#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.

 

BACKGROUND
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.

 

SUMMARY

 

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.

 

CONTACT

 

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:

 

admin@troubledprograms.com

 

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 admin@troubledprograms.com

 

For more info, please see:

Petition: Judge Dawn Amacker of the St. Tammany Parish of Louisiana, Family Court: SaveVictoria

http://www.reddit.com/r/Assistance/comments/u6tzn/please_help_save_victoria_a_teen_who_will_be/

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3 Responses to “#SaveVictoria Press Release – May 26th 2012”

  1. From Reddit iloveemmi

    I’m sure many will chime in about the abuse at Diamond Ranch. I just wanted to share some information about the industry as a whole that Diamond Ranch Academy is a part of. These are my summaries of three of the at least five reports given to the US Congress by the Government Accountability Office. These summaries are very short, so I encourage you to read them for yourself to get the bigger story.
    Sorry in advance for the formatting nightmare.
    “The last time this country witnessed somebody with a bag over their head and a noose around their neck, the world was horrified, the nation was embarrassed and it was at Abu-ghraib, to be told by this committee that this is a valid therapy, I guess, or a practice by somebody in the care of somebody else’s child…that this was acceptable, would horrify this nation again” – Congressman George Miller in response to Testimony.
    October 2007 a. RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT PROGRAMS: Concerns Regarding Abuse and Death in Certain Programs for Troubled Youth i. Link: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08146t.pdf ii. This study excluded any public setting (incarceration, psychiatric, and foster) iii. Stated Objectives:
    Verify whether allegations of abuse and death at residential treatment programs are widespread
    Examine the facts and circumstances surrounding selected closed cases where a teenager died while enrolled in a private program. iv. Findings:
    GAO found thousands of allegations of abuse…GAO could not identify a more concrete number of allegations because it could not locate a single Web site, federal agency, or other entity that collects comprehensive nationwide data.
    During 2005 alone, 33 states reported 1,619 staff members involved in incidents of abuse in residential programs. GAO could not identify a more concrete number of allegations because it could not locate a single Web site, federal agency, or other entity that collects comprehensive nationwide data.
    April 2008 a. RESIDENTIAL PROGRAMS: Selected Cases of Death, Abuse, and Deceptive Marketing i. Link: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08713t.pdf ii. Direct Continuation exclusively concerning private residential programs iii. Stated Objectives:
    Identify and examine the facts and circumstances surrounding additional closed cases where a teenager died, was abused, or both, while enrolled in a private program
    Identify cases of deceptive marketing or questionable practices in the private residential program industry. iv. Findings:
    GAO found examples of deceptive marketing and questionable practices in certain industry programs and services. a. Fake referral services (for example, send all children to one place regardless of circumstance, in one instance the owner of the referral service and the bootcamp were married) b. Tax Fraud c. In [all] the eight closed cases they examined, ineffective management and operating practices, in addition to untrained staff, contributed to the death and abuse of youth enrolled in selected programs. In the most egregious cases of death and abuse, the cases exposed problems with the entire operation of the program. The practice of physical restraint also figured prominently in three of the cases.
    May 2009 a. SECLUSIONS AND RESTRAINTS: Selected Cases of Death and Abuse at Public and Private Schools and Treatment Centers
    i. Link: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09719t.pdf ii. Explicitly includes both public and private facilities in the investigation
    This is a big step forward since public facilities have been taking on lawsuits with almost mirror complaints to private facilities iii. Stated Objectives:
    provide an overview of seclusions and restraint laws applicable to children in public and private schools
    verify whether allegations of student death and abuse from the use of these methods are widespread
    examine the facts and circumstances surrounding cases where a student died or suffered abuse as a result of being secluded or restrained iv. Findings:
    Although GAO continues to receive new allegations [in addition to the “thousands” found in ‘07] from parents and advocacy groups, GAO could not find a single Web site, federal agency, or other entity that collects information on the use of these methods or the extent of their alleged abuse. They were able to obtain data showing that thousands of public and private school students were restrained or secluded during the last academic year
    Found five States that collect and report information on seclusions and restraints.
    A brief summary of state law as of the study in 2007: Nineteen states have no laws or regulations related to the use of seclusions or restraints in schools. Seven states place some restrictions of the use of restraints, but do not regulate seclusions… while nineteen require parents to be notified after restraints have been used. Two states require annual reporting on the use of restraints Introduction to the Material Examined in ‘09: “GAO also examined the details of 10 restraint and seclusion cases in which there was a criminal conviction, a finding of civil or administrative liability, or a large financial settlement. The cases share the following common themes: they involved children with disabilities who were restrained and secluded, often in cases where they were not physically aggressive and their parents did not give consent; restraints that block air to the lungs can be deadly; teachers and staff in the cases were often not trained on the use of seclusions and restraints; and teachers and staff from at least 5 of the 10 cases continue to be employed as educators.” Concerning the Laws Currently in Place: “GAO found no federal laws restricting the use of seclusion and restraints in public and private schools and widely divergent laws at the state level.”
    SUPPLEMENTAL: One other GAO report I have handy for your consideration… http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08696t.pdf
    And Testimony delivered by a federal investigator to congress: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wdhsk-T6krs (VIDEO of testimony to US Congress)

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