Case dismissed in Utah teen’s boot-camp death
Aspen, CO Colorado
MONTROSE, Colo. ” A judge has dismissed a grand jury indictment against a company accused in the death of a Utah teen at a court-ordered Colorado wilderness therapy camp.
District Judge Jeff Herron said this week the indictment’s wording failed to answer how the company that ran the camp violated the law in the 2007 death of 15-year-old Caleb Jensen. The company named in the indictment was West Caldwell, N.J.-based Community Education Centers Inc.
Jensen died from a staph infection that prosecutors alleged went untreated despite glaring symptoms.
“The death of Mr. Jensen was an unfortunate and tragic event, but it was not a criminal event,” said Colleen Scissors, an attorney for the CEC.
The case was slated for trial in March. CEC faced charges of child abuse, criminal negligence resulting in death and criminally negligent homicide.
Prosecutors also dropped charges late last year against three others named in the 2008 indictment ” the boot camp’s operations director, an emergency medical technician, and the camp’s medical director.
Colorado officials closed the camp two months after Jensen’s death.
Jensen’s mother, Dawn Boyd Woodson, has a pending civil lawsuit against the company. In the lawsuit filed in January, she alleges that her son was forced to take long hikes without water and that counselors dragged him by arm and wrist restraints when he stumbled in pain because they believed he was faking.
To prevent his escape, the teenager was bound tightly in a tarp at night, the lawsuit alleges. Woodson said in a lawsuit that program officials planned to punish him for his “behavior issues” by keeping him for a longer time.
Jensen had been sentenced to 60 days to the Alternative Youth Adventures program for troubled teens. The camp was near Montrose in the Colorado backcountry, about 265 miles southwest of Denver.
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