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Posted December 2, 2004 

A Statement From
Mark and Cheryl Sudweeks, Owners
Whitmore Academy
Nephi, UT

December 1, 2004

Dear Parents;

I don't know where to begin. This past six days has been such a nightmare that it is hard to find a place where it makes any sense to try to sort out what has happened. But the one thing I wanted to do once we could catch our breath is to let each of you hear from the horse's mouth.

I guess the best thing is to start from the beginning. On November 12, we as a group all walked to the church to play basketball. It was 8:30 p.m., XXXXX, a new boy in the program of three weeks, took an opportunity to sneak out of the group and drop in on a party happening two doors down from the Mansion. Here he was given some Vodka. He drank the Vodka on the way to the church by himself. When we noticed his condition, we brought him back to the mansion with all the kids. XXXXX divulged to the group that he had gotten the Vodka from these boys after some consultation with a few of the other kids. XXXXX initially claimed that one of the other kids in our program gave it to him, which was not the case. After the real confession at about midnight, we called the Nephi police to have their support in dealing with the matter. They arrived at the scene, only to inform us that there was nothing they could do to the partying boys' two houses down since they were on private property. So one of the girls in the program, along with her support group, went to the house and asked one of the boys to come outside. Once he was out in the street, the police immediately approached him from behind the bushes. However, this boy refused a breathalyzer test and would not answer any questions. So the police came to the mansion to question XXXXX about being given the alcohol from this boy who is over 18 years old.
When the two officers began to question XXXXX, he became very belligerent, calling the police "F---ing pigs," and going off on them like a mad man. XXXXX then tried to slug one of them, and tried to kick the other. They immediately put him on the floor and knelt on him to immobilize him, all the time this horrible language was coming from his mouth. He was like a 'demon possessed.'

After about four or five minutes of trying to calm XXXXX down, they mutually agreed to let him up if he would behave himself. Once the policeman let him up, he started screaming and hitting himself in the face, over and over. So he was subdued again.

I then stepped in and asked the officers if I could take XXXXX to the basement room, immediately below where they were standing, to get him to a place where I could calm him down. Once in the basement, I tried to talk XXXXX into submission. (It is important to note that during this whole ordeal, there were approximately 20 of the kids who witnessed all of this.) Five boys accompanied me downstairs where I asked them to watch XXXXX while I went up the stairs to talk to the police. Once I left the room, XXXXX jumped up off the couch, took a swing, and hit one of the boys watching him in the eye. We took this boy to the doctor the next morning, where he had an MRI due to the blackening under his eye.

When the commotion of the incident filtered through the floor to where Cheryl and I were talking with the police, I went back down stairs to stop the scuffle. I separated XXXXX and put him on the floor in our bedroom where I began to talk him down from his erratic state. During this conversation, XXXXX went off on this sort of 'hypnotic' trance of crying and bawling about how he missed Hitler and how he believes in Hitler's cause and that he would do anything to further this cause. He also bawled about how he missed Jimmy Hendrix. This bizarre conversation went on for 10 or 15 minutes before he settled down enough to where I felt he would fall asleep.

By now it was approximately 2:30 a.m. The police were still here talking to Cheryl and the kids. They finally left and I went downstairs to the bedroom where I had placed XXXXX. He was still awake but not causing any problems. I asked two of the boys if they wouldn't mind sleeping at the top of the stairs in the TV room, just in case XXXXX tried to run

At sometime around daybreak, XXXXX slipped out of the room, went through the back basement door, and ran. When we noticed this, (I don't remember the time), but it wasn't that long after the fact, we immediately called the Nephi police who came back to the Mansion for details. We also called XXXXX's parents who were informed of the (incident). We told them (police) to first try looking at the house two doors down where he had gotten the alcohol. Sure enough, XXXXX was on their back lawn sitting under a tree. When the police picked him up, he told them that we have been abusing him. Now, I would like to interject a letter I received from his parents that very same morning…………..

"The two years preceding the date of this letter, our son XXXXX had been plagued with drug and alcohol addiction, along with both behavioral and social difficulties. Prior to sending XXXXX to the Whitmore Academy Boarding School, XXXXX had been admitted to both in-patient and out-patient substance abuse programs. XXXXX had alleged abuse at both treatment programs and in our home. He additionally made statements indicating his desire to hurt himself and/or commit suicide.

XXXXX had been under the care of both psychologists and psychiatrists during the aforementioned time. He had been diagnosed with various mental disorders such as bipolar and depression. Several treatments plans were initiated with negative results.

At this point, his mother and I elected to send XXXXX to the Whitmore Academy Boarding School. We had personally known of a family who had sent their daughter to the aforementioned boarding school approximately two years earlier. Their daughter was doing well and spoke highly of her experience at the school. XXXXX made numerous statements threatening he would commit suicide or claim he was physically abused if he was to attend the Whitmore Academy Boarding School. Therefore, XXXXX's prior statements, coupled with the current allegations he has made against The Whitmore Academy Boarding School should be viewed with certain suspicion, the allegations are most probably without merit, even if he has associated marks and bruises, as his mother and I have witnessed him inflicting marks upon himself in the past.

Since this transpired on November 12, we have had constant harassment from the Utah State DCFS. They have taken it upon themselves to call the parents and inform them that we are abusing kids. They have been successful in talking three parents into removing their kids from the program.

My concern at this point is the manner in which this DCFS is allowed to portray presumed guilt without any substantial proof. It is like a snowball that is gaining momentum.

Let me ask you one thing that kind of sums up my feelings………. If your child that is here with us were being abused, do you not think that it could not be kept a secret? You talk to your kids each week. The kids talk among themselves. The police and the DCFS have given these kids every opportunity to come out with any concerns of abuse that they would have if this type of thing were going on here. It was basically a FREE TICKET home for them if they would say that we abuse kids here. Yet, they chose to tell what they felt they needed to say, and obviously, they are still here. There are no secrets. And more importantly, no abuse or anything that even resembles abuse. There is nothing but love here and the kids know it.

We have hired an attorney who will be looking after our interest from here on. All we can do is pray that justice prevails.

Lastly, we appreciate your support. You know how your child is doing. You know that this alleged abuse is 'bogus.' Parents are up in arms over this. At this point, your comments and support will be considered to help build our character reputation and support our claim that we are innocent.

Thank you so much for your support.
Mark and Cheryl Sudweeks

P.S. We promise to keep you informed. Perhaps you would like a little drama to lighten your day.

Copyright © 2004, Woodbury Reports, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
(This article may not be reproduced without written approval of the publisher.)

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