STOCKTON, Mo. — After being allowed to stay open after a child abuse scandal, Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a petition to have the Agape Boarding School ordered to close its doors.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a petition to close the self-proclaimed Christian boarding school, which serves around 60 boys, earlier today, Sept. 26. According to the petition, the State of Missouri and Schmitt believe that children should be removed from the school for four reasons:
- Reports from students about abuse and neglect from current students.
- Corroborating reports from former students.
- Staff members were found by the Missouri Department of Social Service to have committed abuse against the students with one staff member facing criminal charges.
- Employees had not completed mandatory criminal background checks.
The entire petition can be found below.
On Sept. 12, Judge David Munton allowed the school to stay open as long as it was monitored around the clock. Agape’s attorney told the judge that there was no proof that there was any immediate concern for the students’ safety.
AG Schmitt originally tried to get the boarding school to shut down once it was found that one of the staff members working at the school was on the state registry for child abuse and neglect. Schmitt also accused the school of failing to provide the state with information about staff who had access to the children.
David Smock is a former physician for the school. He was arrested in Arkansas on eight felony charges that included sexual misconduct involving a child, first-degree statutory sodomy, second-degree attempted statutory sodomy, fourth-degree child molestation, and stalking.
Five other employees at Agape were charged with felony assault charges in September of 2021.
Circle of Hope Girls’ Ranch, a nearby Christian boarding school for girls, was shut down in 2020. The founders, Boyd and Stephanie Householder, received 99 charges of sex crimes, child abuse, and more.