Missouri: School case delayed where abuse was reported

Hearings on the state of Missouri’s attempt to shut down a Christian boarding school whose officials have been accused of abuse by numerous current and former students have been postponed again.

Cedar County Deputy Circuit Judge Thomas Pyle on Tuesday canceled hearings that had been scheduled for Thursday and Friday to consider Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s request to close Agape Boarding School. No new hearing dates have been set.

Pyle also granted Agape attorney John Schultz’s request to appoint a guardian ad litem for each child at Agape. That type of guardian represents the interest of the child in court. Pyle also agreed with Schultz’s request that the parents be parties to the case and that the state identify the students instead of just using their initials.

“We are pleased that the judge has granted all of the relief that we requested,” Schultz said. “Agape remains open and is committed to safely caring for and educating students,” he added.

Chris Nuelle, a spokesman for Schmitt, said the office is reviewing Pyle’s decision.

Schmitt’s office filed a motion in early September to have the school closed, calling it “an immediate health and safety issue for the children residing at Agape.” Weeks later, Republican Missouri House Speaker Rob Vescovo sent a letter to US Attorney Teresa Moore in Kansas City also urging Agape’s closure.

The school once housed about 100 children, but enrollment dropped to 45, Schultz said. The drop in enrollment has forced Agape to lay off a dozen of its 50 employees and move children to five group homes instead of housing them at school, Schultz said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *