The news is out: [The Circle of Hope Girls’ Ranch, a fundamentalist Baptist reform boarding school for troubled girls in southwest Missouri, is shutting its doors.
But the school’s owners insist their decision to close the 14-year institution has nothing to do with the ongoing criminal investigation into a slew of abuse and neglect allegations leveled by former students.
“I’m closed for good,” Boyd Householder, 71, told the Kansas City Star in an interview with his 55-year-old wife, Stephanie. “I will not put up with a corrupt sheriff’s department and a current social services department. I will not.”
“We’re going to take this all the way,” Householder added, denying ever physically abusing or neglecting former students. “We’re gonna, how do you say it, vindicate ourselves.”
Last month, Cedar County authorities removed all 25 girls still enrolled at the ranch in rural Missouri, about two hours outside of Kansas City, after several former students told authorities the Householders deprived them of food and water, gave little to no formal instruction, made students perform manual labor, and forced some to stare at “The Wall” for hours.
The Cedar County prosecuting attorney’s office confirmed to The Daily Beast that an investigation into the Householders is ongoing after numerous reports of abuse by former students. Among those students is the couple’s own estranged 29-year-old daughter, Amanda Householder, who has taken to social media over the past year to discuss the alleged abuse at the faith-based ranch.]
How much more is society willing to accept from religion?