A Texas couple has been arrested for using an ex-gay/conversion therapy school for boys as a front for forced labor and human trafficking.
According to the New York Daily News, Pastor Gary Wiggins, or otherwise referred to as Brother Gary, and his wife Meghann Shereen Wiggins recently ran a facility called Joshua Home. The “boarding school for troubled boys” located in Bertram, Texas was a place that religious parents sent their sons for a tough Christian education or “straightening out.”
Former recruit Lucas Greenfield told ABC’s 20/20 that he was sent to the school by his mother because he was gay. He says that Wiggins then beat him and the other boys while saying, “I’m going to get the demon out of you and make you straight.”
Unfortunately, that isn’t the end of the horrors experienced by the two.
It seems the Wiggins have left a trail of blood through a series of allegations that they’ve mistreated boys in multiple states. In Alabama, where the Wiggins used to run a similar facility called the Blessed Hope Boys Academy, the couple was accused of putting boys through extreme punishments such as solitary confinement or refusing to feed them. Plus, there were concerns that the Joshua Home boys were being forced into working for a moving company and lawn care company.
Now according to the Dallas Morning News, local and Texas state agencies have looked into these allegations of labor violations, fraud, licensing violations, and human trafficking. In July 2018, eight boys between the ages of 10 and 17 were removed from the facility while these investigations continued. That then resulted in a search warrant to gather evidence on the couple, which then led to the immediate shut down of Joshua Home.
The Wiggins were then arrested on August 6 in Escambia Country, Alabama. They have been indicted on one count each of human trafficking charges and are set on a bond of $100,000 each.
“Before anyone jumps to conclusions they ought to wait to see what evidence the District Attorney has,” Shell told CBS Austin.