Abuse and Cover up at New Bethany Homes in Louisiana and S. Carolina
For nearly two decades, abuse survivors from New Bethany Home for Girls in Arcadia, La and New Bethany Home for Boys in Walterboro, S. Carolina, have been trying to get Law Enforcement to arrest Mack Ford, his wife, and other staff members of New Bethany Home for Girls and Boys for rape, torture and abuse. To date, he has not been arrested by law enforcement and Mack Ford is still a free man. The atrocities cited from these victims of Abuse will be published individually. Their desire is that JUSTICE be served to a rapist, pedophile, torturer, abuser and his accomplices. Each story will be linked to the other stories of survivors as they are published. All names of supporters of this work will also be published as they supported a work that enabled this abuser to hurt countless numbers of children. It’s time for a pedophile, serial rapist and abuser and those that helped him to do so, to be held accountable for their crimes.
I grew up in the Indiana Cornfields. My mother divorced her second husband when I was 10. Now that the bad man was gone, I didn’t have to worry about getting beat with his belt anymore. When I was little, he would come into my room with a belt to check to see if my room was clean. I would hang onto my mommy’s leg. His oldest boy would get in trouble and then point his finger at me. This is when I found out what happens to Liars. We would have to drop our pants and lay across the bunk bed where he would slap that belt on my little butt. Then he would ask who did what and the boy would point his finger at me and we would get more slaps with the belt. He would even get caught lying but there was no, “I’m sorry Kim”.
I lived in a small town where everyone knew everybody. I was free now to look at life without fear. I had the best little old ladies for neighbors and I would walk them to church. I loved to hear about Jesus and loved to memorize John 3:16. They took me under their wings. I watched one guy mow their yards and he cut it to short and it burned the grass. I was determined to push that lawnmower myself. My little old ladies had flowers all around their houses and I just loved to help them.
By the age of twelve, I finally could push the lawnmower. My mother told me that as long as I took care of our yard that I could mow theirs. I made $4.00 a yard and $7.00 for the biggest yard. I had all the cookies and pies I could handle. Plus I had more yards to do because I did a good job. I played in the boys little league. But they got to where they didn’t want a girl on their team anymore. I tried to join the Cub Scouts but the ninety year old Scout Master wouldn’t let me. So I had to go to girls sports. I picked volleyball, basketball, track and finally softball. I got to go play in a lot of cool schools with cool gymnasiums. Basketball was my way of escaping my mother and my half sister. If I was home I had to babysit and clean house. So I kept myself as busy as possible. Ninth grade was the greatest. I was always running up and down the court or running somewhere. I wasn’t one to sit down or give up. I spent weekends at my Dad’s in Southern Indiana. He was a Horse nut. We hardly ever spoke. I was on a horse all weekend at Spring Mill State Park. We would take people out on the trails. There were two trails a short one and a long one. Either my Dad led and I followed up from behind or, sometimes I got to lead. I loved my time on the trails. I never thought my time on horses would come to an end. I loved it.
Well. our trailer caught fire in my 10th grade year and that made it tough. I stayed with my best friend Jodi until school was out. My mother decided to marry this guy she was seeing. I wasn’t happy about that at all. He made sure to tell me that this was his house. I found out real quick when I got there his yard was so thick and tall. He made me mow it with a bagger, and I got nothing for the work. I found myself as their slave and babysitter. I started out by sleeping on the floor and his dog would come over to my pillow and start humping it with nasty stuff all over my pillow. I was made to let that dog sleep in my new room. I hated that dog. The day before they were to get married I got caught stealing 45 records at Target. It sure wasn’t my little town anymore. I found myself in trouble.
I spent some time at a juvenile detention center. I tried playing basketball with the black girls but they didn’t know what foul meant. So I sat out. I met this one tall girl named Laura. She mentioned that she was getting sent somewhere and I didn’t think anything more about it. I had learned my lesson on stealing.
My grades weren’t the greatest as this school was more advanced. I made the basketball team, but had to sit out because of my grades. I was bored and I started smoking cigarettes at a young age. I figured out later that my mother’s second husband smoked and that I was already addicted to cigarettes. So I would spend time in the school bathroom smoking. I still hadn’t been given a key to the front door. It was a key on both sides. I was told by my mother’s new husband that I was to lock the door every time I came in. Well I didn’t have a key so I left my window unlocked. After getting off the bus I said goodbye to the neighbor kids and climbed in my window. I got in and then I realized that I didn’t have a key and how was I going to explain how I got in. So I climbed back out the window and went next door and stayed there until my mother came home. Well she went to another neighbor’s house and the kid told her that I had climbed in the window. She finally found me and then started accusing me of sneaking out. She put a lock on my window. Eventually, they gave me a key to the front door.
I had a green Cutlass Supreme that I didn’t get to drive much in the snow. One day, I came out of the bathroom from smoking a cigarette and there were the two basketball coaches. One’s name was Ms. Pickle. (She pronounced it differently). We always laughed at her name. Anyway they asked me if I wanted to get back on the team. I said, “yes of course!” Boy, I was so excited. We were going to play a team from my other school. My mother had told me that her and her husband might go on strike and if that happened, I would only get $10.00 a week allowance instead of $20.00. Well, I came home all excited. My mother was at the kitchen sink when I told her I got back on the team and that there was a game that night. “Can I have the car to go?” She said, “You won’t get very far on $10.00.” My heart just sank and I can’t remember if I went to the game or not.
A few nights later, I was making a grilled cheese sandwich with wheat bread. I didn’t like wheat bread but, I thought I would give it a try. Well, my Mother’s husband saw what I was using and started yelling at me because I was eating his bread. My mother was standing right by me and I was waiting for her help. He threw the bread at me and hit the cabinet above my head; and guess what? I forgot to lock the front door. My Mother’s husband was way out of control and I waited for my mother to help me. She told me to go lock the door and I did. I can’t remember eating the grilled cheese. I got to thinking about my mother going on strike. I thought that since she wasn’t going to be working so much that she could do more around the house. So I decided to go on strike. I mean really for $10.00 she could do it herself. What could she do to me right. Well two weeks went by and she sat me down at the kitchen table with a calendar that had X’s on the days I hadn’t done anything. I sat there and didn’t care if I did anything anymore. She started sending me to the psychiatrist that she sent me to when I was little. He was a really nice guy and he had a memory game that I loved to play and little did I realize that my mother went in after me. One day when I was about 5 they sent me to him trying to get me to let my mother’s second husband adopt me but I had to sign a piece of paper. I was scared because I know he was a drunk and mean. They handed me a pen. I still can remember the thought of losing my daddy and having him as my daddy. I didn’t sign it.
So here I am sixteen, I am sitting on his couch telling him that he needed to find me another place to live because I couldn’t take much more. I was now too far away from my dad. My mother made it rough on me because not many liked her. I know she was a bitch with a capital B. One day she tells me that she and her husband were going to go on a honey moon. So she made me pick out a trunk for her trip. Other things happened and I was just thru with her. There was a blizzard coming so they let us leave early on the bus. I got to the driveway and this sister of my mother’s husband came out, she saw me and started hurrying herself to her car.
Then I saw the suitcases at the front door. I thought well they are leaving. I came in the house to everyone’s surprise. My mother was home awful early. I sat down on the couch. She was sitting in the chair and she put the paper up so I couldn’t see her. Then she said “Kim you are going to a girls school for a year. I got up off the couch and went to my room. I closed the door and didn’t know what to do because there was a lock on my window. I heard them coming for me so I put my foot at the bottom of the door. He started hitting the door really hard until it finally hit me in the head and knocked me to the ground. I found myself on my knees with my hands behind my back. My mother put the phone to my ear. It was the game guy.
He said Kim You have two choices, You can go to girls school which you are not a criminal, You could go to a psychiatric ward which you are not crazy or you could go where they were going to send me. I was then forced to take a pill. They drugged me all the way. I managed to not swallow one and hide it in my cheek. I put it in the ashtray on the back of the seat. I wanted to know what was happening.
Well we get off the interstate and my mother takes me into the bathroom where she puts this dress on. I was horrified at what I was watching. When I got back in the car I dug that pill out and took it.
New Bethany Home for Girls Staff from Left to Right: Bobby Barnes, David Garris, Mack Ford, Mrs. Garris, Thelma Ford, Clarie Shipman, Mr. and Mrs. Larry Roebuck
When we pulled up to the gate it was opened and my mother and her 3rd husband got out of the car. I really don’t remember the walk in the door. The next thing I remember, I was taken to the bathroom to change into this uniform. That is when I realized my mother tricking me to get measurements at some ladies house. The girl that was with me was taller than me. I was taking stuff out of my wallet when I realized I had a letter from Johnny telling about being a divorced kid was so terrible that he felt so alone. I started to rip it into smaller pieces when this girl says you can’t put stuff in the toilet and she picked it all out piece by piece. I got the uniform on. I don’t remember what happened next exactly. I was taken over to get lunch. I was shown how to get my tray and then I heard someone say I know that chick I know that chick. It was that tall girl from the detention center. She was hushed up because if the staff knew, we would not be able to talk. At that very moment, I now knew where she got sent to.
The pill I had taken just before I got there was still working as I wasn’t scared yet, I don’t remember eating. I remember being taken back to the home when I saw this girl walking towards me. She said it will get much better in time. I just looked at her like she knew what I was thinking. Well, I went in the front door and took a right at the center and was lead to where I would sleep. I was faced with bunk beds and at the foot of the bed was that trunk I picked out for my mother’s honeymoon. I knelt down and opened the locks. I lifted the lid and there were two sheets of paper. It was what my mother had now reduced me to and in her handwriting. I was crushed. I knew she was gone, so I wasn’t going to stick around. I stood up and walked right out the front door. There was a girl sitting at the front door and I went right past her. The next thing I know I was surrounded by about five girls. The tall girl got me from behind and I threw her off. They immediately stopped and all looked at me. I was terrified, but I wasn’t going to show it. All at once they all rushed at me and knocked my head against the block cement wall. I have a hard time dealing with what happened next. I was put on the couch just inside the front door. I was being pushed down and then made to stand. I was crying about as hard as anyone could cry. Crying hard would be putting it lightly. They were completely surrounding me. Then, they took me and carried me down the hallway and back to that room. I was still screaming and kicking. There was a girl getting something out of the closet. She had to get in the closet because there was no passing room. I was brought into the room and laid flat on the floor. I went to get back up and they all jumped on me again. This woman with long white hair started loudly praying; screaming she was “praying the devil out of me”. I started yelling, “Oh My God, why did she send me here.” I was crying so hard that I couldn’t see the girl’s face that was sitting on me. I started yelling for them to get off of me. I had a girl sitting on my feet, one on each arm and one sitting on my chest. I was so strong that it took a long time for me to wear myself out. I wasn’t one to cuss; my bad word at that time in my life was “man.” I started using words like “bitch,” and so forth. All of the things that I had put back all those years of not protecting me were coming out. Finally, I started banging my head on the floor. Another girl got scared and put her hand to catch my head which ended up smashing her fingers. The woman with white hair stated “She’ll quit when it starts hurting.” But, I just couldn’t stop crying. I was finally let up and put on a bottom bunk to rest. By then, it was supper time. I don’t remember eating but I was given a chance to shoot hoops and was told very firmly that I had best accept where I was going to spend my next year.
Once I got back to the room again, the biggest girl decided that she didn’t want to be my “watcher” as she was a senior. So, the girl who got her fingers smashed became my watcher. She watched me for a month and then she was going home. She taught me how to survive at New Bethany. When she was fixing to go home she made me make her a promise which I had no problem doing because she had spent her last month teaching me how to stay alive in such a hard and difficult place as New Bethany. She made me promise to not bite my fingernails for a month that she would be back in that time. I was a serious nail biter. Well the month went by and I hadn’t bit my fingernails, not once and that was huge success for me. She didn’t come back but I had fingernails and I still do to this day.
My Bible 1982
Amongst the list of items in my trunk was a NKJV Bible. I was told that it was not a NKJV. I didn’t know the difference. I was given a cheap KJV Bible. I was making friends and I would have them sign my Bible like a yearbook. One night in church my friend, Robin started crying and saying that I need to get saved that I was going to Hell. I didn’t know what she was talking about. I wasn’t about to walk down that Isle to the Alter without knowing. It wasn’t long that a lady by the name of Mrs. Jewell gave me a Heart for Valentine’s Day. If I needed to talk to someone she was there for me. It was a couple of nights later when Robin and I were walking back to the home, with the other girls, when I started asking questions about getting saved. Mrs. Jewel started talking to me as the others were going into the home – all three of us knelt down in the gravel at the front door. Mrs. Jewell led me to the Lord.
One night coming back from church we were all told to leave our Bibles at the front door for a Bible check. The next day I found mine rather easily because I had written “Indiana” on it. I opened it up and was shocked to see that someone had taken black and blue marker pens to my friend’s entries; saying that I had defaced “The Word of God.” It was then and there that I realized that New Bethany didn’t care about us, only that they have total control over everything that we do.
I know I had asked, or at least invited, the Lord into my heart. But they continually (everyday) told us that we were worthless and that we were going to Hell. They would have us sing sad songs about our mommies and daddies if they could have; insinuating to us that if we didn’t change that our families were also going to go to Hell as well.
FOR CHRISTMAS I WAS GIVEN A BRAND NEW SCOFIELD REFERENCE BIBLE. SO, I SET OUT TO GET AS MANY PREACHERS TO SIGN MY BIBLE AS I COULD AND I STARTED WITH MACK FORD. BECAUSE, ONE DAY I WANTED PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT THESE PEOPLE WERE DESTROYING CHILDREN’S LIVES.
Busted To Trusted
One day after my watcher left, I was called to Ms. Nora’s room. I was scared to go there. She was very scary and big. I was asked to come into her room for a talk. She asked me what I liked to do and why was I there. I told her that I had my own lawn business when I was twelve. I grew up around horses. That I had gotten myself into every sport I could get myself into. The reason I was there was to get out of my mom’s third marriage. So I became more trusted and was given chores outside to feed and take care of Sheila’s horse. I was given a lawnmower where I mowed the back side of the home. One day someone came up to the outside of the fence and wanted to take my picture, I agreed. Little did I realize that this picture would end up being my Junior/Senior High School year book picture? All of my dreams of sports achievements were over that I had to some way learn to survive and stay alive.
Knock; Knock on Big Mack’s Door
For so many years I have been haunted by faces and, running in place. I have been able to put names to faces. We would line up going wherever – mostly church. There would be girls getting in line. They would say, “Here we go again, “Brainwashing Time. This place is a cult.” I would stand there hearing this not really knowing what exactly brainwashing was. What is a cult? I had an idea but, you didn’t dare say something like that because you would be a target of abuse. We would all get to our seats so we could watch the next man yell, “You are going to Hell! You deserve to be punished. It’s your entire fault that you are here!” There were girls who would not listen to them and would have to fold their arms and legs readying themselves for the attacks that were about to come. The preacher would start with open your Bibles. They would start with taking their handkerchief out of their pocket and place it on the pulpit. Then they would take their jackets off, then they would role their shirt sleeves up and then their faces would start to get red and then they were sweating really badly. The girls would have to just sit there while these men would get in their faces telling them they were going to Hell. There are several girls that I can now name. These girls were tough. They never backed down. The men would not stop no matter what night it was. Over and over we were told how bad we were, that we deserve it – meaning getting sent off. We would have to sing songs about our family circle, making you cry because you missed your mommy and daddy. How that, if you didn’t change, your family would go to Hell.
Well, it got real bad because girls were running all the time. Seems like day in and day out, night and night. You didn’t dare go near Ms. Nora’s room unless you had to because the girls that would run would be caught and brought back and beat and then they would have to run in place for long periods of time. I know I saw a paddle once that was made of thick Plexiglas with perfect holes drilled into it. I have never been able to get these girls faces out of my nightmares. So now I will mention names.
New Bethany History for getting it on a daily basis was Angie. She was always quiet but she ran and was caught. She was put in front of Ms. Nora’s room where she had to run in place for hours. If someone stopped they would be paddled again. I can say they all had that same look. It was a very sickening site to see and nothing you could do mattered. Shelly she really got it in church. They just loved to attack her. Well, she ran because she also had to run in place.
Amber was tiny and she had to run in place. Well, the worst one was Sheila. She was a big girl always in trouble. It got so bad they locked her in a room for days. Then she disappeared. Nancy was a really nice girl and had a lot of friends. She got a beating from Mack Ford and she disappeared. Later, he was preaching and he mentioned Nancy referring her to the Dark Side of the Moon. So many beatings…so what could stop this madness? The preachers continually called us liars, thieves and drug addicts.
Timothy Johnson had full knowledge of a rape and other abuses that took place by his Father-in-law. There was a recording of the rape by Nora Carter, if I remember correctly. Tim removed the girl from the home, but never took her to the police, nor made sure the police had the recording. To my best recollection, I believe the recording was given to Thelma Ford and eventually, disappeared. Recently, Timothy Johnson has denied knowing anything about abuse at New Bethany Home for Girls and is denying even knowing about a place called New Bethany. Currently, he is being considered for President of Louisiana Baptist College. WELL, let’s look at some EVIDENCE of his involvement with the Home since he denies any abuses took place and seems to have forgotten it ever existed.
He was on the BOARD OF ADVISORS for New Bethany Home for Girls.
He helped in closing the home after the rape occurred and “promised” that it would never be allowed to open again. The closure was because, “Having lost state and federal cases with no further recourse available it has become necessary to seek other options for holdings.” However, it did open again, and he did NOTHING to stop it. This led to more abuse of children.
Click HERE to see another story on Timothy Johnson regarding this document.
Click the following link to read a copy of the responses to the story on ChucklesTravels.com. – Comment Thread Chucklestravels. (You may also click the previous link and scroll down to these comments on the actual website.)
This place preyed on CHILDREN. It took away our honor and dignity and destroyed our hearts and minds and bodies!
As a result, I am breaking my silence. I will be a voice screaming the atrocities endured at their hands. I will be a voice that screams the “SILENCE” of others toward those same atrocities. I was young and scared then. But today, I am no longer afraid of you. I am no longer hiding and running from you. I am not a liar, druggy, whore and slut like you would tell the world I was. Me and the other abused girls are taking our stories to the world; screaming them to all who will give ear.
I got out of New Bethany Feb 4, 1983. It was a month and a half before my eighteenth birthday.
As a survivor of this home I cannot emphasize enough the magnitude of the abuses I and other girls endured. Recently, we came together to tell our stories in a book that we are offering for FREE to everyone who will read it. Our desire is to make the public and lawmakers aware of institutional abuse of children. The horrors we have lived are real. They have changed us forever. We have carried the memories and the scars our whole lives. It has affected every aspect of our lives and it’s time to break the silence and show the world how serial rapists got away with their crimes against children and the Law did nothing to stop them. Mack Ford is still a free man today.