brightcove.createExperiences(); The mother of Jeremy Jordan’s cousin Sarah is refuting the Supergirl star’s claims that the teenager is being held against her will at a pray-away-the-gay conversion school.
In an interview with the Austin American-Statesman, the woman – whose name was not published – said that Sarah’s enrollment at Texas’ Heartlight Ministries “has nothing to do with her sexuality.”
“My daughter would be heartbroken that she is being misrepresented this way,” she said, slamming Jordan’s statements that the 17-year-old’s May 13th enrollment was the result of her taking her girlfriend to prom. In court documents, Sarah’s family says that she’s at the school to “help her with issues of depression, self-harm, drug use, and behavioral issues,” the American-Statesman reported.
Jordan charges that Sarah, his “sweet gay cousin,” is “trapped” at Heartlight, which is cited in a GoFundMe page created by his brother Joey only as a boarding facility for troubled teens to “pray away the gay.”
The GoFundMe alleges that Sarah cannot communicate with anyone outside of the facilities, and even once tried to run away – but was caught by staff. Jordan’s family is collecting funds to pay the fees of family law attorney Christine Andresen, of CHA Law Group, PC, who was hired by Sarah’s aunt to help get her released from the boarding facility.
“I can’t comment on pending litigation, other than to authenticate that to the best of my knowledge, the background information on the GoFundMe shared by Sarah’s cousin is truthful,” Andresen said in a statement to PEOPLE.
The legal filing in a Texas court charges that Sarah’s father and the family’s pastor admitted the goal of sending her to Heartlight is to change her sexual orientation, according to the American-Statesman.
Heartlight Ministries is a co-ed, Longview, Texas, Christian boarding school that provides residence for 56 “struggling teens” and leads them through an “intense” program with a “90 percent” success rate, according to its website. The 9-12 month program follows “a biblical model of counseling,” and uses chores and privileges to discipline “errant resident[s].”
The school’s founder, Mark Gregston, regularly blogs about Heartlight’s mission. In a February post, he advised parents of teen girls who are dating other girls, “don’t blow up and label your child a ‘homosexual,’ or that label could stick!”
He wrote that some teenagers are in same-sex relationships because they “just want to be different,” or, because they’re “currently a fad.”
Which Orange Is the New Black Star Is a Gay Rights Icon?
“A parent can help a daughter, if she is willing and wanting to make a clean break, by allowing her to live away from her current scene, with relatives or at a place like Heartlight,” Gregston advised.
Heartlight did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.