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ABM Ministries Lighthouse Christian Academy Employee, Caleb Sandoval, Charged With Child Abuse
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Piedmont, MO – A teacher at ABM Ministries, which operates as Lighthouse Christian Academy, located at 299 Wayne 459, Piedmont, MO 63957, has been charged with abuse or neglect of a child after a 15-year-old student suffered a bloody nose during an alleged boxing session. These charges mark the third instance this month of individuals associated with Christian boarding schools in Missouri facing legal action.

MO Boarding School Employee Charged with Child Abuse

According to a probable cause statement, Caleb Sandoval, 22, who is the son of the school’s director, Julio Sandoval, allegedly caused a 15-year-old student to suffer a bloody nose and fall during a boxing session between September 1, 2023, and January 1, 2024. Sandoval initially claimed that he was teaching the boy to box in preparation for a Mixed Martial Arts camp. However, he later stated that the sparring took place after the boy made sexual comments about him and his wife. Sandoval has not yet obtained legal representation, and ABM Ministries has not responded to requests for comment.

Julio Sandoval, a former dean at Agape Boarding School, is currently under investigation for alleged abuse during his tenure at the school. Sandoval, who was previously associated with the Cedar County school where staff members faced charges of abusing students, is now an officer at Lighthouse Christian Academy.

History of Allegations at ABM Ministries and Lighthouse Christian Academy

ABM Ministries, also known as Lighthouse Christian Academy, is a private Christian boarding school located in Wayne County, approximately 130 miles south of St. Louis. The institution, which previously admitted both boys and girls, claims to specialize in assisting troubled students with learning impairments, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other disorders.

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office began investigating ABM Ministries several months ago after receiving a complaint from a former student residing in Alabama. The Musgraves, the school’s owners, have now been charged with kidnapping the student in question. Since early January, the sheriff’s office has received reports of five runaways from the school. In one instance, two boys were picked up by a concerned resident who contacted the authorities. Recent allegations of misconduct have prompted investigations by Wayne County Sheriff Dean Finch. Notably, former students have come forward with claims of mistreatment and abuse.

Boarding School Owners Charged with Kidnapping

Earlier this month, ABM Ministries owners Larry Musgraves Jr., 57, and Carmen Musgraves, 64, were charged over the weekend with first-degree kidnapping. They are accused of locking a student in a small room against their will.

ABM Ministries Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

ABM Ministries and the Musgraves were involved in a federal lawsuit in 2009, which alleged that a former principal engaged in sexual acts with a female student and that the Musgraves failed to take appropriate action to protect her. The school and the Musgraves settled the lawsuit for $750,000, while the principal agreed to pay $100,000.

The allegations at ABM Ministries and other similar facilities, such as Agape Boarding School and Circle of Hope Girls’ Ranch, have led to increased scrutiny and legislative action. In 2021, Missouri enacted a law to impose stricter regulations on religious boarding schools, which previously operated with little oversight.

Ongoing Missouri Boarding School Legal Proceedings

The history of similar allegations at Agape Boarding School and Circle of Hope Girls’ Ranch has led to increased scrutiny of religious boarding schools in Missouri. Stricter regulations were implemented in 2021 following cases of physical and sexual abuse.

At Agape Boarding School, investigations and allegations of physical and sexual abuse eventually led to its closure in 2023. Several former employees, including the school’s doctor, still face pending cases. Similarly, the former owners of Circle of Hope Girls’ Ranch are scheduled to stand trial in November on 100 counts of child abuse. They have pleaded not guilty.

Caleb Sandoval’s initial court appearance is set for Thursday, where further details of the case are expected to be presented. The ongoing legal actions against individuals associated with ABM Ministries and other boarding schools underscore the need for increased accountability and safeguards within these institutions.

Learn more about the kidnapping charges against the ABM Ministries – Lighthouse Christian Academy owners:

ABM Ministries Missouri Christian Boarding School Owners Arrested for Kidnapping

Unveiling Legal Options for Boarding School Abuse Victims: A Conversation with a Boarding School Attorney

In light of recent arrests at the Missouri boarding school, it is important to address the legal options available to victims of boarding school abuse. We had the opportunity to sit down with Missouri-based child abuse lawyer, Ryan Frazier, Esq., to discuss the civil cases that victims can bring against liable parties. In this interview, Frazier shared valuable advice for those affected by boarding school abuse, shedding insight into the potential outcomes and challenges they may face in seeking justice through the legal system.

Laurence Banville, Esq. (LB): Ryan, thank you for being here.

Ryan Frazier, Esq. (RF): Thank you, Laurence. It’s my pleasure to be here and discuss this important issue.

LB: Absolutely. These recent incidents at ABM Ministries have brought attention to the abuse that can occur at boarding schools. In your experience, what options do victims have when it comes to pursuing civil cases against the responsible parties?

RF: Well, Laurence, victims of abuse at boarding schools have the right to seek justice through civil litigation. They can file a civil lawsuit against the liable parties, which may include the school, its owners, employees, or anyone who played a role in the abuse or failed to protect the students.

LB: That’s interesting. What are the potential outcomes for victims who pursue a civil case?

RF: Victims who pursue a civil case may be eligible for various forms of compensation, including financial damages for medical expenses, therapy costs, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Additionally, a successful civil case can also bring a sense of closure and validation to the victims, holding the responsible parties accountable for their actions.

LB: That sounds like an important avenue for victims to pursue. Are there any challenges they might face when filing a civil lawsuit?

RF: Victims of boarding school abuse may face challenges such as statutes of limitations, which can restrict the timeframe within which they can file a lawsuit. It’s crucial for victims to consult with an attorney who specializes in child abuse cases to understand their legal rights and the applicable laws in their jurisdiction.

LB: I see. And what would you tell victims or their families who are considering taking legal action?

RF: I would stress the importance of reaching out to an experienced child abuse attorney who can guide them through the legal process. It’s essential to gather any evidence available, such as medical records, witness testimonies, or documentation of previous complaints. Victims should also prioritize their well-being and seek appropriate support, such as therapy or counseling, as they navigate this challenging journey.

LB: Thank you, Ryan, for sharing your knowledge on this matter.

RF: Thank you, Laurence. It’s crucial that we continue to highlight these issues and support the victims in their pursuit of justice.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation: Empowering Victims of Boarding School Abuse

As the conversation between attorneys Laurence Banville and Ryan Frazier, Esq. highlights the legal avenues available to victims of boarding school abuse, it is crucial for individuals and their families to take action. If you or a loved one has been affected by abuse at a boarding school, do not hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation. Our dedicated team is here to provide support, guidance, and legal representation to help you seek justice and hold accountable those responsible for the trauma endured. Contact us today to explore your options and begin the journey toward healing and resolution. You don’t have to face this alone – reach out to us and let us fight for your rights.


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