What Sue Scheff Uses Reputation Defender to Censor

Sue Scheff often refers to herself as an “advocate”, claiming that she just wants to help children. Sue Scheff uses the slogan “parents helping parents”, publicly stating that the purpose of her organization is simply to avoid the dangers of abusive programs. Critics, however, question her commitment to the welfare of children, her honesty, and the ethics with which she conducts her business. Many of these critics congregate at Fornits.com, a largely unmoderated discussion board mostly dealing with the various issues relating to the so-called “troubled teen industry”. With a large percentage of her critics in one location, as well as much information Sue Scheff would most likely rather not exist, it’s no small wonder she hired Reputation Defender.

While Sue Scheff (with her 38 and counting, cross-linked splogs) has been relatively successful keeping positive (but not necessarily accurate) information on top, attacking Fornits directly ended badly for her, resulting in both a further infuriated forum populace and an embarrassing analysis of the letter she sent to GoDaddy in an attempt to take down Fornits.

What are some of the specifics regarding what these Fornits people are upset with Sue Scheff about? Aren’t they just a bunch of crazies or WWASP supporters defaming Sue Scheff? To explain some of that requires some understanding of how the “troubled teen industry” works in the United States. Individuals known as “educational consultants” often take money (so-called “finder’s fees”) to refer “troubled teens” to programs (also known as “Emotional Growth Boarding Schools” among many other names).

Some might think this an unethical conflict of interest; however at the moment this practice of “kids for cash” is completely legal. Although some educational consultants do investigate where they send kids, many do not, and with little risk and the offer of large sums of money, there is not exactly a huge motivation to do too much investigation. In any case, there is no sure way to know whether or not a consultant is taking money for referrals.

Some, educational consultants continue to refer to abusive programs even after finding out about their history. Some educational consultants even defend programs well after they are shut down for abuse or sued. It is alleged by many that Sue Scheff falls into the last category. Although she recently has distanced herself from the term “educational consultant” Sue Scheff has been known to refer to herself as such in the past, even exaggerating her qualifications.

Sue Scheff is a woman who gives advice on parenting to others, and claims to be able to judge if a child needs placement — and yet sent her own daughter to WWASP’s Carolina Springs Academy for her involvement in Wicca. While recently, Sue Scheff has admitted at taking “donations” from programs and private entities, multiple parents allege they were told that she did not receive any sort of compensation at all from programs for referrals. This directly contradicts her own sworn testimony in the WWASP vs. PURE trial, where it is revealed she recieved compensation for referrals from Red Rock, Cedar Mountain Academy, Sorenson’s Ranch, Hilltop Ranch, among a host of others.

Although Sue Scheff claims that these were merely donations if the school wanted to pay, an email sent on Sue Scheff’s behalf to a program by Marie Peart, an employee of PURE, states, “Sue is starting to make some noise about not referring to you if we don’t get paid”. Clearly there were consequences if a school did not pay up, even if there was no official “contract” as Sue Scheff claimed in her defense. What she often neglects to mention is that she rarely if ever visits or investigates programs herself. She claims she has other parents help her out in this endeavor.

Even if that is partially true, it would be bad enough (considering many programs make a mint off fooling parents for a living); however to investigate at least one program, Sue Scheff asked her “friend”, Gayle Palmer/Degraff, the admissions director at Red Rock at the time, to investigate another School. While this might seem fine to people not familiar to this industry, many on sites such as Fornits know her name well, along with the name of the girl, Michelle Sutton, whose death she allegedly covered up.

Scheff often claims that she started her organization, PURE after discovering her child was abused at a WWASP facility. What she doesn’t often mention is that she once referred to WWASP schools, even after starting PURE, which originally stood for “Parents Universal Referral Experts” and later renamed to “Parents Universal Resource Experts”. Even worse, Randall Hinton, who admitted on video tape to pepper-spraying kids over three times a day and used to work at WWASP’s notorious “Tranquility Bay“, used to be one of PURE’s references on Sue Scheff’s website.

This reference was available on archive.org’s version of PURE’s site until she recently blocked archiving. Thankfully, a copy exists on Fornits. Sue claims in her defense that at the time she started PURE, she wasn’t aware of the abuse her daughter endured in Carolina Springs (she claims she became aware around march of 2001). While this may be true, she continued to receive moneys from WWASP well into 2003, and many critics claim the sole reason she stopped referring to WWASP was becuase she allegedly got caught scamming the referral system and decided to go into competition by starting PURE.

Apparently, what goes around comes around, and complaints about Sue Scheff and the programs she refers to have been steadily flowing in since. Red Rock Canyon (now defunct), a wilderness program she referred to, for example was shut down by the state after the death of Katie Lank. At Whitmore Academy, a school that Sue Scheff referred to and still defends, a girl was allegedly tied down and raped by Mark Sudweeks (co-owner), according to the parent of the victim who does not wish to be identified publicly. There have been many allegations of abuse against Whitmore Academy since.

Although Whitmore Academy was shut down by the state based on licensing issues, criminal charges against owner Cheryl Sudweeks were pressed, to which she copped a plea bargain. Keep in mind the owners had already been thrown out of Mexico and owner Mark Sudweeks was accused (now convicted) of animal cruelty in Canada. There is also an ongoing civil lawsuit against the owners, Mark and Cheryl Sudweeks. Despite all this, Sue Scheff continues to defend Whitmore Academy, blaming it all on one bad parent with a grudge and a secret

. Now there is a Lawsuit filed against Sue Scheff by the Green family, accusing Sue Scheff of unethical business practices in her association with Focal Point Academy, and the school itself of neglect and abuse. Among other things, the complaint alleges:

“20. In April, 2006, Scheff also represented that she was not a licensed educational therapist, and therefore was not paid for her work, and that she was only making referrals based on the interests of the children. 2I. Scheff in no way disclosed that she was being paid for referring R.G. and others to Defendant Focal Point on a per-child basis. Contrary to Scheff’s misrepresentations, Defendant Horlacher later disclosed that Focal Point Academy pays Scheff money for each student she refers to the school.”

A cynical mind wonders: Given her history, who or what will she blame this on? Who will believe her this time? Perhaps the Washington Post will write another piece on Reputation Defender and Sue Scheff — this time from a slightly different perspective.

9 thoughts on “What Sue Scheff Uses Reputation Defender to Censor”

  1. Thanks, Psy, for so concisely laying down the history. Now let me be the first to counter that by expanding on just one point.

    “Many of these critics congregate at Fornits.com, a largely unmoderated discussion board mostly dealing with the various issues relating to the so-called “troubled teen industry”. With a large percentage of her critics in one location, as well as much information Sue Scheff would most likely rather not exist, it’s no small wonder she hired Reputation Defender.”

    Why is this true? How come so many critics hang out at Fornits.com. Sue is not the first to accuse me of leading a conspiracy against her. Check out these very entertaining correspondence between Craig Rogers and my old hosting provider, BareMetal Letter One and Letter Two. This is the mentality we’re up against here. It’s very familiar to me as these people represent essentially the same cult that took my family away from me when I was only about 5 or 6 years old. I know how they think and none of this surprises me.

    More to the point, while opposition to and criticism of the troubled parent industry do tend to take on momentum and persistence within the chaotic Fornits social environment, correlation is not causation. I really don’t do anything to slant the argument in any particular direction except for to occasionally argue my position on various topics. Even when damned near everyone I know, including legal council think I should ban and censor, I won’t. That’s what makes Fornits distinctive. Most of the forums that I originally hosted on Fornits.com actually were hosted elsewhere and shut down by similar policies to Godaddy’s:

    “Please be aware Go Daddy reserves the right to terminate Services if Your usage of the Services results in, or is the subject of, legal action or threatened legal action, against Go Daddy or any of its affiliates or partners, without consideration for whether such legal action or threatened legal action is eventually determined to be with or without merit.

    Do ya’ll get that? Are we all in the program `cept the Canadians? All it takes to shut somebody up is to accuse them of something, anything. You can make it up out of whole cloth so long as you have the financial resources to file a SLAPP suit and rack up unavoidable legal fees for the hosting provider. Just send up a chain of command and if you’re current status in the program (marked by the token system that is our fiat economy) is higher than that of your chosen victim, the middle man folds without question.

    In other words, in order to stay online with your typical US based isp, you are required to slant the argument in favor of whomever has the most bucks. More’s the sorrow that, somewhere into that massive economic war chest disappeared my inheritance from my grandparents along with the college fund that my working class parents managed to squirrel away for each of their 6 children. So I’m fighting at an educational and economic disadvantage against what used to be my own money.

    All I have done to “slant” the discussion against the troubled parent industry has been to refuse to even try to control the slant of the discussion. I have no more influence than any other poster to my forums except what respect and consideration I have earned through persuasion. That concept is just so foreign to the world view of an authoritarian that they honestly just can’t even grasp it. If they did, their whole world would fall apart.

    All we’re doing here is Rampant talking out in group!

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  3. Rampant Talking Out of Group.

    Quite possibly the best offense to censorship ever invented. Sheer genius, really.

    To the webmaster:

    Excellent website. Very detailed and well documented. I gotcha bookmarked and look forward to more interesting articles.

    1. Susan Scheff gives advice on parenting parents to others? This is insane!! If she is the same girl, from Pleasant Valley NY, I will be honored to tell the truth about her. She abuses her 2 kids on a daily basis. She referred to her son, Scott, as a “rotten rat bastard.” She called her daughter a whore and a slut since she was 12. One time she tried to kill her son by smothering him with a blanket. Thank God Ashlin, her daughter, saved him by stopping her mother. Susan gave both babies Benadryl every night at 6 PM so that they would sleep. If her son woke up she would beat the crap out of him. He was only one or two years old at the time. This parenting expert never went to college so what are her credentials. What makes her an expert? Is she admitting her own mistakes and trying to make a difference for other parents or is it all about the almighty dollar. Her daughter tried to tell the truth so Susan took her daughter out of her well. She is a dangerous and vicious criminal and she will rot in hell. She couldn’t wait to get rid of both of her kids and she did. She sent Scott to some strict military academy when he was 12 and her daughter went to another place where she was being sexually abused. Susan didn’t reach out to her daughter for the first 3 to 6 months that she was there and she never researched the place herself first. Even after the abuse was known she referred many parents to send their kids there. She just wanted to get rid of her kids. She told Scott that she should’ve aborted him.
      How does one refer a parent to send their child to a facility when the referee knows that children are being mentally, physically, and sexually abused? She is a horrible mother herself and always has been.

  4. Very audacious website, probably one of the best I have seen in a while. Keep up the excellent work.

    Loved the counter-tactics as well. Brilliant, just brilliant!

  5. At 43 I was madeaware of this mafia of child damaging money making facilities through my EX putting a perfect boy (12) in Discovery Academy. What a nightmare, we Americans are so dumb and treat our kids like rental garden tools.

    Thank you more than I can say for standing up. I am now in this fight against PURE CULT EVILNESS. I am in Seattle and WA has one of the toughest Anti-SLAPP laws in the country. I just need to figure out how to protect myself and family so I can help set up more Parent Education sites to steer them away from WASSP and NATSAP…

    You and Fornitsare are rolemodels for truthand now myself.


  6. Impressive and impressively sourced. Thanks be to god something like Fornits exists. I am very familiar with the “tough love” methods that rationalize and sanction child abuse. It is a horror to see that there is a whole dirty industry of cash for kids…a thousand bucks for a referral and it’s LEGAL?

    And this woman won an 11 million judgement how? That’s the part that really baffles me. Because everything else I’ve read just from witnesses and victims of these programs is horrifying. There needs to be a media expose NOW.

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