The Flint Journal, October 26, 1998

Children Beaten and Raped at Christian Boarding School

(AP) -- Children of American missionaries were subject to repeated physical and sexual abuse at a church-run boarding school in western Africa between 1950 and 1971, the Plain Dealer newspaper reported, citing internal church reports.

The newspaper obtained copies of the reports detailing the alleged abuse at the Mamou Alliance Academy in Guinea, which served 200 children whose parents were Christian missionaries. The school closed in 1971.

The reports followed a two-year inquiry by an independent commission appointed by the Christian and Missionary Alliance, which ran the school.

The commission's report found that seven former staff members and two former students physically, sexually, and psychologically abused children at Mamou, and says that a "significant number of children" were involved.

Allegations include reports of children being punched, slapped, pulled by the hair and beaten with part of a rubber tire, and at least five girls being sexually abused during post-bedtime visits from a minister and housefather.

Included in the report by the commission were interviews and written testimony from more than 70 Mamou alumni, several missionary parents and former staff.

Dianne Darr Couts, a schoolteacher from Akron, and her brothers, Richard, John and David, all Akron natives, spoke out about the abuse and played a role in seeking the church inquiry.

In all, the school served about 200 children of missionaries from the U.S.-based Missionary Alliance, Gospel Missionary Union and other missionary organizations.

Return to Newsroom Index or to Table of Contents