Owner of Missouri Reform Schools Faces Sex Abuse Allegations in Washington Lawsuit
By Laura Bauer and Judy L. Thomas
Kansas City Star
February 10, 2021
A man who runs three Christian reform schools in Missouri is the subject of a lawsuit in Washington that accuses two churches where he was the pastor of failing to protect sisters who say he molested them.
The civil suit, filed in the Superior Court of the State of Washington, alleges that the churches knew their pastor, David Bosley, was grooming and then sexually abusing the three sisters for several years beginning as early as 1996 but did nothing to stop it or protect future victims.
“Each defendant had a duty to warn or protect foreseeable victims including plaintiffs,” the lawsuit says. “Each defendant breached both the statutorily prescribed duty and the common law duty of reasonable care by failing to report its knowledge of Bosley’s sexual abuse of children to authorities.”
Bosley, 57, came to Missouri from Washington and opened his first boarding school for boys in 2007, according to corporation documents. He now operates three Master’s Ranch Christian Academy sites in Oregon County in far southern Missouri, including one he opened last September in Thayer for girls ages 9 to 17.
Bosley said he was “appalled” and “shocked” after reading the lawsuit on Tuesday.
“I categorically deny the truth of those things,” he said.
The Washington lawsuit comes as Missouri legislators consider implementing state oversight of unlicensed schools like Bosley’s. The Show-Me State is one of just two — South Carolina is the other — that allows a religious exemption from licensing without any further regulations.
On Wednesday, members of the House Children and Families Committee will hear testimony in Jefferson City on bills that would, for the first time, require these facilities to adhere to certain safety and fire codes, conduct background checks on employees and notify the state of Missouri of their existence.
The hearing — and the legislation — follows reporting by The Star over the past several months that showed the unlicensed schools have flourished in Missouri because of its lack of oversight. The state’s failure to track or regulate these schools has allowed decades of abuse and neglect to stay hidden, child advocates, former students and parents have said.
Bosley also operated a Master’s Ranch West boarding school in Prescott, Washington, but it was closed last May after state child welfare workers investigated allegations of child abuse and neglect.