The owner of a Christian boarding school in Missouri accused of physically and sexually abusing students is heard instructing a group of schoolgirls to ‘knock out’ another classmate, in disturbing video obtained by DailyMail.com.
Boyd and Stephanie Householder are charged with more than 100 counts alleging they sexually, emotionally, and physically abused girls for years at Circle of Hope Girls Ranch in Cedar County.
‘I watched my parents do horrible things to the girls, like slamming a student against the wall or ground,’ Amanda, 28, told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview.
The horrific mistreatment came to light last summer after the couple’s daughter Amanda, who attended the school, started posting TikTok videos about the alleged abuse she and her peers suffered, prompting other girls to come forward.
Video footage obtained by DailyMail.com shows Stephanie sitting on a couch across from her husband Boyd while he is speaking to a group of students.
Boyd Householder (left) 71, faces 79 felony and one misdemeanor charge, including several counts of statutory rape, statutory sodomy, and abuse and neglect of a child. His wife Stephanie (right) 55, was charged with 22 counts, most involving abuse or neglect of a child
In a secretly recorded video obtained by DailyMail.com, Boyd can be heard encouraging his students to be violent towards another girl, saying: ‘Knock her out. I mean it and that goes for the rest of you’, while his wife sits nearby
Boyd is not seen in the clip, but can be heard encouraging them to be violent towards another girl, saying: ‘Knock her out. I mean it and that goes for the rest of you.
‘If she clenches her fist, if she’s going to hit you, that’s a threat. Knock her out,’ he continues.
The girls can be heard sheepishly replying: ‘Yes, sir. Yes, sir.’
The video was secretly filmed by a friend, showing how it was common practice for the girls to gang up on another student as a form of punishment.
Amanda, 28, told DailyMail.com: ‘We would then be told to put as much pressure as possible on that person’s arms, legs, behind the necks until they were screaming, crying and this would go on for hours.
‘My dad would threaten us and say: “I want to hear her scream. If I don’t hear screaming, you’re next.”‘
‘This is what haunts me the most,’ an emotional Amanda confessed. ‘Hurting another person, causing someone else pain. I have apologized to all the girls.’
The couple are the founders of Circle of Hope Girls Ranch, a Christian reform boarding school in Cedar County, Missouri. Their daughter Amanda (pictured top left) who was also a student, began sharing videos of the alleged abuse on social media last year, prompting other victims to come forward
Circle of Hope (pictured) closed in August after investigators removed about two dozen girls
Boyd, 71, faces 79 felony and one misdemeanor charge, including several counts of statutory rape, statutory sodomy, and abuse and neglect of a child.
Stephanie, 55, 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.
While the couple is finally being brought to justice, Amanda said it took years for authorities to take action despite her ‘multiple’ attempts to report the abuse.
‘It’s bittersweet, I don’t know how to put it. I am more frustrated that it took so long to get the school closed down. The abuse was first reported in 2007 after the parents of one of the girls found out what my parents were doing to the students,’ she said.
‘The parents contacted 11 different agencies and nothing was done. They contacted the Attorney General and the FBI and nothing was done. Hundreds of girls could have been saved from abuse, including sexual abuse, if authorities had only listened. I tried to expose what was going on multiple times, but no one believed me.’
‘When I saw the mugshots, I thought my mom would be smiling but she looked mad and my dad’s face was red so he had probably been crying. When he used to beat me, he would cry afterwards to make me feel like he felt bad, but it was just all for show.’
‘Exactly a year ago is when I created Exposing Circle of Hope and talked about it on TikTok. I encouraged other girls to come forward and talk about the abuse.
Amanda, now 28, told DailyMail.com how she and her classmates were forced to gang up on their own peers as a form of punishment. She also revealed how it took years for authorities to finally take action against the school
‘It paid off because more and more girls came forward until authorities took notice and finally went to the school to see what was going on. But it took another year to finally arrest my parents and permanently shut down the school.’
The account even got the attention of Paris Hilton, who has claimed to be a victim of abuse herself while attending a reform school in Utah as a teen.
Amanda said Hilton started following her Exposing Circle of Hope Instagram page last year when she posted the disturbing video of her parents.
The social media account eventually paid off in the form of a search warrant being conducted in September of 2020.
Weeks prior, all 25 students were removed from the school by state authorities and moved to a different facility.
Neither of Amanda’s parents were licensed mental or medical professionals in Missouri despite calling their school a safe haven that serves troubled teens that can be saved and restored on the right path through Jesus Christ.
‘My dad was sexually abusing some of the girls, not me, but it doesn’t matter. This is wrong and he needs to be held accountable for his actions,’ she said.
‘So many girls remain silent in fear and then when they finally leave at age 18, they are left with anxiety, depression, insomnia and suicidal thoughts.’
Attorney General Eric Schmitt said during a news conference Wednesday that the alleged victims also said they were forced to shovel manure for hours on end, stand with their noses against a wall while handcuffed for days at a time, and were locked in rooms without beds or lights.
He said: ‘Today, my Office has filed a total of 102 criminal charges against Boyd and Stephanie Householder, proprietors of the now-defunct Circle of Hope Girls Ranch and Boarding School.
‘The charging documents allege extensive, and horrific, sexual, physical, and mental abuse perpetrated by the Householders.
‘There are no words that I can say here today to describe the mixture of great sadness, horror, disgust and sympathy that I feel about these reports of cruel and almost unbelievable abuse and neglect,’ Schmitt said. ‘We intend to do everything in the power of this office to get justice for these victims.’