Monuments RTC (2018-present) Brian Head, UT
Residential Treatment Center
History and Background Information
Monuments RTC is a behavior-modification program that opened in 2018. It is marketed as a Residential Treatment Center for teenage boys (14-17) who struggle with a variety of emotional, behavioral, or mental health challenges. The program has a maximum enrollment of 44 boys, and they report that the average length of stay is reported to be between 10 and 12 months. However, survivors have reported that the typical length of stay is between 8 and 24 months. The cost of tuition is reportedly $12,500 per month. Monuments RTC has been a NATSAP member since 2019.
The program is located on a 160-acre campus at 1990 Dry Lakes Rd, Brian Head, UT 84719. Another address associated with the program is 815 W 200 S #2, Parowan, UT 84761, although this does not appear to be the location of the actual campus.
Founders and Notable Staff
Gordon Birch is the Founder and CEO of Monuments RTC. He began his career as the Executive Director of Aspen Youth Alternatives in Montana, from 1994 until 1996. He then became the National Director of the confirmedly abusive Aspen Education Group from 1996 until 2001. He then became the CEO of the notorious confirmedly abusive Wilderness Quest from 2005 until 2007. Wilderness Quest was the rebrand of Vision Quest, which was a notoriously abusive program where 14 teens died while enrolled there.
Brad Matheson is a Founding Partner and the former Director of Marketing at Monuments RTC. He previously worked as a Partner and the Admissions Director of WinGate Wilderness, a reportedly abusive Family Help & Wellness program. His prior employment is unknown.
Mary Lou Wise is the Executive Director of Monuments RTC. Monument’s website states that she has worked with children and adolescents for over 30 years; however, she earned her Master’s Degree in 1986 yet her LinkedIn profile does not list her employment until 2009 when she became a Therapist at the Center for Change. In 2012, she began working at WinGate Wilderness, a reportedly abusive Family Help & Wellness program. She then began working as a Therapist at the reportedly abusive Telos RTC in 2016. One former staff member states, “Mary Lou, who I think is the head therapist had a gross sense of humor often making comments that would make my skin crawl. She acted like an adult who was stuck in her teenage years. I also heard her talk down to both students and colleagues. She loves to talk about how great she is. Her ego is always on display. She just felt like a bad fit for someone who is in the business of helping youth. Not someone I would trust with sensitive information. She was the main reason I left.”
Aaron Cluff is the Clinical Director of Monuments RTC. He began his career as a counsellor at an unnamed residential substance abuse program. He then began working at WinGate Wilderness in 2009. He appears to have also worked at the Aspen Achievement Academy, although this is unconfirmed.
Haydn Jessup works as a Therapist at Monuments RTC. This appears to be his first job in the TTI.
Andrew Larsen works as a Therapist at Monuments RTC. He previously worked as a Paraprofessional/Field Coordinator at the reportedly abusive Anasazi Foundation from 2011 until 2014.
Sally Mayer-Swift works as a Therapist at Monuments RTC. She previously worked as a Group Leader, Therapist and Clinical Director at the confirmedly abusive Rancho Valmora in New Mexico for 5 years. She has reportedly worked in the TTI for 28 years, although her other places of employment are currently unknown.
Matt Reed is a Co-Program Director at Monuments RTC. He has reportedly worked in the TTI for over 5 years, although his prior places of employment are unknown.
Tera Purcell is a Co-Program Director at Monuments RTC. Her prior employment is unknown.
Like other behavior-modification programs, Monuments RTC uses a level-system. However, the specifics of the level-system are currently unknown. If you attended this program and would like to contribute information to help complete this page, please contact u/shroomskillet.
Abuse Allegations and Lawsuits
Many survivors have reported that Monuments RTC is an abusive program. Allegations of abuse and neglect include social isolation, neglect, shaming, emotional manipulation, and verbal abuse.
An incident report from 5/28/2019 shows that a resident at Monuments RTC was able to ingest rubbing alcohol while at the program. He was taken to the emergency room where he recovered.
June 2021: (SURVIVOR) “The toxicity and culture at this treatment center is so bad. The therapy was not the thing that changed me the bullying was I was bullied so bad it changed me to a new person. The therapy here is so hurrendous and the staff and owners do not stick to there word. For example I love to skateboard and they told me they were going to build a skateboard ramp in a few weeks, a whopping 5 months later a cheap skateboard ramp that was soon water boarded and broken very quickly was built.” – Dayton (Google Reviews)
April 2021: (EX-STAFF) “I am a former employee at this program. I was excited to work with the youth, hoping to make a difference. Sadly this is not a program I can endorse. It feels chaotic because the students do not receive the best supervision. The staff are poorly trained. I have no confidence in the leadership. The higher ups are disconnected from the day to day. Mary Lou, who I think is the head therapist had a gross sense of humor often making comments that would make my skin crawl. She acted like an adult who was stuck in her teenage years. I also heard her talk down to both students and colleagues. She loves to talk about how great she is. Her ego is always on display. She just felt like a bad fit for someone who is in the business of helping youth. Not someone I would trust with sensitive information. She was the main reason I left. The program puts a lot of emphasis on horsemanship, which is a strength, but they seem to fall short because some of the boys just didn’t connect with that part of the program. The program put too much emphasis on the animals. There were some well intended staff that I admired, especially Mike and Matt. It is unfortunate that the program is in the middle of no-where because they struggle to hire and retain people. I have since moved and am now working in an another program, which has helped me see just how bad Monuments is.” – Jason (Google Reviews)
February 2021: (SURVIVOR) “there are six therapist at this treatment center the therapist mary lou, doc aaron, and andrew will manipulate you into thinking your child needs to stay their at the rtc for longer than 12 months because then the therapist make more money when really your kid is ready to go at 6” – Kyle (Google Reviews)
1/28/2021: (SURVIVOR) “This place will not help your child at all. The clinical director does not care about the well being of the students, her only goal is to make money. All the therapists but one manipulate the parents into keeping their children here longer than they need. Very little of the information provided by the website is true. If you send your child here and there is a story thats sounds crazy, hear them out. The tuition is 12,500 dollars per month, while most of that goes to progressive education tracks and horses. Your child will get very little if not nothing out of these tracks. They draw you in with horses, their location, and progressive education. Around 20-30 percent of the clients consistently go to horses, students rarely leave the facility, and don’t get to embrace that “alpine forest” they talk so highly of. Just recently, two kids ran away from the program due to excessive bullying and abuse. They are now in jail with no further contact from the program. When the directors found out about this, they cut off the clients contact with their parents and didn’t let them communicate until they had come up with thier own version of the story to please the parents. People running away is a safety issue that parents deserve to know the truth about. A staff showed nudes to a client that was in treatment for porn addiction. The vast majority of the staff are students from SUU that are trying to pay off their college tuition and have the theraputic experience of dealing with angry customers at Kroger’s. The pandemic has been completely treated like a joke. Most staff dont wear masks that cover their nose, almost all the staff have gotten it, putting monuments way understaffed, which is also a safety concern. When the pandemic finally reached the progam, the brilliant management of the company caused almost everyone to catch COVID-19. They didn’t properly quarantine anyone, which is yet another safety issue. They have just about all the parents fooled about this place. If your child is in a program or at home, and you are considereing sending them here, I urge you to LOOK ELSWHERE!!” – H.S. (Yelp)
1/28/2021: (SURVIVOR) “Monuments RTC is a poorly ran company that milks parents for their money. The therapists at Monuments put the money and success of the buisness before the clients treatment, the clinical team does not disagree that they do this. Clients health is not important to the therapists or staff specifically when it comes to Covid-19. Quarentine was not taken seriusly and the staff and clinical team acted as if it was a joke, 2 weeks later every client but 5 had Covid-19. A lot of clients come to Monuments for electronic addiction but clients watch 4-7 hours of T.V everynight. I would really consider reaching out to previous staff, and clients before enrolling your child into Monuments.” – Benjamin (Yelp)
11/25/2020: (PARENT) “I would give negative stars if possible. Please interview a lot of families who have been in this place and don’t ask the families the RTC refers you to as references. They give discounts to the families who are willing to talk to prospective parents and they aren’t honest. This place is run very poorly. They hire terrible staff or the good ones leave. The director is crazy. I have never met an adult in the mental health field with so many issues of her own. She needs to be told how wonderful she is all the time. She has a terrible ego you will have to manage. She and the other leadership staff will rarely follow through with anything they promise. My child went here and was physically assaulted and bullied but the very worst treatment was from the staff themselves. The owner doesn’t keep his word, the clinical director is a terrible person who lies constantly, the staff who are supposed to be watching the kids do not keep them safe. My child left with more trauma than he started with. They also disclose personal medical information and diagnoses with other families. Completely illegal. Please take your child elsewhere. If your child is there and they tell you stories that you think can’t be true, believe them! They do absolutely nothing helpful for addiction issues even though they will lie and say they do. They will lure you in with the location and the “progressive education” tracks your kid can participate in. They sound amazing but aren’t. There is very little physical activity for the kids and the food is horrible and not nutritious. They will promise you the moon and you will get a rock. I know several families who have removed their kids and several others who regret letting their kids stay. It’s terrifying the lying and lack of integrity. It’s your child’s life. Don’t take the chance.” – L.S. (Yelp)
October 2020: (SURVIVOR) “I go to this treatment center it is very poorly ran they hire any staff off the street from college students to elderly home patients they give very few recourses to the students here even though tuition is $12,500 a month if you need to get your child help I suggest looking elsewhere monuments is known for swindling parents on tours of the facility but just know in the two years of the program I have not heard or seen if one success story.” – Hayden (Google Reviews)
Monuments RTC Website Homepage
Monuments RTC Alternative Website Homepage
Monuments RTC Critial Incident Report