The operators of a southern New Mexico ranch for troubled youth are suing the state, accusing investigators of illegally interviewing students and threatening parents with abuse charges if they fail to remove their children from the program.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Sierra County by Tierra Blanca High Country Youth Program. Last week, the Albuquerque Journal reported state investigators were looking into allegations teenage boys were beaten and forced to wear leg shackles and handcuffs for minor infractions of ranch rules.
The suit claims the ranch was targeted following a fatal car crash involving students. It also alleges Gov. Susana Martinez was among the officials who called to direct parents to withdraw their children.
Martinez's office denies she made any such calls, but says she has been briefed on the investigation.
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