The New York Times, November 17, 1998

U.S. School in Czech Republic Shut
By The Associated Press

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) -- A private American school where four staff members face cruelty charges has been shut down and all its students have left the Czech Republic, the school's secretary said Tuesday.

Martina Krystofova said Morava Academy, a school for troubled American teen-agers in Brno, 125 miles southeast of Prague, was closed as a result of a police inquiry. She said all the students had left for the United States.

Last week, school principal Glenda Roach and her husband, Steven, of St. George, Utah, along with two Czech workers, were charged with cruelty to people in their custody and with curtailing the students' freedom of movement. They face up to eight years in prison if convicted.

The Americans have been freed but may not leave the Czech Republic.

Police interviewed 25 of the school's 57 students this month and said eight complained of harsh punishments. The police said some students were isolated or tied up and prevented from using the bathroom.

The school's co-owner, Martin Pilka, has denied claims of harsh punishment.

A lawyer for the American couple, Robert Bezdek, suggested last week that the children might have lied to police.

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