For their own good: a St. Petersburg Times special report on child abuse at the Florida School for Boys
By Ben Montgomery and Waveney Ann Moore, Times Staff Writers

The men gathered at the Florida School for Boys on Oct. 21, 2008. {Read the DJJ's Statement on last page}

The last time they had stepped on this sprawling campus, they were fresh-faced punks with the world before them.
Now their hair was gray and their faces sagged. Their backs ached from a night in motel beds. They carried pictures
of children and grandchildren in their wallets.

Dick Colón had flown in from Baltimore, where he owns an electrical contracting company. The 65-year-old was
tormented by the memory of seeing a boy being stuffed into an industrial dryer. Next to him stood Michael
O'McCarthy, a writer and political activist from Costa Rica, who was beaten so badly he was treated at the school
infirmary. To his left was Roger Kiser, a Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor who had driven down from Brunswick,
Ga., bent on retribution. On the end was a quiet man named Robert Straley, who sells glow lights and carnival
novelties. He drove up from Clearwater. He had been having recurring nightmares of a man sitting on his bed.

Then there was Willy Haynes. He was 65 and went by Bill now. A tall, broad man, Haynes had worked for 30 years
for the Alabama Department of Corrections. Haynes didn't feel good. There were plenty of places he'd rather be.
But he knew he had to do this.

 The men now called themselves the White House Boys.
In October 21, 2008 the gates of the Dozier School (FSB) were opened so a group of five
men, now in their sixties, could be taken to a ceremony that the State of Florida and the
Juvenile Justice Department had sanctioned. The members of the DJJ who approved the
ceremony were Bonnie Rogers, Samadhi Jones, Christy Dely, and Frank Pinella. There, amid
roughly 50 spectators, the men were to speak of their experience in front of the "whitehouse"
punishment room which had been closed for four decades. They could speak of the past, not
the present, that being the only restriction. The ceremony was hosted by Mary Zahasky and
Gus Barreiro.

"In memory of the children who passed these doors, we acknowledge
their tribulations and offer our hope that they have found some
measure of peace.

May this building stand as a reminder of the need to remain vigilant
in protecting our children as we help them to seek a brighter future.

Moreover, we offer the reassurance that we are dedicated to serving
and protecting the youth who enter this campus, and helping them
to transform their lives.”

The Whitehouse
Officially Sealed
by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
October 21, 2008
Robert Straley:  There were about eight of us that traveled in the back of a locked truck to arrive at The Florida
School For Boys. When I first saw the FSB grounds I was surprised at how beautiful it looked. There were two story
brick cottages surrounded by foliage and oak trees. I thought it was a beautiful place but before the night was over I
would realize I had just walked into a beautiful Hell.    

Bill "Willy Haynes: I can remember on a few occasions boys would go to the White House and never return to their
cottage. We were told that they went to Raiford Prison. We didn't know that one had to be convicted of a felony crime
at trial to go to Raiford but we were afraid to ask. So what happened to them? Where are their bones buried? How
many of them had no family at home to question the authorities. If the juvenile justice system was this bad in the
1950's how bad was it in the 30's and 40's?

Michael O'McCarthy: Something happened to me the 15 year old boy, the juvenile delinquent that was sentenced to
FSB. My innocence, the essence of childhood trust in adults and adult institution was essence was killed. More to the
point, the humanity that children bring to the world as a free gift from nature was twisted into a rational twisted with
selfishness and cowardness and a twisted viewpoint that believed in manipulation and connivance as the way to live.
What survived was a tormented boy with a twisted sense of what I had to do to survive in a life I neither understood
nor was capable of dealing with on life's terms.

Roger Kiser:  When I looked up at the men's faces, they were plain, cold and hard. They had no expression
whatsoever. I did what they told me to do. One of them said to move my hands to the top of the bunk bed and grab
the bar at the headboard. I did so as quickly as I could. Not one sound could be heard. I felt one of the men reach
under the pillow and slowly pull something out. I turned over quickly and looked at the one who was standing near
me. He had a large leather strap in his hand.

THE PADDLE. an innocuous schoolroom term given it by the director. The Paddle. Two strips of quarter-inch
polished leather, two feet long, over two inches wide, separated by a sixteenth-inch piece of taut, pliant sheet metal.
Attached to a four-inch round hand grip, the leather was perforated on either side midway down, with
one-eighth-inch holes, ending in a half-inch long taper. The effect brought the whipping weapon down in a cracking
slap that drove through the thinness of the cotton shorts, into the upper tissues of the skin. Halfway through the
beating, the holes were filled with blood-covered flesh.

Dick Colon: Colon, who said he was only 14 and weighed less than 100 pounds, still can feel the fury. "I can tell you
that at that moment, there's absolutely no doubt in my mind, I could have stuck my hand through his heart and his
chest cavity and ripped his heart out with my hand and bit it in his face," he said.
This is actually a picture of a Louisiana Prison strap but is nearly
identical to what was used on the boys at FSB. The similarity of
the building to the White House building is eerie.
PIC PAGES: Go To The Next Page By Clicking On Page Link At Bottom of Each Page
Robert Straley               Roger Kiser
Roger Kiser speaks to the crowd at the "Sealing of the WhiteHouse Ceremony" October 21, 2008 Behind him is
the "WhiteHouse" building where boys as young as 8-13 were flogged with leather whips. Flogging was abolished
by Governor Hardee in 1922 as "Too brutal a punishment for even hardened convicts" when
Martin Tabert, just 22
years old, was whipped to death in the Putman Lumber Camp. Flogging went on for the boys of the school for the
next 45 years after the ban.
"Sealing of the WhiteHouse Ceremony" 2008 Left to Right Bill Haynes, Dick Colon,
Robert Straley, Roger Kaiser. Michael O'McCarthy is speaking.
Dick Colon describes his many beatings at the 2008 Ceremony
Roger Kiser consoles Dick during an
emotional speech at the Ceremony
Michael O'McCarthy and Dick Colon in the flogging room. Dick Colon is pointing to
a spot on the ceiling where the tip of the whip struck on its way down. The whip
weighed as much as a baseball bat, swung over the head with as much force as a
200 lb man could muster.