ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (CN) – Thayer Learning Center and its successor the Teen Life Skills Center abused children at its “Christian boot camp,” hog tying them naked and spraying them with a hose, duct-taping children together overnight, throwing ice water on them as they shivered naked on a concrete floor, putting them in solitary confinement for a month, and forcing a girl to eat her own vomit, one girl’s mother claims in Federal Court.
The mother, Ruth Romer, claims that Teen Life Center, of Kidder, Mo., “is a mere continuation of the predecessor Thayer Learning Center and that the creation of the successor for in whole or in part for the purpose of escaping liability for the tortious acts of Thayer Learning Center.”
Teen Life is a Utah corporation. Also sued are Dorothy Steele, Willa Bundy and John Bundy, all of Springerville, Utah.
Romer also claims her daughter was provided with inadequate medical care. She says Thayer and its staff tells kids to “suck up your drama,” denies them medical attention, and “terminates employees who report abuse to public agencies and law enforcement.”
She says the defendants screen mail to and from children, “routinely misrepresent the physical and emotional status of children in their care when speaking to the parents of said children,” and “misrepresent to parents the level, or lack thereof, of qualified medical training for staff at Defendant Thayer.’
She claims that “children at Defendant Thayer were routinely ‘taken down,’ meaning physically incapacitated and taken to the ground through ‘choke holds’ and other means.”
She claims that “when a child was ‘taken down’ the ‘drill instructor’ or staff involved, would yell ‘grenade,’ meaning all other ‘cadets’ must get on the ground face down with their hands over their eyes and head, so as not to be witnesses to the event.”
She claims that “children at Defendant Thayer were routinely ‘smoked’ meaning that they were forced to perform physical exercise and exertion until they collapsed from physical exhaustion.”
She claims that “Some children have spent thirty days or more in solitary confinement, during which time they are forced to hear ‘motivational’ tapes over and over.
“Children have been restrained with zip ties around their ankles and wrists.
“Children have been restrained and attached to furniture.
“Male children have been stripped to their underwear, ‘hog tied’ and sprayed with a hose. …
“A child was thrown into a barbed-wire bundle and told to get himself out.
“During the summer, for punishment, children have been placed in a ‘hot box’ which is an outside, rubber-sealed tent.
“For punishment, children have been duct taped and/or belted together for an entire day and sometimes overnight.
“For punishment, a child has been forced to brush her teeth for a four hour, non-stop time period.
“Students were stripped down to their underwear, tied up, and laid on a concrete floor and ice cold water was poured on them every hour.
“Restroom breaks were so limited that students regularly soiled themselves.
“The restricted bathroom breaks led to various urinary tract infections and bladder infections.
“One girl was forced to sit in a plastic tub containing urine for at least two and one-half hours. …
“A female student vegetarian was forced to eat meatballs. The student got sick and vomited in her hands. ‘The girl was then forced to eat the vomit.'”
And so on.
Here are the defendants: Thayer Learning Center LLC, Teen Life Skills Center Inc., Parent Help LLC, 2B Enterprises Holdings LLC, A 2B Enterprises LLC, Dorothy Steele, Willa Bundy, and John Bundy.
The Romers seek punitive damages. They are represented by James Thompson with Edelman & Thompson of Kansas City, Mo.