This is the History of and Reporting Guide for Meridell Achievement Center in Liberty Hill, TX
(we are working to acquire the complete records for ALL years)
<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>On this page you will find incomplete staff and complaint histories with sources cited (i.e. Progress Report), the general advisory against segregated congregate care with sources cited, and a reporting guide for those unlawfully harmed or firsthand witnesses to unlawful harm by or at this location to report violations of the law to the proper authorities/law enforcement. The staff list itself will not be updated with additional names out of a sense of fairness where those providing the names ask for anonymity or confidentiality. And, this program will remain eligible for merciful release if all criteria are met and no guest sermon is provided by a qualifying sponsor by that time. In the meantime, it can graduate the COPE Conversion Program by meeting the Honesty In Marketing Standards (HIMS) or permanently close to be removed from the watch-list/released from the COPE Conversion Program. If permanently closed prior to graduation or merciful release, it will be buried in the virtual graveyard.
<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>
|(Dr.) David Riedel||Medical Director|
|(Dr.) Glenda Kroll||Medical Director|
|(Dr.) Byron Stone||Program Director|
|(Dr.) James Hageman||Attending Psychiatrist|
|Jennifer Miller||Director of Special Projects||Miller no longer appears to work for this program.|
|(Dr.) John Seals||Neurologist|
|(Dr.) Larry Fisher||Neurologist|
|(Dr.) Dan Matthews||Neuropharmacologist|
|Jerry Romer||Intake Director|
|Lynn Head||Nurse||Head no longer appears to work for this program.|
|Alan Reiman||Director of Business Development|
|Janet Fish||Business Development||Fish no longer appears to work for this program.|
|Lori Holland||Business Development|
|Nichole Rust||Business Development|
|Wendy Hercliff||Business Development|
|Kevin Linder||History Teacher|
|Ray Johns||Charge Nurse: La Casa Unit|
|Kathleen Redlin||Mental Health Technician/Youth Care Counselor|
|Shannon Baldwin||Program Coordinator/Recreation Therapy|
|Lt. Col. Kerry (US Army Reserve, uncertainty if Kerry is first or last name)||Nurse: La Casa Unit|
|Terry (uncertainty if first or last name and former reportedly former Navy)||Nurse|
|Victim Committed Suicide: Jacob Oakes|
|Lawsuit: Meridell was sued in 1980 for authorizing the unnecessary hysterectomy of a young girl in their program.|
|Article: Violations and Problems at UHS, Inc. Owned Facilities|
|According to the following report by survivor Victoria Cloud, Meridell Achievement Center is guilty of neglect, misdiagnosing patients/students, over-drugging and falsely drugging patients/students, and likely using the children in their care for human experimentation for the University of Texas. Here is her story. Victoria’s Story (If you would like to contact Victoria, e-mail her at email@example.com) I have a story about this place. In the fall of 1998, when I was fifteen, I was placed in the Westwood Behavioral Campus of Meridell Achievement Center. This residential treatment center is located outside Austin in a town called Liberty Hill, nestled in a wooded area which is very pleasing to look upon. I was released in January of 1999, but in the summer I was placed at the Windridge Neurological Campus, which is in another town near Liberty Hill. Meridell, as an institution, had its good points. We had structured activities (indoor and out depending on the child's stability) and therapeutic group sessions, which were monitored by caring staff. Once I took a pencil and carved into my arm with it, and I was put on suicide watch for that. That may have prevented something catastrophic. We were encouraged to be expressive and honest with each other and with the staff, and I have memories of growing close to several of the girls I stayed with. My counselor seemed like a very kind, very genuine woman who was sincerely interested in my well-being for the most part. However, there were certain incidents, which, even six years later, trouble me. It seems like both campuses were very keen on using the boys and girls as guinea pigs for psychotropic medications, and I have since learned that it may have been a part of some program set up by the University of Texas at Austin. The predominant drug during my time was Tegretol, and between October 1998-January 1999 a lot of us girls were taking Risperdal. I specifically remembered a time when both myself and my roommate were lactating as a side effect of that drug. I witnessed one boy at the Windridge campus who reported seeing double as a result of taking Tegretol. Later, another boy on Tegretol collapsed twice while playing football outside in 90+ degree heat. The staff members who were monitoring him were aware that people taking Tegretol should never be exposed to excessive heat or sunlight. When I was on Prozac, I reported terrifying dreams to my counselor, and I felt that she dismissed it rather flippantly as a side effect, which would go away. It did not go away and it seemed like weeks before I had the opportunity to report this (or much of anything) to Dr. Riedel. All of the children on campus shared this psychiatrist. I am almost positive our parents were never notified about the kinds of medications we were taking, or the dosages. I am also quite sure that they weren't aware of much else, either, except the things, which came out during family sessions. Other things pop out in my memory as well. One boy, Curtis, was taken from the boy's unit at Meridell Westwood in an ambulance after overdosing on pills which he had somehow managed to acquire, and once after a tantrum I was left in the Windridge unit's Quiet Room almost overnight. The diagnoses I received seemed to have been impulsively decided at best. We'll go with Westwood Behavioral Campus first. You cannot diagnose a teenage girl with traits of Borderline Personality Disorder, which they did. They also decided the first week I was there that I had Schizoaffective disorder. Next on the list was Bipolar disorder. Those are not diagnoses you just throw around. These are major, debilitating problems which disable people's judgment for life. When you label a child with things like that you tell them that they have to fight a bloody war forever. The only thing which made remotely any sense at all was the diagnosis of AD/HD, which is totally obvious and we went in knowing I had that anyway! At Windridge, the seemingly more underfunded Neurological campus, I was subjected to something called a BEAM test. They said I was having small seizures in my brain which caused me to act out impulsively and they dismissed all the diagnoses I was given at the Westwood campus. I don't think my mother was aware of any of this. After I was released from Meridell, I learned that most of the things the children were subjected to were bogus practices. This does not invalidate what I learned in group and whatnot but it does cast a serious shadow over the practices of the staff and doctors. I hope my story helps you, and take care. Victoria Cloud Meridell Achievement Center Westwood Campus October 1998 to January 1999 Windridge Campus August 1999 to November 1999|
All segregated congregate care providers, including those on our watch-list, are welcome to contact us to correct any information or provide additional data that may assist with delivering the whole truth to the public. The HEAL Mission of COPE (HEAL) found in many cases where this offer has been abused or resulted in revealing additional basis for our concerns. For some examples see feedback. Now, we are willing to look at the facts and may have questions or require documentation backing up any claims. We do verify licensing, academic backgrounds, and other qualifications when investigating and researching programs on our watch-lis/enrolled in the Conversion Program to assist consumers seeking additional information on such programs or victims requiring assistance with getting corroborating evidence of their claims. We do that in order to make sure the information we provide is accurate and verified and cite our sources. In the event any information we've posted is in error, we're happy to make a correction.
HEAL does not support segregated congregate care for many reasons which include that many such facilities are abusive, exploitative, fraudulent, and lack effective oversight often as a result of fraudulent misrepresentation coupled with the ignorance of those seeking to enroll loved ones in such facilities, programs, schools, or centers without a valid court order and involuntarily. In the United States such involuntary placements done without a court order are apparently illegal as they either violate the Americans with Disabilities Act community integration requirement or due process rights of those involuntarily placed. Now, in regards to parents, in the United States parents have the right to waive their own rights, but, not the rights of their minor children. See https://www.cope.church/legalarguments.htm for more information. Now, most facilities on our watch list include waivers, indemnity clauses, and sworn statements legal guardians must sign assuring the program that the parents/legal guardians have the right to make the placement involuntarily and without due process in a segregated congregate care environment, however, California and federal prosecutors as well as settled law appears to suggest that is not the case. In fact, in the David Taylor case found at https://www.cope.church/provocases.htm , Taylor sued Provo Canyon School and his mother as co-defendants. His mother was found liable for 75% of the damages awarded to Taylor as a result of multiple complaints including false imprisonment, while the program was found only 25% liable because the mother owed a duty of due diligence to investigate anyone to which she would entrust care of her child and she failed to do so.
Now, HEAL opposes segregated congregate care and we find most placements are happening illegally in the USA which if the youth understood their rights would result in unfortunate outcomes for the parents, particularly when they don't exercise good judgment and support the fraud and abuse rather than their own children when they need remedy and justice. And, HEAL supports all victims of fraud and abuse in seeking remedies at law for any crimes or torts committed against them. And, that's true whether or not the program or victims are in the USA.
HEAL has a 5 point argument against segregated congregate care we'd like you to consider:
a. Segregated care is unconstitutional and a civil rights violation. It is only permissible if a person is unable to survive independent of an institutional environment. For more on this, watch the HEAL Report at https://youtu.be/C4NzhZc4P0A. Or, see: http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/ which includes in part: "United States v. Florida – 1:12-cv-60460 – (S.D. Fla.) – On April 7, 2016, the United States filed an Opposition to the State of Florida’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. In the Motion, the State had asked the Court to rule, on a variety of grounds, that the United States could not recover damages for unnecessarily institutionalized children to whom the State had been deliberately indifferent."
b. Institutionalization is always dehumanizing and coercive. Institutionalization always harms the institutionalized and deprives them of protected civil rights. Dr. David Straker, Psychiatry Professor at Columbia University's School of Medicine (Ivy League) explains this in detail at http://changingminds.org/disciplines/sociology/articles/institutionalization.htm. "Many institutions, from prisons to monasteries to asylums, deliberately want to control and manage their inmates such that they conform and do not cause problems. Even in less harsh environments, many of the institutionalization methods may be found, albeit in more moderated form (although the psychological effect can be equally devastating)." (See website linked in this paragraph for more info.)
c. Institutionalization is not in the best interest of children. Institutions are not ever better for a child than living with a loving family. Source: http://www.unicef.org/cambodia/12681_23295.html
d. Reform schools, residential treatment programs, and other segregated congregate care settings have been shown to be ineffective and harmful. Best source on this currently is: https://www.acgov.org/probation/documents/EndoftheReformSchoolbyVinny.doc
e. Boarding Schools, even the "good ones", result in a form of social death, isolation, and cause both anxiety and depression. Therefore, it is clearly not in the best interest of the youth subjected to those environments. Sources: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jun/08/boarding-school-syndrome-joy-schaverien-review and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/secondaryeducation/11662001/The-truth-about-boarding-school-syndrome.html
Beyond the above arguments against segregated congregate care, we have reports from the NIH, Surgeon General, Yale University Studies, and much more showing the methodologies of behavior modification are damaging, harmful, and ineffective. You can request these documents via e-mail. In addition, for such programs offering academic services or claiming to offer diplomas, certifications, or the like, it is important to check to see if it is a diploma mill with no accredited academic services. Please see article: "Avoiding Scams: What You Need To Know" for important information on how to avoid education/training scams.
If you'd like to see what HEAL suggests rather than segregated congregate care (i.e. committing a crime or tort against your child if done against their will without a court order), please see articles: "Fix Your Family, Help Your Teen" and "Emancipation Guide".
REPORTING GUIDE FOR VICTIMS, SURVIVORS, AND WHISTLEBLOWERS:
In Texas, the statute of limitations does not apply to crimes against children that include sex offenses and human trafficking. There is no statutes of limitation on murder in Texas. Other felonies have statutes of limitation ranging from three years to 10 years. Most misdemeanors in the state have a 2-year time limit. For civil suits in Texas, the statute of limitations is 2 years depending on cause of action.
Options for you to take action and/or seek redress/justice today are listed below:
1. Report crimes such as assault, fraud, battery, labor trafficking, and child abuse to law enforcement in Texas. You can call the Liberty Hill, TX Police at (512) 515-5409 to inquire about filing an official complaint which may provide the probable cause needed to get a warrant for investigation and/or prosecution.
2. File a consumer complaint with your home state's attorney general against Meridell Achievement Center and include your request for compensation for any harm done to you. If you live in Texas and/or would like to file consumer complaint as a non-resident with the Attorney General of Texas, visit: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/consumer-protection/file-consumer-complaint .
3. If you do not wish to file a consumer complaint, you can contact a private personal injury attorney and look into suing in tort/civil court. However, if you can't afford the retainer, you should expect to settle out of court with a non-disclosure agreement which may bar you from speaking publicly about the incident because you've agreed (even if with a grumbling assent) to the terms of the settlement.
4. You may send a new e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject "Post My Feedback" and we will post your feedback (e-mail printed to .pdf disclosing your name and e-mail address and any information in your e-mail with that subject) to https://www.cope.church/feedback.htm and add a direct link to those .pdf files to this page .
5. You may also wish to provide a guest sermon. Guest sermons are posted at https://www.cope.church/sermons.htm , under Progress Reports/Guest Sermons at https://www.cope.church/conversion.htm where appropriate, and on program info pages when applicable. So, one provided by you on your program would also be placed on this page . Guest sermons should be written into the body of an e-mail and sent to email@example.com . Your first and last name will be disclosed (contact info will not be unless you expressly request disclosure). For sermons available on our site see https://www.cope.church/sermons.htm (and sermon archives linked on that page). If you have questions about this option, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please see https://www.cope.church/givetoday.pdf to get an idea what your sermon may be worth.
|February 16th, 2022: COPE Conversion Program Progress Report on Meridell Achievement Center.|
<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>
<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]> Last Updated:
Last Updated:February 28th, 2023
Return to https://www.cope.church/conversion.htm