Abuse claims surface against former reverend, children's home leader

They were the forgotten kids without a home, who were abused and ignored. They were children from Vigo County who, for one reason or another, had to leave their parents custody.

Posted: May. 13, 2019 6:19 PM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - They were the forgotten kids without a home, who were abused and ignored. They were children from Vigo County who, for one reason or another, had to leave their parents custody.

They all ended up at a place on the east side of Vigo County called the Glenn Home. The historic center for kids opened all the way back in 1903.

At its height, it was respected all over the community as a place of shelter for children with troubled backgrounds, but it closed in 1979 under very different circumstances.

Years of building decay and questionable management led to its closure, but last June, exactly 40 years later, News 10 got word that something even more sinister may have tied into the home's final days.

We launched an investigation that would span nearly a year.

In it, we uncovered the grim and heartbreaking stories of adults who said they're still dealing the with the terrors of abuse.

Alice Whalen-Barrett can look back on her career as a trained clinical therapist with pride,
but her journey started on the other side of the system.

"I like to say we were so poor the mice didn't even come because there was no food to chomp on,"
Whalen-Barrett said.

She was one of 8 children. Her father was mentally ill, and she said her mother was abusive. Things hit a boiling point when she said she saw her mother beating her younger sister.

"And I stood there, and kids were all screaming and crying and I said mom, if you want to beat somebody, here I am, and d**** if she didn't take me up on it," Whalen-Barrett said.

A neighbor reported seeing the abuse, and the county took away the children.

Whalen-Barrett and her siblings landed at what used to be Glenn Home in Vigo County. It was supposed to be a safe space for children, but instead, it was there that she says she came face to face with pure evil.

"He was mean son of b****. He was a wolf in sheep's clothing," Whalen-Barrett said.

She was referring to Ival lane. He was the superintendent of Glenn Home from 1969 to 1978. He was also a United Methodist minister with a wife and kids. The Terre Haute community respected him, but Whalen-Barrett said they didn't see the true Ival Lane.

" 'If you do question my rules, there will be consequences. I'm the Reverend Ival Lane, and you are white trash from the other side of the tracks do you get me!' " Whalen-Barrett said.

She said the abuse started not long after she got there. She said it was emotional, mental, physical and sexual.

"He climbed into bed, and I began to scream and he held his hand over my face, and he raped me and he choked me, and he beat on me and he told me what a slut I was," Whalen-Barrett explained

She said Lane sexually abused her several times, for years.

She told News 10 of one specific instance.

"He (Lane) picked up his gun, and I said 'you son of a b****.' and I just started cursing him, and he said, 'You hate me,' and I said 'You bet.' He handed me the gun and said, 'Here, if you hate me so much, shoot me,' and you know what, Rondrell? I almost pulled the trigger." Whalen-Barrett said.

However, she didn't, in part because she was thinking of her siblings, and how they'd manage with a sister in jail.
She'd hoped they weren't going through the same things. She'd later find out her fears were true.

"When I was about 15, the sexual abuse started with Lane... just little things, and then it progressed into more abusive," Judy Atwood told News 10. She's Whalen Barrett's younger sister.

News 10 tracked her down in Arizona. She said she's still learning to cope with her time at Glenn Home.

"During that time he (Lane) told me things like you know 'you're a plain child, nobody's really gonna want you,' basically a throwaway kid."

It's a family's trauma that Whalen-Barrett truly believed meant nothing to the outside world.

"Because when we were at Glenn Home, nobody gave a d***. Some of the kids told caseworkers, and they either were told, shut up, we don't want to hear it, or you're lying," Whalen-Barrett said. 

News 10 was not able to find the specific caseworkers to whom she's referring, but we found the person who would have been their boss. 40 years later, we tracked down a county leader who believes Whalen-Barrett and Atwood 100 percent.

Glenn Cardwell was the director Vigo County's welfare department starting in 1977.

"If I was being totally honest with you, I'd say he was totally evil," Cardwell said. Basically, he was Lane's boss.

"He was a pastor and doing everything the opposite of what a pastor was doing," Cardwell said.

He said he knew he had to get Lane out, but doing it was the difficult part.

Meanwhile, Whalen-Barrett said she continued to live in hell.

"I wanted him out of our lives. I wanted to be able to sleep without worrying that was going to crawl into my bed. I wanted to be able to be normal," Whalen-Barrett said.

Reverand Ival Lane died in 2008. His family denied any wrongdoing on his part to News 10. 

News 10's special report continues with part 2 of our series Surviving Glenn Home. 

During this course of this investigation, several have reached out to News 10 with more claims of issues while at Glenn Home. If you have a story you'd like to share while at Glenn Home or any other home for children, let News 10 know by sending us an email at Web@wthitv.com.

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