Victims who were abused at a boarding school in West Virginia recently won a hefty settlement, but the money doesn’t wipe away the pain. These students were sent to the school because they were “troubled teens”, and the abuse that they were subjected to is some of the worst we’ve seen. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.

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*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: Victims who were abused at a boarding school in West Virginia recently won a hefty settlement. But the money doesn’t wipe away the suffering. These students were sent to school because they were troubled teens as they put it. And they were abused. And they were subjected to some of the worst treatment that you can imagine. Just a note, in Vegas, Las Vegas, I hold two times a year, I bring in thousands of lawyers from all over the country. And we have these meetings where we talk about kind of pivotal issues. We did that with tobacco when we started the tobacco case. We did it with opioids when we started the opioid case. We did it with human trafficking. We did it with PFAS. So twice a year, these lawyers come in from all over the country. And we talk about issues that are pivotal issues, societal issues and we try to get them involved in the litigation to try to push back. This is one, I’m bringing in Paris Hilton. She’s gonna open the program with me in Vegas. Paris Hilton, people don’t understand, she was hugely abused in these types of facilities. Four different facilities she was sent to, abused in every one of ’em. And so she’s kind of the face of it right now. She’s doing a great job getting the word out there. But this case, this case is just a typical kind of case, isn’t it?

Farron Cousins: It really is. And so what we had here was this Miracle Meadows, it was partially religious, founded with a religious intent. And they said, send us your troubled teens. They opened up in 1988. And then immediately the abuse starts. The people who were sent here because the parents couldn’t handle ’em, they were a little too rowdy, said we were forced into labor. We were shackled, handcuffed to our beds. We were put in isolation for long stretches of time. Not just hours, but days and days locked in these little boxes. They were sexually assaulted. There’s been plenty of evidence that several of the women that were sent here got pregnant from the guards. It was just horrific.

Mike Papantonio: Starvation.

Farron Cousins: Starvation. Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Well, here’s the problem. We’re already handling some of these cases. This same fact situation is taking place, really in every, every place in the union. It’s the same formula because it’s corporate. Okay. You have corporations that have moved into this space because it’s so lucrative. They’re making so much money. The state doesn’t really pay much attention to it. They take command of the regulators that are supposed to be over watching this. They kind of make all the rules. And when it becomes as corporate as it is, when it becomes a multi-billion dollar corporate entity, which is what it is, this just continues, gets worse and worse.

Farron Cousins: And especially when you have these ones, it’s definitely different than where Paris Hilton was with her boarding schools. But when you have the schools for the so-called troubled teens, it’s so much harder for those kids to come forward with these allegations of abuse because they’ve already been written off. You know, oh, well you’re there because you’re a problem anyway. How can we trust you? We don’t believe you. And it makes the abuse so much worse too.

Mike Papantonio: The parents don’t, they’ve got it down to such a science, that the parents don’t believe that the abuse is taking place, a lot of times. There was a great documentary done about Paris Hilton, and we’re gonna be talking about that documentary in Vegas, just next month is when this is gonna take place. But in that documentary, she confronts her mother. And it’s almost as if her mom wants to say, I just didn’t know anything. I didn’t know what you were going through. And what she went through was horrible. And, so anyway, we’re gonna, my goal is to have lawyers that come into this meeting, leave that meeting, go to their states and try to do something about the problem in their states, just like we did on tobacco. It just like we did on opioids. Just like we did on PFAS, just like we did on human trafficking. And this is the place, this is the meeting place where that takes place. Takes place April and October every year and has for 25 years. That’s where you see these new cultural, they’re not new anymore because we’ve been doing it for so long. But these cultural, what I call cultural change pieces of litigation, that’s where they originate.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.