Troubled Teen Programs - 25 Plaintiffs Join in Lawsuit Against WWASPS, Cross Creek Manor, Robert Lichfield, and Associates More Expected to Join In
Children were allegedly forced to eat their vomit, beaten, thrown, slammed to the ground, tied at the wrists and ankles, and more
Salt Lake City, UT (October 15, 2006) On August 25, 2006, William Chase Wood and his parents, Tammy and Gregory Wood, filed a lawsuit against the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS) and their associates, alleging Child Abuse, Fraud, Breach of Contract, Conspiracy, Gross Negligence, RICO Violations, False Imprisonment, Assault, Battery, and More.
Twenty-five new plaintiffs have joined in the Wood lawsuit and filed an Amended Complaint in the Utah Federal Court on October 13, 2006. Families from California, Texas, Maryland, Kentucky, Lousiana, Florida, Minnesota, and Michigan have decided to fight back against this corporate giant.
Plaintiffs are represented by the prominent and prestigious Turley Law Firm of Dallas, Texas.
What you are about to read is extremely disturbing and is not something one would think could be happening in and outside our country and certainly not in 2006. But the facts speak for themselves not only is it hard to ignore the countless children and parents who are coming forward to bring light to the abuse and neglect children have endured in WWASPS programs - but it is hard to ignore the countless news articles and segments on Dateline NBC, Primetime, 48 Hours, Inside Edition, Fox News - that allege abuse and neglect in these programs.
Many children and parents have contacted our organization, the Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse (CAICA), to share their stories. It is the consistency of their stories that are chilling and that raise serious concern.
Over the past decade thousands of children have been housed in WWASPS programs. Children were not placed there, for the most part, because they were in trouble with the law. These are generally children whose parents, for one reason or another, seek outside help for their children and teens - to the tune of about $40,000 to $60,000 per year or more. While some parents can afford to pay for these programs, others cannot and are forced to take out second mortgages, tap into their retirement funds or their childrens college funds.
According to the Amended Complaint, every child named was subjected to multiple forms of child abuse over extended periods of time. While parents believed they had sent their children to programs that would provide them a proper education and, depending on the situation, help for their troubled child or teen, according to the Amended Complaint, some children were:
Forced to eat their own vomit
Kicked, beaten, thrown, and slammed to the ground
Bound and tied by their hands/and or feet
Chained and locked in dog cages
Forced to stay in isolation for long periods of times
Locked in small boxes or cages
Locked in basements
Forced to lie in or wear urine and feces as a method of punishment
Forced to clean and scrub toilets and floors with their toothbrush and then use the toothbrush afterwards
Forced to sleep on cold concrete floors, box springs, or plywood used as beds some had no bed linens
Forced to assume distorted and painful physical positions for long periods of time
Forced to live in unsanitary living conditions
Denied adequate food
Denied even a minimally sufficient education
Denied proper medical and dental treatment and care
Exposed to extreme hot and cold temperatures for long periods of time
Forced to exercise beyond their physical capacity
Forced to carry heavy bags of sand or logs around their neck throughout the day over many days
Sexually abused, including sexual relations and acts of fondling and masturbation performed on them
Emotional abuse by subjecting children to near total parental and societal isolation; personal visits, correspondence, and telephone calls were either forbidden or discouraged
Because of near-total isolation, these children were totally unequipped to enter outside society
Forced to work many hours a day violating child labor laws
Confiscated and/or kept students US mail
Deprived from using the toilet, and as a result, urinated or defecated on themselves
Verbally abused by lying that their parents knew what was happening to them and were supportive of it all
Subjected to buddy system where older students were allowed to physically, mentally, and sexually abuse younger students and manage them as part of cleansing process
Deprived of sleep
Forced to wear the same, unwashed clothes for weeks at a time
In most cases. denied religious affiliation
Forced to eat raw or rotten food
Poked and prodded with various objects while being strip-searched
Forced to write false confession letters to parents to justify being sent to the WWASPS schools
Threatened severe punishment, including death, if they told anyone about the abuse or poor living conditions --
The Amended Complaint seeks damages for:
Defendants intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress
Actual and constructive fraud
Breach of contract/breach of warranty
Conspiracy and fraudulent concealment
Breach of fiduciary duty
Wrongful and actionable conduct of defendants
Breach of statutory duty to prevent child abuse
Breach of duty to act imposed by prior dangerous conduct
Breach of duty to aid another harmed by defendants conduct
Negligent assumption of risk of intentional or criminal conduct
Negligent misrepresentation involving risk of physical harm
Utah deceptive trade practices violations
Gross negligence and exemplary damages --
The facts of the case allege that each parent entrusted their minor children to the control and direction of defendants because defendants marketed themselves as a residential boarding school where children with problems could get an education while receiving instruction and direction in behavior modification for emotional growth and personal development.
The Amended Complaint seeks damages to each student and each parent plaintiff and requests an injunction against further physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of minor children. It requests an injunction against further deceptive advertising. It is asking for an order against destruction or spoliation of evidence.
The Amended Complaint goes on to say student plaintiffs alledgedly witnessed other children being kicked, hit, slammed, beaten, thrown to the ground, and humiliated by teachers, supervisors, and/or staff, that their human rights were violated when Defendants used isolation as a form of punishment, that Defendants often conspired with one parent or guardian to kidnap or take away by force the child from another parent with equal or superior custody, and that Defendants conspired with parents to implement an Exit Plan, which had the effect of compelling the student to remain at the schools past the students 18th birthday, despite the alleged torture or inhumane conditions.
The Turley Law Firm is investigating other potential claims. There are no up-front costs to plaintiffs as cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. If you feel you were defrauded or harmed in any way by any WWASPS facility, feel free to contact the Turley Law Firm at 1-800-692-4025, or visit their website and fill out their Evaluation Form at www.wturley.com.
Turley Law Firm website:
Henricksen & Henriksen, PC website:
WWASP/WWASPS AFFILIATED PROGRAMS:
As of October 2006, it is believed that WWASP aka WWASPS has affiliations with the following facilities:
Academy of Ivy Ridge, NY (Recently withdrew their affiliation with WWASPS)
Bethel Girls Academy, Mississippi
Eagle Point Christian Academy; Mississippi - (fka Bethel Boys Academy)
Canyon View Park, MT
Camas Ranch, MT
Carolina Springs Academy, SC
Cross Creek Programs, UT (Cross Creek Center for Boys and Cross Creek Manor)
Darrington Academy, GA
Help My Teen, UT (Believed to promote and market WWASP/WWASPS/Robert Lichfield-affiliated programs)
Horizon Academy, NV
Lifelines Family Services, UT (Believed to promote and market WWASP/WWASPS/Robert Lichfield-affiliated programs)
Majestic Ranch, UT
Midwest Academy, IA (Brian Viafanua, formerly the Director of Paradise Cove as shown on Primetime, is the current Director here)
New Beginnings Maternity Home, Utah
Pillars of Hope, Costa Rica (it is believed the program was set up for 18-22 year olds and that a new program has opened in Costa Rica for pre-teens and teens)
Pine View Christian Academy (Borders FL, AL, MS)
Reality Trek, UT
Red River Academy, LA (Borders TX)
Royal Gorge Academy, previously Royal Peak Academy, CO (It is believed that Randall Hinton - who admitted using pepper spray on teens - is employed at this facility)
Sky View Academy, NV
Spring Creek Lodge, MT
Teens In Crisis, LLC (Believed to promote and market WWASP/WWASPS/Robert Lichfield-affiliated programs)
Teen Help, LLC (Believed to promote and market WWASP/WWASPS/Robert Lichfield-affiliated programs)
Tranquility Bay, Jamaica
The Following WWASP Facilities Have Been Closed:
Casa by the Sea
Dundee Ranch Adademy, Costa Rica - raided and closed on May 22, 2003 after authorities confirmed child abuse
Brightway Hospital, Utah - closed by authorities in 2002 for providing inadequate care and abuse of teenagers
Morava Academy, Czech Republic - closed in 1998 after authorities confirmed abuse and arrested the directors Glenda (aka Glenn) and Steve Roach
Sunrise Beach, Cancun Mexico - closed in 1996 after authorities alleged abuse Glenda (aka Glenn) and Steve Roach were directors.
High Impact, Mexico - closed on the heels of an investigation into abuse
Paradise Cove, Samoa - closed on the heels of an investigation into abuse --
Defendants named in the Amended Complaint include:
World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools, Inc., Cross Creek Center for Boys, LLC, Cross Creek Manor, LLC, Majestic Ranch Academy, Inc., Academy of Ivy Ridge, Spring Creek Lodge, Inc., High Impact, Dundee Ranch, Casa by the Sea, Tranquility Bay, Carolina Springs Academy, Brightway Adolescent Hospital, Paradise Cove, Resource Realizations Inc., Peacock Enterprises, LLC, Dixie Contract Services, LLC, Premier Educational Systems, LLC, Robert Browning Lichfield Family Partnership, Teens in Crisis, LLC, Teen Help, LLC, R & B Management Group, LLC, R & B Billing, Robert B. Lichfield, Ken Kay, Karr Farnsworth, David Gilcrease, and John Does I through XX.
- Contact Information
- Isabelle Zehnder
- Founder and President
- Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse (CAICA)
- Contact via E-mail
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