Author Archives: Liam Scheff
Escape by Paul Morantz: A deep investigative look at the cults lying under the rug of the American experience, from Synanon and Charles E. Dederich (C.E.D.) to EST and everything in between, by the great investigator, Paul Morantz, who appears in my CEDU documentary. I have a bundle of footage of Paul on these topics that deserve to be featured in a larger documentary about these topics… if there are film-makers or writers working on projects covering the history of cults in American, you have to read and know the work of Paul Morantz. Read the rest of this entry
Two Stories recently submitted from CEDU/RMA Survivors:
I went to RMA in 1984 and graduated in 86. I was 16 at the time I went up there and had a decent idea what the program would be like from what my parents said. Although, who could possibly have imagined that a place like that existed. If you haven’t been in a place like that, you just can’t imagine it.
My parents took me to a high school placement counselor in Atlanta who told me she wasn’t sure she had found a place for me at that time. Then a month or so later, my parents said they were sending me to a wilderness school in Idaho where the counselors were really nice and they didn’t allow any violence between the students and they had group sessions where you could talk about your feelings. (Doesn’t that just sound really great??) I knew my parents. I could fill in the blanks. Read the rest of this entry
The brochure from the late 1980s, for all to…enjoy…
I was handed this by one of the regular posters here (thanks Bill);
Find below instructions for the older student tour guide, on welcoming new students. Duties include the warm and inviting strip search we all were provided upon being dropped off on the mountaintop, (or wherever your Cedu-type school is/was located).
In what private, therapeutic boarding school that you know of, do adult men and women get to strip search incoming and returning students, and later get to cuddle with them, while sharing stories of hardship and sexual abuse?
Welcome to Cedu!
These strip searches were thorough, and did involve a bearing of all potential hiding places for whatever a 16-year-old who has been brought to a school might carry. I will assume that the strip search was a vestige of the early days of the Synanon-Cedu partnership, where ‘students’ were 20-somethings with hard drug habits, for whom quitting was a matter of life and death. For those of us who came later, well… it was just one more in a series of never-ending punishments, invasions-of-privacy, and humiliations, handed to us by the troubled adults (and the few staff you remember as being more decent), who decided to make a career out of Cedu.
For a video memory, have a look at the campus tour with Johnny Propheet.
And remember, “many great friendships have started with move-in tours.” How could they not!?
(Thanks to Michael G. and others for bringing this to my attention).
Confession was the central plank of the program at the CEDU “emotional growth” boarding school. We were made to confess to sins, real and imagined, day or night, at the whim of staff. We faced reams of empty paper, on which we were instructed to write our lists – “dirt lists,” “cop outs,” and “disclosures.”
“The Truth Shall Set You Free,” we were told, again and again. We were never told that the process we were experiencing was a direct lift from the Communist thought reform programs of Maoist China. We were not given the work of Robert J. Lifton, to instruct us in the brainwashing we were undergoing. We were, however, forced to share this information with each other, and with any and all staff members. And in due turn, the staff members were instructed to share their “disclosures” with us.
Knowing the staff’s “cop-outs” meant that we all knew that some of the staff there had horrifying criminal backgrounds. We knew because they told us, to our faces, again and again. This was and is pro forma in CEDU-type programs.
That said, I did not know nor did I meet, thank God, the men in question in this case.
Read the rest of this entry
Cedu Documentary – Staff and Students discuss the final emotional growth experience at the Cedu School, provided only to students who survived (or were trapped) for two years or more in the program. Take a walk on the wild side, why don’t you?
Students and staff talk about two of the most “powerful” staff at Cedu…
Is it possible to escape the bonds of mountaintop reform school? Students tried, and tried, and tried again…
. . . . .
The Cedu Documentary project is having the intended consequence of starting a conversation about abuses of teens in Cedu-type ‘therapeutic’ reform/re-education boarding schools; from the Oregonian newspaper, reporting on an investigation into the practices Cedu survivors know all too well:
Former students have posted on MySpace and Facebook numerous complaints about the school, ranging from what they characterized as humiliating group therapy sessions to sleep deprivation. Judson DeVries, who left the school in 2007, told The Oregonian he was forced into “very embarrassing” role-playing games.
“Humiliation. Food deprivation. Overwork. Taking away school credits as part of the punishment. Dressing up in French maid costumes and doing lap dances as part of a therapeutic session. It goes on and on,” she said.