Claims Against Candlehouse

By WBNG News

Claims Against Candlehouse

July 22, 2010 Updated Jan 16, 2009 at 6:39 PM EDT

A former resident of an drug and alcohol rehabilitation center is speaking out.

Shirley Decker of Owego spent two months at Candlehouse Teen Challenge in 2000.

She claims the staff was not properly trained to counsel addicts.

Candlehouse is faith-based rehab center for women in Owego.

Decker says instead of getting medical treatment, she was required to pray and recite bible verses.

"If you have people in there that don't know what they're doing, it could be very dangerous. It was for me, and I'm an example of what happens in that place," said Shirley Decker.

Decker says she's worried about the future of Candlehouse.

The center is looking to expand and relocate to St. Andrews Church in Vestal.

The Town Board must first approve the project.

The board heard from a former volunteer this week who also claimed she witnessed abusive practices.

Candlehouse did not want to comment on the claims or answer questions about counselor qualifications.

The national office would only say the primary goal is to minister to the women.

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