DECLARATION UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY
PURSUANT TO 28 USCA 1746
I Megan B. declare and state as follows:
NAME OF PROGRAM – Copper Canyon Academy
Location of Program – Camp Verde, Arizona
Period of Internment -
Declarative Statement – I am 28 years old. I went to CCA when I was 14. My parents told me we were going on “vacation” then they drove away when I was in the bathroom. They lied to me and then sneakily abandoned me.
When I got there I was not allowed to talk to my parents. I was not allowed to make eye contact with other “level one” girls. There were 5 levels. And to progress to the next level, you would have to “work the system”, which mean “accepting being here” and going along with their brainwashing.
One time, when I was on Level 3, I tried to tell my parents that there was something terribly wrong with this place & the way we were treated, and my mom reported it to the CCA staff. And there was talk of moving me back to level one. So it’s a catch 22. You essentially have to accept what their fucked up system, or you can never leave.
Let’s talk about my “therapist”. In my therapy session, he told me about when he had a mental breakdown in the forest & heard the trees calling to him “Sequoia” and so he re-named himself Sequoia. I wish I had a real therapist. But I COULDN’T TRUST ANYONE, least of all my therapist. Because I wanted to “move up the levels” so I could go home.
Girls there often betrayed each other. Pretending to be your friend and then totally throwing you under the bus in “group therapy” or to a staff member. Because then they could look good & move up faster. I felt like I really couldn’t trust anyone enough to talk about how I really felt.
This never happened to me, but I remember hearing about girls getting locked in closets.
I also remember their being tons of mold in our juice machine & the cook just stirring it all up when we told him about it.
We had absolutely no privacy. Staff would read our personal journals & give us work hours for things written in there. Work hours would consist of us being woken up an hour early, like 5AM early, to do something pointless like haul or shovel rocks.
We were not allowed to have make up or pictures of our friends. Once we got to higher levels, we could write letters to our parents on postcards, which were pre-screening. When we were allowed to talk to our parents, it was only in front of a therapist or staff member. And it was like once a month. They brain washed us into submission.
The food we ate was so gross that there was a phenomenon called “program weight”. Most of the students who wen there gained anywhere from 20 – 60 pounds, from the unhealthy lifestyle.
We were allowed 7 minute showers. If we didn’t wake up on time, the staff didn’t hesitate to throw water on us.
Sometimes people were put on “silence” in which they were forced to wear orange road work vests, and couldn’t speak or make eye contact with anyone for 24 hours.
That place had a wonderful way of fucking up the lives of everyone it touched. Several girls I knew who went there died young. One died within a couple months of leaving, while I was still there. Her name was Meredith. She was the only person there I felt like was really my friend. I hope she is resting in peace. God bless her. There’s a lot of pain in life. And you can never judge someone’s journey. Many girls became addicted to drugs upon leaving.
Some of my fondest memories there were leg and armpit hair growing contests (since we were not allowed to have razors).
We had big & little sisters there. My big sister had a mental handicap. She was from Africa. Her mother just left her there. She had no hope of graduating or leaving. It was just a place to stick her. Her name was Annette. I remember her mom finally pulled her out because her mom believed prostitution was okay. And the owners of the school violently opposed that. Did I mention CAA was run by Mormons & we were encouraged to go to church every Sunday?
A woman named Tami started the school. I remember the day after my parents dropped me off, they came back to bring me clothes & blankets. Tami let me say goodbye. My mom was happy to let me go. She wanted to put me in foster care. This was her alternative. She didn’t show her face. But my dad hugged me goodbye. And I wouldn’t let go of him. Tami came out & literally pried me off of my dad. Then told me she had made an “exception” for me to say goodbye to my dad. And she would never do it again.
I remember they took us to some random cult called Arocsanti one weekend.
I remember I got in so much trouble once for stealing mini snickers bars from the fridge & distributing them to the other girls.
I was baptized in a river while I was there.
I remember counting 200 bug bites on my legs one time. There were sooo many bugs. I remember this girl arms became spotting like a leopard from scratching.
To this day I can’t talk to my mom about the awful things she put me through. And how they left me there.
I still have nightmares. It was such a mindfuck.
Even some of the staff who left that place went crazy.
I hope with all of my heart this place gets shut down. I work in TV now. I swear before God, I will write a screenplay about this place & expose it to the world.
Happy to see people are speaking out.
I give CCASurvivors.com, permission to use this statement. I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.