The Circle R Ranch in Minnesota is on trial for sexual assault on the employee.
Scott Fortier, a counselor at the Circle R Ranch horse camp in Minnesota, was sentenced to prison for possession of child pornography. The camp itself is now being sued after one of its victims, identified in court records as Doe 600 and repeatedly sexually abused by Fortier from 2015 to 2016, decided to hold the camp accountable. Fortier was a long-term warehouse advisor at Circle R in Long Prairie.
In January 2018, Fortier was convicted of producing and owning child pornography after it was reported that the counselor had met a 17-year-old girl and invited her and her 15-year-old friend to his Blaine home in September 2016. He gave her alcohol and used his cell phone to make several videos of himself having sex with both minors. He is currently behind bars for 25 years.
Photo by Tobias Keller on Unsplash
Numerous former campers at Circle R Ranch made statements at the Fortier hearing describing years of abuse. The prosecutor introduced statements by the girls and "a number of other victims that described years of sexual misconduct and rape by Fortier against underage girls in the camp where he was a consultant and program director," the statement said U.S. Attorney General.
Judge Patrick Schiltz compared the subject with "a wolf released on a sheep field," said attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents Doe 600 in her lawsuit. The advisor "continued to have almost unlimited access to vulnerable young girls," he added. "The managers of this camp ignored the danger and safety of the children in the camp."
US attorney Erica MacDonald said when sentenced: “Scott Fortier is a serial robber and rapist who victimized underage girls he met in a summer camp where he was frequent. I am grateful that the court recognized the seriousness of this type of predatory behavior, and I recommend the careful work of investigators and prosecutors to bring these defendants to justice. "
Jill Sanborn, FBI special agent in charge, added that Fortier, who started visiting the camp at the age of 9, "used his position in the camp to track his victims and then further harassed them by producing child pornography . We have no greater duty than protecting the weakest among us. "
Investigators reportedly found hundreds of sexually explicit pictures and videos of minors on Fortier's phone and other devices, including pictures of girls aged 12 who were involved in sexual activity. The accused admitted to having collected the photos. He also testified under oath that his behavior was “part of my world and it was not – in all the years that I had worked with people from [Circle R Ranch] and the group of friends I had never – was. it never seemed so unusual to me. "
"Fortier first visited the Circle R Ranch in the 1980s as a camper and eventually worked there as a junior counselor and counselor," said Anderson.
The horse camp has been in operation for almost half a century. A statement on the camp site said: “All staff are well-educated college and high school students with the knowledge and skills to ensure that every camper is well looked after and the best of his or her stay at the Circle R Ranch gets out. ”
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Circle R Ranch website