- dogemperor's diary :: ::
There is no question that eliminating basic health and safety standards made operations easier for a few faith-based programs in Texas, however the lack of minimum standards has threatened the safety of those participating in the program. In 1998, a boy filed suit against Dallas Teen Challenge Boys Ranch and Assemblies of God, alleging that a counselor, who was a convicted drug trafficker, sexually molested him and two other boys. The lawsuit also claimed that the ranch’s Executive Director, the church and the ranch’s board knowingly hired people with criminal histories to serve as counselors. (Austin American-Statesman, 5/13/1998)
DALLAS (AP) - An 18-year-old man and his parents sued the Assemblies of God and the church's ranch for troubled youths Tuesday, claiming the youth was molested by a counselor at the center two years ago.The alleged victim was 16 when he went to Dallas Teen Challenge Boys Ranch in Winnsboro in January 1996. According to his lawsuit, a counselor and convicted drug trafficker sexually molested him and two other boys, one of whom also was 16 or younger."(The counselor) sexually molested (the plaintiff) on at least six different occasions at the ranch," the lawsuit states.The lawsuit further alleges that the church, ranch executive director Paul Ecker and the ranch's board knowingly employed men with criminal histories as counselors despite being informed by state regulators the practice was illegal.. . .According to the lawsuit, most of the residents were there as a condition of probation or deferred adjudication and had psychological or substance abuse problems. During the day, they performed chores, including caring for livestock, and took part in religious education. At night, they were "locked down" and monitored by alarm systems, to prevent unauthorized departures.Among the employees and volunteers working at the ranch were men in a program called "Life Challenge," designed for adults. Many of them had substance abuse problems and were admitted to the program as part of their probation, the lawsuit states."The Assemblies entities would send employees and volunteers to the ranch knowing that they were not allowed to be there because of their criminal records," according to the lawsuit."Despite the repeated protests of the ranch administrator and citations from state regulatory authorities, the Assemblies entities funneled numerous Life Challenge men down to the ranch knowing that those men had criminal records involving narcotics and physical violence."