Was Missouri Boarding School Actually a House of Horror? Owners Arrested for Allegedly Abusing at Least 16
Boyd and Stephanie Householder on Tuesday were arrested and charged with 102 felonies between them, the attorney general’s office said.
A Missouri couple who owned a Christian boarding school they said was aimed at helping to reform rebellious teenagers allegedly subjected young girls to sexual, physical and emotional abuse, officials said. Boyd and Stephanie Householder on Tuesday were arrested and charged with 102 felonies between them, the attorney general’s office said.
The Householders, who operated the Circle of Hope Girls Ranch in Cedar County since 2006, are being held in Vernon County Jail, FOX4 News reported.
Boyd is charged with 80 offenses, including multiple counts of second-degree statutory rape and sodomy. The charges against his wife range from abuse to endangering the welfare of a child, CBS News reported.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a father of two young daughters, called the alleged crimes, “simply unthinkable.”
“With 16 victims so far, we believe this to be one of the most widespread cases of sexual, physical and mental abuse patterns against young girls and women in Missouri history,” said Schmitt, whose office began assisting in the investigation in November 2020.
The felony information document filed by Schmitt's office and obtained by FOX4 alleges Boyd engaged in repeated instances of statutory sodomy, statutory rape and sexual contact with a student, detailing multiple incidents where Boyd had oral and sexual intercourse with a victim under the age of 17.
Four women have filed legal petitions against Circle of Hope. The legal petitions include instances where the women were sexually abused by the Householder family, according to Fox4 News.
Amanda Householder, the daughter of Boyd and Stephanie Householder, described other forms of psychological abuse at the ranch and told FOX4 that she had told authorities for years about how her parents were treating her and that she was “never heard.” She said once it got back to her parents, she’d get punished.
Referring to her parents' alleged predatory behavior, Amanda said “if my dad thought a girl was vain or thought she was pretty he would cut her hair off, just to humiliate her.”
Boyd and Stephanie Householder said the allegations against them are "all lies" and called their accusers "angry" and “bitter,” CBS News reported.
In August, there were around 24 girls removed from the ranch by Child Protective Services, Fox4 reported.
The shool was closed down by authorities last September, CBS reported.
State Rep. Keri Ingle sponsored a new bill that would crackdown on religious boarding schools after the recent allegations. The new bill would close a loophole in Missouri law that allows Christian boarding schools to avoid oversight from state authorities, according to FOX4.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office is asking anyone who experienced alleged abuse at the Circle of Hope Girls Ranch to contact his office at 573-751-0309.
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