Reposted from our coalition’s website, We Warned Them.
We are asking for your help. In Missouri, our friends from the TTI survivor community have drawn the line: Agape Boarding School has gone too far.
Agape, a residential troubled teen program located in Cedar County, Missouri, is under investigation for their abuse and for using unsafe, controversial practices on youth. The alarming reports of abuseinclude improper restraints, sexual assault cases, underreporting of child abuse and neglect, and under-qualified or completely unqualified staff.
These allegations have been ongoing, dating back to Agape’s opening in the 90’s. Agape’s administration has made no attempts to regulate their adherence to safety protocols.
For too long, Agape has been allowed to operate unregulated by the state and use religious exemptions to dodge accountability. Recently, staff member Dr. David Smock was arrested and charged with child sex crimes against multiple Agape youth. We have attached further resources at the end of this letter if you would like to learn more about this specific situation, which we strongly encourage given the seriousness of Agape’s complicity in these acts.
To that end, we have drafted a letter asking that the school be shut down immediately. Agape Boarding School has been party to overwhelming reports of neglect, abuse and exploitation of youth in their so-called care. We must work together to prevent this traumatic cycle from recurring, and we are asking that your organization sign onto this letter. Our goal is to help our survivors and friends to end the human rights violations and mistreatment youth are facing at Agape right now.
Please join us to fight for the safety of those youth still trapped at Agape. We must send a message that they are not forgotten. We know the value, hard work, and dedication it takes to protect young people. We strongly feel that you not only uphold but embody our same values of protecting vulnerable youth from abuse. We would be incredibly honored to have your support on this important issue.
We hope you’ll join us, in the spirit of solidarity, as we fight to protect and advocate for youth in residential care.
Thank you for your allyship,
Gabriel, Jasmyne, Josh, Kayla, Margaret & Tay
Youtube Playlist of Agape Interviews: