Circle Of Hope Girls’ Ranch Owners Charged With Child Abuse After Alleged Victims Speak Out

Amanda Householder, daughter of boarding school owners, posted TikToks exposing her parents' role in the troubled teen industry.

April 15, 2021

Mugshots of Circle of Hope ranch owners Boyd and Stephanie Householder [via AP Images]

Mugshots of Circle of Hope ranch owners Boyd and Stephanie Householder [via AP Images]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

Authorities recently filed 102 charges against the husband-and-wife proprietors of a now-defunct boarding school for troubled teenagers in rural Missouri after women began speaking out on TikTok and claiming they suffered horrific abuse at the hands of the couple.

Boyd and Stephanie Householder opened Circle of Hope Girls’ Ranch and Boarding School in 2006 and are allegedly responsible for “one of the most widespread cases of sexual, physical and mental abuse patterns against young girls and women in Missouri history,” Attorney General Eric Schmitt said at a news conference, NBC News reported.

Last fall, the Householder’s daughter, Amanda, 29, set up a TikTok account to expose what had allegedly gone on at the ranch behind closed doors.

“I told everyone, ‘I can’t be silent anymore,’” Amanda told NBC News. “No one can deny us, no one can tell us it wasn't true anymore.”

More former Circle of Hope residents then began speaking out on the platform, prompting law enforcement officials to take action by interviewing 16 alleged victims and seizing documents and other evidence from the property.

According to a news release from Attorney General Schmitt’s office, charging documents show several victims said the severe physical abuse they allegedly suffered at the ranch “included restraints that involved Boyd Householder pushing his knee into the backs of several victims, applying pressure to certain pressure points, handcuffing or restraining victims’ hands and feet, and forcing victims to hold the ‘push-up position.’”

Other incidents allegedly entailed Boyd Householder “‘slamming victims’ heads or bodies against walls, slapping or hitting victims with his hands or belt or other instrument, shoving a victim’s face into horse manure, pouring hot sauce down a victim’s throat” and making “a victim to drink at least 220 ounces of water and then run a mile until she vomited, and then [forcing] her to run again.”

In the charging documents, Boyd Householder is also accused of “repeated statutory sodomy, statutory rape, and sexual contact with a student” and multiple incidents in which he engaged in “oral and sexual intercourse with a victim under the age of 17.”

Boyd Householder, 71, has been charged with 79 felony charges and one misdemeanor, including statutory rape, statutory sodomy, sexual contact with a student, child molestation, abuse or neglect of a child, and endangering the welfare of a child.

Stephanie Householder, 55, has been charged with 22 felony charges, including abuse or neglect of a child, and endangering the welfare of a child.

Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Recently, Paris Hilton, Danielle Bregoli, also known as Bhad Bhabie, and others have been opening up about alleged abuse they endured at similar camps and boarding schools.

The #BreakingCodeSilence movement organized by institutional child abuse survivors, was started to call attention to issues surrounding the “troubled teen” industry.

“By using our many voices to tell our stories, we aim to create change and protect vulnerable youth from abuse,” the group says on their website.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline for 24/7 confidential support via online chat or phone at 800.656.HOPE (4673).

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