Indianapolis Training Center subject of lawsuit

MSNBC News/February 15, 2002
Richard Reeve

Indianapolis -- The Indianapolis Training Center is under state scrutiny after an Eyewitness News investigation documented allegations of abusive treatment of juveniles. Now, the Indiana Civil Liberties Union is considering a lawsuit.

"Our phones have been ringing pretty steadily." ICLU Executive Director John Krull says the group has fielded numerous complaints since our investigation began. "Obviously, what we've seen out there, some serious incidents that merit all kinds of follow-up and a serious in-depth investigation of what's going on."

The ITC is a youth counseling center run by evangelist Bill Gothard. Some kids are sent there by their parents, others by juvenile courts.

But some of those juvenile offenders allege abusive treatment there.

Natasha Zimmerman is a former ITC resident. "There were times I would just sit in there and cry, because I thought I was never going to get out of there."

This teenager's father has already hired an attorney to sue the ITC. She says she was kept in solitary confinement 32 days and denied prescription medicine during her time at ITC.

A 10-year-old girl says staffers hit her with a wooden paddle numerous times.

And another former resident says she was forced to the ground and handcuffed by a group of men. She too, says she was confined alone for weeks.

Krull says, "My feeling, both as a civil libertarian and just as a human being who happens to be a father himself, that's no way to treat children."

ITC officials have refused on-camera interview requests, but deny any wrongdoing. They say the center follows the law.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.