PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Former Glen Mills Schools students claim in new lawsuits they were sexually and physically abused by staff. Five new lawsuits were announced Wednesday against the school.
The alleged abuse includes rape, sexual assault, beatings and death threats for reporting the incidents.READ MORE: 2 Off-Duty Philadelphia Police Officers Robbed At Gunpoint In Oxford Circle
“The façade outside was a stark contrast to the life inside the walls. Glen Mills was a house of horrors,” attorney Nancy Winkler said during Wednesday’s press conference.
The law firm of Eisenberg, Rothweiler represents 300 former students who say they were also abused at the school. Their clients attended the school between 1976 and 2018.
Laboy Wiggins and Tawfeeq Abdul-Lateef are two former students who say they suffered horrific abuse. Abdul-Lateef said during the time he was at Glen Mills Schools in 2016 and 2017, he was thrown to the ground, stomped on and choked. He says staff would spit in his face and call him the n-word.
“The physical and emotional pain has scarred me, traumatized me and changed me for the worse,” Abdul Lateef said.
Wiggins, 48, was at the institution for around six months in 1987. He revealed he was sexually and physically abused multiple times.
“Every day at Glen Mills was a horror to me, every day,” Wiggins said.
Wiggins said the abuse was so bad he ran away after six months.
“I went there to become a better person. I went there to become rehabilitated. I left Glen Mills a thousand times worse than I came, a thousand times worse,” Wiggins said.READ MORE: Police: Man Shot Multiple Times, Killed In Philadelphia's Kensington Neighborhood
The former students and lawyers allege school officials covered up the abuse so they didn’t lose funding. Glen Mills is accused of covering up decades of abuse.
“This shouldn’t happen to children. They were all children that were sent there. These boys lives have been shattered. These men have been broken,” Winkler said.
The school is nearly 200 years old and enrolled at-risk youth. Last year, all students were pulled from the school and staff members were laid off after the state revoked the school’s licenses.
Glen Mills has filed an appeal to get its license back.
“If Glen Mills Schools opened back up, it will continue the pain, it will continue to do what it did,” Wiggins said.
The lawsuits filed today are separate from a class action lawsuit that was filed last year. In this suit, the former students are seeking compensation.
Glen Mills spokesperson Jeff Jubelirer called the allegations “heartbreaking.”
“These allegations we learned of today can only be described as heartbreaking. Our attorneys are now evaluating the lawsuits. In the meantime, Glen Mills Schools continues to cooperate with all governmental authorities,” Jubelirer said in a statement.
Last week, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf proposed an additional $5 million to boost the state’s oversight of juvenile programs.MORE NEWS: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Center City Hit-And-Run Leaves Woman In Critical Condition, Police Say
CBS3’s Howard Monroe contributed to this report.