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#news ‘Literally kidnapping’: Teens taken against their will to boarding schools across US #WorldNews

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#information ‘Literally kidnapping’: Teens taken against their will to boarding schools across US #WorldNews

Julio Sandoval tells dad and mom he desires to assist their wayward sons get on the suitable path.

He assures them, via the web site for his transport enterprise, that he will ship their kids safely to a boarding faculty. So dad and mom rent Sandoval’s firm – Safe Sound Secure Youth Ministries – to take away their so-called “troubled teens” from their houses and transport them to the schools.

Sandoval is also former dean of scholars at Agape Boarding School and current leader of another unlicensed facility, each in Missouri. His objective along with his transport firm is to be “a blessing to your home,” and Sandoval shares with dad and mom the philosophy he says he makes use of along with his personal seven kids: “I don’t care if you like me, I am not raising you for YOU to like ME. I am raising YOU, for ME to like you.’”

Now, Sandoval, 41, awaits his subsequent court docket look, arrested this week after a federal grand jury indicted him for violating a restraining order — issued on the request of a minor boy against his mom — by transporting him against his will to Agape in southwest Missouri. The jury additionally indicted the estranged mother of the teenager, who was dropped off at Agape final summer season after a 27-hour drive from California, the indictment says, his fingers cuffed behind his again your entire method.

The arrests underscore issues many have with transport corporations whose brokers usually present up at houses in the midst of the night time — with the dad and mom’ consent — dragging scared youth away from bed, typically restraining them with handcuffs and threatening bodily drive in the event that they don’t comply. They then cart them off to boarding schools across the nation, together with Missouri.

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“That’s literally kidnapping,” stated Rep. Keri Ingle, D-Lee’s Summit, who initiated hearings in Jefferson City on boarding schools and co-sponsored legislation that now regulates them. “I would be incredibly traumatized by being taken from my home in the middle of the night and handcuffed and threatened and all of that and then jetted states away.

“That’s absolutely crazy. That’s the stuff of movies. It’s unbelievable.”

#news ‘Literally kidnapping’: Teens taken against their will to boarding schools across US #WorldNews

Keri Ingle, Missouri state consultant from Lee’s Summit

Yet it’s been occurring in Missouri and all through the nation for many years, inflicting what college students describe as excessive trauma that stays with them into maturity.

“You’ve got the dean of students that’s running a transport service,” Aimee Groves, a former scholar at two unlicensed ladies’ boarding schools in Missouri, informed The Star final yr. “These people are paid to kidnap children and traumatize them.”

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Sandoval pleaded not responsible Wednesday in California federal court docket by way of video convention and was launched on a private recognizance bond. His subsequent court docket date is scheduled for Oct. 5.

Agape issued a press release via its lawyer, John Schultz, relating to Sandoval’s indictment.

“Agape does not own, control or operate any transport service, nor does Agape sponsor or endorse any transport service,” it stated. “Agape was unaware of the California protective order but as soon as Agape learned of it discussions were had with the boy’s father to have him picked up from Agape. The boy was at Agape for 7 days and then turned over to his father when he arrived.”

Sandoval was Agape’s dean of scholars when he included his transport firm in June 2020 as a nonprofit with a Stockton, Missouri, deal with, state company paperwork present. Agape is situated in Stockton.

On Jan. 12, Sandoval registered his firm beneath a barely completely different title — Safe Sound Secure Transport Agency — utilizing the deal with of Lighthouse Christian Academy. That boarding faculty is in Piedmont, a city of about 1,900 within the distant Ozark foothills of southeast Missouri. Sandoval left Agape final fall and took a job as an officer at Lighthouse.

Sandoval’s company has employed two off-duty Cedar County Sheriff’s deputies to assist decide up the youth from across the nation. One of these deputies, Robert Graves, has labored at Agape and is the son-in-law of its late founder, James Clemensen.

Horror tales about transports surfaced a number of instances final yr in testimony that former college students submitted to Missouri lawmakers as they thought-about measures to give the state some oversight over unlicensed boarding schools. Students represented a number of schools, not simply within the Show-Me State.

“When I was 13 years old I was picked up out of my bed in the middle of the night by strangers who threatened me with mechanical restraints if I resisted,” Hannah Kay wrote in her February 2021 testimony. “I didn’t know why or where I was going. My parents were instructed to ignore my pleas for help.”

The California woman, then weighing simply 65 kilos, was whisked away to the Florida Panhandle. She informed The Star, “I honestly thought I had gotten involved with terrorists, and that’s why this was happening.”

Parents will pay a whole bunch and up to hundreds of {dollars} to have their kids picked up by transport corporations and delivered to boarding schools.

Ingle stated a number of former college students shared along with her their transport firm tales and the way the experiences nonetheless have an effect on them at the moment. She questions the legality of such strategies.

“That opens things up to trafficking, false imprisonment, kidnapping, all of those things,” Ingle stated. “It’s horrifying. And if these are kids with alleged behavioral problems or histories of trauma, this is just going to exacerbate that.”

Taken in the midst of the night time

Niles Short was asleep in his Chicago-area bed room in October 1999 when two males woke him up round 2 a.m.

Unbeknownst to him, his mother had secretly packed his issues.

“These guys came in my room in plain clothes,” Short informed The Star. “They handcuffed me with real handcuffs and threatened me with a taser. I got into survivor mode, told them I had to (go to the bathroom). They made me leave the door open and watched me.”

Soon, he was in a automotive and on his method to Stockton, Missouri. Short doesn’t know who the boys labored for, however it wasn’t Sandoval’s firm as a result of he was transported about 10 years earlier than Sandoval began at Agape.

“I was cornered in my bedroom — it was a shocking thing,” Short stated. “I remember that day like yesterday. … My sister had warned me about it but I didn’t believe her, because Mom always threatened me with boarding school.”

Student after scholar recounted related scenes in vivid element. Middle of the night time. Scared. Unsure of the place they had been going. Not figuring out once they would have the option to come dwelling once more.

During an investigation into Missouri’s unlicensed Christian boarding schools, The Star interviewed greater than 70 former Agape college students. At least a dozen stated the transport itself left them traumatized and unable to belief individuals.

Five former college students of boarding schools — Agape and different places — submitted testimony to Missouri legislators that detailed their expertise with transport corporations.

David Patterson ended up at Agape on Father’s Day 2002.

“I was police escorted there by off duty cops,” he stated in written testimony to the House Children and Families Committee final yr. “Waking me up at 4:30 in the morning telling me ‘we can do this the easy way or the hard way’ while showing me a pair of handcuffs.

“They picked out my clothes and made me wear a belt backwards in case they needed to handcuff me to myself, and made me wear a ‘transport boot,’ a shoe you would get if you had a broken foot and a cast to walk in.”

The boot, he stated, would preserve him from operating away.

“Upon arriving in Agape I was strip searched naked in a room full of grown men I’d never seen before and then I was taken to get my head shaved,” he stated. “I would be restrained multiple times for not conforming and submitting to the school’s strange and oftentimes peculiar interpretations of the Bible.”

Four years later, on the day after Christmas, Colton Schrag was despatched to Agape for a second time from his dad and mom’ dwelling in New Mexico. He was 14.

“Two dudes woke me up at like 4 in the morning,” he informed The Star, “zip-tied me and escorted me out … like I was a hardened criminal.”

Colton Schrag

Colton Schrag

And Gabe Miller arrived from St. Louis, after a drive with two males from a transport firm who entered the 15-year-old’s bed room at 6 a.m on Labor Day in 2017. He rapidly found that his grandparents had already packed his bag.

“They pulled out handcuffs and handcuffed me with my hands behind my back,” Miller informed The Star. “They said, ‘If you act up, we can shackle your legs.’ I didn’t even get to say goodbye to my grandparents.”

One state takes a stand

One northwestern state determined that one thing had to be executed.

Oregon lawmakers passed a bill that went into impact earlier this yr to strictly regulate transport corporations. It was the primary state to undertake such laws.

Its legislation requires corporations that present safe transport providers for the aim of putting a baby in a residential program to be licensed as a “Child Caring Agency” within the state.

The corporations additionally should adjust to all the necessities of such an company. That consists of being included and obeying the state’s restraint and seclusion insurance policies. All susceptible, supine and mechanical restraints — together with hoods, blindfolds and handcuffs — are prohibited. So is the “infliction of pain” and ridiculing of youth.

“The transport experience is so shocking and horrifying because it’s associated with home, your safe place,” stated Oregon state Sen. Sara Gelser Blouin, a Democrat who sponsored the laws. “And so your ability to trust, like, ‘Who do I trust? How do I know that I’m safe? I can’t be safe at home. The people that are supposed to protect me are watching this happen to me.’ You can’t get over that.

“It’s trauma on so many levels.”

What Sandoval’s firm is accused of doing — handcuffing the Fresno teen and driving him to Agape — “would 100 percent be illegal in Oregon for a whole bunch of reasons,” Gelser Blouin stated.

“I think what’s interesting about that case, though, is the way that these places make their activities legal,” she stated. “The contracts that the parents sign with the company give them the right to basically abuse their children. What made this illegal with this kid — and that’s what is frustrating — is it wasn’t really the transport, it was the restraining order.”

The mother didn’t have the authority to delegate the transport, Gelser Blouin stated.

But she argues that the transport itself is mistaken.

“You’re taking kids and you’re moving them involuntarily across state lines for profit,” she stated. “What happened to that kid was and should be illegal. It is assault, and it is abuse, and it is imprisonment. But what’s absurd is that the only reason it was a crime was because his mom signed the papers.”

If his dad had signed transport papers, Gelser Blouin stated, the very same factor would have occurred to the boy, and it wouldn’t have been a criminal offense.

As for Agape, Gelser Blouin stated she’s acquainted with the varsity and allegations of abuse.

“I don’t know that there’s anybody that hasn’t heard about Agape,” she stated. “I believe that it is a national embarrassment to the state of Missouri. There is no reason that it should be open. It is a demonstration of corrupt politics and clearly shows a disregard for the well-being of children. The evidence couldn’t be more clear.”

While engaged on her invoice, Gelser Blouin spoke extensively to former boarding faculty college students, together with Brett Harper, an Oregon resident who attended Agape from 1999 to 2003. Last yr, Harper informed the Oregon Senate Committee on Human Services, Mental Health and Recovery — which Gelser Blouin chairs — about his expertise being transported to the southwest Missouri boarding faculty.

He defined how someday his adoptive dad drove him dwelling. His dad has simply gotten off work at a parole and probation workplace in Oregon.

“We got inside and all of a sudden two men came out of the bathroom and showed me these badges,” Harper stated. “They said they were here to take me to a boarding school and that I could go the easy way or the hard way. They informed me they were hired by my dad.”

The males informed Harper that they sometimes didn’t permit dad and mom to be current in the course of the pickup however as a result of “my dad is in law enforcement, they felt it would be OK,” Harper informed the committee.

At the time, Harper stated he selected the “easy way” and “allowed them to cuff me and put me in the van with my dad.”

He stated his dad apologized and informed him that he was going to a boarding faculty “that would help me get my attitude right and get right with God.”

“The transport itself, although not overly violent, is traumatic enough where I still have night terrors to this day at age 35 and this was 21 years ago,” Harper testified. “Most people who are transported to residential treatment facilities, boarding schools, wilderness camps … have night terrors, and some for the rest of their lives.

“I’ve spoken with survivors that have had night terrors about being transported 30 years later.”

Temira Lital, a psychological well being skilled who was taken to a boarding faculty by transporters when she was a teen, additionally testified in assist of the laws.

“We’re talking about the act known as teen transport,” Lital stated. “It’s not transport. It’s licensed kidnapping. I say that as a therapist and as a survivor.”

“Imagine being torn from your own bed, mostly-naked, by strangers of the opposite sex. For many years, I slept with my bed in front of my door. I slept with a knife under my pillow. I slept in my clothes, ready to run and live on the streets rather than suffer through this again. Teen transport almost destroyed my life.

“By banning it, you can protect the children of Oregon from similar experiences.”

In the top, Gelser Blouin stated she hopes different states do what Oregon did and cross significant laws to regulate transport corporations and cease the “abuse” that youth endure.

“I think it should be illegal, period,” Gelser Blouin stated. “I don’t see any world in which this is appropriate. We would not do that to adults.”

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