NBC – KX0N News affiliate reports:
More than a year after boys were removed from a nonprofit in Burnet County, the couple who ran it are facing trafficking charges. A grand jury indicted Gary Wiggins, 49, and his wife Meghann Wiggins, 34, on Trafficking of Persons charges.
They are both accused of “knowingly” trafficking four underage boys and “through force, fraud or coercion” making them “engage in forced labor or services.” The two ran Joshua Home, which officials described as a place that “purports to be a residential home for troubled boys.”
According to the indictment, the trafficking allegedly occurred between May 17, 2018 and July 25, 2018. Eight boys between the ages of 10 and 17 were removed after a multi-agency investigation into allegations of abuse, neglect, labor violations, fraud, licensing violations and human trafficking.
The couple had previously run the Blessed Hope Boys Academy in Robertsdale, Ala., in 2016 which was closed after a 20/20 investigation in which boys who’d been sent there spoke out against the abuse that included forced exercise, solitary confinement, withholding food, and various conversion therapy torture tactics.
One boy Lucas Greenfield who was sent there for being gay told 20/20 Lucas Greenfield whose mother sent him to Blessed Hope because he is gay, told 20/20 that Gary Wiggins regularly beat they boys. “He took off his belt and started swinging,” and told them: “I’m going to get the demon out of you and make you straight.”
The Wiggins’ remain in custody at the Burnet County Jail. They are both being held on $100,000 bond.