Pathway Family Center Truth

                    

DECLARATION UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY

PURSUANT TO 28 USCA 1746

 

 

 

 

                          I, Anthony Connelly declare and state as follows:

                          1. Kids Helping Kids

                          2. Hebron, Kentucky

                          3. August 1986 to May 1988

I was entered into Kids Helping Kids on August 28th 1986. The location was route 20 Hebron, KY. I was 14 years old. I was interrogated and strip searched with an orifice examination upon my intake. I was restrained physically several times during my intake with unreasonable force. My clothes were taken away and I was given new, program clothes to wear that were entirely too small. No shoes, no belt. It was stated that I had a drug and alcohol addiction along with behavioral problems. I denied this and stated that I was only addicted to cigarettes.

I was repeatedly laughed at and called a liar. I was also asked why my eyes were so red and that red eyes were an indication of drug use.

I did not have a substance abuse problem then and I don't have one now. I am 35 years old now.

I spent approximately 5 to 6 months on the first phase of the program. During this phase, I was subjected to treatment that has been scientifically proven to be psychologically damaging.

I do not consider any of the treatment methods which I received to be beneficial and therefore will refer to them as tortures or abuses. Some of the mistreatments that I experienced on first phase are as follows:

1. No rights to privacy, especially while using the toilet or showering.

2. No communication with the outside world including, family, attorneys, police, doctors, psychologists, friends, etcetera. No mail or telephone use. They had rules called confidentiality and no talking behind backs. These were rules of secrecy and controlling all communication.

3. No media from the outside including television, radio, news, or newspapers.

4. No reading with the exception of program related information posted on the walls.

5. Sleep deprivation.

For the first month, I was placed in a foster home that had a reputation for bringing the kids into the program early. I was forced to stay up very late at night discussing my personal problems and learning the rules. I can only approximate that I received 3 to 4 hours of sleep a night for the first month of my first phase.

6. Food deprivation.

 

 

The group received 2 small meals a day at the program building. The food was less than desirable and obviously didn't have the calories necessary to maintain the physical activity that we were expected to carry out from day to day. We rarely ate breakfast because of the rush to get everything ready and when we did eat breakfast it would be something like a banana or a pop tart. Most days I did not get any breakfast. The last meal of the night was called snack. I call it dinner because breakfast was not ever a real meal. If a newcomer wasn't doing everything the staff expected, the newcomer received no snack. The other kids were instructed to eat in front of the newcomer by the staff. I was continually hungry while on first phase.

 

7. Physical restraint.

I was physically restrained several times while on first phase by other kids and sometimes staff. My chest or back was sat upon by other kids which is very scary because it disables you from breathing. I tried to run away while being transported to a foster home and was restrained and a seat belt wrapped around my neck. I couldn't breath and thought I would die. Luckily a staff member saw the attempt and stopped the kids from choking me to death. Whoever was doing the restraining could decide how much pressure was to be applied and how long to restrain the kid. It could be anything from not so bad to a horrific experience. The longer a kid did not submit to the ways of the program, the more frustrated the group would get with the kid and usually would inflict more force to the restraint.

8. Seclusion.

If restraining ceased to be enough to deter the unwanted behavior, the program has "timeout" rooms. These rooms were 4 ft. by 6 ft. and were about 15 ft. high. There was a steel door and the floor was cold concrete. It was always so very cold in these rooms and if one were to lay down, the heat would be sapped from your body. The amount of time in these rooms had no limit. It was up to the staff member to decide.

9. Verbal assault and Humiliation.

It was encouraged by staff and the group to talk about one's past. The negative aspects about onesself only. If an individual were to talk about anything else, the group would verbally assault the speaker by cursing, yelling or anything else that you would not put up with in the outside world. It may not sound bad but when it happens all day every day for months, it alters your mindset and cripples your ability to think analytically. Oldcomers at foster homes were forced to read newcomer's MI's (moral inventories). I will describe MI's at a later point. The oldcomers were forced to brutally dissect your personal problems and verbally assault you until you agreed with having a drug and alcohol problem, along with any other problems the program believed you had.

10. No looking at or talking to the opposite sex. I still believe this caused mental trauma. I think this is a critical time in an adolescent's life to become more familiar with the opposite sex and communication.

 

 

11. We were to ask to do everything including using toilet paper. If the request was denied there was nothing you could do about it.

 

12. No complaint procedure.

They had something called the COC "chain of command". This was a false system that presented a complaint facade. If you were to request from someone else the same complaint, you were in violation of the rule called, “no playing off". This means you cannot complain to someone after the initial complaint has been made. Most complaints went unanswered so most people stopped trying to use the system. Mostly it was used for ratting out other kids for minor infractions. We were encouraged to report any behavior that was non-program behavior or if someone had even shown "signs” of not doing what was necessary to commit to the program.

13. Being brainwashed:

It was methodical: The tactics they use worked well because they had the element of time on their side. I fought for months but eventually I was so physically tired, hungry and mentally fatigued that I had no other option than to do what they wanted. The element of so much time, being conditioned and abused with no private time is a difficult concept to convey. How can I explain the anguish of spending every minute passing by so slowly? Every day, every night, over and over. From morning until late night for months,seemlessly neverending. I remember the systematic breakdown in my brain. It was strange because I was being honest as they demanded but then was called a liar. I didn't know what to do because I had done everything they wanted but they wanted me to be honest and make up stories at the same time. This confused my mind and over time with all the deprivation and abuse began to feel my brain lose the concept of reality. I started to have visual hallucinations and couldn't distinguish if they were real. It felt like a tremendous twisting and pressure in my mind until, I guess, I snapped. I can't describe it except to say it is like a smile on the outside while crying on the inside. All the time.

This feeling was a horrible strange feeling in my head like I was having a breakdown of my soul. I lost my ferver, I was confused about reality and this felt bad. A deep emotional bad, if that makes sense. I had visual hallucinations of elves and tiny people living in the walls of the building. They had pressured and suggested things that I "probably did" or "they knew I did" so often like: more drugs, more criminal behavior, weird sex acts, etcetera. Over and over and over again.

This is the part I don't understand: I started to make up stories that weren't true but at the same time, I believed them. I honestly thought I was telling the truth. I had to, to progress from first phase. (which I had been on for many months by then) They pounded it into my brain that "you can't con a con" so I guess my brain was forced to give them the information they wanted while believing it myself. After all, Honesty was the first and most important rule. I remember the feeling of numbness and as if something wasn't me anymore.

After that, it gets more difficult to remember because I started "working the program" and my brain worked on a sort of auto pilot. After that, I believed everything they said and did whatever was needed to help the group "stay off drugs".

After I reached 2nd phase, I preached to everyone I talked to, "Without KHK I would be dead". I preached this with such certainty. I wouldn't blink. I was like a robot doing what I was programmed to do. Brainwashed. I thought anyone who suggested anything other than what the program believed was wrong. I thought, they must be on drugs or be a "dry druggie" which is the term the program uses for someone who doesn't do drugs but doesn't follow program thinking. I have not been a program supporter for many years and I am still alive. I am not on drugs and I don't drink. I don't even smoke or drink caffeine. How can I be alive and well without adhering to the program's ideas?

The staff at kids helping kids would no doubt call me a liar or try another tactic to discredit my character. They've done it to me before. Almost 20 years ago.

In the years post-program I have had to sort through the stories that I had "so-called" remembered to determine what was truth and what was a lie. It took many years to get a hold on reality again. It took me approximately 2-3 years to de-program myself after being banished from the program. I think it takes different amounts of time for different people. During this time I abused drugs and alcohol and went to jail a few times. At one point, I faced a felony charge.

I attribute all of this behavior to the damage done to my mind by the program. I feel lucky to be alive after the drunken binges and serious injuries I incurred due to fighting. I eventually decided to clean up my life and realized I needed to change.

Out of all the abuses that I received at KHK, the worst was the brainwashing. It did something very detrimental to my brain.

Once I was brainwashed, I was no longer in control of my identity, my thoughts and even my actions. I was a minion; a programmed biological robot. This is why I focus more on first phase because this is where I believe the emotional trauma and psychological damage is inflicted at it's utmost. To understand the way the program works, a person must have an understanding of how brainwashing works. I have been brainwashed, so I know exactly how it works.

14. I eventually graduated the program, worked on staff as a trainee and returned for several months to support the group. The executive staff convinced the other staff that I had become a bad influence and I was ostracized from the program. That was it. I was just dropped because I had nothing left to offer the program. I had no coping skills for life outside of the program.

15. Suicide attempt and self mutilation. While on first phase I had carved tracks of skin from my hand and arm using my thumbnail but I do not recall why I did this. I also attempted suicide by breaking my glasses and slitting my wrists. I was caught by staff and the incident was never reported to my parents or anyone else.

16. I was forced to sing songs all day in between raps and meals. These songs seemed to numb the brain somehow. I believe it was used as a tactic to make our minds more maleable. The songs were all songs that a small child would learn. I believe the intent was to demean the kids by disallowing any teenage music and forcing childrens music be sung by all in the group. It was very humiliating. Humiliation was a very large portion of the program's methods. The parents loved us acting like little children. I think it made them feel safe.

17. I was forced to "get motivated" which means to wave and flap your arms ferociously to show your desire to get off drugs. I do not know why we were forced to do this. It is ridiculous. I can only assume it was used as a repetitive action used to tire us more.

18. I was forced to memorize and believe in “the 7 steps" among many other program ideologies. I was also forced to memorize a large number of those children's songs along with all program rules.

19. I was forced to have my hair cut off. To me, that was emotionally traumatic.

20. I was forced to write an MI every night, (moral inventory). this MI included 2 challenges, (past negative personal accounts) 3 good points (daily good things) 5 goals (short term goals) and one blessing at the end.(Thank you God for such and such...) One was not allowed to repeat any of the information written, so it was a big problem trying to remember or make up stories to remain current with our MI's. The oldcomer would review and dissect the MI every night and if the newcomer was suspected of lying the newcomer would be forced to stay up later and start coming clean and possibly verbally assaulted.

21. During my time at kids helping kids, between the 2nd and 5th phases, I had read the Holy Bible twice. It was encouraged reading and we weren't allowed to read much else. Encouraged means forced when I am making a reference regarding the program. In my post program life I have decided to not return to my church. I have an aversion to large groups and specific ideologies now. I enjoyed the church before I went into the program. Now I have no religious affiliation. I am nervous around any church or congregation.

22. PT or (physical training) This was a daily event lasting at least an hour. We were forced to do calisthenics which included pushups, situps, jumping jacks, wall push-ups, windmills and many other various exercises. It was always exhausting and I remember one day in particular when the staff decided to go for a jumping jack record. We did 1200 jumping jacks in a row. It was very painful. The blisters on my feet were the worst I have had in my life. I also remember doing several sets of pushups often where my chest muscles would lock up and I would be forced to keep going. Sometimes we would do 15 sets of 10 but we would do them in a row. In other words, we would do one set of 10, stand up and then return to the floor immediately for the next set. It was grueling. It was very painful.

23. I would rarely see any 7-steppers (graduates) while on my phases. This program claims an incredible success rate. Where are all of these people that are successful? Why does almost no one come back to pay tribute and be a part of this miraculous institution? If my life was saved by a treatment center I would visit often. But almost no one came back. I wasn't allowed to ask why because it was against the rules to ask.         

 The constant torment I was forced to endure at kids helping kids was a mixture of torture, brainwashing, abuse and human rights violations. The tremendous psychological damage I have incurred as a result has been a large detriment in my ability to navigate my way through society. In spite of the program I have managed to make some small accomplishments in life. Although, I believe my mental health was wrecked by Kids Helping Kids. It has taken many years of personal work to reverse some of the program's damage. I am very far from achieving psychological health due to the abuses I received in the program.

 More importantly, I am very worried for the youth of today who are in these treatment facilities and "out of sight" to the public. They are the reason I am writing this. We cannot see into their minds or see what damage is taking place. There is a great need for strong regulations and criminal prosecution of those who facilitate such violations against our vulnerable youth.

PathwayFamilyCenterTruth has my permission to use this statement.

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on

October 31, 2007.

Anthony Connelly

 

 

 

 

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