SNAP calls for controversial Christian Boarding School to Close

(For Immediate Release September 27, 2022)

In a court hearing today, closed to the public, a judge will consider rejecting a lawsuit seeking to close a controversial Christian boarding school where horrific child abuse - sexual, physical, and emotional - has long taken place and been ignored or concealed.

The action is brought by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmidt against the Stockton-based Agape Boarding School. Schmidt wants the facility to be closed. For the safety of kids and the healing of victims, we at SNAP agree. 

Over just the past four months, Missouri investigators have substantiated ten cases of physical abuse at the Stockton-based 'reform'' school. Civil lawsuits have also been filed against the facility.

One victim and advocate said that "hundreds" have been victimized at Agape over the years. Some have described "being physically restrained, sexually abused, starved as a form of punishment, and taken off prescribed medications while reassured that 'God will fix them.'

School officials claim that since they recently fired one high-profile abuser, there's no compelling need to shut its doors. That is a narrow, self-serving and dangerous claim, We believe that abuse at Agape has been widespread, horrific, and deeply hidden for years and that the dismissal of one or even several staffers won't end the risk to children.

The case is before Cedar County Circuit Court Judge David Munton.

Finally, during the last Missouri legislative session, lawmakers could have but did not pass a measure that would give the attorney general broader powers to punish, oversee and rein in these largely 'under the radar' facilities where so many youngsters have been so severely hurt. 

We call on Missouri legislators to enact this measure as quickly as possible and on Missouri's attorney general to make use of it to ensure that kids are safer now and, in the future.

CONTACT: David G. Clohessy, SNAP Missouri, ( 314-566-9790, [email protected]) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager, (267-261-0578, [email protected]) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])

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

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