Triangle Cross Boys Ranch (2012-present) Powell, WY
Christian Therapeutic Ranch & School
History and Background Information
Triange Cross Boys Ranch (formerly known as Mount Carmel Youth Ranch) is a behavior modification program that opened in 2012. It is marketed as a Christian Therapeutic Ranch & School for pre-teen and teenage boys (10-17) who are struggling with mild to moderate emotional and behavioral problems, low self-esteem, defiance, academic underachievement, substance abuse issues, and/or family conflict. The program’s maximum enrollment is presently unknown, and the average length of stay is reported to be between 9 and 12 months. The cost of tuition is $5,800 per month, plus a one-time admission fee of $2,850.
The program is located on a 50,000-acre working cattle ranch at 428 Rd 1Af, Powell, WY 82435. The ranch is situated in a very rural part of Northern Wyoming, not far from the Montana border. Part of the ranch is actually located in Montana, which has historically allowed residents to be moved over the border in order to skirt licensing requirements in each of the states.
Triangle Cross Ranch was originally founded in 1992 under the name Mount Carmel Youth Ranch. In late 2012, Jerry and Michaleen “Mickey” Schneider decided to re-brand what had been known as Mount Carmel Youth Ranch into Triangle Cross Ranch. After failing to get licensing with the State of Wyoming by the time the application process closed in March 2013, DFS ordered TCR to close. At this time there was a moratorium on licenses being issued by DFS per state legislature ruling. In multiple DFS visits to the ranch in late 2013 and early 2014, the facility appeared to be continuing to operate with minors present and Schneider argued his business should not be considered a child caring facility. The ranch argued it did not need licensing for providing the opportunity to perform “inherently therapeutic” ranch chores.
In August 2013 Jerry Schneider told DFS staff he moved all operations related to minor children on-site to the Montana portion of his property in order to avoid Wyoming certification and regulatory oversight. In 2018, TCR reopened as a licensed Wyoming group home. The program is closely affiliated with another reportedly abusive program in Wyoming, Trinity Teen Solutions, which is owned by the daughter of Triangle Cross’s owner, Jerry Schneider.
Founders and Notable Staff
Gerald “Jerry” Schneider is the Founder and Owner of Triangle Cross Ranch. After two years working as an engineer, Jerry started ranching in Wyoming in 1967. In 1973, he purchased the land that would one day be Triangle Cross Ranch. After an accident in 1991 where Jerry’s horse somersaulted over the top of him, he awoke in the hospital to find that he had lost movement on one side of his body. He wondered how he would be able to continue running his ranch with a disbility such as his. To help, he enlisted the help of a few troubled boys in order to continue the upkeep of his ranch. This was the origin of Mount Carmel Youth Ranch, which he created in 1992 and officially incorporated in 1996.
Michaeleen “Mickey” Schneider is the Co-Founder of TCR and the wife of Jerry Schneider. They have been married sincce 1963.
Mark Schneider is the Ranch Manager of Triangle Cross Ranch. He is reportedly a professional mechanic and heavy equipment operator. He is believed to be the son of the founders, Jerry and Mickey Schneider.
Julie Ley is the General Manager and Admissions Director of Triangle Cross Ranch.
Like other behavior modification programs, Triangle Cross Ranch is believed to use a level system consisting of two levels. The levels are reported to be:
- Warehouse Level: This is the lower level at TCR, and all residents start on this level. During this time, the residents sleep in uninsulated sheds with no heat sources, equipped with solar-powered alarms to prevent them from leaving. They have no access to latrines and are forced to urinate in jugs. Because defecating in jugs is difficult, they defecate wherever they can. In order to progress to the next level, the residents must perform extensive manual labor and comply with the rules of the program.
- Bunkhouse Level: On this level, the teens are rewarded with better clothing, better food, heat, running water, and air conditioning. If bunkhouse level residents don’t meet the labor demands, they are downgraded to the warehouse level.
The boys at the ranch are assigned chores based on their capabilities in the current season. Chores, depending on season, include: horse care, feeding baby calves, participating in cattle drives, building fences, and repairing and maintaining ranch vehicles and farm equipment.
Very little additional information is currently known regarding the specifics of the program used by Triangle Cross Ranch. 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 Triangle Cross Ranch is an abusive program. Allegations of abuse and neglect that have been reported by survivors include forced manual labor, unsanitary conditions, lack of heating/running water, punitive punishments, food deprivations, physical abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse, excessive physical restraints, and monitored communication with the outside worl which inhibited their ability to report abuse.
In November of 2020, a federal class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of roughly 25 members, including four listed plaintiffs, against both Triangle Cross Ranch and Trinity Teen Solutions. Three of the plaintiffs attended Trinity Teen Solutions, and one attended Triangle Cross Ranch. Some of the allegations reported in the lawsuit include two counts of forced labor, trafficking, racketeering, negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiff who is a former resident of TCR, referred to as John Doe, attended the program from May through December of 2011. His experiences, detailed in the lawsuit, include:
- During his transportation to the ranch, he was placed in a cement boot and forced to wear a four-point restraint consisting of a belt and handcuffs and an ankle constraints even though he was not a delinquent.
- His forced labor included welding, mechanical repairs, running irrigation pipes multiple hours a day for six days a week, constructing a 40-foot by 60-foot irrigation steel barn with no safety equipment or harnesses, shoveling manure, feeding animals, and working for a defendant’s seed business.
- He had severe anal pain and was forced to work for months without proper medical treatment. After receiving an anal sphincteroplasty to repair the muscle tear, the ranch owners medicated him with high doses of diphenhydramine to keep him docile. He served as their personal aide during recovering.
- Forced to subsist on a diet of insects. He and other ranch residents would eat bugs because they were so hungry. He would throw up and swallow it to make himself feel full. He went from 255 pounds to 155 pounds during his stay.
- Physical assault.
- Each staff member, at his own discretion, could punish him.
- Father Daniel Schneider often would ask his father, Triangle Cross Ranch owner/operator Gerald Schneider, for John Doe and other boys to do forced labor at the monastery of the Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel.
In addition, there are several shared experiences that all four of the plaintiffs reported, including the three who attended Trinity Teen Solutions. These experiences are:
- Jail-style strip searches upon arrival.
- Staff read all incoming and outgoing mail. Staff forced residents to re-write any critical comments about the facilities.
- If a telephone conversation was permitted, a staff member observed the communication and could stop it at any time.
- They were forced to write positive testimonials for use in advertising before being released.
- They were subjected to physical, verbal, psychological and emotional abuse.
- They were threatened with further confinement and forced labor unless they completed all chores and ranch duties.
- They routinely would have a device placed on their foot or leg to hinder their possibility of escape.
- They were forced to work at local churches and facilities owned by the Diocese of Cheyenne and the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, nearby ranches, and the monastery of the Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel who make “Mystic Monk Coffee.”
As of October 2021, the lawsuit appears to be ongoing. This page will be updated in the future if the resolution of the suit becomes publicly available.
No survivor testimonies have yet been found. If you attended this program and would like to contribute a testimony of your experience, please contact u/shroomskillet.
Triangle Cross Ranch Website Homepage
Triangle Cross Ranch DHS Records
Triangle Cross Ranch – 1000 Places You Don’t Want to be as a Teenager
Mount Carmel Youth Ranch – 1000 Places You Don’t Want to be as a Teenager
Triangle Cross Ranch Marketing Brochure (September 2020)
Alleged unlicensed teen ranch north of Cody faces closure (Cody Enterprise, 12/4/2013)
Letter to the Wyoming Attorney General regarding TCR (7/5/2015)
Man pleads not guilty to assault of ex-girlfriend (Cody Enterprise, 1/31/2018)
Past issues with Triangle Cross Ranch (Cody Enterprise, 11/30/2020)
LAWSUIT AGAINST POWELL-AREA YOUTH RANCHES DETAILS ABUSES (K2 Radio, 11/30/2020)
Lawsuit against Wyoming teen centers alleges abuse (Associated Press, 12/1/2020)
Federal case filed against Park County teen centers (Sheridan Press, 12/1/2020)
Federal case filed against Park County teen centers (Wyoming News, 12/1/2020)
Lawsuit with teen centers continues (Cody Enterprise, 7/5/2021)
Wyoming Teen Centers Sued over Alleged Abuse (Insurance Journal, 12/3/2020)