West Virginia Boarding School Settles Abuse Lawsuit for $52M

November 18, 2020

A lawsuit alleging widespread abuse at a now-closed northern West Virginia boarding school has been settled for $52 million.

The lawsuit was filed by 29 students of the former Miracle Meadows School in Salem in 2017. It was settled late last month in Kanawha County Circuit Court, news outlets reported.

The lawsuit alleged adults who ran the boarding school carried out the abuse over decades, according to a statement from Forbes Law Office of Charleston, one of the law firms that handled the case on behalf of the plaintiffs.

Miracle Meadows shut down after its state-recognized education status was revoked in August 2014.

Susan Gayle Clark, the school’s former director and a defendant in the lawsuit, was sentenced in 2016 to six months in jail and five years on probation after pleading guilty to child neglect charges.

Among the abuse alleged in the lawsuit by the former students, who are now adults, included being chained and shackled to beds, being kept in isolation rooms for long periods, routine beatings, sexual assault, starvation, and being forced to perform manual labor, the statement said.

“The abuse suffered by these children would shock the conscience of any West Virginian,” Charleston attorney Jesse Forbes said. “This is the stuff straight from a horror movie.”

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