BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — The Refuge Ranch has laid off 75% of its workforce amid an ongoing state investigation into abuse allegations, the facility announced in a letter to its supporters Wednesday.

The Bastrop facility was founded to support and provide long-term holistic care for sex trafficking survivors ages 11 to 17. This year, it’s been under investigation following allegations of sexual and physical abuse received by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

“I am balancing feelings of deep loss and disappointment with an unbreakable spirit of optimism for the long-term endurance of our mission. That seemingly odd combination of emotions has been triggered by our board’s appropriate decision to suspend all operations at The Refuge and release 75% of our workforce, effective immediately,” Brooke Crowder, founder and CEO of The Refuge, said in the letter. “Like doctors putting a grievously injured patient into a medically-induced coma for the purposes of healing, it is the right choice to help us survive circumstances beyond our control, namely the ongoing mistreatment at the hands of the powers that be.”

She said The Refuge’s board had weighed several options before announcing the layoffs, including:

  • Shifting the age of The Refuge’s target population upward “to avoid entanglement with DFPS”
  • Becoming a residential treatment facility for addiction recovery

She added The Refuge’s leadership would continue to work toward their license restoration and resuming operations.