When Bethesda closed down, Bob and Betty Wills skipped town and reopened under a different name. After the Christian Life Boarding Academy saw 117 of its residents taken into emergency custody by the Department of Public Welfare, they did it again. Mountain Park Baptist Church and Boarding School was the subject of still more lawsuits and even a death on the property, but they just kept moving around from state to state to escape the religious persecution that hounded them. Well, that's how their lawyer put it:
Plenty of fundamentalist schools go un-sued, but not all have a body count.
How could that possibly be legal? Darlene explains, "Once the threat of prison chased them out of Mississippi they just reopened in another state with their adult children listed as the school owners and directors for legal purposes." After Mountain Park closed in -- holy s**t, 2004? These people were allowed to run teenage concentration camps for 30 freaking years after we first caught them? Are they bible-themed criminal masterminds, or is Chief Wiggum a legitimate representative of our law enforcement? We're not sure which is the more worrying prospect ...
The Wills have been lying low since 2004, but they still escaped justice. They were only ever convicted of contempt of court, after all. Darlene even ran into them recently, in a manner of speaking: "After joining that group [on Facebook, for 'Survivors of Bethesda Home'] I learned that Betty Wills was also on Facebook and approved any friend requests from girls who went to her schools. I guess it was out of morbid curiosity that I searched for her and friended her. She is still on my friends list until this damned day, and in August of this year, when my birthday rolled around, as I was scrolling through all the well wishes of my FB friends I stopped when I saw she had wished me a happy birthday. Totally unexpected. I am amazed at how powerful that feeling of dread and fear was after all of these years."
But at least she can take comfort in the fire gutted ruin that's all that remains of the Wills' 'School.'
Manna has a Twitter or whatever.
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