Jaime Prater

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When filmmaker Jaime Prater decided to make a documentary exploring the lives of the children he grew up with at the Jesus People USA religious community, he says he never imagined his research would “open the floodgates.”

Stories poured out of sexual and physical abuse. More than a dozen adults who lived as children at Jesus People relate their stories in Prater’s film, No Place to Call Home, which has been released on Vimeo on Demand.

Jesus People is one of the last remnants of the Jesus Movement of the 1970s, which attracted earnest young urban missionaries seeking an alternative to the drug culture and free love communes of the time. Today, Jesus People says it offers adults and families a chance to turn around their lives in an evangelical, Bible-based communal setting.

Two lawsuits have been filed against Jesus People in Cook County Circuit Court. The suits also name the Evangelical Covenant Church, headquartered outside of Chicago. Jesus People has been a member congregation of that church since 1989.

In one of the suits, Heather Kool, 38, of Athens, Ga., alleges she was repeatedly sexually abused as a child by a resident of the community while living there with her mother.

In a separate suit, filed on March 24, Prater, 38, alleges he too was sexually molested as a boy “over a period of years” by a different community resident.

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