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Caroline boarding school probed

The Caroline County Sheriff’s Office is investigating three separate incidents involving students at Abundant Life Academy, a Christian-based boarding school for troubled teens, that have led to charges against school staff members.

The investigations began in April after four male students ran away from the former Remuda Ranch off Passing Road near Sparta.

According to a police report, the four juveniles ran away from the school in the middle of the night after breaking a window and stealing a Gator utility vehicle from a school shed. The date of the incident was not released.

The vehicle apparently ran out of gas, and the group was found walking along a road by a King George County deputy, the report said.

The King George deputy contacted the Caroline Sheriff’s Office about the teens.

The report noted an alarm at the school had gone off, but that law enforcement was not notified by the school about the missing students.

The teens told police that they were headed north to get away from the school and “made statements that things weren’t right” at Abundant Life, according to the report.

No charges were filed against the students.

But Caroline deputies began an investigation that has led to charges against several Abundant Life Academy staff members.

Direct indictments were made against four staff members, who are no longer employed as the school. The four appeared in Caroline Circuit Court on Thursday involving an alleged assault on a student on Feb. 14.

Jovany Rivera, 21, Timothy Jordan, 26, Liam Galligan, 44, and 49-year-old William Honea are each charged with assault and battery and assault by mob. The charges are misdemeanors. They are accused of committing a continuous assault on a student at Abundant Life.

An Aug. 6 trial has been set for the four in circuit court.

In a separate case, a fifth Abundant Life staff member was arrested in Caroline on Saturday for an assault that is believed to have occurred earlier this month.

Nathaniel Daniel, listed on the school’s website as a program director, is charged with sexual battery in Caroline Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. A tip to police led to that charge. No other details have been released in that case.

The Sheriff’s Office is also investigating a complaint about another incident believed to have occurred last fall, when about 15 students were “placed into a dangerous situation as a form of punishment,” according to the police report.

Abundant Life Academy is a therapeutic boarding school whose mission is to “equip students and families to live a life of love, acceptance and forgiveness through modeling and training of biblical principles, bridging the gap between parents and children,” according to its application to the county.

The Caroline County Board of Supervisors approved the school last July.

The board had twice denied the application in 2012 because of concerns, including security issues at the school.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419