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September 1st, 2011
09:40 PM ET

Video: UnGodly discipline investigation

Editor's note: Gary Tuchman investigates a faith based home for girls, where former residents say they were abused.


Filed under: Gary Tuchman
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Aurora

    There are still a lot of these schools in Florida I went to one in Jay Florida. Something needs to be done about these schools. Freedom of religion should not protect these bastards!

    September 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  2. Mona

    Anytime abuse to children is reported it breaks my heart. These types of homes need to be exposed and rooted out. But don't limit your reporting to these supposedly ‘godly’ homes. There’s certainly numerous children’s homes out there where abuse occurs but has nothing to do with “godly discipline”'.

    September 4, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  3. Caty Carroll Alton

    I was a student from 1976 to 1978.Everything the girls are saying is true.And not everything is being told,like how they spank there own children.I saw an 8 month be paddled with a ping pong paddle.The church asked the Williams to stop or to quit attending as it was disrupting the 'spirit" sas they put it.I heard their 3rd grade get paddled 50 times,I counted, for missing, word of his Bible memorization.They told me they would pray that God "takes my mother" if that is the only thing that would get me right with God.I was 14.They also, what I did to cause my step father to have incestuous feelings for me..They said it was my responsibility for not "causing" a man(my step dad) to be lured.

    September 4, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  4. Barbara

    I live a few miles from Hephzibah House and until a few months ago I had no idea it even existed. I stumbled upon a website when investigating outlandish authoritarian practices in the Fundamental Baptist churches that mentioned Hephzibah House and gave its location of Warsaw, Indiana. I almost fell out of my chair. I am outraged that this community, this police department, and this Child and Family Services has never done anything to try to shut this place down. One student from Evansville escaped and pressed charges. Ron Williams immediately shuffled the girls around to different places, sent some home, and hid the few that remained here. The young woman who escaped was eventually taken to the police department and was able to show a female officer all of the severe wounds she had on her backside from beatings. They were very deep and had been infected to the point of causing the bleeding, etc., to stick to a chair she was sitting in. This young woman might be willing to talk with CNN. PLEASE help expose this group to our nation by doing a follow up story. Perhaps it might pressure some organization in this community to take action against Hephzibah House so it could finally be closed down. Thank you for this first broadcast about the home, and I sincerely hope it will not be your last one.
    Barbara

    September 4, 2011 at 1:16 am |
  5. Robert Orin Charles Kilroy

    We have been seen the worst of them; It is Fairhaven. It takes the icing on the cake. Fairhaven had a hazing inwhich boys were beat to a pulp by fellow students under instruction direction of Pastor Voegtlin's son in law during a missions trip. One boy suffered a broken are and bruises all over his body. THe boys were forced to lie to their parents by telling them they fall down stairs during the mexico missions trip. There are many other bad things. Fairhaven has grown far worse, now that it is a family cult, with children and sons in law in all pastoral positions. There are no more outsiders to create a balance of some power. Now it is a dynasty.

    September 4, 2011 at 12:37 am |
  6. donna

    I know that there are MANY abusive home in Missouri as they do not regulate the "schools" there Circle of Hope did not educate my daughter they lied to get me to place my daughter there and they we abusive to my daughter thankfully She was only there short term , but the 3 months that she was there was MORE than enough time to do some SERIOUS damage...

    September 3, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  7. Jim

    All I want to know is what Bible are these people reading??? Im 63 years old raised Baptist and never in my life heard of such a thing. The church I went to was Kent Baptist Temple and when I was a little boy help to build the church in Akron Ohio Called the Chaple of Prayer Never heard anything like that. Those people claiming to be Baptist better get a real bible and read it.

    September 3, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  8. Rose Olver

    Giving religious organizations free reign to abuse kids must stop! If we value our children these home must not be exempt from licensure! Thank you on behalf off all the children who suffer for this investigation.

    September 3, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  9. Joey at Purdue

    Just sent formal e-mails re: Gary Tuchman's report on Hephzibah House & Ind. Code § 31-27-2 to Governor Mitch Daniels, Senator Richard G. Lugar, Senator Dan Coats, and my Congressional Representative Todd Rokita. They may just ignore it, but since I live here, I think they're legally obligated to a formal e-mail submission. Non-existent God willing, some good comes of this.

    Thanks to the whole AC360 team for their coverage on this matter.

    September 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  10. Barbara Quinn

    Hard to believe that a minister would actually make pretty girls take responsibility for boys' thoughts, simply because the boy whistle at them! Like, where was he when God was handing out the brains? Sounds a little like Muslim men putting 'all' responsibility for 'men's' lust, on the shoulders of women. Like, if the men have dirty thoughts, it's because the women 'made the' have themI And I thought christianity was different from Islam! Sounds like christianity turned into religion by men, which is not real christianity at all.Wthout respect for the female gender, Jesus is just not 'in' such mysogynstic thinking! So religious mysogeny is NOT real christianity. and some so called christian men, are not real christians at all. They're just 'religious monsters' who were never really 'saved'! but just assumed they were. How pathetic!

    September 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  11. Darleen

    Some creeps will study the entire Bible only to find excuses to commit their crimes. They don't really give a crap about God or religion, they are just pervs, sadists and child abusers. I hope they enjoy their time in jail.

    September 3, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  12. Eugene Field

    I saw the Anderson Cooper report on the Hephziba Gril’s Home in Warsaw, Indiana. I have also read the description of this institution and account of former residents and staff members on the website http://formerhephzibahgirls.webs.com/. It is absolutely appalling. I find it hard to believe that there is not an ongoing official investigation of this place even if it is a private church sponsored institution. I am also very surprised that more people have not written comments on the abuses of Hephziba. How is it that in the name of religion these things are allowed to happen? I hope that Anderson follows up on this report and that it stimulates a deep official investigation by people who are not there to protect this place.

    September 3, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  13. Michael Cawthon

    Hey AC,
    I grow up baptist and i grew up getting spanked. I never got beat for 7 hours or anything. This report of the school Indiania is some sick people that is not god's will whats going on there. I am baptist and my parents belived in the bible and discpline. I am sorry for what is going on up there i will pray for the girls in those houses.

    September 3, 2011 at 3:13 am |
  14. Amy

    It's irresponsible reporting to describe both the fatal beating of a child over a span of 7 hours and the 10 second switch demonstration by Michael Pearl as harsh discipline. What happened in the Schott home and what happens in the Pearl home are completely unrelated and should not be described as being similar in any way..

    September 3, 2011 at 2:29 am |
  15. Dena

    I think there is something lost in translation when they say 'spare the rod and spoil the child'. This was written by and for a rural society – shepherds for the most part, The rod was actually the staff which they used to guide the sheep – not beat them! It actually means guidance, not beating! God would not tolerate his sheep/children being mistreated!!!

    September 3, 2011 at 2:07 am |
  16. mark jessup

    i think these guys are molesting these girls tooand child services should be notified..also any other churches related to these child abusers should be investigated..i have no doubt this guy is a child molester

    September 3, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  17. Angel

    Holding children down by hands, feet, and a chair to get spanked is sick. Making someone wear a diaper as punishment is too. We've been hearing about spiritual child abuse by white communities like Catholic Arch Bishops, Mormon Fundelimists, and Hepzibah people. Prime time Americana is well informed of the subject of faith and abuse in white bread America. Yet, I do not understand why the minority community, having the majority of child abuse cases, is never mentioned by old blue eyes. News on just some of the news is not really news at all. This is the case considering that the news fixes itself only on certain special interest stories of abuse, namely by white fundamentalists while not investigating a more rampant style of abuse in the African, Latino American sections. I am a Latino American and I am sick of the ignorance America has toward our forgotten children and the excuses of their abusers. They claim it is class condition that warrants such behavior just as faith abusers carry their purpose.
    Jesus asked us to treat others including our children as we'd want to be treated. Whether in my community or yours' abuse demands attention or whether it is from

    September 3, 2011 at 1:05 am |
  18. Cherish Morie

    I was at Hephzibah House for 15 months recently and never once saw or experienced any of the abuse mentioned in the above video. I don't know where these people get their facts, but it's definitely not the truth. Why are so so against people who sacrifice everything to help others in trouble. Why not spend your time and energy trying to stop the real abusers in this world.

    September 3, 2011 at 12:18 am |
  19. Julie Worley

    Abuse under the guise of "Discipline" and/or God must be exposed and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The employees of public schools that legally practice Corporal Punishment in 19 U.S. States today by deliberately inflicting pain by hitting students with thick wooden paddles and Religious exempted youth "Homes" as well as priests are fallable human beings like everyone else who must be prevented from abusing vulnerable and defenseless children and hiding behind "Discipline" or Religion. Search "A Violent Education" for disturbing facts. Unlimited Justice is a national campaign to end school paddling of students in ALL U.S. schools, please add your voice.

    September 2, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  20. sonia

    Parents get your girls out of there!! and CNN please continue investigating till you help these poor girls get out of there.

    September 2, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
  21. yolanda

    i just watched the episode and i am dumb founded that the government cant and seems like they wont do anything about the abuse or at least the allegations. these people are sick, they are not trying to help these kids, they are hurting them...so where is the justice for these kids? and its amazing how these so-called pastors wouldn't explain themselves or even let you go into these homes...so what are you hiding?what is wrong with these people???? and why hasn't our government stepped in and stopped this? what does the government need....more kids to be killed!!!!!!

    September 2, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  22. Steve Pierce

    I liked when Cooper asked Zichterman about how fair it was to group all IFB together. I believe Cooper saw right through her, the anger on her face shows she has deep seeded resentment toward the church and her father and therefore unfairly lumps all the thousands of churches together. This SICK and TWISTED form of teaching is NOT taught throughout these churches and I believe this is not chance that I was turning the channels when I came to this show as this happened a few months ago when I came across ABC- 20/20. I am praying for this woman and the potentially hundreds and thousands she is swaying away from God and many she may be sending straight to hell as a result.

    September 2, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • Steve Pierce

      many many prayers to the victims of these sick homes and "churches" as well.

      September 2, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  23. Dev Anderson

    I'm watching Ungodly Discipline on ac360 and can't understand why you have not pointed out the obvious: The family appears to have only abused their adopted black kids. Are you choosing to simply ignore that fact?

    September 2, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
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