Carolina Springs Academy/ Seneca Ranch

Carolina Springs Academy/ Seneca Ranch

Carolina Springs Academy was located in the town of Due West, South Carolina. The property on which the school was placed is owned by Narvin Lichfield.  The school was founded in 1998, by Lichfield and the original director Richard Byars. In 1999 the South Carolina Department of Social Services found the property to be lacking in several areas of safety, health and ethical provisions. A statement by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported by called for CSA to cease providing services of which they were not licensed to provide. CSA Director Richard Byars refused, saying the compound was a boarding school, not a residential care facility, and didn’t need a license. This report also referred to inappropriate sexual behavior with two females students involving the director Richard Byars. Other female ex-students have reported Richard Byars “hitting on them” and inviting select girls to spend the night at his house. Due to multiple reported “incidents of disciplinary action that may constitute cruel and inhumane punishment” Byars was replaced as director by Peggy Elaine Bell Davis.

In June 2008, a dorm at the facility burned down due to electrical wires in the attic.

In November 2008, a boy ran away from the facility. While it was announced by the school that he was captured by the police, it remains unknown whether or not he returned home or was transferred to Tranquility Bay, which was the normal punishment for such infractions.

In September 2009, the Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse (CAICA) wrote on their webpage that South Carolina’s Department of Social Services, Group Home Licensing had confirmed that Carolina Springs Academy’s license had been revoked. The school was closed and reopened under the name Magnolia Hills Christian school.

In September 2010, there were reports from an animal rights group that the horses on the property were found dead and neglected at the completely abandoned campus. The story was not widely reported in spite of its extremely disturbing nature.

As of 2013, the program has been reopened and currently operates under the name Seneca Ranch, still under the direction of Narvin Lichfield. 

Narvin Lichfield is named as a defendant  in the Turley lawsuit against WWASP.

DSS Investigates Carolina Springs Academy – Desperate Measures

Dead Animals Found at Closed School –


Narvin Lichfield

Narvin has had a long and checkered history with WWASP.  The brother of Robert Litchfield, Narvin appears to have gotten his start with WWASP in 1998 when he opened Carolina Springs Academy, functioning as both owner and Administrator.  He then went on to open, concurrently with CSA, The Academy at Dundee Ranch in Costa Rica in (year) . In 2003, Dundee Ranch was shut down by Costa Rican Child welfare authorities due to allegations that children were being held against their will (illegal in Costa Rica) and were being abused. Officials also found 100 of 193 students did not have the required immigration papers. Litchfield was arrested  and charged with abuse and violations of international law. He was then ordered by the state of South Carolina to stay away from CSA until the case resolved, which wasn’t completed until 2007. But Narvin kept busy, re-opening Dundee Ranch under the new name Pillars of Hope (or “Pilares de Esparanza”.) POH was billed as facility for 18-22 year-olds, but there are mulitple reports of children under 18 being held there.  In 2010, CSA was closed. Narvin vowed to reopen, but backed off that claim when he was arrested by authorities in South Carolina in 2011 after he was pulled over and determined to have been driving on a suspended license and without insurance. He was also served with 3 summonses regarding bad checks written on CSA’s closed checking account totalling about $2,000. Narvin was also named as a defendant in two other lawsuits, namely Lexington Insurance Company vs. Carolina Springs et al., a personal injury suit, and the Turley class action suit.


Randall Hinton

Randall Hinton was something of a jack-of-all-trades for WWASP. He first staed working for WWASP as a tech at Brightway in 1992. After two years at Brightway he moved to the Cross Creek in 1995, working there for one year. He then served as Assitant Director for Spring Creek in 1996, then took a job in the same role for Tranquility Bayi 1997. After Tranquility Bay, in 1998 he again served as Assistant Director, this time for Carolina Springs, working under Narvin Litchfield. In 2001 Litchfield gave him the job as Director at Academy at Dundee Ranch. Hinton also appears to have spent 3 years working for Teen Help, the marketing arm of WWASP.  In 2002, Hinton left WWASP to work in another school, but came back in 2006 in order to serve as Director of Royal Peak/Royal Gorge Academy in Colorado.  Ginton was arrested on chrages of child abuse by authorities in 2007 and the school was shut down in 2008. Hinton was convicted in 2007 of one count each of third-degree assault and false imprisonment. He served 25 days in jail and one year of probation. Hinton appears to have left WWASP.

Survivor Testimony

No Care in Carolina, No Hope in Costa Rica – By Mattie Smith

Testimony of a Graduate of Carolina Springs Academy – By Danny Prior

Carolina Springs Academy – A Mother’s Story

Parents and Teen Tour Carolina Springs Academy – By Lauren Friedlieb

Carolina Springs Academy – Survivor Testimony – Anonymous

Carolina Springs Academy/ Dundee Ranch Academy – Patrick Putman


18 Responses to “Carolina Springs Academy/ Seneca Ranch”

  1. Thorn Bolek Says:

    Hello my ne is thorn bolek I spent five months in CSA from January first 2007 to may17… The school had some benefits and more faults. While I was there I learned very little. Also the school that I had acquired there didn’t transfer over to after I left. I made out very well even though the time spent there has scarred me and I can never get that time back. I have many stories about that wreched school that few get to hear and most don’t believe. If anywhere could have been called hell on earth it was there. I also never received my physical therapy after I broke my collar bone while I was there.


    • corey hardisyy Says:

      Please call me. Im a survivor. I was there around the same time. I ran away. Im corey 2055292857. Hope to hear from you asap. I can t believe I found this


  2. Camilla Says:

    I was a student for a year at Carolina springs then transferred to pilars of hope in Costa Rica. The schools were all about making money not caring for us. It’s just like jail, you have to ask to stand up to sit down to talk to use the bathroom.
    As well I returned back to a WWASP program after I was home for a couple of months back from Costa Rica. I went to skyview academy in Nevada, which also closed Down and has not been re opened to this day.
    The talk about these schools are true and there should be more awareness out there to this so parents know where they are really sending their kids.


    • Mary Says:

      OMG Camilla!! Girl I’ve been trying to find you after we went to CSA n Pillars of Hope together. Email me asap!!
      Mary Bennett (Memphis girl)


  3. brendan lynch Says:

    they had to put a disclaimer up stating they have relation to CSA! yet the same owner, same property, most of the same staff tells a different story… if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, usually its a duck… but not in their world apparently!!


  4. Jimmy Says:

    Just stumbled across this page and saw the picture of the dorm fire; a similar incident happened at the facility in Lucedale, MS…the girls dorm burned one night…the girls were then moved into the house the director Byars was living in…as the director of quality assurance at the facility, I also heard of complaints from the girls he was coming on to them. As part of our license agreement with the state, everyone had to have a criminal background check…he was the only one who did not have this done…after numerous requests to have it done. I am not implying he did anything wrong..but…if you have nothing to hide….


    • Anonymous Says:

      I just stumbled across this post! I was there when that happened in 2008!!! I remember when someone tried to set the downstairs boys dorm on fire and I remember who set the girls dorm on fire! Who can forget Gulf Coast Academy! I went there right before they closed Royal Gorge back in 08!!!! If you get this contact me sometime because it’s a shock that people still talk about this place


  5. Carlo diaz Says:

    I went to CSA from 9/06-5/07. Had my nose broken by staff twice.(Mr. KENNY AND MR. BO). Never made it past Lvl 1. With the Exception of Chris Padot and Mr. Tony and destiny kirby, that place was hell on earth.


    • Brent Poulston Says:

      2carlo man its Brent I was in Zion and dynasty with you man I remember alot of the stuff Mr bo and kenny did I remember it all clear as day. Call me sometime man 2398390072


    • Corey Hardisty Says:

      I was there at 15 and saw some crazy shit! Please contact me back!!! I remember Mr Kenny and all that. 7193316687 I have so many stories I want to write one on here!!


  6. Brianna Says:

    I was there in 2006 n 7 also crazy shit i remember that i also dadted blake duckworth and owen somthing never made it past level one lol remember church lmao this is crazy


  7. Mitch Mitchell Says:

    I was there around 2000. These places are F-ed! I wish I could have just finished my time in juvenile.


  8. Lauren Chaney Says:


    I was at CSA from July 2002-July 2003 I’ve been thinking about and looking for friends I made during this time at CSA. Please reply if you were there at this time.


  9. Rachael gifford Says:

    Hey I was there around that time too been trying to relocated all my girls


  10. Leah Schliedermann Says:

    I went to CSA from 2002 to 2005. Ya, I was one of those who just didn’t want to leave. JUST KIDDING! Not only was (and still is) CSA the product of some of my darkest memories but I STILL wake up in fear after a nightmare of being sent back. I was so resentful towards my family for sending me there, and to do this day for not believing the stories I tell them. I spent the last 13 years trying to forget that place ever existed. I refused to be friends with anyone I knew from then on Facebook. I just wanted to forget that horrible place. It wasn’t till recently I reconnected with some. The fact this place has re-opened under another name just makes my blood boil. I don’t hate people, I really don’t like harboring that sort of negative energy, but man…. the staff from that place… you’ve got a special place in hell for you the shit you did to us KIDS. I hope you find the courage to forgive yourselves one day because it must eat you up inside. In the meantime, it’s nice to see some familiar names. It wasn’t always awful. I do remember some great times. Us girls had to stick together and find creative ways to get through that place. Hope all is well to those who survived CSA and any other “specialty boarding school”



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