by Lee, 06/29/2007, 3:12 PM

It’s not a good week to be Mitt Romney. The story of how he once drove across New England with his dog on the roof of his car is getting some serious attention, but that’s actually pretty minor compared to what two of his close associates have been involved with:

As The Hill noted last week, 133 plaintiffs filed a civil suit against Romney’s Utah finance co-chair, Robert Lichfield, and his various business entities involved in residential treatment programs for adolescents. The umbrella group for his organization is the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS, sometimes known as WWASP) and Lichfield is its founder and is on its board of directors.

The suit alleges that teens were locked in outdoor dog cages, exercised to exhaustion, deprived of food and sleep, exposed to extreme temperatures without adequate clothing or water, severely beaten, emotionally brutalized, and sexually abused and humiliated. Some were even made to eat their own vomit.

But the link to teen abuse goes far higher up in the Romney campaign. Romney’s national finance co-chair is a man named Mel Sembler. A long time friend of the Bushes, Sembler was campaign finance chair for the Republican party during the first election of George W. Bush, and a major fundraiser for his father.

Like Lichfield, Sembler also founded a nationwide network of treatment programs for troubled youth. Known as Straight Inc., from 1976 to 1993, it variously operated nine programs in seven states. At all of Straight’s facilities, state investigators and/or civil lawsuits documented scores of abuses including teens being beaten, deprived of food and sleep for days, restrained by fellow youth for hours, bound, sexually humiliated, abused and spat upon.

According to the L.A. Times, California investigators said that at Straight teens were “subjected to unusual punishment, infliction of pain, humiliation, intimidation, ridicule, coercion, threats, mental abuse… and interference with daily living functions such as eating, sleeping and toileting.”

You can read more about the history of Mel Sembler’s “rehab” centers here and here. A compendium of links can be found here (a lot of the stories are not for the weak of stomach). When Romney says he wants to double Guantanamo, I believe him. He’ll need the extra room if he thinks we should be sending our kids there too.

51 Responses to “Mitt Romney’s Torture Problems”

1. Mark spews:

Well whoopty doo! It sounds no worse than what they put your through in Marine Corps boot camp.

Bunch of pussies.

2. Lee spews:

Marines are sexually abused in boot camp? I had no idea.

3. ArtFart spews:

A friend of mine once stated that the progression of depravity onward from fasicsm leads to cannibalism. I’m more certain every day that he’s right.

4. Broadway Joe spews:

One more reason to believe that there’s no way in hell that a Recraplican will be President after next year.

5. GBS spews:

@ 1:

Spoken like a true conservative: someone who hasn’t served the military.

Since when has rape and severe beatings been a true part of Marine Corp boot camp?

6. Mark spews:

GBS says:

@ 1:

Spoken like a true conservative: someone who hasn’t served the military.

Since when has rape and severe beatings been a true part of Marine Corp boot camp?

Hey Mr. Arrogant asshole – I read the part about sexual humiliation, but I glossed over the sentence where it talks about rape.

Do you want to see my photo album, medals, dog tags, DD214 (that’s the DoD discharge form) etc? You accuse conservatives of making shit up, but you alone are the worst offender I have encountered.

7. Mark spews:

GBS says:

@ 1:

Spoken like a true conservative: someone who hasn’t served the military.

Since when has rape and severe beatings been a true part of Marine Corp boot camp?

Hey Mr. Arrogant asshole – I read the part about sexual humiliation, but I glossed over the sentence where it talks about rape.

Do you want to see my photo album, medals, dog tags, DD214 (that’s the DoD discharge form) etc? You accuse conservatives of making shit up, but you alone are the worst offender I have encountered.

8. GBS spews:

Who else but a dumb ass conservative would call teens being beaten, deprived of food, raped, bound, spat upon, humiliated, forced to eat their own vomit as a “bunch of pussies.”

Typical conservative! A real man, like any Liberal I know of, would put a stop to such practices — by force if necessary.

A conservative hunches his shoulders and says “bunch of pussies.”

What a chump you are, Mark. Be prepared to defend this statement in the arena of “intellectual debate.” It demonstrates your flawed conservative character and strengthens my position that conservatives are anti-American. Who else, besides al Qeada and the Taliban would do this to children and think they were a “bunch of pussies.”

Like I said, Mark, you better be careful with your words and you BETTER be right. Otherwise, I’ll own you ass on this blog. “Genius.”

9. GBS spews:

Mark @ 7:

For a supposed intellectual and graduate of higher learning that was SLOPPY at best.

Get your fucking “A” game ready, BOY!

I haven’t interviewed for a “blog bitch” since I beat JCH senseless, but I’m ready to take on another one.

PS: You’re not the only one who has a DD214.

10. Roger Rabbit spews:

Did Romney and his pals get their start in torture by pulling wings off Monarch butterflies when they were kids? A lot of other Republicans did. Not George W. Bush, though — he blew up frogs with firecrackers.

11. Mark spews:

GBS says:

Who else but a dumb ass conservative would call teens being beaten, deprived of food, raped, bound, spat upon, humiliated, forced to eat their own vomit as a “bunch of pussies.”

Typical conservative! A real man, like any Liberal I know of, would put a stop to such practices — by force if necessary.

A conservative hunches his shoulders and says “bunch of pussies.”

What a chump you are, Mark. Be prepared to defend this statement in the arena of “intellectual debate.” It demonstrates your flawed conservative character and strengthens my position that conservatives are anti-American. Who else, besides al Qeada and the Taliban would do this to children and think they were a “bunch of pussies.”

Like I said, Mark, you better be careful with your words and you BETTER be right. Otherwise, I’ll own you ass on this blog. “Genius.”

Boy, you sure told me. I better watch out now. Otherwise I might have to stomach your pathetic immature arrogance even more than I already have.

12. Roger Rabbit spews:

1, 6, 7 – The purpose of Marine training is to turn ordinary American kids into inhuman killing machines. In your case, I don’t know how much killing you did (probably none), but as for the other part … well, you’re a Republican, aren’t you?

13. Roger Rabbit spews:

The problem with this world is that sometimes you need Marines.

14. GBS spews:

Mr. Mark wrote @ 7:
Hey Mr. Arrogant asshole – I read the part about sexual humiliation, but I glossed over the sentence where it talks about rape.

So you admit you read the part about “sexual humiliation” but glossed over the rape.

OK. Did you think this through, dumb ass?

You’re saying that raping a teenager is bad, but if they don’t like sexual humiliation they are a “bunch of pussies?!?!?!”

Why is it when a 14 year old boy is sexually humiliated and doesn’t like it, he’s a “pussy?”

Answer that specific question, Mr. Mark. Talk about a character defining moment. I knew I was going to corner your “smart ass” sooner or later, but Jesus H. Christ, even I wouldn’t have predicted it would happen this fast.

15. Mark spews:

Roger Rabbit says:

1, 6, 7 – The purpose of Marine training is to turn ordinary American kids into inhuman killing machines. In your case, I don’t know how much killing you did (probably none), but as for the other part … well, you’re a Republican, aren’t you?

Just like other arrogant condescending fake wannabe intellectual leftists in here, you are full of assumptions about people that don’t share your politics. To the point where you have the hutzpa to claim to know what I did or didn’t do and what I do and don’t know.

Since you are the all knowing brilliant Einstein -esque looking down from on high, who is going to win tonight’s Mariner game so I can bet the ranch on it? You are the all knowing aren’t you?

16. Right Stuff spews:

Wow,
I misread the post. I thought Lee was posting about Washington DSHS……………

17. Mark spews:

GBS says:

Mr. Mark wrote @ 7:
Hey Mr. Arrogant asshole – I read the part about sexual humiliation, but I glossed over the sentence where it talks about rape.”

So you admit you read the part about “sexual humiliation” but glossed over the rape.

OK. Did you think this through, dumb ass?

You’re saying that raping a teenager is bad, but if they don’t like sexual humiliation they are a “bunch of pussies?!?!?!”

Why is it when a 14 year old boy is sexually humiliated and doesn’t like it, he’s a “pussy?”

Answer that specific question, Mr. Mark. Talk about a character defining moment. I knew I was going to corner your “smart ass” sooner or later, but Jesus H. Christ, even I wouldn’t have predicted it would happen this fast.

Attention advertisers, you too can reach this prime demographic.

I don’t debate intellectually inferior rubes like yourself :)

18. GBS spews:

Mr. Intellectual Mark wrote:
Boy, you sure told me. I better watch out now. Otherwise I might have to stomach your pathetic immature arrogance even more than I already have.

WOW! What a magnificent retort. Whew! Where did you learn something so witty? Harvard? Yale? CWU? Camp Pendleton, perhaps?

Yeah, that’s it. Did some big bad D.I. tell you that while you were being “sexually molested” in boot camp.

I bet you had “duty rack” all through boot camp. No wonder you think those kids were a “bunch of pussies,” huh? I mean, after what you obviously endured through boot camp.

Did you get the “loosest ass hole” medal? Ohhh, I bet you did, Duh-rine.

19. headless lucy spews:

re 6: Yes. I’d like to see them — because I think your full of shit.

20. Mark spews:

headless lucy says:

re 6: Yes. I’d like to see them — because I think your full of shit.

Post your email address and I will send them tonight. Not that I owe you a damn thing, but I will do it nonetheless.

21. SeattleJew spews:

With all due respect,

this should be the place to express out thoughts on the murder of Mike Webb.

Not to dismiss the usual stuff, but this is horrible news.

22. Mark spews:

SeattleJew says:

With all due respect,

this should be the place to express out thoughts on the murder of Mike Webb.

Not to dismiss the usual stuff, but this is horrible news.

Now there is a sad, miserable, pathetic human being if there ever was one. Not to mention a convicted fraud. Or was that a right wing conspiracy also?

23. GBS spews:

Mr. Mark @ 17 wrote:

I don’t debate intellectually inferior rubes like yourself :)

My, my, my how fast the surrender monkey throws up the white flag.

Is this your post on the “open thread” page?

Mark says:
GBS says:
Mark the dumb ass wrote:
“So suicide bombings and the beheading of “infidels” are preferable to Republican policies?”
Neither of these anti-American principles is preferable to continue following in the footsteps of our Founding Fathers, respecting the Rule of Law and giving more liberties to Americans and not taking them away.
IF you knew anything about the history of our country then you’d surely know that when the most powerful military on the planet was burning down the White House, our leaders still insisted on sustaining to the American PEOPLE the Bill of Rights.
Grow up, learn some history, and get your facts straight and stop being so fucking conservative and anti-American.
Jack off.
Dear Mr. GBS – Huh? I think you must have replied to the wrong post. Which again was:
Let me be the first to say that America is under attack from the right and we need to recognize that the Publicans and their ilk mean to do us harm. The so-called terrorists can’t do NEARLY as much harm to our democracy as the right.
The author of this incoherant post is comparing the actions of terrorists to “Publicans” whatever the hell that is, but I’ll take it to mean the GOP. I merely pointed out the absurdity of it.
And one more thing, why is it that because someone does not share your politics and has a different world view, they are by definition a “dumb ass”, “ignorant”, “uneducated”, etc? Is it too much to ask to not be so arrogant and condescending?
Here is where you reply back with how “stupid” and “uneducated” I am. Despite the fact that I went to college, have a graduate degree, and make a decent living.
Go ahead – give it your best shot, so I can point out the errors of your pseudo intellectualism.

06/29/2007 at 2:31 pm.

Is that, or is that not you, Mr. Mark, challenging me to “give it my best shot” so you can point our the errors of my pseudo intellectualism?

PS: You spelled incoherent incorrectly. Doof-ass. See? I don’t always say someone is a dumb ass.

By the way, don’t use words you can’t spell or don’t know their meaning, it really makes you look like a doof-ass, dumb ass.

24. JC spews:

ehh, Mark.. Mike was murdered, likely by a man he was helping in drug rehabilitation by letting him live at his home. He made a mistake, but give the man a break on the day it is announced he was murdered. I’m pretty disappointed actually that Goldy hasn’t bothered to mention this in his blog, considering much of KIRO’s liberal following that has benefited Goldy was built on Mike’s back.

25. Emphyrio spews:

I’m with Seattle Jew…how about a little reflection on Mike Webb’s murder, and his life? And maybe we can suspend the snark for an hour or so.

The SPD ME just ruled it murder. Multiple stab wounds.

Blatherwatch has some interesting, and mysterious, details, provided by the property manager who found the body.

No suspects announced yet.

26. GBS spews:

Mr. Mark you are obviously avoiding answering the question I posed at 17: “You’re saying that raping a teenager is bad, but if they don’t like sexual humiliation they are a “bunch of pussies?!?!?!”

Why is it when a 14 year old boy is sexually humiliated and doesn’t like it, he’s a “pussy?”

Answer that specific question, Mr. Mark. Talk about a character defining moment.

Go ahead, Mr. Mark. Explain yourself. They are, after all, your words. I will make you own your words.

27. GBS spews:

With all due respect to my fellow libs, the Mike Webb story should be conducted on the Open Thread page. Here we’re discussing Mitt Romney’s “kiddie torture and rape” camps.

Mr. Mark, the former US Marine, thinks kids that who were sexually humiliated, beaten, bound, deprived of food, water and sleep and forced to eat their own vomit are a “bunch of pussies.”

I’d like to see Mr. Mark defend his comments and why they don’t represent the view of modern day conservatives who get off on torturing people and abandoning the American principle of not torturing people as put forth by George Washington.

28. Kelly spews:

mark obviously is, shall we say, CLUELESS…

http://www.webdiva.org/fox (fox news report on Straight inc & Sembler)

http://www.webdiva.org/straight (lots of other links to resources regarding the same)

http://www.reason.com/news/show/117088.html (an article Maia wrote back in January)

Hell just go to Google and enter “Mel Sembler” and “Straight Inc.”

Children have ZERO rights in private institutions, animals have more. That is criminal. And yes kids were RAPED in straight and other facilities. That is a FACT. I hope you don’t have kids Mark.

29. Yer Killin Me spews:

24 et seq

I’m not speaking for Goldy here, but maybe the reason he didn’t mention it yet is because up until a few minutes ago I don’t think anyone positively identified the body, much less the cause of death.

Now back to our scheduled Mittfest.

30. YOS LIB BRO spews:

HOW MANY LOSER WINGNUTS OUT THERE ARE STILL HINGING THEIR HOPES ON FRED THOMPSON?

HEH. HE’S ONE FOR WINGNUT PORN MONKEY CROWD. SEE HIS WIFE?

WHAT FOUR YEARS YOUNGER THAN HIS OWN DAUGHTER?

I CAN SEE IT NOW. HE’S GIVING A SPEECH AND HE STARTS TO GET BOOED! “SHUT UP AND BRING OUT THE WIFE!”

WELL OLD FRED IS WELL SUITED TO WINGNUT GOVERNANCE: HATES POLICY, LAZY, PROBABLY LOVES LONG VACATIONS. I HEAR THAT ROVE BUTT BOY GRIFFIN IS IN FRED’S CAMPAIGN SO YOU KNOW PAPA ROVE IS PULLING THE STRINGS AND HAS SETTLED ON THE CHIMPANZEE’S SUCCESSOR.

31. Mark spews:

GBS says:

Mr. Mark you are obviously avoiding answering the question I posed at 17: “You’re saying that raping a teenager is bad, but if they don’t like sexual humiliation they are a “bunch of pussies?!?!?!”

Why is it when a 14 year old boy is sexually humiliated and doesn’t like it, he’s a “pussy?”

Answer that specific question, Mr. Mark. Talk about a character defining moment.

Go ahead, Mr. Mark. Explain yourself. They are, after all, your words. I will make you own your words.

Attention advertisers, you too can reach this prime demographic.

32. YOS LIB BRO spews:

LICHFIELD WOULD MAKE A GOOD WARDEN OF A DOUBLED GUANTANAMO.

THANKFULLY, ROMNEY DOESN’T HAVE A PRAYER.

33. Roger Rabbit spews:

@15 “Just like other arrogant condescending fake wannabe intellectual leftists in here, you are full of assumptions about people that don’t share your politics.”

So what? Why should wingnuts have a monopoly on being arrogant, condescending, fake, leftists?*

* That’s right! Wingnuts are leftists. Trotsykite commies, to be exact. The neocons are disciplines of Leo Strauss, a commie if there ever was one. How ironic, the Republican Party turns out to be a gang of arrogant, condescending, commie thugs! … And you’re complaining about me being an arrogant, condescending, fake rabbit?

34. Roger Rabbit spews:

I’m not a fake lefty, though. I’m a real lefty.

35. Roger Rabbit spews:

@23 “Mark the dumb ass wrote: ‘So suicide bombings and the beheading of ‘infidels’ are preferable to Republican policies?’”

Now that he mentions it, I’m tempted to say yes.

36. Roger Rabbit spews:

What I mean is, what Muslin fanatics want to do to us, wingnut fanatics also want to do to us … see, e.g., Ann Coulter.

37. Roger Rabbit spews:

It makes damn little difference to me whether the fanatic who wants to cut my li’l bunny head off is a Muslim terrorist or a Republican thug … it’s 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

38. Roger Rabbit spews:

Mark @30 Another evasive answer, I see. It’s growing increasingly obvious you’re uncomfortable with the question, and don’t want to answer it. So … how old were you when you were raped for the first time at the group home you grew up in?

39. Mark spews:

Roger Rabbit says:

Mark @30 Another evasive answer, I see. It’s growing increasingly obvious you’re uncomfortable with the question, and don’t want to answer it. So … how old were you when you were raped for the first time at the group home you grew up in?

Why SHOULD I answer your questions? I’m having too much fun letting you show the world what a total asshole you are. You are your but pirate friend GBS are doing all the work for me, so why not step aside and let you two go to work?

40. Mark spews:

Roger Rabbit says:

@23 “Mark the dumb ass wrote: ‘So suicide bombings and the beheading of ‘infidels’ are preferable to Republican policies?’”

Now that he mentions it, I’m tempted to say yes.

Well if that is accurate, then that says all I need to know about YOU.

Attention advertisers, you too can reach this prime demographic.

41. Puddybud Who Left The Reservation spews:

I’m waiting for Headlice Loocie to post his email address.

42. Puddybud Who Left The Reservation spews:

test

43. Paddy Mac spews:

A key tenet of fascism holds that we must brutalize the disobedient For Their Own Good. Luckily, fascistic movements always attract and contain lots and lots and lots of followers who have great desires to inflict pain on other human beings. So, you see, it’s a good match. Best of all is when you can get some young disobedient types to brutalize, and put the results into your movement’s brown-shirted forces. Raised in brutality, they will easily brutalize anyone else who dares to disobey the movement. A win all around! The glorious future, of a boot stamping on a human face, comes within reach. Now, if we could only get a good-looking spokesmodel to head the movement…

44. michael spews:

Mark,

Please, shut up.

45. Mark spews:

michael says:

Mark,

Please, shut up.

Michael, you can eat the peanuts out of my shit anytime you like.

46. michael spews:

Thanks for really adding to the dialog Mark!

Oh and when your folks lose big in 08 please don’t go all Tim Mcviegh and start blowing stuff up. Maybe you should start the therapy sessions now so that you’ll be somewhat in control of you emotions when the election roles around.

47. Mark spews:

michael says:

Thanks for really adding to the dialog Mark!

Oh and when your folks lose big in 08 please don’t go all Tim Mcviegh and start blowing stuff up. Maybe you should start the therapy sessions now so that you’ll be somewhat in control of you emotions when the election roles around.

06/30/2007 at 9:54 am

Thanks for the advice, but if its “getting control of ones emotions” that you are concerned about, then you better start with your fellow leftists that are out of control arrogant, vulgar, immature, and shrill.

48. michael spews:

@47

“out of control arrogant, vulgar, immature, and shrill.”

Um… Mark have you heard yourself lately? Just a couple of comments ago you told me I could eat the peanuts out of your shit.

49. Mike Barer spews:

Are you saying dog torture is minor?

50. Lee spews:

Are you saying dog torture is minor?

No, not at all. But I think what Romney did to his dog is not in the same league as what Sembler and his minions did to thousands of children.

51. M. Yass spews:

Roger Rabbit says:

The problem with this world is that sometimes you need Marines.

Yeah, especially for such “humanitarian” missions like installing governments friendly to U.S. business interests. That’s what Vietnam was about and that’s what this war is about, no more, no less. It has nothing whatsoever to do with “freedom” or “terror” or whatever.

Oh, and for you military wingnuts on this board, just remember that you’re being sent to fight and die so that Dick Cheney and his rich friends can get even richer.

You, on the other hand, will be told to “stop being a pussy” when you try to get help for your PTSD or traumatic brain injury.