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Abuse claims against Missouri reform school settled

July 20, 2021 GMT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Four civil lawsuits alleging sexual and physical assault by the owners of a southwest Missouri reform school have been settled.

An attorney for four former Circle of Hope Girls Ranch students, identified only as Jane Does, told The Kansas City Star that the settlement amounts are confidential.

The four former students sued the school’s owners shortly after two dozen girls were removed from the Humansville-area school last year during an investigation into the abuse allegations.

The owners, Boyd and Stephanie Householder, together face more than 100 criminal charges including statutory rape, sodomy, physical abuse and neglect.

Boyd Householder faces 80 charges, including statutory rape and statutory sodomy. His wife has been charged with 22 counts, most involving abuse or neglect of a child. They both pleaded not guilty in March.

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The plaintiffs in the civil suits allege they were raped, thrown against walls, forced to eat until they vomited and starved by the Householders.

A Missouri law dating to 1982 exempted religious residential care facilities from state licensure requirements. Republican Gov. Mike Parson last week signed a bill into law to regulate the unlicensed schools.