This is a  staff list for Pine Ridge Academy in Draper, UT

(a.k.a. Aspen Education Group--Confirmedly Abusive and Associated with the CEDU Cult Model, Youth Care, Inc.)

(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 Pine Ridge 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 Pine Ridge Academy, you have the right to take action. 

 

If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Pine Ridge 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.

 

Please don’t place your loved one in Pine Ridge Academy and rescue them if they are there now. 

 

Name

Unit/Position

Additional Information
Sahara Castillo Teacher's Asst. Castillo is a student at Brigham Young University.  Castillo is not a licensed educator in UT.  Source: e-mail from UT Department of Education.
Jeremy Chatterton Teacher Chatterton started at Youth Care in 2008.  Youthcare/YouthCare/Youth Care and Pine Ridge Academy are the same program.  Chatterton is a licensed educator in UT and is licensed specifically to teach 6th-12th grade Math.  Source: e-mail from UT Department of Education.
Melisa Doyle Teacher Doyle is not a licensed educator in UT.  Source: e-mail from UT Department of Education.
Drew Fosse Academic Director Fosse is not a licensed educator in UT.  Source: e-mail from UT Department of Education.
Chris Herman Teacher's Asst. Herman is a student at Brigham Young University.  Herman no longer appears to work for this program.  Herman is not a licensed educator in UT.  Source: e-mail from UT Department of Education.
Aaron Kammerman Teacher Kammerman has been with Youth Care since 1999.  Kammerman is a licensed educator in UT and is licensed specifically to teach 6th-12th grade Social Studies.  Source: e-mail from UT Department of Education.
Eric Peterson Academic Director Peterson has been with Youth Care since 2005.  Peterson no longer appears to work for this program.  HEAL requires additional indentifying information for Eric Peterson to determine whether or not Peterson is a licensed educator in UT.
Mike Rogers Teacher Rogers has been with Youth Care since 2002.  He is a graduate of Brigham Young University (BYU).  Rogers is a licensed educator in UT and is licensed specifically to teach 6th-12th grade Spanish and English.  Source: e-mail from UT Department of Education.
Jessica Shurtleff Teacher's Asst. Shurtleff (related to Attorney General of Utah Mark Shurtleff) has been with Youth Care since 2006.  Shurtleff is not a licensed educator in UT.  Source: e-mail from UT Department of Education.
Jodi Winter HR Manager Winter has been with Youth Care since 2002.  Winter is a BYU graduate.  Winter is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Denice Dunker Admissions Director Dunker has been with Youth Care since 2007.  Dunker is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Kristi Peterson Admissions Peterson has been with Youth Care since 2005.  HEAL requires Peterson's full name (including middle name) in order to verify whether or not Peterson holds any professional licenses in UT.
Pam Vandenaker Communications Review Pamela W. Vandenaker is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and has been since 1997 in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Mandy Rasmuson Communications Review Rasmuson has been with Youth Care since 2001.  Helps manipulate the insurance and medicaid system.  Rasmuson no longer appears to work for this program.  Rasmuson is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Rex Albertson Counselor Albertson came to Youth Care in 2004.  He worked at an unnamed residential program for three years prior to that.*  Rex Jerry Albertson is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and has been since 2008 in UT.  (Notice he started working at Youth Care in 2004, not 2008.)  He earned his Master of Arts Degree in Contemplative Psycholotherapy at Naropa Unversity in 2002.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
John Clapp Counselor Clapp has worked in numerous unnamed programs.  Clapp is solely licensed as a Substance Use Disorder Counselor in UT since 1999.  Source:  https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Lillette Day Counselor Day no longer appears to work for this program.  Day is solely licensed as a Substance Use Disorder Counselor in UT since 1999.  Source:  https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Lindsey Forbes Therapist Lindsey is the Recreational Therapist for Pine Ridge Academy.  She began working for Youth Care in 2004.  Forbes is licensed solely as a recreation specialist and has a degree in Recreation and Tourism from the University of Utah.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Kathy Galloway Social Worker Kathy Galloway has been a member of the Youth Care team for almost nineteen years. (2009)  Kathryn Ann Galloway is a licensed clinical social worker and as been since 1993 in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Drew Hirsch Therapist Hirsch formerly worked for Provo Canyon School and Aspen RanchHirsch is NOT a licensed counselor nor therapist.    Hirsch is solely licensed as a clinical social worker since 2001 in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Diane Jackson Counselor Diane joined the Youth Care team as a Therapist at Summit House in March, 2006.  Jackson no longer appears to work for this program.  Jackson is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and has been since 2008 in UT.  Jackson earned her degree in Counseling from the University of Phoenix.  (Note: She began working as a therapist at Youth Care in 2006, she was not licensed at that time.)  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.

Machiel Klerk Counselor Machiel joined Youth Care in 2008.  Klerk graduated from Pacifica Graduate Institute in February, 2008.  Klerk is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been since 2010 in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html    Pacifica Graduate Institute has only been accredited since 1997 and it holds not specialized accreditations for mental health nor medical training/education.  Source: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Search.aspx
Nikki Lindquist Therapist Lindquist has been involved in behavior modification programs since 1991.*  Lindquist is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
JohnPaul Parraga Clinical Director JohnPaul joined Youth Care in 2008.  Graduate of BYU and University of Phoenix (Counseling).  Parraga is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and has been since 2004 in UT.  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.

Romy Shafkind Social Worker

She has worked as a school counselor, as a therapist at the University of Utah, Jewish Family Services and Project Reality, and was a program director for the YWCA‘s teen pregnancy prevention and healthy relationships programs.   Romy has been with Youth Care since 2004. Shafkind no longer appears to work for this program.  Shafkind is a licensed clinical social worker and has been since 2005 in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html

Kelly Shaheen Social Worker Shaheen started at Youth Care in 2008.  She has worked in behavior modification for 15 years. (2009).  Shaheen is a licensed clinical social worker and has been since 2001 in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Diane Starks Social Worker Starks is a licensed clinical social worker and has been since 2004 in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Melissa Snyder Social Worker Snyder has been with Pine Ridge Academy & Youth Care since 2005.  She used to be an educational consultant or ed-con.  Snyder no longer appears to work for this program.  Snyder is a licensed clinical social worker and has been since 2002 in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Nicole Waters Therapist Like many of her co-workers, Waters is a student/graduate of University of Phoenix.  University of Phoenix is reportedly a scam and not a legitimate educational institution.  Waters is NOT a licensed therapist.  Waters is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and has been since 2009 in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Stacey Astin Operations Director Stacey has been with Youth Care since 2002. Astin is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Dayna Baxtin Program Director Formerly worked for Turn-About Ranch.  Baxtin is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Brent Curtis Finance Director Brent has been with Youth Care since January 2005.  Curtis no longer appears to work for this program.  HEAL chose not to do a licensing verification on Curtis since he no longer works for the program and finance directors are typically not expected to hold mental health/medical licenses.
Tanya May Youth Care Program Director May has worked for Youth Care since 2004.  Lindquist is not a licensed mental health professional in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Trina Packard Executive Director

She was the Director of Education for Olympus View Hospital for five years, and Youth Care Inc. for one and a half years.  She was the Executive Director of the NorthStar Program in Oregon, and returned back to Youth Care in 2005 as the Executive Director.  Packard has been with Aspen Education Group since 1999.  Packard is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html

Lisa Wisham Pine Ridge Academy Program Director Wisham has been with Pine Ridge Academy since 2001.  Wisham no longer appears to work for this program.  Wisham is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Cheronne Anderson Psychiatrist She has been with Youth Care since 2005.  She is originally from Detroit, MI.  Anderson is a licensed medical doctor/surgeon and has been since 1991 in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Destiny Avery Nurse Avery formerly worked for Aspen Ranch.  Avery is a licensed registered nurse and has been since 2010 in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Jordan Jacobsen EMT He started Youth Care in December of 2005 as a Residential Coach.  Jacobsen is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Peggy Jacobsen Nurse Peggy is the Nursing Director at Youth Care and Pine Ridge Academy.  Peggy Elene Jacobsen (may be a different person) is a licensed registered nurse and has been since 1973 in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Richard Mickelsen Medical Director/Psychiatrist Dr. Mickelsen joined the Youth Care team in August 2004.  He has worked at other unnamed residential programs.*  Mickelsen is a licensed medical doctor/surgeon and has been since 2003 in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Bonnie Higgins Accounting Higgins no longer appears to work for this program.   HEAL chose not to do a licensing verification on Higgins since she no longer works for the program and finance directors are typically not expected to hold mental health/medical licenses.
Ted May Facilities Manager Ted started with Youth Care in December 2002.   HEAL chose not to do a licensing verification on May because facilities/maitenance staff are typically not expected to hold mental health/medical licenses.
Mindy Exon Residential Exon started with Youth Care in 2006.  Exon is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Charlie Falatea Residential Charlie’s experience includes being a mental health associate at Copper Hills Youth Center, a mentor at Benchmark Hospital, and a supervisor at Youth Health Associates.  Falatea came to Youth Care in 2005. Falatea is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html  
Tufuga Gagifo Residential Gagifo has been with Youth Care since 2007.  Gagifo is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Aaron Lopez Residential Lopez has been with Youth Care since 2004 and previously worked for other wilderness programs and a program in Chicago, IL. (late 1990s)*  Aaron Gabriel Lopez (may be a different person) is solely licensed as a substance use disorder counselor (requires no college degree) and has been since 2003 in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Quintina Pittman Residential Pittman joined Youth Care in 2002 and is a student at BYU. (2009)  Pittman is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Rob Rieske Residential Rieske no longer appears to work for this program.  Rieske is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in UT.  Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html
Deborah Cole Staff Cole was fired after complaints filed with Utah Office of Licensing regarding Cole's role in the death of Brendan Blum.  Cole was initially charged with homicide in Blum's death.  Those charges were reportedly dropped by a corrupt judge (Robert Adkins).  If you would like to complain about a corrupt judge, please see www.therobingroom.com and post complaints there.  Ken Stettler with the Office of Licensing remains complicit in the fraud and abuses at many Utah-based facilities.
Jorge Ramirez Staff Ramirez was fired after complaints filed with Utah Office of Licensing regarding Ramirez' role in the death of Brendan Blum.  Ramirez was initially charged with homicide in Blum's death.  Those charges were reportedly dropped by a corrupt judge (Robert Adkins).  If you would like to complain about a corrupt judge, please see www.therobingroom.com and post complaints there.  Ken Stettler with the Office of Licensing remains complicit in the fraud and abuses at many Utah-based facilities.
"Big Mike" ? Staff Reported by survivor on July 4th, 2015.  Confirms it is a different Mike than the teacher Mike Rogers above.
*(Pine Ridge 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.)
Death: Brendan Blum (2007)
Pine Ridge Academy is an Aspen Education Group program.  Thomas J. Croke, Educational Consultant, has denounced Aspen Education Group for putting profits over the safety and care of children in Aspen programs.
HEAL has reviewed multiple Aspen Education Group contracts that appear to be illusory, unconscionable, void/voidable, and arguably illegal.  We are in the process of reviewing the enrollment materials for Pine Ridge Academy.  In the meantime, please see the reviews for Adirondack Leadership Expeditions, Aspen Achievement Academy, Aspen Ranch, Aspen Institute of Behavioral Assessment, and New Leaf Academy.  It is our suggestion that families avoid doing business with Aspen Education Group and/or their individual programs.

Boy found dead at Draper group home:  June 30th, 2007--SALT LAKE CITY -- A southern California boy died at a group home in Draper, apparently in his sleep.  The 14-year-old boy awoke early Thursday complaining of stomach and bowel problems, was placed in a separate room from other kids and found dead the next morning, said Carol Sisco, spokeswoman for Utah Department of Human Services.  "We are interviewing everyone involved who was in the unit at the time," Draper police Sgt. Gerald Allred said.  Allred and other police officials were unavailable Friday to comment on whether an autopsy had revealed a cause of death for the boy, who entered the group home in February. His name was not released.  The boy died of a "medical condition," Trina Packard, executive director of the Youth Care & Pine Ridge Academy, said in a statement issued Friday. Packard didn't specify the medical condition or say why she was certain he died of it, and she didn't return a message left by The Associated Press.   For more on this story, visit: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_6258780?IADID=Search-www.sltrib.com-www.sltrib.com, http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/227377/, http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,680195295,00.html, and http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,695192977,00.html (Unable to locate story at time of archiving.  Source: www.heraldextra.com  Date: June 30, 2007)
2 Youth Counselors Charged in California Boy's Death--October 12th, 2007--Two counselors at a residential youth treatment center in Draper where a 14-year-old boy died in June were charged Thursday in connection with the boy's death.  Deborah Cole and Jorge Ramirez, from Youth Care Inc., 12600 Minuteman Drive, each face one count of abuse or neglect of a child, a third-degree felony.  On June 27, Brendan Blum of California was suffering bowel and stomach problems. He had been vomiting and suffering from diarrhea all night, said Draper Police Sgt. Gerry Allred. Rather than contacting the on-call nurse as the facility's policy dictates, the boy was simply given some medicine and put in a separate room away from the rest of the boys, he said. The next morning, the boy, who was listed as a disabled child because he had Asperger's syndrome, was found dead on his mattress.  "There was no really good reason why they didn't take him ... no explanation except they just thought it was an upset stomach," Allred said.  An autopsy determined the boy had an obstructed bowel that deteriorated as the night went on, Allred said. The on-call nurse, who was later interviewed by police, said if she had been called to look at the boy she would have advised he immediately go to the hospital, he said.  The Utah State Medical Examiner concurred, "if medical intervention had been obtained, (the boy's) death would have been preventable," according to court documents.  The boy's mother, Dana Blum, said she is appalled that workers at the facility didn't take him to an emergency room. Any time a child dies while in the care of a licensed facility, the facility should be shut down immediately, she said. Blum has filed a complaint with the Utah licensing board and is waiting for the investigation to be completed.  She hopes the individuals who operated the facility will be held accountable along with the workers.  (Webmaster Note:  The Utah Dept. of Licensing and Child Protective Services cover up abuse at these facilities and warn parents, and I quote, "Parents should really do their research before sending their child to Utah."  Simple answer, don't send your child to Utah.)  For complete story, click here.

 

 Last Updated: July 15th, 2015

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