“It’s with absolute delight that I can announce Sarah has been released this afternoon from the boarding facility where was being held. Your help and support has been instrumental in this achievement! We still are not sure what the next steps will be but we had a huge victory today. Thank you all for your love and acceptance of my dear cousin,” Jordan wrote on his Facebook page late Thursday.
Jordan, 31, also directed people to an update on the GoFundMe page his brother Joey created to help their “sweet gay cousin Sarah,” a 17-year-old high school student who was “trapped against her will at a terrible facility in Texas.”
They claim Sarah’s parents sent her away to Heartlight, an East Texas Christian boarding facility for troubled teens to “pray away the gay.”
Thursday’s GoFundMe page update thanked the more than 1,800 people who donated to it, and also explained what the $64,000 raised in just five days will go toward.
“As we’ve previously stated, if the lawsuit terminates, we will use all of the money that you so generously contributed to pay accrued legal bills for our lawyer and Sarah’s,” he wrote, noting that they’re no longer seeking donations.”If there are any funds left over, they will be placed in a trust for Sarah to help her with life’s next steps so that she can attend college and lead a normal life being who she is and loving whom she chooses.”
Sarah has not publicly come out as gay and has not yet spoken publicly about her time in the facility.
Based in Longview, Texas, the co-ed Christian boarding school provides residence to 56 “struggling teens,” according to its website.
Heartlight said in a statement that “the assertion that this teen was held at Heartlight Ministries against her will, or that Heartlight provides any ‘treatment’ services for sexual identity, are categorically untrue.”
The school added: “While this young woman is no longer at Heartlight, should she ever personally choose to return, we could welcome her with open arms.”
Megan Carpenter, who went to the school from 2001 to 2002, tells PEOPLE that while she didn’t witness a “we’re going to pray it away” attitude when she was there, she does recall being told that “God did not approve of being gay.”
“That was a complete undertone, preached in church,” she says, adding that she can’t remember any of her classmates attending the school because of their sexuality.
She’s at the school “to help her with issues of depression, self-harm, drug use, and behavioral issues,” the newspaper reported.
Jordan has declined to comment due to legal issues.
• With reporting by LINDSAY KIMBLE