Boyd and Stephanie Householder, who run the Circle of Hope Girls’ Ranch and Boarding School in southwest Missouri, were detained and are now facing more than 100 abuse charges between them, according to NBC News. The private, Hope girls ranch in Cedar County is located at 20285 E Highway N, Humansville, MO 65674.
Boyd Householder, 72, has been charged with 78 felonies and one misdemeanor, according to a criminal history check. These allegations include six counts of second-degree statutory rape, nine acts of sodomy, sexual relations with a student, forced labor, child abuse, and neglect.
Almost two dozen felony counts of alleged abuse or neglect and endangering the welfare of a child are being brought against Stephanie Householder. It was claimed that the alleged incidents happened between 2017 and 2020. However, a lot of former students say that the allegations of abuse started as soon as they arrived at Circle Of Hope.
Background Information On The Abuse At Circle Of Hope Girls Ranch
In Humansville, there existed a private, Christian-based reform school called Circle of Hope Girls School. The institution in Missouri was established in July 2006 but was forced to close in 2020 as a result of complaints and lawsuits brought by abuse allegations by former students.
The ranch was promoted as a secure setting where troubled girls might grow in their faith while learning to respect authority figures and their parents at Circle Of Hope. These young girls’ parents agreed to have their children stay for a minimum of two years when they signed a contract. The girls’ ages range from 5 to 17.
Ongoing Abuse Claims Made By The Boarding School Students Ignored
Multiple former students, their families, and former staff members reported to state authorities prior to the ranch’s closure. They did not, however, get a reply. Prosecutors in Missouri and the federal government declined to press criminal charges following reports of child abuse from the Missouri State Highway Patrol and another complaint the year before. Former students claim that the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) disregarded several reports of continuous mental abuse and torture.
How TikTok Exposed Circle Of Hope Boarding School
The ranch owners’ estranged daughter Amanda Householder concurs that the abuse began as soon as the doors opened. She was ordered to work at the school against her will and saw multiple instances of physical abuse. She didn’t come forward, though, until after she had left the ranch and had gotten a message from one of her father’s friends. A video containing audio of Boyd telling a girl to “knock…out” the other was attached to the message. The man claimed to have seen Boyd punch a girl, force her to drink water until she became sick, and then have her ingest her own vomit.
Amanda made the decision to use the TikTok social platform to encourage additional victims to speak up after receiving this message. She received a huge response, which prompted the investigation and finally resulted in the reform school getting closed down.
Missouri Boarding School Abuse Lawsuits Filed Following Statements Claimed By Amanda Householder
Amanda has filed a new abuse lawsuit against her family, the Agape Baptist Church, the Baptist Agape Boarding School, and James Clemensen, the religious school founder. Former Hope board member Jeff Ables and pastor of the Berean Baptist Church in Springfield, was also named as a defendant in the complaint.
Another case was filed by a victim who was just 15 when she entered and claimed the therapy program at Circle of Hope was a cruel boot camp where every aspect of the inmates’ lives was watched over, twisted, restrained, and controlled. The residents at Circle of Hope were intended to be broken by the strict policies and procedures by physically and psychologically threatening them. It was against the rules of the school to have students speak to one another, and they were never left unsupervised. The lawsuits also states, physical “restraints” and denial of food and drink were frequently utilized to deal with student behavior.
New Laws Have Been Implemented To Mandate Religious Boarding Schools
Many of the administrators who were informed of the continuous sex abuse claimed they had no choice because the school was a private religious institution. This designation permitted the school to run unregulated for years without a license. Many of the former Circle Of Hope students remarked how challenging it was to transfer to other colleges because of the absence of accreditation.
Many people are expecting that the new regulations will finally repeal the state law from 1982 that allowed private schools to conceal themselves behind their religious identity. These new rules will enable authorities to monitor these institutions more closely and respond more quickly.
Legal Options For Boarding School Abuse Survivors
The cases against Circle of Hope Girls’ Ranch have been taken on by attorney Ryan Frazier of Monsees & Mayer P.C. Many more people are finding the strength to come forward with their own experiences as additional lawsuits have been filed claiming abuse by the school directors. Attorney Frazier explains how victims can seek justice by suing schools in civil court.
“Numerous claims of unreported harassment, persistent sexual abuse, impermissible contact, and other allegations are included in several recent school abuse lawsuits. As many of the allegations made by the victims took place in renowned Christian boarding schools like Circle of Hope and the Agape Boarding School, they astounded both parents and the general public.”
The legal team at Monsees & Mayer P.C. is committed to holding these boarding schools responsible for failing to protect the students entrusted to their custody. Even if the abuse occurred in the past, there might still be a legal recourse available. They can assist you get the support you require if your child was mentally, sexually or physically abused by a professor, coach, staff member, or employee at a private boarding school.
Mr. Banville is a personal injury attorney who has experience in handling auto accidents, work injuries, medical malpractice, dog bites, slip and falls, and representing survivors and victims of sexual abuse. Mr. Banville is affiliated with law firms in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, D.C., and Maryland. Justice Guardians