SPRINGFIELD, Mo, — The former religious reformatory school has been under investigation for months, and now the Missouri Attorney General is on the case.
Back in August, Circle of Hope Girls Ranch had 24 girls removed from their property after allegations began to pile up regarding sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.
Now Cedar County has help from the state on this investigation. The situation is something that came to light thanks to a small-town newspaper.
The newsroom of the Cedar County Republican consists of two people: Editor Miles Brite, and Reporter Katheryn Skopec. For much of this year, they have been digging deep on allegations at Circle of Hope Girls Ranch, owned and operated by Boyd and Stephanie Householder.
“It’s comforting to know for the sake of justice and truth that our name was on this first,” Brite says.
Today, the Cedar County Prosecutor Ty Gaither announced that they now have the help of Attorney General Eric Schmitt on the investigation. We reached out the Gaither but got no response. Brite however, spoke to Gaither about what the benefit of having help from the state means.
“Our prosecuting attorney’s office is rather small given the nature and size of our county. There would genuinely be need for additional legal counsel, more prosecutorial power, additional resources simply to manage a case that could be of significant size,” says Brite.
Brite says Gaither’s request to the Governor for assistance from the AG was met with a very quick response.
At least 4 girls have come forward with lawsuits alleging abuse, and they are represented by Attorney Catherine Reade of Haden, Cowherd, and Bullock – a Springfield law firm.
“We are happy to see that they have gotten the attention of the Governor, and that more of the resources of the state are going to be spent investigating this matter,” Reade says.
For their case, Reade says it doesn’t change their goal of fighting for their clients. But she said one thing they are looking forward to are the findings from the day authorities removed the girls from the property in Humansville.
“I think we’re all kind of waiting to see what those items are, and what the police were able to obtain on that search warrant. We’d like to know just like everybody else,” says Reade.
The Attorney General’s office says it could not comment on the open investigation.
The defense attorney for the Householder’s did not respond for comment.