In new allegations of abuse and neglect of teenagers and adult patients — some leading to death — at drug-treatment centers owned by CRC Health, which is in turn owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm formerly managed by presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
In previous reports, TIME has also investigated the so-called troubled-teen industry, revealing maltreatment at the residential treatment center Mount Bachelor Academy (now closed), where counselors sexually abused residents under the guise of treatment, and the Sage Walk wilderness program, where neglect led to the death of a teen in 2009. Both programs are owned by Aspen Education, a subsidiary of CRC Health.
Our investigation found previously unreported allegations of abuse and neglect in at least 10 CRC residential drug and teen care facilities across the country, including three I visited undercover in Utah and California. With rare exceptions, such incidents have largely escaped notice because the programs are, thanks to lax state regulations, largely unaccountable.
Court documents and ex-staffers also allege that such incidents reflect, in part, a broader corporate culture at Aspen’s owner, CRC Health Group, a leading national chain of treatment centers. Lawsuits and critics have claimed that CRC prizes profits, and the avoidance of outside scrutiny, over the health and safety of its clients. (We sent specific questions on these basic allegations to CRC and owner Bain Capital. CRC would answer only general questions; Bain did not reply.)
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