SNAP wants boarding school employee fired

SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]

March 6, 2024

By David G. Clohessy

Victims’ group also passed out fliers in the Piedmont area recently

“Call law enforcement if you see, suspect or suffer any wrongdoing,” survivors urge

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging officials at a southern Missouri faith-based boarding school to fire an employee who is accused of abusing children. The owners of the facility, Larry and Carmen Musgraves, were arrested Friday by the local sheriff’s department on charges of first-degree kidnapping and were jailed without bond.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, recently wrote to top officials at Lighthouse Christian Academy, a.k.a. ABM Ministries, including the Musgraves. In the letter, the survivors’ group begged them to remove Julio Sandoval from the premises and payroll of its facility just outside Piedmont in Wayne County.

Sandoval previously worked at Agape Boarding School in Stockton, Missouri, for 10 years. In August of 2022, Sandoval was arrested on federal charges of violating a protective order issued at the request of a student. Sandoval was accused of taking the student against his will and transporting him from Fresno, California, to Agape the previous August. Sandoval was working as dean of students at the school at the time.

Sandoval has pleaded not guilty to the charges and a jury trial is scheduled for October. He could receive up to five years in prison if convicted.

Also, during Sandoval’s tenure as dean of Agape, the Missouri Highway Patrol launched an investigation into abuse of students at the school. In September of 2021, the Cedar County prosecuting attorney charged five staff members with 13 counts of third-degree assault.

In 2022, The Kansas City Star reported that Missouri’s child welfare agency had substantiated 10 reports of physical abuse at Agape. Multiple sources at the time told The Star that several staffers appealed their findings. They said Sandoval was among them. His case is still pending, and state law allows staffers to work with children while their case is under appeal.

In addition, last fall, Kathleen Britt sued Agape, claiming that her son’s death stemmed from abuse he suffered at the facility. Among those named in the suit was the company that transported students to the school, which is owned by Sandoval.

Sandoval left Agape shortly after the five staff members there were criminally charged. Sandoval then began working at ABM Ministries at Lighthouse Christian Academy. While Sandoval’s actual title or role at the school is unclear, according to state documents, at one point  at least Sandoval was listed as ABM Ministries’ director.

SNAP sent a letter sent by mail on March 4th to Larry Musgraves and Reed Goodman, the president and secretary of ABM ministries. They are also board members of the institution, according to documents filed with the Missouri Secretary of State. Musgraves’ wife Carmen is also associated with the school. Craig Smith is the principal. The two of them were also sent SNAP’s letter. Copies of the letter were sent to the Piedmont facility and to the Wayne County jail, where the Musgraves are now.

The letter was signed by David Clohessy of St. Louis. He was the former long-time national director of SNAP and is now the volunteer Missouri Leader for the group.

“Of course, Sandoval shouldn’t be imprisoned unless he’s convicted,” David said. “But if Lighthouse officials really care about the safety of kids, they shouldn’t be giving him access to kids and a paycheck given the serious charges against him.”

Late last month, David was in Piedmont talking with residents about the Lighthouse and handing out fliers urging anyone who “saw, suspected or suffered” wrongdoing at the facility to call law enforcement or SNAP.

“Remind people you know that abusers are shrewd and they count on others to keep quiet or avoid ‘getting involved,’” read the flier. “Tell them that kids are precious and unless caring adults speak up, youngsters will continue to be hurt.”

The self-help group stressed that “any information or suspicions, no matter how old or slight or seemingly insignificant, can be helpful to police and prosecutors and others seeking to learn and expose the truth and safeguard children.”

It also encouraged residents to “ask friends, family and neighbors ‘Have you heard anything about any misconduct there?’”

David hopes to hold an open public meeting in the Piedmont area to discuss the situation soon.

Lighthouse Christian Academy is about seven miles south of Piedmont at 299 Wayne 459, near the Black River, Clearwater Lake, and the eastern border of Reynolds County. Its sparse website lists a phone number, 573-600-5463, but no names of staff members and no board of directors.

This is not the first time a Piedmont-area faith-based boarding school generated headlines.

There is a list of similar facilities in Missouri here.

A copy of SNAP’s letter is below.

March 4, 2024

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Musgrave, Mr. Smith and Mr. Goodman:

Julio Sandoval faces serious charges – criminal and civil – at an institution just like yours. Yet you’re paying him to be in a position of authority over dozens of vulnerable children in a remote, largely unmonitored and unregulated setting – exactly like the one where he allegedly committed sexual and physical abuse for years.

We beg you to reconsider your callous and reckless decision that needlessly keeps youngsters at risk of severe harm. We urge you to fire Sandoval immediately from his post at Lighthouse Academy (a.k.a. ABM Ministries) and to write the families of kids there and give them details about the charges and accusations against him.

At a bare minimum, if you continue employing him, we urge you to keep him away from children and promptly, publicly and explain – in detail – why you believe he posts no threat to others.

As you are aware, dozens of children, ranging from 10 to 13 years old, are at your facility. It should go without saying that their physical and emotional safety must be your top priority. That requires that you employ only staffers with pristine records.

In just the past few weeks, at least five of those children have run away from your institution. Prudence and common sense strongly suggest that something terribly wrong is happening there.

“But Sandoval’s never been convicted of a crime so he deserves the presumption of innocence,” you may claim.

This is of course true. But it’s also irrelevant in this situation.

A criminal defendant has a right to remain free until he’s convicted. But a criminal defendant does NOT have a right to hold any particular job, especially one around vulnerable children who are hundreds of miles from home in unlicensed, unregulated facilities.

(If Sandoval faced allegations of stealing money from a store cash register, no one would doubt that a business would be justified in firing him. In fact, a business hiring him should expect to be criticized for taking unnecessary risks.)

The bar for incarcerating someone is justifiably steep. The bar for keeping someone away from kids is understandably much lower. Again, the safety and well-being of youngsters must be top priority.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

David Clohessy, former national director of SNAP

Current volunteer director of Missouri SNAP

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Prevent Abuse LLC

7234 Arsenal St., St. Louis MO 63143

314-566-9790 (cell)

P.S. Whether you are behind bars or not, you’re still in charge of Lighthouse Christian Academy and we implore you to oust Sandoval immediately.

CONTACT:  David Clohessy, SNAP Missouri (, 314-566-9790), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Director (, 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Executive Director (, 267-261-0578), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board of Directors President (sdougherty@snapnetwork.org814- 341-8386)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is