Woman claims abuse during and after her time at Vigo County orphanage

Emma Bowser says her tortured childhood extended well beyond Glenn Home's doors.

Posted: Nov 20, 2019 6:28 PM
Updated: Nov 21, 2019 7:22 AM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - The battle continues to expose abuse in the lives of children in the system.

In may, News 10 brought you a groundbreaking story detailing shocking abuse allegations at the Glenn Home orphanage in Vigo county, but Emma Bowser says her tortured childhood extended well beyond Glenn Home's doors.

"What we went through... we don't want other children to go through," Bowser said.

LINK | ALLEGED ABUSE VICTIM SITS DOWN WITH FORMER DIRECTOR OF CHILD WELFARE

She saw her family split up when she was very young. In the mid-1970s, Vigo County stepped in.

They took custody of her and some of her siblings. She said they landed at the Glenn Home when she was 9 years old.

"They took us to Glenn Home because they were supposed to put us in a better place to give us a better life, but it didn't happen," Bowser said.

News 10 uncovered claims that the director of the home, United Methodist Reverand Ival Lane, was physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive to some of the residents. Bowser said the same happened to her.

"I'd hear them say you're no good. You're awful. You're a bad kid. To them and me too. You're not good kids. You're a piece of s***."

LINK | ABUSE CLAIMS SURFACE AGAINST FORMER REVEREND, CHILDREN'S HOME LEADER

She also alleges sexual abuse while at the home, but her story doesn't end with Glenn Home.

She said she later stayed with a family, and that if things worked out, they were to be her adoptive parents, but she said during that stay, she continued to have emotionally abusive experiences. They were experiences that she said scarred her for life.

The first allegation involves her potential adoptive mother.

"She went from there to take this long handkerchief type thing to cover up my face, and my hair, my neck. She pulled it this way, twists it, pulls it tight. I couldn't breathe," Bowser said.

She continued.

"And she stood me in front of a mirror with that and said look at yourself in the mirror. 'You're ugly. You're a bad child. You deserve to be punished, '" Bowser said.

Bowser told us of another alleged incident that was uncomfortable to hear from the potential father.

"He gets a knife and, he puts that knife up just like this, and he says 'do you trust me?' And I'm afraid to say I don't. Cause if I don't, I'm afraid I'll be abused. So I say 'Yes. I trust you.' 'You're going to fall back on to this knife from this chair. I want you to fall back.' And I stood there frozen," Bowser recounted.

LINK | 'GLENN HOMERS' SHARE STORIES OF ABUSE WHILE VISITING OLD CAMPUS

News 10 has been unable to make contact with Bowser's potential adoptive parents nor any corroborating witnesses. Bowser also never reported her experience to the police.

She said she told some people but cannot remember their names, and no one believed her. Bowser said she was young and did not think to go to the police. Therefore, she never made any formal charges.

Bowser said she eventually was sent back to Glenn Home.

"I thought about ending my life a few times."

Finally, she aged out of the system. Nowadays, she's doing her best, still living in Indiana. She's a mother now, with a husband.

She credits her Christian faith with keeping her life together, after what she calls a devastating childhood, but she says she'll never forget.

"They took everything away from me that I was supposed to be saving for when I get married to my husband," Bowser said.

It's why she looks to the future. She eventually wants to be a foster parent herself.

"When they come live in my home, they will not be abused," Bowser said.

Ival Lane died in 2008. We've reached out to his immediate family in the past. They deny wrongdoing on his part.

However, we've also spoken to extended family members who side with Bowser's accusations.

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