In the news lately has been many new allegations against IFB troubled teen home Circle of Hope in Missouri. Residents have stepped forward with horrible allegations of abuse, and sexual abuse. There have been allegations involving Circle of Hope for years now.
Let me start this piece by saying I believe the girls. In cases of abuse, sexual or otherwise, I always believe the victims. Statistically children are far less likely to lie about abuse. When children are concerned it should be always remove the child from the situation, treating the abuse allegations as proved facts to protect the child, and then let the courts decide on guilt or innocence. You must always treat these allegations with an abundance of caution towards the victims! Always! No saying that they are manipulated, no calling them or their behavior ‘brats.’
Circle of Hope is in the southwest area of Missouri in a place named “Humansville” far west of rural Fort Leonard Woods. Typically, like all of these IFB troubled teen homes it is hidden in a very rural area in an attempt to isolate the children.
Keep in mind in the Circle of Hope case there are double digit numbers of accusers, the accusations go back some years, and local DSS took the unprecedented step of removal of all residents from the school.
One of the victims leveling accusations of abuse is the 29 year old daughter of the school owners, Amanda Householder. She’s confirmed what others stepping forward have said. There are dozens of victims in this case who have come forward.
Typically the school owners, Boyd and Stephanie Householder, are denying all the allegations, saying only that the girls are “Troubled” Here’s what their attorney has said:
“The source of those allegations are young women who have troubled pasts, who have biases [and] prejudices, who have no credibility,” said Kirksey.
There is only scanty information available about what Circle of Hope is accused of doing, but the few details that have emerged line up perfectly with the same allegations at so many IFB troubled teen hones, the Roloff Homes, New Bethany of Arcadia, Louisiana, Bethany in Mississippi, Marvelous Grace Girls Academy in Florida. There are literally hundreds of these unregulated and unlicensed facilities still in operation throughout the United States. Whenever a Circle of Hope happens and closes, two more pop up somewhere else, like weeds.
The allegations I’ve seen fit with the usual things alleged to have happened at this problematic IFB troubled teen homes. These are the most common.
- Deprived of basic medical care
- Deprived of food
- Harsh punishment
- Deprived of basic hygiene
- Physical punishment and beatings
- Deprived of any privacy
- All communication with family heavily screened
- Isolation from the world at large and even from each other
- Little to no education or schooling takes place
- Sexual abuse or rape by those in charge
….and the list goes on. Inmates in old style Soviet gulags get better treatment than in most of these IFB troubled teen homes.
Every now and then as I’ve written for NLQ I will get contact from a distressed parent upset by what the teen is telling them a year or two down the line from the child being placed in an IFB home. They are tearful, angry, unable to believe what has happened to their precious child at the hands of those they paid to quash rebellion and inculcate Christian conformity to the IFB. I always encourage them to take the child to CPS and file a complaint, involve the authorities to get the place investigated. But sadly, law enforcement rarely acts on it. It’s so preventable too, if the parent had bothered to do a little research they would have found red flags and warnings all over the internet about these places. This is abuse that is allowed to flourish because the IFB refuses to police their own, or allow any state oversight of the facility.
None of these articles mention it, but it is also alleged that some of the IFB troubled teen homes function to provide girls for sex trafficking. I’ve been writing a book for over a year on the curious death of Carol Ann Cole, who was shuttled from troubled teen home to home before ending up dead on a logging road in rural Louisiana. The more I go over my old notes from the series I wrote three years ago, and dig into the case the more convinced I am that her death was involved in a failed sex trafficking happening. That discovery has delayed the book, forcing me to take another look at all of these troubled teen homes.
Three weeks ago author of “13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession” M. Dolan Hickmon urged me to cover the story of Circle of Hope and other emerging scandals involving the IFB troubled teen homes. I dropped the ball due to a Biblical bout of the stomach flu. Today he gently reminded me again, and so here we are, discussing this again sadly enough.
This abuse of children in the name of religion is unacceptable and it must stop! Please do not send your children to these places.
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