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'It sounds like torture rooms': Attorney calls on AG Eric Schmitt to close Agape Boarding School

Posted at 6:19 PM, Sep 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-01 19:46:41-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One day after the FBI announced the arrest of a former Agape Boarding School dean, a civil right's attorney, among other community members, is calling on state leaders to intervene.

More than 20 lawsuits have been filed against Agape.

Students of the school claim they've been abused. Some for years.

Wednesday, the FBI announced the former dean along with a mother, who was also arrested, handcuffed the woman's son and drove him from California to the boarding school.

Elad Gross, a Missouri civil rights attorney, is adamant the school needs to be shut down.

"We're talking physical abuse, we’re talking rooms where essentially it sounds like torture rooms that were designed for God knows what," Gross said.

Court records indicate a former doctor of the school is facing time in prison after being charged with several counts of abuse, including sodomy.

In 2020, five staff members were charged with abusing children.

Still, in Missouri, the school is allowed to operate.

"Agape Boarding School is still able to advertise, they’re still bringing students in," Gross said." I don’t understand how an institution like that is allowed to continue, especially given all the egregious things they were doing to children and preying on desperate families."

In 2021, the Missouri Legislature passed a law that gives people in higher office, like county prosecutors and the attorney general, authority to shut down residential care facilities.

Gross says that includes religious boarding schools, like Agape. Thus, he wants Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt to shut it down.

"That is the office that is empowered to close this school today," Gross said. "Could file something today."

The KSHB I-Team reached out to Schmitt's office about the calls to shut down Agape, but a response was not received by the time this story was published.

Additionally, the I-Team did not receive a comment from Agape Boarding Schools in regard to this story.

However, an automated message from the school board, intended for inquiring parents, reads in part: "If your son is out of control, or perhaps he's struggling with emotional outbursts, peer influence or substance abuse, Agape is here to help him. Give your boy a strong future absent all of the behavioral problems and negative influence he is experiencing today."