Christian 'Life Coaches' Get Suspended Sentences for Assaulting Student

Yet another horrifying story of abuse and assault at a Christian boarding school, this time the Abundant Life Academy in Caroline County, Virginia. Three “life coaches” and the director of the school pleaded guilty to assault and received suspended sentences despite their brutal beatdown of a student being caught on tape. Here’s a local news report on it:

And more:

Four hours into trial, four former staff members of a Caroline County boarding school changed their pleas to guilty and were convicted of misdemeanor assault and battery.

Fredericksburg residents Liam Galligan, 44, Jovany Rivera, 22, Timothy Jordan, 26, and 49-year-old William Honea were all given a 12-month suspended sentence and ordered to have no contact with any of the witnesses at Thursday’s hearing in Caroline circuit court.

Three of the men were prohibited from teaching at a school with minors for the next five years. Galligan, who had served as the interim director at Abundant Life Academy, was prohibited for teaching minors for 10 years…

The victim testified that after the three-hour assault, he was awakened every 90 minutes as part of his punishment for “talking to a girl,” which wasn’t allowed.

Witnesses, who included staff members and students, testified that they were unsure of what began what the prosecution called “tackling” or what the defense called “restraining.”

And they’re apparently showing no remorse:

Soon after the state rested its case, defense attorney Cary Bowen notified Judge Gordon Willis that his client, Rivera, wanted to make a deal.

“The judge didn’t seem like he was on our side,” Rivera said after court. “I don’t feel like we are guilty because we had the child’s best interest at heart.”

He said he doesn’t have any hard feelings toward the teen and is still friends with many of the students he worked with.

Defense attorney Joseph Brown, who was representing the other three, requested a brief recess to discuss a possible deal for them as well, and they took it.

“They are all good men and I don’t think they ever meant to hurt the child,” he said. But as far as taking the deal, he said, “the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.”

I’m so glad the abuser has no hard feelings against his victim, aren’t you? This kind of thing is all too common at the Christian boarding schools. There’s a documentary that shows rampant abuse at these schools, especially ones in the Caribbean.

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  • John Pieret

    The judge didn’t seem like he was on our side

    Thank goodness for that!

    I don’t feel like we are guilty because we had the child’s best interest at heart

    Well, if that’s the measure, I’ll be happy to come over with a baseball bat … for your own good, of course!

  • Alverant

    No jail time for attacking a person for religious reasons.

    Christian privilege at its finest.

  • yoav

    It’s just one more example of how xtians are being persecuted in the US. Any teacher who’s resons to beat the crap out of a student were anything other then their love of (the correct) god would have been given multiyear sentence in real actual prison, just because these poor guys are xtians they are being denied their chance of being martyrs for jeezus. /snark

  • D. C. Sessions

    As far as my study of the Spanish Inquisition turns up, the Inquisition was at all times acting for the benefit of the people in their care. They were, just as these people, attempting to save their souls. If their measures were harsh, it was because the stakes were so great.

    So, if I understand these teachers, they should be judged on the same grounds that we judge the Spanish Inquisition because they acted from the same motives.

  • Kevin Kehres

    @4…the Salem Witch Trial judges as well.

  • raven

    There’s a documentary that shows rampant abuse at these schools, especially ones in the Caribbean.

    1. More than a few kids have been killed in these camps.

    2. The ones in the Caribbean are there to evade US laws. These xian camps are so destructive that they are outlawed in many states.

    3. The worst are in…Utah!!! The Mormons have their own Gulag system to keep their kids in line. And it is legal there because they own Utah and can make whatever laws they want. It’s a mind control cult thing.

  • raven

    One of the main drivers for these Xian Reeducation Camps is…money. They charge a lot and can be quite profitable. One way to keep profits high is to understaff them with untrained personnel.

    It works the way you expect. Most kids have hell on earth experiences, some are damaged, a few are killed.

    Rather than change their operating principles, they moved to the Caribbean after a lot of US states investigated them and shut them down for violations of our laws.

  • Modusoperandi

    To be fair, talking to a girl is pretty bad. I talked with one once, and it lead to emotions, personal growth, and reinforcement of the social fabric.

  • raven

    RESTRAINT – Residential Treatment Center Abuse

    www. residentialtreatmentcenterabuse. com/deaths-at-residential-teen-prog…

    370+ items – We feel for the famalies who tried to do best for children and …

    Teens Are Being Trapped in Abusive ‘Drug Rehab Centers …

    www. vice. com/…/thousands-of-american-teens-are-trapped-in-abusive-c…

    May 22, 2013 – Former patients have been airing their stories on Reddit and other … residential teen treatment centers still have all the trappings of a cult. … “Pretty much all the kids who I’m in touch with [from the camps] have … out their own death—exercises Shia likened to the kind of “therapy” seen in this bizarre video.

    No one knows how many kids have been killed in these camps. It’s in the dozens at least and might be much higher, in the hundreds.

    Only religion could turn an extended summer camp into a hell on earth experience that can be fatal. It’s Hitchens rule: Religion poisons everything!!!

    PS I’ve seen how kids end up there. It’s for various reasons but often enough, parents who are tired of their kids just dump them there. I saw one Mormon mom who remarried. The new husband didn’t want her kid around so they shipped him off to the Mormon Gulag for nonstop abuse in a camp that even Utah couldn’t tolerate.

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    Modus@8: Try not to let it happen again!

  • garnetstar

    Right, Mr. Rivera. Try (hypothetically) walking up to a child on the street and punching him/her, then saying that you shouldn’t be punished because, unknown to anyone else, you had the child’s best interest at heart.

    Let us know how that works out for you.

  • magistramarla

    As a retired educator, I detest same-sex schools. When kids are not allowed to associate with the opposite sex, they miss out on the chance to practice dealing with all of the people that they will need to deal with in the real world as adults. I also wonder whether this causes male teens to see the opposite sex as “the other” and contributes to misogyny when they do have to deal with women later in life.

    I like the slogan that our school districts are using around here – Go Public!

  • WMDKitty — Survivor

    “I don’t feel like we are guilty because we had the child’s best interest at heart.”

    That’s a pretty typical abuser’s excuse, right there. “I’m hurting you for your own good.” “I hit you because I love you.” “You MADE me do it because [$_reasons].”

    If you have the child’s best interests at heart, if you really, truly, do, you don’t ever fucking hit the child.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    No wonder the teabaggers get so agitated when demagogues threaten them with FEMA camps.

  • freehand

    we had the child’s best interest at heart.”


    No, ahole, you had a need to hurt someone weaker than you.


    Pierce R. Butler says: No wonder the teabaggers get so agitated when demagogues threaten them with FEMA camps.


    Huh. You’re right, of course; I hadn’t thought of that. That is, after all, what they would do with us if they had the power. And it would be all for our own good.


    Speaking of aholes, has anyone noticed how ten years of bombing the Near East for their own good has replaced Al Qaeda with something worse? Why isn’t it working? Maybe we should bomb them harder.