Boarding School in Missouri under Investigation Following Allegations of Child Abuse and Neglect

We applaud the decision by law enforcement officials in Missouri to open an investigation into the Circle of Hope Girls’ Ranch. We know that the best way to get to the bottom of cases of abuse in religious institutions is for those claims to be probed by police and punished by prosecutors.

This story is also a clear example of why a dangerous loophole in Missouri law must be closed. Circle of Hope is a Christian-based organization, so it was exempt from state laws that would enforce best practices and proper licensing. If legislators in Missouri truly care about the safety of children, they will work to close this loophole immediately and ensure that all schools and youth-serving organizations are held to the same, high standards for child abuse prevention. We hope that other legislators in Missouri will join with Rep. Keri Ingle to explore this situation and update laws so that no other children are exposed to this kind of abuse.

Stories like this are a reminder that child abuse and neglect is an ongoing issue, one that can only be addressed by being vigilant, watching out for signs of abuse and neglect, and reporting any suspicions of wrongdoing to law enforcement. We are proud of the brave girls who came forward to share their stories of abuse and are confident that children are safer today because of them.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, zhiner@snapnetwork.org)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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