KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The owners of a now-defunct boarding school for girls are in custody on numerous state felony charges, according to a spokesperson for the Missouri Attorney General.
Boyd and Stephanie Householder operated Circle of Hope Girls Ranch and Boarding School in Humansville – roughly 140 miles southeast of Kansas City, Missouri – from 2006 until mid-2020.
An NBC Dateline investigation, released last September, found that at least 15 people reported abuse at the ranch “to at least six local, state and federal agencies in Missouri.”
A civil lawsuit filed in Cedar County Court in October alleged that a woman, identified as Jane Doe IV, was “sexually abused, assaulted, molested, and raped by the son of Boyd and Stephanie Householder.” She was 14 when she arrived at the ranch in 2014.
The suit alleged that the Householders knew of the abuse but “took no corrective action” in response.
Cedar County Sheriff James McCrary told NBC Dateline his office “received multiple calls” about the ranch and since his tenure began in 2017, each complaint was investigated.
But complaints, according to NBC Dateline, began when Circle of Hope opened.
The October 2020 civil suit alleged that as a “so-called religious-based organization,” Circle of Hope was not regulated at the local, state or federal level.
In February two state representatives introduced separate bills that “proposed state oversight for private faith-based boarding schools and treatment facilities” for children, according to NBC affiliate KY3.
Allegations against Circle of Hope gained traction after the Householder’s daughter, Amanda, began posting accounts of alleged abuse on a TikTok account.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is expected to hold a news conference Wednesday afternoon with an update on the investigation.
For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.