A Colorado woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted at a ranch for troubled teens is suing Phil McGraw and ViacomCBS, claiming the television doctor pressured her family into sending her to the facility without disclosing allegations of mistreatment from former attendees.

In a complaint filed this week in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Hannah Archuleta says she suffered physical and emotional abuse as a result of her October 2019 appearance on the “Dr. Phil” show and subsequent stay at Turn-About Ranch in Escalante, Utah. She is seeking unspecified damages in the suit, which was filed by women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred.

“We look forward to fighting for justice for Hannah,” the attorney said in a statement.

McGraw spokesman Jerry Sharell said in an email that Archuleta’s parents chose to send her to the ranch and noted that the family had sued Turn-About Ranch in a case that was dismissed and then refiled. He added, “None of the defendants in this case had anything to do with her program at that facility, as documents signed by the Archueta’s reflect.”

According to the complaint, Archuleta was 17 years old and grappling with suicidal thoughts when her family turned to McGraw, viewing him as “qualified and capable of helping people in distress.” Her mother, Heather, was terminally ill, and the whole family was struggling. Archuleta and her parents were invited to appear on the show, but the segment producer allegedly warned them to “never bring up suicide,” saying it was too great a liability.

McGraw immediately pushed Turn-About Ranch as the solution to Archuleta’s challenges, the complaint says. The morning before the family appeared onstage, he asked her father, Tony, to come into his office and pitched the ranch as the best place for her, saying she should go directly from the studio to the facility.

“Dr. Phil said that, ‘Hannah needs to go to the Ranch to have any chance at a good life. It’s that serious we help her right now and today,'" states the lawsuit, which was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The TV doctor had arranged transportation to the facility before even initiating the conversation. He told Tony Archuleta he had “a Ph.D. in wimping out” and needed “to have the courage to win just this once,” according to the suit. McGraw also allegedly said he would oversee her treatment, which the show financed. He said he had personally chosen to help them because it was Heather Archuleta’s last dying wish that her daughter would be okay.

In a post-taping moment the complaint described as chaotic and confusing, a “Dr. Phil” staffer rushed Archuleta’s father into a room to sign paperwork he didn’t have time to read. Archuleta’s mother had a panic attack. Show employees assured the couple the doctor was personally invested in them and the ranch was the best place for their daughter.

They did not mention allegations of harm experienced by youth at Turn-About, a working cattle ranch in a small Utah town. Through the program, the facility says on its website, “therapy, academics and hard work come together to impart lasting and powerful change in teens.”

But the lawsuit lists several examples of concerning incidents. In one highly publicized case, program attendee Clay Brewer bludgeoned two staffers in 2016 while trying to escape. One died, while the other was permanently disabled and later succumbed to her injuries. Brewer was sentenced to five years to life in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Elizabeth Verney, who was 15 when she attended the program, filed a lawsuit against it in 2012, alleging mistreatment. And rapper Danielle Bregoli, also known as Bhad Bhabie, publicly claimed she was harmed at the ranch.

But the Archuletas did not know of those incidents and, relying on the recommendation from McGraw and his staff, agreed to send their daughter there. A company that provides adolescent transportation whisked Archuleta away after filming wrapped.

A week and a half after her arrival, Archuleta alleges, a male staff member grabbed her buttocks while the two were alone in a kitchen.

“Hannah was paralyzed with fear,” the complaint states. “She was a minor, she had recently arrived, and she carried the heavy stigma of her ‘patient’ status. The male staff member, by contrast, was not only a grown man, but was in a position of authority over her as a Turn-About staff member. As an adult with control over Hannah, he made her feel powerless.”

Archuleta didn’t report the assault, fearful of retaliation or punishment. The same staff member sexually assaulted her a second time, groping her buttocks and vaginal area, according to the suit. She notified Turn-About staff of the incident, but they were allegedly skeptical and dismissive and took no meaningful disciplinary action against her alleged assailant.

Instead, the complaint says she was punished, forced to pick up horse manure, sleep on a wooden plank, verbally abused and deprived of sleep.

After she wrote to her parents about the alleged mistreatment, her father traveled to the ranch. On Dec. 19, 2019, he pulled her out of the program. The next day, he filed a report with the local sheriff’s office.

“Dr. Phil and the Show knew, or should have known, of various complaints and charges of physical and emotional harm that befell minors sent to the facility,” the complaint says.

It also suggests that McGraw or others named in the suit could receive financial consideration for recommending and sending guests of the “Dr. Phil” show to Turn-About Ranch. No further details were provided.

Sharell, McGraw’s spokesman, denied that claim, saying that, “There are not and never have been financial ties to Turn-About Ranch.”

Ranch representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday. Sharell said the case “will be vigorously contested.”

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