Kolob Canyon RTC (2002-present) New Harmony, UT
Residential Treatment Center
History and Background Information
Kolob Canyon RTC is a CERTS behavior-modification program that was founded in 2002. It is marketed as a Residential Treatment Center for teenage girls aged 14-18 who struggle with “Depression and other mood disorders, Self-harm, Trauma, Low self-esteem, All types of addictions (including drug/alcohol and social media), Parent/child conflict, Oppositional defiance, School failure, ADHD, NLD, Adoption/abandonment issues, Peer problems, and Emotional dysregulation”. Kolob Canyon is a very small program, with a maximum enrollment of just 12 girls. The tuition is reported to be roughly $6,500 per month. Kolob Canyon has been a member of NATSAP since 2005.
The program is located at 1338 600 S, New Harmony, UT 84757.
Kolob Canyon is heavily affiliated with Moonridge Academy, another CERTS program which shares a campus and many staff with Kolob Canyon. This program is also affiliated with the other CERTS programs, including La Europa Academy and Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy.
Founders and Notable Staff
Kent Tasso is the Founder/CEO of CERTS.
Jack Hinman is the Executive Director of Kolob Canyon RTC Moonridge Academy. He began his career in the TTI as a Therapist at the confirmedly abusive Island View RTC. He has also previously worked as the Clinical Director of the resportedly abusive programs Sunrise RTC and Discovery Ranch for Girls.
Craig Rodabaugh is the Clinical Director of Kolob Canyon RTC. He is also the Chief Clinical Officer of CERTS. He previuosly worked as the Clinical Director of La Europa Academy. He also previously worked as the Clinical/Admitting Director of Logan River Academy.
Tawny Thomas is the Director of Outreach and Program Development at Kolob Canyon. She previously worked as the Executive Director of Kolob Canyon and Moonridge Academy.
Like other behavior-modification programs, Kolob Canyon RTC uses a level system consisting of five levels. These levels are reported to be:
- Orientation: “Girls learn the rules and expectations to settle in at Kolob. They also learn about safety on campus.”
- Self-Awareness: “Girls learn that they have self-worth. They develop insight and understand logical consequences.”
- Accountability: “Girls learn about choice and accountability, proactivity, integrity, goal setting and planning.”
- Self-Discipline and Service: “Girls learn commitment and follow through as they move toward independence.”
- Compassion and Forgiveness: “Girls continue to improve their independence through communication and team work. They learn to have vision and balance in their lives.”
There is a punishment at Kolob Canyon called “no talk”, which, as the name suggests, if a type of communication restriction in which the resident is not allowed to speak to anybody for up to 48 hours. It is reported that this time limit is subject to extension if the girl breaks the talking restriction.
Other punishments at Kolob Canyon include having to perform extreme exercises or write essays about the negative behavior. These punishments are reportedly given out for infractions as minor as dropping a hair-tie.
Kolob Canyon RTC is reported by survivors to be an abusive program. Allegations of abuse and neglect include communication restrictions, forced manual labor, religious discrimination, and medical neglect.
2017: (SURVIVOR) “I lived at kolob canyon rtc when i was 14 years old and I am writing this review at age 18. Four years later I am still traumatized, i have nightmares multiple times a week because of this place. At the time I lived there I suffered with panic attacks, and when i had one at kolob it was handled horribly. My second week i had a panic attack and none of the staff knew what to do, they made all the girls stare at me while i sobbed on the floor. No one attempted to help they just told me i needed to stop. after about five minutes they continued like nothing happened (i was still hyperventilating on the floor) a girl and one of the staff members began to laugh above of me as I lay on the floor. Once i managed to get myself out of a panic state, I was punished and put on “no talk”. “No talk” is exactly what it sounds like. You were not allowed to speak for up to 48 hours, if you did you had time added to your “no talk” time. I could go on and on about how this is extremely ineffective and stripping me of my basic human rights but I have other important things i’d like to mention. When we weren’t in school or eating we were doing chores. Chores can be very effective because kids need to learn discipline. But its all we did. The second we woke up we did chores and before we went to sleep we did chores. There were no staff who did maintenance, if there was an issue we had to do it. We didnt have weekends or down time. On the weekends we had deep clean which lasted for 10am-4pm which consisted of us cleaning the house,school,campus and cars. There are copious amounts of studies that have proven that positive reinforcement is way more effective than just punishment. Every thing wrong we did even down to not getting specks of water off the mirror from the backlash of the sink was punish. Every movement was criticized. To add to this, Kolob Canyon completely ignores kids physically illnesses. The only day out of the 13 months I was there that I got a break was when I was vomiting profusely and had an 103 fever. A girl contracted MRSA (a staph infection that can be deadly) while i was there. She was not separated from us in any way, she even cleaned the dishes that we ate off. This is absolutely violating so many policies. When an outside doctor had to come in and tell the staff this is dangerous all of the other girls in the house were forced to bathe in bleach because the staff told us to. While some a few staff genuinely did care, I never felt safe or able to express myself and my feelings. Individuality was completely stripped away from us. Girls were shamed based on their religious practices, while many staff would talk about their mormon beliefs. I was more suicidal in there than I ever was before I went, the reason I pushed through the program was because I knew i needed to get out. Kolob puts a bandaid over the scars but never really heals them. They fill your time with chores and punishments to distract you from whatever issue you came in with, but once that’s gone it’s so easy to go back to the old behaviors. Over the 13 months I was there I met a bunch of girls, today I only know 3 girls who are doing well from the program and I’m extremely proud of them. Please consider another program if you are looking to send your daughter here.” – Kim (Google Reviews)
1/4/2017: (SURVIVOR) “I was sent to Kolob when I was 14 on the idea that I would benefit from the “equine therapy”. Lets just say that I RARELY got to ride, but I did get to clean stalls at like a slave. Not only did I not get to ride, I also was forbidden to use anything but hand signals to communicate with staff and other girls. When I did not “conform to their program” I was perceived as a “safety risk” and a leash was tied around my waist when walking around. Also I was forced to let complete strangers watch me in the shower. Girls are given consequences (i.e. exercises or essays) when they do something as little and innocent such as dropping a hair tie. Staff members who are not therapists or have degrees in social work or psychology are miserable and happily give out consequences as a form of feeling power over their pathetic lives. I am also proud to say despite the horrific and traumatizing experience I endured in the desert of Southern Utah, I am graduating college with a 3.7 GPA & transferring to Rutgers University in the fall to earn my BSW and MSW. DO NOT SEND YOUR DAUGHTERS HERE.. There are plenty of other girls who will say the same thing who I speak to. ZERO STARS!!!!!!!!!!!” – Jennifer (Yelp)
2015: (SURVIVOR) “I am a previous girl from Kolob and i will say i had the worst time ever. My basic rights as a human being were taken away from me, I was forced to take various amounts of psychiatric drugs (which is against my religion) I also do not agree with the drugging of children teens adults or of the elderly, most if not all “medication” (drugs) that are given are in the same category as heroin meth and coke and have the exact side effects that you are trying to get away from. Don’t like how you feel on them, too bad you have to wait for the “Doctor” to come back in and talk to you. They give you the wrong dose or give it to you at the wrong time and you fall asleep due to it, to bad you will still get in trouble. There have been numerous girls who have had medical issues ignored just because staff did not want to deal with it. Girls that were sick had to deal with it by themselves and staff would not help unless it was basically to the point of death. I’ve seen girls twist and sprain joints even a few dislocations without even a single glance from the staff. I understand “safety and super safety” (when you first come in to make sure you are not a run or suicide risk) but a lot of times girls would have to do early morning horse chores in nothing but slippers and just sweats and a light hoodie while there was at least 4 feet of snow on the ground, that’s around half an hour out in that condition to make sure all the horses water is broken and they are properly feed. There is no real dietary care for each girl individually, when i was there we were put on the dietary needs of the biggest girl that was there (around 200 pounds) i gained a tremendous amount of weight to the point where i had to go on a diet when i get home cause i was considered obese. I was lied to by my on site therapist and i was made to take punishments for things i did not do. The girls there have no say in anything and will never be listened too. If anything it is a sever state of Stockholm syndrome, and they “get better” due to the fear of punishment that they will receive. I am actively working to get Kolob looked into and investigated. I have sever night terrors from my stay at Kolob and wake up screaming almost every night. I would highly recommend that you find alternative methods to helping your child.” – Jessie (Google Reviews)
Unknown Date: (SURVIVOR) “I am a previous girl from Kolob and i will say i had the worst time ever. I did not like the medication administered. Don’t like how you feel on them, too bad you have to wait for the “Doctor” to come back in and talk to you. I understand “safety and super safety” (when you first come in to make sure you are not a run or suicide risk) but a lot of times girls would have to do early morning horse chores in the cold. There is no real dietary care for each girl individually, when i was there we were put on the dietary needs of the biggest girl that was there (around 200 pounds) i gained a tremendous amount of weight to the point where i had to go on a diet when i get home cause i was considered obese. I was lied to by my on site therapist and i was made to take punishments for things i did not do. The girls there have no say in anything and will never be listened too. I am actively working to get Kolob looked into and investigated. I would highly recommend that you find alternative methods to helping your child.” – Q.W. (Rehabs)
Unknown Date: (PARENT) “My children both attended Kolob Canyon. This was presented as a residential treatment facility with high academic teaching facilities. The teaching was completely nil. The equestrian facilities provided just one or two hours per week of therapy. And, worst of all, the staff appeared completely incompetent. … Really, scary stuff. All for $6,500/month/child. I am sorry I subjected my children to this and it did not cure the ailment they were sent for, anorexia, self-mutilation.” – Randy (Rehabs)
Kolob Canyon RTC Website Homepage
HEAL Program Information – Kolob Canyon RTC
Kolob Canyon RTC – Secret Prisons for Teens
Kolob Canyon RTC – Struggling Teens