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.”