UPDATE: Children’s home director removed, replaced
COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - The founder and head of a Pine Belt children’s home was terminated by the institution’s board of directors Friday night and a board member who once was the athletic director at the University of Southern Mississippi was named interim executive director.
Michael Garrett was the founder and director of Homes of Hope for Children, a private children’s home in Purvis.
Garrett was arrested Thursday by Columbia police and charged with one count of procuring prostitution and two counts of drug possession.
In a post to the home’s Facebook page, the board announced that it had taken over operations and that Garrett had been removed.
“In light of recent events, the Board of Directors for the Home of Hope for Children has assumed full control of the ministry,” the post said.
“Michael Garrett has been terminated and is no longer affiliated with the institution.”
Giannini, who spent more than a decade in Hattiesburg as USM’s athletic director, is one of six board members.
“The welfare of the children is being provided by the Board and the houseparents,” the post said..
It was not clear how many children are at the House of Hope for Children in Purvis.
Friday evening, the Lamar County Chancery and Youth courts announced it had assumed supervision of Homes of Hope for Children.
“The court system is aware of the allegations, and appropriate steps have been made to assure the safety and welfare of the children,” the courts said. “As a point of clarification, these are not foster children in the custody of department of child protection services.”
Friday afternoon, Garrett made his first court appearance. His cumulative bond totaled $12,000 bond for the three charges.
According to online jail records, Garrett is no longer listed as an inmate.
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