End Child Sexual Abuse

Raid of 1988


Students at New Bethany (NB) call this event, “The Raid of 1988”

Kids were abused, neglected, and in immediate danger yet no one is charged with or arrested for a crime.

The state’s Petition for continued custody states: “reasonable grounds to believe that the residents are in need of care and have been abused and/or neglected and that there is substantial immediate danger to the residents at this time which precludes preventative services as an alternative to removal and that it is necessary to take the residents into custody for protection.

During a preliminary investigation on June 14, 1988, Mack Ford refused access to all boys by having the boys hide in the woods from early in the morning until Armstrong left. Watson Armstrong attempted to verify stories of abuse and neglect, reported by two girls, who ran away from New Bethany and found their way to the Sheriff’s office.

Six hours for Judge Butler to award 16 girls into state custody, after finding abuse, neglect, medical neglect, and beatings

Six hours for Judge Butler to award 16 girls into state custody, after finding abuse, neglect, medical neglect, and beatings

July 7, 1988 Watson Armstrong – Affidavit to obtain Ex Parte Order

AFFIDAVIT

July 7, 1988

STATE OF LOUISIANA
PARISH OF BIENVILLE

BEFORE ME, the undersigned authority, personally came and appeared Watson Armstrong, who after being duly sworn did depose and say that:

Affiant is employed as the Parish Manager and Social Services Supervisor of the State of Louisiana, Department of Social Services, Office of Community Services, Division of Children, Youth and Family Services and has jurisdiction over Bienville Parish, Louisiana.

Affiant further deposed that he and other members of his office have made a preliminary investigation of allegations of child abuse and neglect arising out of alleged incidents involving several minor children, including but not limited to:

(Girls names deleted)

care, custody or control of the New Bethany Home which is an institution either owned by, or a subsidiary of New Bethany Baptist Church, situated on Highway 7, south of Arcadia, in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.

Affiant further deposed that the said investigation has given him reasonable cause to believe that the above mentioned children and other children have been physically and mentally abused and/or neglected in that several minor children are believed to have had severe bruising of the buttocks and that male residents were not made available at the initial investigation conducted by the State of Louisiana at said facility on June 14, 1988. Affiant further states that he has reason to believe that the male residents/students and

***names deleted***

were hidden or removed from the premises, either prior to or during the June 14, 1988 preliminary investigation of said facility.

Affiant further deposed that he believes it is in the best interest of the above named minors, and other children situated in said New Bethany Home, that the court order Reverend Mack W. Ford, and any and all other persons who are employees, servants, patrons of the New Bethany Home or the New Bethany Baptist Church to allow affiant and other duly authorized officers of the court to immediately enter the premises of the New Bethany Home and/or New Bethany Baptist Church, including any and all buildings, structures, residences, mobile homes, and/or motor vehicles situated thereon, for the purpose of allowing further investigation of allegations of abuse or neglect, and for the purpose of allowing the above mentioned children, or perhaps all of the children in the home to be examined physically, psychologically, or psychiatrically by the proper authorities.

Affiant further deposed that in order to properly complete the investigation of abuse/neglect allegations it is necessary that the Office of Community Service, Division of Children, Youth, and Family Services, Department of Social Services, State of Louisiana, be furnished with a complete list showing the names and home addresses of all residents/students, and all employees, staff members, volunteers and/or patrons who actively participate in the supervision and/or care of resident/students of the New Bethany Home or New Bethany Baptist Church on June 14, 1988 up and to July 7, 1988, inclusive.

Appearer further deposed that in order to properly complete the investigation of abuse/neglect allegations it is necessary that employees of Office of Community Service, Division of Children, Youth, and Family Services, Department of Social Services, State of Louisiana, interview Reverend Mack Ford, Mrs. Mack Ford and individuals known only to appealer as Mrs. Shipman, Brother Garris, Sister Garris, Brother Bennett, Ms. Pat, and Ms. Laurie.

Appearer further deposed that it may be necessary and proper for the Court to issue and order allowing affiant, or other proper juvenile authorities to immediately remove any of the children situated in the New Bethany Home or the New Bethany Baptist Church in the event affiant has reasonable grounds to believe that said child or children is abused, neglected or in need of care that the immediate removal of the child is necessary for his or her protection from further abuse or neglect.

Affiant further deposed that this affidavit has been made upon an investigation made June 14, 1988, and interviews of twenty-eight former residents of the New Bethany Home or New Bethany Baptist Church who have recently been domiciled therein and who have both confirmed and reported the incidents of abuse or neglect referred to above together with a referral from Department of Social Services of the State of South Carolina.

WATSON ARMSTRONG

Sheila S. Williamson
Donna C. Guenard

SWORN TO AND SUBSCRIBED before me, on the 7th day of July, 1988.

FRANCES N. JOYNER
NOTARY PUBLIC
FRANCES N. JOYNER, CLERK OF COURT
AND EX-OFFICIO A NOTARY PUBLIC

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July 1988 – Ex Parte Order for Search and Seizure

The Court considering the foregoing Affidavit of Watson Armstrong, of the State of Louisiana Department of Social Services, finding there to be reasonable grounds to believe that the children mentioned in said affidavit are being abused or neglected and that other persons situated within the New Bethany Home or the New Bethany Baptist Church have been similarly treated. The Court finding that in accordance with R.S.14:403 that a further investigation should be made by the Department of Social Services on the property or grounds of the New Bethany Home or New Bethany Baptist Church, further finding that some or all of the children situated in said institution should be physically, psychologically or psychiatrically examined and that other persons therein responsible for their care may also need to be examined, the Court further finding that authority should be granted to the Department to immediately remove any child situated within said institution if Watson Armstrong or other proper authorities have reasonable grounds to believe that said child or children are abused, neglected or in need of care, for the reasons this day assigned:

IT IS ORDERED that:

I. Watson Armstrong and other proper authorities assisting him including officials of the Department of Social Services and any law enforcement officer of the State of Louisiana be and they are hereby authorized to enter the facility known as the New Bethany Home and/or New Bethany Baptist Church including, but not limited to any and all structures, residences, buildings, mobile homes, and/or motor vehicles situated thereon, located on Highway 9, South of Arcadia, Louisiana for the purpose of conducting an investigation into allegations of child abuse and/or child neglect, and for the further purpose of causing some or all of the children or persons responsible for their care to be examined physically, psychologically or psychiatrically by proper authorities;

II. Reverend Mack Ford and any employees, volunteers, staff, patrons, servants or persons situated within the New Bethany Home or New Bethany Baptist Church situated on Highway 9, south of Arcadia, Bienville Parish, Louisiana, ***** Watson Armstrong and other employees of the Department of Social Services, and any law enforcement officers of the State of Louisiana, and any doctors, psychologist and psychiatrist to enter the property of the New Bethany Home and/or New Bethany Baptist Church together with any and all buildings, structures, residences, mobile homes, and/or motor vehicles situated thereon for the purpose of conducting an investigation concerning allegations of child abuse involving children including but not limited to

*******juvenile names deleted*******

and to comply with reasonable requests of said Watson Armstrong and duly authorized officers of the State of Louisiana in the conducting of the investigation and to further allow some or all of the children in said facility, or the persons responsible for their care to undergo physical, psychological or psychiatric examinations and to allow the removal by the State of Louisiana of any child that Watson Armstrong or duly authorized personnel of the State of Louisiana have reasonable grounds to believe is abused, neglected or in need of care;

III. Reverend Mack Ford and any employees, patrons, servants, or persons situated within the New Bethany Home or New Bethany Baptist Church furnish the Office of Community Services, Division of Children, Youth, and Family Services, State of Louisiana, through any of its employees with a complete list showing the names and home address of all resident/students and all employees, staff members and/or volunteers actively participating in the supervision and/or care of the resident/students of said facility from June 13, 1988 to the present time.

IV. Reverend Mack Ford, Mrs. Mack Ford and individuals known only at this time as Mrs. Shipman, Brother Garris, Sister Garris, Brother Bennett, Ms. Pat and Ms. Laurie submit to the interviews by employees of the Office of Community Services, Division of Children, Youth and Family Services, State of Louisiana.

V. Watson Armstrong, and any duly authorized agents or officers of the Department of Social Services or of the State of Louisiana be and they are hereby authorized and empowered to remove any child situated within the New Bethany Home and/or the New Bethany Baptist Church when said officers have reasonable grounds to believe is abused, neglected or in need of are and to take said child or children into immediate custody of the State and thereafter file within twenty-four (24) hours a verified complaint as defined in the Code of Juvenile Procedure.

This Order issued in Arcadia, Bienville Parish, Louisiana, on this 7th day of July, 1988 at 2:01 P.M.

Robert Butler
Judge

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PETITION, 1988 – Results of Investigation, confirming abuse, neglect, and continued danger

PETITION

NOW INTO COURT through the undersigned Assistant District comes and appears that the State of Louisiana, Department of Health and Human Resources, Office of Community Service, who for the purposes of the petition respectfully represent that:

1.

Pursuant to an investigation conducted by petitioner and rendered under the provisions of L.R.S. 14:403, a report of said investigation being furnished to the Bienville Parish District Attorney’s Office on or about June 15, 1988, and based upon said investigation your petitioner believes that the female residents of the New Bethany Home for Girls are abused and/or neglected, for the reasons set forth herein below.

2.

At all times relevant hereto the female residents were residing at New Bethany Home for Girls, Arcadia, Bienville Parish, Louisiana.

3.

On June 9, 1988, a complaint of physical and emotional abuse by two runaways from New Bethany was received by the Office of Community Services, State of Louisiana. The complainants alleged severe spankings administered by staff using a paddle measuring eighteen inches in length by three to four inches wide (“Mama Whippings”), beatings by other residents at the direction of staff (“Sister Treatment”), and staff calling the residents “whores” and “sluts,” lack of proper medical treatment, unsanitary conditions with regard to work assignments, isolation of children from any contact with the outside world, lack of proper education, and other allegations.

4.

On June 15, 1988, the Office of Community Services, State of Louisiana, attempted to seek cooperation from New Bethany in conducting an investigation into the allegations. The Office of Community Services staff was denied admittance.

5.

On June 15, 1988, the Office of Community Services obtained a Court Order from the Honorable Judge Robert Y. Butler requiring New Bethany to allow the Office of Community Services Admittance to the facility to initiate an investigation. New Bethany still refused Office of Community Services admittance and the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Department then cut the chains to allow Officer of Community Services admittance to initiate the investigation.

6.

The investigation began around 12:30 p.m. and continued until 7:00 p.m. on June 14, 1988. New Bethany staff would not cooperate during the investigation and most would only identify themselves as “friends” or “visitors” of the home. They would not respond to any questions. Most of the “friends” or “visitors” continually took photographs of the state workers and investigative activities during the six and a half hours.

7.

Upon concluding the interviews of forty-seven girls on June 15, 1988, Office of Community Services determined that despite no physical evidence the interviews produced information supporting the allegations of physical abuse, extreme emotional abuse and the threat of further imminent harm or injury to the residents. Many of the residents were exhibiting great anxiety. Office of Community Services determined that it was in the best interest of the residents who wished to go that they be allowed to leave. The authority of this action was contained to Judge Robert Y. Butler’s order. Twenty-eight residents did so choose to leave.

8.

Thereafter, a seventy-two hour hearing was conducted before this court on June 16, 1988. At which time testimony was adduced from the twenty-eight residents, and state employees and law enforcement officers. At the conclusion of the hearing Honorable Robert Y. Butler, Judge, ordered that the twenty-eight residents be placed in the custody of this state, pending further orders, with the provision that should said children and their parents desire the children return to their homes and should the State determine that this would be in the best interest of any of said children, that said children could be returned to the physical custody of said parents. All of said children did return to their parent except ****** and ******.

9.

Petitioner further shows, that based on this investigation, there are reasonable grounds to believe that the residents are in need of care and have been abused and/or neglected and that there is substantial immediate danger to the residents at this time which precludes preventative services as an alternative to removal and that it is necessary to take the residents into custody for protection.

WHEREFORE, PETITIONER PRAYS, for the reasons set forth hereinabove, that it be granted immediate custody of female residents:

Names Redacted

that a 45 day hearing be held herein within the delays provided by law to determine if there is sufficient cause for the continuing custody of the residents named above granting petitioner their legal custody: that an attorney be appointed to represent the minor children; and that petitioner be allowed to proceed herein without payment of costs.

JONATHAN M. STEWART,
ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY

Petition to Court

Petition Signed by ADA Jonathan M. Stewart

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The State of Louisiana took custody of 28 girls and allowed 14 children remain in the care of people who refused to identify their legal name, refused to provide records per the warrant, and hid children to avoid investigations into the wounds the boys were alleged to have. After the Raid of 1988, New Bethany’s Director, started refilling the dormitories with more girls and boys.

  1. I was at New Bethany from 1982 June,until my 17th birthday,July 27,1983 when I woke up the morning of my birthday , I went to the dorm mothers’ room, and told her I was walking off the campus, I turned 17 and they could no longer keep me against my will.

    Liked by 1 person

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