State Trying to See If Boarding School Was Operating Illegally
A Pomona boarding school that had been raided by the police amid allegations of child abuse and fraud was under investigation by the state for operating without a license, authorities said Thursday.
Montclair police removed 26 students from the Ministerial Christian Academy last week after former students and a former employee alleged that children were beaten, handcuffed to beds, locked into bathrooms and forced to lug large rocks across a field in 90-degree weather as punishment.
The operators of the military-style academy, Otis and Doris McIntyre, have not been arrested. Police are investigating allegations of child abuse, child endangerment and fraud. Families said they had paid as much as $14,000 annually for schooling and counseling of troubled children.
Robert Pate, regional manager of the state’s Community Care Licensing Division, said authorities would try to determine whether the academy was operating primarily as a residential group home. The agency has authority to assess civil penalties on unlicensed facilities and can seek an injunction to shut down such a facility. Pate said investigators want to talk to students, parents and the McIntyres. The McIntyres could not be reached for comment.
Officials in San Bernardino said the couple had been planning to open a group home for 13 students in what was described as a mansion-sized house in that city. Deputy City Atty. Jolena Grider said inspectors had determined that the home was unsafe for occupancy because of building, safety and fire code violations.
City planner Valerie Ross, meanwhile, said there was no evidence that the McIntyres had sought permits to operate a group home at the site.
Ross said the San Bernardino house, at 750 E. Arrowhead Road, is in a residential neighborhood not zoned for commercial use.