Saturday, April 11, 2009

Katie's Story

Katie has found a very anti-program discussion group, and has decided to start writing up her story. Not necessarily a bad thing. I encouraged her (as did at least one of the people there) to actually create a blog to do it instead - but she refuses.

If she decides to create a blog, then I will gladly link to it from here, as I think it is important to have a chance to see all sides. Her story is not my story, and what she remembers is often not what I remember. However we are human, we see and note different things. Watch the movie Vantage Point if you want to see a great example of this.

Unfortunately, as long as she only puts on it on that site, I will not link to it. Aside from the personal attacks that are currently ongoing there (yes, internet death threats - I guess that means I am somebody now :-) ) I refuse to subject my readers (although my readership has probably doubled because of that site (what, to maybe 4 now?)) to that. And where at minimum the site is libelous - the vast majority of people on it post anonymously (though they feel that they have the right to put up MY personal information on the site while hiding themselves).

I'd again like Katie to put it on a blog - so it is as open as this one is - and people can begin to see all sides of a story. Of course, to see all sides, we would also need input from people at the school - and I know that won't happen.

Parts of her story are very well written - she does still have that talent (like I've been told I have) - if she chooses to truly work on it (she does not accept any kind of criticism well at all, and will never improve if she believes that it is already fantastic. There is some that is good - but everything can be improved) and makes an interesting read. More so for me because it gives me some more insight into her - even where it does not match the things I know and remember.


Anonymous said...

I have reading her story as it comes along. I see a girl who was used as a tool in a nasty divorce. I don't want to point fingers but extra effort should be made to keep the children out of the divorce process. That seems to be her biggest problem even today. The guilt! First the guilt of being the one who broke of the marriage (which is normal for smaller kids to believe). Second guilt for feeling bad. Later guilt for being so costly in care that the siblings cannot get their education.

Lets see the final words on print before judging.

As thin as a pancake can be made, it still has two sides. Her story is perhaps not the full truth, but her story and your blog combined gives a better insight in the treatment by WWASP than the sugarcoated Comeback by Mia and Claire Fontaine.

I also believe that your daughter needs to come to some sort of closure so she can move forward in life. I saw a post where you were sad about her being inactive all the time. I guess that writing her story has brought her out of her all day sleeping/resting mode.

I hope that telling her story without the censorship imposed during a program can heal your all as a family in the end. It perhaps hurts right now seeing her words on print, but sometime is has to hurt before it gets better.

Mike Carter said...

I do want people to be aware that there is ALWAYS more to any story - and there is much more to my family than what I have written about here.

Case and point - my divorce. I have not gone into that, and tried actually to avoid it. Why - because I know my two younger sons read this, and until they are 18 (in two and four years respectively) I will not talk about my feelings about their mother with them - because they need to have their own relationship with her - regardless of how I feel.

I did everything I could to keep the children out of the divorce - I truly wish I could say the same for my ex-wife. While I refused to talk about her, she did not do the same with me.

As for closure - that is something we have been seeking for Katie on several layers for many years - however she refuses it. She did a very powerful ceremony about 18 months ago to let go of her mother - but then still brought it up again.

And her not getting off the couch - until just recently it hasn't been sleeping - it has been watching horror movies, playing video games, or getting on the internet. And her writing is done by sneaking down in the middle of the night.

Her words don't hurt me - it is her story, not mine.

Now I may be old fashioned - however I pay the mortgage and this is my house - so I pay the rules. Being upset because she is sneaking down at 2 am to get on the internet, then not getting up in the morning for school - I guess that is just old fashioned but I find it unacceptable.

Benni Madsen said...

I saw your reply to Jack1993. Staying up at night is a symptom of severe depression. My cusin suffers from it and she is often up to 3 am and the next morning it is a battle due to her husband.

She can never due a closure to her deal with her mother as you never will be able to stop parenting Katie, but she can come to closure with the boarding school and move on. The nightmares of the place will continue to hunt her for the next decade if we are going to take the words of other graduates on private message boards and on Myspace/Facebook, but she will able to function.

Could it be a deal if she wrote her story at daytime? I have children of my own and I don't accept them being up all night as I don't clean their room when they arrive drunk home and are too sick to reach the toilet. You are not oldfashioned in that way.

Unknown said...

Her words don't hurt me - it is her story, not mine.

Do you know how cruel this sounds?
Whats the matter with you?!
Does this mean you don´t care what you daughter feels?
Does this mean you are not concerned that your relationship with her might deteorate even more?

Listen, don´t act like a victim here - you are not! You are her dad! You sent your daughter away , you excluded her from your family for 3(!) years! You lost the most important years in her life and let strangers deal with her.
I am sorry for Katie .
You still have some time to make it better - don´t loose this chance. Think hard. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and be a dad she wants a needs so much!

Mike Carter said...


I have no problem with her writing - it is her not following the rules - i.e. staying up or sneaking down at 3 am to do it. If she chose instead to do it during the day that is perfectly fine.

Huh? How cruel it sounds that I refuse to let her words hurt me? If I let her every angry word hurt me, I would have been devastated long before she went into the program.

She has every right to her story - and it is her story - her words. Not mine. Because it is hers, I will no longer comment on it - even for the blatant exagerations (if not outright lies) (and for some things I could actually dig up documentation if I so choose).

Just because I don't let her writing cut me doesn't mean I don't care - I want only the best for all my children. But I refuse to play her games, and as much as it does pain me, it is fast approaching the time when she will have to live life on her own, and I won't be there to help or protect her any more. There is only so long a parent can provide a safety net - at some point you have to fly or fall on your own. I'm old fashioned that way - I believe children grow up and move out to live as adults. I do the best I can to prepare them for that and then let them go.

Unknown said...

Angry words?

Her words are sad , lonely , I see pain and a hurt little child.

Why are you so cold towards her?
If my daughter would write such a story (and I have three teenage daughters) I would be devastated and relieved at the same time.
Devastated - because I did such a horrible job as a parent, relieved -that she still loves me and we can mend our relationship .

All you are talking about is letting her go - wow - you already did that when she needed you the most!

Do you think my words are harsh?
Nothing in comparison what your daughter was put through at CC. Trust me on this.

Mike Carter said...


You see what you choose to see. At best you have a tiny periscope staring out at the ocean that is the lives of my family - yet you presume to know and judge me and them.

I have made, and continue to make, my choices. I choice what I think is best for my daughter and my entire family.

As so many people have said, it is time for Katie to move on. She graduates from high school in less than two months, and turns 19 a month after that. As her older step-sister and brother did before her, it is time to be on her own (and hopefully attend college - wracking up the student loans just like they did and her two younger brothers will as well - isn't higher education wonderful :-) ).

As I have stated many times, I only want now, and have only wanted in the past, what is best for her and my family.

Trust you on that - I don't know you and trust nothing at all about you. You know very little about me, yet are so quick to judge.

nevermore said...

You've been deleting comments from your page. I challenge you to leave this material up, and let general readers decide for themselves if WWASP is a legitimate medical facility or "school" or anything but a torture chamber, and what liability you have for incarerating Katie in it:

Books on WWASP
Help at Any Cost (how the troubled teen industry cons parents and hurts kids) by Maia Szalavitz
Cults in Our Midst, by Margret Singer

Both deal directly with WWASP and/or the LGAT WWASP forces upon the students and parents.

One of the many Lawsuits against WWASP
On the left hand sidebar you will see a link to recent filings. This will take you to a PDF copy of the case Turley has filed against WWASP and all related entities.
ISAC has a great deal of information on WWASP.
A collection of newspaper articles about the wwasp programs.
they have a collection of video clips you can access, as well as a lot of commentary.
A repentant WWASP program parent's site.
This page has info about Congressman Millers efforts to stop the abuse and the A.G's REFUSAL to mount a federal investigation because WWASP is a "private organization"
A memorial list of kids that have died in programs. 18 KIDS ARE KNOWN TO HAVE DIED IN WWASP DETENTION CENTERS ... t-pg.shtml
A great series of articles about the WWASP program. I hope it will open.
(If any of you cyber geeks know how to copy this site you should)


nevermore said...
Kelly Adams
Houston, TX

"What can possibly be written about an experience so damaging it irrevocably altered the course or my life ?It's not an easy task for me to tell a sensual, chronicled account of my 18 months of incarceration at Cross Creek Manor in Southern Utah. I use the word "incarceration," because that is what it was - package the process in whatever manipulations you wish, but the reality is that we were locked up. If you remember nothing else, remember this: The proprietors of WWASP and other similar Behavior Modification "Schools" are master manipulators.

I was woken up in the middle of the night by 3 strangers. I was told to get out of bed and get dressed. One stranger followed me to the bathroom and watched while I changed. I was extremely disoriented - I'm not sure I realized I was awake - so I didn't fight my "kidnappers." I was instructed to get into a strange car. I got in the car without "incident," and heard the doors lock me in. I began to get very scared and I started asking my kidnappers, where they were taking me. No one would tell me. I guess I was beginning to raise my voice (I was feeling a bit hysterical), and that's when I was informed without a shred of sympathy if I gave them "any trouble" I would be put in handcuffs or otherwise physically restrained.

they told me I was going to a nice school for girls like me. I believed that I was going to some type of 90-day rehab, I would go back home, and my parents would love me again.

When we pulled up to Cross creek manor, I didn't think it looked so bad My kidnappers escorted me through the doors where 100 or so pairs of eyes all staring at me greeted me as if I was some sort of carnival freak show. All the girls were gathered out in the central foyer area for the nightly "Manor meeting." I was wary of all those girls in sweat pants and slippers who looked like a bunch of robots. I was taken to a room with a couple of “high-phase” girls who did my “intake.” I pleaded and insisted I didn't belong there, and they just started laughing. One of the girls told me, patronizingly, "Yeah, none of us belong here either."

Shortly afterwards I was strip-searched and "nix-ed" (de-loused) by a very scary , very large woman - I was unbelievably mortified. The other girls petrified me - when they spoke, it sounded to me like someone was playing a tape recorder, and they had absolutely no sympathy for me.

My first day in "Group" with Ron (he was the director of Cross Creek at the time) he asked me why I was there. All the girls were sitting around in a circle staring at me like I was a murderer, so I said "because my parents sent me here," COMPLETELY without a hint of attitude (I wasn't yet accustomed to the program double-speak). This sent Ron into a tirade - he yelled that I was a drug addict and ruining my family's lives, etc., etc. After a lengthy barrage of aggressive, mean-spirited "feedback" from the other girls in the group, I sat down, shaken and unable to process what had jhappened.

After I had spent about two weeks in Orientation (OR) Group with Ron, I joined my "home" group with the intimidating therapist at the helm, Garth. Garth was a very large man, which he used to his advantage to create a aggressive and imposing persona. Even before Cross Creek, men easily intimidated me, but being under Garth's "tutelage" worsened my fears.

Here is where things began to get really messy. In my 18 months at Cross Creek, there were so many harmful and traumatizing incidences that occurred - it would be impossible for me to recount every one. With that in mind, I will try instead to paint a general picture that will illustrate the kind of experience that I had.

Unlike many of the girls at CCM, I was never "restrained," but I witnessed this incredibly disturbing spectacle too many times to count. I was too paralyzed with fear to ever consider doing anything that I thought might cause me to be "taken down" by staff. I remember watching girls being taken down that were simply arguing with a staff - not physically endangering themselves or others - and they would be dragged, literally, kicking and screaming downstairs and into ISO (the 12 ft., locked "isolation" rooms). I also remember seeing a girl sitting in ISO who had cut herself and smeared blood all over her face and arms.

There were other girls who I saw with broken noses and injured arms/shoulders that were put into makeshift "slings" that consisted only of an Ace bandage. I knew several girls who had sustained physical injuries as a result of being taken down - i.e., broken noses, dislocated shoulders, torn ligaments, etc.

There were plenty of girls who I saw sitting in ISO for days, weeks, and even months at a time.

From my first day at CCM, I was told (and screamed at) that I was a worthless person, a disappointment to my family, a hopeless drug addict, a bitch and slut, a waste of space, a horrible human being and whatever other disparaging remarks the staff and other girls could muster. When I first arrived at CCM, I wasn't addicted to drugs however, I, like many other girls, was coerced into proclaiming/believing that I was hopelessly addicted to drugs. It was made very obvious that if I did not affirm the program's assessment of me that I would never advance past level one, so I played along (at first), and eventually began to internalize and believe everything that they said.

The infamous T.A.S.K.S. seminars & group "processes" were especially hurtful. One of my "issues" that I had to deal with at Cross Creek was childhood sexual abuse at 11 years old, and.

During one of the Focus "processes," (which I have been sworn to secrecy never to tell about) I was physically held down by four other Cross Creek girls (high phase girls who were seminar staff) while a fifth girl screamed into my face that "HE'S ON TOP OF YOU AGAIN!!! AREN'T YOU GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?? ARE YOU JUST GOING TO LET HIM DO IT TO YOU AGAIN?? WHAT KIND OF SLUT ARE YOU??"
I was crying and screaming so hard that I could barely see - I kicked and thrashed as hard as I could, but the four other girls just kept pinning me down to the floor, and I was unable to get out from under them.

There was another "process" that Garth facilitated, during which we had to write our own tombstones (the idea was for us to experience that we had died due to our "behavior"). After we had all written them, Garth and a few high phase girls from our group went around the room and screamed into our faces anything hurtful that they could manage to make us feel like worthless and horrible human beings.

When it was my turn, Garth approached me calmly and told me, coldly & without emotion, that my grandfather (my mother's father, whom I loved very much) was dead. My grandfather had emphysema and was repeatedly in and out of the Emergency Room, so this was hardly a stretch. Garth and the other girls shouted inches away from my face that my grandfather died knowing that I was a worthless bitch, a drug addict, and that I had ruined my family. They told me that he died knowing what a horrible person I was. By this point I was sobbing uncontrollably and finding it difficult to remain standing, so one of the high phase girls was holding me up for the continued barrage of abuse. After they finished with me, Garth and the other girls moved on to their next victim - and the scene continued on, as it had with me.

The next day, Garth called me into his office and told me that he was "mistaken" about my grandfather, and that he hadn't really died. I sobbed from relief that he was still living. l do not believe that Garth made an innocent "mistake." he purposefully used my grandfather's illness to traumatize me during a process. it worked.

I was never one of the girls routinely taken down, but it still took me months to advance in the program. Let me explain - although the program cronies would say like to say otherwise, unless you cry in group and painting a very melodramatic picture of your "issues," you will not advance, and you will not go home (which is where we ALL wanted to be).
I had a hard time expressing emotion -especially when put on the spot in-group. Thus, my inability to "be real," (translation: cry) held me on the low levels for a good seven months.

As I stated earlier, I was always very bright. My intelligence, apparently, was something to be ashamed of. I was routinely punished and chastised in-group for being "better than," and being "in my head". I was specifically reprimanded in-group for using "big words". This was all brought on because I was trying to help some of the other girls with their schoolwork, which was, apparently, a bad thing. After being "confronted" about my "intelligence issue," (yes, they actually called it that) I remember trying to dumb myself down in order to not incur the group's criticism.

WWSP "school" system is, at best, laughable. I was a very good student. At Cross Creek (or "Browning Academy" as WWASP likes to refer to the fictional "school" associated with their programs), I was given a remedial level textbook for each respective class and instructed to complete the chapter exercises and a chapter test. This was the extent of our "education," and it was a mockery of my intellectual ability. I learned absolutely nothing my "senior year" in "high school"

Eventually, I advanced to level three. But let me first let you know that I wasn't allowed to speak to my parents on the phone until I had been there for four months, the first time I saw my parents was after seven months, and the first time I saw my two brothers was after nine or ten months.

I was not allowed to communicate with anyone from the outside world besides my parents - not friends, family or anyone besides my parents & brothers.

After I began to advance in the program, I became one of its most vocal supporters. I was notorious for giving "hardcore" feedback to new girls, and "not taking any crap," from anyone not subscribing to the program's mantras. I became a bloodthirsty Pitt Bull - anxiously awaiting the opportunity to tear another girl down, the way that I had been torn down before. I'm sure that I probably caused a lot of girl's pain, and this is something that I feel intensely remorseful for to this day.

After I had been at CCM for 10 months or so, I was on level five and able to take an off-grounds pass with my family. I missed my family so much by that point that I thought I might break in two. The pass really broke down a lot of the brainwashing, and I eventually reached a point where I felt I would literally go insane if I had to remain in the program.

Basically, I cracked - one night I spent three hours pacing around my room trying to figure out how I was possibly going to complete the program without losing my mind. by then, I was 18, and was able to walk out of the program if wanted to - however, my parents had made it clear that they would not let me come home if I left Cross Creek without completing the program.

My "exit plan" was pretty similar to other kids in WWASP programs - if I decided to leave after I turned 18, I would get $10 in my pocket and a bus ticket to Denver (not Houston, my native city), and my parents would not accept me back in their house.

So, back to that night when I lost it - I eventually decided, after a couple of hours of pacing, that I had to leave the program, despite the fact that I would probably be homeless.

I went to the head staff and told her I wanted to leave. She attempted to change my mind for an hour or so, but I wouldn't be swayed. Then my parents were called. We had a gut-wrenching phone conversation during which my mother said "goodbye" - at that moment she believed that she was talking to me for the last time. After my parents couldn't get me to change my mind, my 17 year-old brother, Cory, was put on the phone. I remember him sobbing and pleading with me not to leave the program, because he "didn't want me to die." I cried my eyes out during all of this, but still, my parents and I held firm. after a few hours of this, I spoke to my case manager, and she told me that I could still change my mind. I was petrified of being abandoned in a foreign city (not to mention the fact that I had no way of contacting any of my other family members, since it was forbidden to record any phone numbers), so I acquiesced, and remained at Cross Creek.

After this incident, I was ostracized and forced to "regain trust" from my group members.. If I had been under 18, I would have been dropped down to level one, but due to my age, I was allowed to remain on probationary status at level five. After a couple of weeks of groveling and enduring numerous group sessions during which I was the object of ridicule and criticism, I eventually convinced Garth and the rest of the high phase girls that I was "ready to work."

And so, I was cemented into the system -I was completely brainwashed into thinking the program had saved my life and that I would be dead if my parents had never sent me there (the same robotic mantra of all brainwashed WWASP kids). I became a cruel and ruthless high phase girl - like the ones who had hurt me when I was new at CCM, and I extolled the virtues of the program that had caused irrevocable damage to my soul.

The rest of my incarceration at Cross Creek was fairly smooth, and I graduated two months before my19th birthday. Afterwards, I returned to Houston to live with my parents for a couple of months before being accepted to the University of Texas - Arlington
I entered college a completely conflicted, damaged, neurotic, depressed and anxious person - with the next few years ahead of me to experience levels of depravity that I never came close to prior to my incarceration at CCM. I don't feel comfortable getting into all those details now, but suffice it to say, that the program DIDN'T work. To this day, my parents still do not believe me when I try to tell them about what went on at CCM. The fact that they take the program's side over mine - their own daughter - is something that I will probably feel and carry with me for the rest of my life.

Please Contact Kelly Adams for any questions for comments at the email above.

Mike Carter said...

I have not deleted any comments from here - they were deleted by the people who left them.

However I am very tempted to delete the last one you left - not because of the content but it is not your story, and I don't appreciate people just cutting and pasting the same things over and over.

As for all the lawsuits - I do have to ask how much is the lawyer getting for all of this? It really sounds like a lawyer is manipulating a bunch of people, and he is the one actually making the money. I've seen lots of lawyers who will file almost anything - because it doesn't cost them anything and has the potential to make them a bunch. They have to pay if they lose - which would eliminate a huge amount of lawsuits.

Nevermore1 said...

As far as I know, that testimony has not been posted on this blog, elsewhere.

I can see why you would want to erase only because it does not show your actions in a good light. That you can read that testimony and feel it signifies "nothing" is the problem.

Did you watch the videos at the site they it comes?

In them, a captain, a graduate of a military academy with emphasis on honesty and responsibility testifies, among other things, that Cross Creek basically kidnapped and imprisoned his son.

Watch those interviews, if you can stand taking an candid look into what you’ve put your own kid through, and why.

Did you watch the videos at the site they it comes?

In them, a captian, a graduate of a military academy with emphasis on honesty and responsibilty testifies, among other things, that Cross Creek basicly kidnapped and imprisoned his son.

Watch those interviews, if you can stand taking an honest look into your own actions

Mike Carter said...

I don't seem to ever recall saying that this was an open forum for anyone to post stories about other people. It is not. It is where I am posting about my family, and allowing discussions on that topic.

nevermore/Nevermore1/whatever name you decide to create to respond yet again - I actually once set up a discussion board for people to share their stories - I let it die after a year with only 6 users on it.

If you want to put a link to others peoples stories, fine. But don't cut and paste them here. Period. Especially because it isn't your story - I don't have to allow you to repeat other peoples stories here. If she chooses to come here and comment that is different - though this is still not a forum for anyone elses story.

As for all this internet evidence people keep wanting to throw at me - what is your objective here? Katie has been back for 10 months now. I did what I did. I am fully responsible for my decisions.

You people remind me of Monthy Python's Spanish Inquisition (because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!) Poking me trying to get me to confess something.

Guess what - I've told my story of what I did. I don't have a time machine - I can't go back (even if I wanted to, which I never have said I did) and change them.

Did I get the results I wanted - not all of them definitely. Katie is not doing drugs, and is not dead, and is not pregnant. I achieved those goals. The way things were going before the program, I was pretty sure that at least one of those was going to happen.

Is my family the way I want it - not really. As I always have, I am doing the best I can for the entire family - and that includes not only Katie but also her three brothers, step sister and my wife and I.

So if you have something meaningful to contribute that is on the subject - fine. If not then you know the place that welcomes your reposting of others stories over and over.