Five more lawsuits filed against Agape Boarding School in Vernon County, Mo.

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 8:26 PM CDT
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VERNON COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - There are growing claims of abuse against a Christian school in Cedar County.

Five new lawsuits have been filed in Vernon County, Mo. against Agape Boarding School. Five more former students or their parents are seeking justice for the trauma they said they experienced at Agape. Some of these students went to the school as recently as April of this year.

One former student tells KY3 he expects former students to keep coming forward.

“They’re just beating you down throwing you around like a rag doll, doing whatever they want to you,” described former Agape student Robert Bucklin.

Bucklin said he felt silenced by Agape Boarding School for years, but now he said more people are starting to believe his story and many others’ stories.

”Calls demanding that Agape be closed are only growing from people inside of Missouri, and now a lot of people from outside of state as well,” he said.

Bucklin said he has talked with many other former students over the years, including students and families who just recently filed lawsuits.

”It just means that, you know, the victims are countless,” he said.

These new lawsuits recall similar stories. The lawsuits described physical abuse, emotional abuse, starvation, and torture.

”I repressed a lot of my memories,” Bucklin described. “And, you know, every time I talked to a former student, there’s a lot of vivid memories that just are brought back that I don’t want to remember. You know, being abused and being tortured for six years is not a pleasant memory.”

These additional lawsuits say the school failed to prevent staff from harming students in any way.

”Just by looking at every single lawsuit that was filed, these students have horrifying recollections of what happened there,” Bucklin said. “It’s just troubling that the state has yet to act.”

Abuse claims expand over nearly three decades, and Bucklin said he wants the state to take action before hearing many more stories in the decades to come.

”These lawsuits that have been brought forth, can give us some type of justice,” Bucklin. “But as I said before, justice only comes knowing that Agape is shut down and they can’t hurt anybody else.”

Bucklin’s case and many others are still ongoing. KY3 reached out to the attorney’s representing Agape and did not hear back by air time.

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