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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  November 6, 2021 2:00am-3:00am PDT

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ever since one lazy, happy day turned into a very bad night, one never to be forgotten or completely understood. i'm craig melvin and this is "dateline." >> my parents were supposed to help these kids. >> you would expect this to be a good, christian place. no parent would have sent their child there knowing what happened. >> what was it like in there? >> it was hell. i was sexually abused. >> there? >> yes, sir. i felt like i was nothing. >> there were numerous concerns about abuse going on at this facility. >> my dad would pick a girl up by her neck, throw her to the ground. >> he would trip you and shove you. >> knock her out. >> yes, sir. >> i mean it. >> i just posted it to tiktok. >> knock her out!
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>> and it blew up. >> these allegations need to be looked into. >> how could i do this to my child, thinking i was helping her? >> your parents deny everything. and they say none of that stuff is true. >> what was going on was wrong. and something needed to be done. hello and welcome to "dateline." on the surface, the circle of hope school appeared to be a refuge where so-called troubled girls could receive a christian education, but some students said behind closed doors they suffered abuse. their secret remained hidden in the shadows until an unlikely ally launched a courageous quest to bring it to light. here's keith morrison with "broken circle." the sky is endless here at
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the edge of the california desert. it's her heaven, so far from the tree tangled sky where she grew up, the woods of missouri. and the yellow farmhouse where this story begins. her father's farmhouse. his school. do you love your dad? >> i do love my dad. >> are you afraid of him, too? >> i'm scared of my dad. yeah. >> what a strange, strange thing. to love the person you're afraid of, the father you're afraid of. >> it's because at one point in time, i wasn't afraid of him. he wasn't what he is now. >> but she wasn't what she is now either, which is why she's come back all these years later to the woods and the old farmhouse and her dad's school.
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but we begin years ago and far away, in a place called ferris, texas, where teresa tucker, a single mom of three, was -- no other word for it -- desperate. it was about her middle daughter, ashley, spiraling out of control. what were you worried about? >> drugs and just rebellion, very mouthy. and -- and so -- i didn't know where to turn. >> how old was she at the time? >> 16. >> and on that december weekend in 2014, ashley was getting kicked out of yet another rehab. so teresa called her best friend, the pastor's wife, for help. >> it was my pastor and his wife that told us about circle of hope. >> circle of hope girls' ranch and boarding school. it was in missouri on a farm. the students followed a strict regimen of chores, school work and bible study.
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was it important to you that she go to a place where there was going to be some spiritual help? >> at this point, i didn't really care. i just needed her to have help. >> there are hundreds of private residential facilities across the country promising to reform troubled teens. they range from wilderness programs to therapeutic boarding schools to boot camps. and then there are those whose lessons derive from a very particular religious point of view. circle of hope was run by a married couple, boyd and stephanie householder. at the heart of their program, they said, was a strict interpretation of the king james bible. >> she was going to get schooling. and she was going to get counseling. ms. householder was a nurse, and that she was going to facilitate her medications and things like that. >> most important of all, perhaps, they had a free bed and could take ashley right away for just $100 a month. to teresa, it felt like a miracle of sorts.
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she signed a contract committing ashley to an 18-month stay. and then she said good-bye. the pastor and his wife drove ashley to missouri. what was it like for you on the trip to that place? >> i was scared. i was really nervous. i didn't know what to expect. my pastor and his wife kept telling me, everything's going to be okay. you know, you're going to get the help you need. >> what were your first impressions of the place? >> when we first got there, it was at night. it was really dark. >> and there they were in the dark, she said, waiting. boyd and stephanie householder waiting up for her. >> they were nice. they were sweet. they were laughing, joking. like, you know, i was like, okay, this is a really good place. i'm actually going to get help here. >> but as soon as the pastor and his wife left, said ashley, the householders changed. >> they went from smiling and laughing to just straight face, and that was it. i mean, they didn't show any emotions or anything. >> ashley didn't exactly know
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why, but she suddenly felt very afraid. and she stepped deeper into the farmhouse, into a world of fear. what was it like in there? >> it was hell. it was scary. you were alone. it was basically -- while you're in there, it's survival. >> what was really happening at that ranch? tales of terror from the girls on the inside. coming up -- >> they had girls scrubbing the floor with toothbrushes. >> unless you were physically laying in bed to sleep, you were standing. and you were facing a wall. >> all day, every day? >> all day, every day. i was like, what is this? >> when "dateline" continues. a. ♪ ♪ you already pay for car insurance, ♪
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teresa tucker had dispatched her daughter to a religious reform school in a tiny community called humansville, missouri, run by stephanie and boyd householder. teresa, did you have any idea what was happening in that place? >> no, i didn't. i had no idea. >> amanda householder, however, did. knew that very well. boyd and stephanie are her parents. was your dad well suited to this kind of work? >> yes.
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because he was a drill instructor. it was second nature to him to just put people in their place. >> before he'd started working in reform schools, boyd householder had been a marine. a trainer of marines. amanda had idolized her strong, commanding father. >> when i was, like, 2 or 3, i was -- i was a daddy's little girl. >> he'd take her for drives in his jeep, she said. listen to music together. but things began to change, said amanda, when her mother persuaded the ex-drill sergeant to start going to church. there are many versions of christianity, of course. this one? do you remember what the sermons were like or what the preaching was like? >> a lot of the sermons i remember were a lot based on fear and burning in hell for eternity. >> and some, she remembers, talked about how to discipline children. how to beat the sin out of them. >> it was, to spare the rod, spoil the child. >> it was through someone he met at church that amanda's dad got
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his first job at a christian reform school. the family later moved to missouri where boyd worked at agape, a boarding school for rebellious boys. and when amanda was 15, he decided to open his own school. only this one would be for girls. what was this place like, this physical house, the location? >> it was just a very run down, homely place. >> d'nae hetrick was sent there in 2007, the year after the school opened. she was 14. what had you been doing? had you been committing crimes or something? >> had never committed a crime. my mom found out that i had become sexually active and that i had tried marijuana for the first time. >> maggie drew arrived a few in 2007 when she was 15. >> nobody was smiling. i saw the girls, and everybody was so quiet. and i was like, this is so dismal. what is this? >> maggie said the girls were
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afraid from the minute they woke up. >> it was immediately get up, hurry, hurry, hurry. get dressed. get downstairs. >> for bible study, and then chores. bizarre chores. >> they had girls scrubbing the floor with toothbrushes. they had the girls wiping walls down. they had us picking weeds in the middle of the heat all day. >> they would say, you know, the bible says this. the bible says that. no, that is your interpretation of the bible. that's not what the bible really says. >> would you talk back to them like that? >> no, no, no, no, no. it was, "yes ma'am." >> why? >> because if we did, we got punished. >> punishment. in fact, it's right here in the handbook. boyd householder promised to help reform especially difficult children by imposing "biblical discipline." d'nae said it didn't seem so biblical to her.
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>> he'd sit in his chair like this. and he'd be like, push-ups! and they'd start doing push-ups. and it would turn into him going up and kicking their hands out from underneath them. >> another punishment he called standing on the wall. >> unless you were physically laying in bed to sleep, you were standing. and you were facing a wall. >> all day, every day? >> all day, every day. you'd have to eat -- like, you'd be given, like, one of those old-school plastic, like, '80s-style lunch trays. i watched him at some points would walk past people on the wall and just hit their trays, and their food would go everywhere. >> boyd householder denied that and said he didn't knock girls down while they did push-ups, either. but those weren't the only kind of stories we heard. we spoke to more than a dozen former students and three former staff members whose experiences at circle of hope span more than a decade and all of them told us boyd householder didn't just subject his students to chores
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and push-ups and other creative punishments. no, they said, he was physically abusive. >> he would go up behind a girl and grab them by the base of the neck behind their head, like this. like, right up behind your ears almost. and he would put a foot out and trip you and shove you. follow down and shove you with force, face first. >> carpet, gravel, the floor of the chicken pen, didn't matter, said maggie. >> and at that point he'd put his fist on the side of your head and one in the middle of your back so that you couldn't get up. >> and there was more, said maggie. boyd ordered some of the girls to help. to put their weight on the student's pressure points. and they did. >> it was, like, one of those things where it's, like, dog eat dog. where if you -- if you don't fight your way to the top and do what you're told to do, then it's going to come back at you. >> d'nae said she found that out the hard way, just once, when
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she tried not to press too hard on a girl she was helping restrain. >> he dropped his knees on top of my elbows. and then -- and once he did that and pushed his weight on top of me, the girl then started screaming. and he looked at me and told me that if she wasn't screaming like that once he let go of me, holding her, that i was going to be laying next to her until i -- myself. and said that i needed to make decisions of whose sides that i was on. >> the householders told us they did restrain students when they were violent, but never deliberately inflicted pain. and amanda? well, these girls were her age, some of them. could have been her friends. except amanda wasn't a student. and sometimes she was the one handing out the discipline. >> i know i had power trips. i know there were certain girls
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my dad favored over me. and i didn't like them. and so i treated them poorly in the sense i'd be like, just push. give me 25. >> things she did, she said. things her father wanted her to do. whose side was amanda on? coming up -- a stunning new allegation. >> i was sexually abused. >> there? >> yes, sir. >> what happens to you when that's going on? >> i felt disgusting. i felt like i was nothing. i felt like i was never going to be able to get out of that place. >> when "dateline" continues. no, you know what, a few more. hey, hey, hey! check it out! we got to get these lights set up. dad! ♪ ♪
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on sundays, the students at circle of hope sometimes climbed into a bus that drove them the 50 miles down highway 13 to a church with a towering white steeple. berean baptist church. then the girls walked inside, dressed in their sunday best and church smiles. the smiles were fake, said maggie. >> we did whatever we had to to make them happy. >> amanda watched it all. she knew, she said, what the students were hiding. how her dad treated them behind closed doors. what was it like to see your dad punishing other kids?
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>> i think that, to me, is the most traumatizing part. because to me, it was -- it was just normal. >> amanda told us her dad had never spared her the rod, beating her regularly as a child. using his belt after church. but hearing the girls scream as they were being punished? >> when you think of souls burning in a lake of fire for eternity, that's what these girls sound like. >> and the screaming is especially hard to forget, she told us, because she helped her dad. >> as a 15-year-old, i was forced to restrain the girls the same way my dad would. >> how'd that make you feel? >> i stopped. i refused to go when they yelled, restrain. i would always say, i have to make lunch or make dinner. or, i have dishes to do. >> did you ever tell your dad, just go easy -- go easy on these kids? >> i never had the guts. i never had the guts. >> when she was 15, she tried running away.
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failed. her father denied punishing her. but after that, she said, things changed for her. >> i was put on the wall. every time my dad walked past, i was yelled at. i couldn't use the bathroom without permission. i could not leave the wall outside my dad's office. >> just standing, facing the wall. >> just standing, facing the wall. >> how long? >> i think it was two months. >> amanda was not like the other girls. no one would pick her up and take her away. so she counted the days until she was old enough to leave. and in 2009, when she was 17, she moved in with her grandma. and then across the country to california. a new life. a fresh start. >> i had a really good job. i had my own apartment. i was doing everything a person does. >> even so, she wasn't quite
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ready to turn her back on her family. not yet, anyway. in 2011, after a parent posted negative comments about the school online, it might surprise you who its loudest defender was. you were online defending your parents. >> i know. >> right? why were you doing that? >> i don't know, other than i kind of felt guilty that it was my family. and so, anytime that people would say something, i just felt the need. i did not want my dad to go to jail. i don't know how to explain it other than that. >> and you have to understand, there were some stories she never heard back then. she never met ashley tucker, the teenager from ferris, texas, who arrived at the ranch in 2014. >> behind closed doors, with just us kids, they were monsters. >> ashley said it was in that culture of fear that the worst thing happened to her. >> i was sexually abused. >> there?
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>> yes, sir. >> the boy was amanda's younger brother, she told us. he was 15 at the time. she said it happened while she was doing chores in one of the buildings on the farm. >> he walked over there. he grabbed me. he pushed me up against one of the walls. and he actually ended up raping me right there. >> what happens to you when that's going on? >> i feel -- i felt disgusting. i felt like i was nothing. i felt like i was never going to be able to get out of that place. >> she told no one. couldn't tell her mom, she said, because she knew, when she got calls from home, someone was always listening. >> they would have their -- like, their thumb over the little hang up button. >> but then, a few months into her stay, ashley took a chance. she told her mother that she was losing a lot of weight.
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>> and when she told me that, they hung up. so i call back. like, what's going on? well, she's being rebellious. so they put her back on the phone, and that's when ashley finally said, they're starving me. >> and the phone cut out again. teresa had heard enough. as soon as she could, she got in her car and drove from texas to missouri to see for herself what was going on inside that yellow farmhouse? coming up -- >> i'm not going to lie. i hated my mom. i hated her. i couldn't stand her. >> you feel guilty? >> yeah. you know, how could i do this to my child, thinking i was helping her? >> when "dateline" continues.
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really? yep! so while you handle that, you can keep your internet and all those shows you love, and save money while you're at it with special offers just for movers at i'm dara brown with breaking news out of texas. eight people have died at the music festival in houston.
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police say just after 9:00 p.m. local time the crowd started pushing toward the stage sparking panic. 17 people were taken to the hospital with several in cardiac arrest. no word yet on what caused the eight deaths, but in addition to possible trampling officials are looking into rumors about laced drugs. the show was eventually stopped. we'll have live coverage of this tragedy beginning at 6:00 a.m. eastern. now back to "dateline." welcome back to "dateline." i'm craig melvin. ashley tucker said she suffered physical and sexual abuse while attending the circle of hope school. during a call she believed was monitored, ashley informed her mom, teresa, she was being starved. teresa immediately hit the road to bring her daughter home and alert the authorities.
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what happened next would leave this distraught mother stunned. back to keith morrison with "broken circle." teresa tucker left her texas home before dawn to reach her daughter's school in rural missouri. ashley, she was sure, was in trouble. teresa had never laid eyes on circle of hope girls' ranch before. >> so when we pulled up, i was just kind of astonished. like, wow, this is it? really? >> she'd been so desperate to find ashley somewhere safe, somewhere healing, she'd sent her there on blind faith. she didn't like what she saw. >> so when ashley came, i seen her. >> take a deep breath. >> she had lost so much weight. she looked real sick. so i hugged her and told her, we're going home. >> but before they left, said
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teresa, boyd householder handed her this document. >> i had to sign a paper that basically stated that she was not sexually abused and she was not physical abused there. >> what a curious thing for a person to have you sign. >> right. >> did ashley tell you on the way home what she had been through? >> it was a very, um, long eight hours. >> i told her basics. i didn't really go into detail. it was too hard. >> the householder's son denies ashley's story of rape. and she told us, as awful as it was, she considers him a victim, too, of the world he grew up in. she was, at the time, less forgiving of her own mother. >> i'm not going to lie. i hated my mom. i hated her. i couldn't stand her. i couldn't stand looking at her. >> you feel guilty? >> yeah. you know, how could i do this to
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my child, thinking i was helping her? >> teresa did not want it happening to anyone else. ashley begged her, don't report the alleged rape. and so she didn't. but teresa did call child protective services, cps, and she told them about ashley's other allegations of physical abuse. >> they stated that they were going to go out and check the facility and all that. once they got back with me, they stated that they didn't see anything. there was nothing they could do. >> teresa contacted the sheriff's office, too. same story. nothing happened. what teresa didn't know was that she was far from the first or only person to make a complaint to authorities about the circle of hope. a mother told us she reported the school the year after it opened. and as time went on, police records show, more relatives and students told stories of abuse. about a girl covered in bruises.
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a runaway who said she'd been choked by boyd householder. and four years later, another runaway who said boyd had grabbed her by the throat. and several times, child protective services went out to visit. except -- >> i was told if i said anything negative, that my life was going to be made miserable. >> boyd coached the girls, said d'nae, before they talked to cps investigators. and they were sure that he was listening, she said, eavesdropping from his office on the other side of the wall. >> i remember being asked, like, are people being starved? and i was like, no. i was literally terrified about what would happen to me, if i was going to start being the person that was starved next, because nothing ever came out of these. >> amanda told us her parents had another way of handling investigators, too. >> i was told, when cps came downstairs, to take the girls outside and basically hide the girls from cps. >> you hid the girls from
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the authorities who would check on whether or not they were okay? >> yes. >> you know, your parents said they had an open-door policy with cps, that they could come in any old time. that's not the case? >> cps could come in. but like i said, i had to hide them. >> amanda's parents denied that, said they never hid students from cps. they said they told the girls to be honest with investigators. in any case, none of the reports ever resulted in any action. the school prospered. and parents like teresa had no way of knowing about the complaints over the years. >> we have no regulations on any religious facilities in the state of missouri. >> none? >> none, none. not at all. >> keri ingle is a missouri state representative and former social worker. do these places even have to register with the state when they open up? >> no. we have no ability currently to even know about their existence.
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so i couldn't even tell you how many of these institutions exist in the state of missouri. >> they're invisible? >> correct. until something bad happens. >> and it's not just missouri. a 2021 nbc news investigation found gaps in regulation around the country. with at least 21 states that did not require religious boarding schools to tell their education departments that they exist. so who is looking out for these kids? >> currently? >> yeah. >> i would say that there's been a lot of buck passing. >> systems, once entrenched, cruel ones especially, can seem unbeatable, impervious to change. and then, one little thing, like the first crack in a dam. coming up -- fresh allegations of abuse from boys. >> i'd watch him grab students and chuck them to a wall.
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grab them by the neck and slam them on the rocks outside, get in their face yelling and screaming. >> and a desperate move to alert the police. >> i tried to tell him. like, man, they're beating us. >> the cop didn't believe you? >> no. >> when "dateline" continues. two loads of snot covered laundry. only one will be sanitized. wait, what? adding lysol laundry sanitizer kills 99.9% of bacteria detergent alone, can't. [ sneeze ] are you ok? oh, it's just a cold. if you have high blood pressure, a cold is not just a cold. unlike other cold medicines, coricidin provides powerful cold relief without raising your blood pressure be there for life's best moments with coricidin. now in sugar free liquid. do you take aspirin? plain aspirin could be hurting your stomach. new vazalore is the first liquid-filled aspirin capsule clinically shown to cause fewer ulcers than plain aspirin. vazalore is designed to help protect...
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>> because i was constantly getting hit up by girls that left circle of hope telling me about what was going on. and i didn't want to hear it anymore. i was just -- >> didn't want to know. >> yeah. >> but there are some things you cannot escape. >> in 2016 or '17, i got a message from a girl who i never heard of. and in it -- in the message, she's telling me my dad raped her. and i'm like, no. >> and yet, the message made her think back to a letter written years before. the words of another angry student. >> i was there when my dad got this letter. and it basically accused my dad of molesting her. and i -- at that time, i was like, that didn't happen. like, i know my dad. that didn't happen. >> that letter writer was maggie drew, who'd come to
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circle of hope at 15, stayed for five years. boyd said it never happened. but now, all these years later, amanda needed to know. had maggie been telling the truth? >> and she said, i know that you have no reason to lie to me. like, just be honest. >> maggie, who had never told her story to police, told amanda how boyd had groped her in his private office after she turned 18. >> he'd grab my butt. or he'd grab my boob from the side. and then after, like, the last year or so that i was there, he started trying to kiss me. >> amanda was devastated. she hadn't always agreed with how her dad ran the school. but this? this was worse than anything she'd imagined. she apologized to maggie for not believing her all those years ago. >> you're okay. you're okay. >> i know. i'm glad you wrote the letter, though. i'm really glad because that
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letter is how i -- is how i started just thinking. >> amanda started thinking about all of it. how her parents had raised her. what she said she saw them do to the children at circle of hope. >> it wasn't until i had my own kids that i realized what was going on was happening to other people's kids. >> and she wanted to make things right. she and maggie decided to track down the girls of circle of hope, as many as they could, listen to their stories, ask if they were okay. >> it was a big thing for a lot of them to be able to honestly, in a safe space, speak their truth. >> but it wasn't just kids at circle of hope who had stories about her father. amanda began hearing from former students of agape, the boys' religious reform school where her dad used to work.
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colton schrag remembered him very well. >> i'd watch him grab students and chuck them to a wall, grab them by the neck and slam them on the rocks outside, get in their face yelling and screaming. >> boyd denied that. but amanda listened and remembered her childhood at agape, watching boys being dragged off to a room known as the padded palace. >> when you open the door, it would go into this weird, dark, carpeted room. and that was the restraint room. and then all you would see is later these boys were being drug back down from this room. and they're all bloody and bruised. >> we talked to a dozen former agape students and four former employees who told us they witnessed staff mistreating kids over a number of years. agape did not respond to our requests for comment. on its website, it states its staff doesn't participate in corporal punishment. and they have all been trained
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in proper restraining techniques. colton insisted he was beaten there years ago and tried to report it to a sheriff's deputy who picked him after he ran away from the school. >> i tried to tell him. like, man, they're beating us. and he didn't listen. cuffed me up, put me in the back of the car and dropped me off back at agape. and that's the last i ever heard of it. never saw cps, nothing. >> the cop didn't believe you? >> no. >> agape, like circle of hope, was seen in the community as doing good work. helping troubled kids. amanda said it wasn't unusual to see deputies hanging out at circle of hope, sometimes doing target practice with her dad. maggie said boyd boasted about it. >> they had ties with all the cops in the area. if we ran away or said anything, we'd be immediately brought back, and nobody would believe us.
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>> it was hard for amanda to imagine they would listen to her now. and hard to understand how her dad's school continued to operate. because in 2018, investigators from missouri's department of social services issued two findings of abuse against amanda's dad. one for physical abuse and one for sexual abuse, which boyd is challenging in court. but remember, the religious school wasn't registered with any state agency. there was no license to suspend. no agency to go shut it down. >> this facility continued to operate is -- i mean, it flies in the face of everything we know about child welfare policy. >> so girls kept arriving at circle of hope. what could amanda do? and then, a few unguarded seconds caught on tape. and that dam with the crack in it gave way. coming up --
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>> knock her out. >> yes, sir. >> i mean it. >> the tiktok video that triggered a firestorm. >> knock her out. >> what's it like to hear that even now? >> made me sick to my stomach. >> when "dateline" continues. with downy infusions, let the scent set the mood. feel the difference with downy.
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>> amanda's dad, boyd householder, the man she once idolized, was now a man she was determined to shut down. if cps and the police weren't going to do it, amanda decided, she'd fight back her way. this soft-spoken daughter went where she knew people talk the loudest. social media. tiktok. >> if you ever suffered extreme abuse due to spare the rod, spoil the child -- >> a platform known more for its stunts and jokes than what she had in mind. >> i want you to know that i see you, survivor. >> she posted interviews with former students, answered strangers' questions. >> no, i do not. i absolutely do not regret it. >> assembled her case against her parents day after day. >> we need to let the whole united states know what boyd and stephanie are capable of. >> and millions noticed. especially after she posted
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this -- a 21-second video recorded by a family friend inside circle of hope on his cell phone. >> knock her out. >> yes, sir. >> i mean it. >> the voice you can hear is boyd householder. he's telling his students to hit one of the other kids. >> knock her out. >> yes, sir. >> and that goes for any of the rest of you. if she clenches her fist like she's going to hit you, that's a threat. knock her out. >> yes, sir. >> knock her out. what's it like to hear that even now? >> hearing his voice in that tone made me sick to my stomach. but seeing the video, i felt like i was right back at their house because that scene is exactly what happens every single time. my mom is in the background like nothing is going on, playing
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with her dogs like, oh, you cute little thing, and my dad is just going off like nothing. >> yes, sir. yes, sir. >> all of the little yes, sirs. yeah, and if you don't say, yes, sir, you can be slapped across the face. you have to say, yes, sir. >> wow. >> knock her out. >> 21 seconds that struck a nerve. yes, sir. >> i was floored by the amount of support and, like, sharing and viewing that was, like, from the tiktok video. i was like, they're listening. like, people are actually listening to us for once. >> including a sheriff's deputy. after watching the video, he messaged amanda, there are some people that want to help. >> these girls deserve to have their complaints investigated properly. >> that deputy's boss is cedar
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county sheriff james mccrary. >> what was it about the tiktok video that struck such a nerve? >> well, the allegation -- some of the allegations were pretty serious. >> serious enough, the sheriff said, to launch a brand-new investigation. his deputy went back and compiled all those years of complaints that had never gone anywhere. amanda connected him with former students and staff. he put together a case file. and is that a fairly thick file? >> yeah, it's -- it's about five inches thick probably. >> are you seeing a pattern of behavior on the part of the people running that particular school? >> well, it seems to be that way, yes. having said that, i think we need to be patient and see where this investigation takes us. >> the sheriff's investigation was just the beginning. in august, authorities removed two dozen girls from the school. two weeks later, state investigators descended with their own search warrant.
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and soon after missouri's attorney general agreed to assist the local prosecutor with his investigation. why did it take so long? >> you know, over the years, we took several of the reports, the complaints to the prosecutor's office. >> any idea why they didn't proceed with any, you know, any further action? >> my belief, and what possibly occurred is some of the alleged victims may have been afraid to tell us what was going on. >> if anyone thought that the sheriff's department was somehow protecting these schools when it knew that things were happening in there that wasn't good for those students -- if somebody thought that, would they be wrong? >> they would be wrong. yes, sir. >> finally in september 2020, amanda got the news she'd been hoping for. her parents shuttered circle of
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hope for good. how did it feel to you to see that girls were being pulled out of that place and eventually it was closed down? >> happy. >> what does it say to you that it takes a tiktok video to finally get authorities to move to protect children? >> it tells me that the system is very flawed. >> something representative keri ingle tried to fix. she has introduced a bill that would require religious schools to register and be held accountable if they are found abusing kids. >> 2021 mike parson signed a bill into law. several of the householders' former students are seeking accountability, too. four jane does have filed civil lawsuits against boyd and stephanie householder. two accuse boyd of sexual assault. >> the householders have not been criminally charged, and they vehemently deny all the allegations. in a written statement, they told us they look forward to making their case to a jury but declined to be interviewed due to pending litigation.
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boyd faces 80 dounlts. they have both pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial. as for their daughter amanda, the householders say they have been estranged from her since 2014. >> they say you're addicted to drugs, a satan worshippers. what do you say to that? >> when i turned 18 and was on my own, i did experiment with drugs, i'm not going to lie. when i had my kids, that
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changed. >> people said they had been a failure in their lives and you're a failure in your life and you're blaming them, you need somebody to blame. >> i may not be successful in the sense that i'm a millionaire, but my kids are happy. my kids don't have to fear me, so to me i'm successful. >> and she told us she's not done speaking out. on a recent fall morning, she led a march to the gates of agape, the boys' school where her dad worked years ago. >> it's time that we bring awareness to agape. >> awareness she maybe hasn't accountability to. in fall 2021, the cedar county prosecutor filed 13 third-degree felony assault charges against five individuals leaked to agape. we have reached out for comment
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but have not received a response. >> it's been painful, she told us, this reckoning with her father and her own past. but she hopes it mattered for former students like ashley tucker. ashley kicked her drug addiction and plans to become a paramedic. she's a mother herself now and calls her daughter her angel. now you know how your mom felt about you. >> yeah. now i realize that she was just trying to help me. >> amanda does not expect to reconcile with her parents anytime soon. >> do you miss them at all? >> i miss what i wanted to have happen. like, what i -- i would never go back, but i think what i'm trying to say is i just miss something i never had. >> what she has instead is a
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cause to help those kids she once knew and others coming after them and to forgive herself as well. that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. . breaking news. tragedy in texas. at least eight are dead, several others injured. several victims. the chaos as the rapper travis scott took to the stage, the investigation just getting under way. >> investigators are on the scene. i'm sending investigators to the scene. we just don't know. we will find out. is there anything criminal? we heard


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