The hacker group Anonymous has targeted a Utah boarding school for troubled teenagers, alleging abuse of children at the academy.
The Daily Mail reports that former students were beaten, bullied and sent to solitary confinement during their time at Logan River Academy in Logan, Utah.
Jeff Smith, co-owner of the academy, has denied all allegations which he says are “unfounded.” However, this has not stopped Anonymous from launching a campaign to shut down the school, comparing the way teenagers are treated to Guantanamo Bay detainees.
Michael Carter, 28, says he spent 13 months at the academy. A video posted on YouTube on Oct. 13 claims he was “incessantly indoctrinated” and punished for saying negative things about the academy.
Smith would not comment to The Daily Dot on whether Carter was ever a student at the school.
Other former students came forward on shutdownloganriver.com with testimonies, which are the basis of a video released by Anonymous on Vimeo to initiate operation #ShutLoganRiver and “demand investigation into possible abuse.”
The Anonymous group’s Twitter account @YourAnonNews called for a “tweetstorm” on the social media site on Monday to bring attention to the allegations.
But Smith tells the Daily Dot that these allegations have been drummed up by a former academy member who was angry his parents sent his brother there.
“They used social media and the Internet to garner support for their cause, which initially was for the brother to get home,” Smith said. “It’s just morphed into this much bigger thing now. I think it has something to do with how connected people are. There are people who can rally around anything.”
Logan River Academy released a statement Monday to the Daily Dot via email denying allegations of illegal or unsafe conduct, calling the information being share on social media is “false, inaccurate and misleading.”
“Students are not isolated, secluded, abused or mistreated in any way,” the statement said. “To the contrary, students facing an acute and temporary crisis receive increased supervision and support during the crisis to protect them and others and to best provide for their well-being.”