SALT LAKE CITY — A residential care center for troubled teenage girls has been sued by the father of a former patient, accusing the clinical director of abusing his 17-year-old daughter.
Police in Enoch, Iron County, confirmed Wednesday that a criminal investigation into Stephen C. Barrick is ongoing. Barrick, 50, has not been arrested and no charges have been filed against him.
On Nov. 7, an Enoch police sergeant interviewed a teen girl who was a client at Renewed Hope Ranch, 425 E. 6000 North in Enoch, for approximately a year, ending in August 2018. The girl told police that she had frequent counseling sessions with Barrick in his private office.
"She stated during the last four months at this program, there was 'petting' and 'making out' that occurred in his office during counseling sessions," according to a search warrant affidavit filed in 5th District Court.
"(She) stated she was aware of a camera system throughout the entire facility including Stephen's office. (She) stated at times, Stephen would allegedly turn the audio record off and move a decorative tree in front of the camera to block the camera from recording," the warrant states.
The girl also told police that she and Barrick engaged in explicit live video chat on their cellphones, according to the affidavit.
When reached by KSL Wednesday evening, Renewed Hope Ranch spokesman Michael Welker said he had been on vacation and had not yet had a chance to read the complaint.
However, he said, "Renewed Hope Ranch's position is that we believe any allegations of misconduct by Mr. Barrick are completely baseless and unfounded."
Welker said the ranch did an internal investigation into the allegations after they were reported to ranch officials by the teen's father. That investigation found the allegations to be unfounded, he said.
Renewed Hope Ranch's position is that we believe any allegations of misconduct by Mr. Barrick are completely baseless and unfounded.
–Michael Welker, Renewed Hope Ranch
"We believe with 100 percent confidence that will be the finding and the result through the civil action. And Mr. Barrick has an absolutely stellar reputation, personally and professionally, in devoting his life and working tirelessly for troubled youth and troubled girls," Welker said.
On Jan. 10, the girl's father filed a lawsuit in 5th District Court against Renewed Hope Ranch and Barrick, alleging both negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, conspiracy, fraud and breach of contract.
The lawsuit also names the father's ex-wife as "an involuntary plaintiff" and as a defendant "because (she) refuses to be a party to this action as a plaintiff and all of the plaintiffs' rights and remedies cannot be fully addressed or resolved without her presence in this action."
The lawsuit claims that Barrick "molested" the teen girl and "engaged in further and "additional wrongful conduct, including sexting with the minor child.
"Rather than help and assist the minor child with her behavior issues, defendants compounded them by sexually taking advantage of a minor child," the lawsuit says.
The civil lawsuit seeks a minimum of $350,000.
Rather than help and assist the minor child with her behavior issues, defendants compounded them by sexually taking advantage of a minor child.
Renewed Hope Ranch seeks "to provide unsurpassed residential care to troubled teenage girls who significantly struggle to overcome their mental, emotional, behavioral and educational challenges," according to its website.
Welker said, "We have devoted a lot of time and self-sacrifice to serve and help troubled girls. It’s what we do, it’s our mission, we want nothing more than to help girls get their lives back, and change their lives."
Barrick has "over 23 years of experience working directly with adolescents" and has previously worked in juvenile corrections, school counseling, private practice counseling and outpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation, the website states.
Contributing: Ashley Imlay