This is a  staff list for Turn About Ranch in Escalante, UT

(f.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 Turn-About Ranch.  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 Turn-About Ranch, you have the right to take action. 

 

If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Turn-About Ranch, 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 Turn About Ranch and rescue them if they are there now. 

 

Name

Unit/Position

Additional Information
Karen Munson Academics Director  
Lori Beebe Admin Asst  
RaeAnne Knight Financial Mgr. Knight has been with Turn About since 2001.
Annette Ormond Operations Director She has been with Turn-About Ranch since January of 1993.
Drew Fosse Admissions BYU graduate.  Fosse no longer appears to work for this program.
Jamie Lyman Admissions  
Yancy Whipple Admissions Director Whipple reportedly no longer works here and is now running KW Legacy Ranch.
Myron Carter Barn Mgr. Myron has been with Turn-About since it first started.  Reportedly cruel and abusive (based on e-mail message from survivor received April 29th, 2011)
Steve Gessig Program Supervisor  
Luke Hatch Executive Director Hatch has worked at other unnamed programs.*  Reportedly cruel and abusive (based on e-mail message from survivor received April 29th, 2011)  Hatch reportedly now co-runs KW Legacy Ranch with Whipple.
Marty Ormond Program Director Marty has been with Turn-About Ranch since 1993.
Wayne Stinson Program Supervisor  
Dave Treanor Program Supervisor  
Traci Roundy Nurse Roundy has been at Turn About since 2007.
Debbie Allen Residential  
Shelly Alvey Residential  
Tom Alvey Residential Tom has worked for Turn-About Ranch since January 2002.  Tom reportedly advocated for children in the program unsuccessfully. 
Sam Alvey Residential  
Nicole Beebe Residential  
Ruby Begay Residential  
Amanda Branscum Residential Branscum no longer appears to work at this program.
Keith Carter Residential Keith has worked for Turn-About Ranch since January, 2002.
Clayton Carter Residential Both of Clayton's parents worked at Turn-About when it first started.  Carter no longer appears to work for this program.
Ashley Chidester Residential  
Sue Christensen-Nelson Residential Sue took the night staff position in 1997.  Christensen-Nelson reportedly no longer works at this program.
Vickie Crawford Residential Crawford no longer appears to work for this program.
Elizabeth Daiss Residential  
Doug Davis Residential  
Laura Engberg Residential  
Ted Engberg Residential  
Pratt Gates Residential  
Allen Knight Residential Knight reportedly no longer works for this program.
Carol Kracht Residential  
Owen Gonder Residential Gonder no longer appears to work for this program.
Martha Larson Residential Larson no longer appears to work for this program.
Debbie Lyman Residential Debbie has been with Turn About Ranch (TAR) since 2001.
Walt Mince Residential  
Alan Mitchell Residential  
"Jay" Nelson Residential Turn About put Jay's name in quotations.  There is no other information regarding his name.  He is night "security" for the program.
Randsome Owens Residential  
Kim Porter (male) Residential  
Allen Porter Residential  
Peggy Pratt Residential  
Dannie Pratt Residential  
Dale Richards Residential Richards is originally from South Carolina.  Richards is also reportedly a teacher and pastor at the program. 
Brandi Schraft Residential  
Ivan Singh Residential  
Rex Stone Residential Rex Stone reportedly advocated for children in the program unsuccessfully.  Stone reportedly died in 2016.
Jimmy Woolsey Residential  
Sabrina Hughes Counselor Hughes no longer appears to work for this program.
Gene King Teacher  
Karl Spencer Teacher Graduate of BYU.  Spencer has worked at programs in the following locations for 33 years in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Guam, American Samoa, and Marshall Islands.*
Jeanne Fry Therapist Fry no longer appears to work for this program.
Dayna Rust Clinical Director Rust is originally from Lexington, KY.  Rust began working at Turn About in 2004.  Rust no longer appears to work for this program.
Jeremy Williams Therapist Williams no longer appears to work for this program.
Mark Anderson Therapist  
Michelle Lindsay Clinical Director Lindsay formerly worked for Sun Hawk Academy and Aspen Achievement Academy as well as Homeward Bound.
Maria Oman Therapist  
Pam Jenner Residential Pam Jenner reportedly advocated for children in the program unsuccessfully.
Doug Jenner Residential Pam Jenner's husband and also reportedly works in the barn.
Amanda Branscum Staff  
John M. Webster Owner Webster became part owner of this program in 2014.  Source: LinkedIn (link provided by interested party via e-mail to HEAL Mission.)  Webster also worked for Island View previously.
Willie "Verl" Davis Night Security  
Joanna Davis Night Security  
Caneele Barlow Night Security  
Alan Griffin Night Security  
Shane Young Admissions  
Tracy Sheres Belby Admissions Coordinator  
Sally Orme Education  
Wyatt Lindsay Academic Director (Reportedly the son of Executive Director Michelle Lindsay)
Tara Woolsey HR & Operations  
Zach Wilson Insurance Processor  
Robyn Peterson Parent Liaison  
Jason Midgley Program Supervisor/Security  
Cindy Midgley Barn Staff  
Joy Griffin Barn Staff (Reportedly the Sister-in-law of Myron Carter)
Jen Kangas Barn Day Staff  
Peggy Pratt Barn Day Staff  
Jodi Blake Barn Day Staff  
Dwain Blake Barn Day Staff  
Jayna Scadden Horsemanship Manager  
J. "Golden" Trunnell Wilderness Camp Director  
Sherree Rechtsteiner Nurse  
     
     
     
     
     
NO OTHER NAMES NO OTHER TITLES There is no additional information on staff at this location at this time.*
*(Turn About 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.)
REPORTING GUIDE FOR VICTIMS, SURVIVORS, AND WHISTLEBLOWERS:
 
In Utah, the statutes of limitation do not apply to crimes against children that include sex offenses and human trafficking. There are no statutes of limitation on murder and kidnapping in Utah.  Other felonies have statutes of limitation ranging from 4 years to 8 years. Most misdemeanors in the state have a 2-year time limit. For civil suits in Utah, the statute of limitations is 4 years depending on cause of action. 

Options for you to take action and/or seek redress/justice today are listed below:

1.  Report crimes such as assault, fraud, battery, labor trafficking, and child abuse to law enforcement in Utah. You can call the Garfield County Sheriff's office at (435) 676-2678  to inquire about filing an official complaint which may provide the probable cause needed to get a warrant for investigation and/or prosecution.  You may also wish to submit a concern to state regulators in charge of licensing Turn About Ranch which you can do at this link: https://hslic.utah.gov/submit-a-concern

2.  File a consumer complaint with your home state's attorney general against Turn About Ranch and include your request for 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 http://www.heal-online.org/report.htm.  If you live in Utah and/or would like to file consumer complaint as a non-resident with the Attorney General of Utah, visit: https://dcp.utah.gov/complaints.html .

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 http://www.heal-online.org/legal.htm and legal causes of action related to institutionalized abuse claims at http://www.heal-online.org/legalarguments.htm.

4.  You may post a statement about your experience at your program on our unmoderated message board at http://pub40.bravenet.com/forum/show.php?usernum=3407841501&cpv=2  OR send a new e-mail to rev@cope.church 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 https://www.cope.church/feedback.htm  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 https://www.cope.church/sermons.htm , under Progress Reports/Guest Sermons at https://www.heal-online.org  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 rev@cope.church . 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 https://www.cope.church/sermons.htm  (and sermon archives linked on that page).  If you have questions about this option, please contact rev@cope.church. Please see https://www.cope.church/givetoday.pdf  to get an idea what your sermon may be worth.
THE TRUTH:

All segregated congregate care providers, including those on our watch-list, are welcome to contact us to correct any information or provide additional data that may assist with delivering the whole truth to the public.  We've found in many cases where this offer has been abused or resulted in revealing additional basis for our concerns. For some examples see: http://www.heal-online.org/tcfl.htm http://www.heal-online.org/bolthouse.htm and http://www.heal-online.org/abundant2.htm.  Now, we are willing to look at the facts and may have questions or require documentation backing up any claims.  We do verify licensing, academic backgrounds, and other qualifications when investigating and researching programs on our watch-list to assist consumers seeking additional information on such programs or victims requiring assistance with getting corroborating evidence of their claims.  We do that in order to make sure the information we provide is accurate and verified and cite our sources.  In the event any information we've posted is in error, we're happy to make a correction.  And, for information on how such requests are handled and have been resolved historically, see: http://www.heal-online.org/requests.htm

HEAL does not support segregated congregate care for many reasons which include that many such facilities are abusive, exploitative, fraudulent, and lack effective oversight often as a result of fraudulent misrepresentation coupled with the ignorance of those seeking to enroll loved ones in such facilities, programs, schools, or centers without a valid court order and involuntarily.  In the United States such involuntary placements done without a court order are apparently illegal as they either violate the Americans with Disabilities Act community integration requirement or due process rights of those involuntarily placed.  Now, in regards to parents, in the United States parents have the right to waive their own rights, but, not the rights of their minor children.  See http://www.heal-online.org/legalarguments.htm for more information.  Now, most facilities on our watch list include waivers, indemnity clauses, and sworn statements parents must sign assuring the program that the parents have the right to make the placement involuntarily and without due process in a segregated congregate care environment, however, California and federal prosecutors as well as settled law appears to suggest that is not the case.  In fact, in the David Taylor case found at http://www.heal-online.org/provocases.htm, Taylor sued Provo Canyon School and his mother as co-defendants.  His mother was found liable for 75% of the damages awarded to Taylor as a result of multiple complaints including false imprisonment, while the program was found only 25% liable because the mother owed a duty of due diligence to investigate anyone to which she would entrust care of her child and she failed to do so. 

Now, HEAL opposes segregated congregate care and we find most placements are happening illegally in the USA which if the youth understood their rights would result in unfortunate outcomes for the parents, particularly when they don't exercise good judgment and support the fraud and abuse rather than their own children when they need remedy and justice.  And, HEAL supports all victims of fraud and abuse in seeking remedies at law for any crimes or torts committed against them.  And, that's true whether or not the program or victims are in the USA. 

HEAL has a 5 point argument against segregated congregate care we'd like you to consider:

a.  Segregated care is unconstitutional and a civil rights violation.  It is only permissible if a person is unable to survive independent of an institutional environment.  For more on this, watch the HEAL Report at  https://youtu.be/C4NzhZc4P0A.  Or, see:   http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/  which includes in part:    "United States v. Florida – 1:12-cv-60460 – (S.D. Fla.) – On April 7, 2016, the United States filed an Opposition to the State of Florida’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.  In the Motion, the State had asked the Court to rule, on a variety of grounds, that the United States could not recover damages for unnecessarily institutionalized children to whom the State had been deliberately indifferent."

b.  Institutionalization is always dehumanizing and coercive.  Institutionalization always harms the institutionalized and deprives them of protected civil rights.  Dr. David Straker, Psychiatry Professor at Columbia University's School of Medicine (Ivy League) explains this in detail at http://changingminds.org/disciplines/sociology/articles/institutionalization.htm.  "Many institutions, from prisons to monasteries to asylums, deliberately want to control and manage their inmates such that they conform and do not cause problems. Even in less harsh environments, many of the institutionalization methods may be found, albeit in more moderated form (although the psychological effect can be equally devastating)."  (See website linked in this paragraph for more info.)

c.  Institutionalization is not in the best interest of children.  Institutions are not ever better for a child than living with a loving family.  Source:   http://www.unicef.org/cambodia/12681_23295.html       

d.  Reform schools, residential treatment programs, and other segregated congregate care settings have been shown to be ineffective and harmful.  Best source on this currently is:     https://www.acgov.org/probation/documents/EndoftheReformSchoolbyVinny.doc

e. Boarding Schools, even the "good ones", result in a form of social death, isolation, and cause both anxiety and depression.  Therefore, it is clearly not in the best interest of the youth subjected to those environments.  Sources: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jun/08/boarding-school-syndrome-joy-schaverien-review and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/secondaryeducation/11662001/The-truth-about-boarding-school-syndrome.html

Beyond the above arguments against segregated congregate care, we have reports from the NIH, Surgeon General, Yale University Studies, and much more showing the methodologies of behavior modification are damaging, harmful, and ineffective.  You can request these documents via e-mail.  In addition, for such programs offering academic services or claiming to offer diplomas, certifications, or the like, it is important to check to see if it is a diploma mill with no accredited academic services.  Please see article: "Avoiding Scams: What You Need To Know"  for important information on how to avoid education/training scams.

If you'd like to see what HEAL suggests rather than segregated congregate care (i.e. committing a crime or tort against your child if done against their will without a court order), please see articles: "Fix Your Family, Help Your Teen" and "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: http://www.heal-online.org/report.htm.  (Reporting guide is for USA only at this time.)
October 30th, 2021: Turn About Ranch "Anonymous" Update (Multiple documents including report to Human Services Licensing in Utah.)
Torture Alleged at Utah Treatment Center

     SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - A mother claims in court that "sadists and psychopaths" at Turn About Ranch, a residential treatment center in Escalante, subjected her teen-age daughter to "torture," including hours of stress positions, threats to suffocate her, exposure to animal abuse and regular public humiliation.
     Elizabeth Verney and her mother, Julia Gordon, sued Turn About Ranch and Aspen Education Group, both California corporations, in Federal Court.
     Turn About "purport(s) to be a Utah licensed residential treatment center" in Escalante. It's owned and operated by the Aspen Group, according to the complaint.
     Verney, now 22, claims Turn About subjected her to "torture" in 2005, when she was 15.
     The ranch billed itself as a place to treat "young people with low self-esteem, depression and mental health problems," according to the complaint, and "boasted [of] daily private therapy sessions, horse riding and outdoor activities with all staff trained as childcare experts."
     Gordon, of London, England, claims the defendants charged her $310 a day to treat her daughter for depression and severe anxiety disorder.
     But Verney says she spent 7 weeks as an "abject captive" and was "constantly frightened and fearing for her life."
     According to the 34-page complaint: "During her stay Elizabeth was subjected to sleep deprivation, denied food, and yet forced to eat and prepare meat, which was abhorrent to her as a vegetarian. The ranch threatened her with restraint and force-feeding with a tube if she did not comply. The ranch forced physical labor and excessive exercise in extreme temperatures. It forced her regularly to put her hands in a sink filled with bleach to wash dishes until they bled, leaving to this day scars on her knuckles.
     "Staff's verbal abuse was unrelenting, humiliating both in private and in group 'denunciation meetings' where she was made to list her faults and listen to her peers taking turns denigrating her and her faults, and what they disliked about her, not as therapy but out of relish.
     "Staff regularly threatened Elizabeth with physical violence, including potential suffocation if she tried to run away. They told her daily that she was a bad person, and described her as 'disgusting, stupid, manipulative, pathetic and bad.' They screamed at her, punished her for crying and for having panic attacks that caused fearful hyperventilation.
     "They forced her to maintain stress positions for many hours at time during the first few days at the ranch, not allowing her to rest her body against any structures, to stretch or to lie down, putting great pressure on her back, neck and joints, all of which was extremely painful. They forced her to sleep on a wooden slab without a pillow or mattress even though she already suffered from ongoing back pain from an injury that her parents had told the ranch about.
     "She was often not allowed to wash for days at a time or change her dirty clothes. They forced her to sleep in clothes that had animal feces on them.
     "Bullying and abuse between those in the program was not only overlooked but actively encouraged. When Elizabeth informed staff about a 13-year-old boy's being bullied by older teens in his dorm room, a staff member said the boy deserved it and joined the ringleaders in taunting and humiliating her all the more, and then excluded the boy from group activities."
     Verney says she was also forced to attend church, "although she and her family are not Christian and found some of the teachings against her beliefs."
     The complaint continues: "In some ways the most harmful experience was the emotional abuse inflicted by her appointed 'therapist' of uncertain credentials, who criticized her, led a denunciation meeting against her, told her that she was a bad person and was 'pretending' rather than suffering from true anxiety or depression, thereby refusing to treat, validate, or even acknowledge the deterioration of her mental health at the Ranch. Notwithstanding being cast as a counselor and liaison between Elizabeth and her parents, she lied to Elizabeth's family about Elizabeth's welfare and physical and mental health, and lied about her parents' communications to the Ranch about Elizabeth; and facilitated, enhanced, and concealed Elizabeth's abuse so as to dissuade her family from making serious inquiry about Elizabeth's welfare and, in order to extort further funding, claimed that Elizabeth needed to remain at the Ranch.
     "Elizabeth saw that animals at the camp were seriously abused and neglected. She was told of animal torture witnessed by other teens, such as the burning of a live rat on a camp fire (apparently the creature was repeatedly tossed into the fire by a member of staff until it died). One staff member showed Elizabeth a knife he used to castrate farm animals without anesthetic, describing the animals' screams, as he knew that she was an animal lover. Dogs were left for days without water in extreme
     "The Ranch intercepted, read, and confiscated Elizabeth's mail. Staff made her write false and glowing letters. Staff censored and manipulated all communication with her family. They lied to her about communications between the Ranch and her parents and vice versa. Staff told her that her parents were colluding with the Ranch to 'punish' her because she was a bad person, that they did not really love her, were angry with her, and were not sure whether they were ever going to come and get her.
     "On one occasion Elizabeth had written to her parents telling them about an incident of mistreatment, the mention of which the Ranch always emphatically prohibited, and that she wanted to come home. The Ranch never sent the letter. Max, one of the Ranch directors, told Elizabeth that her parents had received the letter and not only did they think Elizabeth deserved the abuse but had called the Ranch saying that she had been 'telling tales' and should be punished for doing so. Her parents were told at this time that Elizabeth was so happy at the Ranch that she wanted to stay even longer in the program and they were encouraged to fund the extension of her time there.
     "Elizabeth had self-harmed in the past and was told by staff it was manipulative and immoral and her therapist made her apologize publicly for it. Elizabeth was very shy and embarrassed about having self-harmed and found it publically portrayed as a gross sin rather than a recognized control mechanism. She was punished for crying, usually by being made to walk in circles or sit on a rock outside alone for hours at a time. Even if she cried silently or tried to conceal it by covering her face and then apologizing, she was laughed at, screamed at, and punished for being 'manipulative' or 'weak.' ...
     "By the time she left, she had come to believe that the things she had been told about her and that she negatively experienced at the Ranch, were the real reality, a sort of semi-Stockholm Syndrome. Until the moment they boarded the plane to the UK, Elizabeth thought that as a result of any mishap, mistake, or blunder she had made, she would be kidnapped and taken back to the Ranch."
     Verney's mother says she "only became aware that something was seriously wrong when she and her husband traveled to Utah to visit Elizabeth, half way in to her 80-day initial stay at the ranch. They were shocked to find her terrified, subdued, and very disturbing in her behavior. Her hands were raw and continuously bleeding, she had lost weight and looked exhausted."
     Gordon says she and her husband "had asked to speak to Elizabeth many times, but were told by staff and the psychiatrist at the ranch that it would distress her and disturb her excellent progress of gaining self-esteem, and that she may, given her joyous progress, wish to stay even longer after completing the program."
     She adds: "No explanation was adequate to justify subjecting a vulnerable, frightened 15-year-old girl to the systematic breaking of her spirit and mental health unless she were in the hands of sadists and psychopaths, which she was. ...
     "Julia Gordon bitterly regretted sending Elizabeth to the ranch in Utah. The consequences of her stay there had a profound adverse effect upon her life and family, with which both mother and daughter are still struggling many years later."
     The plaintiffs seek the "enforced release of any and all minors enrolled or incarcerated in any and all of defendants' facilities," and special, general and punitive damages for slavery, involuntary servitude, conspiracy, fraudulent concealment and constitutional violations.
     They are represented by Thomas Burton.

Source: http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/06/27/47850.htm

External Article: http://tales-from-the-black-school.blogspot.com/2010/11/turn-about-ranch-rough-guide.html?m=1
Emancipation request splits family:  OREM - "Kaye" has no shortage of family members looking after her.  There are her mother and stepfather, who, in the wee hours of the morning on Nov. 1, paid a company to forcibly transport her to Turn-About Ranch, a Utah boarding school and residential treatment center for troubled teens.  And there are her two maternal aunts who, seeking to free their niece, secretly arranged to have her sign legal papers in the restroom of a Baptist church that Turn-About students attend on Sundays.  Those papers triggered an emancipation hearing Friday before 4th District Juvenile Judge Sterling Sainsbury, who will evaluate whether Kaye, 16, is capable of deciding for herself what's best.  Utah's new emancipation law wasn't created to give adolescents an avenue to fight confinement at therapeutic schools and wilderness programs. Proponents pitched it as benefiting homeless, runaway and other "throwaway" youth.  But child advocates are pleased to see the new statute so cleverly applied.  (Unable to locate story at time of archiving.  Source: www.sltrib.com Date: December 16, 2006)
Torture Alleged at Utah Treatment Center By JONNY BONNER           SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - A mother claims in court that "sadists and psychopaths" at Turn About Ranch, a residential treatment center in Escalante, subjected her teen-age daughter to "torture," including hours of stress positions, threats to suffocate her, exposure to animal abuse and regular public humiliation.      Elizabeth Verney and her mother, Julia Gordon, sued Turn About Ranch and Aspen Education Group, both California corporations, in Federal Court.      Turn About "purport(s) to be a Utah licensed residential treatment center" in Escalante. It's owned and operated by the Aspen Group, according to the complaint.      Verney, now 22, claims Turn About subjected her to "torture" in 2005, when she was 15.      The ranch billed itself as a place to treat "young people with low self-esteem, depression and mental health problems," according to the complaint, and "boasted [of] daily private therapy sessions, horse riding and outdoor activities with all staff trained as childcare experts."      Gordon, of London, England, claims the defendants charged her $310 a day to treat her daughter for depression and severe anxiety disorder.      But Verney says she spent 7 weeks as an "abject captive" and was "constantly frightened and fearing for her life."      According to the 34-page complaint: "During her stay Elizabeth was subjected to sleep deprivation, denied food, and yet forced to eat and prepare meat, which was abhorrent to her as a vegetarian. The ranch threatened her with restraint and force-feeding with a tube if she did not comply. The ranch forced physical labor and excessive exercise in extreme temperatures. It forced her regularly to put her hands in a sink filled with bleach to wash dishes until they bled, leaving to this day scars on her knuckles.      "Staff's verbal abuse was unrelenting, humiliating both in private and in group 'denunciation meetings' where she was made to list her faults and listen to her peers taking turns denigrating her and her faults, and what they disliked about her, not as therapy but out of relish.      "Staff regularly threatened Elizabeth with physical violence, including potential suffocation if she tried to run away. They told her daily that she was a bad person, and described her as 'disgusting, stupid, manipulative, pathetic and bad.' They screamed at her, punished her for crying and for having panic attacks that caused fearful hyperventilation.      "They forced her to maintain stress positions for many hours at time during the first few days at the ranch, not allowing her to rest her body against any structures, to stretch or to lie down, putting great pressure on her back, neck and joints, all of which was extremely painful. They forced her to sleep on a wooden slab without a pillow or mattress even though she already suffered from ongoing back pain from an injury that her parents had told the ranch about.      "She was often not allowed to wash for days at a time or change her dirty clothes. They forced her to sleep in clothes that had animal feces on them.      "Bullying and abuse between those in the program was not only overlooked but actively encouraged. When Elizabeth informed staff about a 13-year-old boy's being bullied by older teens in his dorm room, a staff member said the boy deserved it and joined the ringleaders in taunting and humiliating her all the more, and then excluded the boy from group activities."      Verney says she was also forced to attend church, "although she and her family are not Christian and found some of the teachings against her beliefs."      The complaint continues: "In some ways the most harmful experience was the emotional abuse inflicted by her appointed 'therapist' of uncertain credentials, who criticized her, led a denunciation meeting against her, told her that she was a bad person and was 'pretending' rather than suffering from true anxiety or depression, thereby refusing to treat, validate, or even acknowledge the deterioration of her mental health at the Ranch. Notwithstanding being cast as a counselor and liaison between Elizabeth and her parents, she lied to Elizabeth's family about Elizabeth's welfare and physical and mental health, and lied about her parents' communications to the Ranch about Elizabeth; and facilitated, enhanced, and concealed Elizabeth's abuse so as to dissuade her family from making serious inquiry about Elizabeth's welfare and, in order to extort further funding, claimed that Elizabeth needed to remain at the Ranch.      "Elizabeth saw that animals at the camp were seriously abused and neglected. She was told of animal torture witnessed by other teens, such as the burning of a live rat on a camp fire (apparently the creature was repeatedly tossed into the fire by a member of staff until it died). One staff member showed Elizabeth a knife he used to castrate farm animals without anesthetic, describing the animals' screams, as he knew that she was an animal lover. Dogs were left for days without water in extreme      "The Ranch intercepted, read, and confiscated Elizabeth's mail. Staff made her write false and glowing letters. Staff censored and manipulated all communication with her family. They lied to her about communications between the Ranch and her parents and vice versa. Staff told her that her parents were colluding with the Ranch to 'punish' her because she was a bad person, that they did not really love her, were angry with her, and were not sure whether they were ever going to come and get her.      "On one occasion Elizabeth had written to her parents telling them about an incident of mistreatment, the mention of which the Ranch always emphatically prohibited, and that she wanted to come home. The Ranch never sent the letter. Max, one of the Ranch directors, told Elizabeth that her parents had received the letter and not only did they think Elizabeth deserved the abuse but had called the Ranch saying that she had been 'telling tales' and should be punished for doing so. Her parents were told at this time that Elizabeth was so happy at the Ranch that she wanted to stay even longer in the program and they were encouraged to fund the extension of her time there.      "Elizabeth had self-harmed in the past and was told by staff it was manipulative and immoral and her therapist made her apologize publicly for it. Elizabeth was very shy and embarrassed about having self-harmed and found it publically portrayed as a gross sin rather than a recognized control mechanism. She was punished for crying, usually by being made to walk in circles or sit on a rock outside alone for hours at a time. Even if she cried silently or tried to conceal it by covering her face and then apologizing, she was laughed at, screamed at, and punished for being 'manipulative' or 'weak.' ...      "By the time she left, she had come to believe that the things she had been told about her and that she negatively experienced at the Ranch, were the real reality, a sort of semi-Stockholm Syndrome. Until the moment they boarded the plane to the UK, Elizabeth thought that as a result of any mishap, mistake, or blunder she had made, she would be kidnapped and taken back to the Ranch."      Verney's mother says she "only became aware that something was seriously wrong when she and her husband traveled to Utah to visit Elizabeth, half way in to her 80-day initial stay at the ranch. They were shocked to find her terrified, subdued, and very disturbing in her behavior. Her hands were raw and continuously bleeding, she had lost weight and looked exhausted."      Gordon says she and her husband "had asked to speak to Elizabeth many times, but were told by staff and the psychiatrist at the ranch that it would distress her and disturb her excellent progress of gaining self-esteem, and that she may, given her joyous progress, wish to stay even longer after completing the program."      She adds: "No explanation was adequate to justify subjecting a vulnerable, frightened 15-year-old girl to the systematic breaking of her spirit and mental health unless she were in the hands of sadists and psychopaths, which she was. ...      "Julia Gordon bitterly regretted sending Elizabeth to the ranch in Utah. The consequences of her stay there had a profound adverse effect upon her life and family, with which both mother and daughter are still struggling many years later."      The plaintiffs seek the "enforced release of any and all minors enrolled or incarcerated in any and all of defendants' facilities," and special, general and punitive damages for slavery, involuntary servitude, conspiracy, fraudulent concealment and constitutional violations.      They are represented by Thomas Burton. Source: http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/06/27/47850.htm
Woman says she was punished at Turn-About Ranch after reporting a sexual assault The Colorado woman is suing the Utah ranch for “troubled teens,” and is being represented by Gloria Allred. (Courtesy Hannah Archuleta) This 2019 photo shows Hannah Archuleta riding a horse while at Turn-About Ranch in Escalante, Utah. Archuleta's attorney, Gloria Allred, said the girl was instructed to smile because the photo would be sent to her parents and she "needed to look happy." Archuleta is now suing Turn-About Ranch after she says she was sexually assaulted by a staffer. By Jessica Miller   | Feb. 24, 2021, 1:39 p.m. When a staff member at Turn-About Ranch first touched her inappropriately, Hannah Archuleta didn’t tell anyone. The Colorado woman, then 17, had been at the Utah ranch for “troubled-teens” for two weeks. She worried if she said anything, she’d get in trouble. But then he touched her again. That same staffer, she said, grabbed her butt and vaginal area weeks later. This time, Archuleta confided in female staff members, hoping they would understand. “Instead, I experienced retaliation from the ranch after I spoke up,” she said Wednesday. “In what appeared to me to be punishment for reporting my abuse, I was required to spend extra time picking up horse manure, walking in circles around a horse corral, and sitting at a desk facing a wall for hours. I also had to do forced labor outside in below-freezing temperatures, and sleep on a wooden plank with no pillow.” Archuleta is now suing Turn-About Ranch, alleging the facility was negligent in hiring the male staffer who assaulted her, and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on her. She is represented by Gloria Allred, a well-known women’s rights attorney who represented women who say they were abused by famous men like Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein. Allred said at a Wednesday news conference that Archuleta was motivated to speak out after celebrity Paris Hilton revealed in a documentary released last year accusations that she was abused at another Utah facility, Provo Canyon School. Hilton has since become an advocate to reform the troubled-teen industry, and recently flew to Utah to testify in favor of legislation that would bring more oversight to the facilities here. “There appears to be a major problem in Utah at some residential facilities,” Allred said. Archuleta ended up at Turn-About Ranch after she appeared on the television show “Dr. Phil” during an October 2019 taping. She was taken from the studio, according to the lawsuit, to the rural Utah ranch located in Escalante. Her parents trusted Turn-About Ranch, the lawsuit says, because Dr. Phil had recommended it. Archuleta said Wednesday that she had been struggling at the time after learning her mother was terminally ill with liver failure. Tony Archuleta, the woman’s father, said Wednesday that he tried to report the abuse after he pulled her from the school two months later, but the investigation went nowhere and his daughter was never interviewed by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. Representatives of Turn-About Ranch did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. Allred said they filed the lawsuit this week as Utah legislators are expected to give a final vote on a bill that would greatly increase oversight and regulations for the troubled-teen industry. Both Allred and Archuleta said they supported SB127, which is sponsored by Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork. “There has been too much abuse in these private schools and programs where many so-called troubled teens have been sent by their parents with the hope that it would help them,” Archuleta said. “Instead, for a number of teens, it has only made their situation worse.” Turn-About Ranch has a relatively high profile among the nearly 100 facilities operating in Utah because of frequent appearances on the “Dr. Phil” show. It also is battling another lawsuit filed by the widow of a staff member who was brutally beaten to death by a 17-year-old boy in 2016. Brenda Woolsey claims in her lawsuit that the 17-year-old, Clay Brewer, should never have been at the ranch and that it wasn’t the proper place to treat a teenager who was addicted to drugs and suicidal. Brewer was both, and on Dec. 6, 2016, he beat to death 61-year-old staffer Jimmy Woolsey with a metal bar before leading police in a chase through the rural residential area.  Source: https://www.sltrib.com/news/2021/02/24/woman-says-she-was/
7/27/22: COPE Conversion Program Progress Report on Turn About Ranch: https://www.cope.church/tarprogress.pdf

 

 Last Updated: July 27th, 2022

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