Southwestern Missouri Boarding School Survivors Share Stories of Alleged Horrors They Endured | KCUR 89.3
The Agapé Boys’ Boarding School in Stockton, Missouri, has been the subject of 14 lawsuits accusing staff and other students of abuse. New lawsuits also allege Agapé violated Missouri’s Marketing Practices Act by misrepresenting or concealing information provided to students and their families.
Plaintiffs Robert Bucklin and Amanda Householder are working to close the school permanently.
Amanda is the daughter of Boyd and Stephanie Householder, who are currently under house arrest awaiting trial on dozens of criminal abuse charges at the Circle of Hope Girls’ Ranch, a residential reformatory in Humansville, Missouri. The school opened in July 2006 and was closed in 2020 amid reports and lawsuits by former students alleging child abuse.
Boyd Householder worked in Agapé caring for horses and other animals before opening Circle of Hope in 2006. Although Agapé and Circle of Hope were run separately, the two schools had close ties and were located in less than a half hour drive from each other.
Amanda lived on the Agapé land with her parents for five years as a child. During this time, she said, she saw boys being beaten, tortured and raped.
“I really think my dad started the girls’ school for his own sick perversions looking back on it now,” she said. “I think he thought he could control girls differently than he could control boys.”
Up to Date reached out to parents of Amanda Householder and Agape Boarding School for comment, but received no response.
Despite Amanda Householder’s success in shutting down Circle of Hope, Agapé is still open, leaving many children in an environment that Robert Bucklin called dangerous.
Bucklin said he survived abuse while attending Agape boarding school from 2007 to 2012 and the faculty inflicted the majority of beatings and torture. He also pointed out that classmates were afraid to tell their parents what was going on because when they reported what was going on to administrators and the dean, nothing was ever done to help them.
“Nowhere in the United States would a teacher accused of sexual or physical abuse be employed,” Bucklin said. “They would be furloughed to protect victims and prevent future victims.”
The schools are not affiliated with any particular Christian denomination. But both opened in southwest Missouri under a 1982 state law that allowed unregulated religious boarding school operations.