‘Dateline’ investigates claims of abuse at Missouri religious reform school

News

(NBC NEWS) – Tonight, “Dateline” investigates abuse allegations against the owners of a religious reform school, Circle of Hope. Boyd and Stephanie Householder have not been criminally charged and they vehemently deny all the allegations.

Here’s a preview of Keith Morrison’s report:

We begin years ago and far away, in a place called Ferris, Texas. Where Teresa Tucker, a single mom of three, was – no other word for it – desperate. It was about her middle daughter Ashley spiraling out of control.

KEITH MORRISON: What were you worried about?

TERESA TUCKER: Drugs– and just rebellion, very mouthy. And– and so– I didn’t know where to turn.

KEITH MORRISON: How old was she at the time?

TERESA TUCKER: Sixteen.

And on that December weekend in 2014, Ashley was getting kicked out of yet another rehab. So, Teresa called her best friend, the pastor’s wife, for help.

TERESA TUCKER: It was my pastor and his wife that– told us about Circle of Hope

Circle of Hope Girls Ranch and Boarding School was in Missouri on a farm. The students followed a strict regimen of chores, schoolwork and bible study.

KEITH MORRISON: Was it important to you that she go to a place where there was gonna be some spiritual help?

TERESA TUCKER: At this point, I didn’t really care. I just needed her to have help.

For the first time on network television, Amanda and former circle of hope students speak out to “Dateline.”

Thursday’s special also investigates religious school regulations across the country and features an interview with Rep. Keri Ingle (D-Lees Summit), who is advocating for change.

Watch Thursday’s “Dateline” tonight on 22News at 10 p.m.

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