This is the History of and Reporting Guide for The Pinnacle Schools in Huntsville, AL

(a.k.a. Elk River RTC) 

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





Additional Information
Karen Lee Founder/CEO/President So "good" with kids she couldn't handle her own and placed her son in a wilderness program.
Aaron Shaw LMFT  
Charles Lee Anesthesiologist Bit of a gun enthusiast.
Mark Petroff Director Degrees in business.  No expertise in adolescent mental health.
Kimberly Cox Director/Nurse  
Gagan Dhaliwal Psychiatrist  
Wayne Wilson Psychologist Also acts as behavior modification consultant.
Mason Robertson Wilderness Physician Also, an anesthesiologist.
Bonnie Robertson Medical Staff Director  
Rusty Russell Operations  
Zachary Turner Family Services Liaison Currently at Pinnacle location and reportedly no longer at Elk River location.
Paul Bakke Counselor  
Martez Rogers Clinician  
Bo Wolfe Senior Group Leader/Facility Mgr  
Matt McFerrin Senior Group Leader  
Phil Dean Pharmacist Civil war enthusiast.
Travis Badger Group Leader "Master of Theology"
Bradley Kirby Nurse  
Kim Lowery Nurse Volunteers with "Teens Path to Success Foundation"
Laura Watson Dietician  
Amy Goodson Shaw Academics Director  
Norman Sharp Academic Admin. Elk River Campus.  NASCAR enthusiast.
Bobbi Bell English Teacher  
Amanda Burden Math Teacher  
Andrea Clayton Science Teacher  
Aisha Fields Instructor  
Duane Hellebrand Human Resources Dir.  
Ann Corley Marketing Department  
Selina Mason Public Relations  
Nan Futch Office Manager  
Nancy Mount Billing/Accounting  
Brian Gross Therapist  
Jane Baker Supervisor/Director?  
Penny Bakker (Bakke) Supervisor/Director?  
Paul Conley Teacher  
Bernard (Last?) Staff Reportedly no longer works for the program.

In Alabama, the criminal statutes of limitation are 1 year on misdemeanors, 5 years on most felonies, and no statute of limitations on more serious felonies including rape of a minor under age 16 at time of crime and murder.  For civil suits in Alabama, the statute of limitations is 2 years.  Here are your options:
1.  Report crimes such as fraud, assault, battery, labor trafficking, and child abuse to law enforcement in Alabama.  You can call the Huntsville police at (256)427-7009 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 The Pinnacle Schools and include your request for compensation for any harm done to you.  If your home state is Alabama or you'd like to file with the Alabama State Attorney General as a non-resident, here is that link:  
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 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  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 , under Progress Reports/Guest Sermons at 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 . 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  (and sermon archives linked on that page).  If you have questions about this option, please contact Please see  to get an idea what your sermon may be worth.


Teen claims security officer beat him at Pinnacle Schools

Posted: Oct 17, 2012 5:22 PM PDT Updated: Oct 17, 2012 5:22 PM PDT
The victim's family filed a police report with Huntsville Police last week.
The victim's family filed a police report with Huntsville Police last week.
The alleged incident happened at The Pinnacle Schools.
The alleged incident happened at The Pinnacle Schools.

A Huntsville teen claims a security officer beat him while he was at school last Wednesday.

Pinnacle Schools confirmed they have launched an investigation into the claims. The private alternative school has placed the security officer on paid leave as the school system looks into the allegation.

The victim's family filed a police report with Huntsville Police last week. Huntsville Police confirmed they're also investigating.

According to that report, the 13-year-old victim said he was talking during class when the security guard pulled him out for talking. He told police the security guard made him go into a plank position and whenever he rested the security guard hit him on sides with an open hand.

The victim's family said they took the teen to the hospital that night, and police took pictures of the victim's side.

"One, I want [the security officer] fired. Two, I want [the security officer] in jail," said the victim's grandfather, Harold Wesley.

The victim's family said the teen has transferred to another school since the alleged beating.

Pinnacle Schools released this statement late Wednesday afternoon:

"This incident arose when one of our staff discovered marks on a student.  Per our policy, we informed the parents, contacted DHR, and put a staff member on leave.  The Pinnacle Schools is presently investigating this matter."


Externla Link:
"Karen Lee and Charles Lee, the owners of these 2 facilities, cannot fix their own kids.   How could they fix yours?  Their 2 sons were arrested after a sting with 24 lbs of pot $37000 cash and arsenal of arms both out on $1million bond the youngest son went back to work at Elk River while he was out on bail according to his facebook page he was made a supervisor....the other son Charles was arrested 3 times for drugs and spent 1 year in jail the last time being released in

LEE, CHARLES IVY   (W/ MALE / DOB: 7/20/1987 )
Status: Released
Booking No: MCSO00JBN169258 MniNo: MCSO00MNI058191
Booking Date: 12/13/2008 01:24:03 Released: 12/13/2008 7:24:20 AM
Age On Booking Date: 21
Bond Amount: $0.00
CELL Assigned:

LEE, CHARLES IVY   (W/ MALE / DOB: 7/20/1987 )
Status: Released
Booking No: MCSO11JBN014270 MniNo: MCSO00MNI058191
Booking Date: 12/09/2011 15:00:19 Released: 12/13/2011 6:40:00 PM
Age On Booking Date: 24
Bond Amount: $25000.00
CELL Assigned:

LEE, CHARLES IVY   (W/ MALE / DOB: 7/20/1987 )
Status: Released
Booking No: MCSO13JBN001160 MniNo: MCSO00MNI058191
Booking Date: 01/30/2013 09:51:51 Released: 1/25/2014 12:01:00 AM
Age On Booking Date: 26
Bond Amount: $0.00
CELL Assigned:

LEE, ERIC EDWARD   (W/ MALE / DOB: 7/30/1988 )
Status: Released
Booking No: MCSO11JBN014271 MniNo: MCSO11MNI002388
Booking Date: 12/09/2011 15:05:42 Released: 12/13/2011 1:50:00 PM
Age On Booking Date: 23
Bond Amount: $25000.00
CELL Assigned:

[+] 13A-12-231 000-0000 (STAC) DRUG TRAFFICKING F $25000.00 

Source: E-mail Message received by HEAL on April 5th, 2016

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 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 , 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  Or, see:  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  "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:       

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:

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: and

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".


 Last Updated: February 28th, 2023

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