Students Sue 'Troubled Teen' School for Systematic Sexual, Emotional Abuse
By Maia Szalavitz
Nine former students of Mount Bachelor Academy, a now-defunct school in Oregon for "troubled teens," have filed a $14.25-million lawsuit against the school for emotional, sexual and physical abuse.
The suit was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs on July 6 in Multnomah County Circuit Court by attorney Kelly Clark, who specializes in child sex abuse cases and who has successfully represented survivors of abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy. Clark recently won a $20 million judgment in a case of sexual abuse involving the Boy Scouts.
"I would say that the people we are representing here are some of the most emotionally damaged young adults that I have encountered, and that includes 300 people who were sexually abused by priests, teachers, pastors and Boy Scout leaders," Clark said in a video posted on OregonLive.com.
In 2009, I wrote about the systematic sexual and emotional abuse that was carried out under the guise of treatment and endured by students of Mount Bachelor Academy (MBA), a residential school near Prineville, Ore. The allegations of abuse were corroborated by a 2010 state investigation.
Among the most shocking revelations made by female students were claims that they had been forced to perform — or made to watch others perform — lap dances for male students and teachers at the school. Several girls reported being called sexually shaming names while made to perform various sexualized routines during "emotional-growth seminars," called Lifesteps. Epithets like "whore" and "slut" were written on bedsheets and hung in the room; the state investigation recovered the bedsheets as physical evidence of abuse.
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