Over 30 boys removed from Prescott boarding school, Walla Walla Co. deputies say
PRESCOTT, Wash. — More than 30 boys were removed from a boarding school in Prescott following multiple allegations of abuse and neglect.
Walla Walla County deputies responded to Masters Ranch West seven times within the past 13 days for various calls, the sheriff’s office said Wednesday. The school’s website describes itself as a “Christian boarding ranch for boys who are struggling.”
Here is a timeline of the events that occurred:
On May 7, five boys ran away from the school before being located in Walla Walla in a stolen vehicle. These five boys were believed to have shoplifted at Walmart in College Place prior to being located. They were arrested and booked at the Walla Walla Juvenile Justice Center.
Then on May 11, two boys ran from the school and were later found and brought back.
On May 12, deputies investigated a report of excessive force by a staff member against an 11-year-old student.
On May 13, a male employee at the school was arrested on charges of third-degree child molestation and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.
Walla Walla County detectives and Child Protective Services case workers then responded to the school to conduct a site visit. After an extensive investigation, eight juveniles are taken into protective custody by CPS. These juveniles were taken to Walla Walla to be cared for and returned to their parents.
On May 19, the sheriff’s office received reports of 30 angry juveniles armed with shovels and brooms, “building toward a riot” outside the main house at the school, deputies said. A large law enforcement response from multiple agencies, along with detectives and CPS, answered the call.
“Some thirty plus students are removed from the ranch. Multiple investigations are ongoing at this time. Our main concern is the wellbeing of every child and the thorough investigation of all allegations. We understand this is a very concerning situation for parents, students and staff alike. We ask for cooperation as we work to determine the extent and validity of every allegation,” the sheriff’s office said.
Since these investigations started, Masters Ranch West has been posting videos of purported former students and parents offering words of support for the school and their experiences with it.
The school has implied that the current CPS investigation stems from false rumors.