Central PA's LGBT News Source
The former head of a conversion therapy camp in Alabama who allegedly used a belt to beat the “the [gay] demon” out of boys who were sent there has been indicted by a grand jury for human trafficking through a new religious home he and his wife set up in Texas reports.
Gary Wiggins and his wife, Meaghan Wiggins, who ran the Joshua Home, an alleged “home for troubled boys” in Burnet County, Texas, are accused of trafficking underage boys and forcing them into labor services, according to Austin TV station KXAN.
A year ago, eight boys between the ages of 10 and 17 were removed from the home during a raid; the Wigginses had relocated their operation from Pineville, Mo., before authorities there could investigate similar charges. At the time of the raid in May of 2018, the boys made no accusations against the couple that warranted criminal charges. The Wigginses left the state and returned to Alabama until recently, when investigators tracked them down and returned them to Burnet County.
Before the Wigginses set up the home in Missouri, they ran the Blessed Hope Boys Academy in Robertsdale, Ala., where Wiggins was referred to as Brother Gary. The shuttered school was the subject of 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 tactics.
"He took off his belt and started swinging," Lucas Greenfield whose mother sent him to Blessed Hope because he is gay, told 20/20 in 2017.
“I'm going to get the demon out of you and make you straight,” Gary Wiggins told the boys he terrorized, Greenfield told police in 2016.
A former teacher at the camp backed up Greenfield’s allegations of Wiggins's attempts to de-gay the boys.
“During his preaching sometimes Brother Gary would say to the boys, ‘That’s just queer. What are you, queer? You a faggot, son?’” Rodney Pinkston told 20/20.
Gary and Meaghan Wiggins are each being held on $100,000 bond.