PACIFIC COAST ACADEMY CONTROVERSY
(August 2001) The Pacific Coast Academy, Western Samoa, has been in the national news this last month. A summary of articles, including a series of front page stories on the Samoa Observer, can be found on StrugglingTeens.com's News page. Swirling around the school are allegations of abuse, denials, charges, countercharges, the removal of some students by the American Consulate, the return of some students to the school, some parents defending the school, while others have removed their child and threatened lawsuits. As near as we can tell, the list of participants in the school includes Steve Cartisano, identified as the school’s marketing agent in the US. In some stories, Cartisano was one of the school owners, who has been surrounded by controversy in several schools where he has been involved, starting with the Wilderness Challenger in the early nineties. Also listed is: Lonnie Fuller, Director of the School, who has had some association with Cartisano at least since the New Hope Academy started falling apart two years ago and Steve Wofford, camp director. Dave Parker was identified as the owner of the property leased by Pacific Coast Academy and occasional agent for the school. He is also the Director of the Youth Rehabilitation Administration Agency of Western Samoa, which claims to have licensed Pacific Coast Academy as a “licensed residential treatment center in good standing....” Others involved include Junior Moeai and Sam Schwenke, Directors who had left the school, Academy Attorney, Maiava Visekota Peteru, and David Weston, who is identified as a consultant. Moana Thunken, is the clinical director, and Dan Wakefield is the owner of New Hope, who originally signed the lease with Dave Parker. Woodbury Reports will welcome statements by people with personal knowledge of this school or situation for inclusion on our web site, either for or against.