Homeschool Leader Rick Boyer, Sr. Accused of Sexual Harassment, Grooming
By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator
Rick Boyer, Sr. serves on the Board of Directors of the Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) and was a recent partner with HSLDA for HEAV’s Leadership Conference. Last year he made news for his statement that, “‘Abuse’ is the new ‘racism.’ As soon as you’re accused of it, you’re considered guilty.” This came in the context of Boyer publicly defending Josh Duggar, the oldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, after it came to light that Josh had engaged in child sexual abuse. Boyer has also defended Bill Gothard, the creator of the homeschool program ATI that the Duggars use and someone also accused by over 30 women of sexual abuse and harassment.
Today Ashley Easter, a homeschool alumna and writer, came forward with allegations against Boyer. Easter alleges that Boyer began pursuing and grooming her when she was only seventeen years old. She writes, “I was seventeen when Rick Boyer Sr. (author, speaker and founder of The Learning Parent (now Character Concepts)) first took an interest in me. I was lonely and insecure, looking for affirmation and a place to fit in the world. He was like a father figure to me.” When Boyer encouraged her to write a book, Easter says she “felt honored that such a big name homeschool leader would believe in me.”
Easter alleges that, as time went by, Boyer’s grooming escalated. She claims that he began calling her pet names, touching her, giving her full-body-contact hugs, and eventually kissing her and forcing her to kiss him. These are all classic grooming techniques of sexual abusers.
Easter says she is speaking up now because of the strong influence Boyer has in the Christian homeschooling world:
My concern is that Rick Boyer Sr. isn’t just some random guy from my former church. He is a public speaker, author, and leader in the homeschooling movement. He personally knows and has been a vocal supporter of many other leaders like the Duggar family, Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard. But he is known as “Uncle Rick” in our circles, the guy whom little children look forward to meeting in costume, and who encourages children to sit on his lap as he reads stories to them at homeschooling events. He is also on the board for HEAV (Home Educators Association of Virginia) and was involved with HSLDA’s (The Home School Legal Defense Association) National Christian Homeschool Leadership Conference. He is also a reserve deputy sheriff in Virginia.
Last year Boyer wrote the following about Bill Gothard: “[Gothard] was ACTUALLY found to be guilty of was touching some girls’ hands, hair and feet. He was honest enough to admit that these things were inappropriate and resign.” Despite being accused of the same actions and more, Boyer himself has yet to resign from the Home Educators Association of Virginia. His name continues to be listed on HEAV’s website as a member of their Board of Directors (image archived here).
UPDATE, Friday, April 15, 11:25 am Pacific:
Anne Miller, President and Executive Director of HEAV, gave the following statement to HA: “I was completely unaware of any allegations against Rick Boyer. Our board will certainly be looking into these allegations.”
Aside from the obvious disgust that news like this brings, I want to congratulate you, R.L. Stollar, for the excellent journalism, and for being so on top of things. Thank you for sharing this breaking news with us. Your work is appreciated.
“All these Pedos said one to another,
‘Pedo unto Pedo o’er the world is Brother’…”
— paraphrase/filk of Chesterton’s “Ballad of the Battle of Gibeon”
Kudos for breaking this to the board and I hope to read more about their follow-up on this. Side question: As much as I hate what went on with Josh Duggar and his family’s cover-up and dismissal of his actions, is it accurate to say he was “engaged in child sexual abuse and incest” ? Sexual abuse yes, but incest? Unless there is more to the story than I have read, I don’t think this is a fair statement.
Good question and thanks for pointing that out. That was just sloppy writing; I should have written it as an adjective. I just took it out. Thanks for the pushback.
Way back in the 1990s when I was in education school, I had to write two research papers on an education-related topic– a “for” paper and an “against” paper. The subject I chose was homeschooling, which was just starting to gain mainstream media attention at that time. I went to the local Christian bookstore in search of material and ended up buying one of Rick Boyer’s books. I guess you can say he was my introduction to the world of fundamentalist Christian homeschooling. I don’t recall seeing the word Quiverfull in the book, but it was the first I’d heard of that movement as well. Over the years, I have occasionally looked at the Boyers’ website, mostly because I wondered whatever happened to all those kids. I also happened to see Boyer’s comments about Josh Duggar. Sadly, I was not surprised that he defended Josh.
I read Ashley’s blog post…Ashley- I am so sorry for what you’ve gone through at the hands of someone who is supposed to be a “respected” christian leader…You are very, very brave for exposing it and I applaud you. Don’t ever for a minute think any of it was your fault. That is victim blaming….I am so glad you found happiness with a kind man and that he believed you.
I have a feeling there are going to be more and more revelations about men like this in high places….
This man’s dead soul chilled me to the bone when in a Q&A session during his homeschool conference workshop on “biblical discipline of children” in the late 90s, in response to the question “How much [corporeal punishment] is too much”, he casually replied, “If you strike the face or actually cause a physical injury, you’re going too far, but if your beating with the rod doesn’t leave weals, you’re not getting the job done”! He was also painstakingly specific about what constituted an appropriate “rod.” I left that workshop physically sick to my stomach! Needless to say, my husband and I took none of his advice about corporeal punishment in the raising of our children because we recognized its complete perversion of the intent of the Scriptures. My son is now a straight A college student and a firefighter, and we have always had an excellent relationship with him. He never rebelled as a teenager and his teachers and school staff have often gone out of their way throughout the years to comment to us on what an extraordinarily kind and respectful student our son is to adults and fellow students alike. My children, both still teenagers, except for their early elementary years, have gone to public schools. They are both believers and we enjoy warm, respectful trustful relationships with both of them. I hope this sick, twisted man ends up in prison where he belongs! May the Lord have mercy on his children and all who have had the misfortune to come under the evil influence of his abuse and false teaching.
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