Troubled Teen Industry Abuse Lawyer

Last updated May 13, 2024

Survivors of troubled teen industry sex abuse are likely entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering. Contact our lawyers today for help understanding your rights to possible compensation.

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Key Takeaways

  • The troubled teen industry includes private treatment programs, therapeutic boarding schools, and residential facilities.
  • Treatment facilities specializing in behavioral modification may expose teens to horrific treatment, such as sexual abuse.
  • Survivors of institutional child abuse are likely entitled to compensation and relief for their pain and suffering.

Representing Survivors of Troubled Teen Industry Sexual Abuse

Using drugs, skipping school, and engaging in criminal acts are some ways teens deal with emotional pain and mental health issues. At-risk behaviors like this cause desperate parents to seek treatment for their children when nothing else seems to work.

Sadly, treatment facilities specializing in behavioral modification expose troubled teens to horrific treatment, such as sexual abuse, that cause long-term trauma instead of healing and recovery.

There are countless children in the troubled teen industry (TTI), at least 120,000 to 200,000 in the system at any given time in the United States, that are subjected to mistreatment, poor therapeutic methods, as well as neglect.

Survivors of institutional child abuse may be entitled to compensation and relief for their pain and suffering. Edwards Henderson is a nationally-acclaimed law firm representing victims of the troubled teen industry. We help sex abuse survivors reclaim their lives after abuse with legal recourse.

What is the “Troubled Teen” Industry?

The troubled teen industry is a big industry and it goes by many different names. It receives about $23 billion in annual public funding to treat and address behavioral and psychological challenges teens face today.

The troubled teen industry is a network of programs to help at-risk youth address behavioral and psychological issues, including private treatment programs, boot camps, therapeutic boarding schools, and residential treatment centers.

The trouble with many of these treatment centers is that they expose children to more harm than help, and abuse allegations run rampant. Our sexual abuse attorneys help troubled teens and adult abuse survivors fight back against the unjust treatment they suffered.

Programs to Help Troubled Teens

Gone are the days when talk therapy was the only option families had to work through behavioral difficulties. Many treatment centers worldwide attract parents with a more progressive, balanced approach to helping at-risk youth and services that reach teens in a way dated practices have failed.

While the marketing of these programs below sound promising, they often underdeliver. There are reports of many different types of abuse in programs across the U.S. where the staff is often undertrained and the facilities are under-regulated.

These are examples of how treatment programs are promoted today:

  • Residential treatment facilities: When your teen’s health and well-being are at stake, a youth residential treatment center offers intensive inpatient programs that support various needs.
  • Therapeutic boarding schools: Teens dealing with tough behavioral, emotional, or psychological disorders may benefit from a therapeutic boarding school that combines education and therapy services.
  • Drug rehabilitation centers: When a drug or alcohol addiction has threatened your teen’s safety and well-being, a drug rehabilitation center can help break bad habits and dangerous patterns and offer redirection.
  • Boot camps: Teens who lack motivation, have no regard for authority, continuously act out or struggle with defiance and other behavioral issues might be candidates for a boot camp for teens.
  • Wilderness therapy: Wilderness therapy helps teens work through trauma, stress, and other issues in a natural environment that supports creative expression and connection to overcome inner turmoil.
  • Gay conversion camps: A type of intervention, a gay conversion camp is designed to seek change regarding a teen’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. However, research shows them to be both ineffective and traumatizing.
  • Camps outside of the U.S.: Camps outside of the U.S. use various methods to help struggling teens, from nature-driven boot camps to “troubled teen programs” focused on accountability, mind, body, spirit, and other activities.
  • Abduction services: Youth transportation services are paid kidnappers that take at-risk youth from their homes to a behavioral program at the instruction of their parents.

To the dismay of teens and parents, the programs and experts in these facilities that promise to help their residents often put them in danger and harm’s way instead.

Sexual Abuse in Residential Treatment Facilities

Residential treatment facilities often expose vulnerable at-risk youth to sexual abuse and assault as it is a largely unregulated industry. A real-life example of this is the Paris Hilton boarding school abuse incident. Hilton claimed that she was emotionally and sexually abused while attending the Provo Canyon School in Utah, and she had photos to back it up.

You do not have to look hard for more horror stories regarding youth sexual abuse in treatment facilities. World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASP) was a “therapeutic boarding school” offering numerous teen behavior modification programs. There are many reports from former residents of these programs that survived horrific mistreatments such as humiliation, sexual assault, and rape. Survivors have recently leveraged Facebook and other social media sites to share their personal accounts and WWASP horror stories.

As more reports of sexual abuse surfaced, state officials conducted an investigation that led to the troubled teen corporation’s demise in 2005. A similar facility, KidsPeace, is a private organization dedicated to serving the needs of the troubled teen industry. A former counselor was charged with multiple accounts of sexual abuse, according to a WFMZ-TV report. In another case, seventeen former youth residents experienced neglect and abuse at the hands of counselors and later sued the organization. It resulted in a $1,495 million legal settlement, and since, nearly eight of the 36 facilities have been shut down.

Edwards Henderson has helped many sexual abuse survivors attain significant settlements and jury results from powerful individuals and third parties, much like WWASP and KidsPeace.

What is Breaking Code Silence?

Breaking Code Silence is a social movement dedicated to raising awareness of common issues in the troubled teen industry.

The troubled teen industry is a network of premier residential treatment centers, congregate care facilities, boot camps for troubled teens, and wilderness therapy. Sadly, many of these for-profit centers are poorly run children’s detention centers. There have been many reports about widespread institutional child abuse.

Paris Hilton is a sexual abuse survivor and a former “troubled teen.” After experiencing boarding school abuse, Hilton joined the Breaking Code of Silence movement to encourage other sexual abuse survivors to share their stories.

What are the Psychological Effects of Troubled Teen Industry Abuse?

Sexual abuse survivors use different coping mechanisms to deal with trauma and, in the long run, may suffer from conditions such as eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. Psychological effects of troubled teen industry abuse include:

  • PTSD: Teen sex abuse survivors are prone to developing post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing abuse. PTSD can lead to difficulty regulating emotions, negative thoughts, and traumatic flashbacks.
  • Depression: Depression, which is characterized by periodic and random bouts of sadness, is a common consequence of sexual abuse.
  • Anxiety: Abuse survivors often struggle with anxiety and intense and excessive worrying.
  • Substance abuse issues: Drug and alcohol use often become a band-aid for pain, anxiety, and depression following sexual abuse. There is a correlation between sexual abuse and addiction.
  • Eating disorders: About 30 percent of abuse survivors develop an eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia to deal with sexual trauma.

Managing trauma after abuse can take an emotional toll. It can be therapeutic to fight for your rights and regain control over your abuser by pursuing a civil lawsuit.

Is there Legislation to Protect Victims of Institutional Abuse?

Movements like Breaking Code Silence and brave survivors speaking out on institutional abuse help create change. Two examples of legislation that help abuse victims include:

  • Accountability for Congregate Care Act (ACCA): The ACCA would help keep at-risk youth in congregate care facilities safe from abuse, neglect, and coercion. Many survivors, child welfare advocates, and lawmakers have joined the ranks alongside Paris Hilton to get this legislation passed.
  • Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act (SICAA): SICAA would approve funds for states to develop congregate care best practices, better policies, and reporting procedures, according to Lives in the Balance. The money would also go toward developing trained staff, social workers, mental health professionals, and judicial employees.

It is positive to see advocates, lawmakers and other supporters make strides in protecting the youth of the future. This is just the beginning.

Signs of TTI Abuse for Parents

There might be subtle or apparent signs of troubled teen industry (TTI) abuse. Parents can look out for the following symptoms to report suspicious behavior by staff members, or policies and procedures that cause harm to your children, including:

  • Sexual abuse or sexual shame as part of the program. This might include claims they can change a child’s orientation, force a child to deny or repress their sexuality or engage in sexual behavior and abuse
  • Forced labor, work or services performed against a child’s will
  • Recommended involuntary admittance, intervention or coercive measures
  • Requesting parents sign over custodial rights to hold children longer or assume parental responsibility to prolong sexual abuse
  • Signs of uneducated or poorly trained staff that are neglectful or cannot care for your children
  • Monitored or restricted communication so children cannot communicate and warn parents of problems or abuse
  • Use of holds and restraints that limit the freedom of a child’s movement or have a sedative effect on them
  • Use of tactics like forced silence, public humiliation, and isolation to emotionally abuse patients
  • Use of attack therapy and group attack therapy, a highly-confrontational method used by a therapist to abuse or humiliate a patient in front of others

You can report TTI abuse to a sexual abuse attorney and discuss your legal options in a confidential manner.

Troubled Teen Industry Abuse Lawyer: FAQ’s

1. Can I sue an institution for sexual abuse?

Suppose you or someone you know was sexually abused while attending a residential treatment center. In that case, an experienced sexual abuse attorney can review your case and determine the best course of action, including a possible civil lawsuit to pursue damages against third-party institutions.

2. What is the statute of limitations on sexual abuse?

The statute of limitations on sexual abuse varies state by state. Typically the deadline to file a lawsuit will also vary depending on how old the plaintiff was at the time of the abuse. In some states, survivors only have two years to file a sexual abuse lawsuit. States like California, however, allow civil lawsuits for adult sexual abuse to be filed within 10 years.

3. What is the definition of sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse is any forced sexual activity between an adult and a child, including oral sex, rape, harassment, and unwanted touching.

4. What is WWASP?

WWASP is an organization that specializes in behavioral modification programs. After many reports of abuse, the organization was shut down in 2005.

5. What is TTI abuse?

TTI abuse refers to abuse that happens in troubled teen industry treatment programs. Abuse happens because of inexperienced staff, lack of oversight, and few federal regulations.

6. Is there compensation for victims of sexual abuse?

Victims of sexual abuse may be able to recover compensation with the help of a sexual abuse attorney. Edwards Henderson helps survivors fight against their abusers and the powerful institutions that enable them.

7. How can victims of troubled teen programs heal?

Everyone processes trauma differently. Healing takes time, and specific coping mechanisms like therapy might be a healthy way to move forward. Another way to find relief is to hold your abuser accountable, as it can be empowering to regain control after it was taken from you. Speak with a sexual abuse attorney to discuss filing a civil lawsuit.

We Believe You: Talk to a Compassionate Congregate Care Lawyer Today

According to many sources, ninety-four percent of states fail to protect troubled youths in behavioral centers. This is why heinous activities in treatment facilities run free, such as sexual assault, neglect, physical abuse, and harassment.

Many teens suffer short-term consequences, and the trauma and memories of childhood sexual abuse might resurface years later as an adult.

Talk to the compassionate congregate care firm, Edwards Henderson, to heal from abuse and use your voice to protect other teens from the dangers of the troubled teen industry and behavior modification programs that do more harm than good.

Contact us online or call us at 833-780-0834 to discuss your case and the possibility of recovering compensation in a civil lawsuit.

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