This is the History of and Reporting Guide for Lyman Ward Military Academy in Camp Hill, AL

(aka Southern Preparatory Academy aka Southern Preparatory School aka Southern Prep)

On this page you will find incomplete staff and complaint histories with sources cited (i.e. Progress Report), the general advisory against segregated congregate care with sources cited, and a reporting guide for those unlawfully harmed or firsthand witnesses to unlawful harm by or at this location to report violations of the law to the proper authorities/law enforcement.  The staff list itself will not be updated with additional names out of a sense of fairness where those providing the names ask for anonymity or confidentiality.  And, this program will remain eligible for merciful release if all criteria are met and no guest sermon is provided by a qualifying sponsor by that time.  In the meantime, it can graduate the COPE Conversion Program by meeting the Honesty In Marketing Standards (HIMS) or permanently close to be removed from the watch-list/released from the COPE Conversion Program.  If permanently closed prior to graduation or merciful release, it will be buried in the virtual graveyard



Additional Information
Roy Berwick President  
Jared Norrell Vice President  
Doug Reynolds Dean  
Richard Oliver Admissions  
Will Williams Admissions/Athletics  
Joe Watson Director of Operations  
Amanda Kelly Alumni Director  
Freddie Schuh Office Manager  
Anne Pitts Accounts Payable  
Danny Evans Administrator  
Clyde Hennies Former Staff  
Chester Carroll Former President  
Charles Livings Former Admissions Dir.  
Susan Petty Former Staff  

In Alabama, the criminal statutes of limitation are 1 year on misdemeanors, 5 years on most felonies, and no statute of limitations on more serious felonies including rape of a minor under age 16 at time of crime and murder.  For civil suits in Alabama, the statute of limitations is 2 years.  Here are your options:
1.  Report crimes such as fraud, assault, battery, labor trafficking, and child abuse to law enforcement in Alabama.  You can call the Camp Hill police at 256-896-2509 or Tallapoosa Sheriff at 256-825-4264 to inquire about filing an official complaint which may provide the probable cause needed to get a warrant for investigation and/or prosecution. 
2.  File a consumer complaint with your home state's attorney general against Lyman Ward/Southern Prep and include your request for compensation for any harm done to you.  If your home state is Alabama or you'd like to file with the Alabama State Attorney General as a non-resident, here is that link:  
3.  If you do not wish to file a consumer complaint, you can contact a private personal injury attorney and look into suing in tort/civil court.  However, if you can't afford the retainer, you should expect to settle out of court with a non-disclosure agreement which may bar you from speaking publicly about the incident because you've agreed (even if with a grumbling assent) to the terms of the settlement. 
4.  You may send a new e-mail to with subject "Post My Feedback" and we will post your feedback (e-mail printed to .pdf disclosing your name and e-mail address and any information in your e-mail with that subject) to  and add a direct link to those .pdf files to this page . 

 5. You may also wish to provide a guest sermon.  Guest sermons are posted at , under Progress Reports/Guest Sermons at where appropriate, and on program info pages when applicable.  So, one provided by you on your program would also be placed on this page .  Guest sermons should be written into the body of an e-mail and sent to . Your first and last name will be disclosed (contact info will not be unless you expressly request disclosure).  For sermons available on our site see  (and sermon archives linked on that page).  If you have questions about this option, please contact Please see  to get an idea what your sermon may be worth.

Military academy sued for alleged abuse Officials deny claims by some boys, parents  Todd J. Van Emst  /  AP The Lyman Ward Military Academy is being sued by several parents of boys who say they were brutalized at the school. updated 3/23/2005 3:39:25 PM ET 2005-03-23T20:39:25 Print Font: + - MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Michael Miller says he still carries the scars from the night senior cadets at Lyman Ward Military Academy came into his room, pinned him down and used an electric drill to bore holes into his palm. Miller, who was 15 at the time, endured beatings, broken ribs and bruises for more than six weeks. After the attack with the drill, he says, “I felt so bad, I wrote home a suicide note.” On Wednesday, a mediator will begin hearing eight lawsuits alleging brutal hazing and abuse by senior cadets and school officials at Lyman Ward in the 2002-2003 or 2003-2004 school years. Most parents are seeking reimbursement for tuition and medical expenses, while others want the century-old school shut down. Lyman Ward’s attorney, Thomas Radney, said the east Alabama military school, which covers grades 6-12, denies all allegations and he looks forward to mediation. “They intend to defend this vigorously,” he said. 'Bullying starts on Day 2' Miller’s parents, Ray and Sherry Miller of Destin, Fla., have joined their son in suing the school. They said they took him to the Camp Hill campus in August 2002 with the hope that a more structured environment would help him buckle down. Advertise Advertise Advertise When they toured the school, Ray Miller said, academy officials told them the school had a “zero tolerance” policy toward abuse and provided “24-hour supervision.” But Michael Miller said that was all a front. “The first day, when the parents are still around, they’re extremely careful about how things are run. The bullying starts on Day 2,” he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. He said the scars on his palm from the drill, while faded, are still there. Chester Carroll, who is president of the academy and mayor of Camp Hill, refused to comment on the lawsuits or the plans for mediation. Carroll took his post in July 2003 after Maj. Gen. Clyde Hennies stepped down for personal reasons. Hennies declined to comment to the AP. Charles Livings, who was the admissions officer at the time and served as a campus liaison to parents, also declined to comment. Other parents' complaints Another couple who filed suit, Wayne and Dale Holden of Alpharetta, Ga., said their son, Ryan, wanted an early start on the road to The Citadel, South Carolina’s military college. Instead, the beatings became so severe that he ran away once and also wrote a letter that alarmed his parents. “In his last letter, he sent his Lyman Ward name tag. He said that would be the last time I would hear from him and the name tag was for me to remember him,” Dale Holden said. “I got in the car and went straight there. I have no doubt in my mind he would’ve killed himself.” Anne Brown of Mary Ester, Fla., a recently divorced mother battling lung cancer, looked to Lyman Ward to be a “positive male influence” for her son, Shaun, while she sought long-term cancer treatments. Shaun, who was 11 at the time, is the youngest and smallest plaintiff. In a series of letters, he told his mother that the older cadets would routinely beat him. In January, some other cadets came forward and told Brown that Livings, the school official, allegedly punished Shaun for misbehaving in gym class by kicking and stomping him on the practice field until the 4-foot-2, 85-pound boy vomited. The parents said they were accustomed to receiving disturbing letters from their sons about beatings and verbal abuse, but initially believed administrators that the boys were exaggerating injuries suffered during normal horseplay. “There’s been an excellent job of the school telling the parents that the child was not telling the truth,” said the plaintiffs’ attorney, William “Trip” Walton. Lawyer: Police encouraged charges The majority of the parents found out about the severity of the abuse after two other students fled the campus and were spotted by an Auburn police officer. After hearing accounts of the ongoing beatings, police encouraged the parents to press charges, Walton said. Some of the boys, such as 13-year-old Shaun, are now thriving at new schools. For others, it’s not as easy. “I’ve tried my best to move on,” said Michael Miller, now 18 and pursuing his GED. “There are times I still do get nightmares.”  Source:
Lyman Ward Military Academy worker arrested for sexual acts with students Occurred in November of last year  CAMP HILL, Ala. —A worker at Lyman Ward Military Academy was arrested Friday by Camp Hill police after being accused of having sex with two students on the school's campus, according to authorities.  Susan Petty, 33, works at the military academy as a supply clerk. It is believed she and the students engaged in the sexual acts in November on school grounds. Lyman Ward Military Academy is a private military school for boys in the sixth through 12th grades.  Petty was taken to Tallapoosa County Jail and her bond is set at $30,000.  Source:
Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama. ANONYMOUS v. LYMAN WARD MILITARY ACADEMY. 2950915.     Decided: March 14, 1997 Charles H. Rice and Bruce N. Adams of Rice & Adams, Anniston, for appellant. John C. Falkenberry and Fern Singer of Sirote & Permutt, P.C., Birmingham, for appellee. A former student appeals from a summary judgment entered in favor of Lyman Ward Military Academy (school).   This case is before this court pursuant to Ala.Code 1975, § 12-2-7(6). Our review of the record reveals the following pertinent facts:  The twelve-year-old student enrolled at the school for the 1991-92 academic year.   He attended the school until 1994. In March 1995 the student and his mother filed a multi-count complaint against the school, an employee of the school, and other fictitious parties, alleging that the employee sexually molested the student. In February 1996 the school filed a motion for a summary judgment, pursuant to Rule 56(c), Ala. R. Civ. P.   In March 1996 the trial court, after a hearing, granted the school's motion and certified it as final, pursuant to Rule 54(b), Ala. R. Civ. P. The student appeals.   We would note that the mother does not appeal from the summary judgment.   We would further note that the student's claims against the employee are still pending before the trial court. Therefore, the only issue before this court is whether the trial court properly entered a summary judgment in favor of the school on the student's claims against it. Rule 56(c), Ala. R. Civ. P., provides that a summary judgment is appropriate in situations where there exists no genuine issue of any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.   It is well settled that the moving party has the burden of establishing that no genuine issue of a material fact exists and that all reasonable uncertainties regarding the existence of a genuine issue of a material fact must be resolved against the moving party.  Porter v. Fisher, 636 So.2d 682 (Ala.Civ.App.1994). Once the movant makes a prima facie case, showing that no genuine issue of a material fact exists, then the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to present substantial evidence regarding the existence of a genuine issue of a material fact.  Porter, 636 So.2d 682. Substantial evidence has been defined as “evidence of such weight and quality that fair-minded persons in the exercise of impartial judgment can reasonably infer the existence of the fact sought to be proved.”  West v. Founders Life Assurance Co. of Florida, 547 So.2d 870, 871 (Ala.1989).  On appeal the student contends that the school negligently supervised both the employee and the student and is, therefore, liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior.   The student also attempts to rest the school's liability, under the negligent supervision claim, on the alleged criminal acts of the employee. The school had the initial burden of making a prima facie case showing that there was no genuine issue of a material fact and that it was entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.  Porter, 636 So.2d 682.   The school contends that it is not liable, under the doctrine of respondeat superior, for the wrongful acts allegedly committed by the employee because, it says, the alleged wrongful acts (1) were not committed in the line and scope of the employee's employment, (2) were not committed in furtherance of the business of the school, and (3) were not authorized or ratified by the school.   Specifically, the school contends that it did not have any knowledge of the employee's wrongful acts until after the wrongful acts were allegedly committed. Our supreme court, in Mardis v. Robbins Tire & Rubber Co., 669 So.2d 885, 889 (Ala.1995), has stated the following: “For [the school] to be held liable for the intentional torts of [its employee], the [student] must offer evidence (1) that the [employee's] wrongful acts were committed in the line and scope of the [employee's] employment;  or (2) that the acts were committed in furtherance of the business of the [school];  or (3) that the [school] participated in, authorized, or ratified the wrongful acts.  Potts v. BE & K Constr. Co., 604 So.2d 398, 400 (Ala.1992).   The [school] is directly liable if it authorizes or participates in the employee's acts or ratifies the employee's conduct after it learns of the action.  Potts v. BE & K Constr. Co., 604 So.2d at 400.” The school presented the student's testimony in support of its position that it did not have any knowledge of the employee's wrongful behavior.   The student testified that he was first molested by the employee in January 1992, and again in the spring of 1992.   The last sexual encounter occurred during the week of June 20, 1992, when school was in recess for the summer.   At that time, the student, with his mother's permission, was at the employee's lake home performing yard work for him. We would note that the student contends that the last sexual encounter occurred in August 1993.   However, our review of the record reveals that the student's encounter with the employee in August 1993 was not a sexual encounter.   According to the student's own testimony, the employee walked up to him, hugged him, and apologized to him “for everything,” to which the student responded, “don't touch me.”   The student testified that he then walked out of the room. The student testified that he did not report any of the sexual encounters to anyone until shortly before he and his mother filed a complaint, which was in March 1995.   In fact, it was not until October 1993 that another student actually confessed to having a sexual encounter with the employee. Colonel Albert Jenrette, the employee's immediate supervisor, testified that the first notice he received regarding the possibility of any improper conduct was in August 1993, when he received a telephone call from another student's parent, advising him that a private investigator had asked her questions about the employee.   The supervisor stated that he immediately confronted the employee with the allegations and that the employee vehemently denied them.   The supervisor then interviewed students who regularly visited the employee's lake home.   Each of the students whom he interviewed denied any misconduct by the employee.   The school, even though it was unable to confirm the allegations, asked for the employee's resignation and received it in September 1993. The supervisor further testified that he did not have any reason to suspect any improper conduct by the employee.   The supervisor testified that he conducted a thorough background check on the employee before hiring him.   He also stated that he had daily contact with the employee and the students and that he routinely stopped by the employee's lake home while students were there visiting.   The supervisor explained that the students routinely visited the employee's lake home to water ski.   In fact, the employee's duties included providing adequate recreation for the students.   The record also reveals that the supervisor accompanied the employee and the students on school-related field trips. Based on the foregoing testimony, we conclude that the school made a prima facie showing that it did not authorize or ratify the employee's alleged wrongful acts since it did not have any knowledge of any wrongful acts until August 1993.   The student failed to rebut the school's evidence with any substantial evidence to the contrary. We would further note that the school is correct in asserting that there are numerous cases in Alabama holding that sexual misconduct by an employee is purely personal and is, therefore, outside the line and scope of employment.   See Doe v. Swift, 570 So.2d 1209 (Ala.1990).   Applying the above-established principles of law, we conclude that the employee was not acting within the line and scope of his employment when he allegedly molested the student, since his actions were personal and obviously did not benefit the school. Next, the student contends that he presented substantial evidence that the school negligently supervised him, as well as the employee.   Specifically, the student contends that the school failed to follow specific guidelines and policies designed to safeguard the students.  In order to prove his negligent supervision claim, the student “must show or demonstrate that [the school] had notice or knowledge (actual or presumed) of the [employee's] alleged [conduct].”  Perkins v. Dean, 570 So.2d 1217, 1219 (Ala.1990).   Furthermore, we would note that “the mere fact that an injury has occurred is not evidence of negligence and that in negligent supervision cases negligence will not be found by inference.”  N.J. v. Greater Emanuel Temple Holiness Church, 611 So.2d 1036, 1037 (Ala.1992).  Both the school's sign-out policy and parental permission policy applied only to overnight or weekend absences from campus which were not related to school activities.   Here, as noted previously, the first alleged sexual encounter occurred in January 1992, during a school-related camping trip.   The next encounter occurred in the spring of 1992, while the student was at the employee's lake home for only a portion of the day.   The last sexual encounter occurred in June 1992, when the students were out for the summer.   It is undisputed that the mother drove the student to the employee's home at that time.   Thus, the school's sign-out policy or parental permission policy was never invoked. The student further contends that the employee, according to the policies and guidelines of the school, was not authorized to take only one student at a time from the campus.   Worded differently, the employee had to take at least two students with him when he exited the campus.   The supervisor testified, however, that this was not a school policy.   Instead, it was the supervisor's personal policy, which was unwritten.   The supervisor testified that he had no knowledge that the employee ever left the campus with only one student. As previously noted, the school made a prima facie showing that it did not have any knowledge of the employee's alleged wrongful acts until after they were committed.   And, the supervisor testified that he kept close contact with the employee and the students.   And, it was not until August 1993 that the supervisor was first put on notice or had any reason to suspect any improper conduct by the employee.   At that time, the supervisor conducted an investigation and immediately took the proper steps to obtain the employee's resignation.   We also reiterate that the student did not report the sexual encounters to anyone until 1995.   Thus, in applying the substantial evidence standard to these facts, we conclude that the student failed to produce the substantial evidence required to support a claim of negligent supervision.  Finally, the student attempts to rest the school's liability, under the negligent supervision claim, on the alleged criminal acts of the employee.   Our supreme court, in E.H. v. Overlook Mountain Lodge, 638 So.2d 781, 783 (Ala.1994), has stated: “ ‘It is difficult to impose liability on one person for an intentional act committed by another.’  Moye v. A.G. Gaston Motels, Inc., 499 So.2d 1368, 1370 (Ala.1986), quoting CIE Service Corp. v. Smith, 460 So.2d 1244, 1247 (Ala.1984).   The difficulty usually arises because, in such a situation, two essential elements of a negligence ․ action are absent:  duty and proximate cause.  Moye, 499 So.2d at 1370.   The key to either of these elements is foreseeability.  Id. “․ Our cases have established only one exception to the general rule that one has no duty to protect another from the criminal acts of a third party.   Thetford v. City of Clanton, 605 So.2d 835, 840 (Ala.1992);  Moye, 499 So.2d at 1371.   The duty to protect a second person from the criminal acts of a third person arises only when one's negligence ․ creates a situation in which it is foreseeable that a third person will commit criminal conduct that endangers the second person.  Thetford v. City of Clanton, 605 So.2d 835;  Moye, supra.  ‘The number and frequency of prior criminal acts at the place where the injury occurred are used in determining whether a particular criminal act was reasonably foreseeable.’  Moye, 499 So.2d at 1372.” Again, the testimony of the supervisor indicated that he did not have any knowledge of other criminal acts of a similar nature that might have occurred on the school's premises and that he did not have any knowledge of any previous criminal behavior by the employee.   In fact, none of the sexual encounters between the employee and the student occurred on the school's campus.   And, as stated previously, the supervisor conducted a thorough background check on the employee before hiring him.   Thus, we conclude that any alleged improper conduct by the employee was unforeseeable.   The student did not offer any substantial evidence to the contrary.   We would further note that the employee has not been adjudicated guilty regarding the alleged sexual molestation since his case is still pending before the trial court. In light of the above, the student failed to meet his burden of proving the existence of a genuine issue of a material fact.   Consequently, the trial court properly entered the summary judgment in favor of the school. The foregoing opinion was prepared by Retired Appellate Judge RICHARD L. HOLMES while serving on active duty status as a judge of this court under the provisions of § 12-18-10(e), Code 1975. AFFIRMED. RICHARD L. HOLMES, Retired Appellate Judge. All the judges concur.  Source:
External Link: Lyman Ward Military Academy Survivor Facebook Group
July 9th, 2020: Conversion Program Progress Report: Southern Prep Academy (FKA Lyman Ward Military Academy


All segregated congregate care providers, including those on our watch-list, are welcome to contact us to correct any information or provide additional data that may assist with delivering the whole truth to the public.  The HEAL Mission of COPE (HEAL) found in many cases where this offer has been abused or resulted in revealing additional basis for our concerns. For some examples see feedback.  Now, we are willing to look at the facts and may have questions or require documentation backing up any claims.  We do verify licensing, academic backgrounds, and other qualifications when investigating and researching programs on our watch-lis/enrolled in the Conversion Program to assist consumers seeking additional information on such programs or victims requiring assistance with getting corroborating evidence of their claims.  We do that in order to make sure the information we provide is accurate and verified and cite our sources.  In the event any information we've posted is in error, we're happy to make a correction. 

HEAL does not support segregated congregate care for many reasons which include that many such facilities are abusive, exploitative, fraudulent, and lack effective oversight often as a result of fraudulent misrepresentation coupled with the ignorance of those seeking to enroll loved ones in such facilities, programs, schools, or centers without a valid court order and involuntarily.  In the United States such involuntary placements done without a court order are apparently illegal as they either violate the Americans with Disabilities Act community integration requirement or due process rights of those involuntarily placed.  Now, in regards to parents, in the United States parents have the right to waive their own rights, but, not the rights of their minor children.  See for more information.  Now, most facilities on our watch list include waivers, indemnity clauses, and sworn statements legal guardians must sign assuring the program that the parents/legal guardians have the right to make the placement involuntarily and without due process in a segregated congregate care environment, however, California and federal prosecutors as well as settled law appears to suggest that is not the case.  In fact, in the David Taylor case found at , Taylor sued Provo Canyon School and his mother as co-defendants.  His mother was found liable for 75% of the damages awarded to Taylor as a result of multiple complaints including false imprisonment, while the program was found only 25% liable because the mother owed a duty of due diligence to investigate anyone to which she would entrust care of her child and she failed to do so. 

Now, HEAL opposes segregated congregate care and we find most placements are happening illegally in the USA which if the youth understood their rights would result in unfortunate outcomes for the parents, particularly when they don't exercise good judgment and support the fraud and abuse rather than their own children when they need remedy and justice.  And, HEAL supports all victims of fraud and abuse in seeking remedies at law for any crimes or torts committed against them.  And, that's true whether or not the program or victims are in the USA. 

HEAL has a 5 point argument against segregated congregate care we'd like you to consider:

a.  Segregated care is unconstitutional and a civil rights violation.  It is only permissible if a person is unable to survive independent of an institutional environment.  For more on this, watch the HEAL Report at  Or, see:  which includes in part:    "United States v. Florida – 1:12-cv-60460 – (S.D. Fla.) – On April 7, 2016, the United States filed an Opposition to the State of Florida’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.  In the Motion, the State had asked the Court to rule, on a variety of grounds, that the United States could not recover damages for unnecessarily institutionalized children to whom the State had been deliberately indifferent."

b.  Institutionalization is always dehumanizing and coercive.  Institutionalization always harms the institutionalized and deprives them of protected civil rights.  Dr. David Straker, Psychiatry Professor at Columbia University's School of Medicine (Ivy League) explains this in detail at  "Many institutions, from prisons to monasteries to asylums, deliberately want to control and manage their inmates such that they conform and do not cause problems. Even in less harsh environments, many of the institutionalization methods may be found, albeit in more moderated form (although the psychological effect can be equally devastating)."  (See website linked in this paragraph for more info.)

c.  Institutionalization is not in the best interest of children.  Institutions are not ever better for a child than living with a loving family.  Source:       

d.  Reform schools, residential treatment programs, and other segregated congregate care settings have been shown to be ineffective and harmful.  Best source on this currently is:

e. Boarding Schools, even the "good ones", result in a form of social death, isolation, and cause both anxiety and depression.  Therefore, it is clearly not in the best interest of the youth subjected to those environments.  Sources: and

Beyond the above arguments against segregated congregate care, we have reports from the NIH, Surgeon General, Yale University Studies, and much more showing the methodologies of behavior modification are damaging, harmful, and ineffective.  You can request these documents via e-mail.  In addition, for such programs offering academic services or claiming to offer diplomas, certifications, or the like, it is important to check to see if it is a diploma mill with no accredited academic services.  Please see article: "Avoiding Scams: What You Need To Know"  for important information on how to avoid education/training scams.

If you'd like to see what HEAL suggests rather than segregated congregate care (i.e. committing a crime or tort against your child if done against their will without a court order), please see articles: "Fix Your Family, Help Your Teen" and "Emancipation Guide".


 Last Updated: February 28th, 2023

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