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Missouri Christian boys camp accused of covering up and ignoring sexual assault by residents

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A “ranch”-style Christian boys camp in Missouri has been accused of covering up a “pervasive culture of sexual assault” after ignoring claims of resident-on-resident rape.

As David McAfee at Patheos’ “The Friendly Atheist” wrote Tuesday, three former residents have filed lawsuits against Lives Under Construction, a religious camp for troubled boys about 60 miles south of Springfield, Missouri, that claim camp administrators “ignored abuse, then punished boys for reporting it.”

As the Springfield News-Leader reported, an employee was fired for creating a hotline that allowed residents to report abuse (a claim administrators deny) and the camp “viewed sexual abuse as consensual acts between residents.”

The News-Leader found in their investigation descriptions of the assaults, both internally within the residential facility and through court records. One record claims “several months passed before authorities were told that a 9-year-old boy was raped by his 19-year-old roommate.”

“According to reports written by investigators from the Missouri Department of Social Services,” the News-Leader‘s article continued, “staff members were aware of sexual contact between the two roommates but did not act, despite state law that requires child care workers to report possible instances of abuse.”

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Ranch founder Ken Ortman denied the claim in a statement to the Missouri newspaper.

“Some people will be able to differentiate truth from fiction, and some can’t,” Ortman said. “We invite anybody who wants to know (the truth) to eat with us, visit with us.”

This is not the first time LUC has been under public scrutiny. In 2013, the ranch was suspended for the fifth time in its history after two boys escaped from their facility and allegedly murdered a vacationing couple in nearby Stone County, Missouri. In 2016, one of the boys pleaded guilty to his part in the double homicide.

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2020 Election

Here’s how Trump hopes to recreate his 2016 presidential win — and how Democrats can send him packing

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Writing for CNN on Saturday, election forecaster Harry Enten explained how President Donald Trump's recent, racist behavior lies in his desire to recreate the same electoral conditions that gave him a victory in 2016 in the presidential election next year.

"The Trump strategy is pretty simple: 1. Drive up the unfavorable ratings of his Democratic rival as he did in 2016 in order to compensate for his own low ratings. 2. Bank on an electoral college/popular vote split as he did in 2016. 3. Use a campaign of racial resentment to drive up turnout even more among groups favorable toward the President," wrote Enten. As he noted, Democrats have excellent odds to flip back Michigan and Pennsylvania, but they will have to work harder to win back any of the other states Trump flipped from the 2012 Obama camp — in particular Wisconsin, which was the closest state after those two.

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American, Italian and Russian blast off for ISS

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US, Italian and Russian astronauts blasted into space Saturday, headed for the International Space Station, in a launch coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, NASA's Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency set off on a six-hour journey to the orbiting science lab from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1628 GMT.

A NASA TV commentator hailed a "textbook launch" minutes after blastoff in "sweltering" weather in Baikonur, where daytime temperatures reached 43 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

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Conservative suggests Trump’s racist rhetoric will incite worse than ‘send her back’ chants: ‘One shudders to wonder’

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In a column for the Washington Post, conservative Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Kathleen Parker said the refusal by Republican lawmakers and the evangelical community to condemn Donald Trump's racist rhetoric is paving the way for something far worse than mere "send her back" chants.

Under a headline that bluntly states, "Those who don’t condemn Trump’s racism are complicit in his bigotry," Parker gets right to her opinion of the president, writing, "Going out on a limb here: President Trump is a racist. And a sexist. And a xenophobic nationalist. Among other things. Not to name call or anything."

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