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Six other former students are filing federal lawsuits alleging abuse at Agape Boarding School

Six other former students filed lawsuits against Agape Boarding School in Missouri’s Western District on Wednesday. The now-closed Stockton school is currently facing 12 federal lawsuits.

Last week, two former students filed lawsuits against the school. Four lawsuits were filed in January. All court cases allege that the former students were abused in the care of Agape boarding school. The lawsuits also argue that prior to the students’ arrival, the school knew about several incidents of abuse but took no action.

Attorney Ryan Frazier of Monsees & Mayer PC is representing 10 alumni in these lawsuits: Hayden Frazier of Indiana, Corey Fernandes of California, Michael Payne of Louisiana, Adrian Lokuan of Texas, Blake Boatswain of Florida, Jaden Loman of Florida, Joshua Berreth of Texas , Wayne Woolshleger of Indiana, Cameron McManus of Texas and Ethan Nguyen of California. Each former student in these cases is seeking $75,000 in damages and a jury trial. All complaints allege physical and psychological abuse by Agape Boarding School staff and staff.

More:Agape Boarding School in Stockton makes ‘voluntary’ decision to close, finances quote

Attorney Jarett Johnson of McGonagle Spencer Gahagan is representing two alumni, Darian Shelton of Florida and David Gawaggious of New York. According to the files, both men allege they were forcibly taken from their homes to Stockton School and suffered abuse and abuse while there. The lawsuits seek a trial by jury, damages “in such fair and reasonable amounts as may be determined at trial” and other things the court “determines to be just and reasonable.”

Among those involved in the court cases, some former students participated in Agape as early as 2014, while others only participated in 2021.

John Schultz, the attorney representing boarding school Agape, declined to comment.

Of the 12 lawsuits, at least four were previously filed in district court

Cases involving former students Hayden Frazier, Fernandes, Payne and Lokuan were previously filed in Cedar County Circuit Court in April 2022 and moved to Vernon County Circuit Court. All complaints allege physical and psychological abuse by Agape Boarding School staff and staff.

The story goes on

On January 9, Monsees & Mayer PC’s Ryan Frazier filed a motion in state court to dismiss all four cases before filing a complaint in federal court. Ryan Frazier is representing the plaintiffs in all four cases. Because the plaintiffs are state residents, they are suing in the court for the Western District of Missouri.

When asked about the reasons for moving the cases to federal court, Ryan Frazier said in an email at the time of filing, “We believe federal court is an appropriate venue to achieve expeditious justice for our clients. “

More:New evidence found in Agape boarding school suits says abuse prompted students to attempt suicide

Ongoing investigations, lawsuits related to boarding school Agape

The Stockton-based reform Christian school has been under investigation for more than a year over allegations of abuse. The school closed on Jan. 20, “solely due to a lack of funds to continue caring for the boys,” Bryan Clemensen, former principal of Agape boarding school, said in a press release.

More than 19 lawsuits have been filed against Agape Boarding School by alumni, including graphic accounts of alleged abuse. As of March 7, the Kansas City Star reports that 16 of the civil lawsuits have been settled for undisclosed amounts and dismissed with prejudice, meaning they cannot be retried.

In June, the school lost its accreditation from the National Council of Private School Accreditation and the Association of Christian Teachers and Schools.

More:“Huge slap in the face”: Former Agape boarding school students worry about the prosecution of allegations of abuse

In August, Julio Sandoval, the former dean of Agape boarding school, was accused of transporting a teenager from California to Stockton against his will.

In September 2021, Cedar County District Attorney Ty Gaither filed 13 low-level Class E assault charges against five people associated with boarding school Agape. As of December 2022, most charges have been dismissed or reduced to misdemeanor charges.

Susan Szuch is a health and public order reporter for the Springfield News-Leader. Follow her on Twitter @szuchsm. story idea? Email her at [email protected]

This article originally appeared in the Springfield News-Leader: Six Alumni File Federal Lawsuits Against Agape Boarding School