Mt carmel wyoming youth ranch scandal

A federal class-action lawsuit has been filed against Trinity Teen Solutions (TTS) and Triangle Cross Boys Ranch (TCR) of Clark, Wyoming, alleging human trafficking and abuse. The lawsuit is being brought by around 25 members with potentially hundreds more eligible, and seeks millions of dollars in retribution from the institutions.

The Allegations

The lawsuit includes allegations of forced labor, trafficking, racketeering, negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The primary claim is that the defendants profited from services performed through the unpaid labor and abusive conditions forced upon internees at both Trinity Teen and Triangle Cross.

The alleged abusive treatment included:

  • Forced silence for weeks at a time
  • Heavily restricted bathroom access
  • Food and sleep deprivation
  • Unqualified therapists
  • Unheated living quarters

TTS is operated by Angela and Jerry Woodward, while TCR is run by Jerry Schneider, Angela’s father. Angela Woodward has denied the allegations, stating that TTS has never used patients for forced or unpaid labor. She also mentioned that related claims have been previously investigated and found to be unsubstantiated.

Trinity Teen Solutions describes itself as a Christian-based residential treatment center for troubled girls between the ages of 12 and 17, offering therapy, counseling, and academic schooling. Triangle Cross Boys Ranch is a 50,000-acre working ranch and farm for troubled boys aged 10-17, where boys are given tasks described as “reality therapy”.

The Complaint

The 109-page complaint, filed in Wyoming Federal Court, alleges that both centers fraudulently used “reality therapy” as a cover for abuse. The plaintiffs are seeking a minimum of $5 million in damages, as well as hourly compensation for the labor they were forced to perform. Additionally, they are demanding restitutionary damages of $780 per day, and any sums that TTS and TCR were paid during the residents’ stay, which ranged from $6,000 to $9,000 per month.

In addition to Trinity Teen Solutions and Triangle Cross Boys Ranch, the lawsuit names several other defendants who are accused of benefiting from the unpaid labor. These include the Diocese of Cheyenne, Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, Rock Creek Ranch Inc., Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, and multiple individuals connected to TTS and TCR.

Context and Impact

According to the filing, the “troubled teen industry” is a billion-dollar-per-year industry in the United States, and this lawsuit is the first of its kind in U.S. history. The industry is particularly problematic in rural areas where oversight of facilities is difficult. Brice Timmons, a Memphis civil rights attorney representing the plaintiffs, expects this case to be a landmark and an impetus for similar legal filings in the future.

Timmons highlighted that he and his staff have interviewed more than 30 former residents and employees of TTS and TCR. He plans to call a forensics psychologist and other experts as witnesses in the trial.

Ongoing Investigations

In March 2019, at least 13 reports of mistreatment and abuse were made to the Park County Sheriff’s Office by individuals who spent time at Trinity Teen Solutions. This case is still under investigation by the Park County Attorney’s Office.

Angela Woodward criticized those making anonymous reports, stating that they are part of a calculated attempt to defame Trinity’s reputation.

The current lawsuit, with its high-profile nature and the severity of the allegations, is likely to bring increased scrutiny to the troubled teen industry in Wyoming and across the United States.