Defendant John Bundy allegedly ‘threatened and harassed’ them; Parents in Thayer lawsuit seek protective order
By Steve Rock
The Kansas City Star, October 7, 2005

ST. JOSEPH — The parents of a boy who died at a northwest Missouri military-type home for troubled teens have asked for a protective order against the home’s owners.

Victor and Gracia Reyes alleged in recent court filings that John Bundy, who owns Thayer Learning Center with his wife, Willa Bundy, made an unannounced visit to the Reyes’ home in Santa Rosa, Calif., in July and “threatened and harassed” the Reyeses.

The motion for a protective order, filed last week in Buchanan County Circuit Court, said John Bundy and his son Isaac Bundy encouraged the Reyeses to settle their wrongful-death lawsuit against Thayer.

Roberto Reyes, 15, died in November 2004 while a resident at Thayer, about 50 miles northeast of Kansas City in Kidder, Mo. He had been there less than two weeks, and his death has been attributed to a probable spider bite.

Rhonda Smiley, an attorney for Thayer, said Thursday that she would have no comment until attorneys file a formal response with the court next week. John and Willa Bundy have denied in court records any wrongdoing in conjunction with Roberto’s death, and Thayer officials previously said in a written statement to The Kansas City Star that general allegations of abuse at Thayer were “ludicrous and false.”

According to the motion, the Bundys indicated they “would be forced to investigate all family members in an attempt to uncover any embarrassing or personal information which would then be publicized through the litigation” if the lawsuit continued.

The Reyeses alleged in their wrongful-death lawsuit, filed in February, that Roberto was subjected to physical exertion and abuse that caused or contributed to his death. They alleged that Roberto was dragged, hit, “forced to lay in his own excrement for extended periods” and that he would have lived had he received competent medical care in a timely manner.

In court records, Thayer officials deny those and other allegations.

According to an affidavit signed by Victor Reyes and entered into the court file, John and Isaac Bundy told the Reyeses they were in California on business when they showed up at the Reyeses’ home about 7 p.m. on July 27. The Bundys said that they were sorry for what happened to Roberto and that they did not wish to see the Reyeses hurt further. They said that if the lawsuit continued, however, they would seek any information that would cause “embarrassment, hurt and anguish” to the Reyeses, the affidavit said.

The affidavit said the Bundys indicated that the embarrassment could be avoided if the Reyeses reached a settlement “outside our lawyers’ knowledge” and that the Reyeses “would be able to keep all the money and not have to give the lawyers any of it.”

No dollar amounts were listed in court records.

“We felt threatened and scared that the Bundys would try to embarrass us and cause our family further hurt,” Victor Reyes wrote in the affidavit.

The Reyeses asked that all defendants in the case — including their agents and employees — be required to stay 100 feet from the Reyeses and be ordered to refrain from contacting them by any means. There are seven defendants in the case: Thayer, two affiliated businesses and four employees of Thayer at the time of Roberto’s death.The case is scheduled to go to trial in June.

See related: Prosecutor: Boot camp won't face charges

See related: Boot camp sued in Santa Rosa teen's death -- Suit says Missouri center failed to give prompt, competent medical care, also abused youth

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