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Oct-23-2007 05:10printcomments

California Youth Claims Abuse in Montana Treatment Center

A 14-year old child reports being secluded and restrained in his own blood at Montana Residential Treatment Center, but they won't give his parents or attorneys access.

Child restraints calls the use of restraints on children a heart-wrenching tragedy, regularly repeated under psychiatric childcare, in spite of the best government efforts to prevent it. They say it can reflect the viciousness of individual psychiatrists.
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(BILLINGS, Mt.) - Jeremy Ellis, a 14 year old Laguna Beach special education student who is currently placed at Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch, a therapeutic treatment center located in Billings, Montana, claims the facility abused him.

In a letter to his attorney, Leejanice Toback, Jeremy described how doors were slammed into his face and he has been put in seclusion or restraints, lying in a puddle of his own blood.

In the letter, Jeremy described how a staff member slammed doors in his face twice, causing his face to bleed and how he has regularly been put in seclusion and/or restraints for over one hour, denied medical attention and given nothing to stop the bleeding. In addition Jeremy reports how he has been punched and kicked by a particular male staff member. He has told his mother that his therapist regularly refers to him and other children as "morons."

Jeremy was referred to Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch by Orange County Mental Health Services. Jeremy's attorney, Leejanice Toback, originally requested a placement at Villa Santa Maria in New Mexico, but Orange County Mental Health Services refused, stating that the facility was not on their agency's approved list.

After receiving Jeremy's letter, Ms. Toback phoned Yellowstone's C.E.O. Glenn McFarlane. He is alleged to have refused Ms. Toback's demand to report the incident to the Montana Child Protective Services Agency. Mr. McFarlane told Ms. Toback that Yellowstone would do its own investigation.

Ms. Tobak says McFarlane stated that, "if we reported all these complaints, we would spend all our time reporting incidents to Child Protective Services." Dave Schwarm, the Quality Improvement Specialist from Yellowstone confirmed to Ms. Toback she says, that in the last month there were at least three child abuse allegations made. She says he stated that according to his records, Jeremy is self abusing. When asked about evidence to support that claim, he hung up.

Written requests to the facility to cease abuse of the child have gone unheeded, attorneys and family members say. As of October 8th, Yellowstone reported to Jeremy's mother that he was again put in restraints, this time for touching his nose.

Jeremy's parents and his attorney are trying to relocate him to a safe and secure treatment center, but they have been unsuccessful due to the records generated by Yellowstone painting Jeremy as uncontrollable and self injurious and the lack of cooperation by Orange County Heath Care Agency, who are insisting that Jeremy be transferred to a particular approved facility which has ten locked seclusion rooms for their one hundred twelve residents.

"Parents place their special education children in these facilities for the purpose of treatment and structure, not so that they can be brutalized. We treat prisoners better than this", Ms. Toback stated.

"The full color brochures and videos that these places prepare don't have pictures of kids secluded in stark rooms with no pictures, toys, books or music or restrained by adults three times their size."

A recent Cornell University study found that over a ten year period there were forty-five deaths of children and adolescents in residential facilities due to the use of restraints.

Jeremy's family is considering all options, including legal actionagainst Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch.

Source: Wire report

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Eric September 16, 2016 2:36 pm (Pacific time)

I was sexually molested by another boy at this facility repeatedly this place is just a prison that pushes Christ down your throat luckily I was able to escape in 1981.

D October 7, 2015 8:23 pm (Pacific time)

I was a "resident there back in 94/95 for 9 months. I bucked the system all the time,they had me on lithium paxil benadryl and if you acted up you would get tackled shot in the ass with thorazine then put in mechanicals "strapped to a bed". Pic lodge was the worst for this

Why do YOU not take this DOWN??? March 28, 2012 11:00 am (Pacific time)

I do NOT get it... Why if this happened in 2007 If it NOT true then why is it still up NOW in 2012?

DJ: It's called an archive. Before the internet, newspapers kept back issues in what was called the morgue so journalists and members of the public could look stories goin back to the first issue. The New York Times, for example, has stories available on computer archive going back to 1851.

SSS July 17, 2010 8:02 pm (Pacific time)

Please ignore the psycho defenses of this place. I spent two years there when I was a kid and it was HORRIFIC. I am now a journalist with multiple degrees, and I am here to say that YBGR is most definitely an abusive place. They obviously have staff defensively posting in the comments on this story. I know this is an old story, but please keep digging the dirt on this place. Too many kids have lost their lives there. Thanks for sticking to your journalistic principles, and I would love to see more reporting on Yellowstone BandG Ranch.

Johnny Doe May 28, 2010 10:19 am (Pacific time)

I am a 23 year old male from Los Angeles California and I really wish there was an update to this story. I was placed at yellowstone in 2002 by the Ventura Co. Juvenile court and my own father. I was determined to get out so I worked my program and was discharged in a RECORD 63 days, but I will never forget the emotional and physical torment that I witnessed some of my peers and friends go through there. A girl named Kendra hung herself in brekkaflat lodge shortly before I arrived. If you slip up a litte bit, for instance glorify anything like drugs or crime, which basically means mentioning them, the staff will pray on you. You are required to attend CHRISTIAN, non multi-faith, church services every sunday or you will face discipline. The restraint and seclusion rooms are 100% real, I have seen them with my own eyes. They even have a couple in the school. I was too scared to challenge this system at 15 so I did rather well, but if one of my peers did to the slightest degree they suffered inhumane treatment. I have been through the county jail system now and the deputies in there don't trouble me nearly as much as MOST of the yellowstone staff. I still have nightmares about this place and its almost been ten years and it's not like my life is even on the right track now lol. I cry for children stuck in this place, literally. I Love you and miss you Jon K., Sean M., Rusty, Kodiak Q., Tristen, Chris K., Jeff, Brett M., and Lori B. and any others I might have missed. You are my brothers and sisters and I prey that today you're happy and free and your lives are much better then when we knew each other.

Mother of 2 December 3, 2009 3:29 am (Pacific time)

Hello That boy I really doubt was lieing..I was in that treament center when I was a teenager and they do put you in a room for long periods of times..A staff member actully got away with sexully abusing me and 2 other Females placed in that treatment center..So Do not get me wrong there was like a couple of good people there that i really do care for but there system is so messed up it some of it against the law but when you are 15 and damged what are you going to do at that age act out..and when you are 15 and in treatment no one is going to belive you..But I belive that boy..A girl actully commited sucide there in her bathroom and with a sheet..That is how bad it is there..

Christy May 11, 2008 5:44 pm (Pacific time)

i went to yellowstone school last year. i have to say that no kid deserves to be treated the way the staff at yellowstone does. they once threatened to restrain me for stepping over a line. they lock chilren in a little cell and dont allow them to use the bathroom or anything.i think all of u should get your head out of your ass and look at reality.yellowstone has had 6 suicides over the past 10 years. a number of the teachers at yellowstone are racist as well. i was called white girl repeatedly and none of the staff would listen when i told them there were people after me.the next day i was jumped by three girls and the staff did nothing to stop it. i was restrained.along with that the staff treats kids like dirt. if any of you are thinking of putting your child in there, think twice.

just me December 24, 2007 6:40 am (Pacific time)

So incase you have not heard, YBGR was cleared. So nice story and good effort. However, this little liar did not win!!!

Hey Administrator... December 18, 2007 8:19 am (Pacific time)

Check this out... someone has beat you to the punch in regards to your journalistic integrity... they've done the follow-up for you.. So much for the guilty verdict you were banking on... I am almost certain you (Salem News) won't post this story in your paper...

I am Sorry, but still sad November 18, 2007 7:20 am (Pacific time)

I wrote the previous comment under th ename "sad". You are right, I was a jerk and way out of line in my comments. However pissed I was, I do believe my points are valid, so in a calm and more PC way I will restate my comment. Rumor has it that YBGR is concidering paying off this kids family-- not as an admidmission of guilt, but rather to save money on court cost. The money is better spend on its kids and programs. However, if the ranch does settle, I believe they should kick this kid out. Once they do, no other treatment center in the country will take him as he and his family are now a huge legal liability. How will he recieve the help he needs? Studies show that people with mental health issues, especially untreated ones, have a much higher tendency to commit suicide, or to participate in dangerous acts such as drugs, alcholal, DUI, and in general have reduced thinking/reasoning abilities, therefore are more likely to put themselves in a variety of other risky and dangerous situations such as reckless driving or risky stunts. Regardless of how much the ranch pays this family, how is the family going to feel if he commits suicide or overdoses? I guaranty you, after some though and deliberation they will come to the conclusion that the ranch really was trying to help their kid, and by pressing charges against the ranch, they caused him to be removed from a place that would have helped him, therefore they would, indirectly be responsible for his death. O, by the way, did it ever cross your mind that in the chaos leading upto, and during his hold his nose may have been accidentaly hit, and then started bleeding? what is a staff person to do about a nose bleed when that nose is located right next to a mouth that is probably trying to bite them?

sad November 15, 2007 10:12 pm (Pacific time)

Rumor has it that the YBGR board of directors is considering paying this nut case kid, family and laywer because it will cost less to settle than to fight it and win in court. However, I hope that when YBGR settles, they kick the kid out, and then after a year or two without mental health care, he...


This is really sick people, this sick poster suggested it would be good if this ended in death for the young child. I am very glad we published this story, and the thing this idiot stated above doesn't mean that the hospital was abusive, it means it was guilty, you really should have finished high school. People who are innocent within a facility like that do not easily make payoffs, their credibility is... was on the line. Based in the nasty people who are so in support of it, looks like the whole region needs to be investigated by the FBI. Profanity is not allowed here, but you are a real piece of CRAP for suggesting what you did; do it again and I will turn your IP into the police you loser.

Waiting November 10, 2007 8:29 pm (Pacific time) how's that follow up coming along?

Competition November 3, 2007 3:25 pm (Pacific time)

Look out National Enquirer. You now have competition, from

Concerned Citizen October 31, 2007 10:18 pm (Pacific time)

If only we "had" the follow up story... Sorry, it takes papers that are funded by leftist extremists too long to get both sides of the story. Prove it... You have enough misleading falsities in your article to make me think that you might be a college professor, or wait... even better a politician. How about you get the facts straight before you start reporting there... otherwise, you might have one hell of a slander suit on your rear ends. Thank God for trial lawyers and their wonderful ways of exposing true liberal media.

interesting October 29, 2007 5:56 pm (Pacific time)

did you ever investigate the, where you got your lil tidbit of info? The call the church of scientology a reasonable answer to psychiatry.

WTF is up with this October 29, 2007 5:36 pm (Pacific time)

There is a reason that the lawyers come to you to publish what "mainstream" media won't. Its because your getting your information from LAWYERS!!!! In California no less! These stories are ludicris. Of course this story tells of a horrid, no caring facility like YBGR, he's the lawyers of the emotionally disturbed youth! Those employee's are hard working, caring, and humble people who are placed in a state of danger every day to potentially help these youth. And they get paid on average $10 an hour. Believe me, i know. I guarantee when you do your "follow up" story, you will find the exact opposite of what you and the lawyer wrote about the place. And then you and the lawyer, will owe this amazing facility a great apology. Oh but wait, you won't do that, because you guys have done nothing wrong, other than prevent other children from a fantastic, safe, and caring facility.

One-sided story October 27, 2007 4:38 am (Pacific time)

Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch in Billings Montana has a professional staff that cares about kids. Children who are in residential care are seriously emotionally disturbed and are placed in that level of care because they are ill. Children who are placed at the Ranch are fortunate for the opportunity to be in a facility where people really do care about them and their needs. Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch is licensed and accredited. It has a school on campus with a small teacher to student ratio. Many kids would not graduate from high school if they did not have the opportunity to attend this school. Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch has a dedicated medical staff who care for the needs of kids 24 hours a day. All staff are trained and re-trained annually for many hours about procedures in helping youth to de-escalate their behaviors. The types of restraints that are shown in this photo are not at this facility. This story is very misleading. Physical holding (restraining) is done by trained staff and is a physical hold procedure as approved and developed by Cornell University. A child would only be held if they were self-harming or doing harm to others, for the safety of the child. If a child is ever in a hold-restraint procedure, a nurse checks the child after a procedure to make sure they are okay emotionally and physically. All procedures are documented and are reported to the proper agencies. The legal guardian/parent can remove their child at any time. If this attorney and parents truly believed these allegations – they would not allow this boy to stay in the facility. People who work at Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch really do care about kids. The evidence is in the people who graduate from the program who are thankful and go on to live full and healthy lives. Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch has been helping kids in need for over 50 years.

Kay Miller October 26, 2007 3:07 pm (Pacific time)

This is true-my friends granddaughter just got beat up-twice -ha pictures-they had to take her out -this plac eis bad i'm here in montana wish I could find the mom or attorney-they need to sue and stop it-also drugs available bags of them students pass-head of school refused to listen-

Common Sense October 25, 2007 8:43 pm (Pacific time)

Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch is a mental health facility. Wouldn't it stand to reason, then, that the boy is mentally ill? I'm sure he's extremely mad that he's there and wouldn't it stand to reason, then, that he would make up allegations to try and be removed from the facility? All stories have two sides to them. It's unfortunate how unabashedly one-sided this story was.

So Sad October 25, 2007 6:09 pm (Pacific time)

This article really saddens me. I've been blessed enough to have visited Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch and the fine people who work there. These people go to work everyday and work with sick, sick, kids who need our compassion, our love, and our understanding. The employees I witnessed offer that tenfold. These people are attacked by the children that they're taking care of, but yet they treat these kids with nothing but love and understanding. I know a fine, upstanding organization this is and I do hope that salem-news publishes the other side to this story.

WTF October 25, 2007 5:54 pm (Pacific time)

I doubt the only reason why he is out at the ranch because he is a special education student. Kids don't get placed in facilities like this just for learning disabilites. They get placed in places like this due to behavioral problems within the school system and at home. They have severe emotioal disturbances therefore requiring such intensive treatment. If this boy just has special educational needs why haven't the parents pulled him from this "abusive" placement? Perhaps the parents just don't want to bring him home because they themselves can't handle his emotional and behavioral difficulties. Have you ever consider that children that have emotional and behavioral difficulties are known to lie to make themselves look like the victims and to get their parents to take them home. If I was the parent and truly believe these incidents were occuring I would have pulled him when it first happened. The parents obviously know how severly sick their child or aren't that worried about abuse taking place. What the family is doing is creating unneccesary negative publicity for a place that is intended to help children. The employees at places like this don't get paid enough to deal with half the things they deal with, but they do because they want to help children. This article and lawyers like this make people not want to work in treatment facilities because of the personal liability. If the lawyer wants to make a name for herself maybe she should take a case on that has some truth to it, instead of ruining the image of a good facility and possibly ruining the lives of hundred of kids who depend on the ranch and staff working to help them through their difficult time.

In an attempt to clear some things u October 25, 2007 5:42 pm (Pacific time)

To be honest, I have never heard of Salem-news. And from an unbiased point of view (I don't have a dog in this fight) I had some questions, as this story is gaining alot of attention in my home of Billings, Montana. 1) Why is covering this story? From what I read on your website your coverage is based on Salem, Oregon and the surrounding area. The parents are in California, and the child and the treatment center are in Montana. Purely out of curiosity what is' connection? 2) I read your article, I saw your information from the childs lawyer, and his mother; and then it cuts to Cornell's study of all treatment centers. Is it common for a news agency to be so biased without some sort of proof? "Boots on the ground" if you will. No where in your article is there even a "Our requests for an interview with the boy and/or facility have gone unanswered." I only see "..she said this happened. ...the lawyer said this happened and that happened." but that's it. I absolutely understand why their claims and side of the story are an important part of your story, but should that really be the entire story? So she says they hung up on her, what happened when called? Are their previous complaints against this facility? Any other witnesses or victims of abuse there? I read your responce to Total Crock October 25's comment and it sounds down right threatening, so surely you have something strong and credible to go on? I am definitely curious about this story, but I'm equally curious about this website, something isn't adding up. Playing devil's advocate for a second, purely hypithetically speaking as I don't know the child and have never been a patient or employee of YBGR, from the information you have gone on in your story, is it possible for the child to be mad that he was punished for something, then says "oh I'm going to get you, I'm gonna tell my mom you hurt me!"? It is very important for this claims to be answered, child abuse is an exceptionally horrid subject; by all means dig as deep as you can, but please do some digging before trashing this potentially innocent treatment center.

Forgive me, but that person mentioning a HIPPA violation from a piece of information the family released did not help to create a friendly conversation. It is suggested here that another side of the story is not being told, so I don't see why anyone should object to a follow up story if that was what we chose to do. covers stories about abuse, and attorneys, particularly in the Los Angeles area, know they can count on us to publish things that some of the larger media sites do not.

I realize that the allegations are upsetting, but this family has a right to speak out publicly. covers Oregon, national and international news. We had a reporter in Afghanistan for two months last winter, and we have a part time writer permanently based in Asia. Our coverage has never been exclusively limited to Salem.

Hmmm October 25, 2007 5:40 pm (Pacific time)

This news paper is sooooo liberal. I dont care what advocacy groups tell you. These types of beds arent used at the Ranch. By you using this picture is painting a portrait of lies about the Ranch. THese types of beds cant be used in Montana and a child can only be put in Mechanical restraints if 2 physicians and an administrator is present in viewing distance. And im pretty sure the Ranch hasnt had to use these types of restraints (mechanical) in many years. And how many deaths has there been at the Ranch in there 50 year history??? ASk your "advocacy" groups that. In fact, research what good has been done there as well.

One who cares October 25, 2007 5:32 pm (Pacific time)

The reason California send these kids to Montana is because California thinks that putting there hands on these troubled youth is wrong yet all of there "caring" treatment doesnt work, so they send them to a hands on state like Montana. These kids hurt themselves to the point that they need an adult to restrain them to keep them safe. You see the stats above "A recent Cornell University study found that over a ten year period there were forty-five deaths of children and adolescents in residential facilities due to the use of restraints." Imagine how many kids will die from suicide because no adult would restrain them. HMMMM i wonder how may lawsuits there would be then. And if you think you can stop a severly troubled youth from killing themselves without physically restraining themselves, why dont you try it! Also, the law states that a child can only be secluded if they are a direct harm to others. Sounds like there is alot of manipulating on the childs and parents part. A pity. AH well...... as Neal Feldman said.

Anonymous October 25, 2007 1:02 pm (Pacific time)

I can easily believe that someone was restrained for touching their nose. Restraint isn't about treatment, it's about punishment, as in you didn't obey my directions.

Total Crock October 25, 2007 10:49 am (Pacific time)

Beds like the ones pictures in this article are not used at Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch. I think the posting of this picture with this article is ludicrous and implies to the reader that this kind of treatment is the norm at this facility. And for another thing, why is this article publishing the name of a minor child in this article? Talk about a HIPAA violation! I hope DPHHS is on it. As for the treatment, why has the child not been removed from the facility if it's so bad. Sounds like a lot of hogwash to me.

These comments are approved by living people. There are advocacy groups that say similar types of restraints are used, and there is no HIPAA violation, the family released the name. What you are going to do is inspire us to look into this facility more and publish more reports about the potentially horrible things that are going on there. At this point they are allegations from the family and attorneys. I think your defensive tone is a clear call for more coverage of the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch from Salem-News and other media groups.

TBS October 25, 2007 8:06 am (Pacific time)

I was a resident at the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch and those things never occured. They don't just restrain kids for touching their nose. Its probably a case where the child is inflicting self harm upon himself and is needed to be restrained to protect himself. The ranch is not this brutal place, like this lawyer is trying to make it out to be. Sounds like they are just trying to make money and I agree with the other comment, about naming your child. What kind of parents are you. Has the kid been removed from the ranch? If not, is the parents that concerned with the abuse happening. I would be taking my kid out of a situation like that if he was being abused. Perhaps the parents don't want to take him out because he is a child out of control. Don't believe what you read about the ranch. They provide excellent care for individuals. I was one of those individuals.

Just Me October 24, 2007 9:38 pm (Pacific time)

I have been to the yellowstone campus and seen how the kids are treated. There are no restraint beds like the pic at the top shows, and the only time "adults three times their size are restraining them is when it's for their own safety. I agree with "Careful what You reads"comment above. It also wouldn't surprise me if this family was just mad that their choice of facility wasn't on the list and their kid got put so far away from home.

total bs October 24, 2007 5:48 pm (Pacific time)

If my child was in a situation I even thought was abusive, let alone believed factually occuring enough to sue, I would do absolutely everything in the world to rescue my child immediately, up to and including driving from California to Montana to physically remove my child from the facility. I do not find their parents story credible for that fact alone. Unless they have had the child removed from their custody by court order they have every right to remove thier child. I would be on the doorstep of this facility phoning the police if I were not allowed access, not sueing for money first and trying to find another place for my child later. Total BS

Careful what you read October 24, 2007 10:01 am (Pacific time)

Notice the last line of the article..... and the fact that the lawyer, and parents, are unafraid of destroying the kid's confidentiality by using his name?..$$$$ Payday? If it's so abusive, why is he still there???

WTH? October 23, 2007 10:34 am (Pacific time)

I'd say it's time for an undercover posing as an employee. Expose the kid if he's lying and blow that place wide open if he's telling the truth. Restraining a kid for touching his nose is totally uncalled for especially a special needs child. What the hell are they thinking? Too many children die (one is too many) at the hands of these so called "approved" facilities and homes posing as caring foster parents. The agencies entrusted with the oversight of such places are too afraid of bad publicity and fear they will be shut down,and...there goes their job security.

Neal Feldman October 23, 2007 8:47 am (Pacific time)

So nice to see the 'treatment' kids receive at these 'approved facilities'. Restrained because he touched his nose? I think it is time for the staff of such places to get the treatment they so richly deserve preferably administered by their victims. Unfortunately this is unikely to occur. A pity. Ah well...

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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