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Founder of closed W.Va. boarding school arrested

Aug. 23, 2014 @ 10:06 AM

CHARLESTON — The founder of a now-closed boarding school in Harrison County was arrested Friday following an investigation into the alleged abuse of students, a prosecutor said.

Susan Gayle Clark of Pennsboro, founder of the Miracle Meadows School in Salem, was charged with child neglect resulting in injury, failing to report incidents and obstructing a law enforcement officer during an investigation, Harrison County Prosecutor Joseph Shaffer wrote in a criminal complaint.

The complaint says Clark knew about the alleged mistreatment of students by a teacher on three occasions since November. Police say teacher Timothy Arrington had choked and handcuffed a male student, left another in handcuffs overnight, and locked a third in a room and forced him to strip to his underwear.

Arrington was charged Friday with three counts of child abuse creating risk of serious injury. Last week he was arraigned on a felony charge of child abuse by a guardian and the state Department of Health and Human Resources removed 19 students from the school.

An attorney for Clark and Arrington did not immediately respond to an after-hours telephone message left at his office Friday.

The school had its state-recognized education status revoked on Wednesday. Before it was shut down, the school’s website said it was open to boys and girls ages 6 to 18 who “are experiencing difficulty relating in a positive way to family, school, church or community.”

Harrison County Sheriff’s Sgt. Rob Waybright said he went to Miracle Meadows on Tuesday to search for students who had previously been removed from the school and that Clark denied any of the children were there. Two students were later found with Clark’s husband while six others were located at a Seventh-Day Adventist church near their farm, the complaint said. The school was affiliated with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.