Release The Boys In Your Care
Release The Boys In Your Care
Hey there! My name is David and I am the creator of this petition. I want to thank you for checking it out, and I also want to shed some light on its purpose in case you're wondering what it's about. The whole story is a very long one, however I have done my best to condense it and include only the most relevant parts below. If you're interested in signing, please read the paragraphs below in full to get a complete understanding of why this petition matters to me and what your signature will go toward. If you would like to skip straight to the point of the petition, scroll down to below the dashed line or the bold paragraphs at the end.
To begin, I will provide you with some basic background information about myself. My name is David and I am a 17-year-old male from the Seattle area of Washington State. I identify as being gay and I have a boyfriend who I have been in a relationship with for 9 months now. At the beginning of this year, I lived with my mother and step-dad in their home, however they are Baptist Christians and believe that homosexuality is a choice and a sin whereas I believe it is natural and not wrong. We disagree strongly on the subject which inevitably provoked countless arguments between myself and my mother.
I "came out of the closet" to my mother in January 2013 shortly after I got together with my boyfriend. She immediately responded by telling me that if homosexuality was the lifestyle I chose to pursue that I would need to find somewhere else to live. Shortly afterwards, she apologized and told me she didn't mean it, however she began lecturing me regularly about how God doesn't approve of homosexuals and that we are an abomination to him. She had her Christian mother, the pastors from her church, and even a complete stranger that we didn't know come over to our house and tell me how I need to repent and turn my life back to God.
I lost my patience with my mother very quickly and began leaving the house at every chance I got, without her permission, to go see my boyfriend. Coming out was hard enough to do, and no one seemed to understand that since I had to feel comfortable doing it yet I didn't. The guilt trips I received for being honest about who I am was too much to bear so I walked away from them for peace of mind. My boyfriend and his family seemed to be the only ones who cared and understood, and I sought refuge in them whenever I could. They very generously took me in every time I showed up at their home and comforted me, showing me the loving supportive atmosphere that my mom and step-dad did not.
My constant travel between home and school took away my time to do schoolwork, and eventually my grades began dropping, yet I didn't care. I just wanted to get out of my house, and school became a place to be away from home even if it came with discipline and disappointment. My grades fell from a 3.86 to a 1.72 GPA because I only put a minimal effort into completing assignments. I ended the school year failing the second semester of three classes.
I ended up having to take an online summer school course during the first month of summer break while my boyfriend went across the state to visit his mom. I managed to complete the summer schooling a whole week early, and I received permission from my mom to go visit my boyfriend after asking. She wasn't thrilled about it but allowed me to go anyway, helping me to open a bank account to pay for a Greyhound bus ticket online. While I was gone with my boyfriend (in mid-July), I received a phone call from my dad letting me know that my step-dad had kicked me out of his house and moved all of my belongings to my dad's place. When I returned home, I moved in with him at his house.
I lived with him through August 24, which was the day that my mom showed up to bring me back home. She told me she'd talked to my step-dad who said that I could move back in with them since school would be starting 5 days later. My mom filled her van with me and all of my belongings and we set off toward home. We left at 1:45 pm, and at 4:30 am the following morning, I found myself laying down in a sleeping bag scared, confused, and alone in Montana. If you're suddenly lost, stick with me and I'll explain.
My mom telling me that I'd be returning home was all part of a kidnapping scheme which she would use to take me to a youth ranch in Montana and abandon me. She took me to the tiny remote town of Trout Creek, Montana where Joe Frields, the owner of the Mountain Meadow Youth Ranch showed up and introduced himself to me for the first time.
The Mountain Meadow Youth ranch is a rehabilitation facility in Trout Creek, Montana which, according to their website challenges "students and their families to address difficult emotional issues and behavioral problems while utilizing the 12 Step model to address teen substance abuse." Joe me himself that his program caters primarily to boys struggling with drug problems. I was confused by this because I have never used any drugs or drank an alcoholic beverage ever in my life. I did not understand why I was at this ranch if the substance abuse issue did not apply to me. I was upset and wanted to leave.
Anyway, early on the morning of Sunday, August 25, 2013, my mom pulled into the Lakeside Motel in Trout Creek. We had just come nearly 60 miles down Highway 200 east into Montana from Sandpoint, Idaho. It was supposed to be a 55 minute drive, however it ended up taking more than an hour and a half because of severe lightning and rain and my mom was driving cautiously. I was having anxiety attacks all the way down this dark and unfamiliar country road, yet my mom insisted on carrying on. When we arrived at the motel, I jumped out of the van and plugged it into an electrical outlet on the motel. They had free WiFi which I connected to and immediately sent messages to my dad, boyfriend, and best friend telling them where I was and asking for help.
My dad warned me earlier not to let my mom take me into Montana, but it was a message I didn't receive until we'd already arrived. He told me that my mom was planning on taking me to a Christian camp and leaving me there which angered and scared me. He, my boyfriend, and best friend all called the police but there was nothing that could be done in Washington since I was in Montana. Within 15 minutes, Joe showed up and came over to me, introducing himself coldly and demanding me to unplug my laptop and threatening to take it away from me. He told me to get in his car so he could take me somewhere we could talk.
I didn't know him and certainly didn't trust him, and I let him know that I refused to go anywhere with him. I packed my computer and began desperately screaming that I was being kidnapped and needed help. Before long, I sat back down next to the outlet and plugged my computer back in, even with Joe telling me not to.
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After plugging my computer in, Joe forcefully ripped the cord out of my hand, the wall, and my laptop. He broke both hinges in the screen and exposed the wire on the charger, fraying it and damaging the cord to the point of being unusable. I immediately got up and ran at him to grab it back, which he responded to by punching me in the face and putting me into a choke hold under his left arm. I tried hitting his head but quickly gave up after he tightened his grip. He took my charger and threw it violently into his car, coming back at me for my computer. I ran screaming some more to a nearby bar for help.
In the end, I was forced to go to Joe's ranch by the local police and was held there over night. My mom showed up later in the day to fill out paperwork and sign me officially over to Joe, making him my legal guardian. She went home afterwards, leaving me there for 19 days. I would have been there for 6 1/2 months until my 18th birthday in March, however my dad fought my mom for custody over me while I was gone and won temporary sole guardianship. He and my grandparents showed up on the ranch to retrieve me on the morning of September 11. I was back home at their house that evening, the same home I'd been taken from 20 days earlier.
Before leaving that morning, I asked Marshall (one of the boys on the ranch) if there was anything I could do for him once I got home. He requested that I get in touch with his dad letting him know that he's okay and that he is ready to come home. Communication between the boys and their families is almost completely restricted other than a closely read weekly letter that they can send from the ranch, so I was happy to help Marshall out. He wrote a short message as well as his dad's cell phone number so I could text it to him once I returned. Unfortunately, when the ranch staff were going through my belongings to make sure I wouldn't steal anything, they ripped my journal entries out of my notebook so someone else could write on the many unused pages in it. They were supposed to put my journal entries with my belongings, but for some reason never did. Marshall's note to his dad was among those journal entries and it never made it back to Seattle with me.
This petition is dedicated to the 9 boys who were entrusted in Joe's care at the time I was there. Their names are Marshall, Nick, Zac, Parker, Caleb, Denton, Quinn, Eric, and Kyle. They all struggled with substance abuse at one time but have come a very long way since their drug days. Most of them have been there over a year and still have a year or more to go. Quinn is 12 years old and is going to be there until he's 18, according to a decision made by Joe. Upon returning home, I found out just why Joe would keep a boy away from his parents for 6 years with no remorse. For every boy Joe has on his ranch, he receives a $3,200 per month fee from the parents. In the month of August alone, he made $32,000 on the 10 of us being there. I believe that Joe has no problem holding boys on his ranch simply as money makers and could care less about helping them. He has them doing vigorous physical labor daily too, which helps him get a lot of work done around his ranch.
Joe is helping himself more than he is the parents and their sons, and in my opinion that is completely immoral and wrong. He uses a twisted form of child labor on his ranch and hides it every time a parent comes by to visit their son. Please help me send these innocent and brainwashed boys back home to their families so that they know the truth behind them being there so long. I happened to get lucky and leave very early, but I know most (if not all) of them are still there when they should be able to leave too. After Joe punched me and put me in a headlock, I feel he is a dangerous man and should not be working with teens but instead should be behind bars alongside all of his staff (which are his immediate family members). If you support youth rights and would like to see these 9 (or more) young men sent home, please sign my petition. I would really appreciate it, and I know they would too. Thank you so much in advance!
NOTE: The Mountain Meadow Youth Ranch can be viewed at http://www.meadowyouthranch.com/. I don't mind if you share this petition with Joe. If you would like more of the truthful information on this ranch, feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Thank you!
Marshall is the boy in my petition picture on the left side. While he may be smiling, it's only because he is enjoying being at Judo. After meeting him and talking with him, I know he is far from happy and would appreciate knowing that you care about getting him home.