This is a staff list for Aspiro Wilderness & Adventure Therapy Program in Riverton, UT
(a.k.a. Aspiro, Aspiro Wilderness Program, Vantage Point, Kairos, Kairos Young Adult Wilderness Program, Momentum Wilderness Program)
(we are working to acquire the complete records for ALL years)
We advise current and/or former staff to report any abuses you may have witnessed while working at the Aspiro Wilderness & Adventure Therapy Program. For information on your rights and how to take action, visit www.heal-online.org/blowthewhistle.htm. If you were fired or forced to resign because you opposed any illegal and/or unethical practices at Aspiro Wilderness & Adventure Therapy Program, you have the right to take action.
If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Aspiro Wilderness & Adventure Therapy Program, please contact email@example.com if you remember the long-term employees and from which years. This will help! Also, if you recognize any of these staff as having worked at another program, please send in any information about their past or present employment at other facilities and/or cults.
Please don’t place your loved one in Aspiro Wilderness Program and rescue them if they are there now.
|Justin Robinson||Clinical Director||Robinson has worked in other programs in both Alaska and Puerto Rico since 1994. He worked at Kairos Young Adult Adventure Wilderness Program in Puerto Rico. Robinson has been with Aspiro since 2006. Aspiro began as a program in 2006. He also formerly worked at an unnamed residential "treatment" center in Utah. Robinson no longer appears to be working for the program. Gordon Day is the new director. Robinson is a licensed clinical social worker in UT and has been since 2005. He graduated from the University of UT in 2002. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Jessi Irvin-Wacker (female)||Counselor||Irvine formerly worked for Three Rivers. A program closed in Montana. Jessica Linn Wacker (may be a different person) is a licensed clinical mental health counselor in UT and has been since July, 2010. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Brad Carpenter||Psychiatrist||Has worked in behavior modification industry for 10 years. He formerly worked for now bankrupt and confirmedly abusive Hidden Lake Academy. Carpenter is NOT A LICENSED PSYCHIATRIST, medical, nor mental health professional in UT. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Gordon L. Day||Clinical Director||Day was formerly with Summit Preparatory School and Outback Therapeutic Expeditions. There is a Gordon Lee Day (may be a different person) that is a licensed psychologist in UT and has been since 2006. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Josh Watson||Counselor||Watson has been working in the industry since 1999. Watson also formerly worked for the confirmedly abusive and now bankrupt Hidden Lake Academy. Watson IS NOT A LICENSED COUNSELOR NOR THERAPIST. Watson is licensed as a clinical social worker in UT and has been since June, 2009. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Janet Robinson||Administrative Director||Robinson is Justin's (clinical director) wife. She has worked in the industry for 13 years and spent some time working for the joke known as Child Protective Services in Utah. HEAL requires Robinson's middle name in order to verify whether or not Robinson holds any professional licenses in UT.|
|Amy Olsen||Therapist||Olsen has worked at unnamed residential programs as well as working as a paid kidnapper (escort/transporter) of unwilling children to undisclosed lockdown camps with no access to communication with the outside world (including family). Olsen no longer appears to be working for the program. HEAL requires Olsen's middle name in order to verify whether or not Olsen holds any professional licenses in UT.|
|Michael Escalante||Program Director||Escalante worked for two other unnamed wilderness programs before joining Aspiro in 2003. Escalante no longer appears to be working for the program. Dan Lemaire appears to be the new Program Director. Escalante is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Randy Oakley||Executive Director/CEO||
Oakley is also the Executive Director for:
Kairos Young Adult Adventures (it has the same staff as Aspiro--same program?)
Oakley also works with Allen Cardoza. Oakley is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
|Jodi Escalante||Field Director||Mike/Michael's wife. She has worked in behavior modification camps since 2005. She worked for two other programs before joining Aspiro. Escalante no longer appears to be working for the program. Escalante is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Kevin Hogan||Land Use Coordinator||He worked at two other outdoor programs in Utah before joining Aspiro. Hogan no longer appears to be working for the program. HEAL chose not to do a licensure verification on Hogan since Hogan no longer appears to work for the program and because logistics staff are generally not expected to have special licensure.|
|Liz Stika||Girls Team Lead||Liz joined Aspiro in 2007. Brigham Young University graduate. Liz no longer appears to be working for the program. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Louis E. (no last name)||Boys Team Lead||Louis joined Aspiro in 2008. He decided to work for the industry since he graduated a wilderness program himself. He has been involved with NOLS and Outward Bound. Louie no longer appears to be working for the program. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Philip F. (no last name)||Vantage Point Team Lead||HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Joseph R. (no last name)||Aspiro Boys Team Lead||Joined Aspiro in 2008. Philip no longer appears to be working for the program. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Reo Stika||Expedition Manager||Reo no longer appears to be working for the program. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Matt Gauthier||Expedition Manager||Gauthier is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Dan Lemaire||Program Director||Joined Aspiro in 2006. Lemaire is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Shawn P. (no last name)||Lead Guide||Joined Aspiro in 2007. Shawn has worked in wilderness programs since 2003.* Shawn no longer appears to be working for the program. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Aaron T. (no last name)||Lead Guide||Joined Aspiro in 2007. Aaron formerly worked at Outback Expeditions. Aaron no longer appears to be working for the program. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Tyler C. (no last name)||Lead Guide||Joined Aspiro in 2007. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Katie H. (no last name)||Lead Guide||Joined Aspiro in 2006. Katie formerly worked at an unnamed wilderness program in Idaho.* Katie is a Brigham Young University (BYU) graduate. Katie no longer appears to be working for the program. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Nicolaus H. (no last name)||Lead Guide||Joined Aspiro in 2008. BYU student. Nicolaus no longer appears to be working for the program. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Erik S. (no last name)||Lead Guide||HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Meg M. (no last name)||Lead Guide||Joined Aspiro in 2008. Meg no longer appears to be working for the program. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Joe N. (no last name)||Guide||Joined Aspiro in 2009. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Justin W. (no last name)||Guide||Joined Aspiro in 2009. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Ben W. (no last name)||Guide||Joined Aspiro in 2009. It's funny... The program descriptions for their employees, Ben included, typically talk about how the employee chose the cult/program and not the qualifications on which they were hired or that would impress people using reasoning skills. Ben no longer appears to be working for the program. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Billy N. (no last name)||Guide||Joined Aspiro in 2009. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Ava C. (no last name)||Guide||Formerly worked at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA in the in-patient psychiatric unit. BYU graduate. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Jeff B. (no last name)||Guide||Joined Aspiro in 2009. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Kevin O. (no last name)||Guide||"Graduate" of the Kairos program (Aspiro). HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Jessica W. (no last name)||Guide||Student at BYU. Jessica no longer appears to be working for the program. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Brian Church||Director of Business||Brian’s father was one of three original founders of the SUWS adolescent program. Brian became the admissions director (pre and post Aspen Education Group), and subsequently, the national Marketing Director for SUWS. If you click on his name, you will see an exchange between Mr. Church and HEAL in November of 2009. Church is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Christina Oakley||Business Operations||Randy's (CEO/Owner/Exec. Director) wife. Formerly, in 2003, program director at an unnamed program.* Oakley is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Ryan Coley||Admissions||Ryan Frank Coley (may be a different person) is a licensed certified social worker in UT and has been since May, 2011. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Ariana West||Admin. Asst.||HEAL chose not to do a licensure verification for West because office staff are generally not expected to hold any professional licenses.|
|Jamie Kaczmarek||Therapist||Formerly worked for Aspen Achievement Academy. Kaczmarek IS NOT A LICENSED PSYCHOLOGIST, COUNSELOR, NOR THERAPIST! Kaczmarek is a licensed clinical social worker only and has been since October, 2010 in UT. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
There is a Joseph Trevor Allen (may be a different person) that is a licensed
clinical mental health counselor in UT that has been since September, 2010.
He earned his counseling degree from the University of Phoenix. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
"The Justice Department announced today that the University of Phoenix has agreed to pay the United States $67.5 million to resolve allegations that its student recruitment policies violated the False Claims Act. This case began as a whistleblower action filed in the Eastern District of California under the False Claims Act, which permits private citizens to bring lawsuits for fraud on behalf of the United States and to share in any recovery. Whistleblowers Mary Hendow and Julie Behn, two former University of Phoenix employees, alleged that the university accepted federal student financial aid while in violation of statutory and regulatory provisions prohibiting post-secondary schools from paying admissions counselors certain forms of incentive-based compensation tied to the number of students recruited. Though the United States did not intervene in this action, the Government provided support and assistance to the whistleblowers at many stages of the case, including filing friend-of-the-court briefs when the case was on appeal to the Ninth Circuit. The two whistleblowers will receive $19 million from the settlement."
The University of Phoenix does not have the specialized accreditation necessary for degrees in psychology. (Source: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Search.aspx) It is accredited for teaching and nursing degrees.
|Caitlin Galt||CPCI||Formerly worked for Second Nature Wilderness in Utah. Galt has an Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor License and has been licensed in UT since April, 2009. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Jessica Williamson||Clinical Asst.||Jessica Paix Williamson (may be a different person) is a licensed certified social worker and has been since May, 2012. One would expect a clinical assistant to have medical certification and training, not social work.|
|Brandon (no last name)||Lead Guide||Joined Aspiro in 2007. HEAL requires full first and last names to perform licensure verifications.|
|Daryn Darr||Lead Guide||Joined Aspiro in 2007. Also founder of Canterbury Academy. Darr is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Aspiro Uses Positive Control Systems model also used by WWASPS and Eagle Ranch Academy.|
All segregated congregate care providers, including those on our watch-list, are welcome to contact us to correct any information or provide additional data that may assist with delivering the whole truth to the public. We've found in many cases where this offer has been abused or resulted in revealing additional basis for our concerns. For some examples see: http://www.heal-online.org/tcfl.htm, http://www.heal-online.org/bolthouse.htm and http://www.heal-online.org/abundant2.htm. Now, we are willing to look at the facts and may have questions or require documentation backing up any claims. We do verify licensing, academic backgrounds, and other qualifications when investigating and researching programs on our watch-list to assist consumers seeking additional information on such programs or victims requiring assistance with getting corroborating evidence of their claims. We do that in order to make sure the information we provide is accurate and verified and cite our sources. In the event any information we've posted is in error, we're happy to make a correction. And, for information on how such requests are handled and have been resolved historically, see: http://www.heal-online.org/requests.htm.
HEAL does not support segregated congregate care for many reasons which include that many such facilities are abusive, exploitative, fraudulent, and lack effective oversight often as a result of fraudulent misrepresentation coupled with the ignorance of those seeking to enroll loved ones in such facilities, programs, schools, or centers without a valid court order and involuntarily. In the United States such involuntary placements done without a court order are apparently illegal as they either violate the Americans with Disabilities Act community integration requirement or due process rights of those involuntarily placed. Now, in regards to parents, in the United States parents have the right to waive their own rights, but, not the rights of their minor children. See http://www.heal-online.org/legalarguments.htm for more information. Now, most facilities on our watch list include waivers, indemnity clauses, and sworn statements parents must sign assuring the program that the parents have the right to make the placement involuntarily and without due process in a segregated congregate care environment, however, California and federal prosecutors as well as settled law appears to suggest that is not the case. In fact, in the David Taylor case found at http://www.heal-online.org/provocases.htm, Taylor sued Provo Canyon School and his mother as co-defendants. His mother was found liable for 75% of the damages awarded to Taylor as a result of multiple complaints including false imprisonment, while the program was found only 25% liable because the mother owed a duty of due diligence to investigate anyone to which she would entrust care of her child and she failed to do so.
Now, HEAL opposes segregated congregate care and we find most placements are happening illegally in the USA which if the youth understood their rights would result in unfortunate outcomes for the parents, particularly when they don't exercise good judgment and support the fraud and abuse rather than their own children when they need remedy and justice. And, HEAL supports all victims of fraud and abuse in seeking remedies at law for any crimes or torts committed against them. And, that's true whether or not the program or victims are in the USA.
HEAL has a 5 point argument against segregated congregate care we'd like you to consider:
a. Segregated care is unconstitutional and a civil rights violation. It is only permissible if a person is unable to survive independent of an institutional environment. For more on this, watch the HEAL Report at https://youtu.be/C4NzhZc4P0A. Or, see: http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/ which includes in part: "United States v. Florida – 1:12-cv-60460 – (S.D. Fla.) – On April 7, 2016, the United States filed an Opposition to the State of Florida’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. In the Motion, the State had asked the Court to rule, on a variety of grounds, that the United States could not recover damages for unnecessarily institutionalized children to whom the State had been deliberately indifferent."
b. Institutionalization is always dehumanizing and coercive. Institutionalization always harms the institutionalized and deprives them of protected civil rights. Dr. David Straker, Psychiatry Professor at Columbia University's School of Medicine (Ivy League) explains this in detail at http://changingminds.org/disciplines/sociology/articles/institutionalization.htm. "Many institutions, from prisons to monasteries to asylums, deliberately want to control and manage their inmates such that they conform and do not cause problems. Even in less harsh environments, many of the institutionalization methods may be found, albeit in more moderated form (although the psychological effect can be equally devastating)." (See website linked in this paragraph for more info.)
c. Institutionalization is not in the best interest of children. Institutions are not ever better for a child than living with a loving family. Source: http://www.unicef.org/cambodia/12681_23295.html
d. Reform schools, residential treatment programs, and other segregated congregate care settings have been shown to be ineffective and harmful. Best source on this currently is: https://www.acgov.org/probation/documents/EndoftheReformSchoolbyVinny.doc
e. Boarding Schools, even the "good ones", result in a form of social death, isolation, and cause both anxiety and depression. Therefore, it is clearly not in the best interest of the youth subjected to those environments. Sources: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jun/08/boarding-school-syndrome-joy-schaverien-review and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/secondaryeducation/11662001/The-truth-about-boarding-school-syndrome.html
Beyond the above arguments against segregated congregate care, we have reports from the NIH, Surgeon General, Yale University Studies, and much more showing the methodologies of behavior modification are damaging, harmful, and ineffective. You can request these documents via e-mail. In addition, for such programs offering academic services or claiming to offer diplomas, certifications, or the like, it is important to check to see if it is a diploma mill with no accredited academic services. Please see article: "Avoiding Scams: What You Need To Know" for important information on how to avoid education/training scams.
If you'd like to see what HEAL suggests rather than segregated congregate care (i.e. committing a crime or tort against your child if done against their will without a court order), please see articles: "Fix Your Family, Help Your Teen" and "How Would You Handle My Out of Control Teen?".
If you have a complaint against any facility, please file a complaint with the appropriate law enforcement agency or your home state's attorney general. For reporting resources see: http://www.heal-online.org/report.htm. (Reporting guide is for USA only at this time.)
HEAL received an Aspiro,
Inc. contract and we have copied it below with additional information on
the terms explained. We have blocked only identifying information at the
request of the party who made the submission.
There are some concerns regarding the entire contract. Problems in the page above include the fact that children coming into the program are strip-searched [search of person] and such searches are conducted whenever deemed "necessary" by staff throughout the duration of the program. This is often a tool of humiliation used by behavior modification programs. They use physical restraint whenever deemed "necessary" by staff and only record statements regarding the incident from the adult staff present. Aspiro also demands that parents allow it to administer medical and psychiatric treatment whenever it deems such necessary. However, Aspiro does not state in what way it is qualified to administer psychiatric treatment. Aspiro also requires parents to agree to any medical "testing" it deems necessary without parental or individual informed consent. In requiring the authority of power of attorney, Aspiro has made itself a fiduciary of the family. A fiduciary has the responsibility to act in the best interest of those he/she/it represents. In the following pages, Aspiro unconscionably disclaims any liability for harms (including death) experienced within the Aspiro program and even though requiring the rights of a power of attorney agreement, denies the responsibilities of such an agreement. This is prima facie unconscionable.
Aspiro requires parents/guardians to agree to unconscionable and arguably illegal terms. Whether deemed unconscionable and/or illegal by a court, the terms are still considered void or voidable. The "Risk", "Indemnification", and "Liability" terms are unconscionable because they put all of the liability for any harm, "known or unknown", regardless of responsibility, on the parents/guardians. If a child is maimed or killed while in the "care" of Aspiro, Aspiro renounces any responsibility for it, even if the laws would hold them accountable for negligence or intentional acts. This type of "waiver" is unconscionable. And, a parent does not have the legal right to sign away the rights of their minor children (see: Scott v. Pacific West Mountain Resort, 119 Wash 2d 484, 834 P 2d 6 (1992).). And, the fact that Aspiro requires parents to agree to illegally waive the rights of a minor child is additional cause for concern. An agreement that includes unconscionable and illegal terms is void and/or voidable.
Another problem with the contract is the "Mail Agreement". As stated above, parents do not have the right to waive the rights of their minor children. It was decided in the case of Milonas v. Provo Canyon School (see: www.heal-online.org/provocases.htm) that it is a violation to open, read, censor, and/or monitor the mail of children in a program. It is an illegal practice. The fact that Aspiro includes illegal and unconscionable terms and practices in it's contract is a serious concern. The "Photograph Agreement" is also a serious violation. Aspiro, not worried about protecting client confidentiality--but only about sales materials, requires parents to approve the use of their child's photograph in sales literature for the program. This is an invasion of privacy of the minor's rights and is also an unconscionable term for any service promising or requiring confidentiality.
In addition, if a child escapes Aspiro, Aspiro puts the responsibility and expense of recovering the child on the parent even though they are acting in lieu of parental authority per the power of attorney agreement and would be legally responsible for exercising due care to insure the safety of all "participants". The remainder of the contract reiterates that parents assume all risks involved to their child and their family and releases Aspiro of any "known and unknown" risks of harm, including death.
We would highly recommend no family enter any contract containing unconscionable or illegal terms. Adult children have sued programs with their parents as co-defendants and parents have been found liable for injuries to their children. It is best to avoid any shady deals with those running fraudulent or abusive programs.
To submit your statement regarding Aspiro Wilderness, click here!
*(Aspiro Wilderness Program, like many other programs in this industry, keeps a "tight lid" on any specific information regarding their staff, qualifications, and practices. Please contact us with the names of any staff of which you have firsthand knowledge or experience. Thank you for your help.)
August 10th, 2019
Last Updated: August 10th, 2019