An American Horror Story: White House Boys of Marianna, Florida
your story to
Graves on The School Site
|THE SEALING OF THE “WHITE HOUSE” PUNISHMENT ROOM OCTOBER 21, 2008
From Left: Dick Colon, Michael O’McCarthy, Roger Kiser, Bill Haynes, Robert Straley
Picture courtesy of Robert Straley for NPC National Picture Company
|No portion of this web site may be used without the express written permission of the site owner.
Ben Montgomery, Waveney Ann
Moore, Staff Reporters, Edmund F.
Fountain, Photography Cayrn Byard,
Dr. Wexler is dead, but his daughter remembers helping her father, who had poor eyesight, when their family lived on campus. Sheila
Wexler says she occasionally treated boys who had cuts or welts on their behinds. “But if they needed a stitch,” she says, “it
would only be a few.” Would you beat your child until they only need a “Few Stitches?” A casual, horrific statement that shows the
mind set of Marianna.
ORIGINAL VIDEO. ALSO MANY THANKS TO THE ST.PETE TIMES, BEN MONGOMERY, WAVENEY ANN
MOORE & EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN ALSO TO BRENDAN FARRINGTON AP WHO TOOK THE STORY
NATIONWIDE AFTER THE CEREMONY NOTE: Video moved to left top of page temporarily.
events unless specifically stated on this website.
699 1st Ave N
St Petersburg, FL 33701
|A Project Dedicated to the Survivors of the “WhiteHouse”
P.O. Box 5817 Clearwater, Fl. 33758
Media Director : Robert Straley 727-542-4519 email@example.com
Project Founder: Michael O’McCarthy
schools at Marianna and Okeechobee. “Somebody should have blown the whistle on Marianna a long time ago”
FOUNTAIN | Times]
Metal crosses line a
hilltop where some of
the children who died at
the Dozier School for
Boys in Marianna are
struggle” Quote: Edmund Burke
FLOGGINGS & ABUSE AT FSB WAS WELL
KNOWN BY STATE OFFICIALS-–WHY WAS
NOTHING DONE SOONER? 97 Reports Then
With Boys” last article.
during a back sugery. Michael was one of those rare individuals that shake the world. Without him
and his journalistic ties, this story may have never reached the press.
love leaves a memory no one can steal.
his journey’s just begun
life holds so many facets
this earth is only one.
FOR EXCELLENCE IN COVERAGE OF TRAUMA
another case where the civil rights of adult convicts
were violated. Where were our civil rights?
TREATMENT IN LETTER TO GOVERNOR
LEROY COLLINS—MARCH 11,
1958—WHY WAS THIS IGNORED ?
Steve Bousquet Times/Herald
flogging childern after Gov. Hardee
banned this as “Too brutal for even
hardened adult convicts” in 1922 after
Martin Tabert’s death by the whip ?
commented R.A. McFarland, Head of the Sheriff’s
Juvenile Aid Bureau. “According to the civil rights laws
you can’t beat an adult. Why allow the beating of
children?” From the Miami News March 5, 1958
LOCAL FARMS TO HARVEST CROPS
THIS WAS ILLEGAL
been few more remarkable figures than Marjory Stoneman Douglas.”
to eliminate corporal punishment & restraints in public schools and juvenile facilities
nationwide & to move juveniles out of facilities & into alternative programs.
Breaking News:JUST IN: “FDLE REPORTS NO CHARGES TO BE FILED” ALSO also “With Law In PLace” Scott Signs Bill To Bury Children Of Dozier” also “Fl Cabinet Gets Final Report From Professor Erin Kimmerle” “Story Read by 1.18 Billion” also “White House Boys , Aware Show Reaches 1.2 Million” also “USF Gets $400,000 Grant From National Insitute Of Justice” also “USF Awarded $132,000 Grant For Cold Cases” also “3D Printed Skulls Created By Dr. Erin Kimmerle” also “Scott, state officials debate future of Dozier school site” also “Fla Cabinet & Jeff Atwater Talk Dozier Exhumations-What’s Next” also “USF DOZIER DNA UPDATE” also “Senator Nelson Calls For Federal Probe” also “Investigators Exhume Dead Boy’s Coffin in Pa. No Body Inside” also “Former Governor Bob Martinez takes up fight to get reparations for Dozier victims”
NEWS VIDEO: CLICK HERE FOR BROWSER’S WITHOUT
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room where floggings with leather whips
were administered to boys as young as
eight to ten years old. Some 25-50-100
lashes were the rule of the day. The
marjority of the floggings were carried out
on the younger boys, ages 8-13
Hardee in 1922 as too brutal a
punishment for hardened convicts. It
would continue on at The Florida School
For Boys until 1968. This is the worst
case of institutional child abuse in the
His brutal death led to the ban of flogging in
1922,but not for FSB!! This same whip was
used on the children of FSB for the next 45
browsing history for new content to show.
FLORIDA: START READING ON PAGE 15, A
DAMNING TESTIMONY FROM THEIR OWN
MOUTHS (FSB STAFF)
discipline,or as a matter of whim. Mr. Bowers remembers, “they would spank the boys when they did wrong or really whenever they wanted to. Some of
them they treated pretty bad. Sometimes they’d spank the children until they couldn’t sit down for days. Many beatings were administered with a
“weighted-leather-flogging strap. “Source: http://www.law.fsu.edu/library/flsupct/78161/78161ini.pdf starting at page 15-18. Testimony from a court document.
The Tampa Bay Times Series:
“For Their Own Good”
2010 Dart Award
Pulitzer Prize Finalist
WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE BOYS ORGANIZATION
BREAKING NEWS! 8-2-17
From Tallahassee Democrat:
Dozier School for Boys survivors want state to pay
James Call, Democrat Capitol Reporter Published 6:34 p.m. ET Aug. 1, 2017 | Updated 9:37 p.m. ET Aug. 1, 2017
The White House Boys bypass traditional claims process and will seek compensation for mental, physical and sexual abuse at a state reform school
The White House Boys were not among the 34 claims bills filed Tuesday by lawmakers for the 2018 legislative session. Instead, a general bill will be filed in both the House and Senate to pay the now elderly men for the brutal abuse they endured as teens while held in state custody at a Marianna reform school.
Gene Luker and James “Harley” De Nyke share some of their experiences at the Dozier School for Boys decades ago Ryan Dailey/ Democrat
“The psychological injury they suffered while in state custody is still with them. They are the walking dead,” said Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg. “And there are many who believe they deserve compensation for the mental and physical injuries they endured in state custody.”
Rouson will sponsor a bill to give money to the more than 400 White House Boys who said they were beaten and sexually abused at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys. Rep. Tracy Davis, D-Jacksonville, will be the House sponsor.
The Florida Legislature officially apologized to the men in April for the abuse they endured while held in state custody in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran told the men he had “heartfelt remorse” it had taken the state so long to apologize and called the 2017 resolution a “good first step.
“Those words took a big burden off my heart when I heard the apology,” said Jerry Coleman, the 72-year-old president of the White House Boys Association. “Florida surprised me. I never expected to hear those words.”
Rouson is working to craft legislation to get money to the now senior citizens. The case presents a unique situation for Florida law. The state prohibits governments to pay more than $200,000 per person in damages. If a settlement exceeds that amount then the Legislature must authorize the spending – in a claims bill.
But the White House Boys don’t fit squarely in the claims process Florida has developed. Thirty-one of the 34 claims bill filed Tuesday were for cases involving one individual.
No one knows how many Dozier victims there may be. The school operated for 111 years before the state closed it six years ago.
Rouson and Davis will address eligibility requirements, set up how the compensation will be distributed and how much people are entitled to.
Boys would be rustled from their sleep and taken to the White House on the grounds of the Dozier School for Boys where they would be flogged with a leather strap for offenses such as eating wild berries and not snitching on others. (Photo: file)
“It is my intention to work with leadership to come up with an appropriate way to ensure the validity of these claims and the equity in compensation,” said Rouson.
Cooper said he was unaware of the legislative maneuvering Rouson is doing on behalf of his 400-member group
“Well, God bless them if they do that but I don’t need the money,” said Coleman from his Cape Coral home. “But, I’ll tell you this. Any man who went into that building deserves compensation. What they did to us would make you sick to your stomach.”
While the White House Boys failed to get a claims bill filed, individuals in 34 other cases did beat the deadline. Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, is carrying two of them. He’s seeking about $1.1 million for two constituents injured by a government entity through negligence.
One involved a man injured in a motorcycle accident and the other a timber farmer who lost a crop when a prescribed burn jumped a creek.
Twenty-one-year-old Christopher Cannon crashed a motorcycle into a city bus when it crossed in front of him at Old Bainbridge Road and Capital Circle NW. He and the City of Tallahassee reached a $700,000 settlement. Montford seeks authorization for the outstanding $500,000 Cannon is owed.
Shuler Limited Partnership said it lost 835 acres of timber in Franklin County nine years ago in a prescribed burn. Embers from a prescribed burn jumped Cash Creek in Tate’s Hell State Forest and ignited Shuler’s Pasture at the headwaters of Apalachicola Bay. The First District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s finding that the Forest Service was negligent and responsible for the damage.
Montford’s bill seeks $670,000 for SLP. It is the fourth time he has sponsored the bill.
Reporter James Call can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ATTENTION WHITE HOUSE BOYS:
MESSAGE FROM GREG HOAG!
Just so you know, I just spoke to Kim Case and she told me that the formal apology in the House will NOT be next Tuesday. It will be at a later date during the session, and she’ll let me know of that date.
Based on my conversation with her, I don’t think clients should attend Tuesday’s meeting, but rather wait until resolution is read on the floor at a date TBD. Stay tuned.
LATEST VIDEOS FROM OUR STATE CAPITAL IN TALLAHASSEE
TUESDAY, APRIL 18th
House Session/Passage of HR 1335 Apology and Passage of HB 7115: Starts at 6:30 finishes at 26:00 minutes
NEWS! FLORIDA LEGISLATURE PRESS CONFERENCE REGARDING THE PLOT OF THE WHITE HOUSE BOYS AND THE STATE’S FORMAL APOLOGY AND OTHER AMENDS TO THE MEN WHO SUFFERED AT THE FLORIDA REFORM SCHOOLS AT MARIANNA AND OKEECHOBEE. HELD ON 4-4-17. TOPIC: FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS (FSB). Senator Rouson and Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran. COPY AND PASTE THIS LINK INTO YOUR BROWSER: http://thefloridachannel.org/videos/4417-press-conference-legislation-acknowledging-abuse-state-run-reform-school/
MIAMI HERALD Naked Politics
Apology on the way for those beaten at state reform school, but could more be done?
The men who survived years of beatings and torture at a reform school in north Florida when they were children are finally on the cusp of getting a formal apology from the state for what they went through.
But even as House and Senate leaders were celebrating the progress of legislation that will formally apologize for what happened at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, made clear the fight to honor the victims – both living and dead – isn’t over at least for him.
Corcoran said Tuesday that the victims deserve more, including “possibly” compensation from the state and he will continue to look for a way to bring to justice the last remaining living guard who he says was responsible for some of what happened at the school in the small Panhandle town of Marianna where children for 111 years were sent for everything from skipping school to “being incorrigible.”
“We went through every machination to try to figure out how we can still prosecute him and bring him to justice,” Corcoran said. “We’ll still work on it. We’re not giving up.”
Corcoran said both ideas may not come to fruition this year, but he’s determined to make sure a formal apology is not the last step in the process of acknowledging what was done to children as young a 6 years of age in the the state’s care.
Corcoran said what is happening over the next few weeks in the Legislature is “a good solid, minimum first step” but he himself issued an apology to the dozens of men at the Florida Capitol Building for the Legislature taking so long to acknowledge the horrors of Dozier.
On Tuesday morning, the Florida Senate’s Judiciary Committee took the first step toward apologizing to the thousands of children sent to Dozier. That committee, after hearing heart wrenching testimony from more than a half dozen survivors of the school, unanimously passed a resolution that expresses regret that “children of this state were subjected to the cruelty and abuse” at Dozier. On Thursday, the House will have a similar bill heard in committee, but also calls for paying for memorials to be erected in Tallahassee and Marianna to assure the tragedies at the school are never forgotten.
Bryant E. Middleton, one of those to testify, told the Judiciary Committee that he suffered beatings during his tenure at the school from 1959 to 1961 for such minor offenses as eating berries off a bush, mispronouncing an instructor’s name and saying he wanted to run away. One day he said he and another boy tried to run away. When they were caught, he said they were taken to the infamous “White House” where savage beatings were administered.
“I lost count at 56, I passed out,” Middletown said as other men who had been at Dozier in the audience sobbed. “I awoke in a room, laying on the bed with a bloody night gown, blood running down my leg. As a child.”
After the men spoke, State Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Melbourne, choked up when she talked about struggling to comprehend that while she was a child growing up in the 1960s, other children were being savagely beaten at the hands of the state.
“Our pledge would be that this never happens again to a child in the state,” Mayfield said as she used a tissue to wipe tears from her eyes.
Stories had swirled for decades about harsh conditions at Dozier, open from 1900 to 2011. In 2012, University of South Florida anthropologists began investigating burial grounds on the campus, where pipe crosses marked what was said to be the final resting place for 31 boys who died there. Using ground penetrating radar and excavation techniques, they found 55 graves, many in the woods outside the marked cemetery. Remains were found buried under trees and brush and under an old road.
USF anthropologists last year presented a report to the Florida Cabinet that showed most of the deaths were caused by illness, but others involved shootings, drownings and beatings.
Jerry Cooper, president of the White House Boys Organization that advocates on behalf of the people abused at the school, said his group is not pushing for compensation for victims at this point. He said what they wanted first and foremost was to get an apology for what happened at the school. But he said if the state ever does consider the idea, he hopes any man who ever had to set foot in the White House will be taken care of by the state.
VIDEO OF FLORIDA CABINET MEETING REGARDING THE FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS 9-29-15
COPY AND PASTE THIS LINK INTO YOUR BROWSER:
Note: Starts at around 2:17:34 and the Governor’s comments are at 2:42:40.
SOME MEMBERS OF THE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE BOYS AND OTHERS ATTENDED THE FLORIDA CABINET MEETING ON SEPTEMBER 29, 2015 REGARDING “DOZIER” (The Florida School for Boys). PAM BONDI AND GOVERNOR SCOTT APOLOGIZE FOR WHAT HAPPENED TO THESE MEN WHILE AT FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS aka DOZIER/ Note: Starts at around 2:17:34 and the Governor’s comments are at 2:42:40.
- ERIN KIMMERLE, OF USF, GIVES REPORT ON “DOZIER” PROPERTY TO THEFLORIDA CABINET, AND MEMBERS OF THE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE BOYS AND OTHER “WHITE HOUSE BOYS” RESPOND.
NOTE: This topic begins at 3:49:00 on the Video.
COPY AND PASTE THIS LINK INTO YOUR BROWSER:
FULL VIDEOS OF DOZIER TASK FORCE MEETINGS:
First Meeting of the Task Force:
To request copies of meeting materials associated with this agenda, but not included herein, contact Nicholas Yarbrough at the Division of Historical Resources at Nick.Yarbrough@DOS.MyFlorida.com or 850-245-6300
Members of the public who wish to provide comment to the Dozier Task Force can submit their recommendations via email to flheritage@DOS.MyFlorida.com. Under Florida law, email addresses are public records. If you do not want your email released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead contact this office by phone or in writing.
DOZIER TASK FORCE INFO regarding Florida School for Boys
See Reports in links below:
A childs marble, found in the pocket of a body, is seen during a news conference on Tuesday Chris O’Meara/AP
Researchers release composite sketch of boy buried at Dozier1
Posted: Apr 15, 2014 7:09 AM EDTUpdated: Apr 15, 2014 5:09 PM EDT
By: Gloria Gomez, FOX 13 News – bio
TAMPA (FOX 13) –
A just-released composite is our first look at one of the boys buried at Dozier.
It was made from the remains found at an unmarked grave.
Dr. Erin Kimmerle, who heads up the USF research team, says he is an African-American child, about 10 years old.
The stories of abuse and torture at the Dozier School for Boys have been buried for decades. Those secrets are slowly emerging from the graves.
But Kimmerle says it hasn’t been easy.
“When you’re looking at skeletal remains from years ago, you could be next to it and miss it,” Kimmerle said.
In February, investigators with USF discovered 55 bodies at Dozier — 24 more than the official count that was documented in state records.
Researchers hope to collect DNA from relatives to match them to the bodies exhumed.
Senator Bill Nelson says the families of those who died here deserve to know what happened.
“We owe it to the families to get to the bottom of this so they can have closure on what happened to their loved ones,” Nelson said.
Kimmerle says hi-tech X-ray equipment is helping them pinpoint the ages of the boys through dental analysis.
Read more: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/25248833/2014/04/15/usf-researchers-to-release-new-information-on-dozier-school-for-boys#ixzz338u0Hw8T
Follow us: @myfoxtampabay on Twitter | FOX13TampaBay on Facebook
Read more: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/25248833/2014/04/15/usf-researchers-to-release-new-information-on-dozier-school-for-boys#ixzz338ssDL7f
Follow us: @myfoxtampabay on Twitter | FOX13TampaBay on Facebook
OPPERMAN REPORT ON THE WHITE HOUSE BOYS
To All, Please slide the bar on the video at the bottom to approx. 1 hr. and 47 to hear how some of the Reps. support you. Here are good men and women of the state that have admitted to very serious injuries including Physical, Sexual, Mental abuse that they know is a lifetime damage to all of us. Progress is being made,just please hold together to the end, I beg of you!!!
Jerry Cooper Pres.
“Official White House Boys”
URGENT! TO ALL WHITE HOUSE BOYS AND SUPPORTERS, PLEASE READ!
TO ALL WHITE HOUSE BOYS,
I ask you to please read this article and try to understand how claims bill issues are so hard to become a reality in the STATE OF FLORIDA!!! It is not fair in any matter whatsoever. Please read and understand what it takes to even be considered for a bill.
If a bill is even to be considered for you, it takes a lot of hard work and effort for it to happen. You have the best legal team you could ever have, and lobbyists working very hard to try to convince the state that you absolutely should be compensated for what you were subjected to at such a young age. As well as all the damage we all have suffered because of nothing more than pure neglect and abuse that the state turned a blind eye to.
I have asked for a meeting with one of the legal team and it has been granted to me. As soon as I contact him to set it up, I will report to you the outcome. This meeting is totally in regards to the claims bill actions. I will be taking a couple of the men with me to this meeting.
As you are all aware, we already received an apology from the Florida Cabinet and the Governor at the meeting on Jan. 21st in Tallahassee. This, to me, is an admission of guilt by the state of Florida in the 50″s and 60″s. They have acknowledged they were responsible at that time for what took place. I have been asking for this apology for almost 8 years and could not believe this was done that day. This can only help in a possible bill to be passed.
I will be in Orlando on February 24th with several of you to meet and speak at the Association Of Defense Attorneys of Florida. I will report back to you afterwards. As you read the link I am sending you, we have to be considered a high profile case!!! Hope this might be some kind of relief for all of you. As the law team has said, there is no promise that a bill will be passed or even heard, but they are doing all they can do at this time to make this happen.
I am asking you to please pray for Robert “Bob” Baxter, Mike Sapp, John Patterson and several others who are having extremely bad health issues at this time. Once again, IT IS NOT OVER UNTIL WE THE “WHITE HOUSE BOYS” SAY’ IT’S OVER.
If that doesn’t work, try this link, but be aware there are a lot of ads on this page and it will take some time to load: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/feb/14/floridians-injured-by-government-struggle-for-com
Jerry Cooper, Pres “Official White House Boys”
Loose Ends Remain After USF Issues Report on Dozier
By MARK SCHREINER & MARGIE MENZEL OF THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA • JAN 22, 2016
USF anthropologist Erin Kimmerle shows slides from her team’s investigation of the Dozier Reform School for Boys at Thursday’s Florida cabinet meeting.
USF anthropologist Erin Kimmerle shows slides from her team’s investigation of the Dozier Reform School for Boys at Thursday’s Florida cabinet meeting.
STEVE CANNON / AP PHOTO
University of South Florida researchers presented their final report on the Robert G. Dozier School for Boys to the state cabinet Thursday, and even though this closes one chapter in a lengthy saga, a number of loose ends remain.
Using DNA samples from the remains and from family members, the research team successfully identified seven of the 51 sets of remains exhumed from 55 unmarked graves in a cemetery at the Marianna reform school. They also have presumptive identifications of 14 more sets.
However, of the many questions their work answered, there’s still an important one that lead anthropologist, Doctor Erin Kimmerle, faced Thursday from Attorney General Pam Bondi: could she say for sure that they found all the remains buried on Dozier’s 1,400 acres?
“That’s not something we could ever do given the size and scope of what we’re talking about,” Kimmerle said.
“We feel a very strong commitment to the families we have come to know through this process, and have worked with,” Kimmerle told Bondi and other cabinet officials, including Gov. Rick Scott. “I can tell you they are very grateful that you took this chance and allowed this to happen.”
And while the final report said there’s no evidence school staff were involved in any of the students’ deaths, it also said there’s no evidence to disprove the abuse that other students claim happened there. In a section from page 128 of the report, researchers said:
Often in cases of restorative justice or other truth-telling missions, it is imperative for victims and communities to establish the facts of what offenses occurred. Even in cases where law enforcement and prosecutors are unable to file criminal charges due to the statute of limitations or deaths of offenders, transparency and acknowledgement of the abuses are important components for reconciling conflict and restoring justice. In historical cases such as this, it is not always possible to find physical evidence of abuse. However, the collective testimonies from the same time period as past State Investigations in the early 1960s in which disciplinary action was taken against some of the staff, combined with the circumstantial findings in this investigation, lends to the credibility of the claims. It should be further stated that while we did not find physical evidence to substantiate such claims (though it was not our intent to do so), we did not find credible evidence to disprove or discredit the testimonies we did take. On the contrary, we found the testimonies used in our research to be honest and credible. Such testimonies as they relate to some of the death investigations have been summarized in this report.
Some of those now-grown students, members of a group known as the White House Boys, urged lawmakers to not allow the unidentified remains to be returned to Dozier’s graveyard.
Robert Straley was among those calling for a more proper memorial to what happened at the school.
“These boys’ lives were not lost in vain, for their story changed the laws of juvenile justice in Florida and their monument should be a shining reminder that decades of darkness cannot hide all things,” Straley said.
“These kids were not taken care of in life, and we’re afraid they are not going to be taken care of in death,” said White House Boys vice president Bill Price.
And Charles Fudge, a White House Boy who was sent to the school in 1960, said: “The property should never even be in consideration for sale, or anything other than finding the remaining graves and any bodies that are still buried there.”
Marianna officials would like to have the property, with some saying it would help start the healing process.
“My first thing will to be say to anybody that those before my time did wrong,” former Marianna mayor Elmore Bryant told the cabinet. “As Martin Luther King said, it’s never too late to make wrong right. I want to do that.”
Tallahassee NAACP President Dale Landry suggested turning a church on the Dozier grounds into a mausoleum to hold the remains, either as a temporary home in case they’re identified, or as a final resting place.
“They’ve got to keep in a sacred place,” Landry said. “What better place than that church at Dozier.”
Dr. Erin Kimmerle, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Dept. Master Detective Greg Thomas, Dr. Antoinette Jackson, and Dr. Christian Wells in Tallahassee Thursday for the presentation of the final report to the Florida cabinet.
CREDIT USF DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY
In addition to a memorial, lawmakers have to consider what will be done with the school grounds and buildings, which have been vacant since the state closed Dozier in 2011.
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam said leaving the school as it currently is is not an option.
“It would make it worse for it to turn into a caricature of itself, some haunted juvenile prison that just breeds more rumors and mythology and things as people drive by and see the kudzu take back over, I don’t think that’s what any of us want,” Putnam said.
One new issue disclosed Thursday could complicate the disposition of the property. USF anthropology professor Christian Wells said they discovered lead, arsenic, mercury and asbestos in some of the school grounds – a dangerous chemical cocktail possibly created by the methods and materials used to originally bury the boys.
A pair of bills have been filed that would allow reimbursements to family members of deceased boys to help cover the costs of reinterring bodies.
One bill, filed by Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, would allow payments of up to $7,500 per family. A bill in the House filed by Rep. Ed Narain, D-Tampa, would allow payments of $5,000.
Both call for setting aside $1.5 million in the 2016-2017 state budget to carry out the proposed bills.
Cabinet officials also indicated that a coalition of state funeral homes may end up picking up the cost to reinter any remains for families that can’t afford it. So far, four of the seven sets of remains that have been identified have been reburied.
USF researchers will continue attempting to find DNA matches for the unidentified remains. They’ll also talk about their work at a international conference to be held in Japan this summer.
The case will be the subject of a documentary scheduled to be released later this year. Kimmerle said Thursday the documentary will focus on five families of Dozier victims.
Kimmerle is also set to brief U.S. Senator Bill Nelson about the case on Friday. Nelson has called for a federal investigation of Dozier.
THE NEW YORKER
JANUARY 30, 2014
Fifty-five Bodies, and Zero Trials, at the Florida School for Boys
BY TIM WU
This week, the remains of fifty-five bodies were found in unmarked graves on the grounds of the former Florida School for Boys, in the panhandle town of Marianna. The reformatory school, which was operated by the state of Florida, and which closed in 2011, was notorious for its mistreatment of its students. In 1968, Florida’s governor at the time, Claude Kirk, said of the school, “Somebody should have blown the whistle a long time ago.” There have long been allegations of beatings, torture, and sexual abuse there; it now appears that some students were killed. The total number of bodies buried at the school has not been determined, but the forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle, the leader of the exhumation effort, which has been under way since September 2013, has said that it may exceed a hundred.
Some of the children died natural deaths, but the sheer number of bodies suggests that there may have been many killings, a possibility buttressed by eyewitness accounts. Yet Florida’s prosecutors have yet to file a single criminal charge, or even open a criminal investigation. To pass over crimes of this magnitude without investigation seems the very definition of injustice.
There is no statute of limitations for murder and other crimes causing death, which means that there is no legal bar to bringing charges. In Florida, all capital cases have long had no statute of limitations, and when these crimes were allegedly committed forcible rape was punishable by death. But there are challenges to prosecuting old crimes: given how much time has passed, it may be difficult to determine who was responsible for the killings, and many of the suspects, meanwhile, have already died, including the school’s longtime superintendent, Lenox Williams, who died in 2010. Some are still alive, including Troy Tidwell, an instructor at the school, who was accused of abuse in a class-action lawsuit filed by more than two hundred former students in 2009. (Tidwell denies the accusations, and the case was dismissed after a judge ruled that the statute of limitations on the charges had run out.)
In spite of these difficulties, a prosecutor still has many options in a case like this one. Scenes of mass death, like those caused by fires at night clubs in which the exits are blocked, are often prosecuted as cases of involuntary manslaughter. If the wantonly negligent operation of the school led to many deaths, the Florida School of Boys was like a deadly fire in slow motion. In addition, some of the school’s surviving employees and managers could potentially be prosecuted for felony murder—Florida law includes special provisions for deaths that occur during the abuse of minors—or, alternatively, members of the staff could be prosecuted as members of a conspiracy. There may also be fresher claims of obstruction of justice. A law student could probably find more options, let alone a dedicated prosecutor.
The case may be challenging, but great resources have been invested in prosecuting crimes far less heinous. However, Glenn Hess, the state attorney for the district that includes Marianna, has decided not to do anything at all. In 2009, an important investigation by the Tampa Bay Times prompted the governor’s office to order a state investigation, which for the most part took the school’s side of the story. After reviewing the report, Hess declined to open a criminal investigation. In a short letter, he cited the statute of limitations for lesser crimes, and the evidence of some conflicting testimony by victims. Both reasons are poor. Again, the statute of limitations is no bar to capital crimes for which there is testimonial evidence. And, while there may be conflicting testimony with respect to the killings and torture, there is certainly no shortage of it.
Any responsible prosecutor, especially now, given the discovery of more bodies, would at a minimum impanel a grand jury and begin collecting evidence. Hess has apparently had no direct exposure to the relevant testimony; it is his job to bring evidence of crimes to a grand jury, not to rule on the merits himself, based on secondhand evidence. As a rule of thumb, in cases alleging a series of murders and the torture of children, the prosecutor has a duty to try a little harder.
Florida’s official inaction stands in stark contrast to the robust prosecutorial response to charges of child abuse at a different state-run institution, Penn State. There, the Pennsylvania Attorney General, Linda Kelly, charged the main perpetrator, Jerry Sandusky, with forty-eight counts of sexual assault, and charged three other officials with lying to grand juries and taking other efforts to cover up the crime. In Florida, despite at least fifty-five dead bodies and dozens of victim statements of abuse, the criminal system is silent.
The story of the Florida School for Boys is so painful in part because difficult and delinquent boys are so easy to forget about. They are, in our time, the least among us, the most vulnerable, and the easiest to victimize. But this is precisely why the state of Florida should put the remaining old men on trial for crimes committed so long ago: to ignore such crimes is to compound the sin. We should not confirm the principle that some among us can be raped, tortured, or killed without repercussion. These dead boys, whose lives were discarded, should not be forgotten again.
Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia Law School and the author of “The Master Switch.”
Above: Anthropologists from the University of South Florida exhuming grave sites in the Boot Hill Cemetery at the Florida School for Boys. September 1, 2013. Photograph by Edmund D. Fountain/Pool/Reuters.
PHOTOS FROM USF’S SYMPOSIUM ON DOZIER – 100 YEARS AFTER THE FSB FIRE ARE READY. CLICK HERE TO VIEW!
BREAKING NEWS 6-2-15
IMPORTANT MESSAGEFROM OUR PRESIDENT,
RE: SEXUAL ABUSE AT FSB
As of yesterday, Monday, June 1, 2015, investigations have gone forward and interviews are being set up regarding the sexual abuse that you men endured while living on the campuses of Florida School for Boys “aka Dozier” at Marianna and Okeechobee. As of yesterday, men are being contacted, and dates and times are being assigned for their interviews with F.D.L.E. Our Legal team will be present at all of the interviews — either by telephone or in person.
The interviews will begin on June 16th, 2015. This is a big step in the right direction!
If you were a victim of sexual abuse during the 1940s through 1960s at either one of these schools, and you have made us aware of it, you will be contaacted. If you have not spoken to me or reported your sexual abuse at one of these schools during the 1940s, 50s or 60s to the lawyers, you must do so immediately! I can be reached at 239-542-3831 and the legal team’s info can be found HERE.
Jerry Cooper – President, The OFficial White House Boys Org — A White House Boy, FSB 1961
PHOTOS FROM WHITE HOUSE BOYS CHRISTMAS PARTY FOR THE BOYS AT ECKERD’S YOUTH ALTERNATIVES. DECEMBER 2014. CLICK HERE
OKEECHOBEE SCHOOL FOR BOYS – NEWS!
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT, JERRY COOPER – The Official White House Boys Organization:
On the April 14th,15th,and 16th a cadaver dog search will be done at the “Okeechobee School For Boys.”
Please read the email shown below. I have felt this search would not produce any finds ever since I was told about it by Capt. Rhoden. In the email you will see what Miss Erin’s thoughts are about it as well.
I met with Capt. Rhoden for 4 hrs. last week and “Harley” was also present. The Capt. is a good man, but I do not agree with him on some issues concerning this investigation. I once again asked him to use Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to aid in the search for possible bodies that might be located at this school, he claims it will not work!!!
I also want all of you to know, that during the Captain’s investigation, I reported to him that a guard had pointed out to me and Mike Sapp and made this statement to us: “Are you guys talking about the old school cemetery?” and he pointed in the direction I wanted to go to. When questioned about this statement by Rhoden, they denied this was done. I know this was done and so does Mike Sapp.
I saw several ledger books in the Captian’s office that cover years from the late 1950’s to the late 1960’s. At this time I have been refused to review these ledgers and the Capt. has also refused to allow me to go on the search with the cadaver dogs.
I will be totally in shock if this search with dogs is successful in any form as would Miss Erin. I will be present on the 14th when this search begins even though I am denied to go with them. My concern is: will they search where I have information on possible burials as reported to me by staff and inmates who were at and involved with the school?
Please remember that the men who were at Okeechobee suffered just as much as we at Marianna did, and I stand for them as well. We have, at this time, at least 8 dead boys from the period of 1959-1969, of which at least 4 whose cause of deaths are very questionable in my opinion. Having 8 dead is unheard of!!!!
I have been asked by media several times this week if I think there are some dead boys that are buried on this property and how many? I am only going to say that what I have been told by ex-staff and inmates that were there. I do think that there are some boys buried there. I would have no clue of how many.
If no bodies are located in this search, which I doubt there will be, I will approach Capt. Rhoden and make this offer: Will you allow an Independent Co. to do a Ground Penetrating Radar Search at locations I am aware of if I would make sure that the funding for this is done? Common sense tells me this… over 50 dead at Marianna and zero at Okeechobee?
Remember, the same predators that worked in Marianna opened Okeechobee. Frank Zitch held the boss position for 10 years, I think. He was a well known predator of Marianna.
At this time I can only hope that the Justice Dept. will agree to do their own investigation. God Bless all of you guys.
Please also read a letter that an employee of Okeechobee wrote to Mr. Dozier in 1963 giving up his job and THE REASON!!!!!! To read the letter CLICK HERE.
Pres.”Official White House Boys” F.S.B. 60-61
MY EMAIL ASKING ABOUT USING DOGS AT OKEECHOBEE TO SEARCH FOR BODIES:
On Apr 1, 2015 5:27 PM, “jerry” wrote:
Could you please send me e-mail back as soon as possible? I will be meeting with Capt. Rohden tomorrow for lunch in Okee. and I need your opinion about him using cadaver dogs to search for possible bodies that might be on the grounds there. The area was used for dairy farming for years and of course there would be smells that might be interfering with these dogs. Also if possible bodies there. They would probably be just fragments and pieces only left and probably no bodies if they exist would have been embalmed. What are the odds of finding 50 year old bodies with dogs??? Jerry Cooper
RESPONSE TO MY EMAIL ABOUT USING DOGS:
Dogs are not likely to work, but never hurts to try. I already talked with him about
this. He has the names of the best folks in FL.
To All White House Boys -And Okeechobee Boys,
I want to thank all of you for remembering me on my birthday yesterday,but the best present was sent from the legal team per e-mail to me today. This is the best news we have had to date and the legal team is moving forward with great progress and has just returned from Tallahassee after attending very successful meetings there. I will ask that you please contact one of the men that is noted in this email for a complete word for word update from the law firm. This info. is not to be discussed on Face Book or in any e-mail form other than phone contact among clients in any fashion please!!! God Bless All Of You. Here is a list of men to contact for the legal update.
James “Harley” De Nyke 407-365-5558
Gary Rice 803-586-3735
Terry Burns 941-705-5709
Bob Baxter 352-485-1310
Bill Price 813-918-5419
Jerry Cooper 239-542-3831
Jerry Cooper, Pres.
“Official White House Boys”
NEWS FROM THE LEGAL TEAM:
To All White House Boys,
The legal team called me today and gave me an update on your legal matters. This is what they said, “Meetings with the Legislators have been going on just recently, and more will take place after the first of the year because of the holidays. A press conference is due to take place in January in Tallahassee by the legal team involving these matters.” Hopefully some real good news is on the horizon very shortly. Greg Hoag seemed very optimistic for the coming weeks!!! Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and remember you have the best legal team possible!!!!
Jerry Cooper FSB 60-61
FOR ANOTHER LETTER FROM PRESIDENT, JERRY COOPER, CLICK HERE PLEASE.
NOTE: MANY OF THE VIDEOS AND EVEN SOME OF THE PHOTO GALLERIES CONTAIN FILES TOO LARGE TO VIEW FROM A CELL PHONE OR A TABLET, AND MUST BE VIEWED ON A PC!
NEWS! STATE OF FLORIDA HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HR-1335, SPONSERED BY REPRESENTATIVE TRACIE DAVIS, REGARDING THE FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS (AKA FSB / DOZIER) ON 4-6-17. COPY AND PASTE THIS LINK INTO YOUR BROWSER:
and start at 9:28: http://thefloridachannel.org/videos/4617-house-judiciary-committee/
ABC ACTION NEWS 4-4-17
COPY AND PASTE THIS LINK INTO YOUR BROWSER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcM3sCTtK2k
3/23 SENATE REPORT, WITH HOUSE SPEAKER, RICHARD CORCORAN SPEAKING ABOUT FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS aka “Dozier”. Start the video at 18:00.
COPY AND PASTE THIS LINK INTO YOUR BROWSER:
DETAILED REPORT ON ABUSE AT MARIANA AND OKEECHOBEE FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS (DOZIER) – CLICK HEREto read!
READ MORE NEWS HERE
READ THE FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS NEWSPAPER “THE YELLOW JACKET” HERE. ONCE YOU CLICK ON A MONTH, YOU CAN CLICK THE CONTROL “CTRL” BUTTON AND THE LETTER ‘F’ AT THE SAME TIME, WHICH WILL GIVE YOU A SEARCH BOX, TO LOOK FOR A NAME OR A SPECIFIC TOPIC.
COPY AND PLACE IN YOUR BROWSER:
2016 REUNION PHOTOS AND OUR CHARITY, ECKERD’S YOUTH ALTERNATIVES CHRISTMAS PARTY PHOTS AS WELL, CLICK HERE
BILLEY JACKSON, R.I.P.
READ THE STORY HERE:
IMPORTANT!!!!! PLEASE READ!!!!!
To The Honorary Governor Rick Scott And Cabinet Members Of The State Of Florida,
My name is Jerry Cooper and I am the president of the “Official White House Boys.” I am asking all of you to please take into consideration, to take down the building located on the Dozier School property known as the White House. I have spoken to Secretary Of State Ken Detzner, and Cabinet member Adam Putnam, in the past 3 weeks about doing this and it has also been presented to cabinet member Jeff Atwater. It seems that they are in favor for our request to demolish this building by the request of the vast majority of the men known as the “White House Boys”.
This building represents the worst kind of evil that could be inflicted upon children and should not be allowed to stand in place any more. We feel we should be the ones who should bring down this building down for what it represents to us. It would bring some closure to all of us including myself if you would honor our request. The damage that was done to us in this place which included severe physical damage, mental,and emotional problems, which will never heal. We will all take this to our grave,and many have already. This building was also used to sexually abuse many of the younger boys who were totally defenseless in stopping these terrible acts. We know that some of these beatings most likely led to some of the boys death, and there is no doubt to us about this. Some of us took over a 100 lashes with the very strap you see O.J. Keller holding in this picture.
If you would please consider doing this for us,it would benefit in so many ways for all concerned, and especially we known as “The White House Boys.” We ask also if you do this for us, we who are able to travel would be allowed to attend the destruction of this place. I would also like to say that we know that you who represent the state of Florida today, had nothing to do with what was inflicted upon us as young children,but we hold the state of Florida as being responsible for the damage we all suffered as young children who needed help, and not torture. For you that will be moving ahead on the next elections, “Thank You For A Job Well Done” Last but not least, we have been asking and begging for an official apology from the state legislators for nearly a decade.
Respectfully, Jerry Cooper Pres. “Official White House Boys”
Emotional debate as panel weighs Dozier School memorial
COPY AND PASTE THIS LINK INTO YOUR BROWSER:
Tampa, FL — There was emotional debate Friday in the Florida panhandle, regarding how and where a memorial for victims at the Dozier School for boys should be placed.
It’s a dark, shameful chapter in Florida’s history.
By many witness accounts, hundreds of boys were abused tortured over several decades – some even killed at the now shuttered reform school.
Bones have since been found in unmarked graves, exhumed by scientists at the University of South Florida. Using DNA from surviving family members, a small handful of those remains have been identified and returned to relatives for a proper burial.
It was clear during the hearing, which took place in Marianna, the city where the school operated for more than 100 years, that panel members will face some difficult decisions.
Remains which have not been identified will become part of a permanent memorial.
Some have suggested a site in Tampa, perhaps at USF where — as DNA advancements are made — more victims could be exhumed and perhaps identified.
“I apologize if there was something done wrong before my birth,” said Eric Hill, a Jackson County Commissioner, wrestling – like many from the area – with the sins of the past.
Many now living in Marianna and Jackson County tell panel members they don’t want the memorial at Dozier itself.
“We are not for hiding anything. But the citizens in our community are not for sensationalizing the negativity associated with the reform school,” said Marianna City Manager Jim Dean.
Still, others, including the so-called White House Boys, referring to the structure at Dozier where some of the worst abuses occurred, say it’s the last place those who died at the school would want to be laid to rest.
The organization’s president, Jerry Cooper, held up a picture of one of the teen victims for the panel to see.
“He lost his life because he was trying to get away,” said Cooper.
Other contend a memorial in Tampa or South Florida would leave visitors confused.
Dr. David Jackson, a professor at FAMU, said other cities had taken ownership of their tragedies against humanity, citing Columbine, even Nazi concentration camps.
People could be left wondering, said Jackson, why it hadn’t been placed at Dozier itself, “As opposed to the place where the tragedy actually took place.”
“These are local boys. Those are our boys,” added Stephen Britt, whose uncle died at Dozier.
The final decision on where to place the Dozier memorial will be up to state lawmakers, who have asked the task force to make its recommendation by Oct. 1.
BAY NEWS 9
Panel on Dozier victims reinterment sends issue back to legislature
By Troy Kinsey, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, August 19, 2016, 11:11 PM
The panel charged with recommending the final resting place of dozens of bodies uncovered on what was previously the Dozier School for Boys voted Friday to hand the task to the Florida Legislature.
Some panel members wished remains interred on Dozier campus
Others wished remain re-interred closer to Central Florida
Panel recommended memorials be built in Tallahassee, Jackson County
After two meetings consumed by deep disagreements between the Dozier Task Force’s members, it became clear that a resolution to the reinterment issue couldn’t be reached. The divisions broke largely along racial lines, with the panel’s African-American members arguing for the remains to be laid to rest on the Dozier campus in Marianna, 60 miles west of Tallahassee.
White members of the panel, however, largely advocated to move the remains to a site along the I-4 corridor.
“The majority of the boys who went there were from the central part of Florida, and those boys died because they tried to run away and leave there,” said Charles Fudge, a former Dozier student. “Why would we want to leave their bodies there?”
The majority of the remains have been identified as belonging to African-American students who are believed to have been beaten to death by Dozier staff, predominantly in the 1950s and ’60s. Moving the bodies to a site hundreds of miles from the campus, critics contend, would prevent Dozier’s history from being fully memorialized and could even prompt vandalism.
“Why drive to Tampa to watch a bunch of, to see a lot of stones that’s been crushed up by the hammerheads, by the skinheads, by the Aryan Brotherhood, by the Ku Klux Klan or any of those eighteen hate groups headquartered in Hillsborough County?” asked Stephen Britt, whose uncle died at Dozier in 1946.
Britt had proposed reintering the remains in Gadsden County, which is a short drive from Marianna and has a majority African-American population. That idea failed to gain enough support, however, and the task force ultimately chose to recommend reintering unclaimed remains in Tallahassee until the legislature determines a final resting place.
Members also agreed to recommend that Dozier memorials be built in Tallahassee and Jackson County, where the school is located.
It was clear, however, that some members considered their business unfinished.
“If you don’t start coming together like brothers and sisters, all of us are going to die like fools,” said Jerry Cooper, a former Dozier student and leader of the ‘White House Boys’, a group named for the infamous Dozier building where the most horrific beatings occurred.
LATEST NEWS: CAPITOL CONNECTION
Passions Run High During First Meeting Of Panel Tasked With Discussing Dozier Memorial
By SASCHA CORDNER • 16 HOURS AGO
Members of the Dozier Task Force met for the first time Wednesday. Among them are Stephen Britt (left)—the relative of a boy discovered on the Dozier grounds—and Jerry Cooper (right), the President of the White House Boys, a group of former wards of the Dozier school who say they were abused.
CREDIT SASCHA CORDNER / WFSU-FM
Wednesday marked the first meeting of a task force assigned to create a memorial for the uncovered remains associated with Dozier School for Boys, the former North Florida reform school where boys believed to be buried there died, due to alleged abuse.
Listen to the 1 hour audio of the meeting here:
Passions ran high during the preliminary meeting of the Dozier Task Force. At issue is the memorialized location of unidentified remains. Stephen Britt—the relative of a boy discovered on the Dozier grounds—feels it should be on the Marianna property, so everyone can remember.
“To bury them together, it will send a signal out to everyone that Jackson County and Marianna have evolved into the next level into humanity,” said Britt.
But, others, like Jerry Cooper, disagreed. Cooper along with several other men say they were physically or sexually abused at Dozier.
“Being a former resident of the former school for Boys aka Dozier, I can tell you a 100 reasons why they should not be returned to this property,” said Cooper.
Final recommendations to the legislature on the memorial will be decided at the next August 19th meeting.
For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.
Note to All White House Boys, Families, Friends & Supporters / Public:
If you can not attend the August 19th Public Meeting regarding the Dozier task force, and want your opinions to be represented, please contact Jerry Cooper at 239-542-3877 or 239-994-1280 or email email@example.com
Official White House Boys President, Jerry Cooper, has been assigned to the State’s “Dozier Task Force”. He wishes to present your opinions on the following question to the Task Force.
Please respond via email or US mail to the addresses at the bottom of this post. All responses MUST be in writing via email or snail mail and signed and dated.
QUESTION – Where should be children’s remains be reinterred? If you are unfamiliar with this matter: The boys were found buried improperly and irreverently in various places on the Florida School for Boys aka “Dozier” property in Marianna, Florida – some near the dump, some under roads, some in shallow graves. There was no ledger or plot map for their graves. They had no name markers or headstones.
The majority of the White House Boys we have spoken to have stated they do NOT want the bodies returned to the Dozier property where they met their untimely demise and were improperly buried with no reverence. What is your opinion? Please feel free to share all your thoughts including where the boys should be reinterred, ideas for a memorial? Other idea & thoughts? Responses MUST be in writing via email or snail mail. (info below)
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!
Please email your responses to:firstname.lastname@example.org
or mail to:
5511 SW 14th Place, Cape Coral, FL 33914, USA
More on the Dozier Task Force:
(b) By October 1, 2016, the task force shall submit its
145 recommendations to the Department of State regarding the
146 creation and maintenance of a memorial and the location of a
147 site for the reinterment of unidentified or unclaimed remains.
READ Below to learn more:
Tampa Bay Times by Ben Montgomery
TAMPA — There wasn’t much left of the boys.
By the time she came for them and brought them up from the earth and spread them on tables in a basement lab on Maple Drive in Tampa, they were in hundreds of pieces, some as small as a fingernail. All that remained of some of them could fit inside a lunch box.
It took imagination to remember that they were boys once, before their childhoods ran out at the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, before they were buried without the dignity of headstones, before they were lost to time. All 55 of them were, in the cold language of forensics, unidentified human remains.
Erin Kimmerle wanted to give them their names back.
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE
ABC Action News Coverage of the Dozier Task Force Meeting August 3, 2016
The Lost Children of Dozier
Part2 Pictures is excited to announce the premiere of the documentary special, Deadly Secrets: The Lost Children of Dozier.
The two-hour film follows Forensic Anthropologist Erin Kimmerle & reporter Ben Montgomery as they unravel the troubling history — institutionalized abuse, unmarked graves, and possible murders — behind a Florida reform school.
Watch the movie here: http://www.mylifetime.com/movies/deadly-secrets-the-lost-children-of-dozier
WHEN: This Friday, 6/3 at 8/7c
WHERE: Lifetime Movie Network (LMN)
LMN (Lifetime Channel) to Premiere the Documentary Special, “Deadly Secrets: The Lost Children of Dozier,” Friday, June 3 at 8pm ET/PT
The Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida was supposed to be a place where troubled kids could go to straighten out their lives.[via press release from LMN]
LMN to premiere the documentary special, Deadly Secrets: The Lost Children of Dozier, Friday, June 3 at 8pm ET/PT, uncovering the dark truths of a story that shocked the nation. The Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida was supposed to be a place where troubled kids could go to straighten out their lives. What these boys found there would instead leave lasting scars and dozens of unexplained deaths. More than 15,000 boys from poor families, ages 5 to 18, were sentenced to this isolated stretch of the Florida panhandle to live and work among the cotton fields. Since the school opened in 1900 and until it closed in 2011, it has been plagued by allegations of institutionalized beatings, torture, sexual abuse and even murder. Over the years, dozens of grieving families have been left only with the questions about why their beloved boys died mysteriously or simply disappeared. To date, no one individual has ever been held accountable.
In Deadly Secrets: The Lost Children of Dozier, we follow the work of forensic anthropologist Dr. Erin Kimmerle from the University of South Florida, who has made it her personal mission to uncover the truth behind these mysterious deaths and disappearances. With unprecedented access to family members, photography and old records, Dr. Kimmerle and reporter Ben Montgomery expose the truth behind Dozier’s missing boys, providing closure to families that have been haunted by this nightmare for decades.
Deadly Secrets: The Lost Children of Dozier is produced by Part2Pictures. Amy Bucher is Executive Producer and Heidi Burke is the Director. Laura Fleury and Jennifer Wagman executive produce for LMN.
Read more at http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news/2016/05/20/lmn-to-premiere-the-documentary-special-deadly-secrets-the-lost-children-of-dozier-friday-june-3-at-8pm-et-pt-307412/20160520lmn01/#rLMBOJRySXlZ2fKv.99
TAMPA BAY TIMES
CRIME & COURTS
Lingering question from Dozier school report: What to do with remains
University of South Florida researchers found the remains of 55 people in a graveyard at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.
By Jeff Schweers
Tribune/Naples Daily News Capital Bureau Published: January 21, 2016Updated: January 22, 2016 at 05:40 AM
Scott OKs bill to pay for Dozier school reburials
TALLAHASSEE — A University of South Florida team of anthropologists has dug up its last body at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, but the task of identifying them all and finding their surviving family members could take years.
Also ahead are questions of what to do with the bodies that haven’t been identified, what kind of memorial to build for the boys of Dozier, getting state money to help with the burials, and deciding what to do with the land, which turns out to be laced with contaminants.
“We are finished with the field work and lab work, but we are still working on some identification issues,” said Erin Kimmerle, a University of South Florida forensic anthropologist who began the project of finding and identifying the bodies at the 1,400-acre campus in 2012.
Kimmerle delivered the team’s final report to the Florida Cabinet on Thursday, presenting Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam with photographs and artifacts of the dig.
“I don’t think it takes an act of the Legislature to say what needs saying, but I’m really sorry for what those boys endured as wards of the state,” Putnam said.
Also at the hearing were Marianna and Jackson County officials and civic leaders, relatives of former inmates, and members of the White House Boys — a group of former inmates at Dozier who get their name from a building where they were taken to be whipped.
Putnam encouraged them all to get together with the Departments of State and Environmental Protection to come up with an appropriate memorial.
“We need to remember these victims and have an opportunity to heal by doing something with that property,” he said.
Over three years, a team that included more than 100 volunteers from 20 agencies excavated 55 graves around an area called the Boot Hill Burial Ground, marked by 31 white metal crosses, as well as the site of a 1914 dormitory fire and the south campus.
They found 51 bodies, but three were charred too present any usable DNA remains, Kimmerle said.
To identify the remains, the USF team exhausted every credible lead, all developed by examining ledgers, talking to witnesses and pursuing stories, Kimmerle said.
“At this point, we have gone down all those different paths and have no more information to say we need to look here,” she said. “If I believed there were more, I’d still be up there doing the work.”
The bodies of seven boys have been identified to date, four of them returned to their families and buried. The relatives include Robert Stephens, whose paternal nephew was traced to Tampa.
The three other bodies are pending “repatriation,” Kimmerle said, including the two most recently identified — Loyd Dutton of Lee County and Grady Huff of St. Petersburg. Dutton, who died in 1918, had the oldest DNA sample found, she said. Investigators traced his DNA to a great grand-nephew. His time of death coincided with an influenza outbreak at the school, but the cause of death is unknown.
Huff died in 1935 from “acute nephritis, followed by hernia” 211 days after his arrival at Dozier. They matched his DNA remains to a maternal cousin and three other cousins.
“We don’t even know who these children are except through scientific and DNA analysis,” said Jerry Cooper, president of the White House Boys. “I’m disgusted at the way children were taken care of and the way they died.”
USF will continue its partnership with the University of North Texas, where DNA samples were sent for analysis, said Greg Thomas, a master detective with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
“It may be many years before we get a hit on a particular DNA sample,” Thomas said.
Working on the project confirmed the effectiveness of forensic anthropology in helping police identify bodies, Thomas said. “So far the record proves technology and biological analysis works, especially with degraded remains.”
Kimmerle has been helping the sheriff’s office for years. Thomas first worked with the USF anthropologist on a 2010 murder investigation, identifying a body that had been found under a concrete slab in a yard in Plant City. Kimmerle identified the body as missing lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated the Panhandle reform school in 2009 only to confirm what school records reported – the 31 boys buried at Boot Hill were all accounted for and were not victims of foul play. The school was shut down in 2011.
Kimmerle and her team found otherwise.
Assembled with the financial assistance of the Legislature, the USF provost’s office, the National Institute of Justice, and private donations, the team set out to locate and identify missing children buried at the 1,400-acre Dozier campus.
The team found 20 more unmarked graves than they were expecting.
“They need to continue to search,” said Peggy Marx of Lake City, widow of Frank Marx, one of the White House Boys. “They need to take the men that dug the graves on the site and show them where they dug.”
Some mysteries remain unsolved, such as how the children died. Some died in the 1914 dormitory fire, others died during the 1918 influenza outbreak, but records only mentioned the number of deaths and didn’t give their names.
Family members and former students who are now adults have said for decades that children were killed by guards or disappeared under suspicious circumstances.
Andrew Puel, who co-authored several books with Roger Dean Kiser, founder of the White House Boys, told the Cabinet about an inmate who worked in the kitchen and saw a boy chased into the woods by an employee who drew his pistol and shot the boy.
The USF investigation didn’t address those reports. A lack of documentation and incomplete records made proving cause of death nearly impossible, researchers said, and “many questions persist about who is buried at the school and the circumstances surrounding their deaths.”
The investigation also found that three-quarters of the unnamed missing children were African-American. “This investigation showed the impact of segregation,” said USF anthropology profess Antoinette Jackson.
The school was segregated until 1968.
Tallahassee NAACP President Dale Landry said something needs to be done with the bodies, which are currently being stored at USF’s forensics lab.
“The state has a responsibility for the remains until they are returned to their families, which might be next year or 20 years from now,” Landry said.
The church at Dozier could be turned into mausoleum, he told the Cabinet.
“They’ve got to keep in a sacred place,” Landry said. “What better place than that church at Dozier.”
Legislation has been introduced by Rep. Ed Narain, D-Tampa, to preserve records, archives, artifacts and other historical resources, maintain a memorial to the victims, and provide money to help families to reinter the bodies of their loved ones once they are identified.
USF anthropology professor Christian Wells, the lead archaeologist on the investigative team, said soil samples uncovered a potentially deadly chemical contamination on the Dozier campus. His samples found traces of mercury, lead, arsenic and asbestos.
“Some portions of the campus could be very unhealthy and needs an environmental assessment,” Wells said.
The cabinet, sitting as the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, needs to decide how to move forward, said Jon Steverson, secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.
The ball may be in DEP’s court next.
“It seems like the direction was to take a look at the environmental situation,” said David Clark, director of the department’s Office of Cabinet Affairs.
Faith leaders searching for spot to bury unnamed Dozier boys
Nearly 50 boys still unidentified
5:48 PM, Aug 11, 2015
1:50 AM, Aug 12, 2015
They are boys buried in unmarked, shallow graves – some of them orphans. But history has not forgotten them.
“People tried to bury them so that they would never be known,” said Reverend Russell Meyer. “We had to do right by these remains. These are human beings.”
“They could have been any one of our boys,” he added.
Six Tampa Bay families have brought their loved ones home from the Dozier School for Boys to bury them properly.
“I couldn’t believe it after 73 and a half years of fighting and looking and hoping and praying,” said Ovell Krell, whose brother has been identified.
But what will happen to the nearly 50 other remains that are unidentified?
“From what I understand among the surviving families, none of them want to see any of the unidentified boys go back there either. They should be set free,” Reverend Russell said.
Russell, executive director of the Interfaith Commission for Florida’s Children and Youth, is now charged with finding a place to bury these Dozier boys with no names excavated by USF scientists.
“So then the question is what would a proper memorial look like?” said Russell.
The reverend said they’ll eventually ask lawmakers for support but hope the responsibility is shouldered by private donors, too.
“For many of us, the innocent blood spilled there has made that sacred land,” he said.
History will not forget them. He says headstones and a memorial are long overdue.
“And the notion that you would pave it, put up a parking lot, and a big box store seems to be the greatest affront you could ever do to the memory of the boys who suffered there,” said Russell.
PLEASE READ URGENT NOTICE IN LEFT COLUMN FIRST!
A GREAT TIME WAS HAD BY ALL! WE HAD *WELL OVER 100* IN ATTENDENCE! THANK YOU MISS BABBS AND ALL THE LADIES AND GENTS WHO MADE THE 2015 REUNION POSSIBLE!
The Official White House Boys Fellowship Reunion
Date : 17th October 2015 11:00 till 5:00
Location : 201 Lakeview,Kissimmee, Florida 34741 – At the Osprey Pavilion
PLEASE RSVP by 1st OCT 2015 to
email@example.com or call 239 994 1280
WHITE HOUSE BOYS INTERVIEW TODAY
CLICK HERE: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/64769106
BREAKING NEWS! 2-24-15
SENATOR NELSON REQUESTS A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION INTO FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS AKA DOZIER!!!!
CLICK HERE FOR STORY and see the Senator’s PRESS RELEASE below….
Senator demands outside fed probe into burials at state reform school site
Feb 25, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A key Florida lawmaker says federal law enforcement instead of state police should investigate allegations of abuse and mistreatment at a now-shuttered reform school in his state.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) is calling for a Department of Justice probe into what happened at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida. State police conducted their own investigation five years ago and concluded there was no criminal wrongdoing.
But new information from forensic scientists casts doubt on that probe. Scientists from the University of South Florida, who have spent months excavating unmarked graves on the school grounds, say they have found 51 bodies buried there – 20 more than state police reported in a 2009 investigation.
Nelson says such a discrepancy is what, in part, prompts him to call on the feds.
“Given new information about wards of the shuttered reform school, and a long history of mistreatment allegations surrounding the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida, I believe the department is uniquely positioned to provide an outside and independent review,” Nelson wrote in a letter.
Nelson, the state’s senior senator, sent the letter late yesterday to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and hand-delivered it to the president’s nominee to replace the retiring Holder as the next attorney general, Loretta Lynch.
“Having brought USF’s initial research to the Justice Department’s attention in 2012, I remain troubled that university researchers have uncovered information not contained in the state’s 2009 report,” Nelson also wrote.
Specifically, Nelson is asking the Justice Department to look into the deaths and burials of numerous boys at the reform school by simply broadening the department’s ongoing probe into the more recent deaths of inmates in Florida’s prison system.
Nelson first became involved in the issue in 2012 after a Polk County man asked for the lawmaker’s help in locating his uncle’s remains, believed to be buried on the school campus. He has since been a high-profile and vocal supporter of USF’s investigation, pushing for state permits and lining the scientists up for a Justice Department grant for the use and collection of DNA to identify bodies found. To date, USF has identified the remains of five of the young boys.
Concerns about the reform school lingered even after the 2009 Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation and up until the state shut it down in 2011 reportedly for fiscal reasons.
In an unrelated probe launched just two months ago, the Justice Department began an inquiry into Florida’s prison system because last year saw the largest number of inmate deaths in the state’s history, more than 300, some under questionable circumstances.
Nelson hopes that investigation can be broadened to include a look at the reform school.
Following is a copy of Nelson’s letter to Holder:
February 24, 2015
The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Attorney General Holder:
I am writing to respectfully request that the U.S. Department of Justice examine new evidence about the deaths of youth at a now-defunct Florida reform school as part of the agency’s ongoing probe of more recent inmate deaths in the state’s prison system. Given new information about wards of the shuttered reform school, and a long history of mistreatment allegations surrounding the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida, I believe the department is uniquely positioned to provide an outside and independent review.
Earlier this month, researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) reported that they have found the remains of 51 individuals buried on the grounds of the reform school. This contrasts with a 2009 Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation concluding that 31 individuals were buried on the school grounds. Having brought USF’s initial research to the Justice Department’s attention in 2012, I remain troubled that university researchers have uncovered information not contained in the state’s 2009 report.
I am grateful for the assistance the department already has provided USF through a 2013 grant from the National Institute of Justice, which has helped fund the forensic research – research that indicates children at Dozier suffered from nutritional deficiencies, lack of dental care, and underdevelopment. In one grave, officials discovered what they think may be a buckshot. Yet in 2012, when the FDLE was asked to comment on the university’s initial findings, officials characterized them as just “an academic research study” with a different standard and scope than a law enforcement investigation. Local law enforcement, meantime, has expressed no interest in investigating. Thus, a federal investigation may be the best alternative.
As the Justice Department works to provide answers and closure for the families of Florida prison inmates whose deaths may have stemmed from potential violations of their constitutional rights, I hope you will do the same for the families of these deceased young wards of the state. I am enclosing a copy of USF’s 15-page report detailing its findings. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I appreciate your consideration of this request.
Bill Nelson (signature)
LWVHC FYI- The Dozier School for Boys; Putting the Pieces of the Puzzle Together
Join us for this important Hot Topic
What went on behind closed doors?
What was unearthed at Dozier?
February 27, 11:45 am – 1:15 pm
The Tampa Club, 101 E. Kennedy Blvd
42nd Floor/Bank of America Building
Erin Kimmerle, a forensic anthropologist and University of South Florida associate professor who is leading a USF team of anthropologists, biologists, and archaeologists exploring the Dozier School’s Marianna campus. The stories of the “White House Boys” piqued her interest. She was especially curious why there are no records of where those who died there are buried.
Erin Kimmerle unearths clues about the school.
Professor Kimmerle digs for clues about the school.
Kimmerle commented, “When you look at the state hospital, the state prisons, the other state institutions at the time, there are very meticulous plot maps you can reference. Or if you are a family member today, you can say, ‘Where is my great-aunt buried?’ and they can show you exactly where. So, why that didn’t happen here, I don’t know.”
There are many questions surrounding the school and what went on for decades there. Come and learn some of the answers Prof. Kimmerle has literaly “unearthed”.
Scroll down to RSVP and PAY…
LWVHC FYI: The Dozier School for Boys: Putting the Pieces of the Puzzle Together
LWVHC~ Members: $20
Pre-registration is required.
RSVPs must be received by
Noon on Tuesday, February 24.
“No Shows” will be invoiced.
Or you may call to reserve at (813) 649-4309. See you there
TO ALL WHITE HOUSE BOYS WHO WERE SEXUALLY ABUSED AT FSB:
As you know we are constantly searching for evidence of abuse at the Dozier/Florida School For Boys. We have some victims that were raped or molested by the staff at Dozier. I know this is a very private issue but our silence of what happened to us only works to their advantage. We are asking anyone that suffered sexual abuse by the staff to come forward. This will be confidential if that is what you want. This information will only be shared with the staff at University of South Florida that is working on the case. Please email or call Dr Erin Kimmerle at contact information below.
Dr Erin Kimmerle:
813 974-2138 direct contact
813 974-2668 FAX