On Monday, December 12th, the long-time director of Agape Boarding School had his time in court to testify in effort to keep himself off the child abuse and neglect register. The plea by Bryan Clemensen was heard by a Cole County judge and was given in hopes of continuing to run the Stockton-based Christian reform school.
The government wants to add Clemensen’s name to the state’s central registration for child abuse and neglect, a database that contains the information of those the state has determined committed child abuse or neglect. Those who appear in the central database are prohibited from working with children in residential care facilities like Agape and are subject to additional restrictions.
One accusation of child neglect and four counts of physical abuse towards Clemensen were substantiated, according to the Missouri Department of Social Services.
The state’s decisions were communicated to Clemensen in May. He filed an appeal against the judgment, and the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board independently evaluated the case last month and upheld its determinations.
According to Clemensen’s motion, being included on the registry has a negative impact on his reputation and career prospects, as well as the “continuous functioning of Agape…which depends on [Clemensen] and other employees for its continued existence.” He also denies all accusations made against him and is asking for a full hearing.
Over 20 lawsuits have been filed against Agape, including accusations from former students that they were forcefully restrained and malnourished as a disciplinary form, required to do physical work, and taken off prescription medications while being told that “God will fix them.” Students allegedly suffered “serious bruising” after being restrained, were smashed to the ground and forced against walls, and were detained in handcuffs for days, according to other court files.
While the investigation is still ongoing, the Agape administration stated they will be transforming their current boarding school facility into five separate group homes. But due to low enrollment and current staff leaving their positions, it could go down to a less amount of group homes.
A decision will be made on December 21st regarding Clemenen’s requests.
Legal Recourse For Victims Of Abuse: Justice Is Just A Call Away
Many of the boarding school abuse survivors are represented by lawyer Ryan Frazier. Recently, he explained how the judicial system may assist abuse victims in their pursuit of justice.
“The effects of boarding school abuse on survivors can be devastating and life-altering. To even start recovering what they have been through, they might need therapy. Additionally, as many victims have remarked, the healing process is made easier by the realization that the abusers cannot continue the abuse, especially one they are charged and put behind bars.”
“School abuse happens all too frequently as a result of someone else’s negligence, like the school. Schools may be held accountable for failing to follow required procedures if incidents were not reported or looked into. Legally, public schools are required to keep a strict safety plan in place which includes periodic background checks to ensure staff and faculty and upholding standards of employment. When that slips through the cracks, a school system or institution can be held negligent and responsible for any danger the students were put through and that’s where we come in the help.”
To learn more about boarding school sexual abuse visit our page: https://abuseguardian.com/sexual-assault-lawyer/missouri/boarding-school-abuse-mo/
Abuse Guardian for Missouri and Kansas