CLARKSBURG, W. Va. — Arrest warrants were issued and executed for the two individuals at the heart of the allegations of child abuse against a religious boarding school in Harrison County.
“Mrs. [Susan Gayle] Clark was arrested and arraigned on charges of failure to report, two counts, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, one count, and two felony counts of child neglect resulting in injury,” Joe Shaffer, Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney said. “Mr. [Timothy Aaron] Arrington was arraigned on three felony counts of child abuse creating risk of bodily injury.”
The execution of warrants against the executive director and and also an employee of the Miracle Meadows School in Salem by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department went without incident.
“These individuals were not picked up in handcuffs and brought in by police, these individuals were given the opportunity to present themselves at the Magistrate Court’s Office today,” Shaffer said.
The charges against Founder and Executive Director Clark stem from the original investigation after Arrington was arrested a week ago and also from her subsequent actions in response.
“She obstructed law enforcement’s investigation and the court’s order when she was known to have children at her home in Ritchie County, completely ignoring a court order not to do so,” Shaffer said. “Also, Clark failed to report instances of child abuse and neglect.”
One such failure allegedly includes not reporting sexual abuse committed by one student toward another to the proper authorities. Also, she allegedly failed to report neglect and abuse Arrington is charged with.
“Allegations against Mr. Arrington are that he utilized punishment against individuals by restraining them with handcuffs, in one incidence where the individuals wrists were found to have been bleeding as a result of handcuffs,” Shaffer said.
According to Shaffer, Clark was admitted to bail in the amount of $26,000 and Arrington was admitted to bail in the amount of $45,000.
The investigation is ongoing as more evidence will have to be examined and more interviews will be conducted.
The children found in the custody of Clark after the DHHR turned them over to their parents against the court order are once again in the custody of the DHHR.
“We have not heard any good reason as to why these children were returned back to Mrs. Clark, these 8 of the 19 children that were taken,” Shaffer said. “We don’t know why their parents did that and it’s part of the ongoing investigation.”
On Tuesday, the state Department of Education essentially shut the school down but sending a letter revoking the “exemption (k)” status, which prevents other education provisions from being applicable, except for those respecting fire, safety, sanitation and immunization as long as test scores are filed once a year.
Earlier this week, the board for Miracle Meadows School, which is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventists, voted to file a lawsuit against the DHHR, claiming the investigation is being handled improperly for a facility classified as a parochial alternative school.