My CEDU Experience I was ordered to CEDU at a young 15 years old by a Santa Barbara County family judge. Upon arriving, I was isolated from everyone I knew and loved, including my family. I was kept isolated from all things and people in the world; as isolation is the first step in brainwashing. I was thoroughly brainwashed by the end.

The additional abuse and torture I experienced were physical, psychological, emotional, and sexual. I experienced this abuse from both the adults and by my peers as we were forced to do these things to each other as well. I was repeatedly called awful names, told that my parents nor anyone loved me, and humiliated in front of the entire school. I saw all of my fellow students experience the same.

I experienced seclusion in addition to educational, medical, psychological, mental, and emotional neglect. I experienced true terror and fear, and consistent daily trauma. Because we were cut off from the outside world and our families, I did not have access to a phone.

I did write my mother a letter (that was read prior to being mailed) trying to covertly communicate the absolute horrors that I was witnessing and experiencing. She called CEDU. She had some questions. They assured her that I was just, “a bad kid who wanted to go home and do drugs and have sex with boys. Don’t worry, she is lying to try to manipulate you to take her home. We assure you none of that is happening.” These staff members were all uneducated, unqualified, and unlicensed. None of them had Early Childhood Education degrees, Psychology degrees, or even basic teaching credentials. This is an unregulated industry (unlike public sector industries where you must provide proof of credentials and have a background check to work with children) which makes it ripe for pedophiles.

The trauma I experienced and the torture that I endured for oh so long, during the most crucial time of my development, has left me unable to work. I have had 42 jobs in about 22 years. I am unable to make and keep friendships, work relationships, or family relationships. I was a mere commodity in the for-profit private sector troubled teen industry, at my expense. They got rich, while I became so traumatized that I cannot even work and have actually lost teeth from biting during my sleep, during the terrifying recurring nightmares.

The damage that CEDU did to me has been lifelong. My PTSD is so severe that I can only minimally interact with people – authority or my peers – as a result of the conditioning I went through 24-7 for 3 years. I left there understanding full well that authority and “grown-ups” are going to hurt me, and so are my friends. I trust(ed) no one.

I struggle daily to stay alive and survive; as my SSDI does not cover all of my living expenses. I panic every day about how I will find money to pay my utilities each month. I live in a constant state of panic, fear, and a feeling of impending sense of doom. My PTSD becomes triggered so easily, and I dissociate so quickly, that I cannot much take on large or important responsibilities. I am in a state of arrested development at 15 years old.

It is a challenge to write a small blurb about my 3-year-long horrific experience in only a few paragraphs. But that is the assignment for this piece. So, I will leave you with this food for thought: How on earth is it acceptable that the unregulated troubled teen industry profits billions of dollars a year off of abusing and torturing children?

How can it be possible that I can go buy stock right now in some of these troubled teen industry companies, traded publicly on the NYSE, where, as a shareholder, I would pressure the company to make me more and more money? That means I would encourage, or even pressure, the company to recruit more and more naive parents, trick them into handing over their children and paying hundreds of thousands of dollars. The company must keep doing this in order to make money for its shareholders. And people are sitting at home right now, looking at their Universal Health Services, Inc. Class B stocks on the NYSE and cheering “yes!” because the stock went up this morning.

Disgusting. They should be ashamed of themselves. That is pedophile child abuse torture blood money. We in this country care not about our children; as we so often claim. For we are willing to hand them over to be broken by strangers for large sums of cash. CEDU broke me. We need to speak up, speak out, and fight for these kids to have hope at living a potentially successful future: something I never even had a chance to do. We need Federal Legislation and Regulation, NOW. Before this industry destroys and breaks more children turning them into disabled non-functioning adults.

That is why I am #BreakingCodeSilence

Solis Papagian

CEDU, Running Springs

1989 – 1992