Logan River Academy (2000-present) Logan, UT
Residential Treatment Center
History and Background Information
Logan River Academy is a behavior-modification program that opened in 2000. It is marketed as a Residential Treatment Center for troubled teenagers aged 12-18 with a history of adoption related issues, Autism Spectrum, ADHD, depression, anxiety, digital/screen addiction, emotional dysregulation, learning differences, OCD, mild substance use, and trauma. The program’s average length of stay is roughly 12 months, and its tuition is reported to be between $8,900 – $10,000 per month.
The program is located at 1683 South, US-89, Logan, UT 84321. There is also a branch of LRA called Maple Rise Academy, which is an all-girls program that used to operate on the same campus as LRA. In 2009, Maple Rise Academy was moved the former location of LRA’s transition program, Tavasi. The Tavasi program was moved to a “special dorm” on LRA’s main campus in Logan.
LRA has been a member of NATSAP since 2000. It was accredited by the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools (NAAS), but it is important to note that neither the United States Department of Education nor the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognizes the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools as an accrediting agency for institutions of higher education. In fact, NAAS is most well-known for in the public for the State of New York not accepting the diplomas given by the Academy at Ivy Ridge, which was a confirmedly abusive WWASP program which was also accredited by NAAS. NAAS has “accredited” many notoriously abusive behavior-modification programs, including many WWASP programs. It appears that LRA no longer is accredited by NAAS.
Logan River Academy is suspected of being a spin-off of Provo Canyon School. Logan River Academy was founded by Larry Carter and Jeff Smith, both of whom previously worked at the reportedly abusive Provo Canyon School for many years. Jeff Smith as CEO and Larry Carter as an Administrator. In addition, one of the Founders of Provo Canyon School, Robert Crist, was also involved with LRA from the beginning, serving as their Medical Director. Provo Canyon School has been reported to be an extremely abusive behavior-modification program. Provo Canyon School is also widely regarded as the birthplace of the WWASP organization, as WWASP’s Founder, Robert B. Lichfield, had worked at Provo Canyon School as the Director of Residential Living for a number of years before leaving to create WWASP.
In a response to a review left by a survivor, Logan River Academy claimed the following: “Logan River Academy is not affiliated with WWASP. No one working here has been accused of abuse or neglect, or been associated with any organization that has. All of our staff pass annual background checks and Logan River Academy provides high quality care in a caring and nurturing way.” However, as described above, this claim appears to be untrue. Logan River Academy not only has extensive connections to Provo Canyon School (which is reported to be highly abusive and also has many connections to the WWASP organization), but LRA also has connections to Teen Help, which was one of the marketing arm of WWASP, as Mark Peterson, the Co-Owner and Director of Residential Services at Logan River Academy, previously worked as a Sales Representative for Teen Help (source).
Founders and Notable Staff
Larry Carter was the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Logan River Academy. Prior to working at LRA, Carter worked at the confirmedly abusive Provo Canyon School (which is widely regarded as the birthplace of the WWASP organization) for 13 years. He then went on to work for Aspen Education Group as Senior Vice-President of their In-Patient Services, where he oversaw all of Aspen’s residential services for just over a year before deciding to start Logan River Academy.
Jeff Smith is the Co-Founder and Owner of Logan River Academy. He has worked in many roles at LRA throughout the years, from Director of Operations to a Counsellor. He previously worked as CEO of Provo Canyon School (which is widely regarded as the birthplace of the WWASP organization), before leaving to help Larry Carter open Logan River Academy (Source). He is also reported to have worked as a Teacher at Mount Bachelor Academy, a reportedly abusive Aspen Education Group program which was a direct spin-off of CEDU.
Robert Crist worked as the Medical Director of Logan River Academy. Crist is also the Co-Founder of the notoriously and confirmedly abusive Provo Canyon School (which is widely regarded as the birthplace of the WWASP organization), as well as Silverado Academy/Boys Ranch. Crist is also the Owner/Vice President of Discovery Academy.
Mark Peterson is the Co-Owner and Director of Residential Services at Logan River Academy. He previously worked as a Sales Representative for Teen Help, which was a marketing arm of the confirmedly abusive WWASP organization.
Craig Rodabaugh previously worked as the Clinical/Admitting Director of Logan River Academy. He later worked as the Clinical Director of La Europa Academy. He currently works as the Clinical Director of Kolob Canyon RTC, another CERTS program. He is also the current Chief Clinical Officer of CERTS.
David Allred worked as a Therapist at Logan River Academy. He currently works as the Executive Director of Lava Heights Academy and Falcon Ridge Ranch. He may be related to Kathy Allred, who worked for Lifelines Family Services which, similar to Teen Help, was a marketing arm of the confirmedly abusive WWASP organization.
Click here to view the staff list from Logan River Academy’s website from 2001.
Like other behavior-modification programs, Logan River Academy uses a level system consisting of eight levels. Residents move through the levels by earning points for good behavior while avoiding demerits for negative behavior. This system has been used in many confirmedly abusive programs, including the notoriously abusive WWASP programs. The ultimate privilege is the “status” rooms, on the third floor, which are reserved for those students who have achieved the highest levels and usually are getting ready for transitioning to their next school.
At the lowest level, students are allowed very few privileges and must ask permission for even simple things such as going to their rooms or getting out of their seat in the cafeteria. By moving up in the levels, they are allowed to earn privileges which allow them to attend dances, play co-ed games, occasionally be unsupervised, and use the Internet. The eighth and highest level is the transition program, called Tavasi.
The program works with behavior measured ‘grades’ which are given every two weeks. They call them “Level grades”.
The communication between the teenager at the facility and their family progresses from restricted on-campus visits to home-visits as the detained teenager moves forward in the program.
While the program is not marketed as a religious facility, it has been reported by many survivors that the staff at LRA, who are almost entirely Mormon, attempt to impose their beliefs onto the students at the school. It has also been reported that other religious affiliations (besides LDS) are not respected at LRA.
If the residents at Logan River Academy violate one of the program’s many rules, they are given a punishment. Punishments that have been reported by survivors include:
- Development (“Devo”): This punishment, colloquially known as “Devo”, is a form of solitary confinement used to punish the teenagers at LRA. The condemned teenager is taken to a room in which they are forbidden from talking to, looking at, or interacting with anybody in any way. If they speak, they are punished with additional time on Devo. It is reported that students at LRA may spend weeks to months on Devo. DEVO time is allegedly given out for even minor infractions. In one purported example, a survivor remembers that “one student was punished with a significant amount (hours) of ‘DEVO’ time for returning to his room with a moist towelette from the dining area to clean his glasses, thinking it was permitted. They called it contraband and gave him excessive ‘DEVO’ time.” According to the petition some students have received over 100 consecutive days of DEVO time for even a single infraction. LRA has recently (2019) reported that this punishment is no longer used, however, it is unknown if this is true, or an attempt to cover up their abuses.
- Physical Intervention (“PI”): This is the name LRA uses for restraints. Restraints are reported to be extremely common at LRA, and often result in the teenager being injured. Many survivors and former staff have reported that restraints are used excessively at LRA, and are usually extremely violent. One former staff member reports that they quit following an incident where “an acting residential manager body-slammed a teen to the ground head first. Somehow the teen didn’t break their neck or get a concussion. During this incident the teen also had their finger broken.”
- Precaution: This punishment is allegedly used if the teenager is deemed to be a physical threat to themselves or others. However, it was reported that In Precaution, some students report being stripped naked — possibly so they can’t strangle themselves with their clothing. The petition suggests “this strategy may also mean they are improperly attempting to care for suicide risks without the proper facilities and personnel.” The students are allegedly also kept completely isolated from others for up to 30 days on end and are forced to sit still and remain quiet.
Logan River Academy is reported by many survivors to be a highly abusive program. Allegations of abuse and neglect that have been reported by survivors include widespread physical abuse, physical and social isolation as punishment, gaslighting, and even sexual abuse. According to the Human Rights organization HEAL, Logan River Academy is a Confirmedly Abusive program. According to HEAL’s definition of a Confirmedly Abusive program, “A program categorized as “Confirmedly Abusive” matches multiple warning signs of an abusive facility, has been sued or faced official complaints, and/or HEAL has received two or more substantiated reports of fraud and abuse regarding the facility.”
In 2013, the Hacker/Activist group Anonymous began a campaign to get Logan River Academy shut down due to the many reported instances of child abuse and neglect. In an online video published by Anonymous, the group alleges various types of abuse by LRA against teens in its care, and the use of solitary confinement and isolation as disciplinary tools. Logan River Academy said in response that “various individuals have posted false, inaccurate and misleading information about the Academy online and on social media. … Students are not isolated, secluded, abused, or mistreated in any way.”
Despite the denial, many former students have reported severe abuse and torture at the hands of school staff as part of the school’s behavior modification techniques. Some have compared the abuse against students at the school to the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The campaign against the school has cited an online petition as well as campaigning on social media.
In February of 2019, a 15-year-old resident at LRA came forward with accusations that another resident at the school, 18-year-old Rachael Manard, had molested her many times. Manard pleaded “no contest” to three counts of misdemeanor sexual battery and was sentenced to continue treatment at the center. The “no contest” plea meant she admits prosecutors have sufficient evidence to show she committed the crime without admitting her guilt. It is has the same immediate effect as a guilty plea. Additional Information: Logan River Academy student charged with molesting others accepts plea deal
On June 9th 2019, a former resident at LRA sued the school alleging childhood sexual abuse, negligence, and intentional/negligent infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiff, Samantha Gerson, reported that she had been sexually abused by a staff member during her time at LRA when she was 14-15 years old.
On March 5th 2021, Linsie D. Thornock, an employee at Logan River Academy, was arrested after a female resident at the program reported being molested to staff members. The teenage girl claimed Thornock touched her privates, and then asked if it excited her. She was taken to the Cache County Jail and held on suspicion of forcible sex abuse.
8/23/2020: (EX-STAFF) “My name is Braden Jenks. This might be one of the most important posts I’ve ever made. It is part exposé, part vulnerable confession and storytelling. And I’m definitely ruffling some feathers here. I worked at Logan River Academy (LRA) in Logan, UT from August 2018 until November 2019. First as a residential staff and later as a residential supervisor on the crisis dorm. LRA is a mental health treatment center for adolescents that doubles as a private school. I resigned last November after an incident occurred where an acting residential manager body-slammed a teen to the ground head first. Somehow the teen didn’t break their neck or get a concussion. During this incident the teen also had their finger broken. The teen had been being aggressive and heated, but none of our protocols for such moments involved body-slamming. And the teen had been trying to calm themselves down before the manager kept pushing them and instigating them in an effort to assert control. It wasn’t an accident or a mistake. It was negligence. The acting manager who injured and abused the student lied on the incident report, saying everything had gone according to protocol and that no harm had come to the student. As he looked at me and asked for my incident report, I felt pressured to write what I knew he would want me to write. In hindsight, I wish I would’ve written my own report and handed it to the residential director myself instead of falling for the peer pressure. Afterwards, another residential manager and residential supervisor took it upon themselves to actively defend this manager and cover up the incident. They gaslighted the student who had been injured. They isolated him on the crisis dorm all on his own while multiple staff and supervisors berated him, telling him he was lying about what happened (an incident I saw with my own two eyes). They sat in on his phone call with his mom to intimidate him to make sure he didn’t say anything “out of line.” They tried pulling in multiple students and staff (myself included) as witnesses to write down the story they wanted to give, asked students to write about how much the student how struggled that week to show the headspace he was in, etc. All an attempt to discredit the student’s voice. They asked the student, “Do you trust us? and made him promise him that they did. All while gaslighting him and knowing what they were doing. All of the flashing red alarm lights were going off in my head. I went in-person to the therapist of the student and the residential director and told them the story of what I’d seen and what had actually happened. None of these three managers / supervisors lost their jobs. In fact, one even got promoted very recently. At first glance, LRA is a quality, therapeutic facility. The campus has lots of green grass, trees, a big pond. A large basketball gym. They are staffed with a full lineup of school teachers, licensed therapists, a registered nurse, etc. The students get to go out on trips to play mini golf, see movies, etc. The facility has all the nice pleasantries a parent could ask for while taking a tour and seems to be better managed than other facilities with a list of horror stories. But the longer I worked there, the longer I observed, the more I dug and learned, the more uncomfortable I became with what I was seeing, with what I was participating in…” Read the full testimony here. – u/slcginger (Reddit)
July 2020: (SURVIVOR) “I was a student at Logan River Academy from Sept 2007 to June 2008 after being in a psych hospital in my place of Birth NYC for depression. The educational Consultant lied to Me my Parents and staff at the hospital about Logan River Academy. Once there I was quick.to find out the reality of the situation and the facility. Yes there was DEVO yes there was Solitary Confinement and yes Physical Interventions. To the grace of my higher power, I was spared the worst of these things but I still today at 30 years old have lasting Scars of emotional pain and Trauma and PTSD from this Treatment Center. While there I was heavily medicated to the point that I could not breath , I was overly tired and Weak and still was sent to Devo for not being able to Participate in Physical Education. Then I was abruptly taken off a lot of my medication And went through Serious Withdrawal. Luckily my mom was out visiting and demanded that I be put back on my dosage. Also I am gay and some not all of the staff were not friendly about that as well as constant abuse and bullying from the other students. Please there has, to be another way then the method they use as a lot of the posts by other students factual identities or Not are unfortunately fact. Please send your beloved children elsewhere as my parents once they knew the truth apologized for the experience that I have had as a 17year old at the time whom has some special needs and is supposedly on the Autism Spectrum. The ever lasting negative impacts I have as a result of my stay there such as smoking cigarettes the day I was discharged to the Fear of being taken away again every second of day to struggling worse then before my stay there. I feel that In my situation I should have been in the hospital longer and more work should have been done before the sent off. Please do not send you child there. There has to be more research before you make a decision.” – Zachary (Google Reviews)
2/18/2020: (SURVIVOR) “The benefits of a residential treatment center are widely known throughout many communities. However, some facilities pose certain dangers to the health of those admitted. Logan River Academy has attempted to conceal many dangerous aspects of the company. It is my goal to elucidate one of these frightening incidents that have been kept under wraps for too long. This casually disregarded situation was that of a student attempting to rape another, younger, student. This unacceptable behavior was met with a verbal warning. After less than a month, the student sexually assaulted two young boys in their own rooms. Again, nothing was done to prevent these behaviors except a few verbal warnings. In the four months since, the student in question raped a collective three more young boys. It was only after these six instances of sexual assault, two of which involved physical threats and violence, that Jackson Beard was transferred to a facility for incarceration. It is my belief that the teenager should have been removed after the very first incident. Sexual violence is never acceptable, especially in today’s society. It was indeed extremely difficult to procure this information, as the facility’s administration has worked incessantly to conceal these harrowing truths. To any prospective clients, I give the following advice: Any school that allows six instances of sexual assault to occur, more disturbingly at the hands of a single student, does not deserve to be entrusted with the care of your child. Heed the signs provided by this series of misconducts. Logan River Academy is a dangerous place indeed.” – D’artagnion (Yelp)
12/10/2019: (SURVIVOR) “I’m surprised this place hasn’t been shut down to be honest. I was sent here in 2002. I witnessed mental and physical abuse by many staff members towards kids they were supposed to be helping. I was picked on repeatedLy by certain staff and threatened more than once. They had a hack dr who diagnosed you with whatever condition so they could force pills down your throat….no joke. This place reminds me of the old folks home Adam Sandler accidentally sends his grandma to in the movie happy Gilmore.” – Kirby (Yelp)
2019: (SURVIVOR) “This institution uses physically and emotionally abusive techniques on minors. Couple that with strong mormon overtones and you get a pretty good picture of how evil this school is. These people honestly need to be investigated. Edit: I make these claims from personal experience. As a minor, I was assaulted by an adult male in the employee of Logan River Academy. This individual looked me in the eye and said, “all I have to do is tell them you were going to hurt yourself.” He then crossed the room and began to beat my into the wall. When my parents visited me they immediately removed me from the facility because they could see how unsafe this place was. Logan River Academy is not a safe place for children, trust me. Furthermore, the therapy received was impersonal and wholly ineffective. Being in Utah, much of the staff is mormon. This belief affects how they perceive right and wrong. This edit was in response to Logan river Academy calling me a liar. I was the one receiving bad therapy. I was the one spending weeks in devo for bleeding on the walls they smeared me into. I was the one being force fed psychiatric medications that only made my problems worse. Logan River Academy is not to be trusted.” – K Kil (Google Reviews)
2019: (SURVIVOR) “This isn’t my real name. I didn’t feel comfortable using it out of fear of what others would think. Awhile ago, I was sent to Logan River and was there for over a year. Being there declined the progress I could’ve made if I was learning skills in the real world. They didn’t teach me how to function in life or any life skills that I should’ve learned to be an adult (taxes, paying rent, job applications, interviews, applying for colleges, etc). In the outside world, we could’ve learned, so we wouldn’t be completely stuck as adults. Instead, they score you on your behavior every day. The kids with higher scores get praised, while the kids with lower scores honestly get trashed on. They determine your discharge date based on phases, which is a large stack of paperwork which determines as well as your score, if you can move up a phase. If some staff disliked a student for whatever reason, they will purposefully give them bad scores because they don’t like them, even if the student had a perfect day! This is considered behavior modification, NOT THERAPY. Behavior modification has proven to be ineffective and even to cause more harm than good in the long run. Therapy is supposed to teach you how to love yourself, to work through your past traumas so you can be fulfilled and genuinely happy with your life. It’s supposed to help YOU figure out who YOU are and want to be, not what they want you to be. It’s not supposed to put you down as a person like Logan River does. I noticed while I was there that they try and change your personal opinions, values, and goals, to theirs. Teens should learn to figure them out for themselves. Besides that, most of everyone who works there are Mormons. I’m not the type to judge based off religion, but Mormons have extremely strict rules, which they tried to impose on us. We were not allowed to talk about politics, religion, or boys. We weren’t allowed to talk to or look at the boys and if any of us did, we would get in trouble. I have zero doubts that was discrimination. If any of us swore on accident even if we stepped on something and it hurt, we got in trouble. I was falsely accused of a lot of things throughout my stay there and couldn’t even negotiate my way out, or else I’d get in even more trouble, so I felt like I had to just keep to myself, keep my opinions to myself, even though I have a right to my own opinion, keep my head down, and do everything I can to get their approval, even if I didn’t agree with it. It was exhausting trying so hard to get them to like me, but I knew I had to do it so I could get out and finally be happy as I deserve to. I’ve since learned that the only persons approval I need is my own. If I am happy of the person I am and the decisions I am making, that’s what matters. Logan River destroyed my confidence in a lot of ways, and I’ve been working hard to gain that back. Being there made me feel weak, because I couldn’t do anything, so I felt helpless. On top of that, the staff they hire are all in their early 20s, and most of them have no experience or knowledge on how to treat teens. I don’t think that mattered to them. Logan River makes a ton of money each year, which is why they continue to try and make the students stay there as long as possible by convincing the parents that it’s best. Some people were even there as long as 3 years. Nobody should have to go through that. I met a lot of students who were there just to finish school, and didn’t even have any issues, but they will take whoever they can so they can get more money. Not only are most people that work there ignorant, but so many of them were mean. I would lay in bed at night, or be close by and actually hear them saying awful things about me and other students. Hearing some of the things they said hurt me a lot. Looking at the reviews, most of the 5 star ones are from staff that work there, not people who actually experienced it. They’re most likely trying to raise the score to get more money. Don’t send your kids there. I just don’t want anyone to go through what I went through.” – Leila (Google Reviews)
10/9/2018: (PARENT) “I will never forgive myself for sending my son to this place 6 years ago. It was not therapeutically helpful and they mistreated him terribly. They put him in solitary confinement day after day. He was always a good kid but just had emotional issues and they had no idea how to work with him and get him to open up. They destroyed him. The administration and owners never told my husband and I that this was also a place for kids who were headed to jail. I had no idea. They hid this from us. My son never committed a crime in his life and never touched a drug in his life. But he was forced to live and be amongst these kind and no one ever told us They lied to us. Take your money and send to the best wilderness program out there and then bring your child home and take care of them and give them love.” – Nina (Yelp)
2018: (SURVIVOR) “Logan river was a institution full of physical, verbal and mental abuse, I went there over 5 years ago and am still suffering from the trauma that I had to undergo during my stay there . If you swear 3 times your forced to sir in “devo” which is a hot attic where your are forced to sit without communication for several hours a day. I also had to undergo several overly physically abusive restraints while there. I would never send someone I cared about there let alone my worst enemy. Some of the staff there such as my therapist krys oyler were amazing and helped me a lot but it was not enough with some of the other staff whose only goal was to break you and read you down. J hope that the good people who work there find a job in an institution that works hard to cure people’s issues instead of making them worse” – Aria (Google Reviews)
2016: (SURVIVOR) “I have personally spoken out against this place and will always speak out against any facility that violates human rights and freedom of choice to the extent Logan River Academy does. Let me start off by stating the obvious, no treatment will ever work unless the individual who is being treated wants recovery. It’s common sense. Logan River chooses ignore that fact due to the insane amount of profits they receive from families looking for help for their children. They attempt to use a tactic known as behavior modification which in reality is just another way of saying brain-washing. Behavioral modification or brain-washing or whatever you want to call it, is morally and ethically one of the worst things you can do to another human being, especially a kid because of how impressionable they are. By sending their children against their will to faraway treatment centers not only do parents run a severe risk of the program not working and wasting their money, they also run the risk of further worsening the condition of their child when they get home. Many kids come in with drug-related problems, others do not. By mixing those 2 groups together you end up with more drug addicts leaving LRA then coming in. I went there about a decade ago, and can tell you from personal experience Logan River has done nothing but damage me. I have nightmares and flashbacks to this day, of my horrible time spent here. I would liken being in LRA to being in prison. You have little to no contact with the outside world, isolation rooms in a detention area, and corrupt overaggressive power hungry staff members bullying “patients” who are treated more like inmates. Except, unlike prison, instead of being sentenced and given an expected release date, you are left with nothing but uncertainty. Some kids stayed upwards of 3 years. It’s a very traumatic experience being locked up not knowing whats going to happen to you. I have a quote from one of the greatest lawyers of our time Paul Morantz, who fought against this evil industry back in the 70s. ” It reasoned that success stories generally had little to do with the programs themselves. It’s first example, naturally, as failure, was Synanon, and like Synanon, its clones became the darlings of the media and politicians in election years. The problem of these programs was it was believed it was justified to use any means, denying human and civil rights and treating people who didn’t need treatment; all this done without any proof that behavior modification programs ever worked. Further, it is foolish to treat all persons in the same manner. Neither AA, Synanon, or those that followed, were based on any scientific studies. Rather, the organizations said they worked, so people believed it.” Paul almost lost his life when one of these organizations, a similar in fact the so-called grandfather program to LRA, attempted to kill him by putting a derattled Rattlesnake in his mailbox for trying to expose the horrors of what went on there.” – Maximum DEPTH (Google Reviews)
2016: (EX-STAFF) “I would give this treatment center less than one star if I could. I worked here as a female youth counselor for one year, and I had to quit due to ethical conflicts. I am currently in my PhD program studying psychology, and I was and continue to be appalled at the way the program treats the students. Even by looking at the reviews, you can tell that many students who have been in this program have been traumatized by the experience. Please look for other options in entrusting your loved ones care to others.” – Sarah (Google Reviews)
9/20/2015: (SURVIVOR) “I was admitted in to LRA on July 3rd 2012 and discharged on August 27th 2013. I am now in a boarding school. I was not court ordered but my parents hired transporters to remove me from my home by force. The transporters treated me well and drove me all the way from Houston, Texas to Logan, Utah. Upon entering LRA I was strip searched down to my boxers, and I was then ordered to use my fingers to outstretch all the waist band of my boxers outward to ensure there weren’t any hidden contraband items. A staff named Darby Golden was extremely physically abusive when it came to PI’s and would throw fists and slam kids heads onto the wooden floors, often causing blood and scarring. Please do not use my name if investigating this (Darby Golden quit soon before I discharged). I got along with a staff named Chandler Olsen, he was one of the few staff who actually cared about the well being of his students. Staff like Andrew Burris had zero regard for our well being and were emotionally abusive to the students they didn’t like. I graduated the program by achieving the highest level… To do this I had to behave to LRA’s expectations and achieve good feedback from my staff. This was difficult for many but easy for me because I understood how to trick the staff into believing my progress was legitimate. I did make legitimate progress towards sobriety (substance abuse was my reason for admission) however this progress did not affect my level progression, I had to act like I wanted to behave according to their standards. This was torturous at times because I was under constant judgement 24/7 and one mistake can set back a kid’s ability to progress in the levels. Students had zero emotional safety at this school because the vast majority of staff did not care for the kids, and were aggressive if the kids did not behave as demanded. I was never neglected for food or water however bathroom breaks in devo are limited and any more than 1 break for the bathroom every couple of hours was not tolerated. I was not diagnosed with any disorder from this program. My relationship with my parents is now very good but this is due to my own growth and had nothing to do with the program. This program did not help me. Me being sober helped me. I hated this program, and I believe almost nobody can benefit from it. I have seen kids cry because of the staff’s lack of regard for their emotions and they only get treated more poorly for showing such emotional instability and as a result stay in the program for longer periods of time. Feel free to prompt me with more specific questions.” – Max
9/5/2015: (SURVIVOR) Link to Evelyn’s Survivor Testimony
3/24/2015: (SURVIVOR) “i spent almost 2 years at LRA, one year and 4 months of which was spent in “devo” (solitary). The first day i was there I had the right side of my face/head forced into a wall and then into a carpet floor leaving me with severe rug burns all over my face. I clearly remember a staff member stabbing a kid with a pen because the kid had called the staff member out on his unfair and very offensive moral aspects (this includes racism, neglect of any religious foundation other than being mormon, and very aggressive). When such problems were brought even directly to the owners of the establishment nearly every report of misconduct was ignored. For example the son of one of the owners of LRA (i believe his name was Greg, a night staff) told me to punch him in the face one night after a heated argument about some racial remarks said by another staff to a newer african american kid. He continued to block me off from being able to return to bed and repeated the words “punch me, punch me, punch me.” and then continued to say, “I would love to see your ass in jail.” So i eventually punched him to silence the endless taunting, he stood back, pulled out his phone and moments later an officer arrived, cuffed me, and took me to booking. Later i would learn that not only did that staff (the son of the owner) did not record or record the events prior to my arrest (as they are supposed to do), he, in his own words “forgot” to inform ANYONE that i had been arrested because he had told me to strike him. Luckily enough another staff noticed my absence and i was brought back to LRA, however still there was no reports made and the owner would not listen to a word i had said even though there were about 6 other kids whom had heard and seen it all go down. This establishment is run by greedy sick people and the majority of the staff seemed to belong in an institution themselves. While being there those who would communicate with my parents would only tell them what they wanted to hear, and if i was to say anything out of line about the establishment (yes, they listen to “private” phone calls) I would be put in “devo” for weeks, sometimes months at a time.” – I.A. (Yelp)
1/9/2015: (SURVIVOR) “I still have nightmares about being back here. I spent 11 months at LRA when I was 15 and 16. It was scary enough to be taken from my bed in the middle of the night by total strangers and transported to Utah. But then when I actually made it there I felt more alone than I ever had in my life. My therapist was disconnected totally from the issues I was going through. She would literally snack through our sessions, and write on a whiteboard about depression like I was some kind of idiot. The staff made no attempt to connect with me on an individual basis or try to help me through my hard time. Instead they would focus purely on structure for structure’s sake – handing out infractions with unnecessarily harsh punishments. Most of them got quite a kick out of it too. It is sick. They take any opportunity they can get to use “PI” (Physical intervention). I saw a staff member grab a child by his throat and slam him to the ground (the kid hit his head on the door frame on the way down and had the hugest knot I’ve ever seen after). Another staff member (of about 300 lbs) knelled on a kid’s shoulders for like 2 minutes while this kid was crying in pain begging him to let him up. Many of the staff members made fun of kids. A lot of these guys are young college students. They would play along with the “cool crowd” and further outcast the not-so-cool kids. The actual school part of the program is an absolute joke also. I felt like I was in special ed classes. In summary – I know there are programs out there designed to empower young children who have found themselves on the wrong path and give them the tools to get to a better place. LRA, however, is not one of those places. They use fear to rule, and force these helpless children all into the same cookie cutter without regard for any one child’s individuality.” – Britton (Yelp)
11/3/2014: (SURVIVOR) “I am an MSW at NYU-one of the top schools in the country for social work. I have worked in group homes with kids who have behavioral issues, in inpatient and outpatient mental health facilities, and with the developmentally disabled. Speaking as a previous student who attended LRA AND as a current clinician-Logan River Academy is one of the most horrendous, dangerous, and least helpful treatment facilities in America. Institutional Abuse occurs on the daily here, and kids often leave LRA worse than they come. Out of the ten girls I lived with during my time at LRA, I am the only one without a child, in prison, or who didn’t end up on drugs. DO NOT send your children to Logan River Academy unless you are looking for them to be physically, and emotionally abused. I now provide treatment for kids like I once was and I would NEVER recommend a place like this. Update 4/1/2019: I wish to update my review due to the time passed since the last one. Again, I’m a clinical social worker with a masters degree and licensure. I work with all types of adolescents and the more life I live, the more I realize what this place has done to me and countless others. Because of what I endured at LRA, I have started a nonprofit to help survivors of this type of abuse. I have been so effected by the things that happened to me there, I will be in therapy the rest of my life. Please please please do not send your child here. Research, look at reviews and contact previous students. You will cause so much future pain for your child if you send them here. Please don’t be fooled.” – Samantha (Yelp)
7/22/2014: (SURVIVOR) Link to Samantha’s LRA Survivor Testimony
3/12/2014: (PARENT) “This school was recommended by an educational consultant, but our son found almost immediately that he could not trust or confide in his therapist, and the dorm staff–made up of imposing former college athletes–literally enjoyed threatening the boys with “PI’s” or physical incidents. These amounted to beat downs that were sanctioned by the school if and when certain rules were broken. We were told not to believe our son (when he spoke of this and we subsequently talked with staff), but then it happened to him and we saw the aftermath. He also spent an inordinate amount of time at one point in “development’–otherwise known as solitary confinement–for minor infractions like not wanting to turn another boy in… Our son once became very upset about another young man with severe ADHD who was kept in ‘development’ for weeks on end because he literally could not sit still and stay focused… I will admit that there was one caring employee who helped my son get through the worst times, but overall I believe that the owners of Logan River Academy wear blinders to the harm their staff is doing to troubled teens who are at their most vulnerable point. We pulled our son out after only a few months, and I do not recommend this program to anyone.” – P.J. (Yelp)
12/29/2013: (SURVIVOR) “My name is Michael Joseph Carter. I was born February 1st 1985. I’m from Central Connecticut. I was detained at Logan River Academy for 13 months, being August 1st 2001 until august 31st 2002. Prior to being admitted into Logan River Academy, I had never been evaluated by a psychologist or psychiatrist. I was taking no prescription medication other than prescribed to me for my allergies. I had been on no special directives or special education. While I wasn’t excelling in school, I was not a delinquent. I attended school despite being tossed around to various different high schools and middle schools, due to my father’s disarray in his own lifestyle. During my time in Utah I had a blatant refusal to conform to the program rules. The LDS religion was repeatedly put on me by my therapist and by my unit staff. My “unit staff”, which basically consists of BYU students in various degrees of repression and resentment. They were…they were sadistic. They push the religion on us and they lashed out against us physically. During my stay most if it was spent in what is known as “development”. Development is a room that at the time I was there, before they had built the school building, was on the third floor on the south half building. There were maybe two dozen desks. Six desks facing forward. While you were in development you were to face forward. You were not to speak. Every 30 minutes we’re given a break. So on the 25 minute structure, you were given a five-minute break. If there were 25 people, 24 people in development and you had to use the restroom, you best have your hand up in the first three when they call break—because you weren’t going to use it until the next break. If you spoke, you were given another “infraction” equaling more time. If you looked at another person, in any other way other than straight ahead, or down at your books, you were given an infraction, equaling more time. If you talked about any religion other than the LDS religion, if you talked about home, if you had any insubordination toward any of the staff members (and we’re talking speaking of it, we’re not talking acting out), you got different infractions. If you said anything bad about the LDS Church, about the facility, about Larry Carter, you’re given more infractions. Mostly for insubordination, or whatever the fuck they made up. And that was the best of it. That was the best you can hope for, would be to sit in solitary confinement for weeks, for months, months straight, without talking to people. “Outside structure” – run laps to, you know, to be compliant with your outside exercise machine. Whatever the hell made them happy or compliant in their own eyes. If you acted out though, it was called “taking a chair”– where you would be forced to sit Indian style against the wall for extended periods of time. I remember one instance—his name was Alex. He lives in upstate New York. I won’t use his last name, out of respect. I haven’t asked his permission. He was crying, he was visibly upset. He was 14 years old and he was on a “chair use” calling out for his mother or something. The staff would tackle him and put his head into the wall and just belittle him. And I mean, as if being Indian style as all your peers were marched by, like something in the gulag. If the humiliation wasn’t bad enough, you had to be abused, physically abused. Restraints were doled out unnecessarily. Not mechanical restraints, but they were attacking you. You know, we had a couple of guys who were BYU football players. A fourteen-year-old child is suffering from addiction problems, or whatever problems they have at home, to have four football players, linebackers, tackle a 14 year old. These are college kids. It got out of hand—I mean a lot of people got hurt. And then the worst of it was “observation”. Observation, (I think they call it, call it something else now), but they put you in a room, a little room. No doors, no windows, you were to sit there. You weren’t allowed to talk, you weren’t allowed to move. If you did any of those things, you would get more time. And there were various reasons that would go out. If you are in development, and you just simply refused and said fuck this, you’d go to observation. You’d be tackled, put on a chair, and if they didn’t like you, cause there was favoritism, you would absolutely he put in observation. And that was the worst because they would take your clothing. You would sit there in your underwear sometimes, on full display for anyone see. I can’t explain to you what that’s like, to be 14, 15 years old to have to endure that. You know, I’d like to think there was a sense of camaraderie. There wasn’t. You know in schools you’ve got the clicks, where you’ve got the jocks and the nerds. And we had all of that, we had we had people from all walks of life. We were all banded together because it was just so out of line. It was so unacceptable to be a part of. Just to belittlement, forget about the physical abuse, you know. At least in the boys unit, I can’t speak for anyone on unit one or two. Mind you this is in 2001 and 2002. I agree that the entire layout has changed. But on the boys unit, there was a lot of a belittlement. You know, you can write it off as tough love. But tough love is tough love. Tough love isn’t just pure insults, and shame, and constant fear if you do anything wrong, anything to offend anybody, you would just be forced to sit in a room, alone, for an undetermined amount of time. They’d say, okay, you received a class two infraction, you’re going up there for four hours. But when you’re up there, if the guy had a bad day before, the administrator, the developmental staff, he didn’t like you, and he’d point you out for doing nothing at all, you’d be up there for days. You’d be sleeping up there. You’d be up there for months—alone, secluded, isolated, and there was nothing you can do. There are no access to phones. You cannot reach out to friends, family, other than structured monitored phone calls once a week with your therapist present, who does in fact filter the call. You’re under constant fear of getting infractions and spending more time, if you were to just burst out and to say look, this is what’s happening. It is controlled. Everything is regulated. And the long-term effects are quite damaging. I was fortunate enough to just say “fuck the system”, pardon my language, we can edit that out. But I took a lot of the brunt of it and I didn’t care. If I had to do it all over again I would have stood up for myself. And long after my release, it affected me for a really long time. The exposure you have two drugs, to just a nefarious way of life…it’s astounding. I can’t imagine how these places are still in business. I can’t wrap my head around how they are allowed to operate legally. They are completely money-driven. Have no previous psychological evaluation in a negative or a positive, any effect. I was still forced to see a therapist. I was still conditioned to believe that I was somehow in the wrong because I didn’t like my father. Because he got into my trust fund and spent all of my money on a house in a jeep and had me shipped away for the cost of seventy three thousand dollars so my own money for my own incarceration, with no foundation for me to be there. It’s damaging. And to see so many kids… David from Michigan. I watched him chew the skin of his feet, just to get medical attention, just to get out at the facility. Just to have the opportunity to just–I don’t know what his motivation was. Dave wasn’t a messed up guy. Dave wasn’t loose in the head. Dave was terrified you know, a place like that makes you suicidal. I’m a collected, educated, productive member of society now, today with no credit going to Logan River. And you know I specifically recall on the day I left, I was asked by Katie Bem, she still works there I believe, my therapist, she asked me if I believed Logan helped me in any way, and you know I think that was the first jaw dropping experience up my life. I couldn’t believe she asked me the question and expected me to take it seriously. I don’t know, there’s more to come. Stay tuned. For more information on Michael Carter and other survivors and what you can do to prevent further abuse at Logan River Academy: Visit the Shutdown Logan River Academy website.” – Michael (Tumblr)
8/17/2013: (SURVIVOR) “I was once a victim of this abborehent facility. I was renditioned to this place by two hired armed goons in September of 2006. What proceeded was the worst year of my life. For 11 months I witnessed criminal abuse and psychological torture. In no world is it necessary for someone to need 3 ex-marines to hold down a 95 lb 14 year old. And that’s just the start. Right before my release date a 17 year old girl was sexually assaulted by a staff member. The response from Logan River Academy to its prisoners was “don’t tell your parents or talk about it, if you do you will receive a class IV”. If you receive a class IV the result is similar to what they do to violent offenders in prison. They send you to a room for a month straight where you can’t talk to anyone any violation adds to your time up there. This place is criminal and fraudulent. if you are thinking about sending your child here you should probably talk to some of the ex “students” who went here first. They will tell you the exact same thing. It’s a complete waste of tens of thousands of dollars. The only effect you will get is a child who will always resent the fact that you paid to have them imprisoned.” – Max (Yelp)
2013: (SURVIVOR) “When I toured Logan River Academy, it appears to be clean and there are nice classrooms and administrative offices. What they didn’t show me on my tour though was the rooms they use for detention and solitary confinement. Apparently you have to know about them and ask to see them. They administer different levels of punishment. The first level is called “devo”, which is a euphemism for detention. In “devo”, kids are not allowed to draw, do homework, or move their legs. The increment of time in “devo” is at least one hour at a time, with no maximum. At the time my brother was pulled from the school, he had 4,000 hours he had left to work off. The next level of psychological punishment is solitary confinement. They keep the kids in a small cell for the entire day, and if the staff feels like it, they bring a cot into the room so that the kid has to sleep there too. They denied my brother a shower for ten days and when they finally did let him shower, it was brief and only once all the hot water was gone. The worst level of punishment is called “physical interventions” or P.I’s, which sometimes proceed solitary confinement. The directions the staff get are only to use it only when the kids get violent first. My brother confirmed that they used it on him even when he wasn’t, and has never been violent. The individual staff member has full discretion to use whatever punishment they want, whenever they want. Going to the bathroom during these punishment periods is considered a “privilege” at the discretion of the staff. There is no appeals process or outside (federal government) party to oversee what goes on behind closed doors. And the school limits communication to only the parents, once or twice a week, according to the discretion of the “therapists”. They have no psychologists on staff, and the majority of the staff are “therapists in training”, meaning they are working on their hours with the goal of being licensed at the end. The school doesn’t have to provide any learning achievement data. The organization that they are “accredited” by, NATSAP, is a membership program, and not a legitimate accreditation institution. When we reported the school to the American Medical Association, the American Pediatric Association, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, they agreed it was horrible, but told us they couldn’t pull any licenses because they never actually gave them any to begin with. If I sound bitter, it’s because the school charges $7,500 a month (for the year, it totals to more than the tuition of an ivy league), and they kept him in detention for 80% of the eight months he spent there. If they are going to charge those prices they should produce a comparably high level of treatment.” – Dana (Google Reviews)
2013: (SURVIVOR) “I spent 9 1/2 months here when I was 15/16 years old. The Program is dark,corrupt and shady like a bad prison system. I spent many weeks in “devo,” sitting in a chair, unable to move, stretch, speak or use the restroom from 9 AM – 9 PM. I fought it for awhile only to realize the only way I would ever leave that place was if I “faked it till I made it.” I met some good people (students mostly) there but overall LRA is a scam and has no real psychiatric, educational, or behavioral benefit.” – LAdubnbass (Google Reviews)
Unknown Date: (SURVIVOR) Link to Samantha’s Survivor Testimony
Unknown Date: (SURVIVOR) Link to Troy’s Survivor Testimony
Logan River Academy Website Homepage
HEAL Program Information
Shut Down Logan River Academy (Website)
Logan River Academy – Wikipedia Page
Logan River Academy – Secret Prisons for Teens
Safe Teen Schools – Logan River Academy
Anonymous targets Logan River Academy over allegations of abuse (HJ News, 11/10/2013)
Anonymous Launches #ShutLoganRiver Campaign
Hacker group alleges Logan River Academy abuses clients (KSL, 11/11/2013)
Samantha Gerson (Washington Square News, 3/13/2015)
Logan River Academy student charged with molesting others accepts plea deal (Cache Valley Daily, 3/14/2019)
Teen treatment center employee arrested for allegedly molesting student (Cache Valley Daily, 3/5/2021)
Shut Down Loagn River Academy – Facebook Group