Judge Dawn Amacker of the St. Tammany Parish of Louisiana, Family Court: SaveVictoria
Operation #SaveVictoria is an effort by a large group of survivors of institutionalized child abuse and concerned youth advocates to help a 16 (nearly 17) year old girl avoid up to 2 years of unjust and unlawful incarceration by a family court judge, Dawn Amacker of the 22nd Parish of Louisiana Family Court.
Victoria is not a criminal, she is not on drugs and has not been in any serious trouble. This was not a criminal case, but merely the outcome of a custodial dispute over the quality of Victoria's schooling. Her father, Dr. Farhad Aduli, a cardiologist in St. Tammany Parish, has been for many years estranged from this family and shows little to no interest in a relationship with his daughter. His strict culture causes him to disapprove of Victoria's normal teenage behavior, dress, and inter-racial friendships. Because of this, he petitioned the court to send Victoria away to a "troubled teen" program called Diamond Ranch Academy located in Hurricane, Utah that has been verified by survivor accounts as extremely abusive. Without adequate time to give careful consideration and research into this facility, a court order was written that Victoria was to go to Diamond Ranch Academy and her mother was to cooperate, and "encourage" her to go.
Through extensive online research Victoria's mother stumbled upon multiple allegations of abuse in Diamond Ranch Academy, including a case of repeated sexual abuse, horror stories about the program and a death of a 14 year old boy, caused by medical neglect. Both Victoria and her mother complied with the judges order to tour the facility and were mortified by what they saw and how they were treated by the program's staff and owners. Including a very sexualized remark by the same man who has been accused of sexual abuse by another teenage girl.
After reviewing the contract Victoria's mother was concerned that she would be required to sign away her parental rights, and reasonable access to her child. She was also concerned that the clause to allow DRA to "discipline" her daughter in any manner they saw fit might give them permission to abuse her. She was not comfortable with signing such a document that could very possibly put her child in danger. She was advised by both the DRA survivor community and her lawyer not to sign anything. She did try to file an appeal on the court order, but it was denied, and by that time she was just out of options, so she did the only thing she had the right to do, she refused to sign the DRA contract.
The day that Victoria was scheduled to be escorted to DRA, Victoria's mother got a phone call informing her that DRA was not going to accept Victoria without the consent of both parents, and would have likely denied her because of all the publicity surrounding the case. We all thought that this was a true victory and hoped that Victoria could then move on with her life and not have to worry about being kidnapped in the middle of the night… But we hoped too soon.
Because Victoria’s mother refused to sign the DRA contract, she is now currently being held in contempt of court. Her case is to be heard on September 11th, 2012 and the immediate threat is that she will not only go to jail for this but she will also lose sole custody to the father, and all rights to parental consent, contact and visitation. Despite the fact that she made every effort to comply with the order, when it came down to it, she simply was not willing to put her child in danger. We strongly believe she does not deserve to be punished for doing so. With all the survivors warning her about DRA, and having seen it for herself, she was only doing what any good parent would do to protect their child. The fact that a change of custody is even being considered in this case is unimaginably unfair. Victoria's mother is most certainly a competent guardian and this is simply a dirty move by the father's lawyer to alienate Victoria from the only real family she has ever known and give her father the authority to send Victoria to another program without her mother’s consent.
What is extremely puzzling here is that legally, a court cannot order someone to sign a contract; in fact, contract law states that any such document signed under duress would essentially be null & void if contested in court. However, this court room has not yet been willing to consider her reasonings, and because she made concerted efforts to save her daughter from harm, she is now in danger of losing her. What is once more confusing is that now, because the media is involved, anything anyone of our participants says does or publishes about this case can and will likely be used against Victoria's mother in court.
Although the contempt case has not yet been settled Victoria's father is still trying to send her to an ASPEN Education Group Program called Copper Canyon Academy. After careful investigation into this school and consideration of unbiased reports and survivor testimony, it can be concluded that Copper Canyon Academy could certainly be considered an abusive program. While the physical abuse is not as prevalent as is evident in Diamond Ranch Academy there is still a clear pattern of brainwashing and psychological abuse. The main issue usually expressed about these kinds of facilities is that they advertise themselves as therapeutic boarding schools when in reality the schooling is quite sub-par and the therapy is nothing close to therapeutic in nature. Quite simply it is nothing short of corporal punishment in a lock down facility where children are refused even basic human rights and denied access to child protective services. This breeds an unsafe and volatile environment, and without any oversight or regulations there is nothing to stop the staff from mistreating the children in the care. In our interviews with survivors of Copper Canyon Academy we have been advised that in cases where a child is neither on drugs or in any serious trouble, the program can quite easily do more harm than good. Please Visit CCASurvivors.com
#SaveVictoria, a large and ever growing group of survivors and concerned citizens is now BEGGING Judge Amacker to protect Victoria from harm and to give her mother a fair trial to explain her reasonings for not signing a predatory contract. Our fear for Victoria stems from our own experience in these programs, being abused, neglected and mistreated and we have no other motive than to keep Victoria safe from harm. Our intention as advocates is only to speak the truth, so that parents can make careful informed decisions for their children, and when we see people so easily mislead by the slick marketing of the troubled teen industry we only fight to combat these scammers from taking yet another victim. There has been so much information in this case that has not been able to reach the judge for consideration and we can only hope that with adequate consideration of the facts about these programs, Judge Amacker may be able to understand why Victoria's mother wouldn't put her child in harms way. It is our recommendation and respectful request that Judge Amacker consider all of the evidence, ethics and consequences before making such a potentially dangerous decision. Please let Victoria live the best days of her life a happy carefree teenager, let her go to the school that she likes and excels in, let her have the friends she loves, Let her and her mother live in peace without constantly worrying about court appearances and abusive programs and living in fear that their family is soon to be torn apart. Please, Judge Amacker, your mercy is truly her last and only hope. Please, Save Victoria!
Please sign the petition if you will stand behind Victoria
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UPDATE: Our chances of reaching Judge Dawn Amacker have long passed. It seems her mind was made up long before, and she was not willing to hear any form of defense for Victoria or her mother. The worst that could have happened here has. This is a prime example of judicial misconduct and abuse of power, and Victoria's mother has been threatened with more jail time if she attempts to speak out at all. I also suspect Judge Amacker may have an undisclosed connection with the troubled teen industry as well as a biased against Ms Dickerson and favor toward Dr Farhad Aduli because of his considerable wealth. It seems that Victoria was not the first kid she unjustly sentenced to Diamond Ranch Academy.
I can tell you that Victoria is now in the custody of her father who immediately sent her to another tough love program, Copper Canyon Academy. He didn't even bother to see her or say goodbye, instead of spending her last night home with her, he had her sent to a mental institution before she was escorted to CCA. I fear that Victoria may be in grave danger due to a recently sustained spinal injury and pinched nerve (from a car accident) and considering CCA's staple punishments are extraneous exercise and restraint, she could easily be re-injured, causing permanent spinal damage.
I also fear that until Judge Amacker's decision has been repealed Victoria will not be safe, even if we could get her out of Copper Canyon Academy her father, will just find another equally abusive program to send her to, or possibly send her out of the country to Iran where her mother would have no chance of ever seeing her again.
I hope, even tho this case has already ruined the lives of many, that those with similar experiences with this judge will speak out and show those who intend to misuse their power like this that this injustice will not go unheard.
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