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Media Articles - 1990s

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Narconon Chilocco Kept Open for Remaining Patients

Daily Oklahoman
December 20, 1991

Narconon Chilocco New Life Center, ordered by the state to shut down today, will remain open for its remaining patients, the center's director said.

Meanwhile, an Oklahoma County judge has left in place a restraining order allowing the center to stay open. Judge John Amick said his restraining order would stay in effect until a Kay County judge reviews the case.

The center, denied state certification last week, has 27 patients.

None of the patients at the center when the board issued its ruling has left, Narconon Chilocco president Gary Smith said Thursday.

An Oklahoma County judge on Wednesday denied a request to dismiss a temporary restraining order obtained last year by Narconon to remain open until a decision on certification.

However, District Judge John Amick ruled that Narconon Chilocco cannot accept new patients.

Meanwhile, a group of Indians said Thursday that they are asking the Bureau of Indian Affairs to intervene between Narconon Chilocco and its landlord, the Chilocco Development Authority, which owns the old Chilocco Indian School about six miles north of Newkirk.

The Indians said they are concerned that the authority, made up of tribal leaders from the Kaw, Pawnee, Ponca, Otoe-Missouria and Tonkawa tribes, will evict Narconon Chilocco because it lost its bid for certification.

The Tonkawa tribe is the only one to issue a statement of support for Narconon Chilocco.

A statement by M.M. Chouteau, former Kaw chairman and Bureau of Indian Affairs superintendent of the Pawnee agency, said "the CDA is trying to grab the Chilocco campus for themselves and not honor its 25-year lease, which is currently the only source of revenue for the tribes from this campus."

Chilocco Authority members were scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss Narconon Chilocco's status, but the meeting was canceled for lack of a quorum.

Chilocco Authority chairman Robert Chapman announced that meetings concerning Narconon Chilocco would be closed to all but tribal officials and Narconon representatives.

The issue of whether state officials would be allowed on the Indian campus to enforce any order seeking to close Narconon Chilocco seems undecided.

Larry G. Johnson, a member of the Pawnee Business Council, issued a statement saying, "it is expected that the CDA will not allow the state of Oklahoma to dictate any terms or conditions whatsoever as far as trust lands are concerned. "

On Wednesday, Patrick M. Ryan, lawyer for the Oklahoma Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, asked that the court order enabling Narconon Chilocco to remain open be dissolved because board members last week voted to deny certification.

Board members gave Narconon Chilocco one week to remove its patients.

The board voted 6-0 to deny certification because it classified Narconon Chilocco's treatment program experimental and medically unsafe. The program relies largely on saunas and vitamins.

Amick said the court order allowing Narconon Chilocco to remain open would be dissolved when a Kay County judge held a hearing on the fate of Narconon Chilocco.

Harry Woods Jr., a lawyer for Narconon Chilocco, said Thursday he will file an appeal today in Kay County District Court seeking to overturn the mental health board's certification denial.

He said he also will file a request for a stay that would allow Narconon Chilocco to remain open during the length of the appeal process, which could take two or three years.

Woods said a hearing on his request likely will be held next month in Newkirk.

Meanwhile, Narconon Chilocco supporters have started a petition drive to put public and legislative pressure on the mental health board to reverse its decision.

Supporters say they have obtained more than 1,000 signatures.