A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against state officials by the parents of a youngster enrolled in the defunct Challenger II wilderness treatment program.
Judge David Winder ruled the lawsuit filed by Herbert and Judith Tepper, of Los Angeles, failed to show that the Utah attorney general's office interfered with their parental rights by closing the program.The Teppers' son, Jordan, was pulled from the program along with some 20 other youngsters when the state sought a temporary restraining order in state court last September, claiming it no longer could guarantee their safety.
Jordan Tepper was questioned by state Department of Social Service investigators, who later told a 4th District judge that the teen had been tied to a tree after trying to flee the program and dragged through the brush when he refused to hike.
The 63-day program, which cost $16,000, promised to teach responsibility to rebellious teenagers in southern Utah's red rock desert.
It came under fire last June when a Florida girl died of heat exhaustion while hiking in the program.
The Teppers claimed they had a constitutional right to raise their son as they saw fit, and claimed the state was interfering by attempting to shut the program down.
Winder ruled the attorney general's office and Department of Social Services were acting under authority of state law.