Survivors of Institutional Abuse (SIA) from the Troubled Teen Industry march on Washington - April 5-7, 2013

In a show of solidarity and to make sure that their message is heard, remembered and not forgotten, the Survivors of Institutional Abuse (SIA) are having a convention at the Radisson National Airport 2020 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA on April 5-7,2013 ( and they plan to march to Washington DC at the end of the convention. Many of the speakers are known to many of the people on this site, especially the ones that have been part of the Tortured Teen Industry and have worked diligently to shut down and warn parents and the public of the abusive "Tough Love" torture for profit industry. For those that don't know, these "camps" are where children are tortured until they confess that they have been saved by the program that they been captured by. These "camps" charge about $1000 a day in some cases to torture your teen. Some of the children that do not submit to the torture and brainwashing and start to claim that the program they are in is the best in the world, die at the hands of their captures while the others are left with deep scars and emotional problems.

The Survivors of Institutional Abuse (SIA) ( 2013 Convention will have Marcus Chatfield, Nick Gaglia (Aaron Bacon Story producer), Vincent Grashaw (Coldwater producer) and Maia Szalavitz. They are making a difference and being heard by many and deserve all of the support they can get.

Increasingly, Internet Activism Helps Shutter Abusive ‘Troubled Teen’ Boot Camps
By Maia SzalavitzApril 05, 2011

For more about the Troubled Teen Industry you can read the following-

Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships
by Janja Lalich & Madeleine Tobias
Paperback: 376 pages
Publisher: Bay Tree Publishing; 2nd Edition edition (May 30, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0972002154
ISBN-13: 978-0972002158

Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids
by Maia Szalavitz
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; First Edition edition (February 16, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1594489106
ISBN-13: 978-1594489105

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment
by Alexia Parks
Paperback: 397 pages
Publisher: Prometheus Books (June 21, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161614405X
ISBN-13: 978-1616144050

An American GULAG : Secret P.O.W. Camps for Teens
by Alexia Parks
Paperback: 278 pages
Publisher: Education Exchange (June 1, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1930418019
ISBN-13: 978-1930418011

Trapped in Paradise: A Memoir
by Cindy Art
Paperback: 102 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 21, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1475192274
ISBN-13: 978-1475192278

Straightling: A Memoir
by Cyndy Drew Etler
Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 22, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 146990280X
ISBN-13: 978-1469902807

JR Harris's picture

A little bit of history on the SIA conference from Reddit..
Register for the Survivors of Institutional Abuse 2013 convention! More people are joining! matthiam 5 points 23 days ago I went to the first annual drug treatment abuse conference in June of 2001. It was hosted by Dr. Arnold Trebach. The people on the panel were Phil Elberg ,Wes Fager, Maia Szalavits, Stanton Peele and others studied in cults- I am so glad that I went. It was litterally where I was able to put my program Elan into it's proper perspective. I was blown away to learn of all these other programs, like the Straights, kids , Safe inc, and others I had no idea that other places like Elan existed. I met survivors from other programs and discovered a very wonderful community of people that I still have as friends. I also met a woman who had been in elan during the late 90's. This conference was in Bethesda, Maryland. I actually got to speak about my Elan experience, lol I could have talked for days. I meet some very incredible gentle people, and I no longer felt isolated because of my insane experience that I endured at Elan in 70's. It was my 25 years after my exposure to the horrorshow that was Elan. My experience from the conference in 2001 empowered me to speak out about elan from then on in a very public fashion, the internet was the tool. I used my name . I wanted them, the henchmen that ran Elan and Elan to know I had indeed survived and I was using my voice to shout from the highest places on earth to expose what those crinimals had done to children all those years ago and that it was wrong. It turned into a lose knit movement ,and many voices joined mine in speaking out about that little hellhole in Maine. Sure over the years people came and went in speaking out about Elan , but finally in March 26 of 2011 we survivors of Elan found out that it was closing. It was closing because of us. It closed not because of 'harsh internet attacks' as the owner Sharon Terry said, it closed because it could not stand the light of the truth that we survivors of that hell hole were shining on it. I am grateful for having taken the chance and on a whim and a friends suggestion that I go to this conference, that I went. I urge all survivors of any program to go to this event, it will change your life in ways that are so positive that you really cannot imagine. I am grateful for the first conference of this nature, it opened my eyes and I started to heal from the wounds of the trauma that I endured and witnessed at elan. Since this SIA conference it is just up the road from me I would love to go ,though alas I am going to the beach with my family for my childrens spring break, while it occurs. I know this will be an incredidble experience for all that will attend and I am sorry that I will be missing it. Believe me if I did not have plans I would be going - Much peace and best wishes to all.

~You can not moderate the truth. Just don't lie, steal or make stuff up out of thin air and try to minimize the people hurt by AA without it being pointed out to you. It's really very simple.~

causeandeffect's picture

Happy Easter, everybody!

Great info, JR. Thanks. Very informative. I'm glad these people can come together and address the wrongs that were done to them.
"Your pain is no credential here, it's just the shadow, shadow of my wound." --Leonard Cohen

there was a manager who ran 12? youth rehabs in our aa area, and i felt slandered and terrorized by him at meetings. other counselors behaved in a similar fashion. diagnosis put downs and psycho-analyzing talk that demeaned you when they wanted control over you. they were strongly connected and affirmed by social agency and public officials increasing their ability to socially pressure you to be subordinate to them. i still feel mental raped and abused by them. and i was an adult. they are trained - but some take to it with a gift for dominating others.manipulating others. they built alliances like lord of the flies. sometimes i want to go back and grab them but i might as well go to a crack house and try to reason and improve things.

Take what you like ...and leave the abuse ...for unwitting newcomers? [sarcasm]

JR Harris's picture

Uploaded on Feb 28, 2012

Here are highlights from the first annual convention of the Survivors of Institutional Abuse held on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. February 24-26, 2012.

~You can not moderate the truth. Just don't lie, steal or make stuff up out of thin air and try to minimize the people hurt by AA without it being pointed out to you. It's really very simple.~

thanks jr this stuff is more and more affirming of the abuse i felt just with minor exposure to theses type of organizations. i did not have a record or commit a crime - i lost my job by missing 3 days - so i did not have any reason to submit to their commando authoritarian barking. i remember them saying they were working the program taking direction from a sponsor and carrying that message - amd if you weren't - you weren't working the program., you were totally defamed shunned they put a psychological cross talk leg up on you like a dog. So my free will free thinking shares in meetings were something they undermined like blasphemy. i remember when they talked about ""powerlessness"" its was an overtly clear inference - that you were to submit to a higher authority - them! or you weren't working the program. we had 90% influx of newcomers from these rehabs who were trained submittants (it was more like BDSM?). i can't walk in aa and not see it all - people who say they don't see it are blind - there is always a human authority figure leader symbolizing the higher power.

Take what you like ...and leave the abuse ...for unwitting newcomers? [sarcasm]

It is true that knowledge equals power. and knowledge/power over abuse/abusers equals empowerment. Hats off to the children of elan's abusers/abuse in their success of exposing and closing Elan down. Sounds like the convention coming up is someting anyone concerned about the so called "troubled teen" industry might not want to miss. Another book I found about Joe Ricci and Elan if anyone is courious, is called Duck in a Raincoat , by Maura Curley. It was originally published in 1991 and recently updated and re-released in Dec of 2012. And of course there is another book called Seeking Love Acceptance on a Path of Adverisity by Susan Kelly , is a very couragous book about her experience in Elan during the '70s. And there is also the book, A life gone Awry : My Story about the Elan School, by Wayne Kernochan an accounting of his experience of life in Elan. I believe all these books can be found on Thank you again JR and others for paying attention to this billion dollar troubled teen industry.

and being surpportive of these Elan survivors, by buying their books. While Maura Curley was not in Elan perse, she had to deal with the psychotic Joe Ricci, and didn't buy into his bullshit or fall under his spell like many did. Her book is very unbaised about Elan because she was not in Elan as a resident. She writes about the facts pertaining to Elan and Joe Ricci.
JR Harris's picture

Elan's Practices Are Being Outlawed By Congress: Republicans & Democrats Have Joined To Close Elan Outside observers find Elan's practices so repulsive that a bill was passed in 2009 by a bipartisan majority of legislators, and given the designation "H.R. 911" to reflect its extraordinary importance. After several years of false starts in the U.S. House of Representatives and over 30 years of the "behavior modification" industry operating in obscurity, the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act passed the House but disappeared in the Senate. It needs public attention to become law in 2011. Though Elan represents only a small part of the 10,000+ children industry, Elan would be in violation of every requirement included in H.R. 911, such as; - "Acts of physical or mental abuse designed to humiliate, degrade, or undermine a child's self-respect ... disciplinary techniques or other practices that involve the withholding of essential food, water, clothing, shelter, or medical care ... shall be prohibited." - This specifically pertains to the forced ritual screaming and aggressive, arbitrary discipline that constitute the entirety of Elan's "treatment" program. - "Each child at such a program shall have reasonable access to a telephone, and be informed of their right to such access, for making and receiving phone calls with as much privacy as possible, and shall have access to the appropriate state or local child abuse reporting hotline number." - Elan students regularly spent 4-6 months before making the first of their 15-minute weekly calls to parents. Calls and letters are always monitored and severe punishment is given for disparaging statements. No outside contact with anyone besides immediate family is allowed for the 1-4 years students spend at Elan. And why didn't Elan students have access to child abuse hotlines already? - "Full disclosure of staff qualifications and their roles and responsibilities ... not later than 10 days after such changes ... an individual shall be ineligible to serve in a position with any contact with children at a covered program if any such record check reveals a felony conviction for child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, a crime against children (including child pornography), or a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault ..." - Elan was anything but transparent when providing information to families and authorities that request it. Most Elan employees had no training other than a previous stay at Elan or being "reformed" from a prior criminal background. - "Child abuse and neglect shall be prohibited." How has Elan escaped major criminal penalties for so long? As a private and supposedly quasi-medical institution acting in loco parentis, it was much harder and more expensive to convict the program of breaking child abuse standards that would apply to parents or individuals. With the complete lack of scientific evidence supporting Elan's "therapy," it wouldn't be long after H.R. 911 passed for the program to be shut down--forcibly or by its owners.
Source: Help CAFETY (Community Alliance for the Ethical Treatment of Youth ) resurrect this bill which is stalled in the Senate- The Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act (H.R. 3126) was introduced in the 112th Congress, which has adjourned. The Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act (S. 1667) was introduced in the 112th Congress, which has adjourned.

~You can not moderate the truth. Just don't lie, steal or make stuff up out of thin air and try to minimize the people hurt by AA without it being pointed out to you. It's really very simple.~

SandyB's picture

The reason Elan escaped prosecution is because what they were doing was protected by lawyers and politicians, threats and violence. One of the worst was a senator named Bill Diamond This is his book and a review by our own Wayne Kernochan :) I love this review. Diamond has some nerve writing this thing
SandyB's picture