33 F
Fort Worth
Friday, December 4, 2020
Education Former Texas boys ranch residents say they suffered abuse

Former Texas boys ranch residents say they suffered abuse

Other News

Exxon’s oil slick

Exxon Mobil is slashing its capital spending budget for 2020 by 30% due to weak demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a market...

Folk music’s Mark Twain: 7 Essential tracks from John Prine,

NEW YORK (AP) — Some people, the songs just come out of them. For nearly half a century, they tumbled out of John Prine...

Tarrant County records another COVID-19 death

Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) on Wednesday, April 8 reported that a resident of Euless has died as the result of the COVID-19 virus....

Tradition stymied: A year unlike any since WWII for Augusta

The Masters is so intertwined with Augusta, they added an extra day to spring break.You see, the first full week of April isn't just...

MARILLO, Texas (AP) — The head of a ranch that houses at-risk children in the Texas Panhandle issued an apology after several former residents said they were abused by staffers there from the 1950s until at least the 1990s.

Former residents told The Guardian , a British newspaper, about abuse they suffered at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch. Steve Smith, a 68-year-old from Amarillo, told the newspaper for the Wednesday story that after his mother left him there as a boy, he was beaten many times and had to watch helplessly as his younger brother, Rick, was beaten.

A statement from the organization Wednesday said it was aware of the claims regarding “harmful encounters they experienced at Boys Ranch years ago.”

“For those who left Boys Ranch having experienced abuse of any form, I am truly sorry, both as the leader of this organization and as a man,” Dan Adams, president and CEO of Cal Farley’s, said in the statement. “It is for these reasons that regulatory oversight and strength-based models of care in this field evolved, and Cal Farley’s strives to be a leader in observing both.

Adams told The Guardian that since he took over in 1996, corporal punishment has been phased out.

The privately funded, faith-based residential community is open to children ages 5 to 18 and currently supports about 250 boys and girls. The ranch said at-risk boys and girls can be placed there by their parents, a managing conservator or guardian.

Rick and Steve Smith and others told The Guardian that the abuse was systemic and affected hundreds. Ed Cargill of New Mexico, whose time at Cal Farley’s overlapped with Rick Smith’s, said he made repeated escape attempts from the place he called “a paradise for adult abusers.” He said that after one escape attempt he was made to run back in front of horses.

“Anytime I floundered, they’d hit me with coiled-up rope or run over me with the damn horse,” said Cargill, who said his dorm parent would also encourage other boys to administer physical punishment.

Bill Varnado, who was there at the same time as Steve Smith, said “you really didn’t have to ‘get in trouble’ for them to beat the hell out of you.” Normally, he said, “they used a belt, but as you got older they used their fists on boys.”

Rick Smith said he was raped by another boy at the ranch. Cargill said that the wife of a staff member was having sex with him and three other boys.

Steve Smith told the Amarillo Globe-News they want more than an apology. Smith leads a Facebook group of other survivors that presented Adams in April with a proposal of how to deal with the past abuses.

The proposal included Boys Ranch issuing a public statement acknowledging wrongdoing, the creation of a fund for survivor care, utilization of best practices for abuse prevention and a review of marketing material to make sure information about the past is not misleading.

Smith also wanted the organization to stop honoring past staff accused of abuse. Cal Farley’s dedicated a new dormitory to a former superintendent at the ranch alleged to be one of the worst abusers.

The Child-Friendly Faith Project, a nonprofit that works to expose religious groups that abuse children, took the allegations to The Guardian after it became apparent Cal Farley’s was not going to act on the proposal, said Janet Heimlich, the nonprofit’s founder and a former journalist.

Heimlich first came into contact with Smith and the Facebook group after writing a blog post in 2015 praising Boy’s Ranch for an advanced therapeutic model. Smith commented on the post and they got in touch.

Adams told the Globe-News he didn’t want to initially make a public apology because it would give children, families and donors undue concern.

Heimlich agreed that Boys Ranch, which opened in 1939, had cleaned up since the 1990s and emphasized that it still maintains a “flagship model” for child therapy.

The ranch currently has a license with the state as a general residential operation providing child care and transitional living. Texas Health & Human Services Commission spokeswoman Christine Mann tells The Associated Press that they have no recent history of corrective or adverse actions. She said it was initially licensed by the state in 1979.

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins said the ranch does have a contract in good standing to take in children in foster care. Over the last five years 19 foster children have been placed there, including 11 who are currently there.


close






Oh hi there 👋 It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.


close






Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Latest News

Gov. Greg Abbott tells supporters he’s considering placing law enforcement for central Austin under state control

In his latest move in a political fight against Austin over police funding, Gov. Greg Abbott says he is considering a proposal to put...

Joaquin Castro loses bid to lead U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro came up short Thursday in his bid to become chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He lost to U.S. Rep....

Texas educators urge Gov. Greg Abbott to prioritize teachers, school staff for coronavirus vaccine

Education advocates are urging Gov. Greg Abbott to recognize teachers and school staff as front-line workers so they can be among the first groups...

Biden, top Democrats swing behind bipartisan virus aid bill

By ANDREW TAYLOR Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden swung behind a bipartisan COVID-19 relief effort Wednesday and his top Capitol Hill allies...

Fort Worth announces plans to purchase Pier 1 Building for City Hall

Plans for a new City Hall for Fort Worth have been knocked around for years, maybe even decades. On Dec. 2, city officials announced...