Fugitive Dr. David E. Smock was arrested on December 28, 2021, in Arkansas. The 57-year-old Agape Boarding School physician had a warrant out for his arrest since the prior week.
Smock is charged with eight felonies, including:
According to The Daily Beast, Smock has been accused of having a sexual relationship with one of the boys enrolled at the Christian boarding school. This relationship included taking a particular interest in one underage boy by giving him presents and taking him on special trips. The report even indicated that the boy lived with Smock for a while in his home, where he was able to sexually abuse the minor.
Multiple former students claim that Smock would provide medical treatment in his home for the boys. This treatment included injuries obtained by sexual abuse from other staff members. He is accused of failing to report the incidents to the authorities in an attempt to cover up the abuse.
Smock makes five Agape Boarding School faculty members to be arrested. To learn more about the ongoing sexual abuse cases, read here:
Attorney contributor Reed Martens has years of experience as a sexual abuse attorney. Reed currently represents three of the many victims allegedly abused at the Agape Boarding School. Below, he discusses when boarding school sexual abuse victims can file a lawsuit.
This school offers round-the-clock residential care to "at-risk or unmotivated boys" from 12 to 18. For over 30 years, this residential group home has provided these young boys with an academic program that promises to get them "back on track."
The facility's approach focuses on psychological and spiritual growth, which claims to include daily encouragement. The faculty is said to be trained to deal with children diagnosed with conditions such as ADD, ADHD, and ODD disorders. The 200-acre ranch offers 12-month stays that are under strict monitoring.
"Many of the former students claim they were victims of physical, emotional, and even sexual abuse during their time at the boarding school. This abuse ranged from other students to faculty members. Students were often in the facility's care for multiple years allowing time for the alleged abusers to groom the vulnerable victims."
"Schools, including residential group facilities such as Agape, have a legal duty to provide their youth residents a safe campus to both live and learn. When a facility takes in students for round-the-clock care, they must ensure this safety is a priority. This often includes installing security cameras in all common areas and conducting extensive background checks on all staff members. These preventative measures are implemented to reduce the risk of abuse."
"However, when staff members are charged with sexually abusing the children, the facility's security plan should be evaluated. When reports of misconduct go ignored, the facility can be deemed negligent and be held liable in a civil lawsuit. When reports are covered up by staff or hidden from the students' families, this can also be seen as negligence."
"The Agape Boarding School is facing charges that include allowing staff members and other students to engage in abusive conduct with minors while under their care. When a school or residential care facility fails to report abuse to authorities, they can be held liable for the abuse in a lawsuit."
Anyone that has been a victim while enrolled at Agape, or other residential care facilities, is encouraged to contact an experienced sexual abuse attorney.