Amanda Householder, whose parents Boyd and Stephanie Householder ran a Christian boarding school in rural Missouri, has been speaking out on social media about physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by her parents toward the girls at the school. On Thursday night, NBC’s Dateline explored the allegations of abuse and Householder’s relationship with her parents when she decided to speak out.
Householder didn’t have a great relationship with her parents and moved out at 17, NBC News reported, but she still defended Circle of Hope online when it was criticized for its treatment of girls. It wasn’t until she had a child of her own and began speaking with former residents that she rethought her position and acknowledged that their stories made sense, she told the outlet. She said she apologized to them and regretted not intervening when she was there.
“I knew the restraining was bad,” Householder said, “but I just kick myself in the a** for not standing up against it back then. I felt guilty, I felt like it was my fault, but that’s one of the things I worked through in therapy. I had to get over that.”
Householder Began Referring Former Residents to Appropriate Authorities & Speaking Out Online Against Her Parents
After Householder said she acknowledged what was going on at Circle of Hope, she began referring former residents to the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Missouri Department of Social Services. She said she received a video from Joseph Askins, a friend of Boyd Householder’s who was shocked by what he saw on a visit, according to NBC News.
In the video, the voice of a man identified by Askins and Amanda Householder as Boyd Householder ordered several teenage girls to assault another one and said, “Knock her out, I mean it.” Amanda Householder posted the video on Facebook and Twitter, NBC News reported. That’s when she was told she should post about what was happening on TikTok.
Householder set up a TikTok account in May 2020 where she shared videos of herself and other former residents speaking out about the abuses suffered at the ranch and they since accumulated over 34 million views. According to NBC News, the account’s bio stated, “My parents own an abusive boarding school for girls. This is my page exposing it.”
She said she hasn’t spoken to her parents since 2016 but despite the boarding school closing down, she wants to keep pushing for criminal charges to prevent them from reopening another school. She told the outlet, “I do know that what I’m doing is right and it makes it easier because I know my parents hate me for it.”
The School Has Since Been Shut Down & Householder’s Parents Sold the Property Though They Are Denying the Allegations
Amid the series of public allegations of abuse, the state of Missouri removed the girls from the ranch in August 2020, NBC News wrote. No criminal charges have been filed against Stephanie and Boyd Householder, but a criminal investigation is ongoing with the assistance of multiple agencies, KY3 wrote. Two civil lawsuits have also been filed by former residents of the girls’ home, accusing the Householders of abuse.
The couple has denied all accusations and said the sheriff’s department and social services were “corrupt” in an interview with the Kansas City Star. They said the girls invented the accusations because they were unhappy with them that their lives weren’t what they wanted. The property was put up for sale in September 2020 and was sold in December, the Star reported.