Lease terminated for Sask. private Christian school linked to abuse investigation

The rental contract for a private Christian school in Saskatoon is terminated due to the school’s connection to widespread abuse allegations.

Grace Christian School was renting space inside the Forest Grove Community Church. Forest Grove officials announced on the church’s website Monday that they were ending Grace Christian’s lease, effective September 1.

The provincial government announced last week that it was taking over operations at Grace Christian and two other schools. All three schools currently have staff accused of various abuses by more than 30 former students of Christian Center Academy, now called Legacy Christian Academy, in Saskatoon.

The third school affected is Regent Academy in Prince Albert.

Forest Grove Community Church officials declined a request for an interview, but emailed CBC News on Monday afternoon.

“We are sorry for the students and families who will be affected and have not made this decision lightly, but believe it is best for everyone involved,” the email said.

The first student to come forward, Caitlin Erickson, said it must have been a difficult decision for Forest Grove to evict its tenants and potentially lose significant income, but it was the right decision.

“I think that’s very commendable,” Erickson said. “I hope there are others who step forward after seeing Forest Grove do the right thing, and they will come forward and do the right thing as well.”

Caitlin Erickson has applauded the decision of a Saskatoon church to terminate the lease of one of three private Christian schools in Saskatchewan implicated in allegations of widespread abuse. Erickson, who attended Christian Center Academy, was the first alumnus to come forward. (Travis Reddaway/CBC)

Erickson and more than 30 other former students have filed criminal complaints, launched a class action lawsuit and spoken publicly in recent days. The allegations cover a wide range of abuse, including violent discipline, solitary confinement, sexual abuse, attempted exorcism of “gay demons” and forced political campaigning for some candidates.

A former Christian Center Academy youth pastor said in an interview with CBC News that the allegations were “100% true”.

Saskatoon police said they turned the case over to crown prosecutors in April for review of possible charges.

No one from Grace Christian School could be reached for comment on Monday afternoon.

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