Group Home Owners Accused Of Forcing Residents To Sleep Outside, Write Bible Verses
A group home in the Adams district has been described as a house of horrors by city officials. The owners are accused of keeping residents in horrid conditions, as well as punishing them for not attending church.
The husband-and-wife owners of the Agape Mission House and Agape Home Church, Kang Won Lee and Jung Hwon Lee, have been accused in a lawsuit by City Attorney Mike Feuer of subjecting residents to cruel punishments for not attending religious meetings twice a day.
The punishments described by Feuer sound awful: residents who did not attend church were allegedly forced to copy Bible verses all day, sleep outside at night or stand against a tree for hours at a time, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The Lees don't have licenses to operate an establishment like Agape, the Times says.
In addition to the biblical punishments, Feuer and Asst. City Attorney Jose Egurbide claim that the residents were forced to live in "deplorable" conditions, including sleeping in bunk beds that only had paper-thin mattresses and having only one shower or toilet for the over 50 residents who lived in the two houses.
"The kind of conditions in which you or I would never want one of our loved ones to live in," Feuer told NBC 4. "And yet these are the conditions that we allege the people at this facility had been enduring for months and sometimes for years."
Despite the allegations from city officials, residents at Agape, many of whom were homeless, have sung the praises of the house and the Lees. Bertell Brinkley, who lived in the house for three months, had nothing by nice things to say about the place. "It's nice and very organized," Brinkley told the L.A. Times. "Some of the guidelines we have here can be compared to college guidelines, things that students have to do. It's just as organized."
Feuer issued a civil enforcement action, which does not equate to criminal charges, on Friday and ordered residents to vacate the house. Court-appointed managers will begin finding new places for them to live, NBC 4 reports.
LAist reached out to Agape, but they declined to comment on the allegations.