#SaveVictoria Press Release – May 26th 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WHO IS #SAVEVICTORIA?
#SaveVictoria is a loose group of concerned citizens and activist groups who have banded together to prevent Victoria X (last name withheld), a 16-year old citizen of the United States, from being sent to Diamond Ranch Academy, as ordered by a court in Louisiana’s 22nd JDC.
This is a case in family court in Louisiana’s 22nd JDC. Victoria is not in trouble with the law, having no pending criminal charges, no criminal record, and no documented behavioral issues. The issue of placement resulted from an argument between the father (name withheld) and his daughter, Victoria. They have been estranged since birth and #SaveVictoria suspects that the fact that she was born out of wedlock and his strict Muslim idealogies may be playing a part in his desire to keep Victoria out of sight. The two haven’t spoken in over 18 months. It has been reported to #SaveVictoria that he is very strict, is angry that she has friends who are African American and is upset about the way she chooses to dress and that she wears makeup. Victoria is a normal teenager, doesn’t do drugs, isn’t having sex, and is not engaging in any other high-risk behaviors. She simply does not care to have a relationship with a father who has been largely absent her entire life and seeks to control her to an unnecessary degree. This perceived defiance of his authority has caused the father to seek to place Victoria in a so-called “Residential Treatment Center” called Diamond Ranch Academy (www.diamondranchacademy) located in Hurricane, Utah. When Victoria’s mother (name withheld) disputed this placement under her shared custody agreement, the father took the issue to court. He has a large advantage in financial resources and convinced the judge (name withheld) to order Victoria be placed in Diamond Ranch Academy until her 18th birthday. During this hearing, #SaveVictoria has learned no evidence of the “therapeutic” nature of Diamond Ranch was presented; rather, it was portrayed as a traditional boarding school. #SaveVictoria feels the nature of DRA may have been deliberately obfuscated from the judge. #SaveVictoria has in its possession numerous accounts of abuse, neglect, and frank torture of children at DRA that paint a picture of a seriously troubled program where mistreatment is systemic and comes part-and-parcel with its so-called “treatment”. #SaveVictoria will present these reports when authorized, appropriate and necessary. #SaveVictoria feels no child should be subjected to this “treatment” and will fight to prevent Victoria from being sent to DRA at any and all costs. We will then turn our attention to freeing the other detainees of DRA.
LATEST UPDATE IN THE CASE
Victoria and her mother toured the facility as ordered by the court and did not like what they saw. Victoria has specifically asked NOT to be sent there. Bravely protecting her daughter, Victoria’s mother has refused to sign the DRA admission paperwork despite immense pressure and a threat by the judge to hold her in contempt of court. She continues her fight despite the setbacks. There is the potential for the judge to hold her in contempt and jail her for refusing to sign the paperwork, but she would rather go to jail than sign her daughter’s life and her parental rights away. DRA has stated they cannot admit Victoria without a signature from both parents, but it is unclear whether the court order would change this. The father has now used the mother’s refusal to sign as grounds to sue for full custody. If he succeeds in winning full custody, #SaveVictoria fears that he may send Victoria against her will to Iran, never to be seen again. A hearing on the custody matter has yet to be scheduled. Currently, Victoria is ordered by the court to be detained by “escorts” from DRA at 4:30 AM on June 1st and forcibly removed to the facility against her will.
Victoria, a 16-year old citizen of the United Sates and a resident of Louisiana, will be sent to Diamond Ranch Academy against both her will and her mother’s, primary custody-holder, due to a court order based on incomplete evidence. DRA is an abusive facility with a history that includes a death at the facility. Without action, Victoria will be taken to DRA on June 1st, and possibly removed to Iran from there. Victoria’s health, well-being, and life may all very well hang in the balance. #SaveVictoria is a loose group of individuals and activist groups concerned about this situation and DRA in general and attempting to help protect this child and this family from harm.
If you are a media representative looking for more information, or if you are a lawyer or advocacy group with access to legal resources that would like to help please contact:
UPDATE: Our chances of reaching Judge Dawn Amacker have long passed. It seems her mind was made up long before, and she was not willing to hear any form of defense for Victoria or her mother. The worst that could have happened here has. This is a prime example of judicial misconduct and abuse of power, and Victoria’s mother has been threatened with more jail time if she attempts to speak out at all. I also suspect Judge Amacker may have an undisclosed connection with the troubled teen industry as well as a biased against Ms Dickerson and favor toward Dr Farhad Aduli because of his considerable wealth. It seems that Victoria was not the first kid she unjustly sentenced to Diamond Ranch Academy.
I can tell you that Victoria is now in the custody of her father who immediately sent her to another tough love program, Copper Canyon Academy. He didn’t even bother to see her or say goodbye, instead of spending her last night home with her, he had her sent to a mental institution before she was escorted to CCA. I fear that Victoria may be in grave danger due to a recently sustained spinal injury and pinched nerve (from a car accident) and considering CCA’s staple punishments are extraneous exercise and restraint, she could easily be re-injured, causing permanent spinal damage.
I also fear that until Judge Amacker’s decision has been repealed Victoria will not be safe, even if we could get her out of Copper Canyon Academy her father, will just find another equally abusive program to send her to, or possibly send her out of the country to Iran where her mother would have no chance of ever seeing her again.
I hope, even tho this case has already ruined the lives of many, that those with similar experiences with this judge will speak out and show those who intend to misuse their power like this that this injustice will not go unheard. If you or anyone you know has had a similar experience with Judge Dawn Amacker please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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