Updated: Citing abuse, officials close Heritage Boys Academy
3 arrested, 1 sought
June 05, 2010 12:01:00 AM
S. BRADY CALHOUN / News Herald Writer
HILAND PARK — There were bruises and cuts, permanent lacerations and bloody underwear.
The signs of abuse were clear, Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen said Friday, and that’s why investigators
removed 17 kids from Heritage Boys Academy, a military school that also taught Christian doctrine, and shut the
“It appears that there are some things going on there that are absolutely not acceptable,” McKeithen said.
The joint investigation between the Sheriff’s Office and Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) began
when deputies found four juveniles fighting on U.S. 231 and Cato Road. They later learned one of the boys had run
away from the academy and the other boys had been ordered to find him, beat him and bring him back, McKeithen
Late Friday, authorities announced three arrests connected to the investigation. Clayton C. Maynard, 58, and
Robert Unger, 40, each were charged with one count of aggravated child abuse and five counts of child abuse,
according to a BCSO news release. A third man, 20-year-old Russell Maynard, faces the same charges but had not
been arrested as of late Friday, the release said.
A fourth man, 22-year-old Marcus Kurbatoff, was arrested and charged with resisting an officer as authorities were
arresting Maynard and Unger, according to the release.
Investigators from DCF and the Sheriff’s Office had investigated the facility several times over the last decade, but
each time they could not find proof of anyone breaking the law. This time, they removed the youths from the facility
and interviewed them outside the presence of the adults on scene. They found permanent scars on one of the
boys, scratches and bruises on others and a pair of bloody underwear caused by a severe beating, officials said.
Investigators learned the boys often were struck with sticks that were “nine fists long” and as wide as a man’s pinky,
McKeithen said. Sometimes, the boys were choked or held down and beaten with fists, he added. The adults called
it CC or corporal correction, but McKeithen and the DCF are calling it child abuse. Before this week when they were
removed and able to talk without an adult nearby, any boy who talked about the academy to an outside adult was
beaten, McKeithen said.
“I believe in corporal punishment to a point,” McKeithen said. “This is much more than corporal punishment.”
McKeithen did not say Friday who abused the boys, saying only criminal charges in the case were coming. The
boys are being housed by DCF officials until they can be sent back to their parents, McKeithen said.
Heritage Boys Academy
On its website, the academy states that they are, “Turning the tide of rebellion and disrespect, one boy at a time.”
The website also states the academy was founded by Pastor Buddy Maynard, who also founded a local church,
Truth Baptist Church of Panama City. Maynard is the director of the school, McKeithen said.
Maynard received a bachelor’s degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., served in the Air Force for eight
years from 1985 until 1993 and was stationed the entire time at Tyndall Air Force Base, according to the website.
“The boys academy opened in December 1995, and has helped nearly 100 boys in its first 10 years,” the website
states. “It is a 24-hour military boarding school program designed to meet the needs of troubled boys, teaching
them how to have a relationship with God, respect for others, and demonstrate responsibility and resolve in all
Attempts to contact the academy Friday evening were unsuccessful.
In each case, it was the parents who sent their boys to the facility, officials said. DCF officials added that they do not
believe the facility is licensed with the state.
“People are able to get around some laws by calling themselves churches or boarding houses,” McKeithen added.
The academy normally took in boys from age 13 through 18, but at least one 14-year-old at the facility had been
there, off and on, since he was 6, McKeithen said.
The website promises that the boys will be treated with military-like discipline and will learn military drill instructions
and formations along with Christian teaching.
“We believe in opposition and preaching against … communism, socialism, fascism, atheism, liberalism and other
evils,” the website states. The other evils include “so-called women’s liberation, evolution, unisex philosophy or
dress, rock, rap, country” and “so-called Christian rock or contemporary music.”
The website also names other faiths, including Roman Catholics, Charismatics, Hyper-Calvinists, Christian
Scientists, Buddhists, Muslims and Mormons as either religious heresies or cults and states the only authorized
version of the bible is the King James Version.
Romans 8:31 is quoted on one section of the site: “What shall we say then to these things; if God be for us who can
be against us?”