This testimony was located on Yelp. All rights belongs to the author
Clearly anyone giving this place high marks has never gone here or is a rich white, attractive kid that got preferential treatment (yes, they treat rich white kids much better), as well as most likely a parent that pushed their kid this program, without really understanding the ramifications of sending a child here. I don't ever want another kid to go through what myself and so many others have gone through. I don't want another kid to suffer from the PTSD I still struggle with 17 years after leaving Burnout Ranch. I can personally attest to witnessing/experiencing verbal, emotional, physical abuse by staff and rape/sexual assault that would go unpunished/unreported due to staff blaming girls/calling them liars. No child deserves this.
Around 2003/2004, I witnessed staff member Myron calling a black kid a "n****r" while staff member Carl called the same kid a "tarbaby" while he was forced to do a "desert walk" (walking miles in the desert with a truck driven by staff slowly following him and shouting racial epithets), staff member Wayne smashing a lesbian's head into the wall and calling her a "dyke", director Max taking me out for "private 1 on 1" walks in the desert to press me about my sexual activity while caressing my body to "heal"... Not to mention being so hungry that I stole a box of crackers and was sent back to the first level for simply being hungry.
My mail sent to my family was read by my counselor Tina and I was punished just for trying to write to my brother and tell him what I was seeing and experiencing. In regards to my earlier statement, the 2 wealthy white girls were quickly moved into staff member's Connie house and were treated well from the beginning. Not every level 4 girl was moved into Connie's house. Just her "favorites", which were always the same type: rich white girls. The handsome wealthy white males also received preferential treatment, with a tall attractive male being nicknamed "Slick" for his best blonde hairdo and constantly being high fived by staff, while being a minority, gay, or fat made you a constant target towards negative comments and physical abuse and punishment.
Reports of sexual assaults and harassment, in addition to rape perpetrated by boys at TAR resulted in staff asking the group of males if they sexually assaulted/raped a female, to which they replied no (of course). Apparently 5 boys that are friends are believed over a girl's accusations and the girl was sent back to the first level. Ex-drill sergeant Connie called her a "slut" and a "liar" for merely being a victim. She was never taken to the local doctor and checked for signs of rape. When the same thing happened to me, I was too afraid to say anything and it continued happening for the rest of my time there.
17 years later, I still suffer from PTSD from being kidnapped in the middle of the night by strangers without knowing who they were or where I was going. I still suffer from flashbacks. All this place did was torture me for 90 days and I'd do anything to keep another kid from experiencing the pain I still feel from this place. Kids having behavioral problems deserve a safe space to heal and figure out what their problems are and how to face them. TAR is the exact opposite of a safe space for children. It's a predatory environment that breeds low self-esteem, low self-worth, encasing it in a bullshit religious agenda and run by frauds. Please do not send a child here. Stop sending your kid away to "deal" with your problem.
After TAR, I've gone through years of intense therapy and no therapist has ever said TAR was a good parental choice and how emotionally damaging it is for parents to push their "problem children" into a wilderness program as some answer. No child deserves this. Deal with the problems your parenting has created. Actively deal with the problems your children are facing so your kids know they're not alone. If you send your kids to TAR, you're a horrible person that deserves the karma coming to you for subjecting your child to torment when you're supposed to protect them.
The facility is currently being sued due to alleged sexual assault. Some years ago, an employee was killed by one of the children held at the facility. A lawsuit states that the tragedy happened because the ranch in search for profit took in children, which were not evaluated to be handled with the level of security for both children and employees, the facility was able to provide..
- The original testimony on Yelp
- Youth sent by Dr. Phil to Turn-About-Ranch is suing due to sexual assault (Change.org)
- Inspired by Paris Hilton, woman says Utah ranch punished her for reporting assaults (Deseret News)
- Lawsuit claims Utah rehab ranch broke its own rules by admitting an addicted teen — who then killed a staffer (Salt Lake Tribune)