Zach Update

There really hasn’t been much more to say on Zach’s story, since last time I posted. By my calculations, his six-week extension hasn’t ended, and won’t for at least a couple more weeks.

The second state investigaton of Love In Action/Refuge (LIA/R) is ongoing, and there’s been little news about it that I can find beyond this local report that offers a bit more information.

The Department of Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities wants to know if Love In Action International is conducting improper counseling sessions with unlicensed personnel.

…Rachel Lassiter, a spokeswoman for the mental health department, said Love In Action was sent a letter Monday seeking information about it practices.

People are still blogging about Zach and LIA/R, however. E.J. has an interesting post up about attenting an "open meeting" held by LIA/R (apparently a reaction to the attention now focused on them). I put the words "open meeting" in quotations because I’m not sure how open a meeting can be considered when the participants have to sign a confidentiality agreement.

A clipboard was being passed around, and one of the other "casual observers" was being pointed by Tommy Corman, Love In Action’s media relations coordinator, to sign the non-disclosure agreement it contained. "Why do I need to sign a confidentiality agreement?" the woman asked. "I am not required to sign anything and I’m not going to sign anything." Without incident, Corman walked away. Later, I would overhear the woman being told by another observer that as guests of Love In Action/Refuge, we would have to sign anything that they asked us to.

What’s reassuring — besides E.J. making it through what was basically a group therapy session (see E.J.’s post for more on that — he doesn’t divulge what was said in the meeting because of his beliefs about the sanctity of group therapy) is that E.J. saw Zach at the meeting, and that Zach appears OK and  seems not to be buying what LIA/R is selling, though it’s hard to tell because as E.J. says "One thing about cults: you can never really tell what the damage will be until months, years later."

I just hope Zach makes it through the experience with his spirit intact. From what I gather, he probably will.  I get the sense that he’s just riding this out, and probably looking forward to the time when he can get away from LIA/R, and probalby his parents too.

About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
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5 Responses to Zach Update

  1. johnjb says:

    When I first read about Zach it broke my heart.

    Thanks so much for keeping up with the story.

  2. paperwight says:

    Does it bother anyone else that the acronym for this place is “liar”?

  3. Terrance says:

    Well, it’s not their official acronym. I got tired of writing “Love In Action/Refuge” to reference them jointly, and started using the acronym “LIA/R.”

    It seemed apt, but I guess it’s their fault for their unfortunate choice of names when it comes to acronyms. 😉

  4. Lis Riba says:

    Thanks for staying on top of this.

  5. I am an internet radio show host from Canada on My show is called Beyond the Ghetto and we will be airing there soon. I’m also very involved in the station in other areas.

    We just heard of this US story recently as we have been swamped with our own much better news up here regarding gay marriage.

    When Zach gets out, we would like to interview him at some point in the future, if possible;
    However, I suspect that Zach will be pretty emotionally raw, if not damaged, by his incarceration. As a teacher I am very worried about the possibility of suicide or other self-destructive behaviour. I’m hoping some other gay teens in the blogging and his present community can support him along with the legal and media actions that our adult community are taking. Also, there is always a risk with all this media exposure.

    In the meantime, there is a story in how you have been doing a wonderful job at tracking Zach and how blogging is saving gay kids lives which fits with our own international gay internet community’s interests. You can contact me at for our internationally accessed Net radio. I myself am a gay teacher and I am horrified by this story. It is an important story though and it needs to be told widely.

    Who is EJ? Perhaps this is a person we can approach with more safety.

    Stephen Emery
    Producer – Beyond the Ghetto (national and international queer perspectives in the wider community)
    Vancouver Canada

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