We have a chance to save a girl from a fundamentalist prison camp

Turns out you're a miserable lot, readers of Leaving Fundamentalism. Monday's blog post was the biggest piece of good news I've ever posted, and it was the least popular blog of the year. So alright, fine. Have some bad news. And some good news: you can help.14-year-old Skyler is being held at Marvelous Grace Girls' Academy in Pace, Florida (MGGA). Her parents are divorced, and her father has put Skyler in the home against her mother's wishes. Her mother, Silke Matero, has a custody/visitation … [Read more...]

To New Bethany and back: One woman’s journey to report the man she says sexually abused her

After years of frustrated attempts, of being ignored by the press, dismissed by law enforcement, and disbelieved by the adults that should have protected them, the heroic women of New Bethany have finally achieved a breakthrough. This week, Louisiana's Times-Picayune is serialising the story of their journey back to New Bethany to report Mack Ford, New Bethany's preacher-owner,  for rape.This story should not have been necessary. The reason it became necessary is because of negligence. … [Read more...]

A handy guide to ‘tough love’ teen reform homes

I spent some of 2013 collecting information about 'troubled teen' reform homes. These are usually compounds surrounded by barbed wire, where at-risk teens are sent ostensibly for a godly education. They have always been surrounded by shocking allegations of abuse and torture.Many of them use the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum. Those are the ones I've come across in the course of my other research, so they're the ones I'm writing about here, but they are by no means the only ones. … [Read more...]

ACE: aiding and abetting child abusers

If you've been following my series on Christian reform homes, you'll have noticed the name Lester Roloff popping up. It is, as Abigail McWilliam puts it, the common thread uniting reports of abuse from 'troubled teen' homes across America. Everything comes back to Roloff. Almost all of the homes we've discussed were founded by him or one of his former employees and associates, and all of them run on the model of Roloff's original Rebekah Home.If you haven't been following, the reform homes … [Read more...]

Remember the Christian Alamo

I think I've already played the "if you only read one story about Christian reform homes, it should be this" card, so I won't say it again. But, if you only read two stories about Christian reform homes, this should be the other one. Pamela Coloff's 2001 article captures the history of the Roloff homes, as well as the contemporary situation. You'll need to read this as background for the post I have planned for this Monday, which I think will shock even longtime readers of this blog.It's l … [Read more...]

Biblical Reform School Discipline: Tough Love or Abuse?

From ABC News April 12, 2011 by Susan Donaldson James. Difficult reading, as all the material on reform homes is, but that doesn't mean we should ignore this.Anne's rebellion against her large Christian family -- she was one of 10 children -- began after she was gang-raped last year while jogging in her Maryland neighborhood."Because of that the trauma, she started spiraling in every way possible," said her mother, Jeannie Marie, who did not want their last name made public.Anne, now … [Read more...]

Ungodly discipline at Hephzibah House

I've recently posted a lot about Christian reform schools, but most of the ones we've discussed have been closed. Here's one that's still operating. Got seven minutes? This video from CNN will bring you up to speed.http://youtu.be/-QB9ZWM-iq0Related posts:Christian reform homes: an introductionQuestions abound as more horror stories emerge from New BethanyHorror stories from tough-love teen homesReligious exemption for some Florida children's homes shields prying eyes … [Read more...]

Questions abound as more horror stories emerge from New Bethany Home for Girls and Boys in Arcadia and Longstreet

You also need to read Jo Wright's comments. She is one of Ford's victims; the first one is here: http://louisianavoice.com/2013/09/18/questions-abound-as-more-horror-stories-emerge-from-new-bethany-home-for-girls-and-boys-in-arcadia-and-longstreet/#comment-17354 … [Read more...]

Horror stories from tough-love teen homes

If you only read one story on "troubled teen" Christian reform homes, Kathryn Joyce's piece for Mother Jones is probably the most comprehensive choice. Joyce is a tireless campaigner for survivors of religious abuse, having also released books on the "Quiverfull" Christian patriarchy movement, and the evangelical adoption industry.Once you've looked at this, along with the previous things I've posted, you'll get the picture on fundamentalist reform homes.Check it out in full here, or … [Read more...]

Religious exemption at some Florida children’s homes shields prying eyes

Excerpts from a Tampa Bay Times article, by Alexandra Zayas, October 26, 2012. Read it in full, and see the Times' video.Trigger warning: Almost everything.They shaved him bald that first morning in 2008, put him in an orange jumpsuit and made him exercise past dark. • Through the night, as he slept on the floor, they forced him awake for more. • The sun had not yet risen over the Christian military home when Samson Lehman collapsed for the sixth time. Still, he said, they made him run. • … [Read more...]


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