Men Who Claimed Forced Labor, Trafficking By Wyoming Youth Ranch Agree To Settlement

Two men who were former residents at the Triangle Cross Ranch for troubled teens in Park County and who sued over claims of forced labor and trafficking will drop their lawsuit over the allegations after reaching a settlement.

Clair McFarland

June 13, 20243 min read

Triangle Cross Ranch 10 30 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Two men who sued a Wyoming ranch for troubled teens on claims they were enslaved and mistreated have settled their lawsuit filed upon those the allegations.

Andrew Lewis and Andrew Unruh have agreed to dismiss their federal lawsuit against the Triangle Cross Ranch in Park County, Wyoming, because they’ve reached a settlement, according to a Wednesday filing by U.S. District Court Judge Kelly Rankin.

“(They) have settled their claims,” says Rankin’s terse Wednesday notice, which refers to a verbal notice of settlement before his court. The ranch and the men have until July 29 to file dismissal documents in the case.

So far, no one is talking about the settlement. In April, the ranch denied the men’s claims in court filings.

Its terms are confidential, according to the men’s lead attorney Craig Edgington of Tennessee firm Donati Law.

Ranch owner Gerald Schneider’s attorney Monty Barnett of Colorado-based firm White & Steele could not be reached immediately for comment Thursday.

The Claims

Lewis and Unruh’s original civil complaint had accused the ranch of bringing themwhen they were teens in 2014, to its Park County location for their labor, overworking them, placing them in squalid and threatening living conditions and dangerous work conditions.

They originally sued Schneider and his wife Michaeleen, the ranch itself, the Schneiders’ three sons Mark, Matthew and Daniel; Mystic Monk Coffee; Thomas George; and Texas-based church Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.

Their complaint had claimed that all the parties benefitted from the boys’ labors.

Whittling Away

U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal this year whittled away several components of the case, but allowed others to remain.

In March, she dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims against Triangle Cross Ranch, LLC, because it didn’t exist until four years after the pair’s 2014 stay at the ranch. In 2014, the ranch was called Triangle Cross Ranch Inc.

She dismissed from the case both Fr. Daniel Schneider and the business Mystic Monk Coffee at that time, saying the plaintiffs didn’t show that Daniel Schneider or the coffee business knew about any alleged unlawful child labor.

She also dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims for money their parents paid to the ranch for their stay, noting that the men’s parents are not parties to the lawsuit.

Freudenthal had allowed the men’s claims of forced labor against other ranch leaders, including the owners, to advance, however.

“In some instances, ranch chores might qualify as household chores,” she said, referencing an earlier case on the matter. “However, the facts alleged here go well beyond typical household chores. It is not typical childrearing practice for parents, or guardians, to force their children to perform hard ranch labor for 10-12 hours a day under threat of food or sleep deprivation.”

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter