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Search warrant for Circle of Hope religious boarding school details abuse of 12-year-old girl

Harrowing new details have emerged in a search warrant related to the Circle of Hope Christian boarding school in Missouri, including claims made by a 12-year-old student who said that she was chained to a wall for two weeks, starved and forced to go to the bathroom in a bucket. 

Boyd Householder, 71, and his wife Stephanie, 55, were charged last month with 102 counts for sexually, emotionally, or physically abusing students for years at their all-female religious reform school in Cedar County. 

The institution closed its doors in September 2020, around the time authorities executed a search warrant on the Householders’ property and seized multiple items, including suspected instruments of corporal punishment like zip-ties, handcuffs and duct tape, which were mentioned by some of the alleged victims during their interviews with law enforcement officials.

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Stephanie Householder, 55

Boyd Householder, 71 (left), and his wife Stephanie, 55 (right), are facing 102 counts for sexually, emotionally, or physically abusing students at their boarding school

An application for a search warrant said that a girl, 12, attending the Circle of Hope school claimed she was chained to a wall for two weeks and forced to go to the bathroom in a bucket

An application for a search warrant said that a girl, 12, attending the Circle of Hope school claimed she was chained to a wall for two weeks and forced to go to the bathroom in a bucket

According to the records obtained by the Kansas City Star, a 12-year-old student at the school told the authorities that she was chained inside a room for at least two weeks.

‘[She] stated the chain was connected to a metal bar against the wall that had three holes in it,’ the warrant application read. ‘She was provided no bedding materials and had to defecate and urinate in a bucket and was provided only bread and water during that time.’

The same girl also claimed to have observed Boyd hold a black handgun to the back of another student’s head while pinning her to the wall by the neck.

Law enforcement officials spoke to five students, ages 12 to 17, about their experiences at the Circle of Hope, which had been in operation since 2006. 

A 16-year-old girl claimed that Boyd threw a bottle of Carmex lotion at her, hitting her in the head and back. He also allegedly whipped her with a belt, sprayed her in the mouth and nose with water from a hose, making it difficult for her to breathe, and shoved a bar of soap in her mouth, which left her with bleeding lips. 

Householders' estranged adult daughter, Amanda (pictured  as a teen), waged a  five-year battle to get law enforcement officials in Missouri to investigate her parents

Amanda Householder was interviewed by DailyMailTV in March

Householders’ estranged adult daughter, Amanda (pictured left as a teen), waged a  five-year battle to get law enforcement officials in Missouri to investigate her parents

The same teen also accused Boyd of cutting her hair as punishment, pouring liquid soap in her mouth, putting her in handcuffs, placing red duct tape on her mouth, and kicking her in the shin.  

Another student claimed to have seen Boyd place a neck brace on a girl as punishment, which made it difficult for her to eat, and she also accused Stephanie of denying her medical appointments. 

In their application seeking a search warrant on September 1, the authorities listed the items they were looking for on the Householders’ property, including the zip-ties and handcuffs, as well as dish soap bottles, surveillance video, flash drives, and students’ school and medical records. 

Boyd faces 79 felony charges and one misdemeanor charge, including several counts of statutory rape, statutory sodomy, and abuse and neglect of a child.

Stephanie is charged with 22 counts, most involving abuse or neglect of a child. Her charges do not involve sexual contact. She is also accused of restraining students and allowing her husband to have continued contact with several girls after he physically assaulted them.

Amanda (pictured top left with her family) began sharing videos of the alleged abuse at her parents' school on social media last year, prompting other victims to come forward

Amanda (pictured top left with her family) began sharing videos of the alleged abuse at her parents’ school on social media last year, prompting other victims to come forward

The Householders remain jailed without bond pending their preliminary hearing, which is scheduled to take place on May 20. 

A prosecutor said the investigation into the couple is ongoing and they could face additional charges.  

During a bond hearing last month, the Householder couple’s defense lawyer told a judge his clients ‘adamantly deny any criminal conduct.’

‘They’re very religious people, they’re very good people,’ attorney Adam Woody said in court on March 19. ‘We have dozens of people who are prepared to testify to their character.’

But the couple’s own daughter, 30-year-old Amanda Householder, would not be among those who are prepared to vouch for her parents’ character.

In an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV last month, Amanda recounted her attempts to expose her parents’ alleged abuse, which she claimed were ignored by Missouri police and prosecutors for over a decade. 

Amanda said she was among hundreds of girls who were subjected to torture at the hands of her parents. 

She said her father would beat her and others with golf clubs, threaten his students into assaulting other girls, force them to drink laxatives and to stand facing a wall all day, and was accused of raping at least two of the girls at his ranch. 

Criminal charges against the Householders were filed following an investigation by law enforcement in Cedar County and elsewhere, which started when former residents of the home made allegations against them on social media.

The Householders told The Kansas City Star in September that the allegations were lies prompted by their estranged daughter, Amanda, and girls who have not been successful in life after leaving the ranch.

‘They’re angry and they’re bitter, and they want to blame somebody,’ said Stephanie Householder. ‘They feel like they’re victims, and they just want to take their anger out on somebody.’

Amanda has said she was kicked out of the home when she was 17 because of disagreements with her parents.

Amanda told DailyMailTV how she and her classmates were forced to gang up on their own peers as a form of punishment

Amanda told DailyMailTV how she and her classmates were forced to gang up on their own peers as a form of punishment

She told DailyMailTV that she spent five years trying to get law enforcement to investigate her parents by gathering accounts from other survivors of abuse who attended the Circle of Hope school and publicizing the allegations on social media, where she gained hundreds of thousands of followers, among them alleged school abuse victim Paris Hilton.

Eventually, the hundreds of calls by her followers to the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office and the local district attorney’s office spurred Missouri prosecutors to act, with Attorney General Eric Schmitt announcing charges on March 10.  

Four former residents of the boarding schools have filed lawsuits alleging they were abused while they lived there. 

Under Missouri law, faith-based boarding schools such as Circle of Hope are not subject to state oversight and are not required to be licensed. Circle of Hope described itself as a school that used the Bible to teach the girls proper behavior. 


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