This is a  staff list for Turning D Ranch in Thompson Falls, MT

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


If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Turning D Ranch/Wood Creek Academy, please contact if you remember the long-term employees and from which years.  This will help!   Also, if you recognize any of these staff as having worked at another program, please send in any information about their past or present employment at other facilities and/or cults.


HEAL is currently investigating Turning D Ranch/Wood Creek Academy.




Additional Information
Sean Thorne Owner Sean is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in MT.  Source:
Danice Thorne Owner Danice appears to be a licensed registered nurse in MT and has been since 2012.  Her license # is: NUR-RN-LIC-48933  You can submit complaints about this licensee to:
*(Turning D Ranch/Wood Creek 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.)
HEAL Initial Report:

Wood Creek Academy appears to be licensed by the Board of Private Alternative Adolescent Residential or Outdoor Programs, but, claims it is located in Troy, MT, not Thompson Falls, where it is actually located.  Source:

Below are corporate filings associated with this program:

In Montana, the criminal statutes of limitation are 1 year on misdemeanors, 5 years on most felonies, 10 years on rape of an adult over age 18, no statute of limitation on felonies including rape, sodomy, sexual offense where a child under 18 years of age is the victim, and homicide (i.e. murder).  For civil suits in Montana, the statute of limitations is 3 years depending on cause of action.  Here are your options:
1.  Report crimes such as fraud, assault, battery, false imprisonment, rape, labor trafficking, and child abuse to law enforcement in Montana.  You can call the Thompson Falls Police at (406) 827-3557  to inquire about filing an official complaint which when filed may provide the probable cause needed to get a warrant for investigation and/or prosecution. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

c.  Institutionalization is not in the best interest of children.  Institutions are not ever better for a child than living with a loving family.  Source:       

d.  Reform schools, residential treatment programs, and other segregated congregate care settings have been shown to be ineffective and harmful.  Best source on this currently is:

e. Boarding Schools, even the "good ones", result in a form of social death, isolation, and cause both anxiety and depression.  Therefore, it is clearly not in the best interest of the youth subjected to those environments.  Sources: and

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

If you'd like to see what HEAL suggests rather than segregated congregate care (i.e. committing a crime or tort against your child if done against their will without a court order), please see articles: "Fix Your Family, Help Your Teen" and "Emancipation Guide".

If you have a complaint against any facility, please file a complaint with the appropriate law enforcement agency or your home state's attorney general.  For reporting resources see:  (Reporting guide is for USA only at this time.)
8/18/21: COPE Conversion Program Progress Report: Turning D Ranch/Wood Creek Academy
Embattled therapeutic boarding school shutters in northwest MT Seaborn Larson  Sep 23, 2021   0 Subscribe: 6mos. only $1 "No trespassing" signs mark the posts at the end of a private road leading to the former Spring Creek Lodge Academy site in Sanders County. The residential treatment program for troubled teens once housed 500 students and was the biggest employer in the county. Following lawsuits and dwindling enrollment, the program closed its doors in 2009. TOMMY MARTINO, Missoulian Facebook Twitter Email Print Save Seaborn Larson An embattled wilderness therapeutic boarding school in northwest Montana, where boys were once made to sleep outside in winter conditions without proper clothing, will close at the end of this week. Wood Creek Academy, a 16-bed program for boys age 13 to 18 located outside Thompson Falls, will shut down Friday, staff confirmed when reached by phone Tuesday. Danice Thorne, who owns the program, did not return a call Tuesday seeking comment. By late Tuesday, the program's website was updated with a note: "Wood Creek Academy is not Accepting Applications." "With great sadness, we announce that Wood Creek Academy will be closing permanently effective September 25, 2021," the website reads. "We are grateful to have had the opportunity to empower our graduates and helped their families since 2005." Wood Creek Academy had been the subject of two complaints filed with the state within the last year, and subsequent inspections uncovered additional infractions of state regulations.  Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services dispatched inspectors to the facility in January in response to a complaint, the details of which are not made public by the department. The report from the follow-up inspection, which is publicly available online, states two boys had run away one morning in January. Inspectors noted Wood Creek Academy staff waited for more than an hour to call 911. As punishment for running away, Wood Creek Academy staff prohibited the boys from having any interaction with their peers for three days. State regulations prohibit the use of isolation as a punishment in private residential outdoor programs. According to the inspector’s notes, the boys were sent to sleep in shorts and T-shirts in tents during days when the high temperatures were between 30 to 40 degrees and nights dipped as low as 28 degrees. Inspectors also recorded a repeat deficiency, as the boys snuck out in the night despite nighttime staff awake and in the same building. Another boy had run away in the night four months earlier. “Based off these incidents the program is not providing sufficient nighttime supervision to meet the safety needs and supervision of participants at the program,” the inspector reported March 3. A DPHHS spokesperson said Wednesday the department was aware of Wood Creek's closure but said the department had not revoked the facility's license. Spokesperson Jon Ebelt also said DPHHS has not been asked to take any children from Wood Creek into state custody.  An investigative series by the Missoulian newspaper into the "troubled teen" industry in 2019 found 31 runaways from Wood Creek Academy had been reported to law enforcement in the prior 10 years. Still, in March DPHHS approved Wood Creek Academy’s corrective plan, which included installing an alarm that would be activated each night and deactivated in the day and checklists to document rounds every 30 minutes throughout the night. At a follow-up inspection two months later, DPHHS inspectors documented 14 additional issues, each of them repeat deficiencies that DPHHS had noted in 2020. Nearly all were related to document management requirements set by the department. Wood Creek Academy’s new corrective plan was approved in May. Northwest Montana has for the last 30 years held the majority of the residential outdoor boarding schools in the state, once serving as the largest employers in places like Thompson Falls. Troubled programs like Spring Creek Lodge, which kept children in locked sheds as a form of punishment, have seen owners move from one program to the next in Sanders County. Other programs once moved their operations to Montana, where, until recently, regulations were more than lax ad the program owners were essentially allowed to regulate themselves through a board in the state labor department. State lawmakers handed oversight over the "troubled teen" industry to the state's health agency in 2019. The shift moved regulation of the industry away from a self-regulating model that had been in place for nearly 12 years and gave the department authority to set new rules and regulations, including a ban on isolation as a form of punishment. Within a month of its new regulatory duties, DPHHS removed 27 children from the Ranch for Kids near Eureka and permanently revoked its license five months later. By late 2020, eight of Montana's 19 programs had closed, some due to the new regulatory environment, according to DPHHS. With Wood Creek Academy's closure, nine licensed programs remain in the state.  Source:


 Last Updated: September 25th, 2021

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