Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls on Arkansas Board of Corrections member to resign amid Lord’s Ranch lawsuit

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls on Arkansas Board of Corrections member to resign amid Lord’s Ranch lawsuit
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that she is calling for a member of the Arkansas Board of Corrections to resign amid his involvement in an ongoing lawsuit claiming sexual abuse at a children’s camp.

In a statement to KARK 4 News, Sanders called the allegations facing board member Alonza Jiles “concerning and a distraction from his work” and the work of the rest of the board.

“The accusations against Alonza Jiles are concerning and a distraction from his work and the work of the Board of Corrections,” Sanders told KARK 4 News reporter Samantha Boyd. “I am calling on Mr. Jiles to resign from his post and allow our state to fully focus on improving community safety and ending the revolving door in our prisons.”

Lawmaker calls for Arkansas Board of Corrections member’s resignation over Lord’s Ranch child sexual abuse lawsuit

The governor is joining a number of Arkansas lawmakers in calling for Jiles’ resignation as he faces a series of lawsuits tied to accusations of sexual assault by a staff member at The Lord’s Ranch, a religious camp in Pocahontas that claimed to offer help for troubled children.

Jiles, who served as a director at the camp, has been named in the suits, with plaintiffs accusing him of covering up the claims of abuse and allowing the abuse to continue.

Lawsuit filed against The Lord’s Ranch youth facility in central Arkansas, claiming staff member sexually abused its children

In addition to the call by Sanders for Jiles to resign, Arkansas Senate President Pro Tem Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs), Sen. Ben Gilmore (R-Crossett) and Attorney General Tim Griffin have all said Jiles should step down from the board.

The lawsuits against Jiles and the camp after the passage of a new law called the Justice for Vulnerable Victims Act, which allows child sexual abuse victims more time to file civil lawsuits.

Arkansas Senate president pro tem calls for resignation of board of corrections member accused in Lord’s Ranch suits

Jiles has filed a motion to dismiss the suits, saying the look-back period that’s been created under a new law allowing these civil suits to be filed is unconstitutional.

Thursday afternoon Jiles released a statement through the Arkansas Board of Corrections, again calling the allegations false while claiming that the calls for his resignation are an “attack on Amendment 33 of the Arkansas Constitution.”

“I have been asked repeatedly by the media and politicians to comment on the lawsuits involving the Lord’s Ranch in which I am named as a defendant. The allegations against me are false. I was not aware of, nor did I participate in any child abuse. I did not preside over a wedding of any minor at the Lord’s Ranch. I have kept silent about this on the advice of counsel and because these lawsuits are pending.

The efforts to force me to resign from the Board of Corrections because of these baseless allegations is yet another attack on Amendment 33 of the Arkansas Constitution and the shield it provides to constitutional boards against political pressure.

Any questions you may have should be directed to my attorney, J. Bequette, at 501-590-4500.”

Pastor Alonza Jiles

Recent amendment to Arkansas law extends period for child sexual abuse victims to sue; Victim calls it a sign of hope

Jiles was originally appointed to the corrections board by former Gov. Asa Hutchinson in 2022.

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