Nick Gaglia – The Cult – KIDS of North Jersey

The cult survivor and filmmaker Nick Gaglia.

Institutional abuse in the USA?

President Obama, when speaking about torture at Gitmo, insists that there is no sanctioned torture in the USA.  Nick Gaglia disagrees.

Nick knows better, as do thousands of victims and their families, who spent years in an organization that started out as Straight Inc.

http://www.fixmykidthemovie.com, and then became KIDS of (insert town here), after many millions of dollars were awarded in legal settlements with families of the abused.  These places were considered safe, tough-love drug rehabs for kids and were advertised by President George Bush Sr. on television. (http://vimeo.com/33508783).

Nick spent 2 1/2 years being emotionally, physically and sexually abused at the hands of a monster known as Reverend Doctor Virgil Miller Newton (he has a degree in anthropology), and the staff, all graduates of his program, still children themselves, many whom have never graduated high school since they were not allowed to attend school in 1st phase. (Miller’s program has 5 phases, more on that soon). KIDS took children from ages 12 – 24, often holding kids 18 years and older, against their will. Virgil Miller is now known as Father Cassian Newton and lives free in Sarasota, Florida.

What would make a parent desperate enough to take their child to a place like this? Nick was a loving boy, close with his entire family.  He started experimenting with drugs; marijuana, alcohol and acid.  His parents were worried about him since his passion for filmmaking disappeared and his overall behavior changed rapidly when he began using drugs.  Nick had been accepted into a professional performing arts school but after 3 months, he dropped out.  He was more concerned with partying than pursuing his filmmaking dreams.  His once close relationship with his father had deteriorated, his relationships with the entire family were strained, his parents had divorced when he was 11, and Nick was heading down a path that understandably worried his parents.  He was quick to yell and scream and break things in the house.  His father saw a commercial on TV, told his mother about it, and Nick soon found himself in KIDS of North Jersey.

One afternoon Nick thought he was going shopping with his mother.  They came to a warehouse.  He ran but he was tracked down by many staff members and forced into the building.  His mother was assured that he was in good hands and he was immediately taken to a room where he was forced to remove all his clothes and pushed to squat facing a wall, so that he could be strip-searched for drugs and receive an intake assessment.  As you can imagine, he was screaming for his mother.  This intake abuse was a 5 hour ordeal, and he was promised that when he signed the contract, he would be allowed to see his mother.  They lied … his mother was long gone and Nick was completely, emotionally and physically, broken down.

For the next 2 1/2 years, Nick was not allowed to take a shower or go to the bathroom without being watched.  His showers were timed, 60 seconds (at the most), and if by the end of his time he had not rinsed off, that was just too bad.  He was not allowed to speak without permission.  He was not allowed to have a bowel movement without being watched, and he was limited to one square of toilet paper. He was not allowed to go to school or read.  In fact, reading the back of a cereal box was punishable by severe restraint. “If we read the cereal box we would mostly be screamed at and have other privileges taken away from us, which is crazy because we had virtually no privileges at all.  While we were being screamed at, if we opened our mouths at all, even if we weren’t being wise, they would slam our mouths shut with their hands.  If we tried to protect our mouths from being slammed, they would restrain us on the floor.”  He would be wrestled to the floor by 5 men, one on his head, the other four on his arms and legs, forcing him into the floor.  Nick describes this restraint as extremely painful and demoralizing.  Often, when he was restrained on the floor, he was rolled up tightly in a big blanket and left for long periods of time, unable to move.

His fellow kids were forced to restrain him and if he was to block their punches and pokes, encouraged by the chain of command, he was seen as the aggressor and was restrained on the floor for hours.  He was forced to sit in hard blue plastic chairs all day, listen to chants, sing songs like Let It Shine and Kumbaya, and forced to motivate.  “We were also forced to say “I love you (insert name here),” in unison after each person spoke, whether they did a good job or not.  That was part of the mind controlling and brainwashing, having the group say “I love you” to you after being screamed at.”  The kids were forced to invent stories of drug use in order to avoid abuse.  He told me of one girl who had never done a drug in her life but was forced to be labeled a druggie and invent stories of her druggie past. Miller did not stop at druggies.  He also took kids with so-called behavioral problems like eating disorders.  These eating disorder kids would be routinely force-fed large amounts of food by other kids forced to abuse their peers.  “I saw girls go from being 100 lbs. to over to 200 lbs. from being force fed. It was disgusting.”

As you will see in Nick’s film Over The GW, “motivating” is pumping your arms up and down while sitting in your chair until you, or someone else, was called upon to speak. Nick reports that if he was not motivating hard enough, he would be forced to sit in silence with his hands on his legs looking down at his lap … for hours, sometimes days, weeks, even months.  He was yelled at, slapped, punched, called a “druggie” and a “loser” and many other abusive names.  KIDS was staffed by graduates of the program. No one was trained, or licensed, or educated in any form to allow them any authority or competency in addiction treatment.  The KIDS were forced to abuse one another;  It was either be the abuser, or be the abused. http://www.nickgaglia.com/

At one point there were 175 children in KIDS of Bergen County.  The details of the sexual abuse suffered by Nick will not be covered in this article, but he was sexually abused, and he has since been told many stories of rape and molestation from survivors of KIDS.  Nick was in KIDS of North Jersey.  There was also KIDS of Bergen County.  (KIDS of Bergen County.)  There was a KIDS of El Paso Texas, a KIDS of Yorba Linda in California and a KIDS of Greater Salt Lake in Utah.  KIDS was a chain across all of the USA.  If these groups found they were in hot water with the law, they would shut down, wait for the heat to subside and open up again, sometimes in the exact same building.

You have most likely been asking yourself – How and why could parents allow their child to be abused in this way for 2 1/2 years?  What kind of parent does that?  How is this even remotely possible?  The following describes how Miller and his staff, the chain of command (which constantly changed), managed to brainwash the parents, right along with their kids.

There are 5 phases of the KIDS program.  On 1st phase, you have no rights, no free will, no freedom, have to have permission to eat (and were often deprived of food).  All you are allowed to talk about are your shortcomings as a druggie.  The teens spend seven days a week in the building, up to 18 or more hours a day. 1st phase children do not live at home. They stay with other clients on higher phases of the program and are only allowed to talk to their families twice a week for five minutes at a time (under strict supervision, of course). “Being able to talk to your parents for 5 minutes twice a week was something you had to earn, not a given.  I was maybe awarded this privilege a handful of times.  And when we did speak to them it had to consist of us apologizing for awful behaviors from our druggie past.”  They are called “newcomers” but most times 1st phase lasts for well over a year.  “If you only lasted on 1st phase for a year, that was impressive. Most never left 1st phase. Some would get promoted to higher phases but then would be dropped back down to first constantly.  Also, whenever someone was on 1st phase they were called newcomer no matter how old or how long they were there.”

Even now, at 31 years old, Nick struggles with the program indoctrination.  “According to them, I am not a success because I am not dedicating my life to the program and restraining someone on the floor.”    

On 2nd phase, the kids lived at home but still spent all day at the building. At this point they were called “oldcomers” and took 1st phasers home with them where children were fully responsible for other children.  A lot of abuse occurred in the “host homes.” The parents witnessed this abuse but were just as brainwashed as the kids.

You see, Miller and his staff would abuse other people’s kids in the host homes, never allowing parents to see their own children being abused, but brainwashing parents to believe the abuse inflicted on other children (tough-love) as necessary for their recovery, for their very survival.  Parents were told that if they took their child out of the program, their child would most certainly die.  How can a parent take that risk?  Miller used cult mind control and knew precisely what he was doing. The staff encouraged parents to enroll all their children in the program since they had a “family disease.’

On 3rd phase, the kids returned to school or are allowed to get a job but still had to spend time at the building every day. They are not allowed to have any contact with people who are not members of the program.

On 4th phase, entire days off are allowed. They still take 1st phasers home with them, but they are able to start to develop friendships with other clients, but only of the same gender.

On 5th phase, clients are allowed to talk to other 5th phase clients of the opposite sex, and day off excursions could be co-ed … as long as the ratio of boys to girls was uneven. After graduation, there is six months of aftercare and no dating is allowed for five months.

However, in the 2 1/2 years Nick was in the program, he never saw anyone graduate, ever.  Not one time.  Not one person.  Not ever.

Nick was on 1st phase the entire 2 1/2 years.  The slightest infringement sent him back to 1st phase.  Nick says that Theresa (his sister also ended up in the program – “family disease” remember?), was better at playing the game than he.  She made her way through the phases and planned her escape carefully after one failed attempt.  Theresa spent a year in the program with Nick.  If they communicated with each other, they were punished severely.  She escaped, and with the help of her friends and grandmother, has remained free from this cult.

In fact, Theresa has written a book documenting her experiences in KIDS and it is a great read.  It’s called Run, and documents her experiences and harrowing escape from KIDS.  The people from the program were looking for her everywhere and would do anything to find her … and I mean anything. Theresa, along with thousands of other kids have successfully escaped from KIDS. Of course, they still suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and are in need of deprogramming from the negative labeling of druggie, among many other horrible labels.  Read Run by Theresa Pena.  It’s a cover-to-cover read.  Her story is a film waiting to come to a theatre near you. http://www.amazon.com/RUN-ebook/dp/B00C6VJ81I.

Let me get this straight – He was 14 years old and was not allowed to go to school or even read a book?  You read that right.  The one and only thing he was allowed to read were the big bold black steps of the KIDS program on the white wall in front of their plastic blue chairs where they sat for 12+ hours a day, listening to mantras and enduring endless abuse.  We’ve all heard of the 12 steps of recovery for addiction.  Were these the same steps?  See for yourself.  Virgil Miller and his staff of program graduates told the kids that the 12 steps did not work, but their 8 steps did.  Here are KIDS 8 steps for recovery:

1) Admit I am powerless over drugs – that my life has become unmanageable

2) Come to believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity

3) Make a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand him

4) Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself, daily

5) Admit to God, myself, and another human being the exact nature of my wrongs immediately

6) Make direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them, myself, or others

7) Seek through prayer and meditation to improve my conscience contact with God as I understand him, praying only for the knowledge of His will for me and the power to carry that out, and

8) Having received the gift of awareness, I will practice these principles in all my daily affairs and carry the message to all I can help

There were three additional bold black signs on the wall.  The Serenity Prayer, and a sign with these 4 slogans: One day at a time, Easy does it, Think, think, think, and First things first … and the Five criteria for straight thinking, which are:

1) Based on objective reality

2) Protect my life and health

3) Goal producing

4) Feel and act the way I need

5) Keeps me out of significant conflict with myself and others

These Five criteria for straight thinking are strange and non-sensical, not at all conducive to straight thinking.  All this is brainwashing at it’s most deceptive and destructive.  This form of mind-control keeps the member of a group in a negative state of mind and constantly in conflict with self-determination and personal power, forever dependent on the program.

Nick and the kids were forced to write a moral inventory daily, mostly of fabricated lies.  I mean, how many horrible things could a 14 year old have accomplished?  They were told everyday that they were safe there, and only there, and if they left, they would end up in three, and only three, places: Jail, an Institution, or Dead.  Nick was cut off from his family and was brainwashed to believe that his life depended on staying away from his family.  As close as Nick was to his family, this was the worst abuse of all.

At one point while Theresa was in the program, their mother came to ask them if they wanted to leave.  She was worried and although Theresa wanted to leave, Nick was too frightened.  He was too afraid to leave and begged her not to take him out.  He was so brainwashed, convinced that he would die if he left, that he was paralyzed with fear. Their mother reluctantly left them there.  After Theresa successfully escaped, the program staff told Nick that Theresa was living on the street and was strung out on crack.  They told him that he could never, for the rest of his life, have anything to do with Theresa nor his father.  Nick’s father had turned on the program when he found out what was really going on from Theresa.

Of all the abuse he had suffered at the hands of these mentally disturbed people, after all the times of being called a ‘druggie,’  after all the times of being labelled powerless, writing daily moral inventories, after being forced to restrain other kids on the floor and being brutally restrained himself … this … this threat of never being able to see his family again, was the worst of all.  This was the most devastating blow imaginable.  Nick sank into a deep, dark depression and gave up.  After all the times of being told over and over again that if he left the program, he would die, he no longer cared.   It is then that things finally became clear.

Nick had what he calls a Guardian Angel come to him and tell him, “If you leave, you will be okay.  You will not die – your sister is not on drugs.  They are lying to you.”  As it turned out, Theresa had graduated high school and was attending college at Columbia University on a full scholarship in New York City.  Nick successfully escaped soon after his guardian angel paid him a visit.

Nick is a student of cults and the effects of brainwashing. What was supposed to be a one hour interviewed turned into over 2 hours and he has been very generous with his time since our initial interview and provided the picture above.  Nick is an inspiring and brave man and I am honored he took the time to relay his story to me.  His work has and continues to free people from cults and abuse and validates the need for the truth to be told regarding proper, science and evidence-based, professional treatment for addiction problems.  Cults destroy lives. Nick has helped countless people to rebuild their lives and live with the knowledge that they are not powerless nor do they need to stay in a program that breaks them down and requires them to recruit others where they can never graduate. Nick’s parents are mortified that they ever trusted this program with the care of their children.  They genuinely were as brainwashed as the kids.

When I asked Nick if these places still exist, I was praying that he would say, “no.” Sadly, they exist in full force, not only in the USA but all over the world.  The Aspen Education Group is one which to avoid.  Any parent should conduct due diligence before allowing their child to be put into one of these programs.  Please spread awareness of these groups.  We are talking about the future of the planet here.  If we allow this to continue, we leave our children with nothing but mental health problems that will haunt them forever.    http://www.youthrights.org/2012/04/20/body-bags-and-child-torture-mitt-romneys-new-approach-to-education/

Today, Nick’s relationship with his parents is one of unconditional love, forgiveness and understanding.  After his father learned the truth of his son and daughter’s abuse in this cult, he confronted Miller and he has a great scene in GW.  (Yes, Nick’s father is in the film as himself.) Nick is engaged to the beautiful and soon-to-be-very famous (whether she likes it or not), actress Kether Donohue. http://www.ketherdonohue.com/ He is not “in recovery” he is recovered and free and full of power.  Nick is not only surviving, he is thriving and fulfilling his dreams and continuing to build his beautiful, miraculous life. Nice work Nick, nice work indeed.

Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” – George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 7

—  Laura Tompkins


SIA: Survivors of Institutional Abuse:


For more information on Reverend Doctor Virgil Miller Newton (aka Father Cassian) see here:


See the congressional hearing here:


For secular alternatives to the 12 steps, please see here:


For the Sinclair Method, please see here:


Addiction is not a disease, read here:


Tax report for Straight Inc here:


See Dr. Stanton Peele’s work here:


Please feel free to write to me via my email:  ldyluk47@yahoo.com

44 comments on “Nick Gaglia – The Cult – KIDS of North Jersey

  1. Amazing article, Nick is such an inspiration to all survivors of institutional abuse. Everything he went through, many children today are experiencing the same. WIth his films and efforts to bring awareness to this issue we can be sure that he has saved many lives from the same fate. Thank you Nick for everything you do!!

    • Thank you Chelsea! Most people when they hear about these places cannot believe they exist. They better believe it. They better know about it. And we better protect our children from it. Nick has pulled through it by using his filmmaking, speaking and survival skills – he inspires others to fulfill their dreams, regardless of the abuse they suffered.

      Parents need to know the truth to help their children, if they do indeed have a drug problem. It’s a crime to diagnose a young person who cannot possible qualify for chemical dependency, and then label them “druggie” (among other damaging labels) for the rest of their life. In fact, that in itself is emotional abuse.

      Any statement that follows, “I am…” should be followed with a POSITIVE AFFIRMATION. NOT a condemning one. This is abuse all on it’s own. Thanks for commenting.


  2. There are a lot more who work tirelessly to make the public aware of institutional abuses on young people, most of them were victims of the abuses themselves.
    I know a great many who choose to remain “behind the scenes” for various reasons.

    As a fellow survivor, I’m glad they are all there, speaking for those of us who can’t, won’t or are still afraid to.

    Thank you all.

    And Fuck you Miller Newton.

    • Double fuck you Miller Newton. I want to sick Dexter on him. Now there’s an idea for the writer of that show!

      Of course there are many more working to expose the truth along with Nick. This is his story, and his ability to be public with his work is just a viable as those who choose to stay “behind the scenes.” We either work on this together or we needn’t bother. All ways of being are helping as long as the individual is doing something and being true to themselves, even if it’s in a more private manner. Thanks for commenting John!

      “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” FDR.

  3. Fabulous article Laura. Thanks for helping get the word out.

  4. ‘they’ say time heals all wounds, but whoever the hell ‘they’ are most definitely did not do any time in one of these programs. almost 20 years later, and I hadn’t given most of this much thought … my life has moved on, and the program is a distant memory, like an alternate reality that only comes to the front of my mind at peculiar moments … such as : when you’re listening to a popular song with friends and don’t recognize it, and your friends say , “what? were you living in a carboard box in 1988 or something ?? ” … and you’re like , “actually … a cardboard box would have been flippin’ awesome in comparison!” … “what ??”, says your friend … “never mind”, you reply – because let’s face it- this is not light banter to have with friends. this is dark, dark stuff.
    here is an example- my father is gay. he came out after I was in the program, and I have never had issues sharing that with anyone at all. that’s because homosexuality and the causes and effects of it on families and individuals have been openly discussed in the media, in movies, in court cases ( divorces, etc. ) – so people have a point of reference, wether they have had a gay or bi relative or not.
    NOBODY unless they have experienced it first hand has any point of reference to what we went through … even most of our parents don’t really get it and never will because they don’t ever want to face themselves and what they did to their children. I can count on one hand how many people I have shared the program experience with over the last 17 years … I was married for three years and she only got a very abbreviated version of the damn Cliff Notes. as I watched Nick’s movie and read through these posts and followed links to articles, I have become enraged that this horrible, horrible situation has not been brought into the light more. this is just as sick, if not more so, than the predatory catholic catholic priests and other religious figures – why is that brought into the spotlight and into a courtroom and all the articles that have been written about these programs get buried with no national media . do these programs really have more powerful friends than the CATHOLIC CHURCH ?? NO WAY!
    it’s us, the survivors. we are the key to this, and the fact that we have all remained silent for so long just goes to show that the abuse done to us psychologically really was just as severe as the little boys sodomized by priests – we were mentally raped. the fear of god almighty was before them, and they still had the guts to come forward and at least tell a parent who then brought it to light, where as we have chosen to coward and sulk and repress … because of the damage the program did to our self-esteem, because after all the years it took us to regain our dignity, and to learn that we didn’t have to keep rebelling and fighting forever, all we want to do is live “normal” lives now …
    I don’t have kids of my own, but this is still going on and it makes me sick to my stomach to think about how many lives and spirits are being derailed, destroyed and broken … parents, who in a desperate moment were duped into thinking this was the only way to “save” their child … how do we reach THEM?

    • How to reach them? By doing what you’ve just done and sharing it. Screw that ‘time heals all wounds’ bullshit. There are some wounds that never heal. Fuck that. However, you can use the time that you were abuse to better understand yourself and to warn others. The reason why these places are not called out as in the case of the catholic church or the boy scouts is complicated. First of all, it’s all about money. As you can see by the link I provide in my article, Bain Capital owns one of these businesses. Mitt Romney and those like him have enormous capital invested in our elected officials and have paid for their silence. Our government looks the other way, because they have been bought and sold to look the other way.

      “Tough Love: Abuse of a type particularly gratifying to the abuser, in that it combines the pleasures of sadism with those of self-righteousness … Commonly employed and widely admired in 12-step groups and treatment.” – Charles Bufe

      Another reason the truth is hidden- Too many government agencies are happy to hand out money to any agency that claims to be solving the problem of ‘rehab.’ Our ‘war on drugs’ is a monumental failure financially and in human terms.There is little humanity when it comes to helping people with drug problems. The ‘disease theory’ was invented for many reasons – mostly so that the rehab industry could get insurance companies to pay for their outrageously expensive and ineffective treatments. Then, to treat this so-called disease with faith healing and chanting and labeling all addicts as powerless, selfish losers that only a spiritual (religious) solution can solve, is the perfect set up for cult abuse. The drug and alcohol rehab business is a fertile ground for cults and crazy groups. It’s a dirty business. As you know Straight Inc. claims to have taken the best of Synanon’s methods (a sick group in every way) and have built another wonderful new program around it. Intensive peer pressure and an 8-Step program (taken directly from the 12-steps) are then sold to help troubled kids. Then, the sadistic bastards can act out their fantasies of being abusive ‘tough-love’cult gurus on innocent children.

      Another reason – It’s a sick and twisted family heritage passed down from AA to Synanon (“sinners anonymous”) which gave birth to The Seed, which birthed Straight Inc which gave Miller Newton his horrible KIDS of… and the Sembler family’s Drug Free America Foundation. Now Mitt Romney’s Aspen Education Group and many others which have yet to come to light. Just like the 12-step rehab industry, there is an enormous amount of money involved. The 12-step rehab industry is a 20 billion dollar a year industry. Hazelden and all the rest of them are not about to give up that yearly income! They do not want someone to truly get well … they want you to ‘keep coming back.’ In the short time I was in grad school at Hazelden, there were many, many clients who were called ‘re-treads.’ Meaning they had been there multiple times, at $1000 or more a day. They do not care one bit who is being abused. People like to claim that AA is voluntary and is full of consenting adults. NO. These are people who are at their most vulnerable and will do anything to get better. These are rapes, murders, financial scams, and manipulative abuse happening every day in 12-step groups and they have not been exposed. You know what they tell a women when she comes to her sponsor and tells her about the guy in the group who raped her? They tell her to forgive him and ‘find her part.’ They minimize it by calling it 13th stepping – their cult guru Bill Wilson invented 13th stepping. Happens every day. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

      It all started with the cult commonly known as AA and just gets sicker and more abusive from there. The entire American culture has been duped into thinking that these rehabs are helping people if they just want the help enough, and are converted to the step cult religion. I was shocked, but unfortunately not surprised, when I saw that the steps Nick had to read every day were exactly the same as those of the 12 steps … with 4 missing. This is Nick’s story and it is obvious that the 8 KIDS steps are nothing new. Miller Newton is a sadistic prick who should be taken out by Dexter. I hate that fucking prick and if I ever see him in public, he will hear from me.

      I am so sorry for what happened to you. You deserved a better childhood. You deserved to be treated with love and respect. You SURVIVED and for that, you deserve to have a voice. Holding it in will never relieve you of the pain and anger. Letting it out by creatively and peacefully showing people how horrible these places and these people are, is your way through and out and beyond your pain … and your way to help others.

      I do disagree with you on this point – “NOBODY unless they have experienced it first hand has any point of reference to what we went through … even our parents don’t really get it and never will because they don’t ever want to face themselves and what they did to their children.” Actually, this is not true. This is cult-speak for ‘we are the only ones who can help you’ kind of thinking. This is cult speak for ‘turn your will and your life over to God’ kind of thinking. This is cult-speak for ‘I am powerless over …” This is cult speak for any ‘I am … statement that is followed by a negative rather than POSITIVE affirmation. These are thought-stopping mantras that are only meant to keep you feeling powerless and dependent on the group. You are NOT powerless. You are powerful beyond measure. Your being is connected to everything and everyone and your thoughts create your life. When I found out about this through Nick, I was just as appalled as if it had happened to me. I was physically and emotionally ill. I still am. That’s why I wrote this article and it is the most difficult piece I have ever researched. I was not in one of these places and I can and am doing something about this abuse still happening to our children. Therefore, please do not think that unless someone went thorough this themselves, they cannot understand. It makes me sick and angry and I will not stop speaking the truth, no matter what and will support Nick and the rest of you in any way I can. People can and do understand. You must allow people to hear your story. You must allow people the chance to understand what you endured and invite them to do something about it. True, real, lifelong friends want to know the good, bad, and the ugly about you. Would you want to know if someone you loved had been abused as a child? Of course you would. Open up and share it … and ask for help when you need it. By sharing all our experiences with those who love us is how we allow people to love and understand us all the more and get closer to people. Being abused the way you were makes it IMPERATIVE that you share your truth. Please.

      The arrogant mind set that says drug addicts must be sentenced to cult religion meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous … taught to pray, for their own good, demand god relieve them of their moral failings and personality shortcomings, is the same mind set as the one that says that children must be sent to boot camps and abused for their own good.

      Our own court system mandate convicted felons and first time dui offenders to 12-step meetings. It’s horrible … and illegal for the state to mandate someone to a religion, which 12 step programs are, no matter how much they claim to be ‘spiritual, not religious.’ In addition, the Virgil Miller Newton’s of the world, the pedophiles, the rapists, the con men, are attracted to anonymous societies in order to get away with their crimes and have the group cover up for them. Please read this article on my blog. <a href=" “>

      But you know better. You have the power to make changes. You prove that by what you have written here. You cannot push it down or it will eat you alive … and that’s just what these sick twisted pricks intended. You deserve to be angry. Don’t let anyone tell you ever again that you cannot have normal feelings like anger and resentment. These are feelings that warn us of toxic people and situations. The only way to work through anger is to work on correcting it for yourself and for others. Nick is doing that through his filmmaking and public speaking. Whatever your gifts, they can be used to educate people to the truth and call out our elected officials to do something!

      We are in this together, and it WILL change … as long as we keep working toward a better future and believe that a better future is possible and necessary. We have to believe it as if it has already happened. Thank you for sharing your truth and anger here. Keep up the great work.

  5. Unfortunately there is still quite a lot left to do and children are still being targeted today. That is changing, but it needs expose on a national and global level. On July 29, 2013 the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) and Anderson Cooper of CNN released part one of a three part series. The show on CNN just touched the tip of the iceberg and CIR released the findings showing that in this day and age, foster kids were being targeted, regardless if they had substance abuse problems or not. It was estimated that 1/3 were prefabricated, made up diagnosis. If they claimed they were not addicts/alcoholics they would have been judged in denial and lost the only home life they had. This needs to be exposed.

    “Fake diagnoses among foster children

    In California’s public drug rehab program, clients equal cash. State and federal taxpayer money flows to the local privately run clinics based on the number of people they serve. The counseling is free to those on Medi-Cal.

    California spent nearly $186 million on the program in the past two fiscal years, according to figures from the Department of Health Care Services. That doesn’t include methadone clinics for heroin addicts, a separate wing of Drug Medi-Cal.

    The state has the nation’s largest population of people who qualify for the benefit, a pool poised to grow sharply under the Affordable Care Act. But recent history suggests that expansion might shovel more funding to clinics that game the system.

    A specialty of So Cal Health Services, the Riverside clinic to which Victoria Byers was sent, was diagnosing foster children with fabricated drug and alcohol problems and billing taxpayers for the unneeded services, according to former employees and whistle-blower complaints.

    The clinic billed Riverside County between $31 and $75 for each counseling session a child attended, documents show.

    “You’d have to make up a summary of them trying this drug and make up scenarios of how they tried it, how they got it,” said Nadine Cornelius, a former counselor. “It was all lies.”

    Cornelius tried making her group therapy sessions educational, she said during an interview at a diner near her San Bernardino County home. But eventually, she gave up. Instead, she said she let the teenagers play bingo and watch movies.

    An anonymous whistle-blower told county officials that So Cal was paying group homes for “access” to the foster children. Byers’ group home director, Angelina Farmer, told CIR that wasn’t the case.

    Riverside County cut So Cal Health Services’ contract in 2010 because so many of its clients had dropped out. That failure was easier to prove than the fake diagnoses of teenagers, according to Karen Kane, the county’s substance abuse program administrator.

    Kane said her agency was especially concerned that a false addiction diagnosis could negatively affect the foster children later in life.

    “Our goal was to stop them from harming people and get them out of the business – and that’s what we did,” Kane said.”


  6. Thank you for all this information. I had heard of the CNN show and it looks like it skims the surface on the financial scamming. Of course the work yet to be done must be done in order to help these children. This is an abysmal waste of money at the emotional expense of our rupture generations. These are the people the 12 step programs attract – the liars, the cheats, the con men and the child abusers.

    The false diagnosis will harm them later in life. An addiction diagnosis harms anyone of any age but especially our children. Not only will this diagnosis make it more difficult for them to get jobs, it will also emotionally scar them for life.

    Thank you for the link. You can access the link I’ve provided regarding the aspen education group owned by Bain Capital. Of course, Bain is owned by Mitt Romney. I don’t know about you, but I have no trouble targeting and exposing him and his many ‘businesses.’

    • My son and I have been doing a lot of research on Mitt Romney over the past few months . As well as working hard to expose Alcoholics Anonymous , starting right here in Akron Ohio. The more they try to SILENCE us .. The LOUDER we get! Working on a case that happened in Akron with a 19 year old girl that was murdered and Akron police failed Big time… Go figure her boyfriend said he was attending 5 alcoholic anonymous meetings a week , so somehow He is no longer a suspect!

  7. The reason I mentioned the CNN “Rehab Racket” link is because the Kids of North Jersey with Virgil Miller Newton (aka Father Cassian) was investigated for illegal government billing also and that helped to close them down. The fall of SYNANON with Chuck Dederich started with investigations by the IRS resulting in a 17 Million dollar fine for back taxes. As you have pointed out SYNANON started institutional child abuse such as Straight, Inc in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Did you know that Virgil Newton Miller worked at Straight, Inc. when it was first formed?

    What I am seeing is that it is that all of these cults worked as non-profits and they all pretty much demanded the children that they preyed upon admit they were “diseased” or they were sentenced to more “treatment” which amounted to no more than child abuse. Nicks’ sister was a prime example. She was able to escape only by submitting to their demands. The only problem is that somewhere there is a “diagnosis” from these charlatans that she has a mental health problem. I am just pointing out some current news where foster children are being made to get a diagnosis of addiction in California and it is estimated that 1/3 of these diagnosis are made up.

    The closing down of all three, Kids of North Jersey, SYNANON and Straight, Inc. had some sort of governmental (Medicaid, IRS, Congressional Inquiry) action and that appears to be what puts the proverbial nail in the coffin of these programs. As a side note, the CNN “Rehab Racket” has only shown 1/3 of the documentary and resulted in numerous closings in California that we know of. What we don’t know about is the 16 “treatment” providers that have had their licenses pulled because the state is not releasing the names of those providers YET…..

    • Thank you JR. My half-sister was sent to Synanon. She is still affected today. She is one of those for whom the fake diagnosis stayed with her for her entire life. She was physically and emotionally abused. She will never be a productive, happy member of society.

      The people who run these places are the same people who claim to be ‘old-timers’ in 12 step programs. They are taking what they learn in the 12 steps to abuse children and the state.

      We cannot allow this treatment any longer. My original article is about Nick and his particular experience … And his activism through his films and public speaking. It is an introduction to an even wider issue.

      There is much work to be done. We all all being ripped off. If we do not expose the truth, we are all culpable. Once you know, you must take action.

  8. These aren’t just teens and preteens, as I know all too well. I was 5 when I started going in and out of these programs, mental hospitals, and day schools, whatever it was they were calling themselves. These abuses never go away and it’s ruined a once promising future. I haven’t given up hope I simply don’t know what the word means anymore. But they place children as young as 2 years old in these state run hospitals and back-alley run facilities in Ohio through ADAMH and NetCare. They’re both 24/7 tickets to a free weekend/week for parents, though they’re not usually as long-term as 2-4 years, I was sent back to one after turning 18 because I had previous diagnosis. I feel so trapped, knowing any mental facility here can lock me up at any time, just because of the past “history” that I wish I were out of this damned country. I’m panicked and just want to run to Mexico or Canada seeking asylum, my torture will never end!

    • I am so sorry. This is just horrible. Please look into getting all of this damaging information removed from your record. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by ‘history.’ Do you have a record with the state that causes you problems getting jobs? Are you talking about a medical record?

      I have to believe that you can take your record and have any negative history erased unless you were convicted of a crime. I do not know enough about the American criminal justice system to know but it’s worth looking into.

      You should not be living your life in fear. I don’t know what your relationship is with your parents, but if possible, I would ask them for help. After all, they did allow you to be in these places at an age that was far too young! If they are sorry, ask them for help. If they are not in your life, that is probably for the best.

      Ask friends for help. Ask relatives for help. Ask for help from anyone you can trust. Write down your story if you haven’t already.

      In fact, if you want to share it with me privately please email me @ ldykuk47@yahoo.com

      By the way, ‘hope’ is the constant belief that a better situation is possible and even more so … Probable. Visualize how you want your life to look and feel. Go for gold. Set a timer for 10 minutes, lay down, close your eyes and actively visualize who and what surrounds you and how happy you feel. Please try this.

      You have the right to a better life. Fight for it.

      • It’s considered medical history so I can’t just get it off my record. My husband has used it against me before and they don’t even have to have probable cause to detain me in one now. I learned that the hard way, even called my lawyer to get me out. The word suicidal is enough to put me back into torture. So I can’t be free to live the life I want. I’m still trapped by this system.

  9. I just spoke with a lawyer friend. He said that your best recourse is to go and get a fresh medical evaluation, with a psychiatrist. He or she can give you a new record which will trump the old one.

    You can then seek free legal aid to have the old record thrown out.

    • I don’t mean to punch holes in everything, it’s just something I’ve learned through life, question everything. But even if I get a new diagnosis from a psychiatrist; it would likely yield something new as I’ve had 15 different diagnosis from different psychiatrists, it would yield PTSD because I do have PTSD, and that’s enough to hospitalize me without just cause, and CPS is evil here. They would likely send social workers to check on the children regularly. As paranoid as I sound, I lived through these places, and foster care… I’m just waiting to expat out of here honestly.

      • Go ahead, punch away. You know more about all this than I do.

        I am so sorry this is happening to you. You deserve better treatment. Your story helps others to understand how damaging these places can be, both while you’re in them and long after.

        You would think we would have compassion for PTSD (especially in your case of abuse) but it seems we have misunderstanding and distain. Please, please, please do not do anything to hurt yourself. You have been injured enough.

        You and your children deserve a life of freedom and happiness. At the very least you know this – you are a better parent than your parents were able to be. There is no more important job.

        I wish you peace of mind and freedom of choice.

  10. At least you have a sense of humor about all this. That is a great sign. I don’t know about you but if I could live somewhere else, it would most certainly be Italy. Those people know how to live!

  11. I’m thinking of Australia, they have a better economy, and who wouldn’t want to be an Aussie!

  12. Yeah, I get that. I had an acquaintance long ago who travelled there, met a man, married him and stayed.

  13. This is a situation where society as a whole has failed, and at every level.

    Parents fail by not doing their due diligence before putting their child into an abusive cult of a rehab.
    The facility is a fail because it is nothing more than a con job facilitated by an abusive meagalomaniac.
    The government fails for not providing oversight, legislation and accountability for long-term youth rehab facilities.
    Our elected leaders fail for supporting these types of facilities. The Reagans & Bushes visited Straight (I think it was Straight) in the 80s and gave it a thumbs up. It was another salvo in the War on Drugs.

    We were all subjected to brainwashing. It took deeper root in some more than others. We were told that without Kids, we would wind up in jail or dead. There were no other paths in life. There was no concept of moderation.
    You would become one of Newton’s clan of stepford children or die.

    In the 80s, insurance companies would pay benefits for long-term outpatient drug rehab or group therapy for addiction. Technically speaking, Newton could receive insurance for hosting the group therapy sessions as well as outpatient rehab services. It wasn’t inpatient because we didn’t sleep at the Kids building, right?

    I don’t know about Sember & Straight or any of the leaders of the cults in the SynAnon family tree prior, but I know that Newton was investigated for Medicare fraud. I want to say he got a hefty fine, but I honestly don’t recall the outcome.

    Fast forward some 25 years.
    I didn’t become a Newton-ite.
    I’m not in jail.
    I’m not dead.

    I’m also far from perfect. I’ve screwed up a lot of stuff, just as every other person does. I’ve committed crimes and paid my penance. I’ve had some triumphs and some failures.
    I’m pretty content with my life as I enter “middle age.”
    I can have a drink with dinner and not go on a raging bender.
    I can smoke a joint with some friends and not rob a liquor store to feed my habit.
    I don’t have to live in a state of paranoia that someone from group will find out I fucked something up.
    I do my job. I pay my taxes. I love my wife. I play with my kids. I laugh. I cry. I love. I loathe.
    I live.
    I’m a human being, not an addict.

    And I am a survivor.

    • And a great writer. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      You are correct. At every level as a society, we have failed our children. When I speak with people about these places, most have never heard of Straight, Synanon, nor the rest of them. Most of the do not know that Bain Capital (mitt romney – his name deserves no capitalization) owns the Aspen Education Group. Aspen is an organization of child abuse for profit. Plain and simple.

      Instead of fighting a war on drugs, we have fought a war on children. Until the age of 25, your brain has not fully developed. You are not diagnosable … With any mental disorder. We diagnose children with ADHD, addiction and behavioral problems that they cannot possibly have the criteria for which to qualify. We then put them on medications that keep them sick. We assign them labels that stick with them their entire lives. People like Newton are the mentally ill ones and should be locked away in solitary confinement forever to ruminate on the abuses he has inflicted on others. That he is free is a travesty.

      You are a success. You have accomplished much with your life. You have proved those who would have you either dedicate your life to Kids or be six feet under are the sick ones. These people are monsters. There is not a diagnosable disorder in which to categorize them.

      You are honorable and perfect. Mistakes are how we become better people. No one would ever learn anything if not for mistakes. The first time you rode a bike, took off the training wheels, you made plenty of mistakes before you relaxed. Soon enough, you were flying down the street. Your children are fortunate to have you as their parent – anyone who tries to stick them with a negative label are unlikely to get away with it.

      Life is meant to be enjoyed. Thank you for your honesty and for taking the time to speak your mind … your healthy mind. ‘Just one kids refugee’ as an online moniker seems to not apply to you, at least not anymore. More like ‘Kids Survivor and Thriver.’or just ‘Bad Ass.’ ; )

  14. Simply want to say your article is as amazing. The clearness on
    your publish is simply excellent and i can think you’re a professional in this subject.
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    • You’re welcome a million times. Thank you for writing. This work is the most important work of my life. Your acknowledgment means a lot and your sharing it means even more. I will never give up exposing the abuses that have happened and are continuing to happen today. Thanks again.

  15. Helpful info. Fortunate me I found your website accidentally, and I am
    surprised why this twist of fate did not came about in advance!
    I bookmarked it.

    • Thank you for commenting and for bookmarking. You inspire me to write more in the coming year.

      I am in the process of putting together an article about deprogramming. I hope you find it helpful and welcome any comments or suggestions you have to share. My goal is to help people whether they have been a victim of abuse or are considering a form of help for which their instincts may be warning them. We learn, early on, how to hear and feel our innate, instinctual gifts … Or to suppress them based on modeling and/or abuse.

      The great news is that no matter what our modeling, we can and do change our inherited patterns, making life better for ourselves and naturally for future generations. This, all on its own, is plenty to provide us with the self-love and power to forge a new path for ourselves. We receive the help we need when we are ready to absorb it to its fullest potential. Thank you this reminder!

      Happy New Year.

  16. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find the majority of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for.
    can you offer guest writers to write content for yourself?
    I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on a number of the subjects you write regarding here.
    Again, awesome blog!

    • Thank you for your kind words. It is vitally important that people know the truth and can find the help they need for themselves and their loved ones.

      Child abuse is never appropriate and since we all have our inner child at play no matter our age, we must protect him/her … And stand up for our rights.

      As to your adding content, I would welcome it! Now that your comment is approved, you can add anything you want. Sharing my blog articles would also be greatly appreciated and would benefit all those in need in whatever stage they may be in their recovery from child/adult abuse.

      Prevention is the key. Following that, deprogramming, unconditional self-love training, brief interventions, cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, empowerment training (to name a few ) are all available. My life’s work is helping people to become empowered and find self-love, self-acceptance, and true freedom of choice.

      Thank you for commenting and reading. You inspire me to continue my work and write more. Happy New Year to you and your spouse. I am full of gratitude for you both.

  17. Excellent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely great.
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    • Thank you! I greatly appreciate the support.

      It takes someone of superior intelligence to understand the truth when it comes to the cult religion known as the 12 steps.

      Please share my content to help other people understand why these so-called ‘spiritual programs’ do not work and exactly why.

      I hope to continue to write articles that help you and inspire you to live your very best life.

      Peace to you and thank you again for your lovely comments.

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  20. I was in kids of North Jersey for seven months I went into the program October of 1996 to May of 1997 I just want to say my stay in there was hell we had to sit and motivate in those blue chairs from day to night we exercise for hours we sang silly songs when we arrived at the host homes we only had a few hours of sleep we had to get up about 6:00 in the am to be belt looped to the building we could not read but only to read the steps and right in an MI they call it we had to study the steps and no them well we also had to remember the chain of command we had to state all of the phases and know them well we couldn’t even speak to one another they called it clicking people talk about drugs I haven’t used or even seen before because I was only fourteenth years old when I went into the program I seen a boy run from the program only to be brought back I even seem them put a boy into carpet I seen people being restraint I was even restraint once myself I seen them break a girl arm I had an Old Comer who whipe her nose on on my clothes while I was standing in line to be belt loop ready to go to the host home I seem people coming into the program looking like they were in there thirties the food was nasty the only thing I think I liked were the snacks witch was weat bread cheese and an apple and this thing they would call brunch on a Sunday we got to stay in the host home a little late the old comers were mean the staff were mean they made me admit that I was there because of drugs I never did a drug before kids I was only 14 teen years old the only thing I have done was not going to school and having sex yeah that was bad but I was not as guilty as they made me seen yeah I agree my mother had to be desperate to put my sister and I in such a place we did not sue kids because when my mother made up a lie to get my sister and I out of the program we did not sue because we did not want things to come up in court also we did not know the program closed I’m just saying this part in agreement I and 34 years old now and I do believe that that was the worst place I was ever end I can’t believe it was people in there for thirteen plus years seven months broke me WOW!

    • I Am so sorry this horrific trauma is in your life Quinnette. You did nothing to deserve this abuse. I will write more when I am back in the USA. We are in Tonga now. For now, know that you are not alone.

    • Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you!

      Did your parents know how bad it was in there while you were there? Did they ever come to visit and of so, how did that go? How exactly did you get out?

      I am so sorry you were abused like this and I hope you are continuing to get the help you need. Trauma like yours is difficult to overcome but not impossible. You can move on and know that these people are sick whether it be you or the next kid. What’s really scary is how they close down only to open up in a nearby location. They have been getting away with this abuse for a very long time and these facilities are supported by government funds. It’s truly diabolical.

      Thanks so much for writing in. It cannot be easy for you to relive this trauma. Congratulations for getting out and keep up the great work.

  21. The American Civil Liberties Union most take a look at this public funded 12Step programs. They are religious indoctrination and has not been substantially tested for safety much less effectiveness.

    This 12Step programs are a betrayal of the American public and taxpayers. They are professionally unethical and fraudulent. They are ineffective and their is enough data to suggest that it’s best product is failures.

    The evidence is clear 12Step programs are religious not deserving to be considered medical treatment. It’s roots are harmful.

    • Agreed Carlos!

      Trouble is… this 12 step cult is seen as


      (even though these kids have no choice) and therefore they slip thru the ACLU’s radar.

      Also, these sociopath


      change the steps just enough to question whether they are using the 12 steps at all. Even Nick Gaglia wasn’t sure when I was interviewing him. These people are smart enough (sociopaths are not stupid) to know how to slip right through.

      The crack on the liberty bell symbolizes this perfectly.

      Thanks so much for commenting. Please share everywhere.

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