Important! Starting Monday, June 13, 2011, the Paul Drockton Radio Program will Start at 2 PM Pacific, 3 Mountain, 4 Central, 5 Eastern and run for two full hours on Renseradio.com (Click on the Windows Media Player to listen)
Huntsman, Romney Linked to Mormon Sex Abuse Scandals
World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools has made quite a mark on Utah and Mormonism.
"The World Wide Association Of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS or WWASP) is an organization based in Utah, in the United States. WWASPS was founded by Robert Lichfield and was incorporated in 1998. WWASPS states that it is an umbrella organization of independent institutions for education and treatment of troubled teenagers, all operating in accordance with WWASP guidelines. Many outside observers believe, however, that the WWASPS-affiliated institutions are actually owned (through limited partnerships, many of which have used the same street address) by WWASPS or its principal officials or their close relatives." (Source)
It seems that the schools are currently being sued by parents and former students for a multitude of reasons:
"Hundreds of parents claim a group of boarding schools tortured their children: locked them in dog cages, forced them to lie in feces and eat vomit, masturbated them and denied the troubled teens any religion "except for the Mormon faith."
The Utah-based World Wide Association Of Specialty Programs and Schools and its owners - Robert Lichfield, Brent Facer and Ken Kay - went to great lengths to hide the "torture," which began in the mid-1990s and continued for a decade, the 357 plaintiffs claim in Salt Lake County Court.
The plaintiffs say that 59 schools and owners tied to the company "jointly promoted, advertised, and marketed defendants' residential boarding schools as a place where children with problems could get an education while receiving instruction and direction in behavior modification for emotional growth and personal development."
But they say the children were subjected to physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the schools including, Cross Creek Center for Boys, Brightway Adolescent Hospital and Red Rock Springs. They say the abuses inflicted upon some children for years "could be accurately described as torture." (Source)
It gets worse:
"They were sexually abused, "which included forced sexual relations and acts of fondling and masturbation performed on them," according to the 119-page complaint.
Students were "forced to eat their own vomit ... bound and tied by hands and/or feet ... chained and locked in dog cages ... forced to lie in, or wear, urine and feces ... forced to sleep on cold concrete floors, boxspring, or plywood," and put to forced labor, the complaint states.
Children were "kicked, beaten, thrown and slammed to the ground ... forced to eat raw or rotten food ... poked and prodded with various objects while being strip searched ... denied any religious affiliation, except for the Mormon faith ... [and] threatened [with] severe punishment, including death, if they told anyone of their abuses and poor living conditions," according to the complaint.
Their mail was confiscated, and personal visits and telephone calls were forbidden or discouraged, the parents say." (Source)
The Schools owner, Robert Lichfield, was quite the player in the Utah Republican Party, donating $65,000 to then Governor, Jon Huntsman:
"Campaign donations by Robert Lichfield and his family or business associates during the 2002 and 2004 elections total $1,016,607.
1. Republican National
2. Utah Republican Party........ $165,900
3. Arizona Republican Party... $150,000
4. John Swallow*...................... $118,000
5. Sen. Bob Bennett, R-UT........$68,500
6. Jon Huntsman, Jr.**................$65,000
7. Jim Hansen**..........................$47,433
8. New York Republican
9. Marty Stephens
(Utah House Speaker)...........$31,500
10. Geoffrey Davis***....................$14,000
*Utah congressional candidate
**Utah gubernatorial candidate
***Kentucky congressional candidate
Source: Federal Elections Commission. Utah State Elections Office. New York State Elections Office." (Source)
Interestingly enough, during Huntsman's watch, regulations were being considered by the Utah House of Representatives to regulate Lichfield's Utah operations:
"A bill permitting state regulation of boarding schools for troubled teens was quietly smothered in the Utah Capitol this year after the founder of a chain of controversial schools, who is a major Republican donor, lobbied key lawmakers.
Powerful legislators, including House Speaker Marty Stephens, held back the measure until the Legislature's clock ran out at midnight on March 3 - the final day of the session.
Six days later, the bill's biggest opponent, World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools founder Robert Lichfield, presented a $30,000 check to Stephens' campaign for governor.
Since then, one of the handful of Utah boarding schools, which would have been regulated under the bill, Majestic Ranch, near Randolph, Utah, has been investigated three separate times for alleged abuse, according to state Human Service officials. Only one ended in a criminal charge and conviction when a staffer - no longer employed there - pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault." (Ibid)
Lichfield was one of Romney's top money men in Utah during his last Presidential Campaign.
"Lichfield helped to organize a February event in St. George, Utah, that raised about $300,000 for the Romney campaign... “Mr. Lichfield is one of 6 Co-Chairman of our Utah finance team,” said Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho in a statement. (Source)
In 2001, Lichfield donated $100,000 to then President Bush. He also donated $75,000 to the Republican National State Elections Committee. Other beneficiaries of the Lichfield family include Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett and Rob Bishop. (Source) Donations came in as late as 2010.