Thursday, March 31, 2011

Scott Bloch will spend 1 month in Jail

On March 30, 2011 Judge Deborah A. Robinson denied Scott Bloch’s motion to reconsider his guilty plea on the criminal contempt of Congress case USA v Scott Bloch. Scott Bloch was the former Special Counsel for the Office of Special Counsel and was accused of dismissing hundreds of whistleblower cases without investigation. Scott Bloch in the face of a federal investigation asked Geeks on Call to wipe his computer clean of all digital files thus destroying evidence that the FBI was seeking in the Congressional investigation. On March 30, 2011 Scott Bloch was sentenced to one month in prison by a D.C. federal court. The former Bush administration head of the Office of Special Counsel, Bloch had pleaded guilty in connection with his use of 'Geeks On Call' to scrub his government computer but then when realizing he would be facing mandatory jail time, he tried to withdraw his guilty plea. DC District Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson instead decided that Scott Bloch would spend time in jail. In addition to the prison time, Bloch was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation and 200 hours community service. Scott Bloch’s attorney indicated that he would be filing a motion for a stay of the decision pending appeal.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Teen Challenge Received Money from Peters Company Ponzi Scheme

Frank Vennes Jr., born-again ex con who served on the board of Teen Challenge MN, was a fraudster and money launderer. According to a federal search warrant affidavit, Vennes helped convince five investors to put $1.2 billion into Petters's companies, which won Vennes more than $28 million in commissions. Previously Frank Vennes Jr. had spent five years in prison for charges of illegally selling a firearm, using a phone to distribute cocaine, and money laundering, but claimed to be rehabilitated after finding God. Frank Vennes found guidance from evangelical Christian ministry while in prison and then upon leaving prison found support from the Assemblies of God run residential treatment facility Teen Challenge in Minnesota. The Directors of Teen Challenge MN knew about his previous convictions for money laundering, drug dealing and gun running but they still placed him in charge of financial affairs for Teen Challenge MN and for fund raising activities. Congressman Michele Bachmann had received many thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Frank Vennes, his family and lawyer/lobbyist G. Craig Howse. In a letter to the Office of Pardon Attorney dated Dec. 10, 2007, a year after she was elected, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann wrote requesting a presidential pardon for Frank Vennes Jr., she stated in that letter to then President George W. Bush that Fidelis Foundation was "backed" by Frank Vennes Jr. and Bachmann stated that a Presidential pardon of Vennes would be "good for society".:

“As a U.S. Representative, I am confident of Mr. Vennes’ successful rehabilitation and that a pardon will be good for the neediest of society,” Bachmann wrote. “Mr. Vennes is seeking a pardon so that he may be further used to help others. As I know from personal experience, Mr. Vennes has used his business position and success to fund hundreds of nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping the neediest in our society. The Fidelis Foundation, backed by Mr. Vennes, has directed over $10.7 million in total gifts in the last three years, and the Fidelis Foundation has ranked #6, #9 and #7 as the largest grant-making foundation in Minnesota over the past three years.”

The appearance of Vennes’ success was a mask for a tangled financial web of lies. As a member of the Teen Challenge board as well as the financial committee, Frank Vennes reviewed the investment proposal with Petters’ business. Following a federal investigation, by Julio La Rosa, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the St. Paul IRS field office, Petters was convicted by a jury of masterminding a scheme that cost investors more than $3.5 billion. Frank Vennes was a broker for investors in Petters’ companies. Petters functioned as a venture capitalist and by attracting investment from hedge funds and individuals. Petters acquired Sun Country Airlines and Polaroid Corporation which are now in bankruptcy. Pretending they were selling real items such as electronic equipment, Petters and his colleagues took investors money for their own gain.. In 2009 Thomas Petters was found guilty, in front of U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle, on all 20 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.

Specifically, Thomas Petters was found guilty on the following charges:

10 counts of wire fraud
3 counts of mail fraud
1 count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud
1 count of conspiracy to commit money laundering
5 five counts of money laundering.


Teen Challenge MN asserted the money invested in Petters Co. was given through a single contributor,the Fidelis Foundation. Fidelis Foundation is a public charity that acts as an investment agent on behalf of other public charities and nonprofits, including Teen Challenge. The Fidelis Foundation claims it is facing losses in the bankruptcy case of up to $27.6 million in Petters Co. notes. Fidelis Foundation, a Minnesota religious charity, had $27.6 million invested in eight promissory notes from Petters Co. backed by fictitious purchase orders. The Fidelis Foundation investment debt originally came from loans from the Harvest Foundation. The Harvest Foundation was the entity that initially loaned Frank Vennes $10,500,000 in 2001 and 2002.

Frank Vennes Jr. was a major financial contributor to Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann quickly distanced herself and withdrew the letter of support for a presidential pardon she had written for Vennes claiming that she may have too hastily accepted his claims of redemption. But she was not the only politican to receive money from Frank Vennes. Minnesota politicians, who were scrambling to jettison campaign cash donated by those involved in the fraud scheme, included Norm Coleman, Amy Klobuchar, Tim Pawlenty, Jim Oberstar, and Elwyn Tinkenberg.

Thomas Petters had major holdings in Sun Country Airlines, Polaroid and other companies. As the criminal case developed, several of Petters' companies were put into receivership and 10 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (see list below).

Additional Information:

http://www.startribune.com/projects/30350074.html, Petters case back in court, By DAVID PHELPS, Star Tribune, Last update: March 15, 2011

http://www.startribune.com/business/33420309.html, Part 3: Tom Petters: Giving that hurts, Charities that invested with Tom Petters dropped the ball when it came to making wise choices with donated funds, experts say. By DAVID SHAFFER, Star Tribune, Last update: October 27, 2008 - 11:54 PM

http://www.startribune.com/business/46674572.html
Audit firm sued over Metro Gem assurances, June 1, 2009 Star Tribune
The suit claims auditors failed to examine the business dealings of Frank Vennes Jr.'s company.

http://minnesotaindependent.com/tag/frank-vennes ‘Dirty money’: MN Teen Challenge returned Bachmann’s contribution, By Karl Bremer, Minneosota Independent, 4/20/09

Vennes got pardon letter from Bachmann same month he saw Petters fraud,
By Chris Steller , Minnesota Independent, 1/11/09

Bachmann’s office claims she donated at least one Petters-tainted campaign contribution to charity, By Karl Bremer, Minnesota Independent, 10/16/08

http://www.startribune.com/business/29817604.html
Federal officials: Petters tied to multi-billion dollar fraud scheme
By David Phelp and Liz Fedor, Star Tribune, September 26, 2008

http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/080907/bus_189886989.shtml
Developer Kuhn sues business partner, Published Thursday, August 9, 2007 The Florida Times Union

http://www.startribune.com/business/30398069.html
Reformed convict part of Petters probe, Millionaire Frank Vennes Jr. once gave inspirational talks to prisoners but is now under investigation.
By Jon Tevlin, Star Tribune October 4, 2008 - 8:27 PM

http://www.rippleinstillwater.com/2010/11/michele-bachmanns-pardon-pal-frank.html Sunday, November 7, 2010 by Karl Bremer, Michele Bachmann's pardon pal Frank Vennes Jr. wants out of Petters Ponzi mess, Was post-election filing of plan to settle with investors politically motivated?

http://www.startribune.com/business/37369929.html Affidavit: Vennes knew of Petters fraud, David Phelps, Star Tribune, Jan. 10, 2009, Frank Vennes Jr., a Shoreview businessman who recruited investors for Tom Petters, found out something was amiss nine months before authorities moved in. Now they want access to his e-mail.

http://www.startribune.com/business/67235592.html Witnesses saw signs of fraud in 2000, Oct. 30, 2009, Star Tribune, David Phelps, With a subsidiary struggling to repay debt, Tom Petters wrote checks that bounced, GE exec Jack Marrone testified.

'Petters: 'It's not just me who knew', Nov. 4, 2009, Star Tribune, David Phelps, In a tape played for the jury, Tom Petters says he and his associates committed a fraud.

http://www.startribune.com/business/56779612.html Petters' woes haven't stopped his charity group, Sept. 2, 2009, Star Tribune, David Phelps, Separate from the businessman's fallen empire, the John T. Petters Foundation still awards scholarships -- it just keeps a lower profile.

http://www.startribune.com/business/40692097.html
Sketchy profile emerges for key player in Petters probe, March 3, 2009, David Phelps, A Los Angeles businessman who laundered money for Tom Petters' alleged Ponzi scheme may be in the government's witness security program.

http://www.startribune.com/business/35107584.html Sun Country seeks loan from a Petters company
Sun Country Airlines, in a motion filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, is seeking court approval to obtain short-term financing from a Petters Aviation company to help the carrier pay its bills until next spring.

http://www.startribune.com/business/35107584.html Star Tribune, Nov. 25, 2008 Mansion of Petters associate for sale; proceeds will be held
Frank Vennes Jr., a Shorewood businessman, got court approval to sell his Florida mansion for $5.8 million. A three-bedroom house in Bismarck, N.D., has already sold.

http://www.startribune.com/business/33287804.html # Part 1: The collapse of the Petters empire, Star Tribune,October 26, 2008 David Phelps,
Tom Petters, accused of massive investment fraud, has been a salesman since his youth. "He could talk your wallet right out of your pocket," a former boss says.

http://www.startribune.com/business/33336049.html # Part 2: Burned: The human toll of the Petters case, Star Tribune, David Phelps,
Flight attendants, hedge funds and retirees are caught in the wake of the federal probe. "I'm trying not to cry," said a woman who may have lost $100,000 in savings.

http://www.startribune.com/business/33420309.html Oct. 27, 2008 # Part 3: Tom Petters: Giving that hurts, Star Tribune, David Phelps,
Charities that invested with Tom Petters dropped the ball when it came to making wise choices with donated funds, experts say.

http://www.startribune.com/business/33480259.html # Part 4: Petters fraud case shakes foundations, Star Tribune,October 29, 2008, David Phelps
The future of the Thomas J. Petters Family Foundation is in doubt, and Another named for his son is bracing for fallout from the investment fraud investigation.


These are the particulars of the Fidelis Foundation.

Fidelis Foundation
3189 Fernbrook Ln. N.
Plymouth, MN 55447-5320
Type of Grantmaker: Public charity
IRS Exemption Status: 501(c)(3)
Additional Descriptor: Organization that normally receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or from the general public
Financial Data (yr. ended 9/30/07): Assets: $31,383,893; Total giving: $3,003,894
EIN: 300006857
990: 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
Last Updated: 7/27/2008
Purpose and Activities: The foundation helps Christian ministries fulfill their missions by providing financial support for their programs, as well as resources to maximize their effectiveness.
Fields of Interest/Subjects: Christian agencies & churches
Officers and Directors: Note: An asterisk (*) following an individual's name indicates an officer who is also a trustee or director.
G. Craig Howse,* Chairperson
Joseph L. Smith,* President
Garth Warren, Vice President
L. John Buyse
Sam Crabtree
Bruce Pearson
Financial Data:
Year ended 9/30/07:
Revenue: $17,612,388
Assets: $31,383,893 (market value)
Gifts received: $13,743,931
Expenditures: $3,471,763
Total giving: $3,003,894
Program services expenses: $3,301,265
Giving activities include:
$3,003,894 for grants
$297,371 for foundation-administered programs
Additional Location Information:
County: Hennepin
Metropolitan area: Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

It also appears that the Fidelis Foundation was once called the Harvest Foundation?

Harvest Foundation – IRS Form 990 Part IV – Other Notes and Loans Receivable
Borrower: Peters Company
Original Amount: 3,700,000
Interest Rate: 26.000000
Date of Note: 12/21/2001
Maturity Date: 12/31/2002
Repayment Terms: Note Due on 12/21/2002
Security Provided: Specific Merchandise
Ending Balance Due: $ 3,700,000.

Borrower: Peters Company
Original Amount: $3,640,000.
Interest Rate: 26.000000
Maturity Date: 12/31/2002
Repayment Terms: Note due on 12/31/2002
Security Provided: Specific Merchandise
Ending Balance Due: $3,640,000.

Borrower Peters Company
Original Amount: $3,160,000.
Interest Rate: 26.000000
Repayment Terms : Due on receipt of proceeds from sale of MDSE
Ending Balance Due $3,160,000.

Total Ending Other Notes and Loans Receivables $10,500,000.


This is a list of grants given by Fidelis Foundation

Fidelis Foundation
3180 Fernbrook Lane North
Plymouth, MN 55447
County: Hennepin
Phone: 763-201-1268
Program Description: Program’s purpose: The foundation provides resources to help ministries to maximize their effectiveness by providing strategic planning assistance, administrative, legal and tax services.
Areas of interest: Religion/Spiritual
Sample grants:
City Sites Ministry/$25,000
Crystal Evangelical – MN/MN/$10,000
Lighthouse Ministry – MN/MN/$10,000
Mission Moving Mountains – MN/MN/ $10,000
MN Family Institute/MN/$17,500
New Life Services/$20,000
Teen Challenge – MN/MN $100,000


This is a list of all Creditors of the Thomas Petters/Frank Vennes Ponzi Scheme
(Creditors Matrix with MN Bankruptcy Court) Case Number: 08-45257

AI Plus, Inc.
P.O. Box 385346
Bloomington, MN 55438

ARK DISCOVERY II LP

ARK ROYAL CAPITAL LLC

ARROWHEAD CAPITAL PARTNERS II LP

Acorn Capital Group, LLC

Apriven Partners, LP
Stoel Rives LLP, c/o Marc Al
33 South Sixth Street
Suite 4200
Minneapolis, MN 55402

ArrowHead Capital

ArrowHead Capital Management LLC
C/O James N Fry
601 Carlson Pkwy
Ste 1250
Minnetonka, MN 55305

Bank of America, N.A.
Miller Canfield Paddock & Stone, PLC
150 West Jefferson
Suite 2500
Detroit, MI 48226

C&C Capital, LLC
Stoel Rives LLP, c/o Marc Al
33 South Sixth Street
Suite 4200
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Elite Landings, LLC
2005 Cargo Road
Minneapolis, MN 55450
UNITED STATES

FREESTONE LOW VOLATILITY PARNTERS LP
C/O MARK R JACOBS
410 PARK AVE
NEW YORK, NY 10022

Fidelis Foundation

Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.
200 S 6th St Ste 4000
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Huron Consulting Group, Inc.

IOC Distribution, Inc.
P.O. Box 386112
Bloomington, MN 55438

Interlachen Harriet Investments Limited

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

Opportunity Finance, LLC
c/o Foley & Mansfield PLLP
250 Marquette Avenue
Suite 1200
Minneapolis, MN 55401

PETTERS AVIATION LLC
4400 BAKER RD
MINNETONKA, MN 55343

Palm Beach Finance Partners, L.P. and Palm Beach Finance II, L.P.
3601 PGA Blvd.
Suite 301
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410

Petra (T) Fixed Income Fund, LLC
c/o Richard D. Anderson
2200 IDS Center
80 South 8th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Petters Company, Inc.
4400 Baker Road
Minnetonka, MN 55343

Petters Group Worldwide, LLC
4400 Baker Road
Minnetonka, MN 55343

RHONE HOLDINGS II, LTD.
C/O JAMES M. JORISSEN
LEONARD, O'BRIEN, ET AL.
100 SOUTH FIFTH STREET
SUITE 2500
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55402

RITCHIE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, LLC
C/O JAMES M. JORISSEN
LEONARD, O'BRIEN, ET AL.
100 SOUTH FIFTH STREET
SUITE 2500
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55402

RITCHIE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, LTD.
C/O JAMES M. JORISSEN
LEONARD, O'BRIEN, ET AL.
100 SOUTH FIFTH STREET
SUITE 2500
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55402

RITCHIE CAPITAL STRUCTURE ARBITRAGE TRADINGS, LTD.
C/O JAMES M. JORISSEN
LEONARD, O'BRIEN, ET AL.
100 SOUTH FIFTH STREET
SUITE 2500
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55402

RITCHIE SPECIAL CREDIT INVESTMENTS, LTD.
C/O JAMES M. JORISSEN
LEONARD, O'BRIEN, ET AL.
100 SOUTH FIFTH STREET
SUITE 2500
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55402

Taunton Ventures LP
C/O Paul Taunton
990 Deerbrook Dr
Chanhassen, MN 55317

True North Funding, LLC
Stoel Rives LLP, c/o Marc Al
33 South Sixth Street
Suite 4200
Minneapolis, MN 55402

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
C/O ROYLENE A. CHAMPEAUX, AUSA
600 U S COURTHOUSE
300 SOUTH FOURTH STREET
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55415

UNSECURED CREDITORS COMMITEE

Welsh Baker Road, LLC
c/o Briggs and Morgan, P.A.
80 South 8th Street
2200 IDS Center
Minneapolis, MN 55402

YORKVILLE INVESTMENT I, LLC
C/O JAMES M. JORISSEN
LEONARD, O'BRIEN, ET AL.
100 SOUTH FIFTH STREET
SUITE 2500
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55402


Minneapolis
301 U.S. Courthouse
300 South Fourth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415

200 WATER LLCCOMBINED MATRIX
202 WATER STREET #202
EXCELSIOR, MN 55331

200 WATER LLCSUPPLEMENTAL MATRIX
202 WATER STREET #202
EXCELSIOR, MN 55331

ACORN CAPITAL GROUP, LLC
TWO GREENWICH OFFICE PARK
GREENWICH, CT 06831

AD CAPITAL, LLC
UNIT 1006, 10TH FLOOR, BLOCK B
PHILEO DAMANSARA 1, JALAN 16/11
46350 PETALING JAYA.

AL'S ELECTRIC OF ST. CLOUD INC.
2616 NORTH COOPER AVE
PO BOX 933
ST. CLOUD, MN 56302

ALLIANCE COURIER
PO BOX 202092
BLOOMINGTON, MN 55420

AMERICAN EXPRESS
PO BOX 981535
EL PASO, TX 79998-1535

AMERICAN EXPRESS CO.
TRAVEL RELATED SERVICES CO. INC.
PO BOX 360001
FT. LAUDERDALE, FL 33336-0001

AMERIPRIDE
700 INDUSTRIAL BLVD, NE
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55413-2989
ATTN: ZLATA POZAIC

APRIVEN
5001 SPRING VALLEY ROAD
SUITE 290
DALLAS, TX 75244

AQUASCAPES, INC.
5705 COLFAX AVE S
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55419
ATTN: MARK TERSTEEG

ARK DISCOVERY II LP
GOLAN & CHRISTINE LLP
70 WEST MADISON STREET
STE 1500
CHICAGO IL 60602

ARK DISCOVERY II, LP
C/O RITCHIE CAPITAL MGMNT, LTD.
807 WARRENVILLE RD
SUITE 650
LISLE, IL 60532

ARK DISCOVERY II, LP
C/O RITCHIE CAPITAL MGMT, LLC
801 WARRENVILLE ROAD
LISLE, IL 60532

ARK ROYAL CAPITAL LLC
MS ALLISON HANSLIK
1616 S VOSS STE 430
HOUSTON TX 77057

ARK ROYAL MGMNT GROUP
C/O RITCHIE CAPITAL
801 WARRENVILLE RD
SUITE 650
LISLE, IL 60532

ARK ROYAL MGMT GROUP
40 WALL ST, 29TH FLOOR
NEW YORK, NY 10005

ARROWHEAD CAPITAL MANAGEMENT
601 CARLSON PARKWAY, SUITE 1250
MINNETONKA, MN 55305

AT&T MOBILITY
PO BOX 6463
CAROL STREEM, IL 60197-6463

ATT MOBILITY
PO BOX 6438
CAROL STREAM, IL 60197-6438

AWARE WEB SOLUTIONS
PO BOX 390236
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55435

BERRY COFFEE COMPANY
14825 MARTIN DRIVE
EDEN PRAIRIE, MN 55344-2009

BLACKWELL BURKE PA
431 SOUTH SEVENTH STREET
SUITE 2500
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55415

C&C CAPITAL, LLC
827 S. BRIDGEWATER PLACE
SUITE 101
EAGLE, ID 83616

C.I.T. LEASING

CAFFREY, JOE
6101 CHOWEN AVE SOUTH
EDINA, MN 55410

CALIBRAX CAPITAL
800 THIRD AVENUE, NINTH FLOOR
NEW YORK, NY 10022

CANANWILL INC
1000 MILWAUKEE AVE
GLENVIEW IL 60025

CANANWILL INC.
PO BOX 4795
CAROL STREAM, IL 60197-4795

CAPITAL BUILDERS-KIP EARDLEY
10615 PRESTBURY PLACE
106 SOUTH 840 EAST
SANDY, UT 84094-4434

CARLSON WAGONLIT TRAVEL
PO BOX 98953
CHICAGO, IL 60693

CENTERPOINT ENERGY
CHERYL WILLENBRING
PO BOX 59038
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55459-0038

CHARTER FIRST
1650 WEST COLLEGE DRIVE
SUITE 100
MARSHALL, MN 56258

CISION US, INC.
PO BOX 98869
CHICAGO, IL 98869

CITY OF MINNETONKA
14600 MINNETONKA BLVD
MINNETONKA, MN 55345

CMGRP, INC.
PO BOX 7247-6593
PHILADELPHIA, PA 19170-6953

COFACE NORTH AMERICA INC
PO BOX 2102
CRANBURY NY 08512

COMCAST
PO BOX 105184
ATLANTA, GA 30348-5184

CORNELL, KAHLER, SHIDELL & MAIR, PL
3570 LEXINGTON AVE N, SUITE 300
ST. PAUL, MN 55126

COURTRIGHT, FRANK
4400 BAKER ROAD
MINNETONKA, MN 55343

DEAN VLAHOS
294 GROVE LANE E
SUITE 113
WAYZATA, MN 55391

DEIKEL, THEODORE
1001 CALIFORNIA STREET
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94108

DELL MARKETING LP
PO BOX 802816
CHICAGO, IL 60680

DELOITTE TAX, LLP
13943 COLLECTIONS CENTER DRIVE
CHICAGO, IL 60693

DHL EXPRESS INC
LEGAL DEPT
PO BOX 670227
HOUSTON TX 77267-0227

DIVERSIFIED AIR, INC.
2230 WEST 94TH STREET
BLOOMINGTON, MN 55431

DORSEY & WHITNEY LLP
50 S 6TH STREET, SUITE 1500
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55402-1498

DS&B, LTD
SUITE 3000
222 SOUTH NINTH STREET
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55402-3340

DVS RENEWAL
PO BOX 64587
ST. PAUL, MN 55164-0587

Dell, Inc.
One Dell Way, RR1, MS 52
Round Rock, TX 78682

EDGE BROOK, INC.
294 GROVE LANE E
SUITE 113
WAYZATA, MN 55391

EDGE ONE CAPITAL
F/K/A ARK DISCOVERY FUND II, LP
CO/O RITCHIE CAPITAL MGMNT, LTD
807 WARRENVILLE RD, SUITE 650
LISLE, IL 60532

ELISTONE FUND
WINDWARD I, 2ND FLOOR
REGATTA OFFICE PARK, W WAY RD
PO BOX 31106 SMB
GR CAYMEN KY1-1205,CAYMEN ISL

FEDEX
PO BOX 94515
PALANTINE, IL 60094-4515

FETSCHERIN, MARC
VISITING SCHOLAR, HARVARD KENNEDY
ASIA PROGRAM
79 JOHN F. KENNEDY ST, BOX 130
CAMBRIDGE, MA 02138

FIDELIS FOUNDATION
3189 FERNBROOK LANE N
PLYMOUTH, MN 55447

FLAGLER CENTER PROPERTIES, LLP
505 SOUTH FLAGLER DRIVE
SUITE 1325
WEST PALM BEACH, FL 33401

FREDRIKSON & BYRON
PO BOX 1484
MINNEAPOLIS,MN 55480-1484

FREE AGENT CONSULTING, LLC
RANDY LUSH
6140 LAWNDALE LANE N
PLYMOUTH, MN 55446

GLENN PLATT
3718 OXFORD-MIDDLETOWN RD
SOMERVILLE, OH 45064

GRAINGER
DEPT 865789739
PALANTINE, IL 60038-0001

HANNON SECURITY SERVICES, INC.
9036 GRAND AVE S
BLOOMINGTON, MN 55420

HARRIS HOMEYER CO
6800 FRANCE AVE S.
SUITE 145
EDINA, MN 55435

INDIANAPOLIS LIFE INSURANCE
PO BOX 14590
DES MOINES, IA 50306

INNOVATIVE OFFICE SOLUTIONS, INC.
PO BOX 270107
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55427-0107

INSIGHT PARTNERS LP
47 WINTER ST 8TH FLR
BOSTON MA 02108

INTERLACHEN HARRIET INV. LTD
C/O INTERLACHEN CAPITAL GROUP, L.P.
800 NICOLLET MALL
SUITE 2500
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55402

INTERLACHEN HARRIET INVESTMENTS LTD
C/O INTERLACHEN CAPITAL GROUP, L.P.
800 NICOLLET MALL
SUITE 2500
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55402

Internal Revenue Service
30 E. 7th St., Suite 1222, Stop 5700
St. Paul, MN 55101

JONES DAY
555 SOUTH FLOWER STREET
FIFTIETH FLOOR
LOS ANGELES, CA 90071

JORDAN, JOHN
4400 BAKER ROAD
MINNETONKA, MN 55343

JP MORGAN PRIVATE BANK
21 SOUTH CLARK STREET
42ND FLOOR, IL 1-0550
CHICAGO, IL 60603

JUVENILE DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATI
2626 EAST 82ND ST, SUITE 225
BLOOMINGTON, MN 55425

KANDARE, GREG
505 SOUTH FLAGLER DRIVE, SUITE 700
WEST PALM BEACH, FL 33401

KEY EQUIPMENT FINANCE
PAYMENT PROCESSING
PO BOX 203901
HOUSTON, TX 77216

LANCELOT INVESTOR FUND L.P.
1033 SKOKIE BLVD, SUITE 620
NORTHBROOK, IL 60002

LYNDALE PLANT SERVICES
PO BOX 128
SANBORN, MN 56083

MASSINE, CAROLYN
4400 BAKER ROAD
MINNETONKA, MN 55343

MAYO CLINIC
PO BOX 4003
ROCHESTER, MN 55903-4003

METRO GEM CAPITAL I
C/O METRO GEM INC.
PO BOX 987
EXCELSIOR, MN 55337

METRO GEM INC.
948 TAHOE BLVD
INCLINE VILLAGE, NV 89451

METRO GEM INC.
PO BOX 97
EXCELSIOR, MN 55331

METRO GEM INC.
PO BOX 987
EXCELSIOR, MN 55331

MINNWEST BANK METRO
12011 BUSINESS PARK BLVD. N.
CHAMPLIN, MN 55316

MINUTEMAN PRESS
8043 LEWIS ROAD
GOLDEN VALLEY, MN 55427

MN TEEN CHALLENGE
FIDELIS FOUNDATION
3189 FERNBROOK LANE N
PLYMOUTH, MN 55447

MN TEEN CHALLENGE
FRANK VENNES
FIDELIS FOUNDATION
3189 FERNBROOK LANE N
PLYMOUTH, MN 55447

NASH, TIFFANY
2630 ALVARADO LANE N
PLYMOUTH, MN 55447

NEAL, GERBER & EISENBERG, LLP
TWO NORTH LASALLE STREET
CHICAGO, IL 60602

NIPPON POLAROID KABUSHIKI KAISHA
TORANOMON MARIN BUILDING, 3-18-19
TORANOMON, MINATO-KU, TOKYO
105-0001, JAPAN

NORTHLAND MOBILE OIL CHANGE
3250 COUNTY ROAD 10 N
WATERTOWN, MN 55388

OFFICE MAX-A BOISE COMPANY
CHAR BENDICKSON
75 REMITTANCE DRIVE #2698
CHICAGO, IL 60675-2698

OFFICEMAX
263 SHUMAN BLVD
NAPERVILLE IL 60563-1255

OPPORTUNITY FINANCE, LLC
60 SOUTH 6TH STREET, STE 2540
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55402

PALM BEACH FINANCE PARTNERS, L.P.
PALM BEACH FINANCE II, L.P.
3601 PGA BLVD., SUITE 301
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL 33410

PALM BEACH FINANCE PARTNERS, LP
3601 PGA BLVD, SUITE 301
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL 33410

PAUL HANNA MANAGEMENT, INC.
505 S FLAGLER DRIVE #1325
WEST PALM BEACH, FL 33401

PBC-MPA LLC DBA PREFERRED OFFICES
ACCOUNTING DEPT.
1701 PENNSYLVANIA AVE NW, SUITE 300
WASHINGTON, DC 20006

PETTERS AVIATION
4400 BAKER ROAD
MINNETONKA, MN 55343

PETTERS CAPITAL, LLC
4400 BAKER ROAD
MINNETONKA, MN 55343

PETTERS COMPANY, INC.
4400 BAKER ROAD
MINNETONKA, MN 55343

PETTERS GROUP WORLDWIDE, LLC
4400 BAKER ROAD
MINNETONKA, MN 55343

PETTERS INTERNATIONAL JAPAN

PETTERS, THOMAS J.
655 BUSHAWAY ROAD
WAYZATA, MN 55391

PIONEER SECURESHRED
155 IRVING AVE N
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55405

PLANTIQUE, INC.
PO BOX 541657
LAKE WORTH, FL 33454

PLANTRONICS SOUND INNOVATION
BANK OF AMERICA ILLINOIS LOCKBOX
PO BOX 98024
CHICAGO, IL 60693

PLOUMIDIS, MATINA
4400 BAKER ROAD
MINNETONKA, MN 55343

PLUNKETT'S PEST CONTROL
40 NE 52ND WAY
FRIDLEY, MN 55421

POLAROID CORPORATION
300 BAKER AVE., SUITE 330
CONCORD, MA 01742

PR NEWSWIRE, INC.
GPO BOX 5897
NEW YORK, NY 10087-5897

PREMIER CORPORATE SERVICES, INC.
590 PARK STREET
SUITE 6
ST. PAUL, MN 55103

PRIESTER AVIATION LLC
1061 S WOLF ROAD
WHEELING, IL 60090

PRIORITY COURIER EXPERTS
PO BOX 10699
ST. PAUL, MN 55110

QWEST
PO BOX 17360
DENVER, CO 80217

QWEST BUSINESS SERVICES
PO BOX 856169
LOUISVILLE, KY 40285-6169

RHONE HOLDINGS II, LTD.
C/O RITCHIE CAPITAL MGMNT, LLC
801 WARRENVILLE ROAD
LISLE, IL 60532

RHONE HOLDINGS II, LTD.
C/O RITCHIE CAPITAL MGMNT, LTD.
801 WARRENVILLE RD
SUITE 650
LISLE, IL 60532

RICHARD HETTLER
PO BOX 386225
MINNEAPOLIS MN 55438

RITCHIE CAP STRUCT ARBITRAGE TRAD
C/O RITCHIE CAPITAL MGMNT, LLC
801 WARRENVILLE ROAD
LISLE, IL 60532

RITCHIE CAPITAL
C/O RITCHIE CAPITAL MGMNT, LTD.
801 WARRENVILLE RD
SUITE 650
LISLE, IL 60532

RITCHIE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, LTD.
801 WARRENVILLE ROAD
SUITE 650
LISLE, IL 60532

RITCHIE SPECIAL CREDIT INVEST, LTD
C/O RITCHIE CAPITAL MGMNT, LLC
801 WARRENVILLE ROAD
LISLE, IL 60532

RITCHIE SPECIAL CREDIT INVESTMENTS
C/O RITCHIE CAPITAL
801 WARRENVILLE RD
SUITE 650
LISLE, IL 60532

SAM'S CLUB
PO BOX 9001907
LOUISVILLE, KY 40290-1907

SERVICEMASTER OF ST. CLOUD
PO BOX 608
ST. CLOUD, MN 56302

STAFFING PARTNERS FINANCIAL GROUP
5909 BAKER ROAD, SUITE 570
MINNETONKA, MN 55343

STANTON GROUP
3500 AMERICAN BLVD
BLOOMINGTON, MN 55431

STEEL PIER CAPITAL ADVISORS
800 THIRD AVENUE, 9TH FLOOR
NEW YORK, NY 10022

STOPPEL, TROY
11730 RUNNEL CIRCLE
EDEN PRAIRIE, MN 55347

STRATEGIC EQUIPMENT
NW 5587
PO BOX 1450
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55485-5587

STREET FLEET
PO BOX 14947
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55414

T-MOBILE
PO BOX 790047
ST. LOUIS, MO 63179-0047

TAUNTON VENTURES, LP
9900 DEERBROOK DR
CHANHASSEN, MN 55317

TAUNTON VENTURES, LP
9900 DEERBROOK DR.
CHANHASSEN, MN 55317

THE HDH GROUP
US STEEL TOWER
600 GRANT STREET, SUITE 1100
PITTSBURG, PA 15219

THOMAS J. PETTERS
C/O JON HOPEMAN
FELHABER LARSON FENLON & VOGT
220 S 6TH ST STE 2200
MPLS MN 55402-4504

THOMAS PETTERS, INC.
4400 BAKER ROAD
MINNETONKA, MN 55343

TOSHIBA AMERICA BUSINESS SOLUTIONS
PO BOX 31001-0271
PASADENA, CA 91110-0271

TOSHIBA BUSINESS SOLUTIONS
13272 COLLECTION CENTER DRIVE
CHICAGO, IL 60693

TOSHIBA FINANCIAL SERVICES
PO BOX 790448
ST. LOUIS, MO 63179

TRADE LINKER INTERNATIONAL INC
COFACE N AMERICA INC
PO BOX 2102
CRANBURY NJ 08512

TREAT AMERICA FOOD SERVICES
8500 SHAWNEE MISSION PKWY #100
MERRIAM, KS 66202

TRUE NORTH FUNDING
827 BRIDGEWATER
SUITE 101
EAGLE, ID 83616

UPS-UNITED PARCEL SERVICE
LOCKBOX 577
CAROL STREAM, IL 60132-0577

US Trustee
1015 US Courthouse
300 S 4th St
Minneapolis, MN 55415

VERIFIED CREDENTIALS, INC.
ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE
20890 KENBRIDGE COURT
LAKEVILLE, MN 55044

VERIZON WIRELESS
PO BOX 790422
ST. LOUIS, MO 63179-0422

VLAHOS, DEAN AND MICHELLE
294 GROVE LANE E
SUITE 113
WAYZATA, MN 55391

VLAHOS, MICHELLE
294 GROVE LANE E
SUITE 113
WAYZATA, MN 55391

WASTE MANAGEMENT RMC
2421 W PEORIA AVE STE 110
PHOENIX AZ 85029

WASTE MANAGEMENT-SAVAGE
PO BOX 9001054
LOUISVILLE, KY 40290

WELSH BAKER ROAD
CM 9660
PO BOX 70870
ST. PAUL, MN 55170

XCEL ENERGY
PO BOX 9477
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55484-9477

XO
14239 COLLECTIONS CENTER DRIVE
CHICAGO, IL 60693

YORKVILLE INVESTMENT I, L.L.C.
C/O RITCHIE CAPITAL MGMNT, LTD.
801 WARRENVILLE RD
SUITE 650
LISLE, IL 60532

ZEPHYRHILLS
6661 DIXIE HWY
SUITE 4
LOUISVILLE, KY 40258

Andrew S Nicoll
Jenner & Block, LLP
330 North Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-7603

Douglas A Kelley
Kelley & Wolter PA
Centre Village Offices
431 S 7th St, Suite 2530
Minneapolis, MN 55415

James A. Lodoen
Lindquist & Vennum P.L.L.P
4200 IDS Center
80 South Eight Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Michael S Terrien
Jenner & Block, LLP
330 North Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-7603

Ronald R Peterson
Jenner & Block, LLP
330 North Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-7603

Ronald R Peterson
Jenner & Block, LLP
330 North Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-7603

d/b/a CONSOR Domain Assets, LLC
Henson & Efron, P.A.
220 South Sixth Street, Suite 1800
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Teen Challenge, Courts and Prison Programs

Recruitment to Teen Challenge in the Court and Prison System

Not surprisingly, Teen Challenge relies heavily on recruitment from the court system and directly from jails. 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. 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. So the combination of Teen Challenge 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.

The Proselytizing Report: "Teen Challenge" July 26, 1984, by Rick Ross to the Religious Advisory Committee to the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC) on May 10, 1984 states that prison chaplains throughout the Arizona Department of Corrections are expected to facilitate religious programming in a neutral, non-biased manner. Teen Challenge 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 Teen Challenge does not do substance abuse treatment and does 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.

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 assaulted clients at the ranch. 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) http://www.texnews.com/1998/texas/molest0513.html Dallas Teen Challenge Boys Ranch in Winnsboro was sued because a counselor and convicted drug trafficker sexually molested a young man there and two other boys, one of whom 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. There was a mixing of these convicted criminals with young teens sent to the facility by their parents.

Falsified Statistics to Further Successful Image

Teen Challenge continually boasts about their unbelievably high success rates and uses this to promote their faith-based treatment program. But the last statistically significant evaluation of Teen Challenge was done in 1975 on a sample of Pennsylvania Teen Challenge graduates from 1968. That’s right – it was 39 years ago. Why is there no other study of the Teen Challenge program which boosts 200 residential treatment centers in the USA?

The only study done was by The National Opinion Research Center of the University of Chicago. They developed the survey instrument, located survey participants, conducted the personal interviews, and obtained a urine sample to test for drugs. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded the first year of the study. -A total of 186 persons, divided into 3 groups, were interviewed for this project:

•P1=70 people (students that entered Brooklyn Teen Challenge, but dropped out and never attended the Rehrersburg program.)
•P2=52 people (students that completed the Brooklyn program who later dropped out of the Rehrersburg program.)
•P3=64 people (graduates of the Rehrersburg Training Center program.)

The results claim that 67% of the graduates (P3) are drug-free as indicated by the urinalysis test, even though 86% stated they were drug-free on the questionnaire. So, that would mean that 67% of the P3 group, or 43 people remained marijuana and heroin-free 7 years after graduating from Teen Challenge.

So, if 43 graduates remained marijuana and heroin-free 7 years after this survey, what about the other 21 graduates and the remaining 143 people who dropped out of the program? Also, the test results do not indicate whether the graduates tested positive for other drugs such as alcohol, other narcotics or nicotine!

This study suggested that Teen Challenge had a success rate of 86%. But Bill McColl, executive director of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, dismisses both the statistic and the study. He states that the study was done too long ago and conducted with an extraordinarily small sample group. This leads us to believe that this study has almost no statistical validity. (Karly from Teen Challenge Cult Blog)

In 1997, Texas became the first state to use the faith-based InnerChange Prison Program that has now taken root in Iowa and Kansas. Charles Colson who runs the Prison Fellowship Ministries has touted the success of his ministries based on studies that show lower recidivism rates among participants. However, Dan Mears, of the Florida State University College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, noted that the studies focused only on inmates who completed the program, while comparing its recidivism rates to those of all participants—including dropouts—of selected secular programs. Dan Mears found that unfortunately, there was methodologically flawed research which was being currently being offered as proof of efficacy to policy makers. Mears and his fellow reviewers at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. concluded "Despite the call for evidence-based programs and policies instead of belief- and emotion-driven ones, current faith-based prisoner reentry programs don't remotely constitute evidence-based practice." http://www.fsu.edu/news/2006/10/04/prison.programs/ Dan Mears points out that these basic minimum criteria are taken from the text Crime: Public Policies for Crime Control: “A rigorous evaluation requires four things to be done: First, people must be assigned randomly to either the prevention program or a control group...Second, the prevention must actually be applied. Sometimes people are enrolled in a program but do not in fact get the planned treatment. Third, the positive benefit, if any, of the program must last for at least one year after the program ends. It is not hard to change people while they are in a program; what is difficult is to make the change last afterward. Fourth, if the program produces a positive effect...that program should be evaluated again in a different location.” Dan Mears concluded that Prison Fellowship Ministries (PFM) had grossly misrepresented outcome data in order to claim success and garner political support. The apparent stunning success of Prison Fellowship Ministry's InnerChange Freedom Initiative was gleefully announced by then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, along with a White House photo-op declaring that here was proof that the kind of sectarian faith-based programs favored by the Bush administration were the answer. When those results were examined, it turned out that the InnerChange participants were actually more likely than controls to be rearrested, and "noticeably more likely" to be reimprisoned. http://www.bluevirginia.us/showDiary.do;jsessionid=59EBD9BCE2225A5B3E28C076EC305E60?diaryId=642

Faith Based Prison Programs

Faith based programs proliferated in private prison systems and even in state run facilities. Texas Senate Concurrent Resolution 44 urged corrections and law enforcement entities to use more voluntary faith-based rehabilitation programs and facilities to change the lives of criminal offenders. The InnerChange faith-based prison experiment in Sugar Land resulted from this legislation. InnerChange was the nation’s first-ever, 24-hours-a-day and value-based pre-release program, aimed at helping inmates achieve spiritual and moral transformation.

In 1999 the State of Louisiana enacted a law to encourage faith based prison programs. The State of Ohio in 2007 established a task force to study such correctional programs. The State of Georgia actually stated that faith-based prison programs were the most effective in dealing with prisoners and therefore created a prison chaplaincy appreciation day. But there are many who do not hold the view that these faith based prison programs are better than other programs and may even force inmates to qualify for kinder treatment during their prison life to profess a religious belief and to satisfy the evangelical Christians running the rehabilitation program that he is making acceptable spiritual progress. Iowa found that its faith-based prison wards were in violation of the establishment clause which prevents a governmental agency from "supporting a sectarian cause through the transfer of public funds." The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment is the first of several pronouncements in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, stating that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion".

The US District Court for Eastern Iowa ruled that Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship Ministries could no longer be used as the sole drug rehabilitation program. These are concerns about the Prison Fellowship Ministries:

a) Inmate's kids were targeted for "bait and switch" evangelism.
b) The only way to get decent housing was to join the program .
c) The only way to be eligible for parole was to join up; if one left or was kicked out, one essentially lost one's eligibility for parole.
d) Prison Fellowship InnerChange promoted "theophostic counseling" in other words through prayer, biblically based, Christ-centered ministry. This model seeks to cure prisoners by identifying sin as the root of their problems. Inmates learn how God can heal them permanently, if they turn from their sinful past, are willing to see the world through God's eyes, and surrender themselves to God's will.

InnerChange relies and directs members to God as the source of love and inner healing. Members then build on this new relationship to recast human relationships based on Biblical insights.

Teen Challenge Director Fred Lamberson III said that “the Teen Challenge facilities are Christian discipleships, not drug and alcohol programs.” But Judges are court ordering persons with substance abuse problems into the Teen Challenge program. Teen Challenge states that Teen Challenge does not take in people who have prior sexual offenses or violent offenders. Obviously, that is not true! See these examples:

The Lebanon Daily News Jun 29, 2007:Jesse L. Smith, 34, of 205 Strack Drive, Myerstown, was sentenced to two years probation and fined $3,000 for three drunken-driving convictions. Smith requested placement in the Teen Challenge residential drug-and-alcohol program at Rehrersburg. The judge ordered Smith to successfully complete the program or face a probation violation and a jail sentence. Was the judge informed of the fact that Teen Challenge is not a drug and alcohol treatment center?

The Lansing State Journal July 5, 2007: David Leon Davis, 26, of Charlotte, criminal sexual conduct, fourth degree, habitual offender, fourth conviction, 365 days in jail, 173 days credit, 90 days suspended upon completion of Teen Challenge program and aftercare, $83.60 restitution, $600 supervision fee, $60 state cost, $60 to Crime Victims Rights Fund.

Criminal Court Docket (published July 13, 2007) in Cumberland County, Tennessee: Brian E. Elmore, in community corrections on a four-year sentence for burglary and theft more than $1,000, pleaded guilty to violation of probation and was ordered to serve 180 straight days with credit for 91 days already served with only release being directly into the Teen Challenge program. If he fails in the Teen Challenge program, he will be facing the remainder of the four-year sentence.

The above convictions/sentences prove that not only are the courts sentencing all kinds of convicted criminals to Teen Challenge but Teen Challenge obviously accepts a wide range of criminals into their program! These are some of the cases of prisoners paroled to a Teen Challenge facility - felonious assault, aggravated burglary, felonious larceny, larceny of a firearm, possession of stolen goods, breaking and entering a motor vehicle, breaking and entering a residence, felonious financial card theft, First degree armed robbery, delivery of .5 grams or more of cocaine, delivery of under .5 grams of cocaine, felony Burglary, and misdemeanor theft. Thus children placed there by parents for being unruly are housed with persons with felony records and sometimes with records of violence and sometimes sexual abuse.

Hiring of Registered Sex Offenders, Felons and Violent Offenders

With no regulatory control over the quality of the staffing, and no required criminal background checks, Teen Challenge in Winthrop Maine hired registered sex offenders for staff. Teen Challenge in Maine hired registered sex offender, Shondi Fabiano to be co- director at Teen Challenge. She was admittedly convicted of Second Degree Child Molestation in Rhode Island. She is listed on the National Sex Offender Public Registry but she is also 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. Shondi Fabiano was convicted of sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14. Fabiano would have been nearly 24 years old at the time of the offense. It also appears Fabiano 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; http://www.nsopr.gov 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. Teen Challenge also hired Dennis Knox who was convicted of gross sexual assault after raping an unconscious female and is listed on the Maine Sex Offender Registry. http://sor.informe.org

In Minnesota Teen Challenge recruited an ex-con, Frank Vennes Jr to handle their finances. This prison convert to Christianity who was a participant in the Charis Prison Ministries was invited to serve on the Boards of Northwestern College and Minnesota Teen Challenge. As a member of the board of Teen Challenge he was responsible for finances but it turned out that he was a money launderer. It is now evident that he was criminally involved in the Thomas Petters ponzi fraud involving Sun Valley Airlines. Mr. Vennes job with the Petters Group was apparently to line up investors. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has been tied to the investigation of Tom Petters who is accused of running a ponzi scheme. One of Tom Petter's associates is born-again ex con Frank Vennes Jr.. Frank Vennes is CEO of four companies: Metro Gem, Inc. (corporate finance), Metro Gold, Inc. (precious metals, rare coin firm), Metro Capital, LLC (commercial real estate) and Resort Ventures, LLC (residential real estate). Mr. Vennes also backed the Fidelis Foundation which has directed millions of dollars of gifts and is one of the largest grant-making foundation in Minnesota and what influence he may have had over their grant giving choices has not yet been revealed. Michele Bachmann has received many thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Vennes, his family and lawyer/lobbyist G. Craig Howse and even some campaign contributions from Vennes’ wife Kimberly, who uses the same P.O. box number as Vennes. Vennes, served on the Board of Directors of the Northwestern Bible College. But now more than 100 pastors, ministers and nonprofit organizations have joined together in a federal racketeering lawsuit filed in Minneapolis against Tom Petters and some of his associates. Carolyn Glass Anderson is the attorney with the Minneapolis law firm Zimmerman Reed that filed the case.

According to a federal search warrant affidavit used to search Vennes’ home, Vennes hauled in more than $28 million in commissions for his alleged role in luring five investors to pony up $1.2 billion in Petters’ alleged giant Ponzi scheme. Frank Vennes Jr. had a known criminal history before he joined with Minnesota Teen Challenge, having been arrested in 1986 for suspected money laundering and later admitted that he and his co-defendants received $370,000 from the undercover agent and transferred it, minus their substantial commissions, to the Bahamas, the Isle of Man, and Switzerland without complying with federal currency transaction reporting laws. In the last transaction, Vennes personally delivered $100,000 to Switzerland, where his associates lost or stole it.

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. Inside the charity’s phone rooms, some men convicted of financial crimes, gathered consumers’ personal information like their names, credit card numbers and security codes to their credit cards and took these credit card lists back to their dorms. Kiernan said when he worked the phones he didn’t tell callers he was in Teen Challenge on a jail diversion program for grand theft and burglary convictions. He just read scripts to sell satellites and time shares and collected credit card numbers. The investigation revealed that this scam which had no relationship to Disney. Wayne Gray moved on to Oklahoma Teen Challenge as Executive Director. Todd Ulrich reporter for Action 9 news in Orlando Florida could not find any state registrations for a telemarketing operation at the Sanford address. http://evangelicalsunderamicroscope.wordpress.com/2010/05/30/teen-challenge-telemarketing-slavery-fraud/

These problems with fraud and money laundering are not limited to these few instances. The true level of criminal conduct is not well documented because of lack of inspection and regulation of these facilities including lack of oversight and transparency.

The International Nature of US Non-Profit Faith Organizations such as Teen Challenge

Teen Challenge Global has 1060 Teen Challenge programs in 80 countries. Teen Challenge USA International has programs overseas as well. Teen Challenge therefore operates in a variety of countries including the Bahamas, Nauru, and the Philippines. Teen Challenge is run by the Assemblies of God which runs its own Credit Union which is located in Missouri. The Assemblies of God Credit Union has 13,883 members as of 2011 and assets of $93.3 million. It opened in 1951 and has 32 full time employees and 9 part-time. This is a state chartered natural person credit union. Teen Challenge is an outreach of the Assemblies of God church which has its own centers in numerous countries.

Additional Information:

Slate magazine writer David Plotz described Colson as "Richard Nixon's hard man, the 'evil genius' of an evil administration. David Plotz (March 10, 2000). "Charles Colson - How a Watergate crook became America's greatest Christian conservative". Slate. http://www.slate.com/id/77067

In November 2009, Colson signed an ecumenical statement known as the Manhattan Declaration calling on evangelicals, Catholics and Orthodox not to comply with rules and laws permitting abortion, same-sex marriage and other matters that go against their religious consciences. http://demossnews.com/manhattandeclaration/press_kit/manhattan_declaration_signers

The Non Profit Times Feb. 1, 2002 Faith-Based Changes Come From Within a Texas Prison by Richard Williamson http://www.nptimes.com/Feb02/npt2.html


In 2007 the civil rights group, Freedom from Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit attesting challenging the existence of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. This Supreme Court Decision, the Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation, 551 U.S. 587 (2007) in which the Supreme Court ruled that taxpayers do not have the right to challenge the constitutionality of expenditures by the executive branch of the government. Thus the Supreme Court supported the establishment of faith based initiatives. At question was whether taxpayers have the right to challenge the existence of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The case centered on three Supreme Court precedents: Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83 (1968), Bowen v. Kendrick, 487 U.S. 589 (1988), and Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation of Church & State, 454 U.S. 464 (1982). (See The Non Profit Times Feb. 1, 2002 Faith-Based Changes Come From Within a Texas Prison by Richard Williamson http://www.nptimes.com/Feb02/npt2.html )

The establishment clause has generally been interpreted to prohibit 1) the establishment of a national religion by Congress, or 2) the preference by the U.S. government of one religion over another. The first approach is called the "separation" or "no aid" interpretation, while the second approach is called the "non-preferential" or "accommodation" interpretation. The accommodation interpretation prohibits Congress from preferring one religion over another, but does not prohibit the government's entry into religious domain to make accommodations in order to achieve the purposes of the Free Exercise Clause. (See American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois v. City of St. Charles, supra, 794 F.2d at 270)

Teen Challenge, Politics, Lack of Regulation and Child Abuse

Political Climate for Faith-based Programs

In 1996 a welfare reform bill called the Personal Work and Responsibility Act (PWORA) was enacted and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The Personal Work Opportunity and Reconciliation Act, PWORA, has altered the landscape of American religion. Embedded in the PWORA was a small provision Section 104 also known as Charitable Choice, which makes it illegal for state governments to discriminate against social service providers whose organization, has a religious mandate. President Bill Clinton during his presidency did not do a lot to further it. The PWORA was implemented primarily through a variety of executive orders issued by President George W. Bush. Executive Order 13199 by President George W. Bush called for eliminating “unnecessary legislative, regulatory and other bureaucratic barriers that impede effective faith based and other community efforts to solve social problems”. Charitable Choice blurred the boundaries between Church and State. Faith based initiatives were policies that were based in a larger concept of fiscal conservatism, decreasing the size of federal government, along with collaboration and cooperation in partnership with the religious community. Thus through Charitable Choice a stamp of authority was given to change the basic way in which the church and state interact. These faith based initiatives appeal to conservatives who want to decrease the size of government and see the initiatives as providing an inexpensive alternative to government-sponsored social services. The withdrawal of federal funding for social services creates a void which places the burden of care upon the nonprofit sector. This is sometimes called the “hollow state,” in which the government is much less active in its role for the financial responsibility to provide welfare services.


Prior to Charitable Choice, all 50 states already worked with religious organizations to provide social services. Many larger religious organizations have long been a part of the traditional provision of social services to the public through separate nonprofit agencies such as the Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services. These agencies are religiously influenced, but maintained separate nonprofit organizations through separate 501 C 3 IRS filings and did separate their social service functions from their purely religious functions (a bright line). These new faith based initiatives paved the way for a political system which relies more heavily on religious organizations and partnerships with them, while removing federal governmental funding for social services. This places a greater burden on the faith based community to take up the slack during the cuts in governmental funding through their own fund raising efforts.

But not everyone was in agreement that Charitable Choice was an appropriate way to spend taxpayer’s dollars. The Washington, D.C. based Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a religious freedom advocacy group in the United States which promotes the separation of church and state, has voiced opposition to the tax funded religious program. “Any program that relies on or requires a conversion to a particular religion is going to be a poor candidate for public funding.” Texas Freedom Network, a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan alliance that includes 7,500 religious and community leaders, is challenging what it calls "the growing social and political influence of religious political extremists." Samantha Smoot, executive director of Texas Freedom Network, calls the faith-based effort in Texas "a lose-lose-lose deal." Taxpayers lose, she believes, "because they are forced to financially support religious activity, and they get virtually no accountability for how the money is spent," she said. "Churches lose, because the government strings that come with government funds threaten their independence. Poor people lose because they may be compelled to practice a faith not their own in order to receive services, and because Bush has exempted many of these programs from basic health and safety practices." Teen Challenge was cited by civil libertarians as flawed use of state funds for being a church-based drug rehabilitation program that argued that drug addiction is not a disease but a sin, with prayer and Bible reading as treatment.

One of the first constitutional challenges to a charitable choice contract came from the American Jewish Congress. AJCongress monitors issues like "charitable choice" proposals, in which federal funds would be given to faith-based institutions to provide social services historically the responsibility of government. The First Amendment separation of church and state is emphasized at AJCongress naturally and inevitably as part of its insistence that Jews in the United States are not guests but full-fledged citizens by right. Key to accomplishing its mission is the belief, “That only through the assertion of – and defense of – human rights in general, can Jewish rights themselves be guaranteed, that only through the pursuit of social justice for all can it achieve the narrower goal of justice for Jewish Americans.” The American Jewish Congress describes itself as an association of Jewish Americans organized to defend Jewish interests at home and abroad through public policy advocacy, using diplomacy, and the Texas Civil Rights Project filed a lawsuit in 2000 to invalidate a contract between the Texas Department of Human Services and the Jobs Partnership of Washington County (JPWC. The suit claimed that "Protestant evangelical Christianity permeates" the partnership's job training and placement program. The complaint charged that JPWC uses tax dollars to convince students of the need to "change from the inside out, rather than from the outside in, and that can only be accomplished through a relationship with Jesus Christ."

The concept of Charitable Choice was that small religious groups should not be discriminated against in government funding decisions. Most states have adopted faith-based practices and 39 states have appointed persons into Faith Based Liaison positions (FBL), 22 states created state Offices of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCIs) and some have done both. Forty one States also have passed legislation or enacted administrative policy changes and some have run state-sponsored policy conferences.

Exemption from Governmental Regulation and Inspection

George W. Bush as governor of Texas rapidly incorporated the provisions of Charitable Choice into Texas policy and politics. It was in Texas that the first state Faith Based Liaison positions were created. But there was opposition to the charitable choice proposals by the members of the Texas Faith Network which is made up of more than 400 clergy. Rabbi Peter Berg of Temple Emanuel in Dallas Texas asked “Who will decide which churches or synagogues, which denomination or sect, will be funded and which will be excluded?” There was clearly a lack of accountability on one hand and the unconstitutional lack of separation of church and state on the other. Thus although faith-based groups certainly play an important role in provision of social services, it is still necessary that they remain independent from the government. Taxpayers through the faith-based initiatives program end up financially supporting religious activity, but with no accountability or transparency for how that money is spent. There are strings that come with governmental money and also poor people are compelled to practice a faith that is not their own just to get services.

In 1995, George W. Bush’s first year as governor of Texas, Teen Challenge a Christian based drug treatment program was threatened with closure by a state regulatory agency, The Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Although Teen Challenge did not receive any government funds, it did offer treatment to drug users and therefore fell under the state’s regulatory powers. The Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA) threatened to close the doors of Teen Challenge for violations of its regulations in April 1996. Roloff Homes was also a program supported by George W. Bush and it was also in violation of basic health and safety regulations. So two programs who were in trouble with the state of Texas for dangerous treatment practices were publicly defended by religious right leaders. Bush publicly defended these programs and changed state law to protect them even at the expense of quality of care and public safety.

In the mid 90s, Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA) attempted to close down the San Antonio branch of Teen Challenge, a residential Christian program that relies solely on faith-based methods to treat drug abuse. According to a TCADA spokesperson, the organization violated Texas state policies, procedures and licensure standards. There were problems with hiring practices, not meeting training requirements for counselors, client grievance procedures, release of confidential records. Teen Challenge was also charged with disregarding state standards for the screening, orientation, treatment and discharge of follow-up of clients (Austin American Statesman, July 2, 1995).

In June 1995, TCADA suspended Teen Challenge’s license based violations that may even cause a potential danger to the residents. Bush intervened publicly on behalf of the faith-based program, saying TCADA was following procedure and stating publicly that he strongly supported the faith-based programs. (World Magazine 1995).

On Bush’s urging and other outside pressures, TCADA postponed judgment of the organization, dropped licensure demands, and agreed to wait until the legislature considered bills that would change the rules for faith-based organizations. According to the Houston Chronicle, the flap about Teen Challenge made the organization-a cause celebre among the religious right, placing Teen Challenge to the forefront of the faith-based self-help movement. Support came not only from Christian leader Pat Robertson, who featured the group on his 700 Club television show, but also from the conservative policy crowd (Houston Chronicle, December 1, 1995)

On May 2, 1996 Governor Bush in a show of continuing support of such organizations, Bush vowed to assembled an Advisory Task Force made up of 16 clergy and volunteer leaders and charges the Task Force with 2 objectives: (1)survey Texas legal and regulatory landscape to identify obstacles to faith-based groups and (2)recommend ways that Texas can create an environment in which these groups can thrive, free of regulations that dilute the faith factor.

On August 22, 1996 The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act is signed in law (PL 104-193). Section 104 of this federal welfare reform legislation - authored by then-Senator John Ashcroft - opened the door to so-called Charitable Choice provisions that allow states to contract with faith-based and community-based organizations for the provision of welfare services. This provision has been interpreted to apply to Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Social Security Income (SSI), food stamp and Medicaid programs.

In 1997 legislation was passed exempting religious child care and drug treatment facilities from health and safety regulations.

For more than two decades, the Roloff Homes which was a group of faith-based homes for troubled teens - had been the subject of allegations of severe abuse. Efforts in the 1980’s by the Texas Attorney General’s office to force the homes under state regulation led to a long legal battle. The organization’s founder, Lester Roloff, was a fundamentalist and leader of the People’s Baptist Church in Corpus Christi who maintained that the state had no right to license his homes (Houston Chronicle, March 13, 1999). The Roloff Homes became a high-profile cause among religious right circles, with one minister even chaining himself to the Texas Supreme Court doors in protest.

The case found its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that the homes had to be licensed by the state or close down. Wiley Cameron who had worked for Roloff since 1973 took the leadership role after Roloff's death. Cameron eulogized Roloff as having bravely spent the last eight years of his life fighting "the forces of hell" and vowed to continue the late minister's battle with the State of Texas.
In 1985, a court order stated that Cameron had to obtain a Texas state license for the youth homes or shut them down by January 1, 1986. Cameron instead decided to move approximately one hundred teenagers left in the Roloff homes, loading them onto a convoy of buses and beginning the long drive north to Missouri, where a state license would not be required. So in 1985, rather than accept state oversight, the homes closed down and moved to Missouri-where they stayed "in exile" until invited back to Texas by Governor George W. Bush to receive licensing under his newly created alternative accreditation agency - the Texas Association of Christian Child Care Agencies (TACCCA).

The first facility to apply for and receive accreditation from TACCCA was one of the Roloff Homes. According to the Washington Post, TACCCA is supposed to inspect the facilities once and year and make sure they meet minimum requirements (Washington Post, April 11, 2000). April 10, 2000 Texas authorities arrested men connected to Roloff Homes for allegations of severe abuse of juveniles in their care. Two weeks later, the Texas Association of Christian Child Care Agencies (TACCCA) re-approves the Roloff Homes license. April 15, 2000 Wiley Cameron, the head of Roloff Homes, resigns from his position on the accreditation committee of TACCCA.

Teen Challenge might not have survived without the help of then Governor George W. Bush. Because Teen Challenge claimed it did “treatment”, it thus needed to abide by state regulations regarding having persons who were qualified with academic degrees and a certain amount of clinical expertise. Teen Challenge did not hire counselors based on those criteria because Teen Challenge promoted the view that addiction is a sinful behavior prompted by a lack of religious commitment. Claiming spectacular results –which turned out to false- they demanded that the investigator be fired and the laws changed.

The supporters of Teen Challenge viewed this as infringement of their rights as a religious organization, so the shutting down of the organization by the government offered a ripe opportunity to question the rightness of church-state separation. These objections to the shutdown of Teen Challenge created the political support for the creation of the broader faith-based initiatives. George Bush created a Governor’s Advisory Task Force on Faith-based Community Service Groups, changed the course of faith-based public policy by creating a redefinition of faith-based practices in Texas and a report in December 1996, called “Faith in Action: A New Vision for Church-State Cooperation,” and George W. Bush announced it personally with enormous fanfare at a ministry in San Antonio. This report had concrete policy recommendations to exempt Teen Challenge from state licensure and oversight. In 1997 the Teen Challenge Bill which changed the role of the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA) to one of just registering the names of programs in a single one page document (name, address, and what they do). By granting Teen Challenge in 1997, a crucial exemption, Governor George Bush went against Texas State regulators. With the governor's exemption, Teen Challenge and other faith based addiction programs are allowed to call themselves treatment facilities. That, exempted Teen Challenge counselors so they didn’t have to get the 270 hours of clinical training and thousands of hours of supervision, as was required of non faith based treatment programs. 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.


But there are critics, who argue that the drug counselors need this kind of professional training. This legislation removed Teen Challenge from any governmental regulatory oversight. Teen Challenge would then claim to be an exclusively religious program not a blend of religious and medical treatment. A medical model program would require governmental regulation and therapeutic clinical records. So in order to be exempt from governmental supervision and oversight, these programs had to be purely religious ministries designed to help people with addiction problems through religious devotion.


Teen Challenge in Texas was exempted from licensing and inspection regulation. The arrangement between governmental financial support and Teen Challenge meant that Teen Challenge was not required to meet regulatory health and safety standards, and their facilities were not inspected even though Teen Challenge received taxpayer funds. Amidst all the media coverage over Teen Challenge child abuse and without this influx of federal funding from faith based initiatives, the centers would surely have lost clients and probably closed.


Establishment of Alternative Accreditation to Evade Inspections

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. Teen Challenge facilities did not uphold First Amendment rights and also did not enforce workplace anti-bias laws. There was also lack of proper oversight over the educational standards of the program.

Florida also decided to exempt Teen Challenge in that state from regulatory inspections by allowing Teen Challenge facilities in Florida to be alternatively accredited. Florida has certified an alternate accreditation board for "faith-based" groups, and its head of Department of Children and Families and Department of Human Services heads are both former Straight, Inc. leaders.

Florida Association of Christian Child Care 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 Care 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. Many residential treatment centers were run with no insurance liability policies and these legal waivers were used to prevent liability law suits. Thus parents were told that if they signed the waiver they had no legal rights even if their child was injured.



Further Protections through Official State Liaison Positions

To further insulate Teen Challenge from governmental regulation and oversight, Governor George W. Bush’s advisory board made recommendations which resulted in state legislation creating official state liaison positions in several key government entities and limiting certain licensing requirements for FBOs. Texas was also the first state to create a formal OFBCI. Creating an OFBCI, as well as appointing liaisons in various sections of government, was part of a larger cultural and structural shift that redefined the boundaries between church and state in Texas. An adviser was appointed by Governor George Bush to change key agencies to alter their regulatory procedures and protocols to make them more receptive to faith-based programs such as Teen Challenge. In addition people were selectively chosen based on their receptiveness to the new policies and then place in positions of power and authority on state governing boards. In Texas, Governor George W. Bush had a close relationship with leaders of the resurgent evangelical community, such as Joe Loconte, Marvin Olasky, Stanley Carlson-Thies, and Carl Esbeck. This led to the Bush administration creating far reaching changes in state government policy and administration. This state level implementation of Charitable Choice did not create new funding for faith based organizations, instead it consisted of a symbolic alteration of the relationship between church and state and manifested in laws, policies and procedural practices.

The Bush policy team in the Texas governor’s office worked with Stanley Carlson-Thies and Carl Esbeck, who were the chief architects of Charitable Choice as it passed through the US Congress. After Charitable Choice passed through Congress, Carlson-Thies and Esbeck went to Texas to meet with state agency heads to help them understand the new law and to garner support for it by creating Texas faith-based policies. These changes in policy were then presented to the executive directors of the state agencies (TWC-Texas Workforce Commission, DHHS-Department of Health and Human Services, TEA—the Texas Education Agency) and to certain key board members of those agencies. These discussions were to push Charitable Choice principles that Congress enacted in August 1996 as part of federal welfare reform. Texas also added a “nondiscrimination” section in 1997 but did not label it as a Charitable Choice provision. The early political goal was to change the governmental culture from within and without needing to confront and convince state legislators to get on board with legislative changes. Thus only 10 states only enacted 41 laws between 1996 and 2000 that were related to faith based initiatives. But since then, there has been an increasing amount of legislation specifically focused on the initiatives.

In July 1999 Bush delivered his first major policy address as presidential candidate in Indianapolis. There he unveiled his new pro-faith agenda and to paint himself as a “new kind of Republican” – one that is politically conservative, fiscally conservative but who would support the use of faith-based nonprofit organizations to deliver help to those in need.

After the election of President Bush in 2000, 230 additional laws regarding faith based initiatives were enacted, and now 31 states have enacted some form of legislation. Several states of note are New Jersey, Oklahoma and Florida. In each of these states, George W. Bush has close ties. New Jersey’s Governor Christie Todd Whitman was a close friend, so was Oklahoma’s governor, Francis Anthony "Frank" Keating. In Florida, Bush’s brother, Jeb Bush was the governor. Jeb Bush asked for increased legislation including new faith-based prison wings, and a new office for the initiative. A OFBCI was established in Florida in 2004. Jeb Bush assigned a point man in each office to oversee the implementation of faith based initiatives.

Establishment of Funding to Faith Based Programs

In January 2001, President George W. Bush created the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives within the Executive Office of the President by an Executive Order. Later Executive Orders created centers for the Office within the Departments of Justice, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Education, and Agriculture, as well as at the Agency for International Development. Then during George W. Bush’s first term as president, the Compassion Capital Fund (CCF) established in 2001 through the Department of Health and Human Services and distributed almost $200 million dollars to various faith and community based organizations. Through a series of executive orders and creating separate faith-based centers in 11 agencies and departments within the federal government, George W. Bush expanded faith-based initiatives significantly from a political standpoint. President George W. Bush also issued executive orders that would religious organizations to discriminate in their hiring practices, making it possible for them to hire only those who share their religious beliefs, despite their receipt of federal money.

President Bush actually promised $8 billion, during the campaign trail but the Compassion Capital Fund fell dramatically short of that goal, leaving many that supported the Charitable Choice with added social responsibilities and no federal funding stream to cover expectations. These faith based initiatives first obtained their support mainly from the evangelical churches, but later support came from a variety of black churches, and even the Catholic Church. Many in religious circles saw Charitable Choice as a means to allow the church greater religious freedom while performing social services. Critics maintain that vast amounts of this funding was funneled to political allies such Christian organizations that had politically supported George W. Bush and who endorsed Operation Blessing, a charity run by television evangelist Pat Robertson. This political bias in granting funds can also been seen in the support of the InnerChange Prison Program. Governor George W. Bush supported Chuck Colson’s Prison Ministry which became part of the Texas prison system. Colson was sent to prison for his involvement in the Watergate scandal. Chuck Colson was known as President Nixon’s “hatchet man” and is Believed to be a member of the Family (also known as the Fellowship).

But for many who politically supported the faith based initiatives these were just empty promises which did not increase funding for beleaguered faith based social service programs. This was especially true for the smaller religious organizations, as they were still in competition with the larger established church based providers, as well as community based NGO’s and there was a smaller pot of federal funding actually available due to welfare budget cuts. Charitable Choice federal funding did not ameliorate the problems of poverty for all but instead only seemed to materialize for the chosen politically correct few. So the actual shift of money in the faith based programs was away from government run welfare programs for the poor which often served minority, immigrant, migrant or disabled persons and instead toward upper middle class Christians.

George W. Bush White House OFBCI sent letters to all state governors in 2002, 2004, and 2006 encouraging them to create their own OFBCIs. But there were no guidelines on how to establish the offices, or on how to fund them, and thus an unorganized program implementation ensued. Most States relied on administrative changes to encourage faith-based groups to apply for and receive government money. There are three primary means by which states have implemented the faith-based initiatives:

1) Creation of liaison positions and/or offices,
2) Passage of legislation and administrative policies
3) Sponsorship of conferences

Three states have added Charitable Choice provisions to legislation. These are: Arizona (1999), California (1999), and Mississippi (2004). Since 1996, legislative appropriations processes in 16 states have offered some type of funding to FBOs or OFBCIs, leading to 42 separate appropriation bills which have allocated approximately $70 million. In 2007, a total of 10 appropriation laws were passed in 10 states, thus increasing the overall funding for faith based initiatives. Florida passed appropriations bills directed to faith-based and community groups for teenage pregnancy prevention programs, granting them $1,500,000 of non-recurring maternal block grant trust funds. New Jersey has allocated approximately $3 million a year since 1998. In fact, the vast majority of state legislative funding of FBOs has come from this one state. Thus public money has gone to faith based groups, but what monitoring and oversight occurs once the funds are distributed is a concern, as is whether there is political bias in selecting recipients.

While the vast majority of OFBCIs and FBL positions have been created administratively, some states have given these positions greater permanence by enacting them with legislation. Kentucky (2005), Iowa (2004), Missouri (2007), Virginia (2002), Louisiana (2004), North Dakota (2005), Ohio (2005), Alaska (2007), and Maryland (2008) have created FBL positions or OFBCIs by statute.

President George W. Bush by Executive Order created the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in each of these 5 federal agencies to work in tandem with the White House OFBCI, to make federal grants available to Faith-Based and Community Initiatives nationwide. Cabinet Centers for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives:
1. Department of Health and Human Services;
2. Department of Housing and Urban Development;
3. Department of Labor;
4. Department of Justice; and
5. Department of Education.


For additional information about the Charitable Choice faith-based initiatives see:
1 www.governor.state.tx.us/Faith-Based/index.html

2 www.governor.state.tx.us/Faith-Based/accomplishments.html

3 www.governor.state.tx.us/Faith-Based/inner_change.html

4 www.dhs.state.tx.us/communitypartnerships/charitable/index.html

5 www.fni.com/heritage/mer98/FaithClincs.html

6 www.georgewbush.com/issues/armiesofcompassion.html

Or Read full report at www.governor.state.tx.us/Faith-Based/faithful.pdf

For information about Teen Challenge Child Abuse http://www.heal-online.org/childtortureusa.htm#teenchallenge

A detailed report provided by Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, Inc. Nov. 4th, 2004 newsletter. http://childrenshealthcare.org/

In spite of US Congressional Investigations - Abusive Rehab Centers Remain

A recent report by the US Congress revealed that there are significant problems in the teen rehabilitation industry and a general lack of oversight and accountability. 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. The US Congressional investigation revealed that 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. But many facilities are outside the scope of this limited study and many still remain unregulated and uninspected.

The US Congress has needed to examine this problem before in residential treatment centers - first with The Seed and then with Straight Inc. Each time the offending substance abuse treatment program was shut down, but very rapidly new ones sprung up with new legal identities to start the same kind of program all over again. Now there are even more programs who have been reported to be abusive, in spite of numerous state and local investigations and even federal investigations. To those who have been victimized in one of these facilities it is a source of frustration and dismay to realize that not even several US Congressional investigations can prevent the re-occurrence of the same kind of abuse to children. It is a national disgrace that 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. So it is important to trace the development of public policy in regards to these residential treatment programs in order to determine how they managed to evade public scrutiny and governmental control.

The World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools - WWASPS


The World Wide Association Of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS or WWASP) is an organization based in Utah, in the United States. WWASPS was founded by Robert Lichfield and was incorporated in 1998. WWASPS claims to have treated 10,000 children. WWASPS states that it is an umbrella organization of independent institutions for education and treatment of troubled teenagers, all operating in accordance with WWASP guidelines. Many outside observers believe, however, that the WWASPS-affiliated institutions are actually owned (through limited partnerships, many of which have used the same street address) by WWASPS or its principal officials or their close relatives. WWASPS has faced widespread allegations of physical and psychological abuse of the teenagers sent into its programs, resulting in a lawsuit filed against the organization in 2006.


Why should we be concerned?

Research has uncovered, and families have reported that these teen residential treatment centers have continued to have problems of abuse.

•There are no laws to protect the children outside the US
•Many facilities are not licensed and there is no oversight
•Children often lose their basic human rights
•Many have no privacy to use the restroom or shower
•Children lose contact with the outside world
•Once phone calls with parents are finally allowed, usually 3-6 months after the child enters the program, they are censored; children lose all other verbal contact with the outside world
•Children’s letters to extended family and friends are usually not delivered, and mail is censored
•Many youth have spent months in isolation

WWASPS has had numerous allegations of abuse and many of their facilities have been closed including:

•Academy at Ivy Ridge in Ogdensburg, New York (closed in early 2009; property has been sold)
•Bell Academy in California (shut down in 2003 after issues with state Social Services)
•Bethel Girls Academy in Mississippi (shut down in Feb. 2005 after state officials investigate reports of abuse)
•Brightway Hospital in St. George, Utah (closed in 1998 by authorities for providing inadequate care and abuse)
•Carolina Springs Academy (license revoked, name illegally changed to Magnolia Hills Christian Academy, website changed) in South Carolina. Campus abandoned as of September 2010
•Darrington Academy in Georgia. Closed in March 2009; 90 students were enrolled at the time of closure. School director Richard Darrington was arrested in May 2009 and charged with battery of two students at the school.
•Royal Gorge Academy in Canon City, Colorado, closed in October 2008. Youth sent to Red River Academy.
•Sky View Christian Academy, for boys, in Hawthorne, Nevada. Enrolled about 120 students and employed about 63 staff and teachers, with a total annual payroll of $1.57 million. Closed abruptly in 2007 after a hazing incident.
•Spring Creek Lodge Academy, Sanders County, Montana; operated from the late 1970s until January 9, 2009.

WWASPS programs are still operating

Currently WWASPS is operating the following programs: Cross Creek Programs in Utah, Gulf Coast Academy in Lucedale, Mississippi (formerly Bethel Girls' Academy, Bethel Boys' Academy, and Eagle Point Christian Academy), Old West Academy (formerly Majestic Ranch Academy) in Utah, Midwest Academy in Keokuk, Iowa, Horizon Academy in Amargosa Valley, Nevada, Red River Academy in Lecompte, Louisiana, Woodland Hills Maternity Home in Utah, Pillars of Hope, (previously the site of closed school Academy at Dundee Ranch) in Costa Rica, and Mentor School, located in the former Hotel Carara near Tárcoles in Costa Rica.

Learn more by reading these US government studies by GAO:

Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Programs responds to Congressional Hearings 11 OCT 2007 — Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Programs responds to the testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor on "Cases of Child Neglect and Abuse at Private Residential Treatment Facilities."

Catherine Freet Wilderness Therapy Programs Sends Letter to U.S. Representatives 30 JAN 2008 — Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Programs sends letter to all members of U.S. House of Representatives Education Committee members in response to Committee hearing on residential treatment facilities held on October 10, 2007.

Final GAO Report on Residential Facilities (Full Report) (May 2008) Residential Facilities: Improved data and enhanced oversight would help safeguard the well-being of youth with behavioral and emotional challenges, Report to Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives [PDF, 95 pages}

Final GAO Report on Residential Facilities (Highlights) (May 2008) Residential Facilities: Improved data and enhanced oversight would help safeguard the well-being of youth with behavioral and emotional challenges, Report to Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives [PDF, 1 pages}

GAO Report: Concerns Regarding Abuse and Death in Certain Programs for Troubled Youth (Full Report) (October 10, 2007) Full report of testimony before the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives. [PDF, 38 pages]

GAO Report: Concerns Regarding Abuse and Death in Certain Programs for Troubled Youth (Highlights) (October 10, 2007) Highlights of the report of testimony before the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives. [PDF, 1 page]

Residential Facilities: State & Federal Oversight Gaps May Increase Risk to Youth (Highlights) (April 24, 2008) Highlights of the report by Government Accountability Office of testimony before the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives [PDF, 1 pages]

Residential Facilities: State & Federal Oversight Gaps May Increase Risk to Youth Well-Being (April 24, 2008) Full report by the Government Accountability Office of testimony before the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives [PDF, 21 pages]

Residential Programs: Selected Cases of Death, Abuse, and Deceptive Marketing (Full Report) (April 24, 2008) Full report of testimony before the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives. [PDF, 24 pages]

Residential Programs: Selected Cases of Death, Abuse, and Deceptive Marketing (Highlights)(April 24, 2008) Highlights of testimony before the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives. [PDF, 1 page]