Former student alleges boarding school owner impregnated her

Boyd and Stephanie Householder closed the Circle of Hope Girls Ranch in southwest Missouri in September 2020. They now face about 100 charges that include statutory rape, sodomy, physical abuse and neglect.

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The Star

A Kentucky woman is suing Circle of Hope, the Cedar County boarding school that closed in 2020, accusing former owner Boyd Householder of raping and impregnating her.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court, alleges that Householder physically and sexually abused the plaintiff when she lived at Circle of Hope Girls Ranch near Humansville in southwest Missouri. The woman, now 29, arrived at the school when she was 12, the lawsuit says.

“The plaintiff was forced to have sexual intercourse with Boyd Householder, against her will resulting in a pregnancy,” according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. “The pregnancy terminated in a miscarriage — and the plaintiff received no medical treatment for that, and was made to feel ashamed/embarrassed about it in front of other girls.”

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It isn’t clear how old she was when the alleged assault and pregnancy occurred.

The lawsuit is one of more than a dozen cases filed against Circle of Hope since 2020, including one brought by Boyd and Stephanie Householder’s estranged daughter. Seven of the eight cases filed in state court have been settled for undisclosed amounts, and six cases filed in federal court since last August are pending.

Former students alleged in those suits they were subjected to extreme physical and psychological abuse. They said they were routinely assaulted, manhandled by being thrown against walls and to the ground and hit and slapped. Others described painful restraints and some said if they didn’t finish their meals they were forced to eat until they vomited.

Boyd, now 74, and his wife, Stephanie, 57, were charged in 2021 with nearly 100 felony child abuse counts. They have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to go to trial in Cedar County from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15.

The Householders opened Circle of Hope in 2006. They closed it in August 2020 shortly after about two dozen girls were removed amid an investigation into abuse allegations. In a Sept. 12, 2020, interview with The Star, the Householders denied the allegations against them and accused their daughter of wanting to do anything to shut them down.

The Householders haven’t spoken to the media since.

The woman at the center of the lawsuit filed Wednesday is demanding a jury trial and seeking $3 million in damages.

Her suit says that she was restrained by school staff members — or other residents at the direction of Circle of Hope — to “the point of passing out.” She allegedly was “force-fed” and staff weighed her regularly in an effort to “fatten her up.”

Other allegations in the lawsuit include being forced to stand against a wall “for countless days at a time without food, water, or restroom breaks.”

“The plaintiff was spanked with a leather-wrapped paddle, often being bent-over the knee of Boyd Householder,” the suit alleges.

The plaintiff was “also forced to watch the punishment, abuse, restraint, and sexual mistreatment of countless other girls during her stay,” the suit says.

“Aside from the expected emotional damage suffered by the plaintiff, she was also permanently physically damaged in multiple areas of her body because of restraints and other forms of abuse.”

The Householders were arrested in March 2021 on felony child abuse charges. Boyd Householder faces 78 felony charges, including six counts of second-degree statutory rape, nine counts of second-degree statutory sodomy, six counts of sexual contact with a student and 55 counts of abuse or neglect of a child. He also is charged with one count of second-degree child molestation, a misdemeanor.

The charges allege that Boyd Householder slammed girls’ heads or bodies against walls, slapped or struck them with his hands, a belt or other objects, shoved one girl’s face into horse manure and poured hot sauce down a girl’s throat.

Stephanie Householder is charged with 21 felonies, including 11 counts of abuse or neglect of a child and 10 counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The two were held without bond until July 2021, when David R. Munton, presiding judge of the 28th Judicial Circuit, unexpectedly set a $10,000 bond after Boyd Householder said he had COVID-19. At that time, Stephanie Householder said she had a serious blood clot in her foot that if not properly treated could result in amputation.

Munton placed restrictions on them that included wearing ankle monitors.

Originally Appeared Here

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