WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE BOYS ORGANIZATION
PLEASE READ THIS MESSAGE, THE MESSAGE BELOW IT and the PRESS RELEASE TO THE RIGHT! ALL ARE VERY IMPORTANT!
URGENT MESSAGE! What is YOUR Opinion?
Attn: All White House Boys, Families, Friends & Supporters / Public:
(Please respond by August 1st)
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! Jerry Cooper would like to have everyone's letters or emails before August 1.
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 PUZZLE PIECES
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.
To The Legal Team, The White House Boys, Okeechobee Boys,
Vice President Bill Price and I recently traveled to Tallahassee to meet with US Attorney Chris Conova and a federal prosecutor, Mrs. Miller. They explained to us that due to the long time period that has passed since the crimes were committed against us, it would be almost impossible to build any case at all. They did not doubt whatsoever that these crimes were committed against all of us.
When Senator Nelson asked for an investigation from the DOJ, I am sure that he was told the same thing. I just wish he would have informed us if that was the case. I think we have just about turned over the last rock left in seeking some kind of justice for all these men. There is no more that can be done that we can think of at this time.
Unfortunately, Bill is very sick and will start his radiation treatments tomorrow for cancer. He was not able to help me drive to Tallahassee, so I am pretty worn out. He refused to stay home because he did not want to miss this meeting. It is all up to the legal team now to get some kind of justice for us. We can do no more that might help us get some kind of closure for all that happened to us.
Also, at this time we have not heard a word about the sexual abuse investigation that the FDLE said was finished some time ago. I have learned during the investigation that some of the boys had been sexually abused inside the "White House". All of this disgusts me.
I have spoken to many of you about approaching the state and asking for this building to be destroyed in the name of the "White House Boys". About 95% of you have said this is what you would like them to do. The "White House" does not qualify as an "HISTORIC" building within the State or Federal guidelines. This has been researched and we should not allow the state or new property owners to destroy this UNGODLY place. I believe we should do this in the "White House Boys" name. I will also request that we be allowed to attend the destruction of this building, if they will agree. If we can accomplish this, we would have some closure knowing it has been destroyed by us. I think it could bring some closure for us.
Please contact me with your input on this.
God Speed To All Of You,
Your Brother, Jerry Cooper FSB 1961
Here is the note we received after our meeting:
Thank you so much for traveling to Tallahassee to meet with me and share your story. You faced obstacles as children that no child should suffer. The fact that you overcame these challenges and became successful men is a testament to your will and your tremendous abilities. The community is fortunate for the work you are doing to ensure that children will not be subject to inappropriate treatment while in custody.
I am so happy you are enjoying life and I wish you the best.
United States Attorney
Northern District of Florida
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
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.
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!
IMPORTANT MESSAGE RE: ELECTIONS
Due to the fact that no one nominated anyone to run for any of the board offices listed in the announcement below, no election was held. The nomination stage (ending midnight September 25, 2015) came and went with no new names submitted, therefore The Official White House Boys Board of Directors will stand as is for the 2016 - 2017.
UPCOMING ELECTIONS FOR 2016 - 2017 BOARD OF DIRECTORS FOR THE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE BOYS ORGANIZATION
With this year's reunion, comes time for the election of the officers for The Official White House Boys Organization (TOWHBO) for the 2016 - 2017 term.
The following officers of the current Board have graciously offered to serve again.
President: Jerry Cooper Vice President / Speaker of House: Bill Price (Note: Nate Dowling served as VP until his passing, God Rest His Soul) Secretary: Babbs Cooper Treasurer: Peggy Marx Sergeant at Arms: Jim "Harley" DeNyke
We are currently accepting your nominations for candidates for each of these positions should you so choose. If you are a member of The Official White House Boys Organization and would like to nominate someone's name to appear on the election ballot and that person is willing to serve, please submit the Board Position and Nominee's name by email before midnight on September 25th to: email@example.com
Ballots will be available and elections will be held at the October 17th Reunion. Ballots will be counted that day and the 2016/2017 Board of Directors will be announced. Results will also be posted on this website.
If you can NOT attend the reunion and vote in person, absentee ballots will be available on this site for internet voting once the nomination period is complete. Absentee ballots will be counted in with votes placed at the reunion, so please do NOT send in an absentee ballot unless you know that you will not be able to attend the reunion and vote in person.
BREAKING NEWS 6-2-15
IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM 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.
LEGAL UPDATE!!!!! 2-5-15
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.
PANAMA CITY NEWS HERALD
By ZACK McDONALD
July 25. 2015 9:48PM
Documentary to examine Dozier School for Boys
Documentary filmmakers are turning the investigation of a burial ground at Florida's oldest and most notorious reform school into an in-depth documentary film scheduled to be released in conjunction with the University of South Florida's investigative reports, participants told The News Herald.
Dozier School crosses
PHOTO/ ANDREW WARDLOW | NEWS HERALD FILE PHOTO
Crosses memorialize the boys who died at the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.
MARIANNA — Documentary filmmakers are turning the investigation of a burial ground at Florida’s oldest and most notorious reform school into an in-depth documentary film scheduled to be released in conjunction with the University of South Florida’s investigative reports, participants told The News Herald.
The filmmakers have obtained rights from the University of South Florida (USF) to film a two-hour documentary exploring the science behind the excavation and the scandal surrounding the 51 graves at the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna. Some community members have questioned USF’s motives in contracting the special, saying the film would exploit the victims’ families, many of whom have yet to recover their long-lost loved ones. However, USF officials and the filmmakers said the project will feature all families of those buried at Dozier in an attempt to bring them closure.
The agreement between USF and Part 2 Pictures, which was signed in July 2014, named USF anthropologist Erin Kimmerle as a co-producer on the project. USF officials said the university, which has been conducting research on the remains discovered in graves on the school’s grounds, decided to contract with a single production company because of international interest in the story and Part 2 Pictures’ agreement to allow Kimmerle to act as co-producer.
“We got an extreme amount of interest in this story,” said Lara Wade, USF’s director of communications. “This spans such a long history of Florida, it is hard for people to jump in and tell where we are now and understand the science behind what the researchers do. We figured this would be the best way to get an in-depth piece to a wider audience. We thought with Erin being involved in this, that was the best way to do that.”
Interest was further piqued following a March segment on Investigation Discovery’s “Vanity Fair Confidential” that included interviews with survivors of the school describing the horrific conditions they encountered.
- Report describes horrific treatment, deaths at Dozier School »
- Decades-old coffin found empty in Dozier School case »
- Investigators ID 2 more sets of remains from Dozier School »
- Remains of Dozier victim to be returned to family »
- Researchers ID first set of remains from Dozier School »
- Researchers, Sen. Nelson to meet on Dozier School »
Critics of the documentary have said USF caved to a “a shot at show business” despite a pledge to family members.
“The university has repeatedly said that it was undertaking the largely taxpayer-funded project to provide ‘closure’ to the families of those buried at the school, but the 2014 contract verifies that a shot at show business has been a very big part of the effort,” Dale Cox wrote in a Jackson County Times article titled “USF Sells Access to Dozier Bodies.”
Cox said his major concern is that USF sold the rights to film the human remains to a private production company without consent of relatives and, in exchange, will receive massive publicity. Cox said Kimmerle’s role as co-producer highlighted the university’s desire to attain something of value and shape the story in the school’s favor.
“That’s a pretty clear ethical concern,” Cox said.
However, representatives of Part 2 Pictures said the main focus of the film will be the families. Their partnership with USF and Kimmerle was to achieve access to scientific aspects of the excavations and DNA mapping while balancing the emotional aspects of the families’ stories, according to Amy Bucher, vice president of programming and content with the company.
“This is a journalistic endeavor,” Bucher said. “We care about these families and we are honored to help close this chapter for them while honoring those who lost their lives. This is not about profit, and I find that to be an unfortunate characteristic.”
Wade added that no one has received financial compensation for the film, and all of the family members have agreed to participate in the film and tell the stories of their lost loved ones.
“Most of the high-profile cases have been interviewed, and there are other families who haven't had their stories told,” Wade said. “They want to make sure their loved ones aren’t forgotten. They want to talk about what it has taken to get their loved ones back. And that will be part of this documentary.”
The final product of the two-hour documentary will feature aspects of Dozier’s conception and demise as a boys’ reformatory school, including horror stories from within its walls. Filmmakers also will go into the science behind identifying the remains, some of which that date well before the 1950s, and linking that DNA with living ancestors. Finally, the film will focus on the identified families’ struggles to attain closure, Wade said.
“It’s not just one aspect. This is from a historical perspective,” she added. “It’s a behind-the-scenes history of the school, the science that has gone into this research and it will cover the emotional aspects still affecting the surviving families.”
Part 2 Pictures has been interviewing law enforcement, researchers, officials, historians, scientists and family members since signing the contract last year, Wade said.
USF’s permit from the state to excavate the remaining bodies ends in August, and their report has to be submitted shortly thereafter, at the beginning of next year. The university is hoping the release of the film will coincide with the release of their report. USF also is anticipating they will have reburial plans of the excavated bodies in place by then.
“We do hope it will be a major peiece we can be proud of and the families who haven’t been able to tell their stories up until now can be proud of,” Wade said.
A new task force on the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys will meet in August.
The panel will meet on Aug. 3 and Aug. 19, according to a Wednesday press release from the Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources. (A membership list is here.)
Under legislation (SB 708) passed this year, the panel was set up “to submit recommendations regarding the creation and maintenance of a memorial honoring the children who lived and died” at the school in Marianna, Jackson County.
The school, opened in 1900 about 60 miles west of Tallahassee, was shuttered in 2011. It began as a home for children convicted of serious crimes. But the covered offenses were expanded to include minor offenses including truancy.
Some former students have accused school officials of physical and sexual abuse, especially in the 1950s and ’60s. Many former Dozier inmates call themselves “The White House Boys” after the white building where they say the worst abuse took place.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement looked into the allegations, concluding it couldn’t substantiate or dispute the claims because too much time had passed.
University of South Florida researchers concluded a multi-year investigation of the campus and exhumed dozens of bodies buried there. Their final report says nearly 100 people, including two adult staff members, died at Dozier between 1900 and 1973.
“The task force is also charged with recommending the location of a site for the re-interment of unidentified or unclaimed remains that were part of a forensic investigation conducted by the University of South Florida at the school,” the release said.
The task force has to turn in a written report of its findings by Oct. 1.
Both meetings will start 9 a.m. Central time/10 a.m. Eastern time at Marianna City Hall, 2898 Green St.
The first meeting will be organizational, beginning with a vote by task force members to approve an agenda and then focusing on reviewing the task force’s responsibilities under the law, the release said.
“The meeting on Aug. 19 will include an opportunity for public comment,” it added. “At this meeting, the task force members will also vote on their recommendations to be included in the final report to the Legislature.”
For more information on the task force, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Associated Press contributed to this post, reprinted with permission.
Jim Rosica covers state government from Tallahassee for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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.
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.
WFTS 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 239 994 1280
LETTER FROM JERRY COOPER TO GREG
I Thank you very much for the reply back to me on the staff records sir. I will mail them out this week.
Now here is the kicker, Capt. Rhoden has medical records and disciplinary records in his possession along with very key information that is very vital here that he recovered from believe it or not, G4S!!!!! which they should have been turned over to Tallahassee back in 2010 when they took over Okeechobee from Eckerds. The men were told time after time that there were no records for them by the state when they requested them. Remember when Miss Erin in her big book report said she suspected that the FDLE had removed records during the investigation in Marianna???
I had reported to her back then that there were records that were stored in the old chapel on the grounds and she even spoke to the boy who saw them in the attic back then.
Greg, without the aid of the justice dept. I have no one I can turn to now for some help. I will get any records that are available to me if the legal team requests them I promise.
Greg, let me make this very clear as I can, all of us have been insulted, called liars, and this is so unfair to live with. And again I just want to meet with Miss Erin to give her information she should really have on the Okeechobee investigation.
Thank you for listening, I still have no information if the request made to the Justice Dept to help in an investigation here by Nelson has even been answered!!!
It's been 3 months now Greg, and still nothing!!! Thanks once again for you guys that are working very hard to find some kind of justice here for all of us.
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.
2014 REUNION PHOTOS ARE HERE! See below! All are "click to enlarge" and you can view additional photos by clicking page numbers at bottom!
URGENT! TO ANYONE WHO ATTENDED FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS IN OKEECHOBEE!!!
To all Okeechobee Men,
I have just received an inquiry from Capt. John Rhoden in Okeechobee and he wants to know if any of you remembers a boy called Tiny??? It appears he was a very large boy and some even considered him as a Bully. Please reply as soon as possible to me if you know who this is. Thank You Very Much!!! Jerry Cooper
---------------------------------------- PLEASE HELP USF ANTHROPOLOGISTS BY FILLING OUT A SURVEY THAT WILL HELP THEM DATE REMAINS FOUND AT FSB (DOZIER).CLICK HERE ---------------------------------------------
TO ALL WHITE HOUSE BOYS: This is YOUR website! Don't forget to send us your stories to: email@example.com and we'll post it on MEN's STORIESPlease check the PRAYER page to see how your brothers and their families are doing. Please don't forget to stop by the GUESTBOOK and read the comments or leave one yourself. This is where many of the folks new to the White House Boys first contact us, so why not welcome some of the new members there? Most importantly, keep up with the latest news by clicking HERE Last, but not least, read ABOUT US which not only has important info & videos about us, but also has links to many of the books that the White House Boys have written.
URGENT!! A WHITE HOUSE BOY NEEDS YOUR HELP! JEFFREY SAMPSON IS LOOKING FOR INFO ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO HIS BROTHER GREGORY SAMPSON AT FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS IN 1965. HERE IS A PRESS RELEASE WE PUT OUT TO HELP BROTHER JEFFEREY FIND ANSWERS... read this: http://prlog.org/12269789
The White House Boys-A frightening truth emerges
Be sure to also check out other pages of this website, such as the GUESTBOOK, NEWS AND EVENTS and PRAYER REQUESTS AND UPDATES as well as many other pages on this website. We also have MANY photos and articles directly from The Yellow Jacket Newspapers HERE.
LAST OF DOZIER RESIDENTS MOVED. STORY HERE.
SEE THE LATEST ST. PETE TIMES ARTICLE HERE.
CLICK *HERE* TO VIEW ASSOCIATED PRESS ARTICLE REVEALING MEDICAL EXPERIMENTATION ON THE DISABLED AND INCARCERATED FROM 1930s - 1970s. To view the full article, click HERE. If you had a similar experience at FSB or Okeechobee, please email us.
JULY, 2011 - PICNIC AT FORT DESOTO PARK, SARASOTA, FL - PHOTO ALBUM BELOW
ALL PHOTOS ARE "CLICK TO ENLARGE"
TURN PAGES BY CLICKING ON THE NUMBERS BELOW
10-7-14 - Exhumation of an EMPTY casket! Click HERE for news!
9-25-14 - NEWS & PHOTOS OF THE USF PRESS CONFERENCE RE DNA IDENTIFICATION OF 2 MORE BOYS ... Click HERE
The latest news regarding Dozier Reform School Archaelogical dig by USF Anthropology &
DNA identification by UNT is all here! The first body has been identified! CLICK HERE TO READ ALL THE NEWS! Dozier Reform School was formerly known as Florida School for Boys(FSB) and Florida Industrial School for Boys (FISB) Posted August 7 - Aug 11, 2014
CLICK HERE also to read the ORIGINAL ACCOUNT of the local newspaper, JC Floridan, about the death of George Owen Smitih. NOTE: In the USF article, they show a letter the family received saying their son had a "proper Christian burial". You decide!
ABOUT USF & BILL NELSON RELATING TO DOZIER GRAVES. CLICK HERE ---------------------
WHITE HOUSE BOYS PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT on 1-8-13 BY EDMUND FOUNTAIN OF TAMPABAY TIMES - CLICK HEREFOR INFO! --
---------------------------------------- To go straight toNews about the USF INVESTIGATION into Dozier Reform School (Florida School for Boys, Marianna, Florida) unmarked Graves,click HERE-
Read about our Christmas Project for the boys at Eckerd's Youth Academy...CLICK HERE.
----------------------------------------------- Our White House Boys Flag has been traveling to memorial services, thanks to Sergeant at Arms, Jim DeNyke "Harley".Read More HERE.
----------------------------------------------------------- We have a new addition to"Men's Stories", to read,CLICK HERE. --------------------------------------
URGENT! IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL WHITE HOUSE BOYS
On Aug 6, 2013, the Florida Cabinet agreed to let USF anthropologists continue their research & exhume the bodies in unmarked graves at Dozier. Many of our men attended this meeting - including Acting President, Jerry Cooper and Sergeant at Arms, James "Harley" DeNyke
WATCH A.G. PAM BONDI'S STATEMENT TO THE PRESS ABOUT DOZIER AFTER THE CABINET MEETING CLICK HERE:
CLICK HERE, for the entire agenda for the Cabinet Meeting CLICK HERE for the Board of Trustees Agenda regarding USF and exhumations at Dozier
---------- BREAKING NEWS! SEE JERRY COOPER REVEAL MORE OF FLORIDA'S SECRETS BYCLICKING HERE
YOU CAN HELP!
Click HERE to see how YOU can make a difference (by calling & writing to our government) & help get closure for families of those young boys buried at Dozier!
URGENT! Before you read the news about Okeechobee, this is very important... Re: Juvenile records for confinement at Okeechobee School for Boys!
Anyone who attended Okeechobee School for Boys in the 1950s or 1960s, PLEASE CONTACT JERRY COOPER URGENTLY! We need your name, date of birth, approximate time you were at Okeechobee URGENTLY. There is presently an investigation to find those records, so you must send your info immediately. Either call Jerry at 239-994-1280 or 239-542-3831 or email him HERE with your information! Read on to see how this has come to pass......
Our President, and White House Boy, Jerry Cooper, and White House Boys Pastor Johnny Marx and Joe Johnson went to Okeechobee on Monday, May 19, 2014 for a meeting with Sheriff Paul May and 4 Investigators to discuss abuses, atrocities and deaths (including Cherry Hill and Patrick Timothy Gabriel, as well as others) that took place at Okeechobee School for Boys during the time period that similar atrocities were taking place at Florida School for Boys in Marianna, aka "Dozier". The meeting lasted several hours, and the Sheriff and other officials present stated that they would perform a full and complete investigation into any and all allegations. In addition, the officials have promised that they will look into the matter of the "missing journals and records" from the Okeechobee reform school from that same time frame.
After their meeting, the three men headed to WSVN Fox News Channel 7 in Miami for interviews. which will be aired at a later date.
White House Boys visit Football Coach, Vic Prinzi's son, Pete Prinzi. CLICK HERE for photo and story.
CONTACT INFO for Media and men abused at Florida School for Boys in Marianna or Okeechobee in the 1950s or 1960s and anyone with information about this abuse, Please contact: Jerry Cooper, President of The Official White House Boys at 239-542-3831 or 239-994-1280 *OR* email us at - firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
"I knew well there were dead boys buried there. We had heard their moans at night.
Running up that hill after dark terrified every one of us. We'd run as fast as we could just knowing we were going to be caught by a ghost. We were told by our cottage father to never, ever go in those woods because of the burials.
I can still taste that fear today it still scares me after 55 years. I want to go there one more time to put all my old fears to rest. Let me travel my old path once more please...." Mike S. (a White House Boy - referring to the "White Side" of the campus, where no ground penetrating radar has been done and no cemetary has been found "yet". )
PLEASE READ NOTICE IN LEFT COLUMN! and Read the Center Column Top article!
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OUR POLICY REGARDING DONATIONS:
The Official White House Boys Org
29th June 2014
Subject: Donations and Dues TOWHBO
Members and to Whom it may concern:
Please find that there will be no donations accepted by The Official WHite House Boys Org.
Except for the Fund that helps the Boys at Eckerd's Youth Alternatives.
If you can help with the Eckerds Boys please contact Ms Diane Fudge or Charlie Fudge who are Chairpersons of Eckerds Christmas Project for last four years. Please contact them by calling 352-382-2120 or by comment on the Guest Book www.theofficialwhitehouseboys.org
Regarding Membership Dues of 35.00 . If any member desires to pay and can afford it, please feel free. It is not mandatory. We are a free fellowship that works for the cause of Justice and many of our members are making it day by day. In other words just praying to get by.
This is why we are fighting daily for Justice. Our men have suffered enough and as one WHB said today, they have "paid their dues". We are very grateful for the members that have paid every year.
We are also Blessed that the cost of our website is donated yearly so far and that the auction at Reunions has made enough to help with the Widows Fund/Flowers etc. The auction funds come from items donated by members that we offer at auction every reunion. Our brother Don Stratton and his family work the auction each Reunion.
So you see everything is full circle. Just want to stay self contained and keep things easy and simple for all.
NO DEMANDS - NO DONATIONS - AND NO MEMBERSHIP FEE UNLESS YOU CAN AFFORD IT.
As of this date 29 June 2014.
White House Boy
------------------------------------- MISSING? BURIED IN UNMARKED GRAVE? DIED MYSTERIOUSLY? MURDERED? LOST?
DO YOU HAVE A LOVED ONE WHO WAS BURIED OR DISAPPEARED AT FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS IN MARIANNA, FLORIDA? IF SO, PLEASE CONTACT US AT 239-542-3831 OR email to: email@example.com. In addition, the researchers can use your DNA to help identify your loved ones' remains, so please follow these instructions: (From the University of South Florida) In the effort to identify the remains of children buried at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, USF is seeking the public’s help. Do you know anyone on this list? Please contact Master Detective Greg Thomas, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, 813-247-8678, with information. To see a list of families they are currently looking here, CLICK HERE TO VIEW
IF YOU NEED YOUR RECORDS FROM YOUR STAY AT FSB OR OKEECHOBEE, FROM THE 1950s or 1960s CLICK HERE
State grapples with Dozier School's dark past
By Lloyd Dunkelberger , Herald-Tribune / Tuesday, September 29, 2015
TALLAHASSEE — The Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna has a notorious century-long past as a reform school where young boys were beaten, abused and died, in some cases, under still-unsolved circumstances.
At the instigation of Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, state officials on Tuesday began the discussion of how to properly memorialize that past while moving forward with the 1,400-acre Panhandle property in Jackson County.
Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet are expected to receive a final report from a University of South Florida forensic anthropologist in January summarizing her investigation of the Boot Hill Cemetery at the now-closed reform school, where USF investigators recovered the remains of 51 people in 57 graves.
In this Oct. 21, 2008 file photo, Dick Colon, a member of the White House Boys, walks through grave sites near the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna. Several men who suffered through severe beatings at what's now called the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys believe the crosses mark the graves of boys who were killed at the school, victims of punishments that went too far. (AP ARCHIVE)
In this Oct. 21, 2008 file photo, Dick Colon, a member of the White House Boys, walks through grave sites near the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna. Several men who suffered through severe beatings at what's now called the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys believe the crosses mark the graves of boys who were killed at the school, victims of punishments that went too far. (AP ARCHIVE)
Erin Kimmerle, an associate professor at USF, said her field work is complete but the investigators are still involved in laboratory work, including DNA testing of the remains. Six individuals have been identified, while Kimmerle said the investigative team has “presumptive” identifications of another 10 bodies.
Atwater said Kimmerle’s final report will “be very important and enlightening for all of Florida.”
In addition to continuing to identify the remains and reunite them with surviving family members, he said the state needs to start exploring how to preserve the site and its history.
YELLOW JACKET NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS FROM FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS IN MARIANNA, FL (aka Florida Industrial School for Boys, aka "Dozier" (Arthur G Dozier School for Boys). See the photo gallery below. There are several pages, click the numbers below to view each page. The photos are click to enlarge.
Federal investigation confirms abuse at Dozier, suggests children in danger at other facilities By Ben Montgomery, Times Staff WriterTampa Bay Times
In Print: Saturday, December 3, 2011
The U.S. Department of Justice has blasted the state for failing to properly treat and protect children who were housed at the now-shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, Florida's first and oldest state-run reform school that closed in June after 111 years of operation.
The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice's failure to oversee the program and prevent children from being abused and neglected suggests other programs have similar issues, according to the report by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, released late Friday.
"Although Dozier and JJOC (the Jackson Juvenile Offender Center on Dozier's campus) are now shuttered, these problems persist due to the weaknesses in the state's oversight system and from a correspondent lack of training and supervision," the report said. "Our findings remain relevant to the conditions of confinement for the youth confined in Florida's remaining juvenile justice facilities."
The Justice Department's investigation, announced in 2010 to then-Gov. Charlie Crist, showed "reasonable cause to believe that the state of Florida was engaged in a pattern or practice of failing to have proper measures of accountability that led to serious deficiencies."
The Justice Department alleged many instances in which the state violated the constitutional rights of the boys, ages 13 to 21, confined to Dozier, and said the state must take immediate measures to "assess the full extent of its failed oversight" to protect children at its other facilities. The state must also strengthen its oversight processes by implementing a more rigorous system of hiring, training and accountability, the report said.
DJJ spokesman C.J. Drake said Florida has already implemented a number of reforms and has seen a dramatic reduction in the use of physical techniques to control children. He also said the state has closed or substantially reduced 23 residential programs statewide since 2008 because of performance issues.
"That's because we proactively identify problems in our residential programs and take swift corrective action," Drake said. "Residential programs that cannot implement and sustain corrective actions are closed."
DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters, who took over the department in January, was not available to comment on the report, Drake said.
The Department of Justice found:
• Staff used excessive force on youths, including choking and mechanical restraints. It documented incidents caught on tape in which guards violently pushed youths to the ground, and struck and choked youths. Staff unlawfully shackled youths with mechanical restraints as a first response to youths who did not respond to verbal commands. One youth was held face-down on the floor for 48 minutes and placed in mechanical restrains for an additional three hours and 17 minutes.
• Youths were often disciplined for minor infractions through inappropriate uses of lengthy and unnecessary isolation without due process. The report documented one case in which a boy was kept in isolation — inside a small cell with a concrete-slab bed and thin mattress — for two weeks. And shortly after he was released, he was sent back to isolation.
• Staff were not appropriately trained and had a generally "laissez-faire attitude" toward suicidal youth. The report noted that average pay for direct-care staff fell below $12 an hour, well below the nationwide median hourly wage for correctional officers of $18.78.
• The safety of youths was compromised as a result of their relocation to the Jackson Juvenile Offender Center (a more restrictive and punitive facility on the Dozier campus).
• The state failed to provide necessary and appropriate rehabilitative services to address addiction, mental health or behavioral needs, which served as a barrier to the youths' ability to return to the community and not reoffend.
• Youths were subjected to unnecessary and unconstitutional frisk searches. Dozier youths were frisk searched more than 10 times per day. One told investigators, "Some staff rub on your privates." Another said staff "touch too much."
"The failure to address these concerns not only harms the youth, but has a negative impact on public confidence and public safety," the report said. "The critical role of the juvenile justice system to correct and rehabilitate is being abdicated and youth may well be leaving the system with additional physical and psychological barriers to success."
The Dozier school in Marianna, about 60 miles west of Tallahassee, has been the subject of an ongoing investigative series in the St. Petersburg Times called "For Their Own Good." The facility has been exposed a number of times for abuse and neglect. The Department of Justice's investigation confirms much of what the Times has reported.
"What the Department of Justice has done in this report is help us look back at what was and gives us a true guide for what should never, ever happen again," said child advocate Jack Levine, who exposed abuse at Dozier in the early 1980s that prompted a federal class-action lawsuit against the state.
Drake, the DJJ spokesman, said the department is working on a response to the report.
"The issues at Dozier occurred long before this administration took office and it was this administration that closed that facility," he said. "We … do not tolerate misconduct or poor performance. If we identify it we seek to correct it, and if it's not corrected it's closed."
Times staff writer Waveney Ann Moore contributed to this report. Ben Montgomery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8650.
READ THE REPORT FROM THE JUSTICE DEPT. - CLICK HERE
8-28-13 Feds to fund Tampa scientists’ exhumation work at old reform school cemetery Sen. Nelson helped USF find more than $420,000 Click HERE to read. this and MANY other news clips.
PLEASE ALLOW TIME FOR PAGE TO LOAD, IT IS TEXT AND PHOTO INTENSIVE, AND MAY TAKE TIME!
WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE BOYS ORGANIZATION WEBSITE! The following is a list of Quick Links, and Information that summarizes the plight of the White House Boys to seek truth and justice regarding the atrocities that took place at The Florida School for Boys for over 100 years. In addition to the summary below, please use the menu buttons at the top of each page to help you navigate the enormous wealth of information on this website.
OTHER VIDEOS ABOUT THE WHITE HOUSE BOYS CLICK HERE
TO READ A 1958 REPORT IN THE PALM BEACH POST ABOUT THE BEATINGS AT FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS IN MARIANNA, CLICK HERE
Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release
May 24, 2013
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Statement Regarding Denial of Petition to Exhume Bodies at Dozier School for Boys TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi released the following statement regarding the 14th Judicial Circuit Court’s denial of the Petition to Exhume Human Bodies/Remains at the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla.
“I remain committed to assisting with the efforts to help resolve unanswered questions regarding deaths at the Dozier School for Boys. In light of today’s adverse ruling, we will be meeting with the interested parties and considering the next course of action to explore other avenues.”
Please call Babbs239 994-1280and confirm you will attend for guest count please
And a Happy Spring to all. It is that time of the year when we all get to gather for Fellowship and cook a few Burger's and Dogs!
and come on let's Celebrate and Fellowship.
NEWS! REQUEST TO EXHUME BODIES!CLICK HERE ----------------------------------------------------------------
WE HAVE SOME SERIOUS PRAYER REQUESTS PLEASE CLICK HERE
NEWS REGARDING CLOSING OF MARIANNA: All concerned:
Below is a reply I received today from DJJ, reference my letter to the Governor about the extension request for FSB. Simple answer: It's closing on schedule without granting an extension!!
******** (a White House Boy) Dear Mr. and Mrs. *********:
Thank you for your email of June 14, which the Governor's Office referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) for a response.We are committed to a smooth transition for all the stakeholders served by the North Florida Youth Development Center (NFYDC). After carefully reviewing our options, we have decided to maintain the original June 30 closing date for NFYDC announced on May 26. Since then, we have transferred the youth served there to other DJJ facilities and we are working to assist the affected staff find other employment. Regarding your specific concerns about state employees to be laid off using public resources to seek other employment, we are obligated to assist them with identifying their options. Our Workforce Transition Plan requires us to meet with affected employees, distribute information and provide re-employment assistance. This includes on-site job fairs and informational sessions. I hope this information has been helpful. Thank you again for your correspondence and please let me know if I may be of further assistance.Sincerely,C. J. DrakeDirector of Communications Florida Department of Juvenile Justiceoffice: 850.921.5905cell: 850.251.0671
UPDATE - MID-DECEMBER, 2011 JERRY COOPER DISCOVERS ANOTHER CEMETARY AT FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS (DOZIER) PROPERTY -- RIGHT NEAR ROOSEVELT COTTAGE.
IF JERRY COULD FIND IT, WHY DIDN'T THE F.D.L.E. WHEN THEY DID "THEIR" INVESTIGATION?
THE CEMETARY IS SURROUNDED BY CHAIN LINK FENCE AND IN DISREPAIR. SEE FOR YOURSELF! PHOTOS BELOW. MORE INFO WILL BE POSTED VERY SOON... KEEP WATCHING!
MANY THANKS TO JERRY COOPER FOR THIS CONTRIBUTION. HE HAS BEEN WORKING VERY HARD TO SEE THAT JUSTICE PREVAILS! THE PHOTOS CAN BE FOUND BELOW THIS ENTRY.
(SEE ALSO 2 ST PETE TIMES ARTICLES AND ANOTHER BY A P.I. RELATING TO DEATHS/ GRAVES AT FSB/DOZIER BY CLICKING THE BLUE UNDERLINED ITEMS BELOW)
WHITE HOUSE BOYS BRING CHRISTMAS JOY TO AT-RISK YOUTH
Per Lisa Anspacher of Eckerd: I wanted to send a quick thank you for everything that you did yesterday. It was magical and we have never seen all the children so happy at one time. All of you truly are angels in disguise. Wednesday, December 14th, will be a day remembered by many – both the White House Boys representatives carrying gifts to the boys at Eckerd Youth Alternatives home for troubled teens and the boys who were the recipients of these gifts.
For weeks, the Christmas Committee has been hard at work gathering donations for the boys at Eckerds, and finally, with great joy, on Wednesday, we got to bring an abundance of gifts and goodies to 27 boys who reside at Eckerd Youth Alternatives outdoor residential program in Brooksville, Florida.
The day began with unloading FOUR vehicles FULL of presents, clothing, food, sports equipment and other treasures for the boys. While we were organizing the gifts, Lisa A., supervisor, called Jerry Cooper aside and asked if he would speak freely to a boy who was having trouble with authority. The boys mother was present, and told us she was at her wits end with this young man. He continued to violate the judge's orders, and had yet another appearance scheduled next week. She begged Jerry to make a difference in the young man's attitude. Jerry and the boy spoke at length, and he spoke bluntly about what it would mean for the young man to continue down the path he'd chosen. Many tears later, Lisa told us it may have been just what the boy needed.
After meeting with the staff and setting up the gifts, we met the rest of the boys for the first time in the “Chuck Wagon”, which is the cafeteria and meeting room at the camp. They filed in, a bit stand-offish, wondering who the strangers in the room were.
Next, Jerry Cooper was introduced to the boys, and as planned, he spoke to the them briefly about the horrors of the White House, and then turned his speech around 180 degrees giving them hope and encouragement for their future. He told them the military was a great “next step” for them, and how a good education is vital for their success. He talked about having goals, and how they didn't have to continue along the path they were on – the future was theirs if they changed their ways and “don't continue what you were doing before you got here”. He gave them a nice mix of advice ranging from what could happen to them if they continue their destructive behavior to all the possibilities they have if they respect authority and have goals and plans for their future and take the steps necessary to “make it happen”. The camp had invited a reporter from Hernando Today and the reporter listened intently to Jerry's chat with the boys as well. (see article at the end)
The talk wrapped up and gifts were distributed. Each boy received: 2 pairs of socks, a pack of 2 underwear (boxer briefs), a sweat shirt and sweat pants, pair of Wrangler Jeans, a jigsaw puzzle, a beanie buddie, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, Christmas Cards (one was stamped to mail to a loved one at home), a Zac Brown Hat, 10 skeins of embroidery thread and 2 packs of plastic lacing plus rings and clips for the keychains and bracelets they make from these, bag of fudge, candy and cookies, glow in the dark sticks and other glow in the dark novelties (these were a big hit, the boys used them IMMEDIATELY), and a Journal and Pen (which the boys all use).
In addition, we donated regulation size soccer goals to the camp, along with footballs, soccer balls and basketballs. We also donated lots of yarn, beads, and blank paper to the boys as well. In addition, each boy got a "gently worn" hooded sweatshirt, and we added shoes, shirts and shorts to their supply room.
Any excess presents (2 boys went home after we'd shopped) were donated to their “store” in which the boys are able to buy things with a small allowance they are given each month. The boys keep a checkbook of sorts and have to decide between their “wants” and “needs” – preparing them for budgeting their money in “real life”.
The best part of the day had to be watching the boys “ooh and aah” at the overflowing contents of their gift bags. Next, a young man in the program sheepishly came up to us and asked if we would like to join them at their lunch tables. We split up and each table was visited by a “White House Boy” and their partner and we got to know the boys and their history. Again, we encouraged them to turn from the things that put them in the program and have great goals for their life. Of note, was the relationship between the counselors and boys. It was quite obvious to us that the staff truly cares about these boys.
A tour of the camp was next, and we got to see how the boys live – they sleep in a “tent” which is a structure with a log pole at each corner, a tin roof, and a wooden surrounding that goes perhaps 3 feet off the ground. The upper part of each “wall” is open to the elements except for some netting. The boys build these structures themselves from the ground up, including finding the trees to use for the poles, and whittling them away until they are just right. It is a great exercise in math, construction and teamwork. We got to meet with the boys again, and got to know them on a more personal level. Emails and addresses were exchanged with those who asked, and these young men seemed truly appreciative that we cared about them.
In all, the day could not have gone better. Special thanks to those who made it all possible: Mike Sapp and Debbie Bergani, **** , Robert Straley, Bill Haynes, Jerry & Babbs Cooper, Peggy Marx and Carl, Chuck & Karen Fedora, Richard Davis, Dick Colon, Ben Elder, Charlie Fudge, Roy Connerly, Bill and Judy Calgun, Richard and Nancy Barton, Howard and Lynn Post, Rev Nan, and Amy Bonano. Without your help, this day would not have been possible. You all gave generously from your heart, and I can't express how much you touched the lives of these young men!
CLICK HERE for Hernando Today Article about the event.
A Photo Gallery of the Joyous Event Follows....
All photos are "click to enlarge. Feel free to copy, share, print, etc. Enjoy! There are many pages. Use the numbers below the photos to turn pages.
JUST IN!USF UPDATED REPORT on DOZIER prepared for the FLORIDA CABINET - (note: This is a PDF file, and will take time to download). You must have adobe to read. CLICK HERE to download.
Ben Montgomery of The Tampa Bay Times (formerly St. Pete Times) has written a fabulous series of articles about the graves at Florida School for Boys in Marianna and the efforts of USF Anthropologists to unearth and identify them. We are working on adding this excellent piece of journalism to the site, so watch here in the coming days for the entire article and associated photos.
To All Who Attended Florida School for Boys -
This is very important, please!
For those of you who were in Florida School for Boys in 1961, did you know a boy by the name of Johnny Lee Wright who disappeared in late July 1961??? He would have been 16, I believe, and from Jacksonville FL.
Also, does anyone know an FSB employee by the name of Jasper Ingram (from any year)? He is still living and is now about 75 years of age. This is a very important matter!!! So please contact me at 239-542-3831 if you have any information to tell me. Thank You Very Much!!! I was there at this time but I can not remember Johnny. I remember that Jasper was real young at that time and was not play friendly !!!!!
Jerry Cooper Pres. "Official White House Boys"
IN REPLY TO A NOTE SENT TO AG PAM BONDI FROM JERRY COOPER:
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi received your emails regarding the South Campus of Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna. Attorney General Bondi asked that I respond.
We appreciate you reaching out to Attorney General Bondi. We understand that the USF's report filed with the Florida Bureau of Archaelogical Research discusses the work at the South Campus, which was one part of the ongoing research at the school site. We are in support of Dr. Kimmerle's research.
The USF investigation continues, as does Attorney General Bondi's wholehearted support as we await the team's final report. This office will keep your concerns under advisement in anticipation of USF's upcoming presentation to the Governor and Cabinet on the team's final report and project conclusion in the coming months.
Concerning the Okeechobee Sheriff's Office investigation into the child deaths of several children attending Okeechobee School for Boys in the 1960s, Attorney General Bondi continues to support local law enforcement in their efforts. Rest assured Attorney General Bondi is fully committed to doing everything within her power to support investigative efforts to help resolve unanswered questions and bring closure to the victims, survivors and families who lost loved ones.
Beverly Bailey Office of Citizen Services Florida Attorney General's Office PL-01, The Capitol Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1050 Telephone: (850) 414-3990 Toll-free within Florida: (866) 966-7226
------------------------- NOTE FROM DEPT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE ABOUT OUR SUPPORT OF THE BOYS AT ECKERDS:
This is wonderful…thank you for you continued and dedicated support to our kids. Christy
Christina K. Daly, Interim Secretary
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
Putting Florida Families First
PHOTOS FROM THE MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR THE SURVIVORS & LOST BOYS FROM FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS :(aka DOZIER) ARE IN.
Click HERE to view. To Read the speech that was written by Mike Sapp and read at the by Jerry Cooper, click HERE. To read another beautiful and touching essay that was NOT read (due to time constraints), Click HERE
NEWS CHANNEL 13 COVERAGE OF THE MEMORIAL SERVICE & NEWS ABOUT PROFESSOR KIMMERLE'S MEETING WITH SENATOR BILL NELSON ARE HERE.
WATCH THE EPISODE ABOUT THE HORRORS OF FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS / THE WHITE HOUSE BOYS -- ON ID TV (Investigational Discovery TV), on an episode of Vanity Fair Confidential which AIRED on March 30, at 9pm. Watch for re-runs! March 30 at 9pm.
MEETING ABOUT FATE OF GRAVES, ETC. ON TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 29 IN TALLAHASSEE
Atwater Looks For Next Steps At Dozier Boys School In Marianna
September 23, 2015
The Florida Cabinet is expected next week to discuss the state’s next steps after researchers finish onsite work at the shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, a former reform school where children are alleged to have been abused and died in Marianna.
State Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater wrote a letter Sept. 4 to Secretary of State Ken Detzner that said University of South Florida researchers, who have been excavating the site and seeking identification of remains, will submit a final report to the governor and Cabinet in the coming months.
Atwater urged that one entity be put in charge of issues that will follow the completion of the researchers’ onsite work.
“Now, the next phases involving the preservation of artifacts unearthed, the storage and reinterment of the remains of those unidentified, decisions regarding appropriate memorials, and state funding appropriations will need to be addressed,” Atwater wrote. “The issues involving the preservation of historical resources and records, archives, and state monuments seem best to be handled by the Department of State or an appropriate oversight body. Having one entity to oversee these next phases and ensuring the inclusion of stakeholders and families will be paramount as we move towards eventual closure.”
In the letter, Atwater asked for the issue to go before the governor and Cabinet, and it has been placed on the agenda of a meeting next Tuesday.
Dozier served as a state reform school for decades. Atwater’s letter said the USF researchers would submit a final report in December, though the Cabinet agenda indicates it will be submitted in January.
by The News Service of Florida
Pictured top: A trench dug in the search for human remains at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna. Pictured below: Mapping the graves. Pictured inset: The remains of George Owen Smith have been positively identified. Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
MESSAGE FROM JERRY COOPER, PRESIDENT
THE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE BOYS ORGANIZATION
To The White House Boys:
We are like in a way like a House Fly at this time in our lives!!! The House Fly only lives about thirty days max.
We are all, at our age, about the 25th day of life left compared to the life of a Fly. We do not have much time left to possibly see some kind of justice from the State of Florida. We are rapidly dying off and the pace has really picked up. I attended, along with my wife and some of you -- not 1, but 2 funerals of our brothers in one day -- and another the following week. We just learned that 2 more have passed this week.
We have several men now who are failing right now with their health, including our past Pres. Dick Colon, who says he probably can not attend this year's reunion due to complications he now has with his health. Also Ben Elder is being treated for cancer at this time and we can only hope that things will work out for all the men who are going down hill very fast. Also Roger Stone has had heart surgery, John Patterson has just had a massive heart attack.
I will have a conference call with the legal team next Thurs. at 9:15 A. M. and will tell them that the men have had enough after almost 9 years of hoping and asking for the State to admit to the punishment we were given by the staff who worked for the State and that the State did nothing to correct anything that was dished out to us. I will tell the legal team what you have told me . We want some kind of closure, what ever it may be, before the end of this year!!!!
I want you all to be aware that not 1 of the cabinet members has agreed to step forward and represent you in any fashion at this time to my knowledge. With out this being done we stand no chance, what so ever!!! To keep you caught up with what I am doing at this time is such, I was at USF in a meeting with Dr, Wells in Tampa this week and Miss Erin did not make this meeting. I am sending you an e-mail (Attachment 1) she sent me the next day about this meeting.
I have once again asked for permission for you men to be able to go back to Dozier and have a day to bring some kind of closure for you before it is to late. I have asked many times!!! I left the meeting in Tampa and went to Central Fla. and spent the night for an 8 A.M. meeting the next morning -- which is probably the most important I have had yet!!! I will explain this meeting to you at the reunion next month.
I also visited white house boy Kermit Whiterker in Bartow Fla. who also has serious health issues and is such a good man. He spent 20 years in the U.S. Army. He can not attend this years reunion because of health issues.
I will be leaving again soon to travel to Jackson County and interview an employee who has agreed to go on camera with me and talk about his 20 some years of being a staff member at the Dozier school. He has already stated to me and my wife about being forced to alter books at the school and about 3 women he knows that were sexually abusing some boys and their names.
I asked him if he was worried about still living there andbeing a life long resident and he replied, "they are not my friends". This is the only employee that has agreed to talk to anyone about the Dozier School. We can only hope he will not change his mind before I can get there.
When I was talking to Dr. Wells at USF I asked this question, "What is being done about the empty casket that was found when Dr Erin exhumed it in Pennsylvania. and what is being done about the Buckshot that was found in another boys remains???" The answer was NOTHING!!!
He also asked what I thought about Senator Bill Nelson and I replied I do not want to discuss him at this time until I get an answer from his office explaining what happened to the request he made to the Justice Dept. almost 6 months ago to please come in and help investigate the issues that are at hand. I do not know why Nelsons office will not tell me what happened to that request.
I also saw a letter that was sent by Nelsons office that was addressed to the FDLE requesting that they investigate the empty coffin and the boy who had the buckshot round found in his remains.
I am 1 of 4 of us that saw this letter that day in Tampa. I am at a total loss at what is being done at this time on many of the issues we have. Until I have some answers here, I will not stop!!!!!!!!!
As far as the reunion next month, I feel it will be attended by a lot less this year because of the many deaths we have had and also many will not attend because of your health or your spouse's health and I will fully understand the reasons why you will not be there. I only ask you this. Please try and attend this one if at all possible. I will bring out every issue that is at hand and you really need to be at this one. I try my best to not ask you, my brothers, for anything if I can avoid doing so, but please join me at this reunion if you will.
My only relief thru the whole year is getting to see you for at least one day. I care about all of you no matter what your views or your opinions are, because you have earned the right to do so many years ago at a place called "HELL"
Hope to see you on October 17th in Kissimmee Fla. Please see attachments. God Bless you and your families,
Your Brother Jerry Cooper
First, my sincerest apologizes for missing you today. I can't begin to tell you, it was a mistake on my part. I had written down the date to meet as next week. I never confirmed it and should have. I was at the airport with my mother today and then had a meeting with the Pasco county sheriff's office until 200pm. I didn't realize my mistake until Christian told me afterwards.
I am embarrassed as I don't usually miss appointments or mess up my calendar like this.
As for the reasons to meet:
1. USF is putting together an archive of all Dozier related materials. We would love to include anything from you that we can add. Thank you for sharing your records with us, that is a tremendous benefit.
2. We have finished fieldwork at Dozier. We will not be doing fieldwork at Okachobee.
3. I don't know the answer about giving access for a day to Dozier survivors. I can inquire about it. I can see how that would be very beneficial and it is something I can recommend as well when we present to the cabinet in January If it is not resolved before then.
Please let me know if I can answer other questions or be of further assistance. If you are in the Tampa area again and want to reschedule I am happy to do that. I am sorry again for my mix-up. I look forward to catching up with you soon.
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
Please may we ask if you have a folding lawn chair or any folding chair that you bring one!!! Just in case we run short.
We would very much appreciate it if you could bring a SIDE DISH TO SHARE. Suggestions are Potato Salad, Cole slaw, Beans, Fruit and Desserts.
We are open to any suggestions. Please let Babbs know what you can bring.
Main course and drinks will be provided and all paper goods.
We have a contract with the:
Howard Johnson Express Inn and Suites
4836 W Irlo Bronson HWY,Kissimmee Fl 34746
407 396 4762
Discount CODE is WHB for 48.00 +tax
This price is good for 16th, 17th and 18th.
King or two double beds. Extra for more than two persons per room.
You may call for room confirmation after the 15th Sept.
Very important message from the Producers and filming crew: they will be present and looking forward to meeting and interviewing any WHB that would like to share their story about the abuse suffered at FSB/Dozier and Okeechobee. This will be a two hour film when completed.
If you have any questions feel. free to call me anytime .
The WHB phone is available 24/7.
Looking forward to seeing everyone. Be well and Safe Travels,
239 994 1280
LETTER FROM JERRY COOPER 5-13-15
This is a very serious update for all of you. I was on the phone for along time this past Sunday with the legal team and this is what is going to happen very shortly. I am told that the FDLE, along with the legal team, will interview 91, yes, 91 of you that were sexually abused at these schools when you were a ward there. Each one of you will have a legal representative present at your interview. The legal team will need to travel to some locations for these interviews, and some will be done in the Tampa area as well. The legal team will be getting word to you in the near future regarding your interview. This is a very important step in our quest for justice and will reveal information that is vital and important when these reports surface in the public and political eye. I will tell you that there are some reports of abuse that I am fully aware of that are extreme and very disgusting in nature and hard to talk about. I also have heard from men who were only 10-14 years of age when they were sexually abused. I have already found and talked to one of you who did not report sexual abuse when he gave the legal team his report of the beatings he endured there because he was too embarrassed about what happened to report it. I am asking you to please call me if this is what you also did yourself when you gave your report. We need to talk to each other please. I was told during Sunday's phone call with the legal team that they have been meeting with elected officials and they have been supportive of the FSB cause in the past and that they will continue to meet with the Legislators and elected officials as I speak. This is VERY important! When you are interviewed, please be as precise and as honest as possible and look at your lawyer when asked questions by the FDLE. Think about each question before answering. In closing guys, I ask that you do not post any negativity on any site, at any time, about your legal team in any fashion, because it hurts all of us to do so. These interviews will cost the team thousands of dollars alone and take many, many hours of their time to complete. We have too much at stake now to have this kind of a situation to take on in any manner. We accept that we are getting older and dying off, just like you keep saying. We know that it has been a long time that we have fought. We know that you are tired. We know it has been hard. If I see any, or am told about any, public postings concerning negativity regarding the legal team, I will call you on this and we will talk about it; and, if we can not come to terms, I will let one of the legal team then speak with you. Enough Is enough. Next week alone, We have 2 funerals on the same day to address, as well as a meeting in Senator Nelson"s office on the 21th and have also asked for a meeting with USF, for which I am awaiting a reply. One of your legal teams had to contact the other team and request help with doing all these interviews because of the time and effort it will take to attend them all. They are dividing these interviews to help each other in covering them all. I love all of you guys even when things sometimes get out of whack. And, of course this will happen from time to time. Please just be patient as much as you can.
Jerry Cooper F.S.B. 60-61 Remember " We All Will Go To Heaven, Because We Have Already Spent Our Time In Hell"
---------------- LETTER FROM PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT,
THE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE BOYS ORGANIZATION
To The Okeechobee Boys And The White House Boys,
I have been in contact with both the law teams in the past few days.
I have been told this, and I know that it is correct in all phrases from both teams. Much progress has been made in just the last the last couple of months with the legislators and there are some issues going on that even myself have no knowledge of. I am asking all of you to please stand with me at this time for what is happening to all of us on the claims bill. You need to understand this and understand it well!!! The legal team is only to pursue all legal avenues that they have to try and get a bill thru, that is the only job that they do and do with all they have. Guys,you all were told in the beginning that if they do succeed in getting you compensated which comes in different forms that it would be
a multi-year situation. Some of you have still continued to stay upset with this whole process and you have spoken to me many,many times about it and I am asking you "ONCE AGAIN" to do what I am doing,stop the complaining NOW!!!! and go about your life. There is nothing more that can be done to make it any different than what it is. We have proven abuse beyond any doubt what so ever and that is what the legal team is presenting for you. Please do not be responsible that you might create a problem with all that has been done in the past few years. Please do not be downing the law team on the internet, in my opinion it serves no good purpose for over 500 men who are involved in this. You have the best law teams you could have and I ask you to please not contact them for something that I can answer for you,remember this, they have other cases to work on and not just ours. I promise you if some thing happens I will notify you immediately. If you are not happy about this e-mail then call me!!! I will be on the road to Tallahassee very soon for you guys once again. If you think you need someone else other than me just let me know. Yes,we are dying left and right and I to wish for an ending. God speed to all of you and please "Stand With Me" Jerry Cooper President Bill Price, Vice President "The Official White House Boys"
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