ALCORN COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - Former employees of Summits View Boys Ranch in Alcorn County raised alarm bells alleging abuse at the residential home for teenage boys. The attorney for the facility confirmed to WMC, Mississippi’s Child Protection Services was looking into the allegations.
“We told the authorities when I got out," said Eddie Tomlinson, a former employee at the ranch. "It took a little while because no one wanted to listen to us.”
Tomlinson worked at the Summits View Boys Ranch for about nine months before he says he quit his Vo-tech job there in March over what he called shaming and abuse at the ranch. His wife worked there too. She quit in May.
“I’ve seen kids handcuffed," said Tomlinson. "I’ve actually seen a kid handcuffed to a 30-foot ladder in the middle of the gym floor for running away.”
Tomlinson said one boy had a dirty mop used to clean a restroom put in his face.
The Summits View Boys Ranch was opened in rural Alcorn County, Mississippi in 2018. According to its website, Dr. David Lovely founded the faith-based residential therapy facility for boys 18 and under. It is a non-profit where parents pay for their sons to get treatment.
The facility came under scrutiny after 14-year-old Nathan Covarrubias walked away from the ranch on May 29. He was found nine days later dehydrated but alive.
A few days after Nathan walked away another boy left but was found several hours later.
Tony Farese, attorney for Summits View, confirmed the second boy’s leaving saying he attacked two boys and a teacher. Farese says he is now in a different facility.
Farese says the allegations against Lovely and abusive treatment at the facility are not true. He also said the accusations from Tomlinson are the words of a “disgruntled ex-employee who has been spreading false and malicious statements."
Tomlinson says the boys ranch was a good facility initially.
“It was a good place when that man’s son and daughter in law were there and some of the other people were there,” said Tomlinson.
Farese confirms several staff members and his family left but he says that was over an attempt by family members to take over the boys ranch.
Child Protection Services does not comment on whether it is or is not investigating a facility. Farese says Lovely has not received any notice about an investigation.