Monday, March 3, 2008

WhiteHouseBoys Timeline

The White House Boys Timeline

Timeline of Events Concerning the Meeting of the Original “White House Boys" and the political and legal campaign that brought about the official Florida investigation into the state sponsored child abuse that took place at the Florida School for Boys at Mariana, it predecessor, the Florida Industrial School for Boys and at other Florida reformatories throughout the state.This timeline accurately reflects those events and occasions where there is a public record or shared informational electronic correspondence.

Note: There were four original members that started this investigation, but at their own request two of their names have been removed. The two remaining are Robert Straley and Michael O’McCarthy, who are the Executive Members of the White House Boys Survivor’s Organization, NP.

1980 - 1981 - "Visit To The White House" - written by Michael O'McCarthyOriginally published by SOUTHERN EXPOSURE 1980 – anthologized in GROWING UP SOUTHERN, PANTHEON BOOKS, © 1981. This is the first known victim’s, published account of the beatings and torture that took place over the one hundred and nine years of state sponsored child abuse at the Florida Industrial School for Boys, the Florida School for Boys and now known as the Dozier School for Boys.

SEPTEMBER 2007 - Around the end of September 2007, Straley got a call from Monica who had worked for him. We talked that day and somehow the conversation came around to the Martin Anderson boy who had died in a Florida boot camp. Straley had seen a picture of him around age 12 and he was smiling so bright his eyes sparkled. Straley hadn't been able to get his face out of his mind for weeks. He told Monica that he had once been in a place like that where they beat kids with a whip and told her about Marianna. Straley thinks he had only mentioned it to one other person in his entire life. She was shocked and said he should do something about it, even if it had been fifty years ago.

To his surprise the next day there was a email link sent from Monica. She had Googled the Florida School for Boys and came up with (name is anonymous) a web site that was put up sometime in 2007.When Straley opened the web site there at the top was a picture of the "White House" punishment room, just as it had been years ago.Straley emailed (name anonymous) and they talked on the phone for the better part of a week. They decided to make one last stand against this evil, one hundred and eight year old stronghold of hate and misery, even if the men that had done these things to us were long dead. The world, at least, should know what happened there.

OCTOBER 2007 - Through the months of October to March of 2007 they spent every night, by phone and on the Internet, searching for evidence, and for every scrap of information they could find to expose this old nightmare. We searched the Florida Archives, the Florida Correctional Archives and law libraries.

MARCH 12-17 – 2008 - Straley Googled every newspaper, news source, reporters, anyone that he thought might be interested in the cause. Once he had the contact information he set out to emailing the release to every source. The release went out to a hundred and fifty sources as far north as North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and all of Florida on the 12-17th of March. He immediately got the attention of Ms. Charlotte Frieson of the People's Voice Weekly News in Roanoke Alabama who published the article towards the end of March and from four reporters in Florida that were interested in the story.

April 4 – 2008: Straley received a call from Michael O'McCarthy, the free lance media journalist and producer who had several years earlier broken the Rosewood Story. This was a small black town in North Florida that had been burned to the ground by a rampaging mob of white people. After fifty years this was brought into the public eye and eventually reparations were made to the surviving families. Incredibly, Michael O'McCarthy had been incarcerated in the Florida School for Boys as a youth and had received one of the one hundred lash beatings for running away.Included in the email blast from Straley one had targeted O’McCarthy. In it he asked, “can you do for the White House victims what you did for those in Rosewood?When O’McCarthy responded with the information that he too had been in the White House, Straley knew he had found the needle in the haystack that was needed to break this story.

O’McCarthy was stunned when he read my press release and somewhat emotional. Straley asked him if he would do for the victims of the White House what he had done for the victims of Rosewood and he said he would do his best to help us.

APRIL 6, 2008: After discussions between ourselves and the aforementioned anonymous person the three of us agreed to form “THE WHITE HOUSE BOYS” and agreed to have Michael O’McCarthy take the lead in developing the overall campaign.April –

May, 2008 – After taking on the assignment to help the WHB O’McCarthy started the search for a legal entity by finding an agency in the state that helped kids. He came across the above named website ( and saw Gus Barreiro’s name and phone number. Not knowing he was with DJJ and thinking that he might be familiar with legal assistance for kids he called him. Barreiro did not identify himself as DJJ in the beginning of the conversation and O’McCarthy began to tell him the story of the horrors of the WH. His response was shock and horror at the information provided.He familiarized Barreiro with his work on Rosewood and the claims bill. Barreiro was familiar with that case.O’McCarthy directed him to the website Straley had helped to create and his piece, Visit to the White House.

By the end of the conversation Barreiro promised to do anything and everything he could to help. That would include both acting as liaison with DJJ and using his experience and contacts within the Florida legislature. He also offered to help find the proper attorney to facilitate the case. If O’McCarthy was Straley’s WHB’s angel, Gus was his and WHB’s next.As for the legislative claims bill process he asked that they be patient: they would have to wait until the coming November because the claims bill required the support of a newly elected senator.

Barreiro would talk to those legislatures whom he knew and would be sympathetic to our cause. In order to protect his anonymity O’McCarthy kept his name to himself.(As this process would continue throughout the summer O’McCarthy maintained a wall of anonymity between those contacts and the other WHB because they, (first Clay Townsend and Gus Barreiro,) insisted upon it. As Straley was on the road and unavailable, communications were brief and a matter of trust.In the interim, Gus would seek ways to help. He suggested Ben Crump, an African American attorney who had handled the infamous Martin Anderson killing at a DJJ book camp and got Martin’s family a compensatory $5M benefit.(Parenthetically, as noted, it was seeing the internet picture of Martin Anderson that sparked Straley’s memory.)O’McCarthy pursued Crump in April and after considerable tries managed a phone conference with him. He had perused the applicable law and had problems with the issue of statute of limitations; we did not discuss the Claims Bill. It became apparent then the Crump did not have the staff to pursue such a matter.

May 12, 2008 – Crump provides the three White House Boys with a courtesy letter of representation so that we might have legal representation in Florida if it was needed.May 15 2008 - September 2008 - Straley had to go out on the road. This ended Straley’s active involvement and the person who helped me with the research for a period of about five months.

During this period Michael O'McCarthy continued his campaign to bring this to national attention and to present a plea to the Governor and the DJJ Staff.By the time Straley returned five months later, Michael had engaged Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald. It then went to their affiliate CBS4 who did their own very powerful video.

June, 2008 – O’McCarthy left for Costa Rica and upon returning continued contact with Barreiro. By then Barreiro had been promoted to a position overseeing all the residential facilities of DJJ. He went to Dozier where he then informed O’McCarthy that he had been to the WH, and further, that he had found a history of hand written records dating back to the 1920’s.Previously upon query in seeking a feature print reporter Barreiro referred O’McCarthy to Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald. She showed early enthusiasm for the story, but there was a professional situation that prevented her from acting on the story immediately. O’McCarthy sought other reporters but couldn’t find one suitable to the task; unlike that which he had found for Rosewood.

June – July 2008 - Upon returning in late June Miller was ready to proceed and an exclusive print collaboration agreement was reached between the WHB and Miller. The WHB were still without an attorney however, but in that it had taken two years to find the right one for Rosewood, O’McCarthy knew that it would only be a matter of time or exposure. Barreiro and he talked about Miller and he and Miller held a series of conversations which buoyed up her insight into the story.August, 2008 – the O’McCarthy family made the decision to move to Costa Rica; O’McCarthy did a long print and TV interview with Miller. He stayed in touch with Gus and he asked for more time to position himself in order to help us.

September, 2008 – Barreiro put O’McCarthy in touch with a highly respected lobbyist, Keri Rayborn whose firm took on the case. She would venture to Mariana for the forthcoming memorial as a witness.September – October - 2008 - Barreiro informed O’McCarthy that he was talking with the head staff at DJJ to see if we could find a compromise between ourselves and the agency to “turn a negative into a positive.” At or around the same time a maintenance person came to Gus at Dozier and told him that he had orders to “tear down the WH.” Barreiro said that he then went to DJJ heads and told them that tearing the building down would appear as an admission of guilt and appear as if they were hiding the truth.DJJ then proposed to Barreiro that the WHB could participate in the building’s destruction and upon notification to the other WHB, we agreed.Then DJJ changed their mind and suggested that the building be turned into a “museum-memorial” with the front cell to memorialize the WHB and the other “rooms” to honor the good things done at the school.O’McCarthy told Barreiro in no uncertain terms that it was an unacceptable concept: that every boy, whether in the kitchen or on a winning football team was under the threat of the WH … that the labor there was essentially child slave labor. (*)

Barreiro reiterated the concerns to DJJ and the idea was scrapped. He told them what we wanted:A open press conference and memorial; no refutation of any of our allegations, whether about the beatings or the rape room; a forum to tell the press our stories (the original four White House Boys – though we would be joined at the occasion by Bill Hayes,); the right to “tour” the WH with the press; to be led by Straley to the “rape room,” the sight of his rape by Tidwell and one other. Lastly, to be taken to the “unmarked graves.” Gus had made known to us. We agreed.

October – 2008 - Barreiro called O’McCarthy and told him that the Chief of Staff of DJJ, Bonnie Rogers, and others wanted a conference call so that they could be assured that the event would be carried out responsibly by the WHB if they granted our requests.O’McCarthy participated in the conference with Gus, Bonnie Rogers, the assistant PR person, Samadhi Jones, Christy Dely, another DJJ official. It was clear that Bonnie was the lead person. O’McCarthy told them his WH story and reflected the cause of all those beaten and tortured and raped and again pressed our request as noted above. They agreed to all of the above.

Bonnie Rogers told O’McCarthy that the true reason for changing from the destruction of the WH to the idea of a memorial was because the state feared that other abused residents of state and private facilities would see this as precedent and would want the injurious edifice in their cases destroyed as well.She then made a point of pledging to him that the after a decent interval the WH would be demolished and the deal for the October 21 press conference and memorial was set with one caveat: DJJ pr would set the press conference.He objected and said that we were happy to cooperate with Frank Pinella (their PR head,) but we would issue a joint press release. She told me to work with Frank. He never heard from Frank until the day of the event.

October 20, 2008 - In checking with Barreiro en route to event from Miami to Dozier he informed O’McCarthy that DJJ had no intention of opening up the event as a full press conference; that they had only sent out an “event notice” later Friday or Saturday; that they wanted to limit it to the “workable” relationship they had established with Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald.O’McCarthy notified Straley and the two began calling all their press contacts to make sure the conference would receive as much attention as possible, as would be the case with the national and international coverage given by Brendan Farrington of the AP.

October 20, 2008 - The four original White House Boys, Bill Haynes, plus, Gus and Keri,) all met for dinner at the local Mariana Mexican restaurant. Gus Barreiro and O’McCarthy finally met after months of phone communications… there were tears in both of their eyes. They greeted each other as “brother.” It was the first time Gus would meet all four of the founding members of the White House Boys Survivor’s Organization

October 21, 2008 – the WHB gathered together and were transported out to Dozier. White House Boys Survivor’s Organization held the memorial and press conference: in attendance and participating in the Memorial are, Roger Kiser, Robert Straley, Michael O’McCarthy, Dick Colon and Bill Haynes.All the WHB were more than thankful for his help: without Gus, the campaign would still be in search of a means for redress. Because of Gus’s undaunted belief in kids and in truth, (“the truth will always win out,” is his favorite saying,) the victims of the WH believed they would soon have their redress and their redemption.

In O’McCarthy’s discussions with Gus they had laid out the itinerary:The WHB (4 original and Bill Haynes) would follow an introduction by Gus who gave the introduction. (See Brendan Farrington, AP – Carol Marbin Miller, Miami Herald for full transcript of the event,)The order followed: Kiser, Straley, Colon, Haynes and O’McCarthy. We then took the “tour” of the WH with press. (See press links on this website for both print and electronic coverage of these events.)When we exited we went in search of the “rape” room, with Robert and Gus in the lead. We went first to the administration building and into a room in the far back of the underground which Robert identified that as the “rape” room. Robert was in a state of shock, non-emotive. (See Robert for this narrative.)

We then caravaned to the “colored boy’s side,” where Gus had previously told O’McCarthy the unidentified – but cross marked grave site had been found. After photo ops, we returned to the main premises. Gus led the principles to the record room which my records had previously been identified by CM Miller (See: 1st Herald story.)At that juncture we parted company; two of the four WHB envision a different agenda.When negotiations broke down with a prospective attorney (Clay Townsend, who was involved in behalf of Brittany Spears in LA) We sought another counsel and Gus parsed some for us.December – 2008 - a self-published book, The White House Boys would be published without the participation and permission of O’McCarthy and Straley. First copy of the book would come out on Jan 16, 2009. Colon and Kiser would act as an organization under the title, The White House Boys. Kiser and Colon would be represented by Masterson of St. Pete.

December 08, 2008 - In order to further pressure the state to begin to investigate the allegations of the horrific abuse that had taken place in the White House, and to force them to identify the bodies in the unidentified graves, and the allegations of the murder and disposal of a large number of other children, Michael O’McCarthy and Robert Straley of the White House Boys Survivor’s Organization, put together a press conference at the Federal Building in Tallahassee.

The request was that the Department of Justice and Governor of the State of Florida, Charlie Crist, order the state's Attorney General, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Department of Juvenile Justice to immediately begin an investigation into the cause of death and identities of the remains believed to be covered in 31unidentified graves found on what the State called the colored boys side, of then the Florida School for Boys at Marianna, now known as the Dozier School for Boys.Attending are Roger Kiser and Dick Colon, along with Michael O’McCarthy, three of the four founding members of the “White House Boys.” Straley is absent due to illness and issued the press release to the newspaper and television media from his home in Clearwater, Florida.

Word of the press conference reached Florida Governor Charlie Crist that morning by Associated Press reporter Brendan Farrington, who having to see the Governor on another matter, brought the press conference and its purpose to the Governor's attention.

December 09, 2008 – Governor Crist calls for an immediate investigation into the allegations of the White House Boys Survivor’s Organization by the FloridaDepartment of Juvenile Justice and the Department Law Enforcement.

December 10, 2008 – Michael O’McCarthy is invited to the Governor’s office to meet with Executive Staff Counsel to the Governor, Rob Wheeler, and Assistant to the Governor, Lori Rowe to discuss the White House Boys cooperation with the investigation and to make known their list of grievances.

January – 2009 - After discussions with other law firms Straley and O’McCarthy would finally hire the firm of DeLeon and Chavez in Miami we would finally hire the firm of DeLeon and Chavez in Miami