Alleged abuse at the Florida Industrial School for boys during the 1950s and 1960s is currently under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice acknowledged the abuse by placing a plaque in front of the White House this past October. The school in Marianna, Florida is now known as the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys.
Robert Straley and Michael O’McCarthy, two of the men who were abused at the reform school and formed the group the White House Boys, gave depositions to FDLE and are urging others to come forward and tell their stories.
FDLE is investigating the claims of abuse and the unidentified graves located where the segregated, black side of the school once was.
In 2006, Straley saw video of what some believe led to the death of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson at the Bay County Boot Camp. It was that video that caused Straley to remember the night he was escorted to what former child prisoners call the “rape room”. It is believed the underground room is still located underneath the Dozier administration building.
Straley realized that many others were suffering from the same hellish memories and decided to go public in an effort to help them. When he contacted journalist O’McCarthy about the story, he had no idea that O’McCarthy had also been abused at the school.
According to Straley and O’McCarthy, some 300 to 400 people have come forward, all with claims of having been abused at the school.
They say they have also received calls from a few long-time residents who say the search for bodies isn’t off the mark, but they are looking in the wrong place.
The anonymous callers claim some boys were tilled straight into the soil of local rural fields. Kids from the school were often used as child labor in the local farm community.
Straley is careful to say not every adult at the school was abusive; it was just a handful of men, “the night watchers,” who terrorized the young men.
If you have information on what possibly occurred at the Florida School for Boys contact:
Robert Straley or Michael O’McCarthy, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, (850) 410-7000
Statements from The White House Boys – 11/1/08
(WARNING: Disturbing content)