Former Therapeutic Boarding School in Arkansas Faces Lawsuit for Alleged Sexual and Physical Abuse Amidst Troubled History

ARKANSAS – A former Arkansas religious boarding school is facing another lawsuit for allegations of sexual and physical abuse. The Lord’s Ranch, located in Warm Springs near the Missouri border, operated as a therapeutic facility from 1976 to 2016. The school’s owners, Ted and Shirley Suhl, along with counselor Emmet Alden Presley, are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

The Lord’s Ranch claimed to provide services to students with emotional and behavioral issues. However, according to victims, the facility instead became a site of sexual abuse. Individual therapy sessions with Emmet Alden Presley allegedly turned into instances of rape and molestation.

One plaintiff, identified as John Doe 9, spent three years at the Lords Ranch in the early 2000s and claims to have been subjected to sexual abuse by Presley. The acts alleged include oral rape, genital molestation, and being forced to engage in sexual acts with another resident. After each instance of abuse, John Doe 9 asserts that Presley would take him to a store to buy candy.

More victims have come forward with similar allegations. John Doe 10, who had lost both parents and was raised by his grandmother, states that Presley would promise to arrange phone calls between him and his grandmother if he complied with the abuse. However, Presley would pretend to call but then inform John Doe 10 that his grandmother was not available.

Disturbingly, many accusers who reported the abuse claim to have been ignored or mistreated. The children’s attempts to seek help from outside the Lord’s Ranch were met with physical beatings and psychological torture, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also alleges numerous legal violations, including negligence, Title IX violations, battery, and human trafficking. It asserts that The Lord’s Ranch had extensive knowledge of the ongoing abuse by Emmett Presley for over a decade.

This is not the first legal action taken against The Lord’s Ranch. Last year, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight individuals who had been placed at the facility in the 1990s and early 2000s. This newly filed lawsuit represents eight more victims.

The Lord’s Ranch faced additional troubles when Medicaid funding was suspended in 2014 due to financial scandals. The owner, Ted Suhl, was subsequently convicted of bribery and sentenced to seven years in prison. However, his sentence was later commuted by former President Donald Trump.

The Suhl family’s attorney, Michael Scotti, has stated that they vehemently deny all allegations. The family plans to present evidence in court to refute the claims.

The lawsuit against The Lord’s Ranch, filed by Romanucci & Blandin and the Gillispie Law Firm, adds to the growing number of legal battles against organizations accused of sexual abuse. The victims seek justice and accountability for the trauma they endured.

In summary, The Lord’s Ranch, a former religious boarding school in Arkansas, is facing another lawsuit alleging sexual and physical abuse. Victims have come forward with disturbing accounts of rape and molestation during therapy sessions. The lawsuit includes claims of neglect, Title IX violations, battery, and human trafficking. The owners and counselor are named as defendants. The Lord’s Ranch had previously faced financial scandals and its owner, Ted Suhl, was convicted of bribery. The Suhl family denies all allegations and plans to dispute them in court.