Florida Wants Military|School Shut Down | Courthouse News Service
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Florida Wants Military|School Shut Down

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (CN) - Florida asked a state judge to close a military-style boarding school, claiming it's being run without a license and has been accused of child abuse at least 12 times in the past seven years.

The Florida Department of Children and Families sued Alan L. Weierman, Victory Forge Military Academy, Southeastern Military Academy, and Treasure Coast Victory Children's Home, in St. Lucie County Court.

The state claims Weierman has been operating Victory Forge Military Academy as a boarding school in Port St. Lucie since at least 2004.

Victory Forge, a year-round boarding school for "troubled" boys under 18, is registered as a private boarding school with the Florida Department of Education. The state says co-defendants Southeastern Military Academy and Treasure Coast Victory Children's Home are alter egos of Victory Forge.

The Department of Children and Families in June 2009 received a report of abuse and/or neglect of children residing at Victory Forge, according to the complaint.

The state says it has received and investigated nine abuse reports against Victory Forge and its staff from July 2006 through January 2010, some of which were made public and generated a public records lawsuit in 2008.

While investigating the 2009 allegations, the state says, it realized that Weierman and Victory Forge had no accreditation.

Though Weierman claimed he had applied for accreditation with the Florida Council of Independent Schools, the state says his school was not accredited by any agency, according to the complaint.

Weierman created a new boarding school in 2010, at the same place as Victory Forge, and called it Southeastern Military Academy. The state says the new school, an alter ego of Victory Forge, is not accredited and has no license either.

And, the state says, since Weierman has been operating Southeastern Academy, it has received three more complaints of child abuse against the school.

Investigations produced findings such as "asphyxiation of a child" and "bone fracture of a child," the state says.

An investigation looking into allegations of "leg restraints placed on a child and left on for one week, leaving marks on his legs," is pending, according to the complaint.

"The Department remains concerned about the treatment of children in this unlicensed facility, and the potential for irreparable injury or harm to children residing therein; that immediate, irreparable injury or harm may result to the children currently in the care of the respondent if injunctive relief is not timely granted," the complaint states.

The state wants Weierman enjoined from operating any boarding school without a license and without accreditation.

It is represented by DCF assistant regional counsel Laurel Hopper.

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