All names have been changed, although some of these people are public names in other venues Many thanks to Johnny McPhail, from Mississippi for introducing me to these two women.
This interview is very different than the “normal” interviews in that two people are interviewed about the same “Baptist Youth Home” in Mississippi, owned by the same “Reverend.”
First we’ll hear from a mom who sent her son there, felt uneasy about it, and eventually found some disturbing news articles from past investigations into “the home.” She was supposed to leave him there for a long time without any contact, but instead she went back unexpectedly and pulled him out on the fourth day after admitting him. The staff hurriedly tried to clean him up, but signs of tremendous child abuse were overwhelming. She took him to a nearby hospital in Mississippi, and they confirmed the signs of abuse and called authorities. The state authorities moved in, and are investigating the home as I write this, although “the home” seems to have weathered many similar storms before in Mississippi’s ultra lax youth ranch environment.
[Follow up note: The home has since reached a one-sided “settlement” with Mississippi that basically does not allow the state to charge anyone with a crime, and does not cause any of those who inflicted the documented child abuse to even be investigated, although some of the charged staff members can’t work in that particular boy’s home for a few years. The “settlement” basically allows the home to continue on as before with no changes or state investigations possible. None of the victims or their families were consulted on this settlement, and none of them were for it. It means their day in court will never come, and no testimony will ever be received about the abuses, and no real changes have been made.]
The second interview is from “Cassie,” who spent several years in the girl’s compound of the same operation in the mid-1980s. She is now a woman in her mid-30s with children of her own. When she saw a news article about the home, she had a panic attack and was unable to move. She is only now coming to grips with the tremendous negative ways the systematic child abuse at “the home” has affected her entire life, as well as that of her children.
We’ll open with “Alexis,” the mom who recently removed her son from the “Christian” Youth compound unexpectedly on her son’s fourth day there. (They call it a “home,” but to me a place with an electrified fence and no outside contact would be better described as a compound.) Since many other boys had been removed and there was a brief Mississippi criminal investigation, Alexis had been able to talk with other boys and their parents, and she relates some of that as well.
Personally I told the women at the time that I thought the Mississippi state officials who even cared that the abuse was going on, and there were some very good people in office in Mississippi who did care, were in way over their heads. The fact is this “home” deals with interstate trafficking of children, medically documented signs of child abuse in the compound, certain videotaping of at least some acts that might be considered S/M child pornography, and possible worldwide Internet distribution of child S/M pornography. The latter would require the FBI and Interpol to trace phone, computer, and charge card transactions, and even they would have a hard time of it.
This interview will thus be anonymous, with much if off the record, for three reasons: To protect the victim’s privacy, to protect myself, as well as the guilty or innocent, since everything you are reading here is hearsay, and mostly since the particular name of the home, like the particular names of paddling principals, is not what matters. If they close this particular “boot camp” home today, it might open tomorrow with a new name. If they get rid of the owner, his brother might open tomorrow, and he might run it. The particular name of the particular home does not really matter. The dynamics of torture, continuous threats, and the induction of the Stockholm Syndrome are common to nearly all of the hundreds of “boot camps” and “discipline ranches” that are scattered across backward and rural areas of the U.S., primarily in the South. My hope is that these interviews will help other confused parents and state officials to open their eyes to what can so easily go on in these places that have essentially no regulation, oversight, or professional child care training.