Academy at Dundee Ranch

Fra Secret Prisons for Teens
Spring til navigation Spring til søgning
Current status Closed | }} Capacity | }} | }}
Checked April 1, 2012 | }} Opened | }} | }} | }} Closed | }} 2003 | }}

Academy at Dundee Ranch was a behavior modification facility located on located on La Ceiba Cascajal, 2km East from Abopac, Orotina, province of Alajuela, Costa Rica <Ref>The facility on Google Maps</Ref>. It is currently operated as Pillars of Hope.

The history of Academy at Dundee Ranch[redigér]

Dundee Ranch was promoted as a residential school, offering a program of behavior modification, motivational "emotional growth seminars," a progressive academic curriculum, and a structured daily schedule, for teenagers struggling in their homes, schools, or communities <Ref>Academy at Dundee Ranch website, accessed January 31, 2007</Ref>

The facility was and still is associated with World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASP).

In May 2003, the facility was shut down by the authorities in Costa Rica due to claims of child abuse, and investigated the school and its managers. The facility reopened in 2004 as Pillars of Hope.


There were claims from both parents and detainees about food being withheld as punishment <Ref>Dundee Ranch: Riots at Costa Rica school for troubled young Americans raises questions about programs, Inside Costa Rica, June 2003</Ref>.

Former students complain of emotional scars due to their stay there <Ref>Desperate steps, dark journey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel</Ref>.

A judgment in Louisiana caused Costa Rican authorities to investigate the facilities <Ref>Officials to Investigate 'Tough Love' Facility Here, The Tico Times</Ref>. A riot occurred at the facility in May 2003 <Ref>Rioting, escapes put teen facility under scrutiny, Miami Herald-News from Babylon</Ref> <Ref>Tough love school sent to timeout, Inside Costa Rica, June 2003</Ref> <Ref>Riots raise questions at schools for troubled youths,</Ref>, , leading to its closure.

Due to the closure U.S. Representative George Miller asked U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to investigate WWASP <Ref>U.S. Federal Probe of WWASP Requested, The Tico Times, November 5, 2003</Ref>.

Narvin Lichfield, who was the director at the time of the facility's closure, was jailed in Costa Rica for a brief period at the time of the closure. He was scheduled to go to trial for abuse in Costa Rica on September 26-29, 2006. A prosecutor was quoted in The Tico Times as saying that Lichfield could be sentenced to at least 10 years in prison if convicted on all accounts. February 26, 2007 was Narvin Lichfield declared innocent of ordering the abuse. The judges believed that the children were abused, but they could not prove that Lichfield ordered it <Ref>Leland Baxter Neal, Lichfield Declared Innocent, The Tico Times - Daily News</Ref>..

Three other Academy employees, all Jamaicans, were reportedly wanted in connection with the case, but they fled Costa Rica following the closure of the Academy <Ref>Leland Baxter-Neal, article 07-06.pdf Tough-Love’ Camp Owner Faces Trial, The Tico Times, July 2006.</Ref>.

On February 22, 2007, Narvin Lichfield was acquitted of all charges. In a rare twist of events, the head prosecutor, Edgar Oviedo, admitted that there was no evidence against Lichfield. Lichfield went on to state that when the school was raided, "Parents and staff were held at gunpoint while the Costa Rican prosecutor told the students that school rules no longer applied." and "One parent had a gun held to her head and was ordered to hang up the phone as she attempted to call the U.S. Embassy for help." <Ref>AM Costa Rica Article</Ref>.

Costa Rica's Diario Extra reported that the charges were the result of overzealous journalists who printed unsubstantiated allegations made by unreliable sources <Ref>Diaro Extra Officia</Ref>.

Time after the raid[redigér]

- Main article: Pillars of hope -

External Links[redigér]

Info pages[redigér]

Community groups[redigér]

Message boards[redigér]