White House Boys - Legal NewsThe White House Boys Claims Bill & Updates From the Attorneys

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"

If you need to get your records from the state, for your confinement at Florida School for Boys, aka Florida Industrial School for Boys, now referred to as "Dozier", here is what you need to do.  (Okeechobee guys see below!)  You must send a signed and *Notarized* letter requesting your records to the following address.  You should put the years you were in, and if you were in more than once, be sure to state all the dates.  We made a form letter for your convenience. CLICK HERE for the form letter OR you can fill out their online form  HERE.  . When through, send the signed, and NOTARIZED request for your records  ALONG WITH A COPY OF A PHOTO ID to:
Florida Department of State
 c/o Tyeler McLean 
R.A. Gray  Building
500 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399

This is a new address per work that Bob Baxter has been doing.  Before that, I had the following address: (not sure if it is still valid? )
Department of Juvenile Justice
General Counsel - Public Records
2737 Centerview Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32399
You can fax your signed and NOTARIZED request to:
 850-921-4159  Please continue reading below for more information.
URGENT!  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 email him HERE with your information!
(Note: Most banks will notarize  your signature for FREE (even if its not your own bank)).  Be sure NOT to sign the request until you are in front of the Notary. 

If you have questions, call the office of DJJ General Counsel Brian Berkowitz at 850-921-4129. 

Here is the form letter you can fill in and mail to DJJ.


Please read on for a letter from the Governor's Office
PLEASE SEE ALSO LETTER FROM THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE TO JERRY COOPER REGARDING TROY TIDWELL.  (NOTE: There is contact info there if you wish to email, or phone them.)

850-,188-7146 / 850-487-0801 fax

February 15,2012

Mr. Jerry Cooper
5511 SW 14th Place
Cape Coral, FL 33914

RE: Chief lnspector General Case # 201202130001

Dear Mr. Cooper:

The Office of the Chief lnspector General received your complaint on February 13,2012,
in which you expressed concerns about the State Attorney's failure to prosecute Troy Tidwell for
the death of a juvenile at the Florida School for Boys (Dozier) in 1961 .

Please be advised that this office does not have jurisdiction over criminal or court related
matters. Likewise, this office does not have jurisdiction over elected officials. Those who believe
elected officials have violated criminal laws or used their office for private gain should contact
the Commission on Ethics.

You may contact the Commission by calling (850) 488-7864, or by writing to them at the following address:

Florida Commission on Ethics
Post Office Drawer f 5709
Tallahassee, Florida 32317 -5709

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. ln the event that you have any further
questions, please contact me at (850) 717-9264.

Erin RorhEiser
lnvestigations Manager
Office of the Chief lnspector General


CLICK HERE to view the original letter. 




Gregory J. Hoag, Esq.

Masterson Law Group, P.A.
699 First Avenue North
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
727-896-3641 (phone)
727-895-3559 (fax)

Also, if you have questions, you can always call Jerry Cooper or Bryant Middleton, as they are usually up-to-date with what is happening.


The Official White House Boys Organization
P. O. Box 152 · 1616-102 West Cape Coral Parkway
Cape Coral, FL 33914

In this house, the State of Florida beat and scarred our bodies, wounded our souls, and dampened our spirits. But now… united…we rise up…and join together to ensure that this history is never, ever repeated!

Officers & Board Members 

 President Emeritus - Dick Colon
President - Jerry Cooper / Vice President - Nate Dowling
Treasurer - Peggy Marx / Secretary - Babbs Cooper 
Sergeant At Arms
James M DeNyke

1 January 2012

To All White House Boys and their Families :

First I want to thank all of you who had the confidence to vote me back in as your President for a second term .

But, as you all know, my primary interest is in what is best for the entire group.... In 4 -5 years we were able to do what no one else could do in 105 years -- we closed them down. That will always be the most rewarding achievement I have ever participated in in my life -- to my grave with me it will go!

Having said that, after speaking with several members, I have made a decision to ask Jerry Cooper to step up and help me as Assistant President for various reasons. One is my health, and I'm 2000 miles away from everybody. More important than that is the fact that our effort has started moving at such a fast, even a bit complex pace, that I feel now what we need is someone on the front lines all of the time I have discussed this with the board and they were all 100%.

My reasons for this choice are many As our legal liaison, he is on top of everything everyday and has a great repoire with both law firms and he also has been asked to do (2) interviews, with others in the works. He lives in Florida, where access for him is much more accommodating than for me at 2000 miles away.

Since Jerry is retired, he like Roger Kiser, Robert Straley, and so many others, have devoted much of their time daily for our struggles. He, like some others, is constantly researching information, converses with other members daily, communicates with others -- especially our counsels.

Jerry, like many others, has been at every single reunion, picnic, award ceremony, and all of our donations to both Beacon house and the Eckerd Youth Camp -- as have many of you.

He has done numerous interviews just recently, and to the best of my knowledge, is well liked by all of us WHB's and their families. As your elected president, I feel we need someone with Jerry's knowledge, flexibility and, most of all his loyalty to the WHB's, in Florida, in a position to move forward in our best interest. I am giving Jerry full rein to act on my behalf and will be in constant contact with him. We have finally got the recognition We have so greatly fought for and deserve by keeping ourselves in the face of the public, which is extremely important at this critical time.

I want to thank every one for their faith and trust in me and the cirontinued help and cooperation in the future as we look forward to seeing each other at the next reunion. Though I don't think we'll all be whistling Dixie that soon.

Thank you, Cordially


Dick Colon









Lets get the claims bill (SB46) passed!  Contact our government by phone, letter and email!





BILL (2012)
Florida Senate - 2012                              (NP)    SB 46
        By Senator Fasano
       11-00099-12                                             201246__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                     
    2         An act for the relief of the victims who were abused
    3         while confined to the Florida Reform School for Boys
    4         located in Marianna and Okeechobee; providing an
    5         appropriation to compensate them for injuries and
    6         damages sustained as result of the abuses perpetrated
    7         by the personnel of the reform schools; providing a
    8         limitation on the payment of fees and costs; providing
    9         an effective date.
   11         WHEREAS, during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, certain minors
   12  were sent to the Florida School for Boys located in Marianna and
   13  Okeechobee, Florida, and
   14         WHEREAS, some of the boys who were sent to those reform
   15  schools were severely physically and psychologically abused by
   16  the personnel operating the reform schools in Marianna and
   17  Okeechobee, and
   18         WHEREAS, some of the boys who were physically,
   19  psychologically, and sexually abused had been sent to the reform
   20  school for “crimes” such as being truant from elementary school,
   21  for running away from abusive homes, for running away from
   22  foster homes, for being “incorrigible” in an orphanage, for
   23  jumping a fence at a city swimming pool, or for smoking, and
   24         WHEREAS, many of the boys were not given a trial prior to
   25  being sent by the state to the reform schools, and
   26         WHEREAS, more than 300 former students of the reform
   27  schools have come forward alleging abuses during the 1940s,
   28  1950s, and 1960s, and
   29         WHEREAS, many beatings were inflicted in a building known
   30  as the “White House” at the reform school in Marianna, and
   31         WHEREAS, the boys were forced to lie face down on a blood-
   32  and urine-stained cot, were told to bite a pillow covered with
   33  blood, vomit, and bodily fluids, and
   34         WHEREAS, the boys were struck repeatedly (as many as 100
   35  strikes) on their buttocks and legs with a leather razor strap
   36  that had a wooden handle, and
   37         WHEREAS, such strikes were given with a full swing from
   38  overhead and were given with such force that the strap
   39  frequently cut into the boys’ skin, causing bleeding and
   40  bruising, and
   41         WHEREAS, such strikes frequently caused portions of
   42  clothing to become embedded into the skin, requiring pieces of
   43  their cotton underwear be extracted from the boys’ flesh, and
   44         WHEREAS, school employees imposing the whippings would turn
   45  on a large industrial fan to muffle the screams of the boys
   46  being beaten, and
   47         WHEREAS, the personnel of the reform schools who
   48  perpetrated such beatings would make monetary bets on which of
   49  them could draw blood first from the boys, and
   50         WHEREAS, some victims needed medical treatment following
   51  the beatings and were left with permanent scars, and
   52         WHEREAS, some of the boys who were severely beaten were as
   53  young as 10 years of age, and
   54         WHEREAS, after being beaten, some boys were placed in
   55  solitary confinement for as long as 30 days in an approximately
   56  8-by-8-foot cell having no lights or windows, containing only a
   57  bunk with a bare mattress, and a bucket to be used as a toilet,
   58  which was known as the “hole,” and
   59         WHEREAS, the boys were segregated at the reform schools
   60  into white and black areas, and
   61         WHEREAS, both races were subjected to beatings, and
   62         WHEREAS, some of the beatings were given as punishment for
   63  “violations,” such as eating an extra pancake at breakfast,
   64  eating blueberries while running an errand, wearing buttons with
   65  the wrong insignia on the jacket, lying about using a curse
   66  word, having a “bad attitude,” or smiling at the wrong time, and
   67         WHEREAS, on one occasion, a boy was tied between two trees
   68  while he was repeatedly kicked in the groin, and
   69         WHEREAS, some of the boys were simply pulled out of their
   70  beds in the middle of the night for beatings or for sexual
   71  assaults, and
   72         WHEREAS, some of the boys were raped and otherwise
   73  physically and sexually assaulted, including being forced by the
   74  reform school personnel, supervisors, and cottage “fathers” to
   75  perform oral sex, and
   76         WHEREAS, beatings in the Okeechobee facility included
   77  strikes with leather straps that had quarters or dimes embedded
   78  in the leather to provide extra weight, and assaults using
   79  “probing rods” that were made of wood and used for punishment by
   80  sodomizing the boys, and
   81         WHEREAS, boys were asked sexually inappropriate questions
   82  by a school psychologist purportedly hired to counsel the boys,
   83  and
   84         WHEREAS, boys were sexually assaulted by a “school
   85  psychologist,” and
   86         WHEREAS, boys were sexually abused by school guards in an
   87  underground room called the “rape room,” and
   88         WHEREAS, the boys were threatened with their lives by the
   89  reform school personnel and told not to tell others of these
   90  abuses, and
   91         WHEREAS, one of the reform school administrators who is
   92  alleged to have beaten many of the children admitted under oath
   93  that boys were punished by taking them to the “White House,” and
   94         WHEREAS, this reform school administrator further admitted
   95  under oath that personnel would tell these boys to lie face down
   96  on a cot in an otherwise empty room and would have two or three
   97  boys from the kitchen hold down the boy being punished, and
   98         WHEREAS, the reform school administrator admitted under
   99  oath that he hit the boys with a thick leather razor strap that
  100  had a handle 8 to 10 times per infraction, that he at times
  101  witnessed bruises on their buttocks afterward, that the director
  102  of the school was always present during the “spankings,” that he
  103  witnessed the director and another employee at times giving the
  104  “spankings,” that boys could be given such punishment for
  105  infractions such as smoking, talking about running away, or
  106  having an “attitude problem,” and
  107         WHEREAS, the national guidelines for training school and
  108  juvenile agencies in the 1960s provided that corporal punishment
  109  should not be tolerated in any form, including slapping,
  110  spanking, paddling, belting, or any kind of abuse, and
  111         WHEREAS, Arthur G. Dozier, a former school superintendent,
  112  acknowledged the whippings in 1964 when Mr. Dozier stated to the
  113  press that although he did not like the whippings, he would not
  114  like to see the Legislature take away the right by completely
  115  forbidding whipping, and
  116         WHEREAS, the school in Marianna is currently named the
  117  Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, and
  118         WHEREAS, the reform schools were severely underfunded
  119  causing overcrowding, and
  120         WHEREAS, according to the national guidelines of the time,
  121  Marianna housed more than five times the number of children
  122  recommended for a state training school, and
  123         WHEREAS, the underfunding also resulted in inadequate
  124  supervision, and
  125         WHEREAS, according to the national guidelines of the time,
  126  Marianna employed an insufficient number of caseworkers, and
  127         WHEREAS, according to the national guidelines of the time,
  128  the Marianna school was understaffed in teachers, recreation
  129  workers, and psychologists, and
  130         WHEREAS, juvenile court judges who toured the school in
  131  1969 stated that conditions were dismal, without adequate
  132  facilities, without adequate staffing, and sexual perversion was
  133  common, and
  134         WHERREAS, one judge stated that he felt like a rat for
  135  sending boys to that place, that by sending boys to the training
  136  center they were doing damage as far as sexual problems were
  137  concerned, and that eventually he would like to see the place
  138  phased out, and
  139         WHEREAS, Governor Claude Kirk toured the school in 1968 and
  140  stated “If one of your kids were kept in such circumstances,
  141  you’d be up there with rifles,” and
  142         WHEREAS, Dr. Eugene Byrd, a psychologist and former staff
  143  employee, testified in 1958 before the United States Senate that
  144  the conditions and beatings of the boys that he witnessed
  145  amounted to “brutality,” and
  146         WHEREAS, a pattern of abuse at the reform schools has
  147  existed for more than 100 years: in 1903, investigators found
  148  children in shackles; in 1911, a report of a special joint
  149  committee on the reform school stated that the inmates were at
  150  times unnecessarily and brutally punished with a leather strap
  151  fastened to a wooden handle; and in 1914, at least 10 children
  152  died in a fire in the main building of the Marianna reform
  153  school where it was reported that all fire-escape doors were
  154  locked, and
  155         WHEREAS, similar abuses occurred at the reform schools
  156  located in Marianna and Okeechobee and were considered standard,
  157  accepted practice and procedure for administering discipline at
  158  the schools, and
  159         WHEREAS, these children suffered severe physical and
  160  psychological damages that have endured throughout their adult
  161  lives, including, but not limited to: severe depression; post
  162  traumatic stress disorder; persistent insomnia, including an
  163  inability to sleep in the dark for many years; substance abuse;
  164  phantom pain; relationship and economic hardships, including,
  165  but not limited to, an inability to maintain personal
  166  relationships causing multiple failed and broken marriages and
  167  families; violence; prison time; suicide; lack of trust; and an
  168  inability to maintain employment, NOW, THEREFORE,
  170  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  172         Section 1. The sum of $...... is appropriated from the
  173  General Revenue Fund to the Department of Juvenile Justice for
  174  the relief of the victims who were abused while confined to the
  175  Florida Reform School for Boys in Marianna and Okeechobee and
  176  who sustained injuries and damages as a result of such abuses
  177  perpetrated by the personnel of the reform schools.
  178         Section 2. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
  179  a warrant in favor of the victims who were abused while confined
  180  to the Florida Reform School for Boys in Marianna and Okeechobee
  181  in the sum of $...... upon funds in the State Treasury, and the
  182  Chief Financial Officer is directed to pay the same out of such
  183  funds in the State Treasury.
  184         Section 3. The Legislature is not deemed by this act to
  185  have waived any defense of sovereign immunity or to have
  186  increased the limits of liability on behalf of the state or any
  187  person or entity subject to the provisions of s. 768.28, Florida
  188  Statutes, or any other law.
  189         Section 4. The amount awarded under this act is intended to
  190  provide the sole compensation for all present and future claims
  191  arising out of the factual situation described in this act which
  192  resulted in injuries to the victims who were abused while
  193  confined to the Florida Reform School for Boys in Marianna and
  194  Okeechobee. The total amount paid for attorney’s fees, lobbying
  195  fees, costs, and other similar expenses relating to this claim
  196  may not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under this act.
  197         Section 5. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.
Here is the 2011 Florida Claims Bill

Senate 0044:
Relating to Relief/Victims Florida Reform School for Boys/DJJ 

Relief/Victims Florida Reform School for Boys/DJJ;
Provides relief for victims who were abused while confined to the Florida Reform School for Boys located in Marianna and Okeechobee. Compensates them for injuries and damages sustained as a result of the abuses perpetrated by the personnel of the reform schools. Provides a limitation on the payment of fees and costs, etc. CLAIM WITH APPROPRIATION: Indeterminate EFFECTIVE DATE: upon becoming a law.  To read the entire bill, click this link:


Please read the 
Newspaper and TV Stories page and tell us what YOU think by adding a comment to the guestbook!


Here is the opinion of Robert Straley as to the FDLE report concerning the abuse allegations:
(an updated version is HERE)

Provides relief for victims who were abused while confined to the Florida Reform School for Boys located in Marianna and Okeechobee. Compensates them for injuries and damages sustained as a result of the abuses perpetrated by the personnel of the reform schools. Provides a limitation on the payment of fees and costs, etc. CLAIM WITH APPROPRIATION: Indeterminate EFFECTIVE DATE: upon becoming a law.  To read the entire bill, click this link:

I found the report fair, in the following respects: that they did mention staff members, who had witnessed beatings or saw the results, stating that they felt the beatings were extreme, and /or , some had seen blood on the boys clothes, or bodies.

However, I found the report to be extremely bias and composed to favor the State. Much attention was given to the beatings as being: "acceptable for the time" that it was legal at the time to punish boys with the whip, and played down the tone of the beatings themselves so that the reader would assume that the allegations of 50 to 100 lashes were merely embellishment on the victims part.

Flogging with leather whips was banned in 1922 by Governor Hardee when Martin Tabert, a young man of 22 was whipped to death in a Florida labor camp. It was labeled "Florida's Disgrace" and the uproar it caused resulted in the Governor's ban. However, the same instrument of punishment was used on boys as young as nine to seventeen years of age in the Florida School for Boys for the next 45 years. It was finally stopped in 1968 by Oliver J. Keller, head of the new State Youth Services Agency-- he banned the strap and paddles. Note: This was done under Governor Claude Kirk's administration.

One has to bear in mind that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is an entity controlled by the state. The state also is funding the defense of Troy Tidwell, one of the most notorious Whip Masters. How can we expect that an investigation, carried out by the state's own entity would result in a judgment or charges against the state?

They have done the same thing they did in the investigation of the 32 unmarked graves. Not one grave was dug up, no ground penetrating radar or cadaver dogs were used, it was merely explained away on paper. Even so, they had to admit that at one time the crosses have been removed and then placed back in the graveyard by guess work only.
In a St. Petersburg Times report by Ben Montgomery and Waveney Ann Moore: 

According to the school's records, at least 50 more boys who died here remain unaccounted for. In the end, the FDLE determined that 81 people died there, but the official records placed just 31 in the cemetery on the hill. For 60 years, the school had a black campus and a white campus. In the first half of the last century, it was uncommon for blacks and whites to be buried together. But FDLE found no records to suggest there was more than one cemetery. 

"We're basing our findings on records, family members, former students themselves," Perez (of the FDLE) said. "Without the evidence to support it, we just don't know."

Without a way to see underground, without proper headstones or a reliable body count, there is only speculation. Perez said the FDLE published the names of the other 50 boys in hopes of generating clues about their whereabouts.

This report follows in the same thread. The report smacks of being superficial and trivial in nature, there is a huge omission of testimony and facts, not to mention the history of the school, in which these abuses are well documented all the way back to 1903. In that time in which we were there, in the 50s and 60s, there were many visits by senators, judges, governors, all which reported that the school was the worst example of a reform school in the nation, called it "A Monstrosity," 1400 Acres of Hell, all in all there are 22 newspaper archive reports that have been open to the public since at least 1958 and are listed on our web site: . Many back up our allegations to the hilt. The only archive material I found in this report was the history of the school and a picture of Mr. O. J. Keller, holding one of the straps and a paddle that the boys were punished with. 

Testimony of Doctor Eugene Byrd 

Dr. Eugene Byrd, a Miami psychologist who had worked at the Florida School for Boys, was called on March 4, 1958, to give testimony before the U.S. Senate's committee on the judiciary. 

Mr. MITLER. What did the building look like? 

Dr. BYRD. A very small building, formerly used for solitary confinement. It has since had the grills removed. It would be approximately a 20- by l0-foot square and is located next to the dining hall. As I indicated, the boys are taken there once a week on Saturday right before the lunch period. 

Mr. MITLER. What did you see?

Dr. BYRD. There are 2 rooms, 1 room in which they weighed in, the other room in which they are beat consists of a cot on which they lay down. They are told to hold the head rail and not yell out nor to move. They are beaten by the director of the department, not the superintendent of the school. The superintendent does witness each beating. 

Mr. MITLER. Are the blows severe or mild? 

Dr. BYRD. The blows are very severe. They are dealt with a great deal of force with a full arm swing over his head and down, with a strap, a leather strap approximately a half inch thick and about 10 inches long with a wooden formed handle. Each boy received a minimum of 15. All boys reported this, and the times I witnessed it, there was no boy who received less than 15 at that time. As I indicated and have a material chart here, I was interested in who was getting these beatings, since there was a very young boy at this time, about age 10, who was unable to hold the bed and received approximately 22 lashes. 
Senator KEFAUVER. Go ahead, sir. 

Dr. BYRD. Do you want to refer to the chart? 

After this is done the boy is told to get up, shake hands with the superintendent, and go on out in a group. This constitutes the actual punishment. 

Senator KEFAUVER. What is your opinion? Dr. BYRD. In my personal opinion it is brutality.

From the Miami News March 4, 1958 "Routine Beatings"

A boy to be beaten must lie down on a narrow hospital bed, stretch his arms above his head, and hold onto the bed. He buries his face in a pillow across his arm. A staff member then beats him with a leather strap 22 inches long, 4" wide and a half inch thick. The beatings are called paddling's, Dr. Byrd explains, but they are beatings delivered with the full force of a grown man.

They wear out the straps on the boys. Assistant Superintendent R.W. Hatton does most of this, while Superintendent Art Dozier or Assistant Superintendent H.B. Mitchell, count the blows. Hatton swings his arm all the way over his head and down with force. There's a rhythm to the blows, comments Dr. Byrd. Boys are hit on the buttocks. They must not turn loose of the bars or scream or move. If they do, the licks they have been given don't count. They are allowed to cry.

From The Miami News Feb 26, 1969 "Spare The Rod And..."

The superintendent or, his assistant, or the director of one of the departments takes a strap from a hook on the wall. The individual administering the punishment doubles the strap and very slowly raised over his head. The shadow is clearly thrown on the wall. The boy on the bed sees it, mentally stiffens.The belt falls between 8 and 100 times. After about the tenth stroke, the seams of the sturdiest blue jeans begin to separate and numerous times the boy's skin is broken to the extent stitches are required. That report was from a former House father at Marianna, now personnel manager at another Florida institution. He says: the strap was wielded by a man who was at least 6'3" and weighed well over 200 pounds. His swing could be likened to a strong tennis serve with a whip-like effect at the end of the downswing. "The results are sickening. The child quivers and writhes in a contorted manner from the pain of a sadistic treatment, not only repulsive but somewhat criminal in nature." 

Another supervisor who trained for a year at Marianna described a boy's buttocks as: "bleeding profusely: the skin was broken....."

From the Miami News March 5, 1958
"Beatings Shock Collins"
rt Dozier, Superintendent of Marianna, has conceded that boys are regularly paddled with a leather strap. Gov. Collins asked to comment on reports of mass beatings, said today he would reserve final judgment. "I can't believe that there is any brutality going on or that Mr. Dozier would be permitting anything wrong," the Governor said. 

"I wasn't aware they use corporal punishment, and I never knew the beatings, I have to side against the use of corporal punishment. I don't approve of it."

"Corporal punishment in my estimation is passé, commented R.A. McFarland, Head of the Sheriff's Juvenile Aid Bureau. "According to the civil rights laws you can't beat an adult. Why allow the beating of children?"

From the Miami News March 5, 1958 

Beatings "Only Weapon Effective On Bad Boys"

Florida law does not permit corporal punishment of adults in jails. It does allow children to be whipped, strapped and paddled.

Corporal punishment should not be tolerated in any form, says the Children's Bureau of the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, in preparing "Guides and Goals" for institutions serving delinquent children.

It was well known for years that boys were being abused in a harsh and extreme manner at FSB. Many people in the town of Marianna had this knowledge as well, however, due to their collusion with the school over jobs and money, the citizenry has remained silent. The simple fact is that no one in the town of Marianna has found the courage to stand up and acknowledge that the stories are true.This gives me the feeling that they are responsible as well, their silence alone is a collusion to the abuse that occurred there.

After searching the article, as to the beatings, I find there is no mention of any other boy/man other than the original four White House boys, Roger Kiser, Robert Straley, Michael O. McCarthy and Dick Colon. There are probably 75 to 100 men that received worse beatings than the above mentioned. Donald Smith and Jerry Cooper, each received well over 150 lashes, yet they are not mentioned. Jerry Cooper, at his own expense, took a lie detector test to confirm that his allegations were true. He passed the test and challenged Troy Tidwell to take a lie detector test as well. He was also taken to a FDLE lab and test for residual scarring which came up positive.

In Tidwell's statements of the beatings he says: "I never gave more than 10 gentle blows." The fact that they only mentioned abuse concerning the original four White House Boys shows that it is only an attempt to destroy our character and credibility, especially due to the fact that they each control web sites with much information concerning the abuses. What of the boys who suffered much worse? Are their stories of less importance?

Superintendent Lenox, Williams stated that the students received 10 to 12 licks at the most. Former Home Life Supervisor William Mitchell stated that he was present during the spankings and students received 5 to 10 licks at most. Troy Tidwell stated that 10 licks were the maximum for even the most serious offenses. In his deposition Tidwell describes the lashes as being 10 gentle lashes. The same as he would use on his own children. I personally, did not receive any of those gentle lashes. I have not spoken with any other FSB child inmates that did.

Even though the report contained statements by several former cottage fathers that the beatings were extreme and there was blood on some boys, the repeated statements of the number of licks as being 5 to 10 is the most outrageous and outstanding lie in the whole of this document. To trivialize these beatings is the worst mistake that the FDLE has committed thus far. This will only anger the men who suffered these beatings and will only cause them to be more resolute in their efforts for justice. Having read many comments at the bottom of news stories, the bulk of the comments were negative where the FDLE's report was concerned, so the citizenry of Florida are not necessarily buying their story.



Note: This list consists of 58 men who sent in their stories. There are 242+ that have not sent in stories, but the lawyers have their names and I am sure they will testify as to the beatings they received. As you will note there is not one boy who received the "ten gentle licks during what the FDLE described as "Spankings" As Dr Byrd said as he testified during the U.S. Senate's Committee on the Judiciary: "In my personal opinion it is brutality."

Jerry Cooper 135 lashes By: Tidwell
Jim James 80 Lashes By: Tidwell
Don Smith 164 Lashes 67 lashes then 97 lashes (for talking of beating), same day By: Walters & Williams. Cottage Father Hollon threatened to go to authorities, left 30 days later.
Bill Haynes 145 Lashes: 45 lashes then 100 By Tidwell & Hatton on same day
Freddie J. Williams 100 lashes By: Crockett
Frank Marz 16 yrs old 100+ Lashes
Billy Foote 63 lashes By: Burgress Has scars
Arthur Huntley 12 yrs old 75 lashes
Harold Sizemore 8 yrs old 30+ Lashes By: Hatton
Freddy Surber 11 yrs old 40 Lashes with a board By: Hatton w/Marino as witness, 15 lashes on another beating.
Jim Blount 12 yrs old 20+ By: Hatton / Dozier Witness
Clifford Hastings 50+ lashes By Hatton Sent to Hospital
Willie Roberts 52 Lashes By: Unknown
Paul Waldron 12 yrs old 70 Lashes Taken to Hospital on stretcher. Has Scars
Manuel Giddens 46 Lashes By: Hatton
Patrick Hogan 15 yrs old 50+ Lashes By: White
James McKinley Mutter 100 Lashes By: Hatton and beaten with fists to groin, taken to hospital, stitches in head, swollen testicles, in Hospital 3 days. Mother of another boy took pictures, he was given 25 more lashes by Hatton and told to keep quiet.
George Stalvey 14 yrs old 65 Lashes By: Tidwell Taken to Hospital
Larry Houston 14 yrs old 39+ By:____
Captain Phillip Savill 14 yrs old 45 Lashes By: Tidwell / Williams as Witness plus another beating for talking about the whipping and 30 days solitary.
Stu Kruger 15 yrs old 37-40 Lashes By: Hatton Taken to Hospital, two days to walk.
C.E. Gene Rogers Jr. 82 Lashes for Running BY: Tidwell
Joe Middlebrooks 75 Lashes By: Hatton / Tidwell Witness
Jimmy Turner 22 Lashes By: Burgess
Daniel Holloway 14 yrs old 30 Lashes By:_____ Plus 60 days solitary for running.
Charles Taylor 15 yrs old 52 Lashes By: Hatton / Dozier witness
Richard Paul Markwalter 27 lashes 1st Time, 52 Lashes 2nd Time Skin Broken & Bleeding
Ron Pesce 12 yrs old Beaten Bloody w/wooden paddle w/ Holes
Dennis Kimball 15 yrs old 45 lashes By: Hatton / Tidwell Witness
Jonathan Coker 14 yrs old 26 Lashes By Tidwell, 29 BY: Hatton (split skin), 25 Lashes By: Zitch
Ellis Edwards 11 yrs old 15 Lashes+ By: Tidwell / Walters Witness
Frank O'Conner 25 Lashes By: Tidwell
Bob Baxter 25 w/wooden board then 50 w/same Hospital 3 days Scars. Notes that the wooden board was worse than the whip as he had experienced both.Thomas Halstead 38 Lashes By: Hatton / Borkhart Cottage Father Witness
Phillip Martin Went Down 10 Times, Beaten Bloody By: Tidwell, Miller, Crockett
Samuel Weese 17 yrs old 25 Lashes By: Tidwell / Williams Witness Two other beatings of 25 Lashes.
Eric Utley 40 Lashes Twice By: Williams, 45 Lashes by: Tidwell / Williams Witness
Manuel Giddens 46 Lashes By: Hatton
John King 12 yrs old Whipped 4 times, had to hold down boys 8 times.
Ski St. Clair 30 Lashes By: Tidwell
John Bennett 17 Lashes By: Tidwell and 23 More by Tidwell
Jimmy Turner 15 yrs old 20 Lashes
Michael Brandenburg 140 Lashes for running-Held down by kitchen boys Hospital 1 week.
Carl Ford 50+ By: White / Miller Witness
Paul Elgin 35 Lashes Two Times
Roy Blanchard 10 yrs old Beather and kicked by other boys at the request of the supervisor on duty
David Vaughn 20 Lashes By: Hatton
Floyd N. Williams 13 yrs old 10 trips to whitehouse By: Hatton & Dozier
Blue Thomas Smith 14 yrs old 30 Lashes By: Tidwell / Davis Witness solidary 11 days
Walter Homman 15 yrs old 15 Lashes, 29 Lashes BY' Hatton / Dioxon Witness 45 Lashes By: Dixon
Charles Fudge 11 yrs old Beaten By: Tidwell & Hatton
Charles S. Taylor 15 yrs old 52 Lashes By: Hatton/ Dozier Witness
Charles Wayne Howard 15 yrs old 30 Lashes Has 4" Scar
Gene Luker 12 yrs old 35
ashes Solatiry 6 Weeks
Randall Morgan Steed 16 yrs old 40 Lashes at Gunpoint
Frank Richard Wells 31 Lashes By: Tidwell
Alan N. Sexton 14 yrs old 37 Lashes By: Tidwell / Hatton Witness
Phillip Marchesani Ran twice, beaten in woods after the ban on whipping at FSB

The FDLE leans very heavily on the phrase "residual scaring." In my opinion, except for some of the extreme beatings, such as the 100 lash beating for running away, at our younger age then, I believe the skin would have healed, so as to leave no scarring. I think a physician or specialist should be consulted as to whether or not a beating given at that age would have left any residual scarring. I notice that there was no mention of this particular aspect being investigated. Where is their medical evidence or statement by a certified physician in this subject? Why were other men who reported scarring not tested? I intend to investigate this immediately.

I also notice there was no reference whatsoever to any of the six items in the lawyer's letter of January 19, 2010, which included 12 client affidavits, numerous newspaper articles, a 1958 Senate hearing transcript in a 1943 letter from Dozier her to a parent acknowledging the use of corporal punishment at FSB.

I noticed there was no acknowledgment of this statement made by Sheila Wexler, who was Dr. Wexler's daughter. His daughter remembers helping her father, who had poor eyesight, when their family lived on campus. Sheila Wexler says she occasionally treated boys who had cuts or welts on their behind. "But if they needed a stitch, It would the only be a few." Would you beat your child until they only needed to use stitches? A casual, horrific statement shows the mind set of the staff at Marianna, as openly stated by Dr. Wexler's own daughter. A statement that supports the victims allegations of savage beatings.

As to the allegations that the strap was weighted with sheet metal, I cannot say that I saw this personally, I did hear from other boys who stated that they did see the metal. When I was beaten the force of the blow drove me down at least one foot into the spring mattress, and I made the mistake of looking to see what in the world was hitting me with such force. For that I received an extra 10 lashes.

In a report, several boys were quoted as having to have said that they got what they deserved, or were in no way traumatized, or that no student was ever sent to the White House without a specific cause. In the report there are six comments of this nature. When the story broke, I received phone calls from over 100 men, out of that I can only remember three that said they were not traumatized by the whippings. If you take the five examples that the state notes in the report and put that up against 294 other men, one can see that there is a very large discrepancy. Yet somehow, the writer of this document seems to be able to almost balance this out, yet again lending a trivial slant as to the severity of the beatings. It is so obvious, one has to ask if the writer of this document sees all people as uneducated and stupid. Six out of 294 men does not represent a majority, yet the document presses this issue as if it did.

As to Robert Straley's experience in the rape room, it is what was left out that was the most upsetting to me. I consider what they have to say, as well as Commissioner Gerald M. Bailey, to be a personal attack on my character, and testimony. They made no mention of the fact that when Tidwell was on my back with his knees, that I was unable to breath and passed out, or that I told them I felt that the men were afraid they have caused me grievous harm and took me immediately back to the cottage.

I told Mr. Tom Berlinger right up front that I could not remember every detail of that night. The remark: "I'm sure they did something but I really don't know what, it was" was probably an offhand remark. To use that one remark out of a three hour deposition, I consider to be most underhanded.

During the three-hour deposition, only 10 to 15 minutes were recorded. Nearly everything I had to say about the rape room and Tidwell was off the record, I am assuming, since they did not have the recorder on. My deposition was taken by Mr. Tom Berlinger.I found him to be most courteous and understanding during what was an emotional and trying ordeal. I do not believe that Mr. Berlinger is the type of man that would have prepared this statement where my testimony was concerned. I believe it was done by somebody else in the department. I also turned over a copy of my database, unedited, a years worth of work, so as to help them in any manner in their investigation.

I cannot comment on the death in the laundry room section. I was not there at that time.


As to the White House, building forensic analysis, I believe the rooms in which the beatings occurred would have been pressure washed long ago, when the beatings were stopped. One former inmate who visited the Dozier campus after the Sealing of the Whitehouse Ceremony found there was at least 3" of water standing on the floor. He was told this was the result of a rainstorm. Mold, of which was certainly present in the whitehouse building and, combined with water, would possibly render any findings of blood residue nil. I would like to hear some other opinions from forensic experts as to the water, mold, and passage of time issue.


From the St. Petersburg Times Oct 1, 2008

State Senate President Louis de la Parte

Blood was observed by the Florida Senate President: when the director of the state's reform school for boys in Marianna was fired for whipping children, then reinstated by a powerful politician, Florida Senate President Louis de la Parte drove to the school and found the blood-splattered shed where the abuse had occurred. Tampa Bay Online - Oct 2, 2008

From the St. Petersburg Times Oct 1, 2008 (about Louis de la Parte)

His messages were sometimes unpopular, always sincere. Once, when legislation didn't go his way, he was quoted saying this of the others: "I'm sorry that they feel in their hearts that this is the best we can do."

"He's (Louis de la Parte) one of the finest persons ever to serve in Florida government," said former Florida Gov. Reubin Askew. "He was very bright, courageous, and fought often for causes that weren't otherwise popular. He was really one of my all-time favorites in state government."


As to the last article entitled investigative findings: There was an area of disagreement between the students as to the severity of the beatings. This is white wash in its purest form, as they are putting the testimony of six men against 294 men, which is certainly unbalanced. Some students stated that mentally they suffered no harm, yet others attest they suffered greatly, and do so to this day. The same unbalanced view is presented in these statements, six students, who suffered no harm against the word of 294, who say they did suffer harm.

All in all, they did throw in a few negative facts in order to create a seemingly balanced statement. However, the extremely biased and self-serving report is a slap in the face to all of the men that suffered the beatings. Why has Tidwell not been charged with abuse charges when there at least 100 men who will testify they were beaten bloody by him? What is wrong with this justice system? How could the State of Florida ban whipping for hardened adult convicts yet use it on children for 45 more years? What is wrong with this picture?

These reports are in no way going to impede our movement towards justice. Hopefully, if we do receive justice, it may create a piece of legislature or change a law that will benefit children that are currently institutions. Even if we lose legally much has happened that has had a positive effect. The abuse at Dozier has been cut down and abuse at other institutions has declined as well as no other institution wants to find it's self under the same scrutiny as Dozier. Daughters, sons, wives, sisters and brothers of some of the victims have found insight into why their dad or husband acted as he did, was unable to express love or maintain a healthy relationship with his children or, in some cases, abused them. Many have found relief and closure upon finally, after many years, discovering why their father or husband was haunted by something he would not talk about. Most of the men I talked to, after the nationwide news broke, had never mentioned Marianna.

The real driving force behind my journey to expose the truth at FSB is the fact that the State of Florida banned the flogging of male prisoners in 1922, yet let that punishment be doled out to children for the next 45 years. This seems legally impossible, yet the statute of limitations and sovereign immunity stand like iron gates---refusing real justice. Terrible things done to children in the dark and the guilty walks free.

I cannot understand how the State of Florida or the people of Florida, or the Government of Florida could let this go on for as long as it did. It's simply flies in the face of reason and morality. The children of Florida, even in that time period, did not deserve this abuse. I was there in 1963, Kennedy was in office, it was an enlightened age yet children in this era were treated no better than slaves in the 1800's, imprisoned and flogged without mercy, hidden from sight in a small Florida panhandle town. The boys just called it Marianna. Since the State has failed to render justice in any manner it is left to us to continue the fight. There has been talk of closing the school, yet no one seems to grasp the obvious: Remove the children and replace them with adults. Adults have more rights than children. No jobs would be lost. Children do not need to be confined in an institution with an abuse record that rivals any in the whole of the United States.



Very well stated. The fight for justice will continue as long as the last White House Boy is alive. The FDLE report only serves to strengthen our resolve to continue to seek justice for ourselves and to make change for those Kids currently incarcerated in the State of Florida, and for kids in the future.To the politicians of Florida, you should remember many of the White House Boys and their family and friends have voting rights and we will be voting in the future. Troy Tidwell. Lenox Williams, and the other criminals that beat us with out mercy, there is a special seat in the fire of Hell waiting for you and your time is drawing nigh. The fire gets hotter every day. You will not be able to lie to God on judgement day.
Hope to see all my White House Brothers in Tallahassee in April when we honor a great advocate for juvenile justice, The Hon. Gus Barreiro.
Bill Haynes


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