A nightmare of abuse alleged at Wyoming ‘troubled teen’ ranches
Trinity Teen Solutions and Triangle Cross Ranch claimed they could cure troubled teens sent to their Christian programs in remote Wyoming. But some former residents allege abuse.
For girls who were depressed, drinking, skipping school or fighting with their families, Trinity Teen Solutions claimed to offer a cure. Desperate parents paid $6,000 a month to send their children to the Christian therapeutic program at a working ranch in a remote area of Wyoming, often without visiting first.
What girls encountered once they got there, according to 22 women who spent time at the ranch as teens from 2007 to 2020, was a nightmare of hard labor and humiliating punishments that left some injured and others with post-traumatic stress disorder.
In recent interviews and court filings, the women described injuries to their hands, legs and feet, including cuts, frostbite and in one case torn ligaments requiring surgery, from hauling heavy metal pipes to irrigate fields and carrying bales of hay they said weighed over 50 pounds. The girls built barbed wire fences, dragged carcasses of dead animals into a pile and were driven around the county to clean churches and recreation centers, they said.
Clarice Steg, left, and Maggie Higgins carry irrigation pipes at the ranch. Trinity Teen Solutions sent Higgins’ parents this photo as part of an update on her time at the ranch.Courtesy Maggie Higgins“From the time we woke up in the morning to the time we went back to sleep, we were always doing work. Always,” said Taybre Conrad, 19, who left the ranch in 2020. “And they were having us do the type of stuff that grown men do.”
If they stepped out of line, girls were forced to run up and down a small mountain, dodging rattlesnakes, or were given only a can of olives and beans for a meal, according to former residents. Three women said that staff members who accused them of being “stubborn” tied them to a goat with a leash for days at a time.