The Mitt Romney & Troubled Teen Connection

Mitt Romney:  Helping Troubled Teens?

If Mitt Romney is elected president, his wife has already committed to “helping” troubled teens.

This seemingly innocuous statement would appear to be nothing more than genuine concern for youth…unless you do your homework on the type of “help” that Romney has supported and benefited from throughout his career.

Romney’s former Utah finance co-chair Robert Litchfield is the founder of WWASP (World Wide Association of Specialty Schools).  WWASP operated schools both in the US and abroad, the majority of which have now been shut down over allegations of abuse.  Current civil litigation filed in Utah on behalf of both parents and students of former WWASP institutions alleges, “teens were locked in outdoor dog cages, exercised to exhaustion, deprived of food and sleep, exposed to extreme temperatures without adequate clothing or water, severely beaten, emotionally brutalized, and sexually abused and humiliated. Some were even made to eat their own vomit.”

Romney’s national finance co-chair is Mel Sembler, the founder of Straight Inc.  Straight Inc operated from 1976 until 1993 and ran nine programs in seven states.  As noted in Maia Szalavitz’ 2007 article, “At all of Straight’s facilities, state investigators and/or civil lawsuits documented scores of abuses including teens being beaten, deprived of food and sleep for days, restrained by fellow youth for hours, bound, sexually humiliated, abused and spat upon. According to the L.A. Times, California investigators said that at Straight teens were “subjected to unusual punishment, infliction of pain, humiliation, intimidation, ridicule, coercion, threats, mental abuse… and interference with daily living functions such as eating, sleeping and toileting.”

Neither Robert Litchfield or Mel Sembler have ever admitted guilt or doubt regarding their program’s methods, both blaming the allegations of abuse on teens who have a history of lying and deceiving and parent’s with a financial axe to grind.

In 1984, Mitt Romney founded “Bain Capital Group,” which now owns and operates Aspen Education Group.

Mount Bachelor Academy, an Aspen Education Group program, was shut down by DHS in Oregon after nine substantiated cases of abuse and neglect were found by investigators.  Sagewalk, another Aspen Education Group program, was called “reckless” in regards to a 16 year old boy who died in the program.

Several lawsuits have been filed against Aspen Education Group with allegations including, “emotional, physical, and sexual abuse while residents.”  and further alleges that teens in it’s care, “were subjected to regular psychological abuse and shaming, including being required to reenact  traumatic experiences (such as prior instances of child sexual abuse) in front of their peers; that they were subjected to extreme isolation and prolonged deprivations of food, water, shelter, and basic medical care; that students were required to go days with little or no sleep and were also regularly forced into “chain gang” style labor; that phone calls to their families were limited and were monitored…and that parents were instructed by staff not to believe their children if they claimed malfeasance or abuse – i.e., the children will lie, it is all part of the treatment process, parents were told”

An interesting clause can be found in the initial agreement signed by parents handing their children over to Aspen Education Group:

“Sponsor intends by this Waiver and Release to release, in advance, and to waive his or her rights and discharge each and every one of the Released Parties, from any and all claims for damages for death, personal injury, or property damage which Sponsor may have, or which may hereafter accrue as a result of Student’s participation in any aspect of the Programs, even though that liability may arise from negligence or carelessness on the part of the persons or entities being released, from dangerous or defective property or equipment owned, maintained or controlled by them or because of their possible liability without fault.  Additionally, Sponsor covenants not to sue any of the Released Parties based up their breach of any duty owed to Sponsor or Student as a result of their participation in any aspect of the Programs…Released Parties shall be exempt from liability to Sponsor, his or her heirs, assigns, and legal representatives.”

For someone with so much history of supporting & being supported by institutions that abuse teenagers in their care, it seems ironic that he would allow any further connections to this cause.  Hopefully, by spreading this information, we can bring awareness to the fact that teens are being abused every day in the name of “treatment” and that NO ONE who profits off of this deserves to be in any place of power.


Romney’s Connection to Abusive Boot Camps

Robert Litchfield Connection

Romney, Torture and Teens

Romney Owns Bain Capital

Aspen Education Group Lawsuits

Wikipedia on WWASP

Wikipedia on Aspen Education Group

Wikipedia on Mel Sembler 

Survivor Stories from Straight Inc.

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