This is a staff list for Academy at Cedar Mountain in Cedar City, UT
(a.k.a. Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy)
(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 Mountain Springs Preparatory 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 Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy, you have the right to take action.
If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy, 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 Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy and rescue them if they are there now.
|Kent Tasso||Owner||He moved back to Utah in 2001 and co-founded CERTS while launching Kolob Canyon Residential Treatment Center initially, and then later Moonridge Academy , La Europa Academy, and Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy. Tasso/CERTS (Certified Educational Therapeutic Schools and Programs) bought Academy at Cedar Mountain in 2005 and changed the name sometime thereafter.|
|Craig Rodabough||Executive Director||Craig has been working as the Director at Tavasi, a transitional program for Logan River Academy. Prior to opening Tavasi, he was the Clinical Services Director at Logan River Academy (co-owned/co-founded by Robert Crist of notoriously abusive Provo Canyon School). He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP).|
|Jon Larsen||Head of Schools||Prior to working at Mountain Springs he worked at two unnamed facilities.*|
|Ariel Rhoades||Dean of Student Life|
|Stan Stewart||Academic Dean||Graduate of BYU.|
|Desiree Fryer||Director of Operations||She has been with CERTS for the last 4 years, working at Moonridge Academy as a mentor and shift leader and at Kolob Canyon RTC. She has been working at Mountain Springs for the past 2 years, a large portion of that time as the Staff Director.|
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: http://heal-online.blogspot.com/2019/01/avoiding-scams-what-you-need-to-know.html 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: http://heal-online.blogspot.com/2017/05/fix-your-family-help-your-teen.html
Now, we have many programs on our watch list including this one and we do our best to update the site regularly with any new information. And, we appreciate public participation in information gathering and your support.
If you have a complaint against this 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. If you have not yet entrusted care of a loved one to this facility, consider the above information and be patient as we are awaiting FOIA requests regarding complaint histories from the authorities. If you have entrusted care of a loved one to this facility, please consider bringing them home because even in the "good ones", it causes anxiety and depression to be segregated.
HEAL Review: Admissions
HEAL has reviewed the parent handbook for Mountain Springs' sister program, Moonridge Academy. We advise families/parents considering Mountain Springs to review the information on programs with which it is associated as well. This includes Kolob Canyon Residential Treatment Center, Moonridge Academy, and La Europa Academy.
The admissions application is linked above in the title of this segment. For your convenience, you can use the application to fact-check our statements regarding the application and any questions or concerns raised. Since the application does not include the contracts, waivers, or program details, this is a limited review.
HEAL organizes our reviews by page number of the primary source document (i.e. Mountain Springs Application), quoted text from the document, and questions or concerns regarding the information provided by Mountain Springs in their documents/application.
Page 1 Quotes
"Please include a check or money order for $350.00 as a non-refundable application fee with your application."
The program fees and expenses are explained in greater detail on page 3 of the application and will be further reviewed in that section. We point out that there is a non-refundable $350.00 fee for "processing" the application which can be accepted, provisionally accepted, or rejected by Mountain Springs. (See Page 2) Based on the fact that this program charges more than Harvard Tuition and will hold children up to 24-months (See Page 3) while providing inadequate educational and treatment services, we think the application processing fee is excessive and points to the profit-driven motive of Mountain Springs that places its profits above the needs of the children and families they claim to serve. This is a serious concern as many families have suffered financial hardship being duped by programs like Mountain Springs that do not provide legitimate educational and therapeutic services.
CERTS is not a third-party, independent, respected educational or training program for residential treatment staff. It is simply a made-up certification system that is trademarked by the parent company of Mountain Springs, Kolob Canyon RTC, Moonridge Academy, and La Europa Academy. The claim that they are a CERTS program tells you no more about it than McDonald's claiming they make hamburgers tells you about their culinary skills and qualifications. Don't be impressed by acronyms and claims. Look into it.
Page 2 Quotes
"Standards for Acceptance"
"Adolescent commitment to participation in the program."
"Parents agree to first and last month non-refundable payment."
"Mountain Springs Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, ethnic background or national origin in the admission of students."
"Type of Student Admitted"
"Are coming from a treatment setting..."
Why isn't Mountain Springs able to accommodate individuals with diabetes? HEAL is glad that they don't as it eliminates concern that individuals with diabetes would be subjected to Mountain Springs. However, we'd like to know what the diet is at Mountain Springs and why they cannot support individuals with diabetes.
Once a child has "graduated" from Kolob Canyon RTC, La Europa Academy, and/or Moonridge Academy, those programs coerce and/or use undue influence to get children to commit to their "after-care" program at Mountain Springs. This allows CERTS to keep using the children for free labor at their other programs while raking in the big bucks from unwitting families. Children are often told that they will be punished or that it will be a sign of their lack of readiness for graduation if they do not agree to continue onto Mountain Springs. And, teens wanting the additional freedom and to go home will agree to commit to attend Mountain Springs if it means they will no longer be held at one of the more "restrictive" (abusive) programs in the CERTS "family" of programs. The kids then get on the phone with their "therapist" and their parents and claim to want to go to Mountain Springs, believing that it is the only option that moves them closer to freedom. The parents being manipulated by the program into believing it is best for their child to remain institutionalized and to believe it is "support" for their child in their decision to continue with the program, agree to keep paying the big bucks for nothing. And, this is how the scam is perpetuated for years. It is a serious concern and why parents should not enroll their children in programs like Mountain Springs.
Does Mountain Springs Academy discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation? Sexual orientation is excluded from their stated non-discrimination policy. This is a concern as it exemplifies intolerance.
Mountain Springs is the transitional/after-care choice of CERTS programs because it is a CERTS program and allows them to keep making money off of unwitting families. This is a concern and addressed above.
Page 3 Quotes
"Tuition at Mountain Springs is $4,995 per month. A minimum stay at Mountain Springs is four months (one semester), with stays generally ranging anywhere from four to twenty four months, depending upon the student's situation. There is also an Enrollment Fee of $2500 ($750 Student Trust Fee, $1400 Academic/Activities Fee, and $350 Application Fee) that is due at the time of admission as well in the form of 2 separate checks ($750 and $1750)."
"Tuition does not cover therapy sessions (which are contracted out), incidental expenses, psychiatric services and medications--if any, or travel costs associated with the five larger optional yearly knowledge treks."
The minimum cost of this program for 4 months is $12,490 excluding fees for therapy sessions, incidental expenses, psychiatric services/medications, and travel. Since the longest a teen can be enrolled is 24-months, we will provide you with the total minimum cost excluding the fees for therapy sessions, incidental expenses, psychiatric services/medications, and travel. The minimum cost of this program for one year, including enrollment fees, student trust fee, academic/activities fee, and the application fee is $62,440. This makes attending Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy more expensive than Harvard tuition with room and board. "Harvard University will increase tuition next school year by 3.8 percent, the school announced yesterday, bringing the annual cost of a Harvard education, including room and board, to $50,724." (Source: boston.com, March 19th, 2010) How does Mountain Springs justify charging more than Harvard University when those charges do not include the therapeutic/treatment aspects of their supposed service?
Page 4 Quotes
"Social Security #"
"Do you have an Educational Consultant?"
Why does Mountain Springs require the social security number of the enrolled minor and their parents? Even public schools and hospitals claim that providing that information is optional. How does Mountain Springs use this information?
Does Mountain Springs compensate Educational Consultants and other referrers for their referrals? If so, there is a serious ethical problem with the recommendation. Many Educational Consultants mislead parents by claiming they do not receive payment for referrals when they actually do receive compensation for their referrals. This is a concern.
Page 8 Quotes
"RELEASE OF ACADEMIC INFORMATION"
Moonridge Academy survivors have reported that the academic credits they earned at Moonridge Academy did not transfer and were not accepted by legitimate schools and colleges. Since Moonridge Academy is a sister program to Mountain Springs, we have no reason to believe that the academic credits provided by Mountain Springs are legitimate and transferrable. This is a serious concern because parents are paying more than Harvard tuition for educational credits that don't transfer. This sets youth attending such programs up for failure. And, this is unacceptable.
Is Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy accredited? According to the Utah State Office of Education School Directory (includes private/residential and public schools in Utah), it is listed as a private school accredited by NAAS (Northwest Association of Accredited Schools). NAAS was forced to change their name to NWAC after a lawsuit was filed for misappropriating the name of a legitimate accreditation agency. NAAS was also a co-defendant in a lawsuit against the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools in 2006. (Case Citation: Bruce Dungan, et al. v. World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools, Inc., NAAS, et al., United States District Court, Northern District of New York, July 25th, 2006) The attorneys representing the plaintiffs in this case were Hancock & Estabrook, LLP. The lawsuit was filed as a class action. Academy at Ivy Ridge was the basis of the lawsuit. NAAS "accredited" this school. Quote: "Ivy Ridge Academy accreditation rejected: The Academy at Ivy Ridge will not be allowed to resume issuing high school diplomas. The State Education Department has rejected the Academy's application, according to stories Friday in St. Lawrence County newspapers and The Watertown Times. A letter from the State Education Department to Ivy Ridge quoted in the Watertown Times says, "The Department's review revealed that AIR is principally a behavior modification program and not a school..." For complete story, click here. So, NAAS/NWAC accreditation does not provide effective assurance that the credits "earned" at Mountain Springs are transferable. This is a serious concern.
Page 10 Quotes
Is Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy a medical facility? If not, why do they require an extensive medical history of their "students"? The medical history they require is far more extensive than is requested by legitimate schools. Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy/CERTS is not licensed as a medical or psychiatric care provider.
Based on all of the information we currently have on CERTS and Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy, we recommend against placing anyone in this program and suggest parents remove/rescue children currently enrolled.
ONE PARENT'S STORY
If you would like to submit a report on Academy at Cedar Mountain, click here.
*(Mountain Springs Preparatory 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.)
June 8th, 2019
Last Updated: June 8th, 2019