The school Clarence Thomas sent a child to has been accused of forcing students into hard labor.
A ProPublica report found that Harlan Crow footed the school’s $6,000-a-month bill for Thomas.
Thomas has been accused of judicial misconduct for not reporting gifts he received from Crow.
The same year Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sent a child in his care to a private boarding school that was reportedly paid for by GOP megadonor Harlan Crow, a parent testified that the academy used children for free labor and was “not safe.”
According to a new report from ProPublica, Thomas decided to send his teenage grandnephew, who he was raising “as a son,” to Georgia’s Hidden Lake Academy, a therapeutic school for troubled teens, for about a year in 2008. And Crow footed the $6,000-a-month bill, a former school administrator told ProPublica.
That same year, Hidden Lake Academy was named in a House Committee of Education and Labor hearing titled “Child Abuse and Deceptive Marketing by Residential Programs for Teens.”
In written testimony, a parent of a former student at the school said the academy’s “environment was not safe, nor was it nurturing.”
She wrote that the school was using children as free labor, saying the academy’s owner, Leonard Buccellato, “used the children as labor both at HLA, his private home, at his mother’s home and clearing land for new stables,” according to documents from the 2008 hearing.
The parent wrote that students were also told to climb “up and down a hill for hours at instructors pace,” carry “logs and boulders across a field for hours in all weather,” and forced to pick up “Goose feces with no gloves provided,” according to the hearing documents. These activities could go on “for as long as 8 hours,” the parent wrote.
The school shut down in 2011. It wrote on its now-defunct website that its services helped students “gain academic self-confidence” and “a positive self-image.” The school said its wooded campus offered students a “wide variety of campus recreational activities” like fishing and canoeing, and its facilities included “spacious bath facilities” and “beautiful lake views.”
Justice Thomas has been accused of judicial misconduct after a series of reports from ProPublica detailed his acceptance of unreported lavish gifts from Crow.
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