Wrongful death suit filed vs. Missouri boarding school

Wrongful death suit filed vs. Missouri boarding school
Mom sues because her son, gang raped there, is now dead
Unusual case names eight defendants; two of them are sheriffs
It also accuses a company that transports kids to such facilities
Victims also call for better laws & enforcement 'to prevent more abuse'

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will
--announce the first-ever wrongful death lawsuit against a controversial, unlicensed, independent  and now-shuttered Baptist facility for 'troubled teenagers' in southern Missouri, and
--call on Missouri lawmakers to pass a new law that would expand the state's civil statute of limitations on abuse which would enable more child sex abuse victims to expose those who commit or conceal child sex crimes in court.
--urge local and state law enforcement agencies to more aggressively investigate similar schools and more vigorously prosecute wrongdoers.

Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 1:00 p.m.

On the sidewalk outside the Federal Courthouse 400 E. 9th Street in downtown Kansas City, MO

Two-three sexual abuse victims including a St. Louis man who was abused by a cleric as a boy and is the volunteer Missouri director of a support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
A sweeping new civil lawsuit has just been filed by a mom whose son Jason was brutally gang-raped and emotionally abused at Agape Boarding School in Stockton. The suit seeks to hold staff members at the now-widely discredited facility responsible for the harm that led to his death, according to the suit.
A mom whose son was brutally gang-raped and emotionally abused at Agape Boarding School in Stockton suit is filing a sweeping new civil lawsuit on his behalf that seeks to hold staff members at the facility responsible for the harm that led to his death, according to the suit.
According to the suit, "In the middle of the night, then-16-year old Jason Britt was awakened by two men who zip tied his hands behind his back, marched him out of the house" and flew him to Agape.
While there, staffers "hit him repeatedly, cutting his eye" (which required stitches) and two staffers "took Jason to a basement and held him down while several staffers gang raped him with body parts and a broom or mop handle."
After leaving Agape, Jason's physical and mental health deteriorated and he suffered from depression, extreme anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD and suicidal thoughts. To cope with his pain, Jason became addicted to drugs (including cocaine) and used "copious amounts of steroids."
"As a result of the physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse, Jason began making (poor) life choices that caused his liver and heart to fail." He died in February 2022 "as a result of the abuse and neglect inflicted upon him at Agape," the suit alleges. "The steroids, testosterone, high blood pressure and anxiety, coupled with the drug addiction, were the mechanism of his death; the cause of his death was the abuse at Agape," the suit maintains.
According to the suit, the "outrageous behavior" of Agape staff included "denial of food, water, medical care, extreme exercise, humiliation, denigration, physical assault and sexual assault" which "were used to dominate and control the kids."
Charged in the suit are two county sheriffs, an unsual move, and six others associated with the school.
This is believed to be the first lawsuit against a transport company used to take, sometimes roughly, teenagers from their homes and bring them to such facilities.
The named defendants are Cedar County sheriff James "Jim Bob" McCrary, Julio Sandoval of Safe, Sound and Secure Young Ministries (a transport company) and school staffers Brent Jackson, Jon Wilke, David Wilson, Robert Graves, Julio Sandoval and Scott Dumar. Graves is also a Cedar County deputy sheriff and Dumar is also on the school's board. Former Agape director Bryan Clemensen is not accused in the suit. Nor is ex-Agape doctor David Smock. Both are accused in other lawsuits.
The Cedar County Sheriff Department personnel knew of multiple reports of sexual and physical abuse at Agape" but 'routinely' returned' kids "who reported or ran away without investigation."
The case is being brought by Jason's mom, Kathleen Britt of Idaho, who is a former police officer.
She is represented by Rebecca Randles (816 510 2704, [email protected]) who has handled child sex abuse cases for more than three decades and Gerald McGonagle (816 221 2222, mcgonaglespencer.com). They represent more than a dozen Agape victims and some at other similar schools. Lawyer John Schultz represents Agape. All the attorneys are from Kansas City.
The suit, filed in the western district of the US District Court, seeks unspecified actual and punitive damages. There are now at least 24 civil abuse lawsuits filed against Agape. About 16 have settled.
Agape operated for nearly 30 years with an budget of sometimes up to $4 million annually, More than 5,000 boys were sent there.
In 2021, Missouri enacted a new law that forces such facilities "to undergo safety inspections, do background checks for employees and provide adequate food, medical care, and clothing for students" but victims say it's not enough. A stronger bill will be introduced in Jeff City in January.
David Clohessy 314 566 9790, [email protected]

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  • Michael McDonnell
    published this page in Media Events 2023-11-20 11:11:16 -0600

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