Attorneys & Survivors Demand Circle R Ranch Owners Close Camp
Lawsuit and Settlement Announcement
Today, attorneys for a survivor of sexual abuse by Scott Francis Fortier announce the settlement of a lawsuit brought against Long Prairie Children’s horse camp, Circle R Ranch. The trial was set to begin yesterday in Anoka County District Court on the case, which was brought by attorneys at Jeff Anderson & Associates in 2020 on behalf of a woman identified as Doe 600.
Doe 600 was repeatedly sexually abused by longtime Circle R Ranch camp counselor and director Scott Francis Fortier when she was 16 to 17 years old from 2015 to 2016. Fortier hired Doe 600 to be a counselor at Circle R Ranch before sexually abusing her. Doe 600 reported the abuse to police in 2016, resulting in Fortier’s arrest and conviction for sexual assault and child pornography charges. Fortier was sentenced to 25 years in Federal prison.
“While I feel some relief because of this settlement, I take no comfort in knowing that Circle R Ranch is still operating,” said Doe 600. “Long before I even met Scott Fortier, Jack McCoy knew what a danger he was to the camp. Had Jack done the right thing, I never would have met Scott Fortier. Each year as camp season approaches, I find myself hoping that this camp saw its last season the year before. As long as this camp is running, I am concerned for the safety of the children attending.”
“It is an honor to be able to help Doe 600 on her incredible journey. The strength she has shown, first in going to police as a kid, and now in recognizing the harm this camp poses and trying to do all she can to protect other kids in the future, has been incredible,” said attorney Josh Peck. “Doe 600 is a hero, and a person of amazing character and strength.”
Doe 600 Background at Camp and Abuse
Doe 600 began attending Circle R Ranch camp in 2010 when she was 11-years-old. When she was 15 in 2014, Doe 600 told Fortier she wanted to work at Circle R Ranch. Fortier told her to apply and assured her not to worry about getting the job because he was in charge of interviewing and hiring camp counselors. That next year, Fortier, then 35-years-old and who had been associated with Circle R Ranch for decades, started paying more attention to Doe 600, communicating with her over text and social media, and inviting her to parties with other counselors at camp. Fortier provided Doe 600 and other minors with alcohol at those parties, and sexually abused her multiple times beginning in the spring of 2015 when she was 15 and 16-years-old.
Fortier’s abuse of Doe 600 continued into 2016, only stopping when Doe 600, then 17-years-old and still in high school, contacted the police directly.
Fortier admitted to sexual contact with several minors he met at Circle R Ranch, claiming it was legal because he was not in a “position of authority” at camp. He was sentenced to 25 years in 2018 for his sex crimes against children.
Circle R Ranch Owner Jack McCoy was Warned about Fortier in 2005 and Fired him
In 2005, a decade before Fortier abused Doe 600, Circle R Ranch’s owner Jack McCoy was warned that Fortier was a predator and using Circle R Ranch to carry out a scheme he hatched to have sex with minor girls.
A concerned parent called McCoy later that same year to warn the owner about Fortier. The man told McCoy he was concerned after talking with his daughter that Scott Fortier was using Circle R Ranch as a “hunting ground for underage girls.” He told McCoy if he heard about Fortier being allowed at Circle R Ranch again, he would call the authorities.
Fortier’s Scheme that Circle R Ranch Owner McCoy Permitted
During the 2005 meeting warning Jack McCoy about Fortier’s predatory obsession with teenage girls, the counselors also told McCoy that Fortier bragged to them about researching Minnesota laws and coming up with a scheme to have sex with underage girls at the camp without getting arrested. They told McCoy that Fortier believed if he worked at Circle R Ranch without taking a paycheck, he could have sex with girls at camp if he promoted them to counselor positions first.
Although McCoy initially fired Fortier after the report, in 2008, in a move Anoka County District Court Judge Jonathan Jasper called, “inexplicable,” McCoy welcomed Fortier back to Circle R Ranch with open arms. From then until his arrest in 2016 Fortier continued to recruit, train, and hire camp counselors, including Doe 600. He ran Circle R Ranch’s evening activities. Jack McCoy continued to introduce Fortier to campers with other staff members at orientation. Sometimes McCoy even introduced Fortier as “the man,” or “the legend.” McCoy included Fortier in staff photographs.
But despite all of Fortier’s work at the camp over the years, owner McCoy never again put Fortier on Circle R Ranch’s payroll. McCoy claims to this day that Fortier was never an employee after 2005 and was never in a position of authority at his camp. This is exactly what two victims warned McCoy in 2005 that Fortier wanted so that he could have sex with minor girls at his camp.
“This horse camp is a house of horrors,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “Jack McCoy allowed this predator to have unfettered access to hundreds of children who he groomed, and then targeted, for his perverse and sexual pleasures. Scott Fortier is a predator, and the owner Jack McCoy knew what Fortier was doing and did nothing to stop it. The camp should be shut down as a hazard, and McCoy belongs in jail for not reporting Fortier’s criminal sexual activity. McCoy put profit over the safety of children for decades.”