The Teen Torture Candidate?
June 27, 2007
By Maia Szalavitz
Romney / Lichfield news ...
When Republican presidential
candidate Mitt Romney said he'd support doubling the size of the
prison at Guantanamo Bay, he was trying to show voters that he'd be
tough on terror. Two of his top fundraisers, however, have long
supported using tactics that have been likened to torture for
Email Print As The Hill noted last
week, 133 plaintiffs filed a civil suit against Romney's Utah
finance co-chair, Robert Lichfield, and his various business
entities involved in residential treatment programs for adolescents.
The umbrella group for his organization is the World Wide
Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS, sometimes
known as WWASP) and Lichfield is its founder and is on its board of
The suit alleges that teens were
locked in outdoor dog cages, exercised to exhaustion, deprived of
food and sleep, exposed to extreme temperatures without adequate
clothing or water, severely beaten, emotionally brutalized, and
sexually abused and humiliated. Some were even made to eat their own
But the link to teen abuse goes far
higher up in the Romney campaign. Romney's national finance co-chair
is a man named Mel Sembler. A long time friend of the Bushes,
Sembler was campaign finance chair for the Republican party during
the first election of George W. Bush, and a major fundraiser for his
father. The rest of my article detailing his connection with abusive
treatment of teens and the ongoing problems with "tough love"
programs can be found here, at Reason.com