Lucas Greenfield, a gay teenager forced into a Christian conversion camp in Alabama by his mother, will be telling his story on ABC’s 20/20 at 10:00 P.M. on Friday, March 10.
Greenfield was held at the Restoration Youth Academy in Prichard, Alabama, where “students” are watched under a tight regime, according to a report by Anna Claire Vollers for Al.com. The academy was presented as a Christian boot camp school for troubled youth, where they lived full-time and remained closely monitored.
After he attempted an escape, another student told on Greenfield. As punishment, he was placed in isolation, which consisted of a tiny room with a single lightbulb. He wore only his underwear and was let out a handful of times a day to use the bathroom. He was able to occasionally shower, and he spent most of his time sleeping or sitting.
Greenfield spent two months in isolation. He was 14 years old.
“When you’re inside a tiny room where all you can see is four walls,” Greenfield told Vollers, “You start – I won’t say hallucinating, but you start going crazy.”
Greenfield confessed that he would often think of ways to kill himself.
It took five years to shut down the Restoration Youth Academy, in spite of abuse claims from students. Owner Pastor John David Young, instructor William Knott and school counselor Aleshia Moffett were all arrested on multiple counts of aggravated child abuse, according to Vollers’ report.
20/20 will attempt to track down Greenfield’s abusers and to expose the truth of the former school’s practices as well as the harms of conversion therapy, which is slowly but surely being made illegal nationwide.
The episode comes at a pivotal time in the heated debate of LGBT rights, particularly when it comes to youth in schools and the views of VP Mike Pence.
Greenfield will tell his disturbing story on 20/20 tonight at 10:00 P.M.
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