As of September 18, 2007 to March 25, 2012
A journal of events, names & places compiled by RDK & RWS
We have been involved in the exposé of the brutal abuse of children at the Dozier/Florida School For
Boys since September 2007. The historical record is now widely publicized: for 111 years state officials, elected,
appointed and employed, whipped boys (flogging) from 8-17 years of age with leather whips, inflicting 15-25-50-
75 and up to 100 lashes if they tried to run away. They beat, tortured, sexually violated and raped the children
given them for custodial care. The record exposed the use of child labor to benefit the private citizens of the
Marianna area. Newspaper articles and visits from various elected and private individuals repeatedly made know
the systemic, inhumane treatment laid upon these children. In spite of their efforts it was not until 1968 that the
lashings were stopped by O.J. Keller under the Governor Claude Kirk administration. Previously, in 1922
Governor Hardee banned flogging of all prisoners as "too brutal a punishment for even hardened convicts"
when a young man, Martin Tabert, was whipped to death. The flogging of boys at Marianna went on for 45 more
years after that ban.
In recent investigations and reportage it has been proven that these atrocities were open knowledge among the
citizens of the Mariana areas: indeed, the state men who perpetrated these crimes openly talked about it with their
neighbors and kin. These are facts based in overwhelming testimony and reportage. There are 300+ men who
were boys at the school and will attest to the brutality of the beatings. They are currently involved in a claims bill
against the State of Florida. Here are the names of the men who in the past years witnessed these horrific
WITNESSES: 17 NAMED WITNESSES and 7 Archive Articles or Newspaper Morgue
The Times Courier of Marianna January 24, 1918
The Attorney General of Florida, Van C. Swearingen visited the Florida Industrial School for Boys
at Marianna. After viewing the school he made the following remark: “This does not appear to me to
be a school and is merely a prison for boys. I announce that I am going to try and advocate reforms
that would make it a school instead of a detention camp for bad boys.”
Andrew Bowers, a chaplain at the Dozier School from 1959 to 1963, recalls: For most of its history, Dozier freely
practiced flogging as a method of 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.
Source: Archive: The Miami News, March 6, 1958: A study made of 250 white boys committed at one time to
Marianna showed that at that point been given 691 whippings among them. Eleven year old boys received 260 or
38% of the beatings, and 17-year-old boys receive 21, or 3%. The older the boy, the fewer the beatings he
received, records of the school showed at that time.
Source: Ben Montgomery, St. Pete Times "For Their Own Good"
In 1968, a state supervisor for the Marianna school witnessed a beating that, all these years later, still makes his
blood pressure rise. Reached recently by phone, Audie E. Langston, former state superintendent said he
didn't want to talk. "I just happened to be there when they caught a kid who was a runner. They caught him and
took him into that building and one of the guys said, 'You should see this,' " Langston said in a short interview. "It
was not a good thing. The people who were doing it thought they needed that method of control." Back then,
Langston wrote a letter to his boss, O.J. Keller. He called what he saw "sickening."
"A young boy [was] taken into a stark, bare, dimly lit room where he was compelled to lie on a small cot and
receive licks with a heavy leather strap. The strap was wielded by a man who was at least six foot 3 inches tall and
weighed well over 200 pounds. His swing could be likened to a strong tennis serve as with a whip like effect at the
end of the downswing. The results are sickening. The child quivers and writhes in a contorted manner from the
pain of a sadistic treatment. Not only repulsive but somewhat criminal in nature.
Source Archive: Miami News Feb 26, 1969 "Spare The Rod"
A former house father at the school also sent Keller a letter, published in the Miami News, saying, "The belt falls
between eight and 100 times. After about the tenth stroke, the seams of the sturdiest blue jeans begin to separate
and numerous times the boys' skin is broken to the extent that stitches are required."
A supervisor who trained for a year at Marianna described a boy's buttocks as "bleeding profusely; the skin was
broken, and the color of his buttocks was green, blue, red and purplish. It reminded me of the Dark Ages." The
state did outlaw corporal punishment. But a year later, in 1969, the reform school superintendent told state
legislators that bringing back the strap would cut down on the runaways. He was fired.
Source: Newspaper Archives: Abuses are well documented all the way back to 1903. In that time in which we
were there, in the 50s and 60s, there was testimony by Dr. Eugene Byrd before the U.S. Senate, Senate
President Louis De La Parte' who hearing of the beatings, drove to FSB and came back to report to the local
newspapers of "a blood splattered shed" which called for a state grand jury to intervene. This was squelched by
Dempsey Barron, a legislative powerhouse. During a visit at FSB Judge Frank Orlando, of Fort Lauderdale
stated: "When a couple of boys I sent up there came over to say hello I felt like a rat for sending them to that place.
Governor Claude Kirk: "If one of your kids were kept in such circumstances you'd be up here with rifles" Kirk
said after a half day tour of the schools at Marianna and Okeechobee. "Somebody should have blown the whistle
on Marianna a long time ago"
Jack Levine, child advocate and Claudia Wright, Attorney for the Civil Liberties Union, took an
unannounced trip to FSB and found boys as young as ten were being hogtied. They followed up with a class
action law suite which eventually made major changes in the DJJ system. Claudia Wright, who had been an
attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union on the Bobby M. case, has heard rumors that the Dozier graves
contain the bodies of children killed at the hands of their captors. While no evidence surfaced in that probe,
Wright said the oppressive and brutal environment that existed at Dozier is no folk tale.
Unimaginable Conditions ( from a court document)
On the morning of September 1, 1944, Earl Wilson, a teenage prisoner at the Florida Industrial School at
Marianna, Florida, was found dead in a "confinement cottage" (a cell approximately 7 feet by 10 feet, resembling
a concrete bunker), where petitioner Foxworth (then 14 years of age) and seven other teenage boys (ages 11 to
17) had been held for periods varying from a few days in the case of some of the boys to a few weeks in the case
of Foxworth himself. The cell contained one set of bunk beds, an open bucket for toilet needs (emptied once
daily), a bucket for drinking water, and a continuously burning light bulb.
Source: St Pete Times, March 20, 1968: Roy Manella, an official of the U.S. Department of Health, Education
and Welfare, said at a Tallahassee news conference that "the Marianna institution was one of the worst examples
in the nation of a boys' reform school. " Newspapers called it a monstrosity, 1400 acres of Hell, all in all there are
64 newspaper archive reports that have been open to the public since at least 1958 and are listed on our web
site. Many back up our allegations to the hilt.
Source: St Pete Times: "For Their Own Good" Dr Wexler was the campus doctor. 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 behind. "But if they needed a stitch, It would only be a
few." End Source. RWS: Would you beat your child until they only needed a few stitches? A casual, horrific
statement shows the mind set of the staff at Marianna, as openly stated by Dr. Wexler's own daughter. A
statement that not only supports the victims allegations of savage beatings, but renders the mind-set of the
residents of Jackson County.
Source: St Pete Times Ben Montgomery and Waveney Ann Moore : "For Their Own Good"
Child advocate Jack Levine visited Dozier 30 years ago and found enough evidence of inhumane treatment to
prompt a federal class-action lawsuit and sweeping reforms. Levine called the latest findings troubling.
"There have been cosmetic changes," he said. "While the leather strap seems to have been taken away, the
threat of violence and the lack of competent supervision and safety management appear to not have been
reformed to any appreciable degree."
The management at Dozier is failing miserably, he said. "There's either an ignorance of what should be done or
an incompetence of how to do it correctly. In either case, the youth suffer needlessly."
June 1, 1903: Report from investigative committee to the Florida Senate
"We found them in irons, just as common criminals, which in the judgment of your committee, is not the meaning
of a 'State Reform School,' as defined by the law creating said school, and should not be so construed by those
in authority of said Reform School. We have no hesitancy in saying, under its present management it is nothing
more nor less than a prison, where juvenile prisoners are confined."
Source: State Archive Records
1911: Report from an investigative committee
The children are "at times unnecessarily and brutally punished, the instrument of punishment being a leather
strap fastened to a wooden handle."
Jan. 5, 1915: Jackson County grand jury
"We find that the employees were men who were not settled in life, who have had no experience in raising boys of
their own or anybody else's and who know nothing about the science of bringing up children in the way they
should go. We find that the young men having direct supervision of the boys were immoral and not proper
persons to lead wayward boys toward reformation."
St. Petersburg Times - Nov 24, 1982 THERE'S IS NO EXCUSE
It's shocking how frequently hogtying was used at Dozier. The investigation found that boys at the prison were
hogtied eight times between Sept 7 and October 1 for periods ranging from 10 minutes to an hour. The cruel
practice cannot be justified. Guards wouldn't be allowed to hogtie inmates in adult prisons. Why should authorities
be allowed to do something that barbaric to children? State officials responsible for allowing the practice deserve
more than admonishment. They should be fired.
Three State Schools Accused of Abuse in ACLU Lawsuit St Pete Times April 21, 1980
Tallahassee, attorneys for youth in three juvenile institutions, including the Florida School for Boys in
Okeechobee, sued the state in federal court yesterday, alleging overcrowding, beatings and other constitutional
violations. In the lawsuit attorneys said staff members and Okeechobee hog-tied youngsters for up to 1 1/2 hours
and left them lying on their stomachs in isolation cells.
The kids arms are shackled behind their back, their ankles are shackled behind her back, then their arms and
ankles connected with leather straps or chains. At that point they are lying on their stomachs, said Claudia Wright,
an attorney with the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union.
St. Petersburg Times Archives, March 20, 1968 "REFORM SCHOOL BLASTED" Deplorable, Kirk Says:
Gov. Claude Kirk said yesterday boy's reform school of Marianna is in absolutely deplorable condition, and he
intends to find out how many of the inmates graduate to the state prison at Raiford. If one of your kids were kept
in such circumstances you'd be up there with rifles, Kirk said after a half a half day tour of the schools at Marianna
and Okeechobee. Last December, Roy Manella, an official of the US Department of Health, Education and
Welfare, said in a Tallahassee news conference at the Marianna institution, is one of the worst examples in the
nation boy's reform school.
The Tampa Tribune Archives Published: December 15, 2008
Louis de la Parte, the crusading former state senator from Tampa who recently passed away, personally saw the
blood-splattered "White House" building where vicious beatings occurred.
Source :Children In Trouble: A National Scandal By Howard James Pulitzer Prize-winning author.
Until O.J. Keller, new Florida Youth Commission Director, put a stop to it, youngsters in the boy's school at
Marianna were brutally beaten with a weighted leather flogging strap.
Source: Children In Trouble: A National Scandal By Howard James Pulitzer Prize-winning author.
Robert M. Peterson, employee of the Florida Department of Youth Services, recalls walking a young child back
from a flogging. The boy, he said, was bleeding profusely.
Dr. Eugene Byrd, former psychiatrist at FSB In March 1958, a Miami psychologist and former staff member at
the school told a U.S. Senate committee about mass beatings with a heavy, 3 ½-inch-wide leather strap. "The
blows are very severe," Dr. Eugene Byrd testified. "They are dealt with a great deal of force with a full arm swing
over his head and down, with a strap, a leather strap approximately a half-inch thick and about 10 inches long with
a wooden formed handle."
"What is your opinion?" a senator asked.
"In my personal opinion it is brutality.
Source: St Pete Times: Jerry Cooper received well over 100 lashes, yet they are not mentioned in the
FDLE's report. Jerry Cooper, at his own expense, took a lie detector test to confirm that his allegations were true.
His scars were photographed. He passed the test and challenged Troy Tidwell to take a lie detector test as well.
In Tidwell's statements of the beatings he says: "I never gave more than 10-15 gentle blows and never raised
the whip over my head." He refused to submit to a polygraph test. He pled the Fifth Amendment when questioned
over the death of Edgar Elton.
and also in: http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/4166
JC Floridan Dec. 24, 1969
David R. Walters, former Superintendent stated: "I wrote Senator Dodd and stated “Corporal Punishment was
employed before, during, and after the time I was superintendent. I tried to halt the practice, but found, “with an
untrained and poorly paid staff, with some one hundred-eighty employees for eight hundred youngsters, it was
I told Senator Dodd I tried to wipe out the practice of beating inmates, not because I was soft on them, but
because my first hand experience has show inmates “serves no purpose other than to instill hatred, cunning and a
desire for revenge against society in most youngsters.” ‘Even a ban on beating inmates would not automatically
improve Florida’s reformatories. “Humiliation and abasement of individuals will continue because of the very
structure of the local and state systems.” Read source newspaper clippings here
Howard James, Christian Science Monitor Reporter
Another critic of the Florida system, Christian Science Monitor reporter Howard James, told the subcommittee
earlier this year Marianna inmates are often beaten black and blue, sometimes until they bleed with a
weighted leather paddle. James told the subcommittee the major problem is the type of people attracted to jobs
there: "sadists, homosexuals, dull workers who can't find work anywhere else and those who care deeply about
children" And James told the Dodd committee, "most" fall into the third category. Read the newspaper clipping
There was, and still exists a reaction to the charges, our attempts to seek justice and reparations due us for the
harm done and treatment for those who continued to suffer the trauma of this horrendous treatment. Their
reaction is based on denial; their complaint is it "may affect the economic well being of the community."
Aside from the disgrace this reaction represents the driving force for "economic well being" is simply a barbarous
compounding of the crimes already committed at Dozier, only the closure of Dozier could, and did, effectively stop
the abuse. Dozier could not be fixed. Indeed, Dozier is the DJJ "flagship" and represents the total failure of
governmental care of children in distress. It is the worst case of institutional child abuse in the history of America.
Note: This list consists of 58 men who sent in their stories. There are 242+ that have not sent in stories,
but the lawyers have their names and I am sure they will testify as to the beatings they received. As you
will note there is only one boy who received the "10-15 gentle licks during what the FDLE described as
"Spankings" Troy Tidwell stated, under oath, that "he never raised the whip over his head, no boy ever got more
than 15 gentle spankings for the most serious offense." We refute that monstrous lie.
As Dr Byrd, former psychiatrist at FSB said as he testified during the U.S. Senate's Committee on the
Judiciary: "In my personal opinion it is brutality."
At the time that these beatings occurred Florida law banned corporal punishment for adults. It allowed children to
be whipped, strapped, and paddled. These paddling were to be a applied as if by a loving parent, according
to Juvenile Judge W.R. Culbreath, as reported in the Miami News, 1958.
In the Children's Bureau of the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare's book, "Guides and Goals," It
states: Corporal punishment should not be tolerated in any way.
PICTURE: THE WHIP AND BOARD THAT WERE USED IN DOZIER/FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS
To view a list of floggings around the nation, some convicted, some not, read this link. Flogging was
illegal at the time we were in the Florida School for boys:
A list of boys who did not receive "15 gentle spankings" as quoted by Troy Tidwell:
Jerry Cooper 135 lashes By: Tidwell
Jim James 80 Lashes By: Tidwell
Don Smith 164 Lashes 67 lashes then 97 lashes (for talking of beating), same day By: Walters & Williams.
Cottage Father Hollon threatened to go to authorities, left 30 days later.
Bill Haynes 145 Lashes: 45 lashes then 100 By Tidwell & Hatton on same day
Freddie J. Williams 100 lashes By: Crockett
Frank Marz 16 yrs old 100+ Lashes
Billy Foote 63 lashes By: Burgress Has scars
Arthur Huntley 12 yrs old 75 lashes
Harold Sizemore 8 yrs old 30+ Lashes By: Hatton
Freddy Surber 11 yrs old 40 Lashes with a board By: Hatton w/Marino as witness, 15 lashes on another beating.
Jim Blount 12 yrs old 20+ By: Hatton / Dozier Witness
Clifford Hastings 50+ lashes By Hatton Sent to Hospital
Willie Roberts 52 Lashes By: Unknown
Paul Waldron 12 yrs old 70 Lashes Taken to Hospital on stretcher. Has Scars
Manuel Giddens 46 Lashes By: Hatton
Patrick Hogan 15 yrs old 50+ Lashes By: White
James McKinley Mutter 100 Lashes By: Hatton and beaten with fists to groin, taken to hospital, stitches in head,
swollen testicles, in Hospital 3 days. Mother of another boy took pictures, he was given 25 more lashes by Hatton
and told to keep quiet.
George Stalvey 14 yrs old 65 Lashes By: Tidwell Taken to Hospital
Larry Houston 14 yrs old 39+ By:____
Captain Phillip Savill 14 yrs old 45 Lashes By: Tidwell / Williams as Witness plus another beating for talking
about the whipping and 30 days solitary.
Stu Kruger 15 yrs old 37-40 Lashes By: Hatton Taken to Hospital, two days to walk.
C.E. Gene Rogers Jr. 82 Lashes for Running BY: Tidwell
Joe Middlebrooks 75 Lashes By: Hatton / Tidwell Witness
Jimmy Turner 22 Lashes By: Burgess
Daniel Holloway 14 yrs old 30 Lashes By:_____ Plus 60 days solitary for running.
Charles Taylor 15 yrs old 52 Lashes By: Hatton / Dozier witness
Richard Paul Markwalter 27 lashes 1st Time, 52 Lashes 2nd Time Skin Broken & Bleeding
Ron Pesce 12 yrs old Beaten Bloody w/wooden paddle w/Holes
Dennis Kimball 15 yrs old 45 lashes By: Hatton / Tidwell Witness
Jonathan Coker 14 yrs old 26 Lashes By Tidwell, 29 BY: Hatton (split skin), 25 Lashes By: Zitch
Ellis Edwards 11 yrs old 15 Lashes+ By: Tidwell / Walters Witness
Frank O'Conner 25 Lashes By: Tidwell
Bob Baxter 25 w/wooden board then 50 w/same Hospital 3 days Scars. Notes that the wooden board was
worse than the whip as he had experienced both.
Thomas Halstead 38 Lashes By: Hatton / Borkhart Cottage Father Witness
Phillip Martin Went Down 10 Times, Beaten Bloody By: Tidwell, Miller, Crockett
Samuel Weese 17 yrs old 25 Lashes By: Tidwell / Williams Witness Two other beatings of 25 Lashes.
Eric Utley 40 Lashes Twice By: Williams, 45 Lashes by: Tidwell / Williams Witness
Manuel Giddens 46 Lashes By: Hatton
John King 12 yrs old Whipped 4 times, had to hold down boys 8 times.
Robert Straley 13 yrs old 40 lashes By Tidwell. Taken down in the middle of the night for 25 lashes twice by
Ski St. Clair 30 Lashes By: Tidwell
John Bennett 17 Lashes By: Tidwell and 23 More by Tidwell
Jimmy Turner 15 yrs old 20 Lashes
Michael Brandenburg 140 Lashes for running-Held down by kitchen boys Hospital 1 week.
Carl Ford 50+ By: White / Miller Witness
Paul Elgin 35 Lashes Two Times
Roy Blanchard 10 yrs old Beaten and kicked by other boys at the request of the supervisor on duty
David Vaughn 20 Lashes By: Hatton
Floyd N. Williams 13 yrs old 10 trips to whitehouse By: Hatton & Dozier
Blue Thomas Smith 14 yrs old 30 Lashes By: Tidwell / Davis Witness solitary 11 days
Walter Homman 15 yrs old 15 Lashes, 29 Lashes By Hatton / Dioxon Witness 45 Lashes By: Dixon
Charles Fudge 11 yrs old Beaten By: Tidwell & Hatton
Charles S. Taylor 15 yrs old 52 Lashes By: Hatton/ Dozier Witness
Charles Wayne Howard 15 yrs old 30 Lashes Has 4" Scar
Gene Luker 12 yrs old 35 Lashes Solitary 6 Weeks
Randall Morgan Steed 16 yrs old 40 Lashes at Gunpoint
Frank Richard Wells 31 Lashes By: Tidwell
Alan N. Sexton 14 yrs old 37 Lashes By: Tidwell / Hatton Witness
Phillip Marchesani Ran twice, beaten in woods after the ban on whipping at FSB
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