This is a  staff list for Gateway Freedom Ranch in Rexford, MT

(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 Gateway Freedom Ranch.  For information on your rights and how to take action, visit  If you were fired or forced to resign because you opposed any illegal and/or unethical practices at Gateway Freedom Ranch, you have the right to take action. 


If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Gateway Freedom Ranch, please contact 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. 


HEAL Mission advises against enrolling loved ones or yourself at Gateway Freedom Ranch. 




Additional Information
Lisa Marek Director Marek is not a licensed mental health, social work, nor medical professional in MT.  Source:   Marek is not a licensed educator in MT.  Source:  Marek formerly(?) worked for New Horizons Boys Ranch in Rexford, MT.  However, online profiles claim she ran the girl's program.  New Horizons claims to serve boys only.  This suggests that Gateway Freedom Ranch may be part of the New Horizons Boys Ranch family.  We are looking into it.
Ashley Jelich Case Manager Jelich is not a licensed mental health, social work, nor medical professional in MT.  Source:   Jelich is not a licensed educator in MT.  Source:
Larry Nicholas Counselor Nicholas is not a licensed mental health, social work, nor medical professional in MT.  Source:  
Debbie Nicholas Counselor Nicholas is not a licensed mental health, social work, nor medical professional in MT.  Source:  
Todd Call Clinical Consultant License Type:   Licensed Clin Professional Type:   State License Number:   SWP-LCPC-LIC-7589 Name:   TODD ALAN CALL License State:   MT Title:  Licensing Board:   Social Worker City, State Zip:   EUREKA MT 59917 Business Name:   Phone:   Eligible to Practice:   Phone 2:   Business License Expiration Date:   FAX:   License Issue Date:   02/18/2014 E-mail:   License Expiration Date:   12/31/2015 Method:   Credential License Status:   Active

License Type:   Marriage and Family Therapist Type:   State License Number:   SWP-LMFT-LIC-4628 Name:   TODD A CALL License State:   MT Title:  Licensing Board:   Social Worker City, State Zip:   EUREKA MT 59917 Business Name:   Phone:   Eligible to Practice:   Phone 2:   Business License Expiration Date:   FAX:   License Issue Date:   07/11/2013 E-mail:   License Expiration Date:   12/31/2015 Method:   Exam License Status:   Active

Source:   HEAL recommends you understand that Mr. Call has only been licensed in any capacity since July of 2013 and that with such little experience should not be the sole licensed professional involved with this program. 
Terry Brunner Teacher Brunner is not a licensed educator in MT.  Source:
Mindy Henderson Case Manager Henderson is not a licensed mental health, social work, nor medical professional in MT.  Source:   Henderson is not a licensed educator in MT.  Source:
Terri Vaughn Clinician Vaughn is not a licensed mental health, social work, nor medical professional in MT.  Source:   Terri L. Vaughn (may be a different person) is licensed solely as a Class 6 School Counselor in MT.  Source:
Bethany (last?) Intern HEAL requires Bethany's full name in order to perform a professional qualification check.

 *(Gateway Freedom Ranch, 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.)
Gateway Freedom Ranch has only been licensed since January 16th, 2015.  Since it opened, HEAL has received three requests to investigate this program.  We are investigating.  So far, we have confirmed it is licensed as an Alternative Adolescent Program in Montana. 
Portions from a Gateway Freedom Ranch Staff Blog: [emphasis added]

"My dear friends! I am so sorry. I tend to begin every post that way – so I think that will be my last apology. In short, life here is absolutely chaotic and insane, and since I don’t get a lot of time off, the amount of time off I DO get is often spent trying to detox – aka, not thinking about work! SO, its rather unfortunate that you have to sit and wait to hear all about my life until it is convenient for me… but hey, a sista’s gotta do what a sista’s gotta do. OK. Now that I covered that. Life at the ranch really is rather insane. When I started here, there were six girls. Shortly after I arrived, one girl completed their time and went home, we were at a comfortable five for awhile. Then we got a new girl a few weeks ago, and a second new girl came one week after that. So now we are at seven girls. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when your staff-to-student ratio hovers at 1-2/7 at any given time, let me reiterate that it is a lot of work! Living with a bunch of young women is nothing short of estrogen overload. If you had told me a year ago that I’d be working here, I would have laughed in your face and said “there is NO way!” See, I struggle with all the drama women have, and honestly it drives me mad."

"I must be honest… sometimes it is hard being here. I often feel all alone. I have co-workers, and a fantastic boss, but sometimes I just wish I had my own family to go home to at the end of a night. Sometimes it is hard to be living at the same place you work… to not be able to just pack up and go home at the end of a night has its challenges."

"I have struggled up and down with how long I can be in this kind of environment, and how long I can continue doing this. I LOVE these girls beyond words.. but the job description is so exhausting! Some nights I fall into bed, floored I made it through another day."

"At any rate, she ended up getting really frustrated with the other staff, and they both came back downstairs to avoid waking other girls up with the commotion. She got REALLY upset, and was mouthing off to the other staff, so I told her she could regain control of her body and her voice, or she could go out on the deck. After screaming in my face at the TOP of her lungs (seriously… NO joke…) I pointed to the door and had her go outside. I said I’d be out in a minute or two. Now, if you know anything about Montana at this time, it is COLD outside! But, she had made her choice, and there was none to blame but herself."  [How cold does it get in Montana in November?  27°F  Source:]

"My days are spent cooking food, stopping arguments, and trying to remind girls of the bigger picture. I had a more stern talk with them yesterday, asking them all on a scale of 1-10, how motivated they each were to go home (aka graduate our program and move back home!!).. To my literal surprise, they all said 10’s…. I mused aloud that some of the behaviors and patterns in the house hardly reflect their motivation level.."

"I almost forgot to tell you that I have played teacher for four days now.. Acting as substitute when our teacher is out of town. The girls are set up with an educational level-packet system, which allows them to progress in Math, English, Lit. and Writing, Science, and Social Studies while they are away from home.."  Source:

[HEAL Note: The above blog quotes are from Ashley Jelich's blog.  She claims to provide behavioral health services, counseling, and teaching to the youth at Gateway Freedom Ranch but she is not a licensed mental health nor educational professional.  This is a serious concern.  In addition, Gateway Freedom Ranch uses some correspondence course packet as their academic service.  Gateway Freedom Ranch is NOT AN ACCREDITED SCHOOL AND IS NOT REGISTERED WITH THE MONTANA OFFICE OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION.  Source:
Gateway Freedom Ranch is NOT licensed by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Resources.  Source:    Gateway Freedom Ranch is licensed as an alternative adolescent program in MT. 
 License Type:   Alternative Adolescent Program Type:     State License Number:   PAP-PAP-578 Licensing Board:   Alternative Adolescent Program
City, State Zip:   REXFORD MT 59930   Business Name:   GATEWAY FREEDOM RANCH  License Issue Date:   01/16/2015  License Expiration Date:   06/30/2016 Method:   Application License Status:   Active   Source:    You will notice the original license issuance was in January, 2015.  You need to understand that facilities licensed through PAP are governed primarily by themselves or their fellow program owners with no legitimate oversight or accountability.  Source:   Since this facility is not licensed by the Department of Public Health and Human Services and is not recognized as an accredited private school/non-public school, we still advise against it.

Survivor Feedback: Click here for Isabella R.'s Feedback.

In Montana, the criminal statutes of limitation are 1 year on misdemeanors, 5 years on most felonies, 10 years on rape of an adult over age 18, no statute of limitation on felonies including rape, sodomy, sexual offense where a child under 18 years of age is the victim, and homicide (i.e. murder).  For civil suits in Montana, the statute of limitations is 3 years depending on cause of action.  Here are your options:
1.  Report crimes such as fraud, assault, battery, false imprisonment, rape, labor trafficking, and child abuse to law enforcement in Montana.  You can call the Lincoln County Sheriff at (406) 293-4112 ext.0 or e-mail  to inquire about filing an official complaint which when filed may provide the probable cause needed to get a warrant for investigation and/or prosecution. 

2.  File a consumer complaint with your home state's attorney general against Gateway Freedom Ranch and include your request for a refund/compensation for any harm done to you.  You can find the easy online forms for filing such a complaint (which may result in an investigation, prosecution, and/or civil resolution on your case) under your home state's (state where you currently reside) header at .  If your home state is Montana or you'd like to file with the Montana State Attorney General as a non-resident, here is that link and form:

3.  If you do not wish to file a consumer complaint, you can contact a private personal injury attorney and look into suing in tort/civil court.  However, if you can't afford the retainer, you should expect to settle out of court with a non-disclosure agreement which may bar you from speaking publicly about the incident because you've agreed (even if with a grumbling assent) to the terms of the settlement.  You can find legal resources at  and legal causes of action related to institutionalized abuse claims at .
4.  You may post a statement about your experience at your program on our unmoderated message board at  OR send a new e-mail to with subject "Post My Feedback" and we will post your feedback (e-mail printed to .pdf disclosing your name and e-mail address and any information in your e-mail with that subject) to  and add a direct link to those .pdf files to this page . 

 5. You may also wish to provide a guest sermon.  Guest sermons are posted at , under Progress Reports/Guest Sermons at  where appropriate, and on program info pages when applicable.  So, one provided by you on your program would also be placed on this page .  Guest sermons should be written into the body of an e-mail and sent to . Your first and last name will be disclosed (contact info will not be unless you expressly ask for that).  For sermons available on our site see  (and sermon archives linked on that page).  If you have questions about this option, please contact Please see  to get an idea what your sermon may be worth.

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: and  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:

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 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, 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  Or, see:  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  "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:       

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:

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: and

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 "Emancipation Guide".

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:  (Reporting guide is for USA only at this time.)
7/28/21: COPE Conversion Program Progress Report: Gateway Freedom Ranch


 Last Updated: July 28th, 2021

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