On Wednesday an attorney representing nine former students of Mount Bachelor Academy (MBA) filed a lawsuit in Multnomah County Circuit Court. He says the students suffered emotional distress, battery and negligence while at the school. The attorney representing the school denies the allegations. He says:
We have reviewed the complaint and are confident that the allegations will be proven to be untrue. The events that Mr. Clark and his clients allege happened at Mount Bachelor Academy simply did not.
Mount Bachelor Academy was one of many therapeutic boarding schools in the country. Some people call these “tough love” schools — places for teenagers to go to work emotional or behavioral problems. They are places of last resort for parents to send their kids when they just can’t cope anymore. On some occasions “youth transport” companies pick up the kids in the middle of the night and then drive them to their new homes. Once their children were at MBA, parents had limited interaction with them; according to some students, they were allowed a ten minute phone call every other week. Those calls, students say, were monitored.
Mount Bachelor Academy operated just outside of Prineville until it was closed by the state in 2009 when the Department of Human Services found “nine substantiated claims of abuse.” The school came back with a lawsuit and the case was settled last year. According to DHS:
MBA acknowledged that, based on the evidence available to DHS on November 2, 2009, the agency had reasonable cause to believe that abuse or neglect occurred at the school, as uncovered in the investigation.
In addition, MBA agrees that DHS had a reasonable basis to investigate the allegations of abuse and neglect and to seek corrective actions. Mount Bachelor Academy is closed and, by all accounts, will remain closed.
Did you, or anyone you know, attend Mount Bachelor? What’s your experience?
- Kelly Clark: attorney from the law firm O’Donnell Clark & Crew LLP, representing nine former students in litigation against Mount Bachelor Academy’s parent company
- William: a student at Mount Bachelor Academy from 1997 to 1998
- “Marie”: a student at Mount Bachelor Academy from 1992 to 1994
- Jason Blank: a student at Mount Bachelor Academy from 1996 to 1998
- Robert Sands: child and adolescent psychiatrist based in Olypmia, Washington. His step-daughter attended Mount Bachelor Academy.