FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sexual Assaults at Diamond Ranch Academy A lawsuit filed today seeks to uncover why a Diamond Ranch Academy therapist repeatedly sexually assaulted teenage girls inside his office
WHAT: Press conference where teenage survivor of sexual assault, her mother and their attorneys will discuss the lawsuit against Diamond Ranch Academy. Laura Wilkin and her daughter Hannah, who reside in Arkansas, will discuss the sexual assaults, betrayal of trust and broken promises.
WHO: Laura Wilkin, her daughter, Hannah Wilkin, and Attorneys Craig Vernon and Wes Larsen (Utah State Bar No. 14572)
WHEN: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 11:00 am Mountain Time
WHERE: Courtyard by Marriott 185 S. 1470 East, St. George, Utah 84790
(July 25, 2017 – St. George, Utah) A lawsuit was filed this afternoon against Diamond Ranch Academy (“DRA”), a therapeutic boarding school and treatment center for troubled teenagers in Hurricane, Utah, by a victim of child sexual abuse and her parents, seeking answers to why these sexual assaults happened. Why was a DRA therapist allowed to cover the windows of his office while he sexually assaulted teenage girls? Was this allowed at DRA? If not, why didn’t anyone at DRA do something when they saw the windows covered during these so called “therapy sessions”? And why didn’t DRA report the abuse to the local authorities after the girls reported it to DRA management?
The lawsuit was filed by Laura and Timothy Wilkin, residents of Arkansas, on behalf of their minor daughter, Hannah. According to the lawsuit, the DRA therapist sexually groomed, molested and assaulted Hannah Wilkin starting in April of 2016 until May of 2016.
The DRA therapist, Troy Ammon Carter, used his position of power and authority to prey upon the young girl. According to the lawsuit, Carter disparaged Hannah’s relationship with her parents in order to win her trust; disclosed confidential information to Hannah about her parents; made inappropriate comments to Hannah regarding her apparel and physical appearance; asked Hannah for details about her sex life and the sexual activities she was interested in; disclosed details of his own sex life to Hannah; told Hannah about inappropriate dreams he had about her, and that he had a crush on her; and straddled Hannah from behind while she laid on a couch in his office, unhooked her bra, and massaged her back, upper buttocks, and upper pelvic area skin-on-skin. Carter also allegedly pretended to have a chiropractic license and performed chiropractic adjustments on the minor Hannah.
According to the lawsuit, Carter was terminated by DRA in May of 2016 for inappropriate physical contact with a different girl who was also his therapy patient, and Hannah Wilkin came forward about her own abuse shortly thereafter. The Wilkins’ lawsuit further alleges that prior to Carter’s abuse of these teenage girls, Carter signed a document at DRA’s request agreeing to not have physical contact with the teenagers in DRA’s care; furthermore, Carter had been reprimanded for inappropriate physical contact with several teenage boys in the school’s cafeteria.
Attorney Craig Vernon expressed frustration at what he termed DRA’s “turning a blind eye to the obvious warning signs” that Carter exhibited prior to abusing Hannah and the other unnamed girl. “DRA had already reprimanded Carter for inappropriately touching students, but did nothing to protect these vulnerable girls, who were isolated and far away from their families.”
Attorney Wes Larsen notes, “If DRA really cared about its students’ safety, it would have terminated Carter, put him on leave, or at least supervised him after the cafeteria incident. But for whatever reason, DRA chose to do nothing. DRA put other interests ahead of protecting the already-vulnerable kids within its care.”
Attorney Vernon comments that “not only did DRA not terminate Carter following inappropriate conduct, it allowed him to put paper over the windows of his office where he sexually assaulted Hannah and the other girl during these so-called counseling sessions. DRA literally allowed Carter to cover up the sexual assaults while they happened.”
According to Timothy Wilkin, “Our family was under significant stress when we enrolled Hannah at DRA. We, and our daughter, turned to DRA for help based on the services they offered, their location, facilities and the claims made in their professional marketing materials. DRA completely violated our trust and turned this into our worst nightmare.”
Hannah Wilkin expressed concern that other children had been or could be abused by Carter and predators like him who work at therapeutic boarding schools like DRA: “I just don’t want what happened to me to happen to other kids. We enroll at DRA to get help with the problems life throws at us, not to get molested by the counselor DRA assigns to us.”