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Piedmont, MO – The owners of a secluded southeast Missouri Christian boarding school, Larry and Carmen Musgrave, are currently in custody at the Wayne County Jail in Greenville, Missouri, without bond. They face charges of first-degree kidnapping involving a former student of their all-boys school, ABM Ministries Lighthouse Christian Academy, located at 299 Wayne 459, Piedmont, MO 63957.

ABM Ministries Boarding School Owners Arrested

Larry Musgrave Jr., aged 57, was apprehended at the ABM Ministries campus near Piedmont, according to a news release issued by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department. The arrest occurred after authorities interviewed all the boys at the school on Friday night, March 1, 2024. Carmen Musgrave, aged 64, was arrested several hours later.

MO Christian Boarding School Owners Charged with Kidnapping

The Musgraves operate the school near Piedmont, a town with a population of approximately 1,900 residents situated more than 300 miles southeast of Kansas City. First-degree kidnapping, the charge they face, is a Class A felony carrying a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 30 years, including the possibility of life imprisonment.

Ongoing Investigation Into All-Boys Boarding School

“This investigation is far from being over,” stated Sheriff Dean Finch in the news release. He further added that more charges are expected to be filed, with additional alleged victims coming forward. The recent arrests and charges follow an article published by The Star, which highlighted several boys who had run away from ABM Ministries, also known as Lighthouse Christian Academy, since January 13. The community has expressed hope that their stories are finally being heard.

Several local residents reported the recent incident involving two runaway boys to the Missouri child abuse and neglect hotline. However, they were informed that the information provided did not meet the criteria for launching an investigation. Following the arrests, all five boys who had run away from the school have been returned to their homes.

Allegations of Ongoing Abuse at Boarding School

Former students of the school have come forward, describing their alleged mistreatment over the past two decades. The reported abuse includes physical violence, restrictions on making eye contact with fellow students, prolonged periods of standing facing a wall as punishment, and forced manual labor for the school’s benefit.

Nineteen boys remain at the school, and Sheriff Finch has assured the public that periodic well-being checks will be conducted to ensure their safety.

ABM Ministries’ Director Under Scrutiny for¬†Abuse at Agape Boarding School

The current director of ABM Ministries is Julio Sandoval, who was previously investigated for abuse at another boarding school in Stockton, Missouri. State documents reveal that Sandoval has a pending case against the Department of Social Services for alleged misconduct at Agape Boarding School. Sandoval’s next hearing is scheduled for February 26.

Previous Allegations at Agape Boarding School

In February 2021, when Sandoval was the dean of students at Agape Boarding School in Stockton, Missouri, the Missouri Highway Patrol launched an investigation into allegations of abuse against students. The investigation resulted in charges being filed against five staff members for third-degree assault in September 2021. Sandoval, who had been working at Agape for approximately ten years, left shortly after the charges were filed and joined ABM Ministries.

To learn more about the Agape Boarding School and the ongoing lawsuits:

Previous Lawsuit and Settlement Against ABM Ministries

Larry and Carmen Musgrave, along with former school principal Craig W. Smith Jr., were involved in a civil lawsuit in federal court in 2009. The lawsuit alleged that Smith engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with a female student between September 2007 and June 2008. The case was settled in 2010, resulting in judgments against Smith and ABM Ministries.

Expanding Investigation and Potential Charges

Following the arrests of Larry and Carmen Musgrave, Sheriff Dean Finch stated that the investigation was far from over. Authorities anticipate more charges to be filed, potentially involving additional victims who may come forward. Julio Sandoval’s background and his current position as the director of ABM Ministries raise questions about his role in the alleged abuse and whether he could face legal consequences.

Understanding Legal Recourse for Victims of Sexual Abuse at Boarding Schools

With the recent charges of kidnapping and allegations of abuse at Lighthouse Christian Academy, we sat down with experienced sex abuse attorney, Ryan Frazier of Monsees & Mayer P.C. to discuss the options available to victims of sexual abuse at boarding schools. Ryan provided valuable information regarding the civil legal process, offering guidance and information on how survivors can seek justice and hold accountable those responsible for their suffering.

Laurence Banville, Esq. (LB): Ryan, thank you for joining us. Given your knowledge of sexual abuse cases, what options do victims of sexual abuse at boarding schools like Lighthouse Christian Academy have when it comes to pursuing civil cases against liable parties?

Ryan Frazier, Esq. (RF): Thank you for having me, Laurence. Victims of sexual abuse at boarding schools have legal options to seek justice for the harm they have endured. In cases like these, filing a civil lawsuit against the responsible parties can provide a means for survivors to hold their abusers and the institutions accountable.

LB: That’s important to know. Could you briefly explain the process of filing a civil case for sexual abuse at a boarding school?

RF: Certainly. When pursuing a civil case, the first step is to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in child sex abuse cases. They will guide the victim through the legal process, gathering evidence, and building a strong case against the liable parties, which may include the school, its administrators, staff members, or any other individuals involved in the abuse. The attorney will then file the lawsuit on behalf of the survivor, seeking compensation for the damages suffered.

LB: What are some of the potential outcomes or remedies that victims can seek through a civil case?

RF: In civil cases, victims can seek various forms of compensation, such as financial damages for physical and emotional pain, medical expenses, therapy costs, and other losses resulting from the abuse. Additionally, a successful civil lawsuit can also bring about important changes within the institution, forcing them to implement proper safeguards and policies to prevent future abuse. The goal is not only to compensate the survivor but also to ensure the safety of others in similar situations.

LB: That’s crucial for survivors to understand. Are there any specific laws or regulations in Missouri that victims should be aware of when pursuing a civil case against a boarding school?

RF: Missouri has laws in place that allow victims of child sexual abuse to pursue civil claims. It’s important to note that each case is unique, and the legal requirements can vary.

LB: Thank you, Ryan, for highlighting these important matters. For anyone affected by the allegations at Lighthouse Christian Academy or other boarding schools, seeking legal guidance from an experienced attorney like yourself can make a significant difference. We appreciate your insights today.

RF: Thank you, Laurence. It was my pleasure to be here and provide information to those who may need it. Remember, survivors deserve justice, and legal action can help them reclaim their lives and hold the responsible parties accountable.

Seeking Legal Support and Guidance: Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one have been a victim of sexual abuse at a boarding school or have been affected by recent allegations at Lighthouse Christian Academy, we are here to help. Ryan Frazier of Monsees & Mayer P.C. is dedicated to providing survivors with the support, guidance, and legal representation they deserve. Contact us today for a confidential and free consultation, as we stand ready to listen, understand your unique situation, and fight for justice on your behalf. Your voice deserves to be heard, and we are committed to helping you navigate the path toward healing and holding accountable those responsible for the abuse.


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