Crime

Ex-Students Allege Sexual Abuse at Troubled Teen School

The lawsuits accuse the schools of using treatment practices not recognized by mental health organizations

By Associated Press

MISSOULA – Former students have sued a pair of Montana schools for troubled teenage girls alleging they were sexually assaulted and suffered mental anguish.

One lawsuit filed by five former students alleges two men employed by Reflections Academy sexually assaulted teen residents, the Missoulian reported Friday. A separate lawsuit filed by nine former student accuses Clearview Academy of negligence and inflicting mental anguish.

Both lawsuits were filed in January.

Mary Theilbar, the owner or Clearview, said she didn’t know about the lawsuit and couldn’t comment. She said the school is Christian and called her staffers excellent and a “blessing.”

“God started this program,” she said. “People just came to me from all over the United States.”

Officials at Reflections didn’t return request for comment from the Missoulian.

The lawsuits accuse the schools of using treatment practices not recognized by mental health organizations.

These types of facilities that claim to help teens with behavioral and mental health issues across the United States have come under heightened scrutiny recently in a push led by former reality TV star Paris Hilton. She and others who say they were mistreated at centers want stricter rules to monitor what happens inside the facilities.

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