Saturday, January 21, 2012

Angela Guest-Jones at Hephzibah House (

This story was originally written on a webpage created to provide statements for a GAO hearing in 2007. The address is and it waits for your statement if you believe that your stay at a boarding school included unfair treatment or even abuse. All rights and credits goes to the author Angela Guest-Jones, who posted the original story on

My name is Angela Guest-Jones. The following statements are true and based on my own personal experiences.

I was a student at Hephzibah House in Winona Lake Indiana from January 6, 1989 until December 20, 1989.

I am divorced but kept my ex- husband’s last name since I have had it since I was 19 years old, and for the sake of my children.

Where do I start? My parents were saved and started going to church when I was 6 years old. Not long after going to the church my brother and I started going to the private school. I loved that church and school. My family was happy and everything seemed great. When I was 14 there was a church split and my dads friend talked him into going to Metro Baptist. Of course we started the school there. I had twin sisters that were born when I was 13, so they were over a year old when we left our old church. Practically overnight I was no longer allowed to wear pants, hangout with some of my friends, especially guy friends, no longer listen to any music other than the church music and so on. My family argued a lot more and it seemed to be falling apart. You cant tell a 14 year old after all these years that all these things are bad and expect then not to rebel when their family was happier before we got into a cult like Baptist Church. I now go to a Baptist church and they preach these things but they do not force them on you. These are convictions and a person has to have their own convictions. My parents realize a lot of things should have been done differently and it has proven to be better for my sisters, Thank God. I would never want them to have to go through the things that I did.

I was an all A and B student and cleaned my parents house, did laundry, cared for my sisters etc…I was rebellious in my attitude and was a little boy crazy and liked rock music; the typical teenager type of behavior. In no way did I think I deserved or needed to go to a school like HH. My parents now admit they were talked into it and should not have abandoned me and pushed me off on someone else and the fact that things changed so drastically so fast could have been the cause of some of my rebellion.

I remember the day I went to HH very clearly. I was supposed to be going to a volleyball tournament at school and my dad and his friend from church said they were taking me to school that day because my dad needed the car. I used to drive my brother and I to school. I didn’t see my mom that morning and she usually was up. Didn’t think twice about it. When my dad passed the school I was asking why. That’s when he told me that he was taking me to HH. It was a long drive. My mom packed food and a letter that she didn’t want to do this. I didn’t know till I got home that my mom never signed the papers and they took me ahead of a lot of girls because I was 17. I don’t know if that was legal for them to take me with only one parent’s signature. To my understanding you sign for HH to have legal guardianship of your child while they are in HH. So how was it legal for them to take me without my mother’s signature???? I tried to run several times but they weren’t going to let it happen. We stopped at some Dr’s office and I was told I was getting a pelvic exam. I refused it and to my memory they still signed my release papers. That was the Doctor that sees the HH girls.

When I got there Ron Williams and his wife were out of town. I was talked to by Pastor Don, Ron Williams son. I remember Heather taking me into a shower and I had to strip in front of her while they took all my jewelry and everything else that I could not have. I was in this strange place and was naked in front of a stranger. I felt like I was in a Nazi prison camp or something. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to my dad because I was begging him not to leave me there. I remember seeing my dad crying. I was not told of any rules as far as I can remember, unless I just blocked it out. I don’t remember a lot of things there and didn’t until I recently read some of the other girls stories. I think I blocked it out but deep in my mind I know these things are the cause of some problems in my life today.

I was taken downstairs into the dungeon that is what I call it. I was told to sit at the first table. I saw Katrina and said hi because I did not know that I wasn’t allowed to talk to her. I had to label all of my things and read this big book and then I finally started to get it. I wasn’t going to be allowed to talk to or look at any of the other girls and so many more rules that I cannot even remember. I was so depressed and didn’t eat much at all. I was given my food back twice when I first got there and then started eating so I wouldn’t have to eat food that was refrigerated over and over until I ate it. I’m sure eventually if I didn’t eat it, I would have gotten a beating. Thank goodness I caught on to some things quickly. I think I saved myself many beatings because of this. I only ate ¼ portions though and they made me write that on my menu. We had to write what we ate and our BM’s were recorded. I remember not having a period there for over 3 months, at least and then I bled so heavily I think it may have been a miscarriage. I was not there because I was lazy and did not have a hard time getting the chores done right. I was a neat freak, always have and always will be. I think that they wanted us to fail though because I would do my best and when we swept the bedroom they would take paper and wave it under the bed, if one little piece of dust flew up, you failed and would not eat. I don’t remember protein drinks either. I only remember chicken broth. I think they were actually ticked that I caught on and just found reasons to fail me. I learned their ways pretty quick and got on the garden crew though.

I remember that we had to write home every week and if they didn’t like what we said we got our letter back and was told to rewrite it. All of my mail coming in was blacked out if they didn’t want me to see what was said. I couldn’t tell my parents what was going on there, they made sure of it. Our 10-minute monthly phone calls were monitored and we would be in big trouble if we tried to say anything “wrong”. One of the workers was sitting right next to us on another line listening. If they weren’t doing anything wrong then why was everything ‘hidden’ from our parents and why weren’t we able to say what was going on or be alone with our parents on our visits. They said it was because we would make our parents feel sorry for us to go home. I know for a fact it was to hide what they were doing. They knew that no parent in their right mind would think any of this was right.

I don’t know how long it was before my first visit, but I do remember that I was not feeling well and my front tooth was in severe pain and a sharp pain shot up every time I ate or anything jarred it. I told them about it but they said nothing. My face was swollen by time my parents came to see me and my eyes were a little black. I had an abscess. I wrote a note to give to my parents and hid it in my bra. I decided not to give it to them though, because I was thinking that if they sent me here they must agree with them and if they gave the letter to the staff, I would get a beating. I flushed it down the toilet after they left. I had somehow managed to avoid getting a beating up to that point. I remember acting like everything was so great and Miss Saylor was saying I was so sweet and all that…. My parents got them to take me to the dentist though. I was so sick I couldn’t even think about running when we went to the dentist, even though they make us lay down in the van so we wont see where we are and have enough people to keep us under control. I had to lie up in the dark closet in the school on a mattress and they drilled a hole in my tooth so the infection that caused my face to swell up could drain out. I ate broth for 2 weeks at least. I was thin when I got there and by that point I was anorexic looking.

I was always ahead in school and they thought that I would not be able to get done by the time I was 18 but I was used to the system they had there-it was what we had in my first Christian school. I worked hard and even did college prep because I was determined to get out of there in December when I was 18 and with a diploma.

I remember some good days and they were only because of Aaron. He used to take me and one other girl sometimes to help him and Daniel out. We would do all sorts of things, like fixing the buildings, yard work, and gutting deer. They would come play volleyball and stuff with us as well. I think that this is why I got my beating one day. I was doing what I was told, doing my chores, my schoolwork, memorizing my scripture, and really had no reason for the beating. The Williams were out of town of course, and Miss Emory and Miss Saylor took me up there. When I asked why I was getting the “spanking”, Miss Emory said, “Oh, just the general attitude”. I was told to lay on the floor and they put the chairs over my head and feet and then Heather I believe is the one who was hitting me. I didn’t cry so I got more. I didn’t count but I know that I was in pain and by this time I was very thin so that made it worse. I have always been tough and have a pretty high pain tolerance. I tried to go to the bathroom to see my bruises but Emory wouldn’t let me. I still have back problems to this day and sciatica from my low back being hurt there. I think it was from the backbreaking work that we did as well.

I also remember that we had to memorize chapters of scripture at a time. We only were allowed about 3 errors I believe. If we made more than 3 errors we would fail. I cannot remember what happened. I think we had sentences to write and demerits or something. We had chores and schoolwork as well, so writing sentences just made it harder to get our other responsibilities done. I felt so sorry for the girls that had a hard time memorizing! I had to write sentences more than once for demerits. They would give us demerits for allsorts of things. 25 demerits if you layed your brush on the table and we sat at those tables for meals and everything else.
I also remember the cleaning out the freezers and storage rooms. There were a lot of donated fruits and vegetables and breads etc…we never saw any of that. We got the second rate handouts or whatever the Williams family did not want. Our daily lunch was ‘soup’. Our soup consisted of leftovers and unlabeled and dented cans of vegetables or whatever else they had to dump in there. I swear some of the cans we put in there looked and smelled like dog food. We ate a lot of freezer burnt foods as well.

How is it that there were so many donations to the girls of food and other items but we never got to have any of it. The Williams are the ones living high off of the donations of money and food and what our parents paid to put us in there. They abused the charity that was meant for the girls in the home.

I also remember that we had to take ‘vitamins’ everyday. A huge handful of them. We used to get a ‘B’ reaction from the niacin. Our faces would get really red and hot. I also believe, after listening to stories recently from other students there, that we were given some type of pill to stop our periods while we were there. I read several statements of how some girls did not have periods the whole time they were there. My parents stopped sending money for the “vitamins’ and shortly after I stopped taking them, I started my extremely heavy period. I have had menstrual problems ever since I left that place. I was in the hospital twice shortly after leaving there and had bleeding problems. I had to have a surgery called a cone biopsy when I was 20 years old. I had problems from then on and had a very hard time trying to get pregnant. I even went to my pastor and was anointed with oil. I had my 2 beautiful daughters not long after that. They are 2 years apart. I continued to have problems off and on and when I was 32, I had a hysterectomy. I had endometriosis very bad. It had cause severe bleeding almost all the time and it had grown outside of my uterus and attached to my ovaries and appendix. I feel better now that I had the hysterectomy but because I was so young when I get the surgery, I have other problems and risks to deal with.

I remember the day before my birthday. I was planning on how I was going to tell them I was leaving and they had no more rights over me since I was 18. I was looking at the chore list that day as well and noticed that I wasn’t on it. I was so scared that I was being taken off the garden crew. I found out soon enough that my parents were there to get me on December 21, 1989. I was taken out when the girls were doing choir rehearsal or something, so I never got to say goodbye. The first thing I did when I got in the car was grab a bottle of pepsi that they had thereJ and then I started crying. My parents told me that they were trying to get me out before that because they could tell something wasn’t right when they came to visit me. When I told them about the note they said they would have taken me then. My mom said my dad fasted a lot when I first got there. He gave up sweets for a while when I was there because he loves sweets and was so sad when he saw my menu. I was there from January 6, 1989 till December 20, 1989. I cannot imagine having to stay as long as the other girls did. I have enough problems from the short time I was there.

There are so many crazy and weird things that went on there and can be read on the blogs and stories on the website. I remember the 3 minute showers and if they were so obsessed with how dirty we were why would they do that. I remember how we were never praised for what we did right, only what we did wrong. I still have problems with negativity today. I am 36 years old. I do have 2 wonderful girls and they are the most precious things in the world to me. They know I love them and tell them everyday. They are strong and smart and have turned out well despite going through a difficult time when I divorced my ex. I have problems with relationships and know what I want, but always end up picking the bad guy and don’t really know why. I am considering going to counseling when I get out of nursing school, because I want to meet the right man and fall in love. I guess I know that I need it but just think I can handle it on my own. I still go to church on Sunday morning and believe in God, but I did before I went there. I hated church for a while because of what I saw there. I thought how could these people say they are Christians and do what they do to these girls. I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where God says to humiliate and bring down and beat a child. He wants us to be loved and nurtured and spanked properly as a child. My pastor says spanking beyond 5 or 6 years old is pointless. If you don’t have control by then you have to use other methods like taking things away and stuff like that. Beating a teenager only brings more rebellion and hatred and pushes them away from God.

I know that all the things I read are true. I was there. I lived it and have to live with the after effects everyday of my life. I know that the Williams are Christians believe in salvation and God but I don’t feel like they are helping girls at all. They are hurting them emotionally and physically for the rest of their lives. I could go on and on and I know this is a long story but it doesn’t even begin to touch all of the things that happened while I was there. I only pray that this website and these stories can make a difference and that no girl has to go through what we girls at HH did. If even one girl is spared from going to HH because of our efforts to close the place down, it is well worth it.

This is my story of my stay at Hephzibah House.
Angela L. Jones

Datasheet about the boarding school at Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora
The original statement on

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Documentary project is asking for money

Kidnapped for Christ Trailer from Kidnapped For Christ on Vimeo.

A group are working to create a documentary about Escuela Caribe which is a feared Christian boarding school located in the Dominican Republic.

In the past they used corporal punishment. Due to lack of regulation they had at a point hired a child offender as employee.

There are many stories to be told about this place. Some of them you can read in the book called Jesus Land.

However the boarding school have more stories to be told and you can help them with some money so the documentary can be finished.

Below you can find various sources with more information about the school and the documentary project.


This is a repost from Secret Prisons for Teens - a human rights organization in Denmark

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dom-parents: quasi-parents?

When a young teenager enters a boarding school the most important persons in the life of such a young person are missing. The guidance and comfort provited by the parents are not there. Instead the teenager has to rely on the presence of residential advisers or dorm parents who are expected to quasi-parent all the teenagers in the boarding school.

But can they support every one of the teenagers at the boarding school with respect for their individual needs and maintaining their dignity?

It is an almost impossible question to answer. The employees at a boarding school should always take into consideration that there will be a day when the students return home to their family. While many teenagers struggle in the start of their stay most adapt to whatever environment the school can present. In fact the mecanism is not so much a question whether the school provide a good atmosphere to work in. The Stockholm-syndrome becomes the deciding factor. The students stop to ask questions because the norms at the school becomes their reality. They will be ready to accept orders which they would never have accepted outside the boarding school.

One fine example is the 2011 capsize in Denmark where students from a boarding school named Lundby Efterskole sailed out in a dragon boat in icy waters. A boat not suited to this hostile environment. 7 students ended up in critical condition and may use years to recover. A teacher died.

The students entered the boat willingly. They were broken by the isolation from normal social norms.

They were not troubled teenagers. The isolation was minimal and they could go home most weekends. Still they were caught by the dangerous macho culture at the boarding school and many of them could have very easily have paid for this with their young lives.

Parents: Please do some background checks on the employees. Break rules at the boarding school when it comes to restricting communication. It could save the life of your child.

Boarding schools on Wikipedia
Danish Dragon boat capsized by wave (Politiken)
Stockholm syndrome

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Andrew Hill at Yellow Stone Boys and Girls Ranch (

This story was originally written on a webpage created to provide statements for a GAO hearing in 2007. The address is and it waits for your statement if you believe that your stay at a boarding school included unfair treatment or even abuse. All rights and credits goes to the author Brendan McMahon, who posted the original story on

At age 17, sent to Yellow Stone Boys and Girls Ranch, in Laurel Montana, Just outside Billings Montana.

Experiences there included daily sessions with adult counselors, in which I would be asked a series of questions about life, friends, goals, and even religion, and then the counselor, always male, would tell me any number of negative things about the goals, such as that I should develop healthier friendships, that my friends don't really care about me, that if I was a good Christian that I wouldn't be there, that my interest in religion was perverted, that I tried to supplant faith with my own values, and a wide number of other similar statements, that had no prompting from me.

On 4 occasions was restricted from attending meals as a form of disciplinary punishment, twice for inadequate participation in therapy, once in bible study, with one of the restrictions spanning an entire days meals. Was sent out to Deaconess Hospital's Emergency room in Billings, Montana with malnutrition and dehydration. Was given a wrist iv with 2 bags of saline, and later that evening returned to the Ranch.

Was told that I needed some pride and ego down, and later that week, was told by a counselor at the McVeigh lodge house, Terry, "You must think you're a real tough guy, yeah... that's it I bet, a tough guy, well come over here, I'll show you tough.' and I shook my head in disagreement, and backed up. He then grabbed me by my collar, kicked my leg from behind with his right foot, and i found myself back to the floor a few moments later. He then started saying 'not so tough now I bet, are you, what you going to say now, yeah, you know better.' After a few more minutes of that, he asked 'So are you ready to apologize; Cause I'll be here as long as it takes. ' I asked what did I do? He said 'Oh you know what you did, you just love to be a troublemaker everyone knows that.' I stayed still on the ground and closed my eyes while he bent down and started to shout in my face about how my parents didn't want me, and how its always the same, bad kids and then he always has to deal with it, then to say that it was ok, because he knew his job.'

I remember so vividly the way his breath stunk, and how I felt like every part of my back and shoulders was in pain. After about an hour or so he left to do a shift change, then came back and had me go back to my room, I fell asleep and don't remember anything else until that evening.

I had head to toe bruises for 3 weeks after that, even to the point of the nurse at the camp, writing into my report that I was bruised from head to toe. I told the staff at the ranch what had happened, and they told me that I was ' drawing too much negative enjoyment out of the incident'. The counselor Terry, an African American, who told stories of involvement as a volunteer fireman, and of getting up every morning at 4 am to swim laps at the YMCA, still works at the camp as of May 2007.

I had reported it to a Mr Hammer, who was a tall blond man with a beard, a Mr McVay, who was a shorter hobbyist weight-lifter/bodybuilder with a brown hair and moustache. To the nurse who did the health inspection. Also to a Mr Shreve, a short man who worked part time at a vinyl goods shop, such as for bags, carrying cases, and the like. Mr. Shreve also stated that he was a former U.S. Navy Seal.

After getting out, I later spoke with the Sherrif's office in Laurel, Montana; and was told at their front window that no such complaint of abuse was ever reported to their office from the ranch, and that after that much time, that they wouldn't bother investigating it.

I was subsequently left with Terry as my counselor for many of the next few weeks.
After the incident I began to have serious doubts about remaining there safely, and I gave a written letter to the head counselor for the 'McVeigh Lodge' one 'Mrs Mirch' that 'I no longer wished to remain here voluntarily.' She responded by calling me into her office, and declaring that my Parents had retained an attorney, in order to keep me there by force.

I later learned that my parents denied any such action, and that Mrs Mirch had never taken the appropriate steps to maintain my stay involuntarily.

I began to be as resistant as I could to any activity, willingly earning myself time in Isolation. To the point that I would be in there for more than 20 hours a day. The Counselors on several occasions called the ranch nurse over, to suggest giving me a sedative for being uncooperative, at one point his reply was that ' I can't give him drugs if he's just lying there. ' From that point forward I was spending almost the entire day, in isolation. When we were required to attend what they called a 'school.' I was then just walked over with the rest of the kids, then tossed into the isolation area there. Until one day, one of the staff, instructed me that if I continued to waste their time, that they were going to make me more uncomfortable. They then went and got a logbook, and came back and told me that I had to strip down, because it was a safety violation to let me where clothes with buttons, while in there.

After having done so, they took the clothes and put them on a chair next to theirs, and then left the door wide open to the isolation cell. Then leaving me in full view of anyone passing by the hallway, and remained that way during the next bell, at which time all the students had lined up, including about 7 of them in view , on either side of the adjacent hallway.

That evening I was subjected to hearing numerous comments about my weight, my body, and a few sexually inappropriate comments by the others at the all male lodge. All in supervised group 'rap ' sessions.

After a few weeks of this, I had a different counselor during the day, and they alleviated that routine, instead telling me that they didn't mind sitting there all day, since they still got paid the same. This lasted for most of the remainder of my stay, with me immutably opposed to remaining there, and with the staff restricting me from any contact with the outside world, be it family, a public attorney or friends.

Among some of the other noteable moments of the stay, was meeting Steven Curtis Chapmann, a musician, and his wife, and his statement, ' Well, I sure hope you do whatever is required to earn your way out of here.' As well as his wife telling a story about how they called up all their relatives to ensure that they weren't related before getting married, given that her maiden name was also Chapmann. Also another noteable moment, was when we were told that the lodges were actually assigned based on 'problem areas' to include such distinctions as ' drug use, sexual misconduct, skin color, problems in the family setting ( disobedience,runaways, etcetera.), and legal issues (crime.)

I had ended up in the lodge for people with ' problems in the family setting.'

In summary, the chief abuses I experienced, were that of physical abuse, sexual embarrassments and exposure, abuse of my rights in not permitting any legal recourse to residing there, and emotional abuse in the form of repeated browbeatings, negative feedback about my goals and religious beliefs, a great deal of isolation, and the physical and psychological affects of being denied food, while residing in a locked room.

Ever since this I've had repeated crisis of faith, and have had numerous shortfalls in terms of self confidence and diminished relations with others. I've also considered the value of suicide on more than one occasion, though never attempted it.

Submitted on January 2nd, 2009, I hereby certify under penalty of perjury, that the above is true and correct.

Andrew Hill

Datasheet about the boarding school at Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora
The original statement on
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