Type to search

#ChurchToo Uncategorized

Children’s Minister Arrested for 215 Counts of Child Porn Linked to Agape Boarding School

Avatar photo

Last month, in Rainsville, Ala., police arrested a former children’s minister for 215 counts of possession of child pornography. Police discovered that Steve Robert Wukmer, 66, worked for at least four different boarding schools in four states. One of the schools included the controversial Agape Boarding School for boys.

Steve Robert Wukmer, 66, of Rainsville, Ala. / Rainsville Police Department

The investigation of Wukmer began after the Rainsville Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division followed up on a tip. Police arrested him at his job in Fort Payne, Ala., after the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office discovered child pornography on electronic devices seized in a search of Wukmer’s home.

Wukmer had been a former children’s minister in Ohio before moving to Alabama. He moved to Ohio after working for the Missouri-based Agape Boarding School.

Agape has been the center of its own scandal over allegations of child abuse. A petition with over 4,000 signatures has sought to shut down the school. In September, the State Attorney General and the Department of Social Services filed an injunction against it.

Amanda Householder, the estranged daughter of Circle of Hope owners Boyd and Stephanie Householder, told the Kansas City Star she grew up calling Wukmer “uncle.” Circle of Hope, an Agape-related boarding school for girls, abruptly shut down in 2020 after child abuse allegations. Amanda said Wukmer worked at a boarding school in Florida with her parents before they moved to Missouri to work for Agape. Wukmer followed them and joined the Agape staff.

Access to MinistryWatch content is free.  However, we hope you will support our work with your prayers and financial gifts.  To make a donation, click here.

Former student Colton Schrag verified Wukmer was a full-time staff member while he attended Agape. Schrag said Wukmer was “pretty friendly to boys at Agape. He was over the 14 and younger boys in school.” Schrag said Wukmer treated them better than most staff, which made sense to him after seeing the charges.

In a statement to the Star, Agape attorney John Schultz confirmed Wukmer and his wife worked at Agape in 2005-2006, saying, “Wukmer worked mainly in the classroom at Agape, where many other staff were present at all times. Agape is not aware of any complaints made about Mr. Wukmer during the time he worked at Agape.”

Over the last two years, abuse allegations have consumed Agape Boarding School from former and current students. Five employees currently face court hearings for physically assaulting students. In addition, David Smock, a Stockton doctor and Agape’s school physician, was charged last year with over a dozen child sex crimes.

Wukmer remains at Dekalb County Jail on a nearly $6.5 million bond.

Tags:
Avatar photo
Jessica Eturralde

Jessica Eturralde is a military wife of 18 years and mother of three who serves as a freelance writer, TV host, and filmmaker. Bylines include Yahoo, Huffington Post, OC16TV.

    1