Another former Freedom Village student alleges sexual abuse at Yates County campus

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle/April 4, 2020

By Gary Craig

Another former student of Freedom Village is accusing the fundamentalist Christian campus for troubled teens of sexual abuse during his stay.

The lawsuit was filed weeks ago in federal court in Rochester and amended in mid-March.

This is the third lawsuit filed since September from former students alleging they were sexually abused by staff members at the Yates County campus. The lawsuits name the school, which is now closed and defunct, and Freedom Village founder Fletcher Brothers as defendants.

In the latest, the accuser alleges he was abused by two campus workers between 1991 and 1994. (The Democrat and Chronicle does not identify plaintiffs in most sexual abuse cases without the plaintiff's permission.)

The lawsuit alleges that:

• When he enrolled, the teenager was asked by Brothers and staff members about his sexual history. "For example, Brothers bizarrely demanded to know whether Plaintiff had ever had sex with animals."

• The teenage boy was taunted by senior staff members who publicly said he was gay and "feminine."

• One staff member befriended teenage boys with special privileges, such as additional television viewing or music listening. He would then join them in their beds, or have them in his. Brothers was allegedly told of this, but nothing was done. The accuser alleges that this staff member repeatedly sexually abused him.

• The accuser was abused by another Freedom Village staff member, then went to the Freedom Village nurse and asked that he be tested for the AIDs virus. The nurse did not investigate the incident or test for the virus.

Pursued by creditors, Brothers last year sold the Seneca Lake property for $1.05 million to partially cover its costs. During its nearly 40 years of operation, Freedom Village had a long history of unpaid debts.

The operation is now defunct. Brothers has moved to Florida, and now is online with Fletcher Brothers Ministries. There, he raises money through a podcast — some, according to him, for children programs, and some for his ministry.

Shortly after the shutdown, Brothers raised money through a radio show — which he no longer has — for Hannah Grace Homes, a Christian organization that provides residential group homes for foster children. However, that relationship has also been terminated, according to Hannah Grace officials.


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