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Drake Counseling Center lawsuit related to Jamestown facility settled for $1.5 million


JAMESTOWN, N.D. (KFGO-AM) -- A Fargo woman who sent her son to an alcohol and drug treatment center in Jamestown seven years ago says the program wasn't quite what she expected. The inpatient center, which closed without warning in 2008, was owned by Fargo-based Drake Counseling Services. One of the staff members was a convicted felon with a lengthy criminal record. Lawyers for 11 minors sued Drake and the case has now been settled for $1.5 million. There were claims of drug use and drinking, sex and pornography. Some of the clients say there was often a shortage of food.

"I've questioned myself at times just because I couldn't get any answers", the patient's mother told KFGO News. "I've had horrible guilt that I chose this place for him" so there's been living with that I mean not just my son, but all the kids, its hard to -- when you have kids that are in trouble anyway and then they see somebody act or do this to him or to them and not have any repercussions for it, but they have all been placed there because they were in trouble, its hard to explain that."

Her son, who was smoking marijuana, was sent to the center when he was 14. She pushed for criminal charges, but the Stutsman County State's Attorney declined to file charges. Chuck Drake now runs a similar adolescent treatment center near Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.

"He had several incidences of drinking and doing drugs, basically melting meth down over the stove and shooting up in front of the kids. There were two girls that he on the day that they were supposed to be released that he gace drugs to and had sex with, he played personal pornographic videos of him and his girlfriend and one of her friends for the kids."

Drake also has outpatient treatment centers in Fargo and Grand Forks. He hasn't responded to requests for comment. Southeast Judicial District Court Judge Thomas Merrick recently issued an order releasing documents to KFGO News. Much of the information was under seal since minors were part of the case.