ONEONTA, Ala. (AP) - Eleven boys who had been removed from the
Reclamation Ranch in Empire have been returned to their parents and
guardians while claims of abuse are investigated.

The boys, all younger than 18, were the subject of a hearing before Circuit Judge Steve King on Tuesday to determine if they should stay in the custody of the Department of Human Resources.

Law enforcement officers are investigating accusations of severe
abuse, beating and torture at the facility.

Some of the boys said their time at the academy had changed them
for the better.

But some foster parents taking care of boys who were removed Saturday said the facility seemed unduly harsh.

They said the youth recalled eating outdated cereal, not receiving charitable contributions meant for them and only being allowed short phone calls home each month.

Authorities removed the boys after receiving an abuse complaint
involving a 17-year-old.


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