Andrew Breshears, former student of Agapé Boarding School, has narrated his experience during his stay in 2018, reported by Springfield News-Leader. Upon entering the Agapé Boarding School campus, he was welcomed by the grand entryway adorned with a cross and the scenic view of the Ozarks. Initially, it seemed like a peaceful environment, but upon arrival he was met with harsh regulations, including frequent chapel attendance and being forced to shave all the hair off his head. He was then moved into a dorm resembling a military barracks and forced to abide by a multitude of rules.
Allegedly, disciplinary actions ranged from calisthenics, standing against a wall for hours at a time, physical abuse and neglect. The first few months of his stay, Breshears was able to avoid conflict with staff members but would soon face the same horrible treatment the other 19 formers Agapé students had mentioned in previously filed lawsuits. Physical abuse was so traumatic that it caused several boys to attempt to take their own lives, though Agapé lawyers deny such accusation.
The Agapé incident is just one in a series of scandals related to the heavily-monetized ‘troubled teen industry’, which is made up of corrective boarding schools, remedial residential centers, spiritual academies, and boarding camps that attempt to cure drug addiction and behavioral issues in youth. Due to the unsupervised and regulated laws placed against such facilities, for decades, children have undergone severe treatment without any repercussions from the institutions that hurt and abused them. A 2007 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported thousands of abuse cases between 1990 and 2007, with 33 states revealing 1,619 staff involved in such incidences.
With the spotlight currently being set on boarding school and religious organizations that have failed to protect the rights of their students attending the facilities, legislators are finally putting laws and regulations in order to maintain a safe environment for students.
Former Director Role On Rising Lawsuits Against Agapé Boarding School
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Bryan Clemensen refuted the claims against him and discussed his strategy of reform. He stated, “The point is to get the children to recognize that they need the assistance of God. Rather than relying on substances or the people around them, they need to turn to the Lord when they feel like they require aid. If their spirit is not rescued, the change will not stick.”
Recently, Clemensen has been in the spotlight of the dispute. Former students and their lawyers allege that Clemensen has been a damaging influence at the institution for a long period of time, suggesting his personnel should make use of violence in order to uphold control. Ryan Frazier, legal representative of Monsees and Mayer P.C., claims that it was Clemensen who initiated the policy of restraints in the early 2000s; Frazier is standing for 18 previous students in court proceedings against the school.
If you or someone you love was a victim of physical, mental or sexual abuse at a boarding school, contact our partnered law firm at Monsees and Mayer P.C..
Visit this page to learn more about boarding school sexual abuse in Missouri: https://abuseguardian.com/sexual-assault-lawyer/missouri/boarding-school-abuse-mo/
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