Authorities in Missouri seek immediate closure of right-wing Christian ranch for boys

The Agape ranch boarding school in Missouri describes itself as “a non-profit boarding school designed to show God’s love to teen boys struggling with behavior issues that can threaten their future.”

In what surely must be starting to sound like a broken record when it comes to right-wing religious institutions which abuse children, Agape is being described by authorities in Missouri as a place so dangerous to kids it should be closed immediately:

The Missouri Attorney General and state child welfare leaders filed an amended complaint Friday afternoon, saying students must be removed from Agape Boarding School because of a long pattern of abuse.

The complaint, filed in Cedar County Circuit Court, contained additional details that the AG’s office said provided explicit evidence of systemic abuse of students at the unlicensed school near Stockton that has gone on for years.

Those new details also include allegations that Agape provided “incomplete information” to the state in recent days. And it said multiple people still working at the school are appealing their substantiated findings from the Missouri Department of Social Services that they physically abused students. State law allows the staffers to keep working while they appeal the findings.

The Kansas City Star has independently learned that Agape director Bryan Clemensen is one of those who was notified by DSS that he had a substantiated report of abuse against him. Multiple sources also said that Scott Dumar, the school’s longtime medical coordinator, also is among those appealing a substantiated DSS finding. Dumar is also one of five staff members who were charged last year with physical abuse of students.

Speaking of broken records, must anyone point out again that the reason members of the extreme religious Right see grooming sexual abusers behind every liberal curtain is because so many of the right-wingers turn out to be abusers themselves?

I should stress that many of these charges are still allegations. But it’s not every day that law enforcement officials seek the immediate closure of an established Christian boarding school, so they must feel something is terribly amiss.

If the allegations turn out to be true…well, the abuse of kids who’ve already had such tough lives must involve the worst kinds of people.

I was in foster care for the latter part of my childhood, and I had a couple of male authority figures who tried to take advantage of me at different stages of my adolescence. Fortunately, I was cynical and street smart enough to realize they were grooming me. I toyed with them by appearing as if I was falling for their ham-handed attempts to lure me through trust and deception. It was pedophile cat and mouse. Except the cat didn’t know the mouse was in control.

I should have contacted authorities, but it didn’t cross my mind at the time. I thought they were pathetic and put them out of my mind once I got rid of them by becoming angry and making it clear I knew what they were doing. Nothing chases away a pedophile faster than calling them what they are to their face.

But I also ached for the father figure I never had in my life, and I can understand how, if I were a little more naïve and trusting, those encounters could have gone south pretty quickly.

And to do these things under the guise of “God’s love”?

Horrible. Just horrible.

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