This is a  staff list for Mount Bachelor Academy in Prineville, OR

(This program is closed.)

(a.k.a. Aspen Education Group)

(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 Mount Bachelor Academy.  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 Mount Bachelor Academy, you have the right to take action. 

 

If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Mount Bachelor Academy, please contact info@heal-online.org 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.

This program is closed.

 

Name

Unit/Position

Additional Information
Sharon Bitz Executive Director Bitz has been with Mount Bachelor for 18 years (since 1991--Since it was CEDU)
Matthew Lovell Program Director Lovell was also Program Director at Cascade School, and private practice Family Therapist and most recently (prior to Mount Bachelor) Dean of Advising at Carlbrook School.
Kelli Hoffman Admissions Director Hoffman has been with Mount Bachelor since 1990 (CEDU).
Bill Hoffman Residential Director (Husband to Kelli Hoffman) Hoffman has worked at Mount Bachelor since 1990 (CEDU).
Alex Bitz Co-Founder This is definitely a CEDU program to this day (July 28th, 2009).
Will Bucknum Department Head  
Stephanie Drynan Spanish Teacher  
Jason Jackson Teacher to MBA, be was a House Parent for Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery.  Jason was hired at MBA in 2004.
Sammie Joy Meek Librarian Sammie started working at MBA in September 2001.
Christina Munjar  (Kimbel) Registrar Christina (Kimbel) Munjar, our Registrar, has been with MBA since February 2007.
Mike Phay Department Head Mike has worked at MBA since 2007 and has worked with youth for over 14 years.*
Patsy Savage Sub Teacher  
Jeff Smith Teacher  
Robin Smith-Jackson Teacher Robin joined the MBA cult in 2005.
Alan Stearns Teacher  
Stephen Strong Department Head  
Susie Carroll Finance Manager Susie has been at MBA since the beginning in 1988 ( CEDU).
Kathy Carter Human Resources Mgr. She joined the MBA staff in 1988, two weeks before our first students arrived.( CEDU).
Bill Gowen Director of Operations  
Carla Culpepper Exec. Asst. Carla coordinates all of our Parent Seminars and is the Assistant for Mount Bachelor's entire Administration Team, including Sharon Bitz, Executive Director, Mathew Lovell, Program Director, and Jim Clark, Clinical Oversight Coordinator.
Carol Kirsch Asst.  
Melody McKenzie Asst. Prior to MBA, Melody worked for the Crook County District Attorney and the Crook County Sheriff‘s Department.
Dana Jones Admissions  
Alex Bitz Alumni Services He is a founding staff member of MBA.
Ron Cavanaugh Residence Supervisor Ron joined Mount Bachelor in 1996. He has worked for CEDU and Cascade School in California, and the Amity School in Italy.
Mina Steen Parent Liaison Mina determines when and if parents can speak with or visit their children.  She has completed the Professionals In Residence Program at the Hazelden Foundation‘s Center for Youth and Families.   Her degree is from Capella University.  Steen has also worked in medical research.
Lynn K. Vigil Phase IV Counselor  
Jim Clark Oversight Coordinator Jim was the Director of Residence of Happy Valley School for 17 years.
Erick Bauman Facilities Erick Bauman joined the Mount Bachelor Academy family in 2008.
Janet Bechard Food Services Janet started work with MBA in 1995, and has 11 years experience with youth.*
Jerry Bell Maintenance  
Karen Bell Food Services Karen joined the MBA team in 2002. She has worked with youth for over 5 years.
Jon Cason Driver Jon joined the MBA team in 2008.
Diane Dendy Transportation Diane joined the MBA team in 2002.
Diane Hoke Food Services Before coming to MBA in 1994, she was a cook at Crook County High School.
Gary Marletto  Driver  
Ray Merriam Driver  
Sue Puckett Food Services Asst. Sue joined the MBA team in 2000. She has been working with at-risk youth for about 11 years.*
Jerred Ashcraft Phase I Leader Jerred “Red” Ashcraft came to MBA in May of 2005. He spent his first three years working in Phase II in the roles of Mentor and Assistant Phase Leader.
Dean Bonanno Phase I Supervisor Dean Bonanno, Phase I Field Supervisor, has been on staff since September 1994.
Corey May Phase I Staff Corey has most recently worked as a wilderness instructor at Second Nature and Adirondack Leadership Expeditions.
Randi McDonnell Phase I Staff McDonnell began at Mount Bachelor in April, 2008.
Frank Menhams Phase II Leader There is no additional info on this staff.*
Carol Churchill-Dicks Phase II Staff Carol joined the MBA team in 2007.
Steve Houghton Phase II Staff Steve joined the MBA team in 1988, its founding year.
Kori Kuaana Phase II Staff In 1995, Kori "graduated" from the MBA program as a student.
Tasha Mohr Phase II Staff  
Laura Moore Phase II Staff Laura joined the MBA team in September 2007. She holds a Bachelors in Biochemistry from Lehigh University and and is also working on her PhD in Biochemistry at Northwestern University.
Jared Sartell Phase II Staff  
Gregg Andrick Phase III Leader He has 10 years of working in the boarding school setting the specialize in "Emotional Growth"[cult-like coercive thought reform]. Prior to MBA he worked for several years at Boulder Creek Academy as a Team Leader.
Kaysie Dannemiller Phase III Staff She has also worked with Catherine Freer Wilderness Expeditions, Ascent, and Phoenix Outdoor.
Morgan Davis Phase III Staff Prior to joining the MBA team, he worked at a wilderness therapy program and an all male treatment facility. *
Scott Johnson Phase III Staff Scott joined the MBA team in June 2009. He comes to us with a over 25 years of experience working with youth.*
Naty Zamora Phase III Staff Naty has 20 years of experience working with adolescents.*
Jeff Morse Program Asst. Jeff joined the MBA team in 2006. Before MBA, he worked in a myriad of professions, including remodeling motels.
Shelly Powell Program Coordinator Shelly started working at MBA in November 2006.
Mark Rhoden Program Asst.  
Anne Stout Program Asst.  
Tracy Best Night Staff Tracy joined the MBA team in 2007. She is a Managing member of Tracy Best & Associates LLC.
Rebecca Griffith Night Staff/Night Watch Beckie Griffith has been a member of Mount Bachelor's Night Watch staff since August 2008.
Kirk Lange Night Supervisor Prior to joining the MBA team, Kirk was a Life Skills Facilitator Rimrock Trails Alcohol Treatment Center in Prineville, Oregon.
Tony McLain Night Supervisor  
Jessica Mueller Residential Asst.  
Allison Wilson Night Watch Allison joined the MBA team in July 2008. She comes to us with experience in the food service and lumber industries.
Jaime Zamora Residential Asst.  
Deborah Coehlo Medication Oversight  
Thomas Coehlo Medication Oversight Deborah's husband.
Crystal Cox Medical Asst. Crystal joined the MBA team in July 2008.
Susie Fisher Health Services Coordinator Susie joined the MBA team in 2008.*
*(Mount Bachelor Academy, 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.)

Do Lap Dances and Humiliation Treat ADHD -- and Should Public Schools Pay?--April 17th, 2009--...

Mount Bachelor is part of Aspen Education -- believed to be the largest chain of teen residential programs in the U.S. Aspen, as part of CRC Health, which is owned by Bain Capital, was seen by advocates as much more sedate and less given to wacky practices than clearly "out there" programs like those associated with the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASP or WWASPS). At one WWASP school, for example, teens were kept in outdoor dog cages.

The stories of psychological abuse coming out of Mount Bachelor -- a few of which are included in my Time piece -- are every bit as bad as I have heard from teens and parents at chains of programs that have far worse reputations.  For complete story, click here.  (Source: huffingtonpost.com)

An Oregon School for Troubled Teens Is Under Scrutiny--April 17th, 2009--...A spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) declined to discuss the details of the ongoing investigations, which include a second inquiry based on possible licensing violations. But according to 10 students, two separate parents and a part-time employee interviewed by TIME — some of whom are involved in the inquiry — Mount Bachelor Academy regularly uses intensely humiliating tactics as treatment. For instance, in required seminars that the school calls Lifesteps, students say staff members of the residential program have instructed girls, some of whom say they have been victims of rape or sexual abuse, to dress in provocative clothing — fishnet stockings, high heels and miniskirts — and perform lap dances for male students as therapy.  For complete story, click here.  (Source: time.com)

State conducts two investigations of Mount Bachelor Academy near Prineville--April 6th, 2009--SALEM -- The state is investigating reports of child abuse at a private school for troubled teens in central Oregon.

 Mount Bachelor Academy near Prineville takes in students from around the country. The academy is licensed by the Oregon Department of Human Services, which confirmed it has launched two concurrent investigations.

The first investigation centers on reported abuse and the second on possible licensing violations. State officials would not discuss details of either investigation Monday.

"We cannot comment on the details or timeline of the assessments while they are ongoing. When they are concluded, there may be information that can be shared," Gene Evans, a department spokesman, said in a written statement.

Former students have posted on MySpace and Facebook numerous complaints about the school, ranging from what they characterized as humiliating group therapy sessions to sleep deprivation. Judson DeVries, who left the school in 2007, told The Oregonian he was forced into "very embarrassing" role-playing games.  For complete story, click here.  (Source: oregonlive.com)

DHS, Mount Bachelor Academy Settle Case--October 2nd, 2010--(source: ktvz.com)--Nearly a year after the state Department of Human Services ordered closure of the Mount Bachelor Academy, a therapeutic boarding school for teens east of Prineville, a settlement has been reached that the shuttered school’s owners say should clear the way for them to open a new school at the location.

Early last November, the state gave Aspen Education Group, operators of the private boarding school 26 miles east of Prineville, 72 hours to remove students, claiming its seven-month investigation into the programs found several incidents of “abuse and neglect,” and “serious violations of Oregon’s licensing standards.”  For complete story, click here.  For more on this story, click here.

State finds child abuse and neglect at school--November 4th, 2009--The state of Oregon has shut down a boarding school for troubled teens in Central Oregon after allegedly finding a pattern of child abuse and neglect of its students, forcing parents around the country to scramble to bring home their children.

"Our first priority is to ensure the safety of the students at Mt. Bachelor Academy," Erinn Kelley-Siel, Director of the Children, Adults and Families division of the Department of Human Services, said Wednesday in a statement. "Ultimately, the investigations revealed such serious abuse and widespread violations of Oregon's licensing rules that we decided we needed to take immediate action."

The results of the Oregon Department of Human Services seven-month investigation of the Mount Bachelor Academy outside Prineville, Ore., were given to Crook County authorities to decide whether to pursue criminal charges.

Triggered by a complaint, the investigation found nine cases of alleged abuse and neglect involving five students since 2007.

Most came out of a mandatory treatment program called Lifesteps. At least two students were forced to act out sexual roles in front of staff and other kids during treatment sessions, one had to act out past physical abuse, one was not properly supervised on a trip to Europe, and others were subjected to obscene and degrading comments from staff, the investigators alleged. For complete story, click hereFor more on this story, click here , here, here, here, and here.

 

On July 7th, 2010, we received an e-mail from a former Mount Bachelor Academy staffer, identifying information has been removed per the request of the author:

 

----- Original Message -----
From:
To: HEAL
Sent: Tuesday, July 06, 2010 7:11 PM
Subject: Re: Removing name

 
Dear HEAL Team,

 
Thank you for taking the time to reply and for your assistance.

 
I do not currently work for and, in the future, will not work for any programs like Mount Bachelor Academy.

 
Sincerely,

 
Anon

On Jul 06, 2010, at 07:06 PM, HEAL <heal@heal-online.org> wrote:

 
Dear Anon,

You may have your name(s) removed (and/or information edited) by doing any
of the following:

1. Submit an e-mail stating that you do not currently work for and will
never again work for a similar program in the future..OR

2. Submit evidence or a sworn statement (federal declaration) stating that
you never worked for Mount Bachelor Academy...AND/OR

3. For editing and not removal, submit an e-mail or declaration telling
your side of the story to be posted next to your name(s).

Once a name is removed it is under the condition that the staff named does
not resume working at a similar program or facility. If you are found
working for a similar program or facility, your name would be re-added and
the history and connection made.


Sincerely,

The HEAL Team
----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <angela@heal-online.org>
Sent: Monday, July 05, 2010 10:40 AM
Subject: Removing name


> Dear Angela,
>
> I "Googled" myself the other day and found my name listed on a staff list
> for Mount Bachelor Academy in Prineville.
>
> I no longer work for MBA (nor have I worked for any other therapeutic
> program) and have no desire to work for any other therapeutic boarding
> school or wilderness program of any kind in the future.
>
> Is it possible to have my name removed from this list?
>
> Thank you for your assistance.
>
> Anon>

 

 

 

 

On April 6th, 2010, we received an e-mail from a former MBA staffer, indentifying information has been removed per the request of the author:

----- Original Message -----
From: [removed]
To: HEAL
Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2010 2:25 PM
Subject: Re: Remove Name

 
Hi Angela,

To get into the inaccuracies, of some of the information on your site would take a while, so I concede... MBA, used a CEDU like model.  They were never CEDU, however, and that is clearly stated on your site. Just thought you should know.

I don't work for MBA, and it is not my job to police all of the misinformation out there.  I have very little interest in doing so.  For this reason, I won't continue to correct you.

I have no interest in working for a Therapeutic Boarding School, a RTC, or a wilderness program ever in the future, regardless of whether they are non-profit, or for profit.

Does that work?

Thanks,
[name removed]
 

                

External Link: http://healthland.time.com/2011/07/12/former-students-of-a-school-for-troubled-teens-sue-for-emotional-sexual-abuse/
External Link: http://online.wsj.com/article/AP16c969450d924f65bf8ba47fd8c0869a.html

Lawsuit Against Mt. Bachelor Academy Expands

Now Totals 17 Playoffs; Damages Sought Top $25 Million

POSTED: 1:42 pm PDT July 6, 2011
AAAText Size
UPDATED: 11:35 am PDT August 24, 2011 Eight more former students of the now-closed Mt. Bachelor Academy near Prineville, one of Oregon’s best-known “tough love” boarding schools, joined a previously filed lawsuit Wednesday alleging emotional, physical and sexual abuse, their attorneys announced.The lawsuit, which is pending in Multnomah County Circuit Court, now includes 17 plaintiffs who allege they were abused as children at Mt. Bachelor Academy, their lawyers said.The suit seeks $25.5 million in compensatory damages, and states that punitive damages will be sought as well. The suit is being brought by attorneys Kelly Clark and the Portland law firm O’Donnell Clark and Crew, who often bring child abuse cases in Oregon and around the nation.In a news release, Clark said of the latest filing, “Sadly, we now know of dozens of kids who were subject to the kind of systematic humiliation, degradation and outright abuse that was inherent in the Mount Bachelor program, and eight of these have now joined this lawsuit, which seeks to achieve justice for these plaintiffs and to prevent future abuse in other similar programs in Oregon and around the country." We contend there simply is no excuse or justification for abusing children, even—especially—under the guise of ‘tough love.’”The lawsuit was originally filed in July and alleges claims of battery, negligence, and infliction of emotional distress against Mt. Bachelor Academy and its parent companies as defendants.Those include Aspen Education Group – a national conglomerate of therapeutic boarding schools which, at its peak had nearly 40 youth programs throughout the United States – as well as Aspen’s parent company, CRC Health Group. CRC Health Group is a large national healthcare corporation controlled by Bain Capital, a private equity firm with $65 billion in assets.The attorneys said Mt. Bachelor Academy was closed by the state of Oregon in November of 2009 based on the findings of a state investigation related to charges of systemic abuse and neglect.They quoted a report by the Oregon Department of Human Services that said Mt. Bachelor Academy used “punitive, humiliating, degrading and traumatizing” tactics as “treatment.”At the time of its closure in 2009, Mt. Bachelor Academy reportedly had more than 75 staff supervising about 90 students who were being charged $6,400 per month in tuition, the lawyers said.The largest defendant -- CRC Health Group – has been the subject of increasing scrutiny regarding the safety children in its facilities, the attorneys said.In late July, the state of Tennessee reportedly decided to stop placing children at a large CRC Health facility following the deaths of several patients at that facility, citing concerns for the well-being of children in its care.--Earlier story:Nine former students of Mount Bachelor Academy, a now-closed program for troubled teens east of Prineville have filed a $14 million lawsuit against the school and its parent companies, alleging serious abuse -- something its operators and supporters are strongly denying.Their attorney, Kelly Clark of the Portland law firm O'Donnell Clark & Crew LLP, said Thursday this is only the first step toward closure and justice for what they claim happened."My folks have two reasons for doing this," said Clark. "No. 1 is to get this behind them, to have closure and healing and justice for themselves. But secondly and equally important to them is they want to get the word out that some of these 'Tough love' schools are not good places -- and there are hundreds of them all over the country."People living near the closed school about 35 miles east of Prineville, had a different impression of the private boarding school."I thought it was a great school," said Jarrod Warren of Prineville."Every time when I was in middle school, I'd drive by there with my parents and I'd see a whole bunch of kids down there. And now I drive by and there's nothing now. ""Not exactly what has happened at the school, but what happened in their past and how the school has changed them, but this is definitely different," said Tasha Asbow, also of Prineville.The school was shut down by the state in 2009 after finding evidence to back allegations of repeated neglect and abuse.The 52-page lawsuit filed by the nine former students who have chosen not to be named claim physical and psychological child abuse.They say parents were instructed not to believe anything they say, and they were denied basic medical care. The claim also states they were sexually abused.The attorney for Mount Bachelor Academy, Greg Chaimov Davis Wright Tremaine LLP said in a written statement Thursday afternoon, that these alleged incidents took place before the school was purchased by a "nationally recognized network of therapeutic schools and programs that espouse comprehensive best practices and safety protocols."Chaimov closed his statement by saying, "Following review of this complaint, we firmly stand by our original statement and vigorously deny any and all charges of mistreatment."The case now goes into civil litigation, where it could be thrown out, settled or eventuallyr heard by a jury. NewsChannel 21 looked into claims that the school might reopen, but lawyers for the school say they have no plans to do that at this time.----Our earlier story on the two sides' news releases:Nine former students of one of Oregon’s best known “tough love” boarding schools, a facility east of Prineville that was shut by the state two years ago, filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging emotional, physical and sexual abuse.The suit is being brought by attorneys Kelly Clark, Steve Crew, Gilion Dumas, Kristian Roggendorf, Peter Janci and the Portland law firm O’Donnell Clark and Crew, who often bring child abuse cases in Oregon and around the nation.The suit alleges claims of battery, negligence, and infliction of emotional distress against Mount Bachelor Academy and its parent companies, Aspen Education Group and CRC Health. The suit seeks more than $14 million in compensatory damages, and punitive damages will be sought as well.An attorney for the school's operator, Greg Chaimov, later issued a statement denying the charges, and issued a stronger denial of the allegations Thursday. It reads:"We have reviewed the complaint and are confident that the allegations will be proven to be untrue. The events that Mr. Clark and his clients allege happened at Mount Bachelor Academy simply did not. We regret that, of the many hundreds of students who attended the program, there are these nine who consider themselves to have been mistreated. ""Mount Bachelor Academy (MBA) was a licensed and accredited program that helped troubled teens with serious behavioral issues who could not otherwise be successful at home, in school or in life. The truth is that MBA provided a nurturing and caring environment for over 1,000 young people over the course of its history, one that leading mental health professionals trusted enough for their own children. The strongest refutation of the claims comes from the many hundreds of families who have thanked MBA for saving their children when all else had failed. ""All dates of alleged incidents occurred prior to the school’s acquisition by a nationally recognized network of therapeutic schools and programs that espouse comprehensive best practices and safety protocols. Following review of this complaint, we firmly stand by our original statement and vigorously deny any and all charges of mistreatment. "The rest of the release about the lawsuit's allegations:Located 26 miles east of Prineville, the controversial “therapeutic boarding school” known as Mount Bachelor Academy was closed by the state of Oregon in November of 2009 based on the findings of an investigation related to charges of systemic abuse and neglect.According to a report by the Oregon Department of Human Services, Mount Bachelor Academy reportedly used “punitive, humiliating, degrading and traumatizing” tactics as “treatment” 00– an approach some say stems from the Synanon self-help group of the 1960's, which was rejected as a cult by mainstream mental health community by the late 1970s. At the time of its closure in 2009, Mt. Bachelor Academy reportedly had more than 75 staff supervising approximately 90 students who were being charged a tuition of $6,400 per month.“The so-called ‘treatment’ that these children were forced to endure on a daily basis at Mt. Bachelor Academy is obscene. Not only did the program ‘break kids down’, it did nothing to build them back up,” said Kelly Clark, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “We intend to prove that this wasn’t education, it wasn’t treatment and it wasn’t ‘tough love’ – this was abuse.”The plaintiffs in Wednesday’s suit, who all attended Mount Bachelor Academy in the late 1990s, allege: that they were subjected to regular psychological abuse and shaming, including being required to reenact traumatic experiences (such as prior instances of child sexual abuse) in front of their peers; that they were subjected to extreme isolation and prolonged deprivations of food, water, shelter, and basic medical care; that students were required to go days with little or no sleep and were also regularly forced into “chain gang” style labor; that phone calls to their families were limited and were monitored by Mt. Bachelor Academy staff; and that parents were instructed by staff not to believe their children if they claimed malfeasance or abuse – i.e., the children will lie, it is all part of the treatment process, parents were told.The allegations in the lawsuit are consistent with the findings by the Oregon Department of Human Services. In late 2009, following a seven month investigation, DHS found multiple incidences of “abuse and neglect” and “serious violations of Oregon’s licensing standards.”The DHS report cited nine substantiated claims of abusive practices, including “punitive, humiliating, degrading and traumatizing” activities such as “sexualized role pay and reenactment of traumatic events, such as prior physical or sexual abuse.” The state also found that these were not isolated incidents; instead, “many of [the abusive] behaviors fell within the range of behavior expected, encouraged or condoned by the Mount Bachelor Academy program itself . . . .”DHS determined that “MBA poses a serious danger to public health or safety of children . . . [and] should not be permitted to continue operating as a therapeutic boarding school for children.” Thereafter, in November of 2009, the state gave Mt. Bachelor Academy 72 hours to shut down its program and remove students from its facility. The facility closed on November 3, 2009. Later, in October 2010, as part of a settlement of a suit by Mt. Bachelor against the state contesting the DHS findings of abuse, Aspen Education Group and CRC Health Group (the parent company’s of Mount Bachelor Academy) agreed that DHS had reasonable cause to believe that abuse or neglect had occurred at the school, and that DHS had a reasonable basis to investigate and to seek corrective actions.The lawsuit names Mount Bachelor Academy and its parent companies as defendants. Those include Aspen Education Group – a national conglomerate of therapeutic boarding schools which, at its peak had nearly 40 youth programs throughout the United States – as well as Aspen’s parent company, CRC Health Group. CRC Health Group is a large national healthcare corporation owned by Bain Capital, a private equity firm with $65 billion in assets.4Wednesday’s lawsuit is part of a larger response to decades of abuse and mistreatment in so-called “tough love” facilities – both inside and outside of the Aspen Education Group.According to previous news reports, at least four children have died in Aspen-owned facilities since 2004. One of those incidences occurred in Oregon in 2009 – the death of student Sergey Blashchishen during a wilderness hike in the Redmond-based Sagewalk Wilderness School.Blashchishen, a minor at the Sagewalk facility, collapsed in August of 2009 while hiking on his second day Aspen’s Sagewalk program. Staff had reportedly ignored repeated signs of a serious medical problem, and the boy died at the scene. The lead sherif’s investigator on the Sagewalk case recommended that the Lake County district attorney file homicide charges. Sagewalk had previously been the subject of the nationally broadcast ABC television series “Brat Camp” in 2005.As Peter Janci, one of the Plaintiffs’ attorneys explained,“Many ‘tough love’ schools have been a breeding ground for abuse – isolating vulnerable kids and subjecting them to debunked so-called ‘treatments’ by unqualified staff, while their parents are kept in the dark and bilked out of tens of thousands of dollars.”Problems of abuse, injury and even death are present throughout the “tough love” industry. Some reports indicate that more than two dozen teenagers died in such facilities between 1990 and 2001.The lawsuit is one in a growing number of actions by individuals who survived these facilities, only to be left with serious, long-term psychological injuries. Several weeks ago, a civil suit was filed against Silverado Academy in Utah for claims related to a staff member’s sexual abuse of at least 10 boys.Previously, in 2006, attorneys for another group of individuals filed a major lawsuit alleging neglect, fraud and abuse against the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools and related entities. That suit is still pending in federal court in Utah, and now includes 353 plaintiffs who allege they were wronged by therapeutic boarding schools and their related entities.“This is a watershed moment in exposing organizations that have profited from broken promises to desperate families,” said Clark. “We believe that institutions like Mount Bachelor Academy need to be exposed for what they are and held accountable for the permanent damage they have done to the lives of vulnerable teenagers entrusted to their care.”Clark and his firm are among the most prominent child sexual abuse attorneys in the nation, having brought over 300 claims against such organizations as the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church, the Boy Scouts of America and dozens of other youth-serving organizations.Clark has twice won landmark child abuse cases at the Oregon Supreme Court, and last year was lead counsel in a six week sex abuse trial against the Boy Scouts of America resulting in a jury verdict of nearly $20 million.---The initial response from Greg Chaimov, a lawyer with Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, on behalf of client Mount Bachelor AcademyWhile we have not yet had the opportunity to evaluate the allegations in the complaint filed today, we would like to go on record that Mount Bachelor Academy was successful in resolving the dispute with the Oregon Department of Human Services last fall after abundant evidence was collected that showed the allegations of abuse made to the Department were unfounded.DHS initially took action based on students’ allegations, but withdrew its orders, including the suspension of Mount Bachelor Academy’s license, after further information became available. Given the favorable terms of the settlement agreement, we agreed to dismiss our various legal proceedings against the state. We also independently decided to leave Mount Bachelor Academy closed due to the fact that the sudden and erroneous closure of the campus effectively shut the program down the year prior.For over two decades, Mount Bachelor Academy (MBA) positively changed the lives of over 1,000 troubled young people. MBA was a program specifically designed for troubled students who had failed to progress in other settings. It was designed to help kids confront the worst of their behaviors and take ownership of them, whether that be substance abuse, sexual acting out or other issues. This approach proved successful at producing positive, life-changing – and, in some cases, life-saving – results. The numerous positive testimonials provided by families and students over the years further attest to the success of MBA.MBA and its parent companies never condoned or participated in the mistreatment or deprivation of any students. As we understand, the plaintiffs in this lawsuit attended MBA prior to its acquisition by a nationally recognized network of therapeutic schools and programs that espouse comprehensive best practices and safety protocols. While we cannot comment on specific allegations from individual students due to HIPAA privacy regulations, we vigorously deny any and all charges of mistreatment. Full Text of Suit Against Mount Bachelor Academy (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)

Source: http://www.ktvz.com/news/28465410/detail.html

Lawsuit against boarding school to be tried in Prineville

 

By Sheila G. Miller / The Bulletin

Last modified: November 10. 2011 2:57PM PST

A lawsuit against a now-shuttered school for troubled teens that operated for more than 20 years in Crook County will be tried in Prineville.

Mount Bachelor Academy, located 26 miles east of Prineville, closed in 2009 after a state investigation revealed students were subjected to sexual harassment and emotional abuse. The complaint seeks $25.5 million.

The original complaint, brought by nine former students, was filed in July in Multnomah County Circuit Court. In August, eight more former students were added to the lawsuit, which alleges that students were subjected to systematic physical and psychological abuse while in the school's care.

“We were trying to keep the case in Portland for convenience,” said Kelly Clark, the attorney representing the former students. “But the judge said this is a Central Oregon case, and it needs to be litigated there. And we're glad to to do that.”

The lawsuit targets Mount Bachelor Educational Center as well as Aspen Education Group, a defunct company that owned the academy, and CRC Health Group and CRC Health Oregon, which served as controlling entities of the school and still operate several schools around the country.

It contends counselors often had only high school educations and subjected students to physical punishments and emotional abuse like sexual role-playing and forced isolation. Many of the abuses allegedly took place during a therapeutic workshop called Lifesteps, which was designed to help students go through stages they may have missed due to trauma. One step featured role-play, and some students allegedly were required to do exotic dances and called “whore” and “slut.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Clark brought a second lawsuit against the school, this time representing an additional 14 former students and seeking $23 million in damages. Many of the details in the two lawsuits are similar.

Among the new allegations: Staff forced a female student to clean up after her roommate's miscarriage; a student who inhaled a tack was denied medical care; and students were routinely strip-searched.

“They're very similar allegations,” Clark said. “I think the significance of it is, if you think back to when we first filed ... the reaction of the Mount Bachelor Academy people was ‘None of this happened, it just didn't happen.' And I think it's harder to argue that 31 people, many of whom don't know each other because they went to the school years or decades apart, are somehow conspiring to come forward with the same fictitious story.”

Clark said he brought the second lawsuit because he worried the judge would frown on adding more people to a suit that was filed five months ago. He expects that motions will be filed in the next few months.

- Reporter: 541-617-7831

smiller@bendbulletin.com

Source: http://www.bendbulletin.com/article/20111110/NEWS0107/111100415/  For more on this story, visit: http://www.ktvz.com/news/29738452/detail.html

Filed Jan. 5, 2012

12CV0008: Doe 210 - Doe 224, individuals proceeding under pseudonyms v. Mount Bachelor Educational Center Inc., Aspen Education Group Inc., CRC Health Group Inc., Barry J. Weiss, Morris Weiss, Barry Weiss Trust, Morris Weiss Trust, College Health Enterprises, Sharon Bitz and Alex Bitz, complaint, $22,850,000.00

Source: http://www.bendbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120116/NEWS0107/201160338/1006/NEWS01&nav_category=NEWS01

State conducts two investigations of Mount Bachelor Academy near Prineville--April 6th, 2009--SALEM -- The state is investigating reports of child abuse at a private school for troubled teens in central Oregon. Mount Bachelor Academy near Prineville takes in students from around the country. The academy is licensed by the Oregon Department of Human Services, which confirmed it has launched two concurrent investigations. The first investigation centers on reported abuse and the second on possible licensing violations. State officials would not discuss details of either investigation Monday. "We cannot comment on the details or timeline of the assessments while they are ongoing. When they are concluded, there may be information that can be shared," Gene Evans, a department spokesman, said in a written statement. Former students have posted on MySpace and Facebook numerous complaints about the school, ranging from what they characterized as humiliating group therapy sessions to sleep deprivation. Judson DeVries, who left the school in 2007, told The Oregonian he was forced into "very embarrassing" role-playing games.  For complete story, click here
An Oregon School for Troubled Teens Is Under Scrutiny--April 17th, 2009--...A spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) declined to discuss the details of the ongoing investigations, which include a second inquiry based on possible licensing violations. But according to 10 students, two separate parents and a part-time employee interviewed by TIME — some of whom are involved in the inquiry — Mount Bachelor Academy regularly uses intensely humiliating tactics as treatment. For instance, in required seminars that the school calls Lifesteps, students say staff members of the residential program have instructed girls, some of whom say they have been victims of rape or sexual abuse, to dress in provocative clothing — fishnet stockings, high heels and miniskirts — and perform lap dances for male students as therapy.  For complete story, click here.
State suspends license from central Oregon school for troubled teens--November 4th, 2009--State officials have told parents to remove their children from a central Oregon boarding school after investigators found students were subject to inappropriate sexual role-play, public humiliation and physical deprivation. Following a seven-month investigation, the Oregon Department of Human Services has temporarily suspended Mount Bachelor Academy's license. Investigators found nine substantiated allegations of child abuse and neglect as well as numerous licensing violations.  For complete story, click here.  For more on this story, click here  and here.
State finds child abuse and neglect at school--November 4th, 2009--The state of Oregon has shut down a boarding school for troubled teens in Central Oregon after allegedly finding a pattern of child abuse and neglect of its students, forcing parents around the country to scramble to bring home their children. "Our first priority is to ensure the safety of the students at Mt. Bachelor Academy," Erinn Kelley-Siel, Director of the Children, Adults and Families division of the Department of Human Services, said Wednesday in a statement. "Ultimately, the investigations revealed such serious abuse and widespread violations of Oregon's licensing rules that we decided we needed to take immediate action." The results of the Oregon Department of Human Services seven-month investigation of the Mount Bachelor Academy outside Prineville, Ore., were given to Crook County authorities to decide whether to pursue criminal charges. Triggered by a complaint, the investigation found nine cases of alleged abuse and neglect involving five students since 2007. Most came out of a mandatory treatment program called Lifesteps. At least two students were forced to act out sexual roles in front of staff and other kids during treatment sessions, one had to act out past physical abuse, one was not properly supervised on a trip to Europe, and others were subjected to obscene and degrading comments from staff, the investigators alleged. For complete story, click here.  For more on this story, click here , here, here, here, and here.
DHS, Mount Bachelor Academy Settle Case--October 2nd, 2010--(source: ktvz.com)--PRINEVILLE, Ore. -- Nearly a year after the state Department of Human Services ordered closure of the Mount Bachelor Academy, a therapeutic boarding school for teens east of Prineville, a settlement has been reached that the shuttered school’s owners say should clear the way for them to open a new school at the location.   Early last November, the state gave Aspen Education Group, operators of the private boarding school 26 miles east of Prineville, 72 hours to remove students, claiming its seven-month investigation into the programs found several incidents of “abuse and neglect,” and “serious violations of Oregon’s licensing standards.”  For complete story, click here.  For more on this story, click here.
Nine ex-students sue, say they were mistreated at central Oregon school for troubled teens-- July 6th, 2011 (source: oregonlive.com)     Nine former students of a Prineville-area school for troubled teens are suing the now-defunct school's parent company, saying teachers and staff humiliated, isolated and abused them as part of its curriculum.   The complaint, which was filed today in Multnomah County Circuit Court, detailed students' accusations: One teen, a girl who had suffered sexual abuse as a child, was forced to repeatedly engage in provocative role-playing with older males, the complaint states. Another student, who suffered from asthma, was forced to sleep outdoors in below-freezing temperatures. Staff members also denied him food, sleep and use of a restroom and withheld his asthma inhaler despite asthma attacks that were brought on by their tactics.   The suit seeks nearly $14.3 million from the Mount Bachelor Academy, its parent company Aspen Education Group, and Aspen's parent company, CDC Health Group Inc.   For complete story, click here.  For more on this story, click here.
Lawsuit against boarding school to be tried in Prineville   By Sheila G. Miller / The Bulletin Last modified: November 10. 2011 2:57PM PST A lawsuit against a now-shuttered school for troubled teens that operated for more than 20 years in Crook County will be tried in Prineville. Mount Bachelor Academy, located 26 miles east of Prineville, closed in 2009 after a state investigation revealed students were subjected to sexual harassment and emotional abuse. The complaint seeks $25.5 million. The original complaint, brought by nine former students, was filed in July in Multnomah County Circuit Court. In August, eight more former students were added to the lawsuit, which alleges that students were subjected to systematic physical and psychological abuse while in the school's care. “We were trying to keep the case in Portland for convenience,” said Kelly Clark, the attorney representing the former students. “But the judge said this is a Central Oregon case, and it needs to be litigated there. And we're glad to to do that.” The lawsuit targets Mount Bachelor Educational Center as well as Aspen Education Group, a defunct company that owned the academy, and CRC Health Group and CRC Health Oregon, which served as controlling entities of the school and still operate several schools around the country. It contends counselors often had only high school educations and subjected students to physical punishments and emotional abuse like sexual role-playing and forced isolation. Many of the abuses allegedly took place during a therapeutic workshop called Lifesteps, which was designed to help students go through stages they may have missed due to trauma. One step featured role-play, and some students allegedly were required to do exotic dances and called “whore” and “slut.” On Wednesday afternoon, Clark brought a second lawsuit against the school, this time representing an additional 14 former students and seeking $23 million in damages. Many of the details in the two lawsuits are similar. Among the new allegations: Staff forced a female student to clean up after her roommate's miscarriage; a student who inhaled a tack was denied medical care; and students were routinely strip-searched. “They're very similar allegations,” Clark said. “I think the significance of it is, if you think back to when we first filed ... the reaction of the Mount Bachelor Academy people was ‘None of this happened, it just didn't happen.' And I think it's harder to argue that 31 people, many of whom don't know each other because they went to the school years or decades apart, are somehow conspiring to come forward with the same fictitious story.” Clark said he brought the second lawsuit because he worried the judge would frown on adding more people to a suit that was filed five months ago. He expects that motions will be filed in the next few months. - Reporter: 541-617-7831 smiller@bendbulletin.com Source: http://www.bendbulletin.com/article/20111110/NEWS0107/111100415/  For more on this story, see: http://www.ktvz.com/news/29738452/detail.html

 

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