In January 1990, Deirdre Sugiuchi was 15 and on a plane to the Dominican Republic. She was fed up with her dysfunctional home life in the Mississippi Delta and had persuaded her fundamentalist Christian parents to send her to boarding school. 

They chose Escuela Caribe, a “Christian therapeutic residential boarding facility” in the Dominican Republic run by the American religious organization New Horizons Youth Ministries. 

“I thought Escuela Caribe would be a way to escape abuse,” Sugiuchi tells Newsweek. She would quickly come to learn that she was entering an institution where physical and psychological abuse was in the curriculum. 

In a harrowing new documentary, Kidnapped for Christ, filmmaker Kate Logan captured the scene at Escuela Caribe in 2006, years after Sugiuchi departed the school. Logan, who was a 20-year-old junior at an evangelical Christian university in California at the time, had intended to make a short film for her senior project of a “heartwarming story about troubled, underprivileged kids” who were at Escuela Caribe to “work through their issues.” 

Where American Teens were Abused in the Name of God

In January 1990, Deirdre Sugiuchi was 15 and on a plane to the Dominican Republic. She was fed up with her dysfunctional home life in the Mississippi Delta and had persuaded her fundamentalist Christian parents to send her to boarding school.

They chose Escuela Caribe, a “Christian therapeutic residential boarding facility” in the Dominican Republic run by the American religious organization New Horizons Youth Ministries.

“I thought Escuela Caribe would be a way to escape abuse,” Sugiuchi tells Newsweek. She would quickly come to learn that she was entering an institution where physical and psychological abuse was in the curriculum.

In a harrowing new documentary, Kidnapped for Christ, filmmaker Kate Logan captured the scene at Escuela Caribe in 2006, years after Sugiuchi departed the school. Logan, who was a 20-year-old junior at an evangelical Christian university in California at the time, had intended to make a short film for her senior project of a “heartwarming story about troubled, underprivileged kids” who were at Escuela Caribe to “work through their issues.”

Where American Teens were Abused in the Name of God