Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Patients not Consumers Debate - the Nuances of Language

The “patients – not consumers” debate has started again with an article by NY Times columnist Paul Krugman, Patients are Not Consumers.

Paul Krugman is right that medical care is very different from any other consumer good and it is fundamentally true that choice in medical care is different from other products we buy as consumers. But let us remember that the use of the word “consumer” came from human rights advocates working with the disabled. So it is important to understand this war of words in an historical context of human rights for the disabled. Disabled persons may be needing care and medical attention but still be healthy in other aspects of their lives and needing autonomy to make responsible choices for their own lives.

Originally every one used the word patient but as socialized welfare took over many people’s medical care there came into the decision making process the use of tertiary decision makers – guardians, case management professionals, risk management managers and social workers. Social workers also used another word “client” which means someone receiving services. Often persons who used the word “patient” were emphasizing that the patient didn’t know what was best for him/her and so instead the “professionals” should make all the decisions. This is especially true for those who are disabled physically, cognitively or mentally. Thus the disabled were stripped of their rights as human beings while others made decisions on the “patient’s behalf”. All that was needed to strip a patient of their right to choice in care or informed choice in treatment was to claim that someone in the “administration” or “management” knew better than the patient what was good for him/her.

Thus the consumer movement in health care - the disabled person as a consumer has the right to choice in how to spend their health care dollars. The consumer meant that the disabled person was purchasing medical care and thus had rights that could not be subverted by hospital management or managed care providers. Thus the word “consumer” allowed the patient choice and demanded “informed choice” be applied to medical care.

Those who wished to control the patient’s choices within medicine – funneling patients to programs and treatments that maximize profits, wanted to use the word “patient” as a patient was a person without power and was required to obey the hierarchy of the managed care system. Anyone who really believes that doctors these days make decisions based on what is best for the patient, is clearly not aware of the daily pressures on doctors to do what management tells them to do. Thus a “patient” is someone so injured, diseased, damaged that they can’t make choices for themselves. A consumer is someone empowered to make choices and with money to spend and thus a financial stake in the decision making process.

I agree with the sentiments of the reporter Paul Krugman but he was apparently unaware that human rights advocates for the disabled have been using the word “consumer” to empower disabled persons in their choices for their lives and their health care choices.

The Independent Living Movement is facing a takeover of people’s lives where they live in managed housing which is controlled and all decisions made by management – case management required and no “informed choice” option. Independent Living principles affirm the rights of human persons to make informed choices in their lives. Those asserting “patient” as the correct language see all elderly as managed “patients” needing case management so decisions are made with no discussion and no notice to the person involved. Those who have suffered elder abuse in such managed care facilities would insist that they were “consumers” and human beings not just damaged patients needing to be told what was best for them.

We are all disabled when seeking emergency or hospital care - thus when we need the care we are a person who needs to be respected for our choices. A woman may wish as a consumer to chose to get pregnant, refuse experimental treatment, chose a more natural pain control remedy, or chose to not have invasive end of life care. All these choices could be subverted by a tertiary decision maker.

10 Principles of Independent Living
Source: Statewide Independent Living Council of Illinois

1. Civil Rights – equal rights and opportunities for all; no segregation by disability type or stereotype.
2. Consumerism – a person ("consumer" or "customer") using or buying a service or product decides what is best for him/herself.
3. De-institutionalization – no person should be institutionalized (formally by a building, program, or family) on the basis of a disability.
4. De-medicalization – individuals with disabilities are not "sick," as prescribed by the assumption of the medical model and so not require help from certified medical professionals for daily living.
5. Self-help – people learn and grow from discussing their needs, concerns, and issues with people who have had similar experiences; "professionals" are not the source of the help provided.
6. Advocacy – systemic, systematic, long-term, and community-wide change activities are needed to ensure that people with disabilities benefit from all the society has to offer.
7. Barrier-removal – in order for civil rights, consumerism, de-institutionalization, de-medicalization, and self-help to occur, architectural, communication and attitudinal barriers must be removed.
8. Consumer control – the organizations best suited to support and assist individuals with disabilities are governed, managed, staffed, and operated by individuals with disabilities.
9. Peer role models – leadership for independent living and disability rights is vested in individuals with disabilities (not parents, service providers or other representatives).
10. Cross-disability – activities designed to achieve the first five principles must be cross-disability in approach, meaning that the work to be done must be carried out by people with different types of disabilities for the benefit of all persons with disabilities.

Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network submission to the UN 2010 UPR

Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network submission to the UPR on U.S.A. 2010.

This report to the UN Universal Periodic Review is provided by Medical Whistleblower both as an individual stakeholder and as an advocacy network, including - Whistleblowing Airline Employees Association, and the Illinois Family Court Accountability Advocates. Medical Whistleblower joins with an array of U.S.A. organizations and individuals that are concerned about U.S.A.’s failure to implement its international human rights commitments to human rights defenders. Medical Whistleblower is located in Lawrence, KS, USA and was established in 2001 to meet the advocacy needs of persons who have stepped forward to provide information about medical fraud against vulnerable populations, patient abuse and neglect, and human rights violations. Many are mandated reporters under state or US federal law.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Protection of Human Rights Defenders

"Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern
world that we must love our enemies—or else?
The chain reaction of evil—hate begetting hate, wars producing
more wars—must be broken, or else we shall be plunged
into the dark abyss of annihilation."
—Martin Luther King Jr.

The UN Resolution on Human Rights Defenders

The USA is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. The USA joined the UN Human Rights Council in 2009.

15 April 2010 Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council*

Protection of human rights defenders
The Human Rights Council,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 53/144 of 9 December 1998, by which the Assembly adopted by consensus the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms annexed to that resolution, and reiterating the importance of the Declaration and its promotion and implementation, Recalling also the continued validity and application of all the provisions of the above-mentioned Declaration,

Recalling further all previous resolutions on this subject, in particular General Assembly resolution 64/163 of 18 December 2009 and Human Rights Council resolution 7/8 of 27 March 2008,

Stressing that the level of respect and support for human rights defenders and their work is important to the overall enjoyment of human rights,

Gravely concerned by threats, harassment, violence, including gender-based violence, and attacks faced by many human rights defenders, reflected, inter alia, in the reports of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and other human rights mechanisms,

Gravely concerned also that, in some instances, national security and counterterrorism legislation and other measures have been misused to target human rights defenders or have hindered their work and endangered their safety in a manner contrary to international law,

* The resolutions and decisions of the Human Rights Council will be contained in the report of the Council on its thirteenth session (A/HRC/13/56), chap. I.
United Nations A/HRC/RES/13/13 General Assembly Distr.: General 15 April 2010 Original: English A/HRC/RES/13/13

Recognizing the immediate need to put an end to and take concrete steps to prevent reats, harassment, violence, including gender-based violence, and attacks by States and non-State actors against all those engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all,

1. Takes note of the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders (A/HRC/13/22) on the security and protection of human rights defenders;

2. Urges States to promote a safe and enabling environment in which human
rights defenders can operate free from hindrance and insecurity;

3. Underscores that the legal framework within which human rights defenders work peacefully to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms is that of national legislation consistent with the Charter of the United Nations and international human rights law;

4. Urges States to publicly acknowledge the legitimate role of human rights defenders and the importance of their work as an essential component of ensuring their protection;

5 Encourages States to create and strengthen mechanisms for consultation and dialogue with human rights defenders, including through establishing a focal point for human rights defenders within the public administration where it does not exist, with the aim of, inter alia, identifying specific needs for protection, including those of women human rights defenders, and ensuring the participation of human rights defenders in the development and implementation of targeted protection measures;

6. Urges States to take timely and effective action to prevent and protect against attacks on and threats to persons engaged in promoting and defending human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Declaration and their relatives, when they are attacked or threatened as a result of these activities, including through the possibility of developing, in consultation with human rights defenders, an early warning system to facilitate broader awareness of imminent risks and to enable effective responses;

7. Also urges States not to discriminate against human rights defenders on any grounds, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, and to desist, in this context, from any discriminatory measures against them, including intimidation, profiling, confiscation of assets, suspension of activities and exclusion from national consultative processes;

8. Calls upon States to fully support the role of human rights defenders in
situations of armed conflict and provide them with the protection due to all civilians in such situations;

9. Welcomes the role of national human rights institutions as human rights
defenders and protectors, and encourages States to strengthen the mandate and capacity of national human rights institutions where they exist, as necessary, to enable them to fulfill this role effectively and in accordance with the Paris Principles;

10. Calls upon States to ensure both coordination within national and local levels and that those involved in the protection of human rights defenders and their relatives are trained in human rights and the protection-related needs of human rights defenders at risk, including those promoting the rights of members of marginalized groups;

11. Also calls upon States to allocate resources for the effective implementation of necessary protection measures, including specific training for persons involved in their implementation;

12. Urges States to investigate, in a prompt, effective, independent and accountable manner, complaints and allegations regarding threats or human rights violations perpetrated against human rights defenders or their relatives and to initiate, when appropriate, proceedings against the perpetrators so as to ensure that impunity for such acts is eliminated;

42nd meeting
25 March 2010
[Adopted without a vote]

The makeup of the United Nations Human Rights Council

8 States serve on the Human Rights Council for three-year terms, five of which will be sitting on the Geneva-based panel for the first time in 2009: Belgium, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Norway and the United States.

Re-elected for an additional term were the following 13 members: Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Jordan, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Uruguay.

The Human Rights Council was created by the General Assembly in May 2006 (resolution 60/251) as the United Nations principal political human rights body. It replaced the much-criticized Commission on Human Rights (abolished in June 2006), and is composed of 47 elected Member States that must uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.

Based on equitable geographical distribution, seats are allocated to the five regional groups as follows: African Group, 13 seats; Asian Group, 13 seats; Eastern European Group, 6 seats; Latin American and Caribbean Group, 8 seats; and Western and Others Group, 7 seats.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Victim Impact Statement - USA v Scott Bloch


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ))) ) ) Magistrate Case No:
v. )

_________________________________________ )



My name is Janet Louise Parker and I am the Executive Director of Medical Whistleblower, in Lawrence, Kansas. As a human rights defender, Medical Whistleblower steps forward to directly advocate for those who report medical fraud, abuse and neglect and human rights violations.(1) Medical Whistleblower provides educational materials to enhance understanding of human rights issues especially those issues involving health care and the medical community. Medical Whistleblower also runs a non-profit human rights advocacy network, the Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network. The Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network works in collaboration and cooperation with other non-profit organizations and individuals, to publicly promote human rights advocacy and enforcement. The Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network provides public petitions for purposes of encouraging legislation that will promote human rights and protect human rights defenders. In 2010 the Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network provided the United Nations with a report for the USA’s Universal Periodic Review. (2)

I advocate for other whistleblowers, human rights defenders2 and mandated reporters, such as a foster parents (3) and medical professionals 4 to file this victim impact statement, under 18 U.S.C. ' 3771(e) (5) Victims’ Rights Laws 6 and Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 32. (7 8 9 10) I wish to advocate for all persons who have been harmed because of Scott Bloch’s lack of enforcement of whistleblower protections, lack of enforcement of civil rights protections and refusal to enforce international human rights law. I was a cooperating witness to a US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Chairman Congressman Henry Waxman. Scott Bloch as his role as Special Counsel for the Office of Special Counsel did not do his duty to protect those who provided valid whistleblower complaints even those brought forward by human rights defenders and mandated reporters and also failed to protect the human rights of US citizens and to protect human rights defenders. All US Attorneys have the responsibility and obligation under United Nations Declaration on human rights defenders, General Assembly resolution 53/144 of 8 March 1999 and A/RES/58/178 of 22 December 2003. A defender of human rights is defined under international law and is a person who, individually or with others, acts to promote or protect human rights. Human rights defenders are those women and men who act peacefully for the promotion and protection of those rights.

In order to protect our civil liberties and rights guaranteed under the US Constitution and all of its amendments and the Bill of Rights, we as a nation must ensure the protection of human rights defenders. The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders A/RES/58/178 of 22 December 2003 (11) is addressed not only to States and human rights defenders but to all individuals, groups and organs of society. Article 10 of the Declaration states that “No one shall participate, by act or by failure to act where required, in violating human rights and fundamental


freedoms.” The United States of America has an obligation as a nation state to protect the rights of defenders against abuses by third parties. (12 13)

A whistleblower is a person/informant who raises a concern about wrongdoing occurring in an organization or body of people, often from within their workplace. Usually the whistleblower is from within that same organization. A whistleblower exposes the wrongdoing in the hope of stopping it and who feels the public has a right to know. Whistleblowers are usually workers who have attained professional competence in their field. Whistleblowers have access to information at a high enough level to be able to detect fraud, governmental corruption, abuse and neglect but also brave enough to alert others to the problem. Whistleblowers come from all walks of life and many professional disciplines. Nowhere is it more important to have persons of honor and ethical and moral character than in our governmental service.

Persons who are whistleblowers are often by definition defenders of human rights as well, when they are persons who have stepped forward to provide information about public health issues, medical fraud against vulnerable populations, patient abuse and neglect, and human rights violations. These defenders of human rights are concerned about human rights involving violations of minor children, elderly, disabled, mental health patients, prisoners, migrants, immigrants and patients in hospital treatment for addiction. Patient abuse can be physical, financial, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse. Human rights defenders who are in the medical community are called upon to report inequality and discrimination in regards to the delivery of health care. They often are face to face with the difficult realities of the managed care system in the U.S.A. and on the front line against medical fraud against vulnerable populations like those economically disadvantaged, immigrants, migrants, the elderly, persons of color, those of different religious faiths or national origin, those who have a disability or


different sexual orientation. Medical professionals who are also human rights defenders also need to speak out about gender related inequality in health care.
There are state and federal mandated reporter laws in the U.S. A. requiring medical personnel and other professionals to report certain types of concerns for public health and safety, abuse, neglect and human rights violations. Mandated reporters can be medical professionals but they can also be airline pilots, certified public accountants, prison guards, law enforcement personnel, civil engineers, nuclear safety officials, NIH researchers, FDA inspectors, educators, patent attorneys and many other professionals. For example a civil engineer might be reporting a problem of toxic waste leaking into a public water supply or an airline pilot might be reporting toxins leaking into the cabin air of an airplane. A certified public account might be reporting Medicaid/Medicare fraud against a vulnerable population. A prison guard might step forward to report a problem of prison rape and a FBI agent might be reporting sexual assaults on Native American women on Bureau of Indian Affairs land.

It takes great courage to be a whistleblower within our national government and human rights defender especially for those in national security or intelligence positions who are already working in a dangerous environment. But brave defenders have stood up for human rights and braved the stigma of being a whistleblower within the U.S. government including those in national security, law enforcement or intelligence professions. It must be pointed out that many of these professionals although not in the medical profession may have contact with those who need medical care and assistance or who have suffered abuse, mistreatment or even torture. There has been an increased use of governmental contractors in many capacities, especially in the Department of Defense, airline security, and in the private prison/corrections facilities. These subcontractors perform duties normally considered functions of government without direct


governmental supervision and control. So protection of whistleblowers who are acting as defenders of human rights by providing us valid complaints against federal contractors is critical. Defenders of human rights who work in governmental service represent significant sources of intelligence about criminal activity and violation of public trust and issues in regards to the public welfare due to their unique access to information not readily available to law enforcement. Nowhere is this more evident than in the FDA and in complaints regarding the Food Safety Act and in regulation of prescription drugs where whistleblowers bring forward issues critical to the health and safety of the American public. In addition, many medical professionals do serve in national security positions or work with the security forces.

Scott Bloch, who was formally nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate to protect the public trust, has instead repeatedly violated that trust. Scott Bloch’s misconduct has had a very negative impact on the lives hundreds of individual whistleblowers and on the entire federal workforce because of his dismissal of hundreds of whistleblower complaints. Some of these whistleblower complaints were brought forward by those who were defending human rights or reporting under mandated reporter laws. Scott Bloch therefore did not perform his duty and obligation as a federal officer to uphold international standards regarding human rights. Scott Bloch did not investigate these valid complaints of whistleblowers and human rights defenders which left hundreds of dedicated federal employees potentially subjected to unlawful retaliatory conduct with no remedy. In addition, Scott Bloch did not abide by the principles of international human rights law or even longstanding federal policy when he discriminated against federal employees on the basis of their sexual orientation. He therefore left numerous federal employees discriminated against on this basis, who previously would have been protected by the OSC, with no remedy. Scott Bloch’s retaliatory actions against these


governmental whistleblowers had a tremendous negative impact on the lives and careers of the OSC employees who he terminated or forced into involuntarily transferring. Scott Bloch’s retaliatory actions created tremendous anxiety, emotional distress, financial losses, and career damage to these loyal federal employees, which continues to this day.

Executive orders and administrative measures have been used to limit the action of human rights defenders, in the name of security. Governmental personnel often face retaliation when reporting to the Merit Systems Protection Board or the appropriate Office of Inspector General. The Office of Special Counsel under Scott Bloch’s leadership has not responded properly to whistleblower complaints, nor provided proper protection to mandated reporters. Federal employees continue to suffer when they raise concerns about waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government. Instead legal protections for federal employees should be enhanced and current existing rights protected. Protecting their right to provide testimony regarding issues of fundamental human rights is critical to our national health and safety and also to our national security and defense as well. The use of the States Secrets privilege has been used so that the government could throw out valid whistleblower cases including those of defenders of human rights.

Persons who step forward to report under mandated reporter statutes are promised on paper that they will be protected when they disclose problems but in reality there is no agency in the state or federal government empowered to protect them or to track the progress of a human rights defender case through the system from initial intake to final resolution. Instead what usually happens is that the human rights defender’s identity is leaked to the person, organization or corporation that they are making the allegation against. This means almost immediate retaliation against the human rights defender and possible loss of employment and even


potentially the loss of their career. Systems such as the Merit Systems Protection Board and the Office of Special Counsel which are expected to protect defenders of human rights and mandated reporters fail to protect them and under Scott Bloch’s tenure there was little or no protection for whistleblowers even if they were mandated reporters or defenders of human rights. Mandated reporters encounter a corrupted judicial system that denies due process through covert activities and ineffective legal representation. Professionals often lose license to practice or their right to employment in chosen careers if they perform their mandated legal duty. It is important that our government publicly reaffirm the importance of the work carried out by human rights defenders. Human rights defenders helping victims to access justice for violations of human rights law or international humanitarian law, even attorneys, are regularly subjected to threats, violence and harassment. Human rights defenders can be prevented even from providing humanitarian aid to victims of human rights violations.

When facing this kind of retaliation human rights defenders in the U.S.A. do not have a known agency that they can turn to for protection because the Office of Special Counsel has not adequately protected whistleblower rights. The Department of Justice does not cover protection for investigations that occur in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Health and Human Services Department (HHS). The investigators for the FDA are not trained law enforcement officers and therefore do not have law enforcement authority to initiate protection for persons who provide them testimony. Local departments of Child Protective Services (CPS) also do not have the authority to protect their witnesses when an investigation regarding child abuse is launched. Therefore the person who comes forward to provide information regarding human rights abuses such as child abuse are immediately targeted for reprisals and there is nowhere they can effectively go for protection or to report the retaliation. In addition, those


wishing to silence the defender of human rights can come anonymously against the defender’s professional license and/or security clearance. Violators of human rights, in order to defend themselves, launch counter attacks on the defender’s professional and personal reputation. Lack of proper training of investigators on how to protect both the integrity of the investigation and the professional reputation of the mandated reporter has often negatively impacted the well being and safety of the defender. Defenders who are women or who are from a minority group are particularly vulnerable to particular kinds of abuse when they step forward to report human rights violations.

Whistleblower retaliation is a form of abuse or assault (psychological violence), which has serious and devastating consequences not only for those targeted, but also for any organization within which it is allowed to prevail. Although it can be an overt form of abuse, in the workplace the perpetrators usually act covertly and systematically to undermine, control, and their targets. It has been observed that elements of psychological abuse in the workplace correspond with elements of torture and have similar emotional outcomes for the target. The perpetrators are often superficially charming and may appear to others to be an asset to the organization. In the workplace, the underlying cause of retaliation or bullying is usually power abuse, with the perpetrators choosing as their targets anyone whom they perceive as a threat to their assumed power. When those targeted resist the perpetrators' attempts to control and intimidate them, the perpetrators will simply intensify the abuse until the targets either leave or break down under the stress of what is happening. Most whistleblowers are originally of a very strong constitution. They are usually self confident adults who have good self esteem and were fully capable of handling difficulties in their own lives. Therefore whistleblowers have many coping mechanisms to hide the emotional damage the retaliation has caused them and just try


harder. But under extreme or prolonged stress even very emotionally strong people often undergo an apparent personality change. It is important to remember that there needs to be intervention from outside to protect the whistleblower and prevent further retaliatory abuse.

Thus when Scott Bloch in his position in the Office of Special Counsel did not protect whistleblowers from further retaliatory abuse, he permitted continuing retaliatory abuse and thus long term emotional and psychological consequences for the whistleblowers. This retaliatory abuse or psychological violence can eventually lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The whistleblower who is the victim of the retaliation is not inherently weak or inferior. In fact, any human being has the potential to develop PTSD. Whistleblowers who are being bullied should be encouraged to seek support sooner, rather than later, and should be able to do so with the assurance that they will be believed and effectively supported, rather than be treated as if they themselves were the problem. But this did not happen because of lack of response by Scott Bloch on the OSC whistleblower complaints. The stressed and/or bullied whistleblower found themselves facing disciplinary proceedings when what they really need is rest and support. In addition the use of forced hostile workplace psychiatric evaluations were used to discredit the whistleblowers’ allegations. This hostile workplace evaluation action, often taken by those accused by the whistleblower, then renders it almost impossible for whistleblowers to seek adequate professional help for their stress induced needs without risking their creditability on their whistleblower complaint. It is a common tactic to remove classified security clearances, medical licenses, pilot’s licenses and other professional credentials from human rights defenders in order to halt their advocacy.

These competent whistleblowers when faced with the effects of workplace bullying and whistleblower retaliation may become unassertive, overanxious, compliant and even unable to


cope with even the most trivial of stressors. The symptoms of stress breakdown and PTSD are frequently misunderstood (by family, friends, co-workers and employers) as those of inadequacy or inefficiency. Some typical human reactions to severe and persistent stress are the loss of emotional control, apparent over-reactions to seemingly trivial stimuli, showing hypervigilance, and being on constant alert for further abuse. Being targeted for whistleblower retaliation almost always leads to feelings of powerless. Those retaliated against usually feel ashamed of what is happening to them, and by the time they seek help are likely to be already showing signs of stress breakdown. At the point these competent whistleblowers finally admit they need help, they are likely to present as over emotional. In these circumstances it is all too easy believe the person's account of workplace psychological violence or bullying as over-reacting when in fact the symptoms of emotional stress should be recognized as actually corroborating what they are saying. There can be secondary traumatization when the persons, whose misdeeds the whistleblower is reporting, retaliate by fabricating complaints against the whistleblower. These fabricated complaints against the whistleblower do not need to even have the appearance of truth in order for the bully to be protected by the Good Samaritan Laws and their false allegations protected by governmental immunity. People may also disbelieve the whistleblower, and side instead with those in power or authority. Co-workers may ridicule him/her, abandon, blame, ostracize, sabotage, threaten, and betray him/her. These painful and dangerous reactions can come from family, friends, and authorities as well as from people associated with the perpetrator. Co-workers may fault the whistleblower for the hostility in the workplace. The whistleblower may be unable to recover until they leave the stressful position, but may be unable to find a new position until they have recovered. Employers, therefore, need to be aware of the potential for compounding the problems of stressed/bullied whistleblowers by unjustly disciplining them.


Where the stress has been caused by workplace bullying, it also allows the perpetrators to switch the focus of attention away from their own abusive behavior by inferring, (usually under the guise of sympathy and support), that the person they are targeting is mentally ill, and that it is their "mental illness" which is responsible for the current problems. Whistleblowers need ongoing reassurance that they are not to blame for what has happened. Referring stressed people for work-based counseling helps perpetuate the myth that it is the person who is the problem, rather than the working environment. It is important that employers and service providers take stress reactions seriously and remove the whistleblower from the stress before the damage becomes more serious or permanent. Whistleblowers, who are generally highly committed people, are particularly likely to ignore their own symptoms and struggle on, since seeking help is too often regarded as an admission of weakness or professional inadequacy. It is also common to put the stressed/bullied whistleblower back into the same stressful/bullying situation and expect them to "prove" themselves. Thus protection at the level of the Office of Special Counsel is particularly important to prevent whistleblower retaliation trauma and its long term after effects and the loss of human potential for the whistleblower.

Scott Bloch as former Special Counsel at the United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC) failed to uphold anti-discrimination laws and whistleblower protections for federal employees and also failed in his duties at the Office of Special Counsel to protect human rights defenders as required under international human rights law. We need to see the Office of Special Counsel abide by its nondiscretionary statutory duties to enforce the laws within its jurisdiction, particularly 5 U.S.C. §1214(e), as well as ascertaining that the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) studies whether federal employees are adequately protected from reprisal and other


prohibited personnel practices (PPP’s), per 5 U.S.C. §1204(a)(3), and how agency heads have interpreted their nondiscretionary statutory duty to “prevent PPPs,” per 5 U.S.C. §2302(c).

Many whistleblowers and human rights defenders reported human rights violations within programs funded by grants from the White House Office for Faith-based and Community Initiatives. The United States of America has a primary responsibility for protecting the human rights of its citizens (14) and for protecting human rights defenders. Scott Bloch refused to “investigate complaints relating to the provision or violation of the rights of a crime victim” and did “willfully or wantonly fail” to protect those rights. (18 U.S.C. ' 3771(f)(2))(15). All US Attorneys have obligations under State and Federal law to report suspected child abuse. In this great nation, the United States of America, we have a blemish on our record of defending human rights, because high governmental officials turned a blind eye while children were neglected and abused in Teen Challenge and other residential treatment centers.(16 17) Scott Bloch, former Deputy Director and counsel to the Department of Justice's Task Force for Faith-based and Community Initiatives (2001-03) was responsible for failing to protect the human rights of US citizens in the Teen Challenge programs and other non-governmental organizations funded by that office. We cannot stand as an example for other nations when we have not yet secured the protection of human rights for our own children on our own soil. When mandated reporters or human rights defenders come forward to report concerns to governmental authorities such as the Office of Special Counsel, we must provide them adequate, and meaningful protections and effective action on their complaints. Whistleblowers within the US government deserve the right to be made whole, including compensatory damages.

When Scott Bloch was appointed as Deputy Director and counsel to the Department of Justice's Task Force for Faith-based and Community Initiatives, Teen Challenge centers already


had a well known public reputation for child abuse. Their tactics were known to be remarkably similar to documented abuse within Straight, Inc. which was the most abusive "behavior modification" clinical trials (18) and insurance fraud ever documented in the U.S.A. (50,000 children and adults were in Straight Inc.).(19) Melvin Sembler, former head of Straight, Inc., now operates the Drug Free America Foundation, (20) which endorsed and made direct referrals to Teen Challenge. Thus Teen Challenge may be acting as the de facto inheritor of Straight, Inc.'s legacy of child abuse and neglect as well as their business model using troubled teens for profit. The abuse of children in residential centers has not stopped but has gotten even more governmental power to hide its true nature from law enforcement and regulators. Abusive teen rehabilitation centers are now even more numerous and the industry is still not regulated by the US federal government. There is no adequate means to monitor these facilities for human rights abuses.

Teens who ended up in the Teen Challenge programs did not really “volunteer.” Teen Challenge gets the vast majority of its residents either directly from the jails or from courts which sentence them to a live-in program in lieu of jail. This usually happens after the judge gives the individual a choice to go to a correctional facility or Teen Challenge for year. (21) Any student leaving Teen Challenge without completion of the 12 month program can be court ordered to a correctional facility for non-completion of the courts requirements. Teen Challenge also actively recruits right from the jails. Law Enforcement Assistance Agency (LEAA)(22) grants were responsible for the rapid growth of teen rehabilitation centers which did not need to meet the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) standards for clinical research using human subjects.

Teen Challenge in Texas was the first facility exempted from licensing and inspection regulation. (23) The arrangement between governmental financial support and Teen Challenge


raises questions about the constitutional separation of church and state. As exempt faith-based drug treatment centers, Teen Challenge facilities are not required to have licensed chemical dependency counselors, conduct staff training or criminal background checks, protect client confidentiality rights, adhere to state health and safety standards, or report abuse, neglect, emergencies and medication errors.
(24) Amid continuing complaints of physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse, (25) Teen Challenge programs are reported to foster a deliberate atmosphere that was both anti-gay (26) and anti-Semitic. (27) Several former students of Teen Challenge say that staff 1) use physical punishment (28) 2) ridicule intimidate and/or verbally abuse children (29) 3) use chemical restraints (30) 4) employ cruel or humiliating treatment or other emotionally abusive behavior (31) 5) abuse sexually (32) 6) assign excessive exercise or work duties 7) deny food, clothing, shelter, medical care (33) and/or prescribed therapeutic activities (34) 8) deny contacts with family, counselors, or legal representatives as a form of punishment (35) 9) force them to do missionary activity (36) which may be also a violation of child labor laws (37) and 10) force them to sign over paychecks to Teen Challenge.(38) Teens confined to Teen Challenge have also been victims of forced labor scams (39) such as an unlicensed telemarketing scam in Florida that paid workers only 33 cents a day for a 40 hour work week while at the same time swindling the public with a fraud scheme.(40) There are cases where teens have been subjected to cruel and degrading treatment and even what could be considered torture (41) with no possibility to escape from their abusers as they are court ordered into the facility and refused contact with the outside world even their families.

Teen Challenge facilities were cited for abuse as early as 1998. (42) As a US Attorney, Scott Bloch demonstrated a lack of proper due diligence in his work and clear bias, as he awarded start up grant money (2001-03) to Teen Challenge programs even though the facilities


were not required to meet regulatory health and safety standards, and were not inspected. Amidst all the media coverage over Teen Challenge child abuse and without this influx of federal funding, the centers would surely have lost clients and probably closed. But the combination of jail recruitment strategies and extensive funding supplied by the Faith-based and Community Initiative grants along with an exemption from having to demonstrate compliance with existing standards, faith based facilities were flourishing. In Florida and Texas, Teen Challenge centers were being accredited by the Texas Association of Christian Child Care Agencies (TACCCA) and the Florida Association of Christian Child Care Agencies (FACCCA). The programs have no medical component and center instead of around prayer, Bible study and religious conversion. With no regulatory control over the quality of the staffing, Teen Challenge in Winthrop Maine hired registered sex offenders for staff. (43) Teen Challenge facilities did not uphold First Amendment rights and also did not enforce workplace anti-bias laws. (44) There was also lack of proper oversight over the educational standards of the program. (45)

Torture is the calculated physical and psychological assault on the individual, a practice used to instill fear, punish or degrade, to dehumanize, or to obliterate the self. The true goal of torture is soul murder. It is often said that anyone who has been tortured remains tortured, long after the physical wounds have healed. Torture is the deliberate infliction of severe pain by one human being against another, thus it leaves particular kinds of mental and psychological scars. This soul wrenching trauma is different from other traumas because torture is a violation committed in secret and in spite of official denial. Many believe that torture only occurs in the most repressive regimes, but the reality is that torture is widespread in all parts of the world. Although it is often perpetuated by police or security forces, it can also be carried out by detaining authorities such as immigration officials, prison staff, hospital staff, and in Teen


Challenge it is done by peer mentors and staff. Torture can be physical or psychological. Many can understand severe physical abuse as being torture. But psychological torture like that practiced by the staff at Teen Challenge or any of the Straight Inc. derivative centers can be just as traumatic. The psychological wounds of both physical and psychological torture last a lifetime. The coercive and abusive methods of Straight Inc. which were mimicked by Teen Challenge staff were designed to obliterate the sense of self and instill fear and obedience to authority in young teens. These abusive methods included sleep deprivation, beatings, sexual humiliation, sexual assault, prolonged sitting or standing in forced positions, isolation and detention for prolonged and indefinite periods of time, forcing one teen to abuse another and prolonged denial of rest, sleep, food, water, and adequate hygiene.

Many victims continue to suffer in silence and torture victims commonly report feelings of fear, guilt, shame, anger, disillusionment, insecurity and humiliation. For victims of torture coming forward to speak about what happened to them is very difficult. This is true for the tens of thousands of US children who were physically and psychologically abused and even sometimes sexually abused in the program called Straight Inc. and its legacy program Teen Challenge. What happened behind the closed doors of Teen Challenge is very deeply personal and highly traumatizing and so speaking about it can evoke for survivors a range of emotions. Survivors are afraid to speak publicly and may not have fully revealed their experiences to families and friends, in some instances they may not have come to terms with it themselves.

Survivors of torture find it very difficult and challenging to try to move forward with their lives. Many who had spent time in Straight Inc. and other abusive teen rehabilitative centers such as Teen Challenge speak with frustration that the fact, that their torture actually occurred, has never been publicly acknowledged. This denial wounds the soul. Teen Challenge


survivors have individual and often different conceptions of justice, some speak of the importance of criminal prosecutions, and others speak about civil compensation, rehabilitation or prevention of recurrence. But for everyone there is a need to restore that sense of dignity and control that was taken from them when they were tortured.

The United States of America which has signed the UN Convention Against Torture and therefore has an obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish those who do torture. But the reality is that society has a deep seated prejudice toward the weak or powerless and there is a special stigma in the cases of persons who claim to be psychologically injured and who need to seek compensation or support. Governments are a reflection of the pervasive reactions to the horror of torture and so therefore denial, indifference, avoidance and repression are common. Impunity of the perpetrators will prolong, or in some cases deepen, the mental scars borne by the victim or by members of their families, as denial of the wrong makes psychological healing difficult. To obtain any justice through the court system, the torture victim is expected to testify to and provide a recounting of the violation suffered in order to create a public record of the event, and while this truth– telling may have a reparative value for many victims, it may also be deeply traumatic bringing to the surface old emotional wounds. In addition those suffering from the mental anguish of torture do not always show physical scars and thus it is easier to deny the extent of their trauma and suffering. The right to reparation for victims of a wrongful act is a well-established principle of international law. (46) I believe that we can no longer afford to endorse the kinds of political compromises that give rise to de jure or de facto amnesties for perpetrators or enablers of torture within the teen residential treatment industry.
The Special Counsel at the United States Office of Special Counsel should scrupulously comply with the law in discharging his/her duty and that includes communicating with Congress


and cooperating with the US Department of Justice. The US Congress has just newly enacted Public Law 111-122 The Human Rights Enforcement Act of 2009 passed on Dec. 22, 2009. Participating for the first time in the Universal Periodic Review Process, President Barack Obama has publicly announced our nation’s renewed commitment to the principles embodied in international human rights law. So now is the time to enforce the protection of human rights here in the U.S.A.

I believe that the highest officials of Department of Justice should keep faith and human solidarity with victims, survivors and future human generations, and reaffirm the international legal principles of accountability, justice and the rule of law, by demanding accountability for those who did not take action to stop the abuse of children and adults in Teen Challenge.

Many victims of Teen Challenge feel that a public apology including acknowledgment of the facts and acceptance of responsibility is particularly pertinent. Officials such as Scott Bloch, former Special Counsel at the United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC), were supposed to uphold whistleblower protections for federal employees and act on their complaints, especially complaints regarding the abuse of children.

I submit this victim statement not just for myself as a human rights defender but also for all who have had their human rights violated because of the lack of enforcement of whistleblower rights, civil rights, and human rights. I hope the Court will consider that there have been grave violations of human rights due to the lack of proper enforcement of both federal law and international human rights law by Scott Bloch. Scott Bloch plead guilty to criminal contempt of Congress for withholding from the US Congress and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee "pertinent" evidence concerning his misconduct in office. Scott Bloch’s actions could be construed as intent to hide these human rights violations from the US


Congress, the US President and the Supreme Court of the United States. Scott Bloch’s actions withheld critical whistleblower information regarding concerns for the health, safety and wellbeing of the US public. I believe this should be considered when determining his sentence in this criminal case and the range of time he could be incarcerated. Sentencing Scott Bloch to incarceration would send a clear message that US public officials need to properly discharge their duties prior to giving out federal grant moneys to unlicensed, uninspected and unregulated residential facilities. Sentencing Scott Bloch to incarceration would also reaffirm the obligation of the Office of Special Counsel to uphold the civil rights and international human rights of whistleblowers, mandated reporters and defenders of human rights.

Respectfully Submitted,


Executive Director, Medical Whistleblower
Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network


1 The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has supported this right of every individual to form and freely participate in organizations and non-governmental groups for the purpose of observing, denouncing/reporting, and promoting human rights, Kawas Fernández v. Honduras
2 United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders A/RES/58/178 of 22 December 2003 The United Nations Charter and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the General Assembly resolution 53/144 of 8 March 1999
3 42 U.S.C. ' 13031(b)
4 42 U.S.C. ' 13031 Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance – Federal victims’ rights laws - The core statutes are 18 U.S.C. ' 3771 and 42 U.S.C. ' 10607, Mandated Reporters (Covered Professionals). Healthcare professionals subject to the Federal child abuse reporting requirements.
5 18 U.S.C. ' 3771(e) Enforcing the rights enumerated in article I.B, a victim is “a person directly and proximately harmed as a result of the commission of a Federal offense or an offense in the District of Columbia” (18 U.S.C. ' 3771(e)) if the offense is charged in Federal district court.
6 18 U.S.C. ' 3771(a) Rights of Crime Victims
7 Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 32(d)(2)(B) Victim Impact Statement
8 Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 32 “Before imposing sentence, the court must address any victim of the crime who is present at sentencing and must permit the victim to be reasonably heard.”
9 Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 32 “In Camera proceedings, Upon a party’s motion and for good cause, the court may hear in camera any statement made under Rule 32(i)(4).”
10 18 U.S.C. ' 3771(a)(8) With respect victims’ privacy and dignity


11 A/RES/58/178 of 22 December 2003 The United Nations Charter and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the General Assembly resolution 53/144 of 8 March 1999, adopted the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, known as the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and subsequent resolutions.
12 United States has a responsibility in relation to actions and omissions of non-State actors Article 12, paragraph 3, of the Declaration, also reiterated by numerous human rights bodies, the Human Rights Committee and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
13 The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the right to life and freedom of association and expression, should be protected from violations not only by State agents, but also private persons or entities. Human Rights Committee, general comment No. 31 on article 2 of the Covenant on the nature of the general legal obligation imposed on States parties to the Covenant, 26 May 2004.
14 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
15 A crime victim may also file an administrative complaint if Department employees fail to respect the victim’s rights. The Attorney General must take and “investigate complaints relating to the provision or violation of the rights of a crime victim” and provide for disciplinary sanctions for Department employees who “willfully or wantonly fail” to protect those rights. (18 U.S.C. ' 3771(f)(2))
16 42 U.S.C. ' 13031 All Federal law enforcement personnel have obligations under State and Federal law to report suspected child abuse.
17 The US House under the leadership of Congressman George Miller conducted investigations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) during the 110th Congress uncovered thousands of cases and allegations of child abuse and neglect since the early 1990’s at teen residential programs. Currently, these programs are governed only by a weak patchwork of state and federal standards. A separate GAO report, also conducted by at the committee’s request, found major gaps in the licensing and oversight of residential programs – some of which are not covered by any state licensing standards at all. GAO concluded that without adequate oversight “the well-being and civil rights of youth in some facilities will remain at risk.” State reported data to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System in 2005 found


that 34 states reported 1503 incidents of youth maltreatment by residential facility staff. Of the states surveyed by GAO, 28 reported at least one youth fatality in a residential facility in 2006. GAO concluded both of these statistics understate the incidents of maltreatment and death.
18 In 1971 the United States Senate's Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights under the directorship of Senator Sam Ervin began an investigation of the US government's role in behavior modification. Senator Ervin's 650 page report was published in November 1974 under the title "Individual Rights and the Federal Role in Behavior Modification."
19 The Seed, a network of teen drug rehabilitation centers was closed after a US Congressional Investigation into child abuse at their facilities. Melvin Sembler, Betty Sembler and some other Seed parents formed their own Seed-like program which they called Straight, Inc. Straight was quickly accused of criminal child abuse by Florida's licensing and investigating agency the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS) with Bob Marshall as the principal investigator. But Straight Inc. still went on to become the largest juvenile drug rehabilitation program in the world and one of the most destructive. There were many lawsuits by victims of abuse with large jury awards of damages. Other suits were settled out of court. In 1985 the Semblers fearing civil suits by the victims of the abuse and fearing possible criminal prosecution, changed the mission of Straight, Inc. from "treatment" to "education" and its name from "Straight, Inc." to "Straight Foundation, Inc."
20 After Straight Inc. had to be closed, the name of the educational foundation became the Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF). So today Straight has morphed into an organization called the Drug Free America Foundation, which specializes in helping small businesses set up Drug Free Workplaces, and in promoting national and international drug policy that allows coercive and abusive treatment methods.
21 UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Article 10.1
22 Straight Inc. managed to get two startup grants from the Law Enforcement Assistance Agency (LEAA) in 1976 and again in 1977 for $50,000 each. Unlike the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Law Enforcement Assistance Agency (LEAA) had not been setup to fund programs involved in human experimentation and thus it had no policy for human consent forms.


23 Lester Roloff, who founded Roloff Homes, had a showdown with the Texas Attorney General and left Texas in 1985. Wiley Cameron Sr., assumed control of the Roloff Holmes and strategically lobbied for the alternative accreditation law. Then Cameron was appointed to serve on the board of directors of Texas Association of Child Care Agencies (TACCCA). Roloff Homes moved back to Texas and was able to open 5 facilities accredited by the TACCCA. By 2000, reports of physical abuse, beatings and sadistic punishments resurfaced. Roloff Homes’ administrators were criminally convicted in 2001. Teen Challenge facilities were also cited for abuse as early as 1998. Other law suits involved the Texas InnerChange Prison Program. All these were faith-based programs.
24 Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies is just the same as the Texas agency and Teen Challenge center in Florida are members of Florida Association of Christian Child Care Agencies or FACCCA. Not surprisingly, evidence of extensive abuse has turned up with the Florida facility of almost an identical manner to what was documented in Texas. West Florida Teen Challenge Boys’ Ranch in Bonifay, Florida is a confirmed abusive teen program. The contract parents must sign with Teen Challenge states that the Florida Association of Christian Child-Caring Agencies’ (FACCCA) "intent" is to "insure the physical and spiritual health, safety, and well being" of the children and therefore that the boy’s ranch must meet FACCCA’s "minimum standards." Parents have to agree to hold the ranch and its employees harmless from "any and all liability" for injury to the child "even injury resulting in death." Parents must agree "that God desires that they resolve their dispute with one another within the church and that they be reconciled in their relationships in accordance with the principles stated in I Corinthians 6:1-8, Matthew 5:23-24, and Matthew 18:15-20." If they cannot resolve their disagreement privately within the church, parents must accept resolution through "biblically based mediation" by rules of the Association of Christian Conciliation Services. There is no refund of tuition or deposits if the boy leaves the ranch before 15 months even if the ranch has expelled him. A detailed report provided by Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, Inc. Nov. 4th, 2004 newsletter.

25 Dallas Teen Challenge Boys Ranch in Winnsboro in January 1996 was sued because a counselor and convicted drug trafficker sexually molested a young man there and two other boys, one of whom also was 16 or younger. The law suit alleged that "(The counselor) sexually molested (the plaintiff) on at least six different occasions at the ranch." The lawsuit further alleged that the church, ranch executive director Paul Ecker and the ranch's board knowingly employed men with criminal histories as counselors despite being informed by state regulators the practice was illegal. According to the lawsuit, most of the residents


were there as a condition of probation or deferred adjudication and had psychological or substance abuse problems. During the day, they performed chores, including caring for livestock, and took part in religious education. At night, they were "locked down" and monitored by alarm systems, to prevent unauthorized departures. Many of them had substance abuse problems and were admitted to the program as part of their probation despite the repeated citations from state regulatory authorities, The Assemblies of God entities continued to send men who had criminal records involving narcotics and physical violence to the facility.
26 Minnesota Teen Challenge is run by the Assemblies of God, the world’s largest Pentecostal denomination and in their The Official Teen Challenge Student Handbook instructs students to “conduct themselves in a manner pleasing to God” and strictly forbids any “homosexual behavior”, as being gay, along with addiction, is a sin.
27 Proselytizing Report: "Teen Challenge" July 26, 1984, by Rick Ross to the Religious Advisory Committee to the Arizona Department of (ADOC) on May 10, 1984. Chaplains throughout the ADOC are expected to facilitate religious programming in a neutral, non-biased manner. Teen Challenge which openly admitted that its’ primary purpose is the promotion of a specific religious belief system through confrontational evangelism. Teen Challenge is run by the Assemblies of God. Any chaplain who engages in facilitating a program for Teen Challenge could easily be seen as assisting in proselytizing. The Teen Challenge program has often been equated to a drug rehabilitation theme however they do not do substance abuse treatment and do very little medical treatment at all due to a lack of medically qualified staff. However, in the organization's literature the "Teen Challenge Cure" is stated as follows: "The only cure for . . . drug abuse, is Jesus Christ." The connections between Teen Challenge and the penal system of the State of Arizona are numerous. Many full time jail and prison chaplains have dual positions as both volunteers and/or coordinators for Teen Challenge in addition to their staff position funded by the State of Arizona. Teen Challenge therefore presents an obvious problem. Teen Challenge also poses a serious problem regarding the abrogating of parental authority with minor children within ADOC juvenile facilities.
28Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5 No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
29 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 16.1 & 2


30 UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 7
31 UN CAT, Article 1. 1 “For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”
32 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 34
33 UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 12.1
34 UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 10
35 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 13.1
36 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18
37 UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 7
38 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 4
39 UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 8
40 Former Sanford, Fla. Teen Challenge director Wayne Gray was forced to resign when his unlicensed telemarketing scam discovered that Teen Challenge only paid workers 33 cents a day for a 40 hour work week. They pretended to sell timeshare vacations form the “Disney Planning Center Resort”. Men convicted of financial crimes took the customer’s credit card information over the phone. The


investigation revealed that this scam which had no relationship to Disney. Wayne Gray moved on to Oklahoma Teen Challenge as Executive Director. (Action 9 news)
41 UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Article 1.1
42 In 1998, a boy filed suit against Dallas Teen Challenge Boys Ranch and Assemblies of God, alleging that a counselor, who was a convicted drug trafficker, sexually molested him and two other boys. The lawsuit also claimed that the ranch’s Executive Director, the church and the ranch’s board knowingly hired people with criminal histories to serve as counselors." (Austin American-Statesman, 5/13/1998) More here:
43 Registered sex offender, Shondi Fabiano was director of Teen Challenge in Winthrop, Maine and was convicted of Second Degree Child Molestation in Rhode Island. She is listed on the National Sex Offender Public Registry She is listed officially as a co-head of Teen Challenge New England by the website of the Northern New England District of the Assemblies of God, and who is officially listed as a lifetime-registered sex offender for second-degree child molestation and sexual assault in the third degree. An online check of sex offender registries, including the Florida sex-offender registry run by Florida Department of Law Enforcement, also shows Shondi Fabiano also has a history of 2nd degree sexual assault conviction in Kent, RI. 3rd degree sexual assault in Rhode Island is essentially statutory rape of a 14- to 16-year old minor by a person over the age of 18, 2nd degree sexual assault is sexual assault of an incapacitated person or sexual assault using force or coercion, and second degree child molestation is what is generally termed as frank pedophile rape--sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14. Fabiano would have been nearly 24 years old at the time of the offense. Fabiano apparently in Rhode Island committed the crimes 10 years ago under her maiden name Shondi Barbato; she was originally charged with 1st degree child abuse (which involves sexual penetration of a child under the age of 14). It also appears Fabiano (under her maiden name of Barbato) has additional criminal history for she has a conviction for fraud (specifically attempts to obtain money under false pretenses, insurance fraud, and conspiracy) and a dismissed charge of possession of a controlled substance. Fabiano is still head of Teen Challenge New England despite not only state laws that prohibit sex offenders and persons convicted of crimes against children from working in children's homes. In fact, technically Fabiano should not legally be able to work at Teen Challenge at all, much less have her residence listed as Teen Challenge in Maine's sex offender registry; Maine has some pretty strict laws regarding contact with


minors by registered sex offenders. But Shondi Fabiano is not the only rapist employed by Teen Challenge in Winthrop, Maine. They also hired Dennis Knox who was convicted of gross sexual assault after raping an unconscious female. He is listed on the Maine Sex Offender Registry
44 UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination Article 5
45 UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 13.1
46 The right of torture survivors to reparations as a matter of international law. Chorzow Factory Case (Germany v Poland), 1928, PCIJ, ser. A, no. 17, p. 47

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Scott Bloch Protects Teen Challenge - Food Stamp Fraud & Child Abuse

"Reality is the murder of a beautiful theory by a gang of ugly facts".

What is the role of the Office of Special Counsel in Protecting Human Rights?

Whistleblowers and Mandated Reporters constitute our human rights national alert system and tell us when there is something seriously wrong within our community or within the governmental bureaucracy. Mandated reporters are critical to the protection of our citizen's human rights and report human rights violations including elder abuse, sexual assault on children, and sometimes report serious violations of international treaty obligations. Mandated reporters are supposed to have protection for their disclosures. But where does that protection reside, in what respective agency- Health and Human Services (HHS), SAMSHA, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or in the US Department of Justice? Well in reality it is a myth that mandated reporters are protected for their disclosures of serious governmental wrongdoing. There is no federal agency that is empowered or obligated to protect them. One of the crucial links in the possible protections for those who are human rights defenders is the expected review of whistleblower complaints that should be provided through the Merit Systems Protections Board and the Office of Special Counsel. The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) hears whistleblower complaints from those who have classified security clearances. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) hears whistleblower complaints from all whistleblowers from all the federal agencies and is the place of final appeal for those denied their complaint under the MSPB. Neither agency hears mandated reporter reports or is obligated to protect mandated reporters. The Office of Special Counsel is the governmental agency tasked to hear all complaints of whistleblower retaliation (after it has already happened that is). In addition it is also the federal agency empowered to investigate violations of the Hatch Act and also and the Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Cases in front of the Office of Special Counsel take years to get to a hearing meanwhile there are no meaningful protections for the personal security and safety of the whistleblower nor are there protocols that will protect their personal and professional reputation. Therefore those who do criminal behavior and don’t want to get caught quickly realize that discrediting the whistleblower, using whatever dirty tricks that will get that accomplished, is the way to prevent federal investigation.

Scott Bloch served as Special Counsel for the Office of Special Counsel from 2004 until his removal in 2008. During that time there was essentially no protection for any whistleblower in federal service - this includes no protection for members of the Department of Justice (FBI agents) or any of the investigative agents of any federal agency (FDA, USDA, SAMSHA, Bureau of Prisons, HHS etc.) Thus no investigation into criminal activity occurring within any federal governmental agency would receive a sympathetic ear at the Office of Special Counsel in Washington DC. Hundreds of whistleblower complaints were summarily dismissed by Scott Bloch without any investigation at all. This included all whistleblower complaints from any agency investigating Teen Challenge or any whistleblower that had information regarding Karl Rove's alleged Hatch Act violations.

As President, George W. Bush, sought to duplicate the same regulatory rollbacks for faith-based groups nationwide that he enacted in Texas. This was a political promise he made to the fundamental religious right which had helped him garner the political support to win the Presidential campaign. After gaining the presidency, George W. Bush almost immediately established the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. This was tied to the Charitable Choice legislation (which was part of the 1996 Personal Work and Responsibility Act) and made possible by the Office of the President Executive Order 13199 of President George W. Bush. President George W. Bush asked that new White House office to "identify and act to remedy statutory, regulatory, and bureaucratic barriers that stand in the way of effective faith-based and community social programs." This is almost the same wording that had been used in Texas. In addition, President George W. Bush placed Don Willett to serve as the director of law and policy for the White House office. Don Willet had drafted the Texas legislative bill that allowed the Roloff Homes return to Texas with an exemption from state regulatory oversight and thus evade child abuse investigation by the Texas Attorney General. (see the case of Deanne Dawsey Don Willett had listened to Cameron Wiley's theological opposition to state oversight of religious child care facilities and had Cameron Wiley speak to Texas Governor Bush's "Faith in Action" task force. This Faith in Action task force was to recommend in their written report that faith-based child-care facilities be allowed to exempt themselves from state licensure and instead submit to "alternative accreditation"-that is, oversight by a non-governmental body, such as a group of pastors.

Local child protective services first investigated possible abuse at the Rebekah Home in 1973. Lester Roloff took the verse in Proverbs very literally, "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die." This was the discipline mantra of Roloff Homes. Lester Roloff refused to submit to state regulation and after his death in 1982 Wiley Cameron took over Roloff Homes ministry. Wiley Cameron then ran Roloff Homes and the Roloff Evangelistic Enterprises. All the facilities in Texas owned by Roloff Homes including Rebekah Home were been closed for child abuse in 1985 after a series of defeats in the courtroom and by the actions of the Texas Attorney General John Hill.

Texas Governor George W. Bush had used the political support from the fundamentalist churches and to secure votes to win the Presidency. George W. Bush knew that in the upcoming re-election for President it would be necessary to continue to support legislation that would allow church-run child-care institutions to opt out of state licensing. This legislative policy choice allowed George W. Bush to tap into the support of the huge fundamentalist evangelical unregistered voters and get them to vote for him, support his candidates and his policies in the elections.

George W. Bush had shaken a drinking problem in 1986 and thus was supportive of faith based addiction treatment. George W. Bush was later to say that he had experienced a profound spiritual awakening and knew the role that faith could play in recovery. The belief in faith based redemption curing addiction was at the heart of George W. Bush's political campaign strategy. George Herbert Walker Bush, 41st President of the USA, along with Melvin Sembler (of Straight Inc.) had influenced George W. Bush, 43rd President and Jeb Bush, Florida Governor, in their drug addiction rehabilitation. Both George W. Bush and Jeb Bush remained active in the Drug Free America Foundation work. The Drug Free America Foundation was the offshoot of Straight Inc.

Attorney Scott Bloch was appointed by President George W. Bush and served as the Chief Counsel for the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives from 2001-2003. Thus Scott Bloch worked directly with Don Willett to roll out the Faith-based and Community Initiative program as envisioned by George W. Bush. Remember that Don Willett, while working under George W. Bush in the Texas Governor's Office, had argued that the Texas Association of Christian Child-Care Agencies (TACCCA,) should be allowed to be an child care accrediting agency in the state of Texas. This governmental action permitted TACCCA to exempt their child care facilities from state regulation in and inspection in Texas and thus avoid being shut down for child abuse allegations by the Texas AG and thus re-open facilities with a long history of child abuse. Cameron Wiley and other directors of religious facilities being investigated for child abuse made up the 6 person TACCCA board.

For Scott Bloch to use his position as the Deputy Director of the Faith-based and Community Initiative program for political purposes would be a violation of the Hatch Act. The Office of Special Counsel is the government office in charge of protecting government whistleblowers and enforcing the Hatch Act — a law that forbids government employees from using federal resources for political ends. But the agency empowered to investigate violations of the Hatch Act was the Office of Special Counsel, an office of which Scott Bloch was appointed to head in 2004. So in this sequence of political choices by President George W. Bush, Scott Bloch would have had to investigate himself for whistleblower allegations of using the OFBCI program for political purposes.

After a long criminal investigation, involving allegations of obstruction of justice, evidence tampering, destruction of official files, impeding an official federal investigation, civil right violations, as well Hatch act violations and violations of the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA), Scott Bloch on April 27, 2010 pleaded guilty to criminal contempt of Congress. Scott Bloch, the former Bush administration official who was given the responsibility and obligation to protect whistleblowers instead plead guilty to misdemeanor criminal contempt of Congress. Scott Bloch after pleading guilty attempted to withdraw that plea because Judge Deborah A. Robinson sentenced him to one month in prison. A group of government whistleblowers have requested in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder that a special prosecutor appointed to handle the case of former Bush administration official Scott Bloch.

Whistleblowers request special prosecutor in Scott Bloch case

Financial Support by Charitable Choice Preferentially Given to Political Ally Chuck Colson

Scott Bloch served as Deputy Director of the DOJ Task Force for the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI). Attorney Scott Bloch, as a US Attorney, certainly did not do due diligence in determining whether it was appropriate to funnel funds to facilities that would be housing vulnerable children and adults and who were also hiring staff at those facilities who were ex-cons with known criminal convictions for sexual abuse of children, drug dealing, domestic violence and money laundering. Why? Perhaps it is because it was the wish of the new President of the United States, George W. Bush (January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009), to provide an open field for Charles Colson’s InnerChange Prison program and the expansion of Teen Challenge and the ministries of the Assembly of God. So protecting Teen Challenge and those who protected Roloff Homes and Chuck Colson’s new prison ministry was politically more important than protecting children from physical, psychological and sexual abuse or even protecting the federal tax payer from fraud.

Charles "Chuck" Wendell Colson is a Christian leader, cultural commentator, and former Special Counsel for President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973. Chuck Colson was named as one of the Watergate Seven and pled guilty to obstruction of justice for attempting to defame Pentagon Papers defendant Daniel Ellsberg. Charles “Chuck” Colson was known as a man valuable to President Nixon because he was willing to be ruthless in getting things done according to David Plotz in a Slate March 10, 2000 article called " Charles Colson - How a Watergate crook became America's greatest Christian conservative"

Chuck Colson was known as Nixon's "hatchet man". Colson was described by some of his colleagues as "evil genius" in the Nixon administration. Many can still remember that it was Chuck Colson who was willing to resort to domestic terrorism and who discussed possible firebombing the Brookings Institution. In 1974, Attorney Chuck Colson entered a plea of guilty to Watergate-related charges. Colson was the first member of the Nixon administration to be incarcerated for Watergate-related charges. Chuck Colson plead guilty to obstruction of justice in the Daniel Ellsberg case. Although he was given a one-to-three year sentence, Colson only served seven months at Alabama's Maxwell Prison. Colson was then a convicted felon with no right to vote but he received a pardon from Florida Governor Jeb Bush so he could again vote, once again practice law or serve on a jury. These were rights Colson had lost when he became a convicted felon. Charles Colson was converted to a born-again Christian while in prison. President George W. Bush was supporting his “faith-based” prison fellowship ministries program and promoting it in the Texas penal system.

Watergate-convict-turned-Christian evangelist converted to Christianity in 1973. Chuck Colson had a Jails for Jesus solution which was touted as a cheap fundamentalist Christian alternative to clinical programs for prisoners. Colson began working with a non-profit organization devoted to prison ministry which was called the Prison Fellowship. Through a radio broadcast called BreakPoint Colson promoted this prison program. Upon being released from prison, Chuck Colson's Innerchange worked with the new Faith-based and Community Initiatives program. These programs already exist in Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas and Texas.

InnerChange Prison Fellowship

InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI) is a publicly supported, pervasively religious program that was established in Texas, Minnesota, Kansas and Iowa. The contractual and monetary relationship between Prison Fellowship, InnerChange, and the Department of Corrections(DOC) developed over a number of years. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice support from the 77th Texas Legislature of $1.5 million (FY 2002-2003) was the first allocation of state funds given to the InnerChange program. Since the initial IFI program began in Texas, IFI has started two additional prison programs in the United States. In October of 1999, a second program was opened in Iowa, which has the potential to serve 192 inmates. In January 2000, the third IFI program began operation in Kansas with a capacity of 158 inmates. But constitutional questions regarding separation of church and state were raised at the level of the Eighth Circuit US Court of Appeals. In March 2008 the InnerChange Fellowship Initiative in the Iowa prison system was terminated by the State of Iowa.

The InnerChange program in Iowa’s Newton Correctional Facility was a program where inmates participated in "24-hour per day Christ-centered Bible-based programming" conducted by IFI employees, and were required by policy to be Christian. In 1997, the new Newton facility faced budgetary restraints, overcrowding, and lack of appropriate programs. In 1998, Iowa’s General Services Department publicly issued a request for proposals to establish a non-compensated, values-based, pre-release program at Newton. Prison Fellowship and InnerChange, jointly, submitted the only proposal but they sought public state funding to pay part of the expenses of the program.

The Department of Corrections in March 1999 did contract with Prison Fellowship and InnerChange for program services (September 1999 to June 2002), with public tax payer money going for reimbursement for non-religious costs and expenses. Prisoners in IFI were housed in a separate prison unit. In the first year of the contract, the DOC paid InnerChange $229,950, with all the money coming from the Inmate Telephone Rebate Fund which is designated for discretionary use for the benefit of inmates. The second year InnerChange received from the Department of Corrections $191,625 from the same fund. In 2002, the General Services Department accepted the InnerChange proposal for a pre-release program at Newton under a renewable one year contract from July 2002 to June 2005 which was to provide state funding only for the non-religious parts of the program. The DOC paid InnerChange $191,625 from the Telephone Rebate Fund. The Iowa legislature appropriated $172,591 from the Healthy Iowans Tobacco Trust to the DOC “for a values-based treatment program at the Newton correctional facility.” This appropriation was used to expand the InnerChange program to the Release Center at Newton (a minimum-security facility one mile from the main facility). The payment from the Trust to the DOC for InnerChange was $276,909. In the third year, 2004 to 2005, the contract was changed to a per diem payment of $3.47 for each inmate participating in the program. The legislature again appropriated $310,000, with actual payment to InnerChange of $236,532.55.

In 2005 the DOC accepted InnerChange’s proposal for a pre-release substance abuse treatment program. In the contract’s first and second years, July 2005 to June 2007, the Iowa legislature appropriated $310,000 each year. But there never was a clear distinction in the billing to the taxpayers regarding religious and non-religious expenditures. Until July 2007, the DOC’s funding accounted for 30 to 40 percent of InnerChange’s operating costs.

There were concerns from even the first 1999 contract whether there was a clear definition of what was religious and what was not. Salaries and benefits for InnerChange’s personnel were paid by the DOC on a percentage basis. The state paid 82% of the Local Director’s salary; 9% for the Program Manager; 93% for the Aftercare Manager; 77% for the Office Administrator; and 16% for each of four Biblical Counselors (also called Case Workers). All land and cell phone costs were billed to the DOC. InnerChange’s postal meter and thermal tape were billed to the state without detailed accounting. The DOC paid for InnerChange’s computer hardware, software, repair, and internet account. The DOC also paid for InnerChange’s letterhead, envelopes, printer and copier toner, paper, blank videotapes, and standard office supplies. Each month, every photocopy up to 40,000 was charged to the DOC. Copies over 40,000 were designated as religious (although the record does not reflect how many total copies were made each month). Building M – a modular building housing InnerChange’s offices and classrooms – was constructed in 2000. By the lease-purchase contract, the Telephone Fund paid $294,017 for Building M. When the DOC reimbursed InnerChange for costs or paid the per diem amount, the money was deposited in InnerChange’s bank account. From that account, InnerChange periodically transferred funds to Prison Fellowship’s general accounts, to cover program operating expenses. These general accounts also contain funds from private sources. This mixing of public tax payer money with private funds (non-profit charities) makes it difficult if not impossible to ascertain that the money was used for secular purposes only and not for exclusively religious purposes. In addition some of the charity funds these monies were mixed with had been potentially implicated in certain kinds of affinity fraud and other types of fraud. Money was moved around from account to account with little accounting transparency to the state government as to who actually got the money eventually. In addition the portion of InnerChange expenses which was paid by the Prison Fellowship came from these co-mingled funds with other NGO charities.

A law suit was filed against the Prison Fellowship Ministries at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in the case of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State v. Prison Fellowship Ministries. On June 2, 2006, the district court held that the IFI program violated the Establishment Clause, expelled the program from the prison, and directed IFI to repay the Department of Corrections the $1.5 million that it had been paid by the State. Defendants appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in June 2006. Senior Litigation Counsel Alex J. Luchenitser argued the appeal in February 2007 before a panel that included former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. In December 2007, the Eighth Circuit largely upheld the district court’s decision. The court held that Iowa’s involvement with IFI violated the Establishment Clause by supporting the indoctrination of inmates and IFI’s discrimination against non-Christian inmates.

Ronald A. Lindsay, Esq. of the COUNCIL FOR SECULAR HUMANISM and CENTER FOR INQUIRY stated in their brief "No court has ever endorsed government-funded religious indoctrination, and, as indicated, InnerChange was well aware that their government-funded activities very likely violated the Establishment Clause. Nonetheless, in their zeal to spread their religious message, InnerChange and PFM made a calculated decision to disregard the restrictions of the Establishment Clause in implementing their program. To state that freedom of conscience is a core value under the Constitution would be an understatement. Religious liberty is one of our fundamental freedoms, and it cannot be denied that it advances public policy to preserve religious liberty and to prevent the government from allowing its resources to be used for religious indoctrination. InnerChange and the Iowa DOC deliberately have refused to adhere to recognized limits on government funding of sectarian activity. Furthermore, their blatant disregard for constitutional limits on funding of activities of religious organizations is confirmed not only by the negligible, inadequate effort made to limit funding to secular activities, but by the design of the program itself." Judge Robert Pratt of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa agreed with the plaintiff, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, that the faith-based prison program is unconstitutional and ordered the program shut down. Americans United had won the case at the district level and on appeal.

Although the Prison Fellowship InnerChange claims the program reduces recidivism. Some point to a study that compared “graduates” of the InnerChange program with nonparticipants. One cannot be a graduate of InnerChange unless one remains in the program following release from prison, obtains a job, and avoids being reimprisoned for at least six consecutive months. The cited study does not focus on the numerous participants who never graduated. If one looks at all the InnerChange program participants (both graduates and nongraduates), then the “InnerChange participants did somewhat worse than the controls: They were slightly more likely to be rearrested and noticeably more likely (24 percent versus 20 percent) to be reimprisoned.” Mark A. R. Kleinman, Faith-Based Fudging:How a Bush-Promoted Christian Prison Program Fakes Success by Massaging Data, Slate (Aug. 5, 2003), available at:

Prison Fellowship works through Teen Challenge to provide housing and jobs for recently released prisoners. There are co-mingled funds between these programs. In addition Teen Challenge gets TNAF federal food assistance and also re-entry prisoners get federal funds which support their employment at Teen Challenge. Re-entry prisoners paychecks are handed over to the Teen Challenge staff as well as all state food assitance. In addition a mandatory church tithe is extracted as well as rent from the ex-prisoners federally subsidized paycheck. Historically some Teen Challenge facilities have up to 80% of their funding from federal sources like TNAF. Thus the amount of real non-federal or state sources money that goes into a program like Teen Challenge's Prison Fellowship aftercare program or IFI is difficult to compute due to the lack of accounting procedures to identify and properly source funds.

Teen Challenge hires ex-cons

As you will see below when examining the TNAF Teen Challenge food stamp fraud, the Frank Vennes Minnesota Teen Challenge Ponzi Fraud Scheme and the affinity fraud of Southwestern Indian Foundation that criminal corruption can co-exist inside religious charity non-profits. Teen Challenge in Arizona is associated with a in prison Teen Challenge recruitment program as well as court ordered placement at Teen Challenge in Phoenix AZ. The Don Stewart Association (DSA), a Phoenix-based televangelism ministry , and its affiliated 22 charities (including Southwest Indian Foundation) were accused of performing controversial transactions with supplies that helped inflate their finances. The DSA affiliated charities transferred ownership of goods to other groups including $80 million of goods that the charities never physically handled.

Teen Challenge was already opening its’ doors to hire known criminals (through a federally funded re-entry employment program) those who converted to Christianity. Teen Challenge had many centers in Texas and Florida. George W. Bush was governor of Texas January 17, 1995 – December 21, 2000, and had promoted legislation and administrative actions favorable to Teen Challenge and other evangelical Christian based programs like InnerChange. In 1997 the Texas legislature passed a bill allowing religious child care facilities to be accredited by a private sector regulator, the Texas Association of Christian Child Care Agencies (TACCCA). In 1997, Texas became the first state to use the faith-based effort, run by Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship Ministries – InnerChange. Governor of Texas George Bush Texas provided funds for the prison program - $1.5 million. The Roloff Homes were the first of eight faith-based child-care facilities accredited by TACCCA. Despite continued complaints of abuse and neglect, TACCCA re-accredited the Roloff Homes in April 2000. Roloff Homes was finally shut down for child abuse in Texas in 2001. Teen Challenge centers in Florida got accredited by an alternative agency just like those in Texas - so they too could avoid being regulated and inspected by state agencies.

The newly rapidly multiplying Teen Challenge facilities were therefore staffed by former prisoners who were recruited by Assemblies of God/Teen Challenge prison Chaplains. The Assemblies of God prison Chaplains often have dual responsibilities and may be also paid prison staff with fairly unlimited access to prisoners. With Teen Challenge staff paid for out of re-entry prison federal funds, the Teen Challenge facilities had low staff overhead. This financially beneficial arrangement permitted the rapid expansion of the Teen Challenge ministries program. This aggressive outreach of the Assemblies of God Teen Challenge program was also fueled by start up grants which were made possible through collaboration with the Faith-based and Community Initiative grant program and other linked programs.

In addition Texas Governor George Bush had exempted Teen Challenge in Texas from state regulation and inspection (following the state closing of Roloff Homes for child abuse). The investigators from the Texas state agencies (mandated to report human rights violations) were refused entry to Texas Teen Challenge facilities. By placing Scott Bloch in charge of reviewing all federal whistleblower complaints in 2001, the avenue for those in federal service to report child abuse as mandated reporters was essentially closed.

These public policy decisions opened the door for prisoners who professed religious conviction to be hired by Teen Challenge for positions working with children. Thus the arrangement of hiring “Christian” prisoners who were in re-entry prison programs (InnerChange) to work as staff, religious counselors and even directors of Teen Challenge facilities. One such prisoner with a record of criminal conviction of sexual child abuse was Shondi Fabiano, who was hired on staff and co-Directed the Teen Challenge Men's facility in Maine. She had previously been the head of the Teen Challenge Women's facility in Rhode Island prior to her marriage to Peter Sabiano.

Prisoners are probated from prison to faith-based outreach at Teen Challenge where they received counseling, study the Bible and attend church. These “Christian” criminals who had spent hard prison time had many criminal associates and criminal connections and were not always under the full control or adequate supervision of their parole officers. Parole officers saw these “Christian” jail coverts as well-behaved parolees as they were gainfully employed at the Teen Challenge facilities. Teen Challenge as an employer would vouch for the employed prisoners and make allowances for their non-compliant conduct in order to keep them “on the path”. These criminals in their re-entry employment at Teen Challenge were tasked to do missionary “outreach” to teens on the streets of New England. Protected by their employer Teen Challenge and poorly supervised by officials from the prison system, these “Christian” employees openly did street “interventions”. But Teen Challenge facilities had long been suspected of abusive practices and the continuing stream of complaints were surfacing but not getting any action by state or federal authorities.

Teen Challenge and Faith-based and Community Initiatives

Scott Bloch was appointed to the position of Special Counsel for the Office of Special Counsel by President George W. Bush. This followed Bloch’s appointment to the Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives which funneled money to Teen Challenge. Teen Challenge was a residential treatment program which claimed religious treatment for addiction and life challenging problems. Based on strong Christian principles, the intensive program takes residents come from the streets, detoxification facilities, hospitals or jails. Some are referred by pastors and counselors or court-ordered into treatment by judges. Teen Challenge was operated by the Assemblies of God. Scores of pastors, inner-city missionaries and evangelists have graduated from Teen Challenge.

Scott Bloch served as Deputy Director of the DOJ Task Force for the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI). Attorney Scott Bloch, as a US Attorney, did not do due diligence in determining whether it was appropriate to funnel funds to facilities that would be housing vulnerable children and adults and who were also hiring staff at those facilities who were ex-cons with known criminal convictions for sexual abuse of children, drug dealing, domestic violence and money laundering. Why? Perhaps it is because it was the wish of the new President of the United States, George W. Bush (January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009), to provide an open field for Charles Colson’s InnerChange Prison program and the expansion of Teen Challenge and the ministries of the Assembly of God. Chuck Colson had just been pardoned by Governor Jeb Bush and was moving once again in Republican campaign circles.

What is Charitable Choice?

The "Charitable Choice" provision (section 104) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (welfare reform legislation) meant to privatize welfare requires states that contract with nonprofit organizations for delivery of social services to include religious organizations as eligible contractees. The goal of Charitable Choice was to end the welfare system of entitlement money that provides a safety net for the poor and needy and instead turn the system into a privatized system where corporate and non-governmental service agencies compete to provide services. Then when entering office, President George W. Bush issued an executive order known as the Faith-Based Initiative which created a bureaucracy with the sole purpose of providing support to faith-based providers of social services.

Although in theory this might sound like a system to save money and be economical with public funds, it ignores the basic reality of possible fraud by corporate entities such as residential treatment facilities, private prisons and pharmaceutical companies, and many others who benefit by the decreased federal oversight and transparency.

The Food Stamp Showdown

Scott Bloch served as the Chief Counsel for the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives from 2001-2003. In that position he funneled grant money to Teen Challenge in spite of mounting evidence of fraud, illegal activity and even sexual abuse of children in Teen Challenge centers. This was a politically important program that would be critical to President Bush’s and Karl Rove’s political strategy to keep the right faithful to the Republican party and would help generate income for Bush’s political campaign. Through the Faith-based and Community Initiatives program political allies were financially rewarded and other deserving NGO’s received little or nothing.

Teen Challenge gained national attention in 1995 when the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA) threatened to shut down Teen Challenge of South Texas because continuing allegations of abuse and fraud. Teen Challenge of South Texas continued to assert that its counselors refused to trade in their faith-based approach for a "medical model" based on the concept that alcoholism is a disease rather than a manifestation of sin. The state regulators were requiring that staff be properly trained and that the facilities be licensed and inspected. Teen Challenge in Texas and in Florida was unlicensed and unregulated and investigators and child protective services were trying to find a way to get some regulatory control over the residential teen rehabilitation industry especially in light of continuing complaints of abuse. The state was demanding licensing and inspection. Teen Challenge had opted for an alternative accreditation program that did no inspections and was based on a faith based model. State and federal regulators were trying to get regulatory and inspection control over Teen Challenge. Teen Challenge wanted no regulation at all.

Political Motives Affect Public Policy Regarding Enforcement Child Protection in Texas

The Rebekah Home for Girls, founded in 1967, was run by Lester Roloff a fundamentalist preacher. In his very successful radio show, the late evangelist, Lester Roloff, praised the use of punitive "Bible discipline" as a method to chasten girls who had fallen from grace. Lester Roloff claimed that the Rebekah Home took in fallen girls from "jail houses, broken homes, hippie hives, and dope dives" who were "walking through the wilderness of sin." Roloff asserted that he remade these girls into scripture-quoting, gospel-singing believers. As a result the faithful showered Roloff Evangelistic Enterprises with checks, jewelry and other valuables and he made millions. Texas State welfare workers received reports of physical abuse and Attorney General John Hill finally filed a suit against Roloff Evangelistic Enterprises. After many lost court battles and faced with forced closure of the Rebekah Girls Home hundreds of fundamental evangelical supporters surrounded the Rebekah Home forming a human barricade to prevent the state officials from closing in. The Rebekah girls were essentially prisoners in this political show down between Roloff and the Texas Attorney General. Lester Roloff was expressing his political power and the hidden support network of thousands of fundamentalists who adhered to similar beliefs and listened to his radio show. So the Roloff Homes was the center of an epic, twelve-year battle between church and state-culminating in a standoff that Roloff called the Christian Alamo-in which the maverick preacher and his successors fought to avoid regulation by the State of Texas. ( For a more personal account of Roloff Homes see

The political message was clear – there was a huge following of fervent religious people not just in Texas but throughout the USA. These were American citizens who had previously not engaged in the political arena, many of whom had never even registered to vote and who in large part lived their lives apart from the rest of the general society. They claimed the right to religious freedom and do what they wished within their religious facilities. They claimed Lester Roloff as one of their own and he then embodied their right to separation of church and state. The Texas Attorney General and the social services agencies who wished to shut the facility down were representing the right of the state of Texas to assure that human rights abuses and child abuse did not happen to any minor child regardless of the religious beliefs of the parents.

Hundreds of Lester Roloff’s supporters massed around the Rebekah Home, on Roloff's 557-acre compound south of Corpus Christi, linking arms and forming a human barricade to prevent state officials from moving in. This was a three day stand off between the state of Texas and the religious right. Although Roloff agreed to close his youth homes and send his Rebekah girls to youth homes out of the state, this was only a brief victory for the welfare agencies trying to protect the children from abuse. But the homes later reopened under the auspices of the People's Baptist Church rather than Roloff Evangelistic Envangelical Enterprises.

Because this "Christian Alamo" public rally became the place where, George W. Bush, then governor of Texas, came to the rescue, promising to push forward state legislation that exempted many faith-based social programs from state interference. This gained Governor George W. Bush political support from the religious right. The lure of the support of countless thousands of currently unregistered voters passionate about this issue swayed the political decision making of the Texas Governor George W. Bush. The religious right embraced him as he claimed to support Separation of Church and State as an issue and to exempt religious facilities from state regulation and inspection.

The Christian Alamo event was a major victory for Roloff Homes, Teen Challenge and other fundamentalist religious facilities and the start of what became Mr. Bush's faith-based initiative. There is no question that eliminating basic health and safety standards made operations easier for a few faith-based programs in Texas, however it was also clear that the lack of minimum standards has threatened the safety of those participating in the programs and the ability of the state to assure human rights protections to minor children. The overwhelming majority of faith-based child-care facilities in Texas chose to remain under state oversight; only 7 of 2,015 religious institutions elected to operate under alternative accreditation.

The Federal Agency USDA in coordination with State Child Protection Agencies tries to shut down Teen Challenge

In Dallas Texas in 1998 two boys had filed they had been sexually molested by a staff member who was a convicted drug trafficker. After many reports of child abuse at Teen Centers nationwide, the Director of Teen Challenge San Antonio, received a letter from TCADA stating that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had determined that residents of Teen Challenge centers in Texas are no longer eligible to receive food stamps because the centers were not state licensed or inspected.

The San Antonio Teen Challenge center admitted that it depended on the food stamps for nearly half its annual food budget. Teen Challenge on the other hand claimed that federal food stamp regulations hindering men and women who are working to overcome addictions at Teen Challenge centers in four states. Reports kept surfacing that the food purchased with the food stamps was being sold on the black market and children in the Teen Challenge Centers fed nothing but water, white bread and peanut butter.

In opposition to state regulation of Teen Challenge, Texas Governor George W. Bush convened a fifteen-member advisory task force in 1995 made up largely of clergy and charged them with two objectives: to identify state laws and regulations that hindered the work of faith-based groups and to recommend ways to lift some of those regulations. The task force was formed because of the ongoing battle between the Texas Commission of Alcohol and Drug Abuse and a faith-based drug-treatment center, Teen Challenge, in San Antonio.

The Rhode Island Women’s Program was being run by a registered sex offender – Shondi Barbato and she was not the only sex offender on staff at Teen Challenge. State regulators in several states wanted to stop the direct access to children by registered sex offenders and violent criminal offenders in the Teen Challenge program. In most Teen Challenge centers food stamp money provides a majority of their funding. Those in child protective services were hopeful that this denial of food stamps would finally put an end to the hiring of registered sex offenders, drug dealers, violent criminals and other convicts to staff Teen Challenge Centers and force them to be licensed, inspected and regulated so that the safety of the children could be assured. In several states, including Massachusetts and Vermont, officials halted benefits to Teen Challenge clients because the programs were not formally recognized by state officials, and because clients were turning their Food Stamps over to administrators of the treatment program. The coupons were pooled together to buy groceries for those who live in dormitory-style housing for 18 months during their treatment. Thus through the actions of the federal USDA, the federal authorities hoped to protect the human rights and body integrity of children in the care of Teen Challenge facilities.

The threatened cutoff of food stamps to Teen Challenge threatened to shut down Teen Challenge centers in Oregon, Florida, and Massachusetts. The Boston field Office for the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) shut down food stamps to Teen Challenge New England. In Brockton MA in 2005 food stamps were provided roughly $150 for each man per month in Brockton, Massachusetts. This food stamp support totaled nearly $200,000 a year. The USDA stated to Teen Challenge that "The basis for your denial was that your program is not licensed by the state of Massachusetts."

But there was strong protest from the Director Teen Challenge New England, Rodney Hart who was the supervisor of Shondi Barbato, a registered sex offender hired at Teen Challenge New England. Rodney Hart, who is himself a 1976 graduate of Teen Challenge, advocated politically for creating a separate category for faith-based groups on a federal level which he said was the key to solving "a serious glitch that needs to be fixed at a higher level." Teen Challenge New England’s lawyer, Brad Martin filed a complaint against the government in 2005 on behalf of Teen Challenge New England, which has centers in Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Stamped Out World Magazine August 27, 2005, Vol. 20, No. 33

The Director of Teen Challenge New England, Rodney Hart, goes on to state "The government does not have a lens to interpret faith-based recovery centers," he says. "It only recognizes the disease model, which is totally irrelevant to us." Mr. Hart adamantly refuses to obtain a state license, saying it would mean "obtaining an identity that doesn't correspond to who we are. . . . It would be like getting a deer-hunting license to hunt crocodiles." Stamped Out World Magazine August 27, 2005, Vol. 20, No. 33

"Texas Freedom Network, a 23,000-member non-partisan grassroots watchdog group based in Austin conducted a five-year study of the policy and found, “As exempt faith-based drug treatment centers, [such] facilities are not required to have licensed chemical dependency counselors, conduct staff training or criminal background checks, protect client confidentiality rights, adhere to state health and safety standards, or report abuse, neglect, emergencies and medication errors.”

With the influence of President George W. Bush the federal government cleared the way for clients of the faith-based Teen Challenge drug and alcohol recovery program to resume receiving Food Stamps.

“In a joint opinion issued by the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA), and Health and Human Services (HHS), it has now been determined that residents of such treatment programs are eligible for Food Stamps, so long as the programs are operating in compliance with provisions of the Public Health Services Act. Under the opinion, state agencies which administer Food Stamps must recognize such programs as "operating to further the purposes of Part B of Title XIX" of the act -- however it also specifies that such programs are not required to be licensed by states in order to be eligible.”

What does Rodney Hart have to hide from state regulators and inspectors? Why does he refuse to cooperate with federal USDA inspectors and FBI agents? According to his thesis Teen Challenge New England had in 2007 589 beds and revenue that was about $7 million. The staff of Teen Challenge New England was 95% graduates of the program and there were 125 salaried staff. To learn more about the beliefs of Rodney Hart, Director of Teen Challenge New England see his 185 page thesis -

Additional Information on the Teen Challenge and Food Stamps:

Teen Challenge New England Intake Form

Government Teen Challenge Record on Food Stamps

Food stamp fraud in Honolulu and elsewhere,-paying-for-institutionalised-abuse

Under Charitable Choice provisions TNAF provided extensive financial support to Teen Challenge.

CRS Report - Charitable Choice, Faith-Based Initiatives, and TANF Vee Burke, Domestic Social Policy Division

Additional Information about Sexual Abuse at Teen Challenge:

After the Christian Alamo at the Rebekah Home for girls, George W. Bush politically backed Teen Challenge and other residential facilities run by religious groups as it helped him with his political campaign to get votes from the far right – especially the support of the fundamentalist evangelicals and also the Catholic vote. The Alamo standoff was the start of what was to become Mr. Bush's faith-based initiative. Teen Challenge New England Director, Rodney Hart started with Bob Woodson of the Washington, D.C.-based National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, who fought for Teen Challenge during the Texas controversy in 1995. Rodney Hart also approached Jim Towey, head of the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives under Bush (2002-2006) who worked with Attorney Scott Bloch. and now President of Ave Maria University. George W. Bush made providing food stamp money to Teen Challenge a priority for his administration, so through the Charitable Choice program and changes in the legislation for TNAF the federal government was once again providing money to Teen Challenge without any pesky regulation or inspection.

Teen Challenge and sex offenders

In Dallas Texas in 1998 two boys had filed they had been sexually molested by staff. But the sexual abuse was covered up and the prison re-entry (re-integration) program that placed ex-convicts in charge of caring for minors had high level political support from the then Governor of Texas George W. Bush.

According to the news report: “The alleged victim was 16 when he went to Dallas Teen Challenge Boys Ranch in Winnsboro in January 1996. According to his lawsuit, a counselor and convicted drug trafficker sexually molested him and two other boys, one of whom also was 16 or younger. "(The counselor) sexually molested (the plaintiff) on at least six different occasions at the ranch," the lawsuit states. The lawsuit further alleges that the church, ranch executive director Paul Ecker and the ranch's board knowingly employed men with criminal histories as counselors despite being informed by state regulators the practice was illegal.”

Teen Challenge in New England has for many years been an established program and was using persons from the prison reintegration program as labor. The Bristol County Sheriff’s office (in Massachusetts) was creating a Teen Challenge unit in the county jail. The 22 men in the minimum-security unit were working through Teen Challenge curriculum under the daily oversight of two Teen Challenge ministers. When men in the unit are released from prison, they are encouraged to enter one of the Teen Challenge centers in Massachusetts.

Peter Fabiano, came to the Brockton Teen Challenge for drug addiction treatment in approximately 2000. By 2005, by all reports, Peter Fabiano had been placed on the leadership fast track and was the supervisor of a center 30 miles south, in Fall River. Mr. Fabiano married Shondi Barbato (her maiden name). Shondi Barbato was supervisor of the Teen Challenge women's center in Rhode Island, and the couple were hoping to open a new center in Maine. Shondi Fabiano has a history of 2nd degree sexual assault conviction in Kent, RI. Shondi Fabiano then moved with her husband into the position of co-director in the Maine center.

Shondi Fabiano was convicted of Second Degree Child Molestation in Rhode Island. She is listed on the National Sex Offender Public Registry. Maine has some pretty strict laws regarding contact with minors by registered sex offenders.

Shondi Fabiano actually originally had her address listed on the sex offender database originally as Teen Challenge New England – Augusta, 11 Hudson Lane, Winthrop, ME 04346.

Fabiano apparently, (at least per a search of the records site for Rhode Island's criminal courts) committed the crimes 10 years ago under her maiden name Shondi Barbato; she was originally charged with 1st degree child abuse (which involves sexual penetration of a child under the age of 14). It also appears Fabiano (under her maiden name of Barbato) has a conviction for fraud (specifically attempts to obtain money under false pretenses, insurance fraud, and conspiracy) and a dismissed charge of possession of a controlled substance. Shondi Fabiano then married Teen Challenge "graduate" Peter Fabiano and they both moved to Maine. She in turn promoted the hiring of ex-prisoners for multiple positions throughout Teen Challenge facilities in New England. Dennis Knox, who was convicted of gross sexual assault after raping an unconscious female, was also employed at Teen Challenge New England. Teen Challenge New England is composed of nine centers across New England and New Jersey and also a program in the Dartmouth, MA House of Correction.

These are where Teen Challenge New England has facilities:

• Augusta, ME
• Boston, MA
• Brockton, MA
• Fitchburg, MA
• Johnson, VT
• Manchester, NH
• New Haven, CT
• Newark, NJ
• Providence, RI

In 2008 there had been articles about Shondi Fabiano and her convictions for second degree child molestation. So in light of the exposure of Shondi Fabiano’s registration as a sex offender, Rev. Rodney Hart, Director of Teen Challenge New England provided the press the following press release and then her name was removed from their public website of the Northern New England District of the Assemblies of God and put up a new website that does not give the names of any of the staff in direct contact with clients at their facilities.

So in interest of full disclosure – this is the explanation that was the Official Press Release from Rev. Rodney Hart, President & CEO of Teen Challenge New England at the time that Shondi Fabiano was exposed in the press in 2008 for her position at Teen Challenge:

“Shondi Fabiano began using drugs at age 12 and was a heroin addict by the time she was 19 years old. She was living with and using drugs with a 21 year old man who was also an addict. While under the influence of narcotics she had sex with a 14 and a 15 year old boy. The two boys were family members of the 21 year old male that was Shondi’s boyfriend. The family of the boys filed charges against Shondi. Shondi’s public defender told her that if she didn’t want to go to jail for a long time she had better plead guilty. So she did. This was 15 years ago! Shondi sought help for her drug addiction at Teen Challenge and graduated with honors a year later. For the last 10 years she has dedicated her life to helping other drug addicts overcome their addictions and lead normal productive lives. Her life is a stellar example of one that has overcome incredible odds. Her life is a shining example and inspiration to all those who know and love her personally. She has been terribly embarrassed by this story. This was a tragic mistake that she will carry with her the rest of her life. She has completed probation without any violations and is no longer under any supervision. She is married, with a young infant and two teenage sons and poses no threat to anyone. To suggest that the community is at risk in any way is a gross exaggeration and extremely unfair to Shondi and the courageous steps she has taken to overcome the physical and spiritual obstacles in her life. Please direct all questions and comments to Rev. Rodney Hart, President and CEO of Teen Challenge New England.”

This is additional information that was already posted by others: 7/

Mounting Evidence of Criminal Activity Associated with Assemblies of God & Teen Challenge

Mike and Sharla Hintz from Clive Iowa campaigned for George W. Bush. But Reverend Mike Hintz, youth pastor at the First Assembly of God Church was later charged with the sexual exploitation of a child. Rev. Hintz was the youth pastor at the First Assembly of God Church for three years. Police said he started an affair with a 17-year-old in the church youth group. The Des Moines Iowa youth pastor was charged with sexual exploitation by another counselor and then turned himself in to police in 2004. Rev. Mike Hintz was fired from the First Assembly of God Church in 2004.

In Dallas Texas an 18-year-old man and his parents sued the Assemblies of God and the church's ranch for troubled youths, claiming the youth was molested by a counselor at the center. The alleged victim was 16 when he went to Dallas Teen Challenge Boys Ranch in January 1996. It was alleged tat the church Executive Director Paul Ecker employed men with known criminal histories. The alleged victim was according to his lawsuit sexually assaulted and molested on six different occasions by a counselor at the ranch who was a convicted drug trafficker. State regulations made it clear that this hiring of convicted offenders was illegal and yet Executive Director Paul Ecker continued to disregard regulations. Many clients of the Teen Challenge - Assemblies of God facility were court ordered into the Assemblies of God care as a condition of probation, and already had psychological or substance abuse problems. During the day, they performed chores, including caring for livestock, and took part in religious education. At night, they were "locked down" and monitored by alarm systems to prevent unauthorized departures. Employees and volunteers who were participating in an adult substance abuse treatment program called "Life Change" were admitted to the Teen Challenge facility as part of their probation. This was improper according to state regulations. (5/13/98, AP)

In New Mexico, Marty A. Hynes, 33, was charged with eight counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor, three counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor and one count of attempted criminal sexual contact of a minor. Hynes was a youth pastor at the First Assembly of God church when the alleged incidents occurred, between July and December 2001. (Las Cruces Sun-News, March 24, 2003) The allegations came to light after the girl attempted to take her life with over-the-counter medication.The girl testified that after she turned 17 years old, Hynes began to kiss and fondle her, and it eventually lead to sexual intercourse. The church dismissed Hynes from his position shortly after the allegations were made.

See article: Trial of former youth pastor begins

In 1998 in Gainesville, Georgia, Rev. L.G. Gilstrap, a 54 year old Assemblies of God minister, was convicted by a jury on 3 counts of child molestation and sentenced to 33 years in prison for a string of fondling incidents in 1988 involving brothers aged 10 and 13. Eight men testified during the trial that they too were molested by the minister when they were boys. Gilstrap, defrocked, started a new church, New Hope Ministries. Married, he was a former clerk for the Georgia House of Representatives. Three of the eight men who testified against Gilstrap said the minister occasionally took them to Atlanta to serve as House pages. After spending the day working at the Capitol, they said, the minister would take them to an Atlanta hotel and molest them. (Atlanta Constitution, 9/22/89)

Ex-Minister Gets 33-Year Sentence In Child Sex Case: Gilstrap Guilty of 3 Molestation Counts

International Outreach of Teen Challenge and Money Laundering

The hiring of prisoners directly into Teen Challenge is not just in the USA but also is being done in Teen Challenge facilities throughout the world. Teen Challenge has facilities in 80 nations. The Northern New England District Assemblies of God located in Portland Maine with which Shondi Fabiano,(registered criminally convicted sex offender), was associated, also does outreach ministry to Taiwan, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina, the Caribbean, Russia, Chad and Honduras. The Assemblies of God runs their own independent Credit Union in Missouri to facilitate money exchange and sets up personal banking accounts for prisoners in the re-entry program who are employed by Teen Challenge.

In addition Teen Challenge was hiring ex-cons with criminal backgrounds in fraud and money laundering and putting them in charge of fund raising efforts for their operations. In Teen Challenge in Minnesota, Frank Vennes, a man with criminal convictions as a money launderer, was put on the Teen Challenge board and placed in charge of handling financial accounts. Vennes then defrauded numerous Christian donors in an elaborate affinity fraud and was a co-conspirator of the Thomas J. Petters Ponzi scheme. Vennes’ past federal crimes include money laundering, cocaine- and gun-running. Frank Vennes gave tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Senator Norm Coleman and former state GOP Chair Ron Ebensteiner all l supported a Presidential pardon from President George W. Bush for Vennes past crimes.

Labor Fraud Schemes, Lack of Workmen’s Compensation Coverage

In 2008 Sanford Florida, Wayne Gray, Director of Sanford Teen Challenge, did a telemarketing fraud scam. This criminal scheme utilized Teen Challenge teens in an abusive environment using them for dirt cheap labor to man the phone bank and paying the teens only 33 cents a day for a 40 hour work week. This time share vacation scam funneled customer’s credit card information over to men convicted of financial crimes. Sanford Teen Challenge director Wayne Gray has resigned in disgrace after a telemarketing scam he oversaw was exposed on WFTV. Gray fled when Action 9 news reporter Todd Ullrich showed up with a camera crew to do a follow-up.

Rather than being fired for violations of child labor laws and telemarketing fraud, Wayne Gray was moved from Sanford Teen Challenge and re-employed by Teen Challenge in Oklahoma City as Executive Director. Sanford Teen Challenge supervisor Danny McCrimon was arrested March 8, 2009 for DUI. McCrimon, who was Operations Director at the Sanford location, was arrested by the Florida Highway Patrol and booked into John Polk Correctional facility on a $2000 bond.

Alan Pauler, a resident of Wichita, Kansas, was accepted into the Teen Challenge of the Midlands program on September 23, 2003. Teen Challenge of the Midlands (Teen Challenge) is a faith-based organization located on an 80-acre complex in Colfax, Iowa, with a smaller “reentry” facility in Omaha, Nebraska, and a non-residential facility in Des Moines. Teen Challenge is a 501(c)(3) corporation. At the time of admission, Pauler did not have health insurance. Teen Challenge does not provide health insurance to its participants—called students. Several staff members are members of Reverend Hunsberger’s family. There are no certified substance abuse counselors at the Colfax site. Reverend Hunsberger distinguishes the “discipleship” program from drug treatment, saying that discipleship is “based on scriptural model,” “eating meals together, hanging out together, and living together in a community.” Pauler was assigned to perform construction work on campus duplexes for use by Teen Challenge staff members. He was also selected to work on several construction projects at off-campus locations for which he was not paid, but from which Teen Challenge benefited financially. Pauler sustained a fractured patella, which required surgery and a laceration to his head which required sutures. He has suffered ongoing pain and restricted movement. Teen Challenge carried workers’ compensation insurance coverage for its staff, but not for participants. Coverage was denied. The court decided that there is no workers’ compensation liability in analogous situations involving individuals seeking spiritual development from organizations that provide room, board, and a work requirement.

Lack of Protection for Mandated Reporter Disclosure by Federal Employees and Whistleblowers

FBI agents report up the chain of command ultimately to the Director of the FBI and the White House. The President of the United States was George W. Bush who had already acted in his official capacity, as Governor of Texas, to protect Teen Challenge from state inspection and regulation and to overlook all complaints of child abuse. This lack of protection from the government happened in spite of mounting evidence of a continuing pattern of coercive psychological, emotional, physical abuse and even sexual abuse at Teen Challenge centers in Texas and other states. When there are disagreements on when to close a case or pursue the matter further, the decision is made based on the U.S. Department of Justice chain of command. When unsatisfied the final decider of FBI whistleblower complaints is the Merit Systems Protection Board and Special Counsel for the Office of Special Counsel. All whistleblower cases from federal employees would end up eventually for review by Special Counsel for the OSC, Scott Bloch. His decision to investigate or close the case and not appeal it at the Merit Systems Protection Board would be final and not subject to further appeal. His was the final decision of the Bush administration Department of Justice.

But there was little chance of any FBI agent being heard when presenting a politically unpalatable whistleblower complaint to the OSC or the Merit Systems Protection Board. So FBI agents and other federal employees who did their ethical and moral duty as federal officers of the US Department of Justice and other investigating federal agencies such as: Health and Human Services, SAMSHA, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Labor would report their whistleblower complaint to the OSC with little hope of a positive outcome. Those dedicated federal employees who were acting as mandated reporters of human rights violations and child abuse, were instead often demoted, stripped of their security clearances, threatened with pension removal and dismissed from their positions as law enforcement officers.

For decades, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) the very agency which was created to protect whistleblowers - was historically involved in tutoring agency managers on how to get rid of inconvenient, outspoken employees. Many of these brave whistleblowers have lost their jobs and life savings, defending themselves from retaliatory investigations, malicious prosecutions, baseless transfers, unwarranted demotions, suspensions, unjustified terminations and other reprisals by their respective government agencies.

Investigation and Allegations Against Attorney Scott Bloch

Scott J. Bloch was removed from his position in October 2008. During his tenure as head of the Task Force on Faith-based and Community Initiatives Scott Bloch turned a blind eye when Teen Challenge staff were accused of abuse of minors and young adults in their programs based on discrimination against them because of their religious beliefs and their sexual orientations. Scott Bloch while at the OSC had ordered his office to erase all references to workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, claiming his office lacked the authority to protect gay and lesbian workers and he also failed to protect LGBT teens from abuse by the staff and “peer mentors” in Teen Challenge. Teen Challenge was also accused of coercive abusive practices against young women who wished to have reproductive choice regarding their own bodies. Teen Challenge was found to do coercive practices against those of Jewish faith as well as other faiths in an effort to force them to accept Jesus Christ. Persons of other faiths were court ordered into Teen Challenge facilities under the false belief that they were treatment programs for substance abuse when in fact there was no medical or psychological treatment component to their programs and there was no licensed professional involved in supervising care in their facilities. Teens in Teen Challenge were "locked down" and monitored by alarm systems, to prevent unauthorized departures. Teen Challenge essentially kept youth in a locked up facility for a year to 18 months in order to force their religious conversion to evangelical Christian faith. While held in these facilities, there was no permitted communication or contact with the outside world not even to family members unless coercive control and oppressive monitoring by Teen Challenge staff. Teen Challenge facilities in both Texas and Florida had been exempted by the state governors - Texas Governor George W. Bush and Florida Governor "Jeb" Bush from licensing requirements and state inspection. Thus staff in Teen Challenge – many, who were recruited directly from the Teen Challenge outreach to jailed prisoners, were at liberty to use the captives for any purpose they wished.

John Ellis "Jeb" Bush served as the 43rd Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. George W. Bush served as the 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 until 2000, when he resigned as governor following his election as the 43rd President of the United States. During the years of 1995 through the election of George W. Bush as President of the US - there were no meaningful protections for persons committed to lock up facilities owned and operated by Teen Challenge. Numerous allegations about child abuse surfaced but investigations were shut down without proper explanation and then the governors of Florida and Texas altered state law to exempt Teen Challenge from any state investigations and permitted them to be licensed by an accrediting agency that did no investigations at all and did not report to any governmental agency.

Lack of Human Rights Protections in the USA

The US Attorney Scott Bloch at the Office of Special Counsel did not protect whistleblowers from any federal agency. Teen Challenge abused the children and young adults in their care. If you were a convicted criminal and worked at Teen Challenge no one was going to stop you from doing human rights abuses or criminal activity. Teen Challenge staff and Board members did criminal activity and international money laundering.

Scott Bloch did not enforce the Hatch Act or Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (Veterans’ Rights). Under his tenure at the OSC, veterans were denied their human rights and veteran whistleblowers were denied their appeals. Rather than protecting federal employees from prohibited personnel practices, Scott Bloch actually violated the rights of his own staff.

There was also a complete lack of any Department of Justice protocols to protect human rights defenders, whistleblowers and mandated reporters. This break down in the Department of Justice system meant that we did not have any functioning protections for human rights in the United States of America.

A political strategy furthered by Karl Rove was behind this miscarriage of justice. Scott Bloch furthered that political agenda with his actions both at the OSC and also at the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives. We need to bring Scott Bloch to justice for what he really did – obstruction of justice, Hatch Act violations, USERRA violations and Prohibited Personnel Practices and put into place appropriate safeguards for human rights and protection for human rights defenders.

Additional Information about the Office of Special Counsel:

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency. Their basic authorities come from four federal statutes: the Civil Service Reform Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Hatch Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

PPPs & Whistleblower Protection
OSC receives, investigates, and prosecutes allegations of Prohibited Personnel Practices or PPPs, with an emphasis on protecting federal government whistleblowers. OSC seeks corrective action remedies (such as back pay and reinstatement), by negotiation or from the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), for injuries suffered by whistleblowers and other complainants. OSC is also authorized to file complaints at the MSPB to seek disciplinary action against individuals who commit PPPs.

Disclosure Unit
OSC provides a secure channel through its Disclosure Unit for federal workers to disclose information about various workplace improprieties, including a violation of law, rule or regulation, gross mismanagement and waste of funds, abuse of authority, or a substantial danger to public health or safety.

Hatch Act Unit (Political Activity)
OSC promotes compliance by government employees with legal restrictions on political activity by providing advisory opinions on, and enforcing, the Hatch Act. Every year, OSC’s Hatch Act Unit provides over a thousand advisory opinions, enabling individuals to determine whether their contemplated political activities are permitted under the Act.

Hatch Act Unit also enforces compliance with the Act. Depending on the severity of the violation, OSC will either issue a warning letter to the employee, or prosecute a violation before MSPB.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (Veterans’ Rights)

OSC protects the civilian employment and reemployment rights of military veterans and members of the Guard and Reserve by enforcing the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

Employee Information Programs

Section 2302(c) of title 5 of the U.S. Code makes agency heads and officials with personnel authority responsible (in consultation with OSC) for informing federal employees of their rights and remedies under chapters 12 and 23 of title 5. These chapters deal with prohibited personnel practices, whistleblower disclosures, political activity, and access to OSC and MSPB.