Aug 10, 2010 8:10 PM by Montana's News Station

Former Pinehaven student speaks out against investigation of the ranch

ST. IGNATIUS- Since the news broke of teenagers missing from the Pinehaven Christian Children's Ranch, former students flooded social media sites with allegations of physical, emotional, and mental abuse at the ranch.

Earlier this year the Lake County Sheriff's Department conducted an investigation after they had received a letter claiming abuse at Pinehaven. We spoke with a former student who doesn't agree with how the investigation was handled.

"I really just think that they took the information and didn't really want to investigate it," said former Pinehaven student, David Krug.

Krug lived in the ranch from 1993 to 1998. During that time he said he enjoyed the camp but didn't agree with the alleged abuse.

"Overall I can't say that it was so horrible, but was there abuse, yes, is that right, no," said Krug.

The Lake County Sheriffs Department received the complaint earlier this year, from Vicky Tucker, and started an investigation. According to Detective Michael Gehl, he was in contact with Krug and wrote in his report, "two months of time has passed for David Krug to provide any type of documentation to his complaint."

Gehl told us, "on the basis of this single one complaint received by the Lake County Sheriffs Office, the case is unfounded."

But Krug says he did supply the sheriff's department with names of former students, their phone numbers, a survey completed by former students, and interviews addressing the abuse.

"There are too many close relationships between the Lake County Sheriffs Office and a lot of the political officials in Lake County and Pinehaven," said Krug.

Detective Michael Gehl admits that his "kind of friends" with the family who runs the ranch. They sought him out for help and advice with a former student who was struggling.

"Ultimately what I would like to see come from this, is that children are protected that are in the state of Montana, I really have a strong connection with the State of Montana and I just really want to see kids being protected and have hope for a better future. That's really why I'm involved in this," said Krug.

At this time, the Lake County Sheriff's Department said they would be "happy to investigate any allegations of abuse at Pinehaven."


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