida by plane to Georgia, and then to Texas, on to Nevada, and finally by car to a facility in Utah, where I stayed temporarily before then being transported out of the United States altogether to a facility in another country. This traumatic and dangerous practice continues today, and untold thousands of children are transported in this way every year to facilities across the U.S. and in other countries.

The U.S. Congress has the power and a moral obligation to outlaw this practice. The Commerce Clause of the U. S. Constitution grants Congress the power to outlaw the use of "escorts" specifically and the interstate transportation of minors for psychiatric or behavioral treatment generally, and Congress ought to do so. This practice is dangerous. In many cases, children are tasered, pepper-sprayed, or "restrained" during transport, which can and often does result in broken bones or other serious injuries. Even in cases where children are not physically harmed, this kind of trauma often causes psychiatric issues such as PTSD- issues that can affect these kids for the rest of their lives and hamper the abilities to be healthy and contributing members of society. If parents need help getting noncompliant children into treatment facilities, this function ought to be carried out by trained law enforcement professionals who will be accountable for injuries or mistreatment, and the facility the children are taken to should be located in their own home state.

A society can be fairly judged by how well it protects its most vulnerable members. Our children are our most important and greatest national resource, and ought to be treated as such. Protect our children. Outlaw private "escorts" and the interstate transportation of minors NOW.

The original petition (

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Movie: BLOODBATH a documentary about Elizabeth McGrath

Elizabeth McGrath artist/musician shares the story of her life. Growing up in Altadena, CA and raised by religious parents, Elizabeth found an inner peace through her art and music.

When she was 13 years old her parents enrolled her in Victory Christian Academy, a fundamental Christian lock-down facility for girls. After leaving the school she encountered a time of homelessness, drugs and an abusive relationship that left her emotionally paralyzed.

Using her artistic talents to find work, she struggled to survive in Downtown LA where she remains today. Her art and music career has flourished over the years and now she is considered a prominent figure in the world of music and art.

Through interviews with her parents, friends, bandmates and artistic peers, this documentary shows that Liz McGrath has a urgent need for the cathartic outlet of art and music.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Melanie at Casa by the Sea (From: CAICA)

This testimony was given to the human rights organization COALITION AGAINST INSTITUTIONALIZED CHILD ABUSE. All rights belong to the author Melanie:

Hi, my name is Melanie and I was sent to Casa by the Sea when I was fifteen years old, I was there for 11 months and then sent to “Tranquility Bay” in Jamaica for another year and a half. Before I was able to return back home. It was the worst experience of my life. All I had done was get bad grades and talk back to my parents. It was a last resort I was told that I would not be able to go home for good until I graduated from the program or turned 18. No matter what I do I still cannot get those memories out of my mind. To this day I still have nightmares about it.

When I came home from school. Waiting for me November 12,1999 was my mom and the police, I was told that I was going to a nice fun "boarding school" and that it was going to be a great learning experience. They showed me the pamphlets and it looked ok, or so I thought. That night two large men, who were there to “escort me”, waked me up. When we arrived at Casa By the Sea, I was introduced and told to strip, they went through my belongings I felt so violated. I was then handed a uniform and told to dress.

I was then escorted by a level 4, and shown around the compound. I was then taken to my room, which had two bunk beds by each wall and a tile step with a cot; five to six girls in one room. I was the introduced to the Alliance family. There I was told all the rules. When a boy passes you were not allowed to look at them. Each time you walked by anyone it was a rule to say compromiso (excuse me). We were only allowed to speak Spanish. It took me awhile to understand the "mamas, my case worked Imelda." If we did not we were punished. There were no razors, mirrors we were only allowed to wear sandals that way it would be harder for us to runaway. We had to ask in Spanish to go to the bathroom get up to throw something out, stand, sit, talk, asked to leave your room, etc. Our mail was read going out or coming in. My belongings and packages my mom sent me were never given back to me when I left.

The first few weeks were hard I got in trouble a lot, and were sent to the worksheet room listening to books on tape. I would then be quizzed on what I heard and if you did not get them all right you were sent back to the worksheet room. They made us sit up straight on the edge of the chair, hands folded in front of you starring at the wall for 8-24 hours at a time listening to the tapes. It was horrible. Also, if you didn’t do as you were told. I was forced to lay on my stomach with my chin up, or touching the pavement, hands tied behind our backs. They would force us to lie in this position for hours, sometimes a few days, until they felt we learned our lesson. Also, had to right a thousand word essays about how we learned our lesson. It was torture if you did not follow these rules or they felt you were being defiant they would beat you; the girls didn’t get beat as bad as the boys. I know of several girls including myself hat had been raped, and tied up for hours until they were done with us. If we spoke about or wrote to our parents about it we were punished the same way again and again.

Every night we had to write up our reflections for the day what you learned in-group, from feedback about your character. We had to finish them and turn them in to our "mamas," before we were able to take a shower or get ready for bed. The water was always ice cold and we were an allotted only 5 minutes. Then lights out by 9 o'clock.

It was also mandatory for each student to attend seminars. Discovery was the first seminar it lasted three days. They did everything in their power to mentally and emotionally manipulate, or try to break you. If you did not pass the seminars you were unable to move up to the next level.

The last two months I was at Casa by the Sea, all the girls were placed in doublewide trails bunk beds lined up on each wall. Two families to one side of the trailer. They put all four families in one trailer, with 4 showers stall and four toilets. When we were escorted to our classrooms the people who worked there would search through all your belongings looking for anything that you were not to have.

I was pulled from class and was told I would be leaving Mexico. I was so happy until I realized I wasn't going home instead I was then escorted to Jamaica. I thought Casa By The Sea was bad until I reached Jamaica. If you broke a rule you were whipped then sent to worksheets and denied food or water until you learned your lesson.

I thought being at Casa By the Sea was torture. When I arrived at Tranquility Bay I realized that they had most of the same rules and punishment techniques as Casa By the Sea had. However, we were not aloud to wear anything on our feet, forced to sleep outside on the ground without a blanket or pillow. The facilities goal was to manipulate us, and forced us to practice their religion. Or be punished for disobeying. When I had returned home I was completely shut down, I. wouldn’t speak to anyone for months. When I was home I was worse than I was before being sent into the program. I had completely shut down emotionally, and physically I am still trying to this day to move on from the experience I have major trust issues with anyone let a lone my parents for sending me there. It was the most horrible experience of my life.

The memories will always be with me, and I have to deal with it everyday. If anyone who was there during 1999 thru 2002. Please e-mail me. It will help dealing with it to talk to someone who was there and knows how things were.

Melanie L.
Los Angeles, CA

The authorities in Mexico forced the school to close in 2004. However the employees and managers managed to envade justice. Sources:
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