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Nightmare in Logan Canyon

SCAFOLK032Bx003Fd07Item0002.pdf

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Nightmare in Logan Canyon

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Trespassers ambushed by security guards at St. Anne's Retreat (1997)
Nightmare in Logan Canyon

[Photo by Mitch Mascaro/Herald Journal. Caption: Cache County Sheriff Sgt. Brian Locke answers questions from parents and youths who gathered at the sheriff’s office Saturday to express concerns about the youth’s treatment at the hands of three men apparently serving as watchmen on posted property in Logan Canyon.]

Trespassing teens claim they were terrorized by watchmen
By Phil Jensen
Staff writer

About 30 Cache County teen-agers said they walked into a night of Vietnam-style terror in Logan Canyon Friday night when they were ambushed, shot at, handcuffed, tied together by their necks and threatened with their lives by shotgun-toting private guards.

A sergeant with the Cache County Sheriff’s Office, saying he’s never seen anything like this in 11 years on the force, said an investigation is under way. No arrests were made.

One teen-age boy, allegedly butted by a shotgun, was treated at Logan Regional Hospital and released. Some girls said they were sexually molested and other teens showed wrist marks left by the plastic, store-bought handcuffs.

The Halloween-come-early started about 10 p.m. Friday when several carloads of high school students, driven by curiosity of a “scary place,” arrived at an area formerly called St. Anne’s Retreat midway up Logan Canyon.

The teen-agers told authorities they walked over a small bridge and through a green gate topped with barbed wire when someone carrying a shotgun jumped from the bushes, ordered them to hit the ground, then fired a shot over their heads.

They said three men appeared armed with shotguns with flashlights on the end of the barrels, searched and handcuffed them, then ordered them into an outside, empty swimming pool.

There, they said, they were strapped together by ropes around their necks and told that the ropes were linked to explosives. If they tried to get free, they were told, the ropes would tighten and blow their heads off.

They said they also were told that if they tried to run, the guards would shoot off their legs.

One guard bragged about using the same tactics on Viet Cong in the Vietnam War, said one of the teen-agers.

The teens said the guards posted themselves outside the pool, shouting obscenities and threats at the line of teen-agers in the pool. They said the guards also took photographs of each teenager and took their names before sheriff’s deputies showed up.

[Photo/caption: The barb-wire reinforced gate leading to what locals call ‘The Nunnery’ stood open Saturday afternoon.]

Deputy Troy Liquin was first on the scene, followed by three other deputies.

Deputies said they ordered the guards to cut off the handcuffs and free the youngsters from the neck ropes, then cited the teen-agers with criminal trespass and sent them home.

Sgt. Brian Locke said deputies got the names of the three guards but did not confiscate their weapons. He said the sheriff’s office did not know the name of the property owner who hired the guards.

Teenagers told authorities they were scared for their lives.

One 16-year-old Sky View High School student said he was ordered face-down on the ground as he and several friends walked through the gate, then hand cuffed.

“I thought I was doing what I was supposed to do, and this guy picked me up by the back of my shirt and tossed me,” the boy said. “These guys are psychos.”

Girls gave statements to the sheriff’s office that they were sexually molested by being fondled under their shirts. The girls said they were told they were being frisked.

The boy treated at Logan Regional Hospital said he was kicked in the stomach and knocked unconscious by a glow to the head. He was treated for a concussion and head wound.

Others quoted one of the guards as saying, “I hope you run so I can take your legs off.”

About 40 parents and teenagers showed up outside the sheriff’s office in Logan Saturday afternoon demanding action, saying they were concerned primarily with what might happen to unwitting teen-agers drawn to the old St. Anne’s, also know [known] locally as “the Nunnery,” Saturday night.

“A friend of one of these kids might wind up dead,” one parent said.

One parent from an outlying Cache County town whose son was there Friday night said his main concern is that this won’t happen to kids again. “This is well beyond what is reasonable and what is legal,” the father said. “And I want to see them (the watchmen) prosecuted.”

Locke, the sheriff’s sergeant, said statements have been and are being taken from the teen-agers and the incident will be investigated by detectives.

“This is serious,” Locke said. “I have never seen anything like this in my 11 years.”

“If there was use of deadly force, they will be arrested,” Lock [Locke] said. Locke, who responded to the scene, midway between Card Canyon and the Right Hand Fork turnoff, said it looked like a “prison camp” with the gates topped with barbed wire. “There’s nothing like it in the country,” Locke said.

Lock [Locke] said the area has changed ownership and was under renovation. He said there have been several recent reports of vandalism including one early Friday morning.

A separate encounter about 4:30 a.m. Friday may have been even more frightening, according to statements given the sheriff’s office by five boys and two girls.

They said they were drawn to the area out of stories that it was a “whacked out place” and were accosted by three guards armed with shotguns, pistols and knives.

They said one of the guards pointed a gun at an Asian teen-ager, called him a “gook,” and said, “I know something about you Vietnamese…I have killed many of them.” A guard put a pistol to The [the] Asian boy’s head and threatened to shoot, then discharged the gun into the ground, the boys told authorities.

They said the guards took their pictures, saying, “Sit up straight or I will slit your throat.” The picture-shooting continued after the deputies arrived.

When three deputies arrived in three cars, they replaced the plastic handcuffs with official handcuffs. The youths were then taken by squad cars to the sheriff’s office, where they were cited for trespassing and released. Their two cars were impounded.

As they were being escorted by deputies off the land, one of the watchmen walked behind with a shotgun and another took pictures of them and their license plates, they said. The teens were puzzled that this behavior did not seem to concern the deputies.

“I’m just happy to be alive,” said one 19-year-old. “But I don’t like the idea of them having by [my] license plate number.”

Lt. Von Williamson, who is investigating, said he doesn’t know the details of Friday morning’s incident. But he said, “I doubt very seriously that that occurred,” Williamson said.

The teen-agers in both incidents said they showed up only as a Halloween-time curiosity and did not vandalism

“I’ve been here (in Cache Valley) since the 8th grade and have never been there until now, but I bet every teen-ager in the county has been up there,” said one 19-year-old, referring to the old retreat as the local “haunted house.”

Williamson said Saturday night that deputies instructed the watchmen on the proper use of weapons and didn’t anticipate any repeats of the alleged menacing Saturday night. He said, as far as the sheriff’s office knew, the guards had left the area, although manpower shortages prevented the office from posting a deputy at the scene overnight Saturday.

A press release issued by the office Saturday night referred to statements from teenagers of shots fired, excessive force and fondling of female teenagers.

“Due to the volatility of the situation, no action was taken on those allegations at the time,” the release said. It said evidence will be turned over to the county attorney.

Source

Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections and Archives, FOLK COLL

Rights

Reproduction for publication, exhibition, web display or commercial use is only permissible with the consent of the USU Libraries Special Collections and Archives, phone (435) 797-2663.

Relation

Utah State University Folklore in the news collection, 1973-2012, FOLK COLL 32
http://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv04849
St. Anne's Retreat

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http://digital.lib.usu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/p16944coll20/id/11
SCAFOLK032Bx003Fd07Item0002.pdf

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Nightmare in Logan Canyon

[Photo by Mitch Mascaro/Herald Journal. Caption: Cache County Sheriff Sgt. Brian Locke answers questions from parents and youths who gathered at the sheriff’s office Saturday to express concerns about the youth’s treatment at the hands of three men apparently serving as watchmen on posted property in Logan Canyon.]

Trespassing teens claim they were terrorized by watchmen
By Phil Jensen
Staff writer

About 30 Cache County teen-agers said they walked into a night of Vietnam-style terror in Logan Canyon Friday night when they were ambushed, shot at, handcuffed, tied together by their necks and threatened with their lives by shotgun-toting private guards.

A sergeant with the Cache County Sheriff’s Office, saying he’s never seen anything like this in 11 years on the force, said an investigation is under way. No arrests were made.

One teen-age boy, allegedly butted by a shotgun, was treated at Logan Regional Hospital and released. Some girls said they were sexually molested and other teens showed wrist marks left by the plastic, store-bought handcuffs.

The Halloween-come-early started about 10 p.m. Friday when several carloads of high school students, driven by curiosity of a “scary place,” arrived at an area formerly called St. Anne’s Retreat midway up Logan Canyon.

The teen-agers told authorities they walked over a small bridge and through a green gate topped with barbed wire when someone carrying a shotgun jumped from the bushes, ordered them to hit the ground, then fired a shot over their heads.

They said three men appeared armed with shotguns with flashlights on the end of the barrels, searched and handcuffed them, then ordered them into an outside, empty swimming pool.

There, they said, they were strapped together by ropes around their necks and told that the ropes were linked to explosives. If they tried to get free, they were told, the ropes would tighten and blow their heads off.

They said they also were told that if they tried to run, the guards would shoot off their legs.

One guard bragged about using the same tactics on Viet Cong in the Vietnam War, said one of the teen-agers.

The teens said the guards posted themselves outside the pool, shouting obscenities and threats at the line of teen-agers in the pool. They said the guards also took photographs of each teenager and took their names before sheriff’s deputies showed up.

[Photo/caption: The barb-wire reinforced gate leading to what locals call ‘The Nunnery’ stood open Saturday afternoon.]

Deputy Troy Liquin was first on the scene, followed by three other deputies.

Deputies said they ordered the guards to cut off the handcuffs and free the youngsters from the neck ropes, then cited the teen-agers with criminal trespass and sent them home.

Sgt. Brian Locke said deputies got the names of the three guards but did not confiscate their weapons. He said the sheriff’s office did not know the name of the property owner who hired the guards.

Teenagers told authorities they were scared for their lives.

One 16-year-old Sky View High School student said he was ordered face-down on the ground as he and several friends walked through the gate, then hand cuffed.

“I thought I was doing what I was supposed to do, and this guy picked me up by the back of my shirt and tossed me,” the boy said. “These guys are psychos.”

Girls gave statements to the sheriff’s office that they were sexually molested by being fondled under their shirts. The girls said they were told they were being frisked.

The boy treated at Logan Regional Hospital said he was kicked in the stomach and knocked unconscious by a glow to the head. He was treated for a concussion and head wound.

Others quoted one of the guards as saying, “I hope you run so I can take your legs off.”

About 40 parents and teenagers showed up outside the sheriff’s office in Logan Saturday afternoon demanding action, saying they were concerned primarily with what might happen to unwitting teen-agers drawn to the old St. Anne’s, also know [known] locally as “the Nunnery,” Saturday night.

“A friend of one of these kids might wind up dead,” one parent said.

One parent from an outlying Cache County town whose son was there Friday night said his main concern is that this won’t happen to kids again. “This is well beyond what is reasonable and what is legal,” the father said. “And I want to see them (the watchmen) prosecuted.”

Locke, the sheriff’s sergeant, said statements have been and are being taken from the teen-agers and the incident will be investigated by detectives.

“This is serious,” Locke said. “I have never seen anything like this in my 11 years.”

“If there was use of deadly force, they will be arrested,” Lock [Locke] said. Locke, who responded to the scene, midway between Card Canyon and the Right Hand Fork turnoff, said it looked like a “prison camp” with the gates topped with barbed wire. “There’s nothing like it in the country,” Locke said.

Lock [Locke] said the area has changed ownership and was under renovation. He said there have been several recent reports of vandalism including one early Friday morning.

A separate encounter about 4:30 a.m. Friday may have been even more frightening, according to statements given the sheriff’s office by five boys and two girls.

They said they were drawn to the area out of stories that it was a “whacked out place” and were accosted by three guards armed with shotguns, pistols and knives.

They said one of the guards pointed a gun at an Asian teen-ager, called him a “gook,” and said, “I know something about you Vietnamese…I have killed many of them.” A guard put a pistol to The [the] Asian boy’s head and threatened to shoot, then discharged the gun into the ground, the boys told authorities.

They said the guards took their pictures, saying, “Sit up straight or I will slit your throat.” The picture-shooting continued after the deputies arrived.

When three deputies arrived in three cars, they replaced the plastic handcuffs with official handcuffs. The youths were then taken by squad cars to the sheriff’s office, where they were cited for trespassing and released. Their two cars were impounded.

As they were being escorted by deputies off the land, one of the watchmen walked behind with a shotgun and another took pictures of them and their license plates, they said. The teens were puzzled that this behavior did not seem to concern the deputies.

“I’m just happy to be alive,” said one 19-year-old. “But I don’t like the idea of them having by [my] license plate number.”

Lt. Von Williamson, who is investigating, said he doesn’t know the details of Friday morning’s incident. But he said, “I doubt very seriously that that occurred,” Williamson said.

The teen-agers in both incidents said they showed up only as a Halloween-time curiosity and did not vandalism

“I’ve been here (in Cache Valley) since the 8th grade and have never been there until now, but I bet every teen-ager in the county has been up there,” said one 19-year-old, referring to the old retreat as the local “haunted house.”

Williamson said Saturday night that deputies instructed the watchmen on the proper use of weapons and didn’t anticipate any repeats of the alleged menacing Saturday night. He said, as far as the sheriff’s office knew, the guards had left the area, although manpower shortages prevented the office from posting a deputy at the scene overnight Saturday.

A press release issued by the office Saturday night referred to statements from teenagers of shots fired, excessive force and fondling of female teenagers.

“Due to the volatility of the situation, no action was taken on those allegations at the time,” the release said. It said evidence will be turned over to the county attorney.

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