New Bethany Home For Girls: Hell on Earth
Last week (3/27/14), a couple of friends posted a link on their Facebook page to a multi-part series of an article published by The Times-Picayune about some former residents of New Bethany Home for Girls filing charges against the minister who ran the place. I sat in shock as I read what they endured while they were there. My interest in this hellhole spilled over into searching the internet for more information. Story after story of physical abuse, sexual abuse and brainwashing by this horrible man, Mack Ford, and his staff left wounds so deep in these people’s lives.
New Bethany, in my eyes, was nothing but a way for Mack Ford to make money and hide behind “religion” to satisfy his sick pedophile fantasies. I put religion in quotes because it is man-made and it kills everything. As a child I was disciplined with a belt if I did anything wrong. I was never whipped or paddled to have my will broke. Apparently Mack Ford saw those forms of discipline in a different way along with the physical abuse inflicted upon the children. In my opinion, beating the crap out of someone because they won’t tell you their name, crying because they were dropped off without any explanation, refuse to eat, or have their will broke is sadistic.
Mack Ford is no man of God!! A man of God wouldn’t stand in the pulpit and call young teen girls derogatory names or constantly tell them they are going to Hell. A man of God wouldn’t force teen girls to perform sexual acts on him. I could go on, but we are all humans and fall short every day. However, that is no excuse for what this sick pedophile and his minions did. Mack Ford knew what he was doing was completely wrong. That is why he would send some of the girls to other places when Child Protection came to investigate allegations of child abuse. There were girls selected and coached what to say to the social worker when they were interviewed. Without him having a license through the state of Louisiana, there was no way they could come in and shut him down. Eventually the school closed indefinitely in 2004.
The thought of not seeing my parents for a long time, having my letters screened, and five minute phone calls each month monitored sends chills down my spine. This place made the parents sign over their rights to them for a year. What the hell!! As a parent myself and having gone through an expensive custody battle, I would never be able to sign my rights over to someone else. There were no medical treatments administered or dental exams done while the girls were there. Prisoners in Angola State Penitentiary probably got better treatment. There is no comparison, but this reminds me of a story I watched about Pennhurst Asylum in Spring City, PA. When that place was opened, it became crowded quickly in a short time. Children there were mistreated and abused, as well as the adult patients. The animals at the zoo got better treatment than the residents there at Pennhurst.
I lived in North Louisiana until I was 12 and then moved to the southern part of the state. Within the 20 years my parents lived in Shreveport, they had never heard of New Bethany Home for Girls. They never heard about it until I told them last week what I read and found out. I was a handful when I was a teenager, but my parents did what they could to help me. My problems were more emotional due to sexual abuse I suffered by a neighbor my parents trusted and adoption issues. I grew in a Baptist home, but it was Southern Baptist, not Independent Fundamental Baptist. That may be the reason they had never heard of that home of Hell. My parents put up with a lot from my brother and me, but I don’t think they would have ever sent us away.
Something must be done to bring Mack Ford to justice. So what if he is 80 something years old, he needs to pay for what he did. He needs to answer to his sins and stop casting blame on others for what happened. The Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office needs to take action. Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office needs to be flooded with calls to get something done. There are mounds of legal documents with statements of what happened and took place at New Bethany. The survivors deserve justice and I pray they get that. If it doesn’t happen here on Earth, then it will happen when Mack Ford meets his Maker.
JUSTICE FOR NEW BETHANY SURVIVORS!