Lawsuit: Brian Dodd, Survivor of Straight Inc. Torture, vs. Mel Sembler, etal.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
TAMPA DIVISION

BRIAN DODD,
On behalf of himself and all
other persons similarly situated,
Plaintiffs,
v. Case No.: 8:10-CV-1092-T23 TGW
JURY TRIAL DEMANDED
CORPORATE DOES NOS. 1-100
MELVIN FLOYD SEMBLER,
BETTY SEMBLER,
DRUG FREE AMERICA FOUNDATION, INC,
Also known as Straight, Incorporated and
Straight Foundation, Incorporated
THE SEMBLER COMPANY,
CITY OF SAINT PETERSBURG,
MARY ANNE FORD,
ANDREW CHARLES LALINO,
CHRIS JAMES WOODS,
Defendants.

COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF / CLASS ACTION

NOW COMES the Plaintiff, JOHN DOE, on behalf of himself and all other persons similarly situated, and states, upon information and belief, as follows:

INTRODUCTION

1. This is a class action brought on behalf of Plaintiffs, pursuant to the Fourth Geneva Convention as a protected class of survivors and victims of war; survivors and slaves of Defendants Corporate Does Nos. 1-100, Straight, Incorporated, Melvin Sembler, and Betty Sembler, for declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for past and ongoing injury to Plaintiffs’ rights guaranteed by the First, Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, and Article I, § 9 of the Florida Constitution. 

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

2. This Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1332(a) since the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 per plaintiff exclusive of interests and costs and there is diversity of citizenship.

3. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to international laws regarding war and war time, for preliminary invocation of rights of survivors of war and torture, incitement and declarations of war, and victims of war, more specifically empowered through the Fourth Geneva Convention and all the Geneva Conventions, for protected treatment of victims and declarations of war. And this Court probably has the power to invoke the rights of victims of war provided such protection under the Fourth Geneva Convention, having the judicial power to inform and invoke the attention of International Governing Bodies to oversee proceedings involving high crimes and sensitive matters of war, and the protection of sick and wounded persons, such as the Plaintiffs, during war time, such as the United Nations and Red Cross.

4. This Court has personal jurisdiction over the parties in that the defendants conduct systematic and continuous business primarily within the State of Florida.

5. Venue is proper in this Court since the Defendants do business and may be found in the District within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. 1391(a). Venue is proper in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) and M.D. Loc. R. 1.02. Plaintiffs reside, Defendants are located, and all of the primary acts and omissions complained of herein occurred through the headquarters and companies of the named Defendants and will continue to primarily occur in the Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florida.

PLAINTIFFS

6. Upon belief and information, Plaintiffs and the plaintiff class are a protected class pursuant to the Fourth Geneva Convention Articles ratified by the United Nations and the United States of America, in its provisions providing protection for victims during wartime.

7. This is a class action brought on behalf of Plaintiffs; survivors and slaves of Defendants Straight, Incorporated, Melvin Sembler, and Betty Sembler, for declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for past and ongoing injury to Plaintiffs’ rights guaranteed by the First, Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, and Article I, § 9 of the Florida and United States Constitutions.

8. Plaintiff BRIAN DODD is a Florida resident who was kidnapped and enslaved under the United States War on Drugs, and enslaved in the labor camp, Defendant Drug Free America Foundation, Incorporated then known as Straight, Incorporated, in the Middle District of Florida.

DEFENDANTS

9. Defendants and the other known and unknown defendants used and/or profited from slave labor and have retained the benefits and use of those profits and products derived from that slave labor. Defendants knew that the Plaintiff class members were subject to physical and mental abuse and inhuman treatment.

10. Defendants conspired with each other with intentions to violate Plaintiffs’ basic human rights from slavery and by so doing to profit from these violations.

11. Defendants CORPORATE DOES NOS. 1-100 are other companies, industrial, manufacturing, labor camps, judicial offices, officers of the court, lawyers, financial and other enterprises that, like the named Defendants, its/their predecessors, affiliates and/or assigns unjustly profited from slave labor. The designation CORPORATE DOES NOS. 1-100 is used until such time as the specific identity of such additional companies, as they relate to this action, is ascertained through discovery and/or other means.

12. The Defendant MELVIN SEMBLER is a Florida businessman who operates his businesses primarily under Florida incorporation, with his principal place of business located at 5858 Central Avenue, Saint Petersburg, Florida, 33770, The Sembler Company.

13. Defendant BETTY SEMBLER is a Florida business owner operating through her company the Defendant Drug Free America Foundation, Incorporated located at 5999 Central Avenue ATE 301, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33710.

14. The Defendant DRUG FREE AMERICAN FOUNDATION, INC is a successor-in-interest to numerous predecessor companies, primarily being Straight, Incorporated and Straight Foundation, Incorporated that were constructed or run, in part, by slave labor. DFAF is a “non-profit organization.” DFAF primarily resides at 5999 Central Avenue ATE 301, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33710. Under its former corporation title and name, Straight, Incorporated, the DFAF also claimed to be a non-profit organization.

15. Defendant THE SEMBLER COMPANY is a corporation with its principal place of business located at 5858 Central Avenue, Saint Petersburg, Florida, 33770. Upon information and belief, THE SEMBLER COMPANY’s predecessor in interest, Straight and other companies, actually insured and shielded slave owners and its founders against the loss of their human chattel. THE SEMBLER COMPANY knew the horrors of slave life as is evident in repeated reports to local police declining to pay the reparations for slaves who were lynched or worked to exhaustion or who committed suicide at or as a result of Straight. Additionally, THE SEMBLER COMPANY garnered monies from the families and children placed at Straight, working in the slave and free labor advertising business to which the Plaintiffs were forced to work. THE SEMBLER COMPANY, therefore, unjustly profited from the institution of slavery.

16. Defendant CITY OF SAINT PETERSBURG (“City”) is a municipal entity organized under the laws of the State of Florida, with the capacity to sue and be sued. The City Commission sets final policy on the creation and adoption of city ordinances. Defendant City is the legal entity responsible for the police department known as the City of St. Petersburg Police Department (SPPD). This police department has the traditional authority of police forces to enforce Florida statutes and City ordinances. The City is sued for injunctive and declaratory relief on the basis of acts of officers, agents and employees of SPPD and the City, which were taken pursuant to official policy, practice and/or custom. At all times relevant herein, the officers, agents, and employees of SPPD and the City were acting under color of state law.

17. The Defendant MARY ANNE FORD (“Mary Anne”) is a longtime Registered Nurse and a former Florida resident, who appears to presently reside in the State of Maryland, and whose primary home and mailing address appears to be 1300 Hazel Street, Salisbury, Maryland 21804. Mary Anne’s email address is: maford-1@hotmail.com, and Mary Anne’s primary phone number is: (727) 452-2556.

18. Defendant CHRIS JAMES WOODS is a Florida citizen who runs a Florida business which appears to be unincorporated and unlicensed, out of his home located in Saint Petersburg, Florida, either under the names Icon Film Studios and/or Red Wood Productions which can be contacted or reached at P.O. Box 20455, St. Petersburg, FL 33742.

19. Defendant ANDREW CHARLES LALINO (“Lalino”) is a Florida citizen who owns a film production company titled Film Ranch International, Incorporated; a Florida Corporation. Lalino’s primary place of business is at 3068 Kapok Kove Drive, Clearwater, Florida 33759, US.

CLASS ACTION ALLEGATIONS

20. This action is brought and may properly be maintained as a class action pursuant to the provision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 23(a), 23(b)(2) and 23(b)(3). Plaintiffs seek certification of the following class: all former clients, slaves, and children detained at Straight, Incorporated.

21. NUMEROSITY: The exact number of Plaintiff class members is not known. Plaintiffs estimate that the class includes from 50,000 to over 100,000 former slaves and the Plaintiffs estimate that the class is so numerous that joinders of individual members is impracticable. The number and identities of the class members can only be ascertained through appropriate investigation and discovery.

22. COMMONALITY: Questions of fact and law are common with respect to each class member. Common questions of fact and law include:

a. Whether Defendants knowingly, intentionally and systematically benefited from the use of enslaved laborers;
b. Whether Defendants wrongly converted to their own use and for their own benefit, the slave labor and services of the Plaintiffs and Plaintiffs’ families, as well as the products and profits from such slave labor;
c. Whether the Defendants knew or should have known that they were assisting and acting as accomplices in immoral and inhuman deprivation of life and liberty;
d. Whether Defendants have been unjustly enriched by their wrongful conduct; and
e. Whether, as a result of this horrific and wrongful conduct by the Defendants,
the Plaintiff class is entitled to restitution or other equitable relief, or to compensatory or punitive damages.
f. Whether the U.S.A. and its former U.S. Presidents (Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr.), who declared officially a War Against / On Drugs, citing as its combatants and High Contracting Parties United States and non-natural born citizens, and invading other countries, of ratified Conventions vouchsafed by the United Nations and Amnesty International and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and intending enslavement and torture of children at Straight.

23. TYPICALITY: The claims of the individually named Plaintiffs are typical of the claims of the Plaintiff class members. Plaintiffs and all members of the Plaintiff Class have been similarly affected by the Defendants common course of conduct and the members of each class have similar claims against the Defendants.

24. The claims of all class members depend on a showing of the Defendants’ common course of conduct, as described herein, which gives Plaintiffs, individually and as class representative, the right to the relief sought herein.

25. There is no conflict between Plaintiffs and the other members of the class with respect to this action or the claims for relief. Plaintiffs know and understand their asserted rights and their roles as class representatives.

26. ADEQUATE REPRESENTATION: Plaintiffs and their attorneys are able to and will fairly, and adequately, protect the interest of the Class.

27. Prosecution of separate actions by individual Plaintiffs will create the risk of inconsistent and varying adjudications and will establish incompatible standards of conduct for Defendants in that different Courts may order Defendants to provide different types of accounting or take other inconsistent actions.

28. Prosecutions of separate actions by individual plaintiffs of other proposed class members not party to the adjudications will substantially impair or impede their ability to protect their interest in that, for example, Defendants may exhaust their available funds in satisfying the claims of earlier plaintiffs to the detriment of later plaintiffs.

29. Defendants have acted and/or refused to act on grounds generally applicable to the proposed class, making final injunctive relief and correspondent declaratory relief appropriate with respect to the class as a whole in that Defendants have been unjustly enriched by participation in acts that were known to be immoral and inhumane, and Defendants: (a) prevented and or refused restitution to the proposed class members, (b) prevented and/or refused to disgorge wrongfully gained and/or earned profits and benefits, or (c) refused to provide a full and complete disclosure of the extent of their aforesaid actions, or (d) charged Plaintiffs wrongfully or maliciously assaulted or stalked Plaintiffs to conceal slavery and crimes.

30. Common questions of law and fact predominate in the claims of all class members, including the named Plaintiff. These claimsdepend on proving Defendants are liable for their acts and/or omissions based, in part, on evidence of a common scheme. Plaintiff’s and the plaintiff class members; proposed evidentiary showings would be based on the same documents and testimony concerning the Defendants’ actions.

31. A class action is superior to the other available methods for the fair, just and efficient adjudication of the controversy. Plaintiffs and the Plaintiff class members have no interest in individually controlling the prosecution of separate actions and, instead are on the whole incapable as practical matter of pursuing individual claims.

32. Even if individual class members had the resources to pursue individual litigation and attorneys, it would be unduly burdensome to the Courts in which the individual litigation would proceed. Individual litigation magnifies the delay and expenses to all parties in that the Court system of resolving the controversies engendered by Defendants / individual and/or common course of conduct.

33. The class action device allows a single court to provide the benefits of unitary adjudication, judicial economy and the fair and equitable handling of all plaintiffs; claims in a single forum. The conduct of this action as a class action conserves the resources of the parties and of the judicial system, and reserves the rights of each class member. Furthermore, for most class members, a class action is the only feasible mechanism that allows them an opportunity for legal redress and justice. A large concentration of proposed class members is estimated to reside in this District and nearby states. The management of the litigation as a class would pose few problems for this Court.

34. Certification of the Plaintiff class is appropriate under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a) and also under 23(b)(2), 23(b)(3).

STATEMENT OF FACTS

35. Over 50,000 children and adults were enslaved and tortured in the United States’ War on Drugs’ war machine Straight, Incorporated; a company founded in the 1970s by Defendants Melvin Floyd Sembler (also “Melvin”) and Betty Sembler (also “Betty”), a company later endorsed and sponsored by President George Bush Sr. through his War On Drugs. The practice of slavery at Straight, Incorporated (also “Straight”), constituted an immoral and inhumane deprivation of life, liberty, American citizenship rights, and it further deprived the Plaintiffs of the fruits of their own labor.

36. The first Plaintiffs, children, arrived at Straight in the mid 1970s after Melvin and Betty contracted with other adults and companies aimed only at gaining free labor and torturing and domination over children and persons falsely detained at Straight. Straight children were physically intimidated and assaulted into participating in Straight’s labor program. Melvin and Betty, and new faculty having no licenses to practice therapy or counseling with others, would spend up to two days with intake children becoming detained at Straight, forcing the child to sign away their civil rights on contracts stating children must have no contact with the outside world, no contact with parents and law enforcement and rightful complaint agencies, and no contact with school and old friends. Straight, Melvin and Betty made children sign away every American liberty.

37. Survivors, Plaintiffs of this class, who did not die as a result of the tortures and inhuman conditions done to them at Straight, doctors, and professors from accredited colleges, and the International Survivors Action Committee Corporation (also “ISAC”) estimate that two Straight clients died wrongfully for every one thousand who survived after being incarcerated for any length of time at Straight. Statistics show that over 50,000 children were falsely incarcerated and enslaved at Straight. This means that as much as two hundred perished as a result of Straight tortures and its founders. The International Survivors Action Committee Corporation was a 501(c)(3) non profit organization created by survivors of Straight, Incorporated. ISAC works “to expose child abuse within privately owned behavior modification centers, drug treatment centers, specialty boarding schools and teen boot camps.” http://www.isacgroup.org.

38. Although it is a common perception that the Straight, Incorporated model, being in precise modality and daily activity to concentration camps in Germany and to companies that forced slaves to build railroads and buildings in the United States, primarily accepted children who were not court ordered to attend Straight’s labor camps, five percent of children and adults who attended Straight did so with court order. All persons forced into contracting with Straight did so under the unknown assumption that Straight, Betty and Melvin alone received the kidnapped and falsely detained “clients” in a total effort to attain free labor and removal from lawful education.

39. The slaves in Straight lived in substandard warehouses that were filthy, causing skin and intestinal diseases, falling far below lawful health conditions for children, and the slaves were trafficked and transported nightly to strangers’ homes. In these homes, children were locked inside rooms many times with nothing but a floor to sleep on. The windows of these rooms were nailed shut. Slaves of Straight were made to transport others and themselves by means of assault and battery and use of third party vehicles and vans.

40. Court cases in state courts, such as Collins v. Straight and Norton v. Straight, reveal that children, as slaves of Straight, Melvin and Betty, were children primarily under the age of sixteen, and had been deprived of all human rights from the moment of first being incarcerated at Straight as a child to their release. The most common causes of death and suicide from Straight were psychological disorders caused by torture and crimes against humanity and degradation at Straight. Many reports to the Department of Children and Families show that most of the children reported bruises from beatings done to them by Straight staff, Melvin and Betty. Reports of malnutrition, psychotic breaks, chicken pox, and other diseases were commonly made to local police offices and the Department of Children and Families. Most of the deaths occurring from suicides post-Straight show that many people died as a result of the unrelenting hard labor and mental and physical tortures done to the child slaves at Straight. Strain on the muscles and ligaments was extreme so much that many clients complain of developed back problems and aching bones, muscles were ripped out of normality, all of this leaving the body in perpetual pain. Moreover, the research of wrongful death and suicides from Straight concluded that these clients were worked relentless by Melvin and Betty and staff who could simply go out and find new slaves if the present ones began complaining or become unable to work, and find a new family to defraud.

41. Straight, Melvin and Betty were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for fraud.

42. Straight was not alone in the utilization of children as slaves, in fact, research has revealed that many of our esteemed and celebrated institutions had their origins in the profits derived from the slavery and child labor at Straight. For instance, money from the human trafficking and indentured servitude at Straight financed the creation of Melvin and Betty’s company, the Straight Foundation, Incorporated and financed and created Defendant Drug Free America Foundation as well as financing many ventures and capital for the Defendant The Sembler Company. In political venues, Melvin and Betty boast of their work on children for “free labor that saved lives” and several high political figures were involved in Straight.

43. Many American industries and government goals and financed projects were endowed by and based on Straight and its products slave labor produced. Television, hospitality, and hospital and emergency service companies, even banking industry, judicial and court systems, and many other businesses, “legal” and illegal, made profits from the commerce generated by the output of slave labor at Straight.

44. Slaves created and built Straight into a nationwide company which went on to hold warehouses and buildings in over five states throughout the U.S.A., all of which hired faculty and staff to further the forced labor performed by children of Straight. Slavery fueled the prosperity of Straight and its mutual and interested companies.

45. From 1976 to 1993, the Defendant Straight, Incorporated and its founders, Melvin and Betty, worked with federal grants and taxpayer monies, these Defendants reaping the benefits of as much as $10 billion in unpaid labor. Some estimate the current value of this unpaid labor at 2 trillion dollars.

46. Not only did the institution of slavery at Straight result in numerous state court cases citing civil rights violations and negligence and false imprisonment (and at least one federal complaint citing Straight as a defendant), it resulted in numerous disabilities such as Bipolar Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, back and spinal problems, ligament disorders, Straight disabled and destroyed as much as 200,000 families nationwide by forcing its slave model on unsuspecting families. Straight destroyed its victims. It wrenched from them their history, their memories, and their families on a scale never previously witnessed by U.S. government sanctification and popularization of the behavior modification industry of slavery, up to African-American slavery.

47. It is important to note that not all of the slaves falsely imprisoned at Straight were of natural American citizenship. Because of Straight, Melvin and Betty’s use of U.S. government funding and judicial and international systems, it is highly probable that at least ten or more percent of all persons detained at Straight nationally were brought from other countries, institutions, or whose parents were not of natural American citizenship. Some of the slaves and children at Straight came from Haitian families, Cuban, and African-American families.

48. When the institution of slavery at Straight ended, the vestiges, inequalities and cultural psychic scars left a disproportionate number of American slaves of Straight injured and heretofore without remedy. A number of petitions and demands for apologies from Defendants exist and are easily available, the demands citing human rights violations and crimes against humanity.

49. Although the institution of slavery in the United States was officially outlawed in 1865, it continued, de facto, throughout the popular movement of boot camps and private residential treatment programs and wilderness camps who employ labor without pay from children. Treatment of children in these places is slavery and deplorable behaviors outlawed in the Nuremberg Codes and Geneva Conventions for treatments of victims during wartime, and the United Nations’ rights of children (through UNICEF), and the Hague Conventions and federal codes against peonage and indentured servitude. Records from 1985 to 1995 to the Department of Children and Families, and 2000 to 2010 to the International Survivors Action Committee letters, emails, petitions, and survivor and victim witness statements from Straight; such documentation claiming that Straight victims and survivors continue to experience trauma such as anti-social behavior, nightmares, disabilities and diseases, symptoms and physical ailments from the forced labor and torture at Straight. These letters and communications reveal that such labor remains unpaid. Several claims of torture and abuse to the Department of Children and Families were investigated and were found to be legitimate. Moreover, as late as 1995, the Justice Department prosecuted staff members of Straight for wrongfully harming children.

50. Even for those who were “freed” from Straight, their lives remain locked in quasi-servitude; due to legal, economic and psychic restraints that effectively blocked their economic, political and social advancement. Or they have died.

51. As to the disenfranchisement of U.S. citizens; through government and law enforcement bodies, measures under the War on Drugs and Straight guaranteed control of children who had never seen or used drugs and knew nothing of war and slavery.

52. The practices of peonage at Straight which continued into the mid 1990s were direct outgrowths of slavery and humantrafficking that continued a system of complete control by Melvin, Betty, and staff at Straight. For example, Straight had warehouses to keep and traffic children in different cities in the State of Florida. When the Department of Children and Families discovered that children were being tortured and abused at a particular location of Straight, DCF would shut down Straight in that city. Immediately following closure of that Straight warehouse, Melvin and Betty and Straight staff, working from their headquarters in Saint Petersburg, Florida, would move those enslaved children to other Straight locations that DCF had not yet inspected. Peonage through Straight was a complex system where an incarcerated child was falsely or fraudulently brought to Straight through means of kidnapping or arrest, the child dominated into paying for services that he or his family could not afford. Melvin, Betty and other Straight personnel would then offer to pay the fine or ameliorate judicial incarceration by stating they would take the child into Straight, and then hire him by means of false contract until the child could pay off the fine by performing free labor.

53. The peon was forced to work, locked up at night, and if he escaped was chased by Melvin and Betty and other staff of Straight as well as chased and physically beaten by singular defendants and other children of Straight whose work labor forcefully included harming and destroying other children.

54. While in Straight, children were not allowed to speak with family until they were brainwashed and beaten for several weeks, and were socially and economically relegated to unaccredited education, lesser earnings, and freedoms provided only be and mitigated by Melvin, Betty, other staff and faculty at Straight.

55. Slaves from Straight are more likely to go to jail, to be in jail longer, and if their crime is eligible, to receive the harshest of penalties. Straight survivors lag behind non-enslaved / incarcerated persons according to every social yardstick: literacy, life expectancy, income and education. They are more likely to be criminalized, live in servitude and quietude, harmed, murdered and less likely to have a father at home. Statistically, based on the tortures and mental skewing children were forced to perform on others, Straight survivors include in its class murderers, bank robbers, fraudulent persons, domestic and socially violent persons, all of the class trained to behave in such anti social ways.

GENERAL ALLEGATIONS

56. Defendants Straight, Incorporated, Melvin Sembler, Betty Sembler, and the City of Saint Petersburg, conspired with one another as slave owners of children at Straight, and conspired with other entities and institutions (whose identities are not yet specifically identified, but which are described herein as CORPORATE DOES # 1-100) and other un-named entities and/or financial institutions to commit and/or knowingly facilitate enslavement and crimes against humanity, and to further illicitly profit from slave labor.

57. In the mid 1980s, President George H W Bush did sponsor and endorse Straight as a labor camp, Bush provided advertisement and mass public networking for Straight, Melvin and Betty, and he cited the War on Drugs as being a campaign war for waging the War on Drugs against children enslaved at Straight. President George H W Bush did incite war upon the United States of America by and through his declaration of a War on Drugs and waging of war through said war. And it is through the defendant companies that Melvin and Betty promulgated President Bush’s war and their enslavement of children at Straight.

58. Whoever speaks out against Straight, Melvin, Betty, individuals and companies involved with Straight the labor camp, such as and especially the survivors of Straight speaking out against their slave masters, typically finds themselves under a false criminal charge for “stalking” or “harassment.” For example, Richard Bradbury, who was enslaved at Straight, repeatedly sought reparations along with several Straight survivors; only to be met with repeat harassment and violence by Pinellas County police departments and Melvin. Melvin filed a SLAPP suit against Richard that ordered him to keep quiet about the tortures and enslavement done to Richard and others at Straight.

59. From 1995 to 2010, the Defendants Andrew Charles Lalino (“Lalino”), Chris James Woods (also “Woods”), Melvin, and the City of Saint Petersburg, working in league with the State of Florida, did conspire to maliciously persecute the class of Plaintiffs by fraudulently filing charges and civil suits against many of the Plaintiffs. Several survivors of Straight have, through the years, created documentaries and books that are published and which all depict the slavery, torture, and indentured servitude done upon the slaves at Straight. The Saint Petersburg Police Department, did fraudulently and maliciously persecute, with furious animosity, the survivors of Straight by repeatedly harassing survivors of Straight as they have through the years, and in 2009 and 2010, they denigrate the Plaintiffs by refusing to investigate the crimes done to children at Straight and filing false criminal charges against the Plaintiff for attempting to speak out and lawfully seek investigations.

60. Upon learning the Plaintiffs sought to create a documentary expose’ film of the tortures and enslavement done to them at Straight, Lalino and Woods began working and conspired directly with Melvin and the City of Saint Petersburg (specificially the Saint Petersburg Police Department and its officers and detectives) to steal the survivors published and copyright registered works and film production belonging and particular in exact similarity and use concepts to a survivor and former slave of Straight.
61. Defendant Mary Anne Ford (also “Mary Anne”) gained money and career by enslaving, transporting, and torturing children at Straight from 1984 to 1990.

62. Plaintiffs and the Plaintiffs class are slaves who were forced into slavery from which the defendants unjustly profited. Plaintiffs seek an accounting, constructive trust, restitution, disgorgement and compensatory and punitive damages arising out of Defendants’ past and continued, and present, wrongful conduct, and several other reparations to end the continued suffering of the class.

EQUITABLE TOLLING

63. The plaintiffs have been unable to secure records with regards to the numbers of persons who were kidnapped and enslaved at Straight due to the failure of most to be able to reliably access data from the Defendant City of Saint Petersburg and founders of Straight, and the other Defendants to this complaint, privacy of such information, and all defendants who refuse to provide accurate information, and roster lists that directly connect Straight and Melvin and Betty to human trafficking of children across many states. The Plaintiffs have repeatedly been stonewalled in Florida and in other states in securing complete and accurate data, due to the involvement of government and local authorities in Straight’s camps. Moreover, because so much time has passed, family names have changed of the Straight survivors making it nearly impossible to accurately trace records. Recent advances in Internet and computer databases have made these records more accessible to the average layman; however the Department of Children and Families, Federal Bureau of Investigation databases are typically altered or unhelpful in ascertaining the true amount of victims and slaves at Straight.

64. Likewise, corporate histories and records have also been extremely difficult and inaccessible to most people. Hence, research tracing the monetary benefit derived by American corporations such as the Sembler Company and the Drug Free America Foundation, Incorporated from the slave trade has only been accessible and discussed by prominent researches within the last few years.

65. Moreover, efforts to attempt to raise the issue of reparations for Straight Survivors in an attempt to secure easier access to information have never existed in government because Straight was promulgated and advocated by judges and politicians and local police.

66. Moreover, with the advent of litigation related to reparations for holocaust victims from government entities and corporations, more emphasis has been placed on the viability of lawsuits for reparations for human rights violations.
67. Finally, the action of each of the Defendants by their failure to provide an accounting to the plaintiff constitutes a continuing tort that tolls the statute. The present actions of the Defendants represent a continued denial and active and present coercion and intimidation to keep from liability and responsibility of the slavery and crimes that happened at Straight.

COUNT I - CONSPIRACY

68. Each of the Defendants acted individually and in concert with their industry group and with each other, either expressly or tacitly, to participate in a plan that was designed in part to commit the tortious and tortuous acts referred to herein. Each of the Defendants has conspired against the Plaintiffs in an effort to conceal the slave labor and crimes against humanity at Straight.

69. For instance, each industry defendant was co-dependant on each other and operated as joint enterprise, designed in part, to maintain and continue a system of inhumane servitude. The boot camp and private residential treatment industry at Straight benefited and profited from the transportation of the slaves at Straight. Straight, Melvin and Betty utilized slave labor in the attainment of larger and larger numbers of clientele, families, and children that made Straight and its faculty and founders millions of dollars. The transportation methods were dependent upon the advertising and pyramid scheme industry to utilize the slaves they trafficked across states and counties. The slave industry thrived on profits generated from their use of slave labor, and relied upon financial and insurance industries to finance and insure the slaves that they utilized and owned. All industries: tough-love, behavior modification, real estate, financial, insurance, benefited from the reduced costs of slave-produced products from Straight.

COUNT II - DEMAND FOR AN ACCOUNTING

70. Plaintiffs on behalf of themselves and all others who are similarly situated, re-allege as if fully set forth, each and every allegation contained into the preceding paragraphs.

71. The Defendants know, knew or should have known of the existence of corporate records that indicate their profiting from slave labor. Plaintiffs and the public have demanded that the Defendants reveal their complete corporate records regarding same and that a just and fair accounting be made for profits derived from the slave trade at Straight and its co-dependant defendants.

72. Defendants have failed to provide said records and have failed to comply with plaintiffs’ demands sent several months prior to the date of the filing of this complaint.

73. WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs demand judgment: (a) requiring defendants make a full disclosure of all of their corporate records that reveal any evidence of slave labor or their profiting from same; (2) seeking the appointment of an independent historic commission to serve as a depository for corporate records related to Straight’s slavery and; (3) seeking the appointment of three endowed and/or international third party government bodies, specifically the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United Nations, and Amnesty International, to investigate the War on Drugs as it relates to Straight, Incorporated, these war crimes, the enslavement and torture upon persons at Straight, and (4) to directing defendants to account to plaintiffs for any profits they derived from slavery.

COUNT III - HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

74. Plaintiffs on behalf of themselves and all other descendants who are similarly situated, re-allege as if fully set forth, each and every allegation contained into the preceding paragraphs.

75. The Defendants participated in the activities of the institution of slavery and promulgation and conspiracy of slavery and in so doing furthered the commission of crimes against humanity, crimes against peace, slavery and forced labor, torture, rape, starvation, physical and mental abuse, and wrongful death. Specifically, the defendants profited from these wrongs.

76. Defendants knowingly benefited from a system that enslaved, tortured, starved and exploited human beings, so as to personally benefit them. In the process, the Defendants directly or indirectly subjected the plaintiffs’ to inhumane treatment, physical abuse, torture, starvation, and subjected the plaintiffs to the continued effects of the original acts, including but not limited to: race discrimination, gender discrimination, unequal opportunity, poverty, substandard health care, substandard treatment, substandard housing, substandard education, unjust incarceration, malicious prosecution and enforcement, profiling, and inequitable pay.

77. The above referenced actions by Defendants were in violation of international law.

78. As a result of the above referenced violations of international law, Plaintiffs and members of the Plaintiff class have suffered injury and are entitled to compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at trial.

COUNT IV - CONVERSION

79. Plaintiffs on behalf of themselves and all other slaves, victims, and survivors who are similarly situated, re-allege as if fully set forth, each and every allegation contained in the preceding paragraphs.

80. As a result of Defendants’ failure and refusal to account for, acknowledge and return to Plaintiffs and the members of the Plaintiff class, the value of their slave labor, Defendants have willfully and wrongfully misappropriated and converted the value of that labor and its derivative profits into Defendants’ own property.

81. Defendants have never accounted for or returned the value of Plaintiffs ancestors’ slave labor and the profits Defendants derived from said slave labor.

82. As a result of Defendants’ wrongful acts and omissions, Plaintiffs and members of the Plaintiffs class have been injured and demand judgment against the Defendants jointly, severally and/or in the alternative on this cause of action for, amongst other things: (a) an accounting of the slave labor monies, profits and/or benefits derived by Defendants; (b) a constructive trust in the value of said monies, profits and/or benefits derived by Defendants use of slave labor; (c) full restitution in the value of all monies, profits, and/or benefits derived by

83. Defendants’ use of slave labor; (d) equitable disgorgement of all said monies, profits, and/or benefits derived by Defendants’ exploitation of slave labor; and (e) other damages in an amount in excess of the jurisdictional limits of this Court and to be determined at the trial herein, together with interest, exemplary or punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs of this action.

COUNT V - UNJUST ENRICHMENT

84. Plaintiffs on behalf of themselves and all other slave descendants who are similarly situated, re-allege as if fully set forth, each and every allegation contained into the preceding paragraphs.

85. Defendants have improperly benefited from the immoral and inhumane institution of Slavery in the United States.

86. Defendants have failed to account for and or return to Plaintiffs and the Plaintiff class the value of their ancestors’ slave labor and or the profits and benefits the Defendants derived there from and Defendants have concealed the nature and scope of their participation in the Institution.

87. As a result of the Defendants’ wrongful acts and omissions as described above, Defendants have been unjustly enriched.

88. Defendants have been unjustly enriched at the expense of Plaintiffs and the Plaintiffs class. Plaintiffs and the Plaintiffs class therefore demand restitution and judgment against the Defendants jointly, severally and/or in the alternative, in an amount in excess of the jurisdictional limits of this Court and to be determined at the trial herein, together with interest, exemplary or punitive damages, attorney’s fees and the costs of this action.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE Plaintiffs and the Plaintiffs’ class demand a jury trial and judgment and damages against the Defendants, jointly, severally and/or in the alternative, as follows:

1) For an order certifying the Plaintiff class alleged herein;
2) For an accounting;
3) For the appointment of an independent historic commission;
4) For intervention of United States Presidency to provide a publicly stated and declared end to the United States’ War on Drugs.
5) For the appointment of an international third party to intervene, pursuant to Articles of the Geneva Conventions in part and/or in whole, to determine what portions of the War on Drugs and slave labor performed at Straight are to be determined as crimes against humanity, perfidy, crimes against peace, enslavement and human rights crimes, and high international crimes.
6) For the appointment of appropriate national and/or international representation for the Plaintiff class members of slaves and survivors of Straight, Incorporated, a war machine.
7) For the imposition of a constructive trust;
8) For restitution of the value of the Plaintiffs’ slave labor and unpaid wages;
9) For restitution of the value of their unjust enrichment based upon slave labor;
10) For disgorgement of illicit profits;
11) For compensatory damages in an amount to be determined by trial together with interest;
12) For exemplary or punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial;
13) For attorneys’ fees and/or costs; and for the cost of this action.
High profile federal cases similar to this one have been granted hearings and reparations by courts; cases specifically for reparations to slaves. Because of the continued disruption and the ongoing conspiracy the Defendants presently utilize to keep these complaints from reaching the judicial court system, the Plaintiffs also ask for hope and amnesty from this Honorable Court in proceeding.

Respectfully Submitted,

Susan Kenske, Attorney-in-Fact
911 Washington Avenue #217
Largo, Florida 33770

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF

THE FOREGOING INSTRUMENT WAS ACKNOWLEDGED BEFORE ME THIS

DAY OF , 20 , BY
(Insert name of person acknowledged)
WHO IS PERSONALLY KNOWN TO ME OR WHO HAS PRODUCED

(State type of identification)

AS IDENTIFICATION AND WHO (DID ) (DID NOT ) TAKE AN OATH.

NOTARY PUBLIC

MY COMMISSION EXPIRES:

  • scott

    can you tell me if there is a statue of limitations for a case.I was in orlando with my brother 1988-1990.I still suffer from ptsd and others. and never did drugs.horrible thank you

  • j. snyder

    I too am a straight survivor with a very long story that I have yet to share with anyone. It was only a few days ago that I found out that I am not alone. I had no idea all this was going on. I was 15 when I went in had my 16th birthday in the program and was pulled after 2 escapes. I blocked so much of straight out over the years. I was in the orlando program from 1990-1991. Finding all this info on the net has brought back some terrible memories! I have battled with major depression, anxiety, panic disorder, and social phobias. I thought I was just a messed up person, but after reading others stories and learning they suffer with the same disorders I realize this is a result of the trauma, abuse, and brainwashing I received in my prime teen years. I only wish that I knew of this sooner. I have blamed myself for the horror that I experienced there. up to a few days ago when I discovered it was the program not me?? I am not sure what to think at this point. I feel like I am so lost and not sure who I am or who I’m supposed to be…

    still suffering,
    Jennifer

  • Det. Richard Crater

    Phillips; if you can toll the statute of limitations then you have a case.

  • I was put into Straight Incorporated 20 days before I turned 16. One of my big crimes before Straight goes like this. My best friend from church and I were arrested for dropping fluorescent light tubes from the top of the Palmetto. FL water tower in the middle of the night. (small town anyone?) I had also smoked pot for the first time the summer before my 15th birthday and by now could probably manage to get a ¼ ounce with my best friend once a month or so if I was lucky.

    I’m sure the main reason for my incarceration wasn’t drugs, but that I had completely quit taking orders from my parents. Not going to church, not coming home, coming home late, yelling like I had learned it from the pro’s. This was all true.

    I also had once grabbed a large kitchen knife to shield myself from my older brother during a bad argument on Christmas Day. The knife did no good, he knocked me unconscious moments later. He was 18 and a body builder at the time, me 14 and an artist. I woke up tied in electrical cords and rope on my living room floor. My uncle and cousin were there. Everyone was standing over me re-acting to me struggling crazily. Saying, “He‘s on drugs!”, “He‘s crazy.” I hadn’t yet tried pot at this point, so they were actually wrong. I wasn’t on drugs.

    For the record my brother went on to later in life abuse both his wife and his son. I’m sorry that they had to endure that. Mark had been controlling me with induced pain and violence from birth. He could control me with a glance. I hated my parents for not protecting me from him. Mark is no longer alive. He was struck by lightning years ago. I remember standing next to his casket with my hand on his chest, crying. It was the first time I had ever been in the same room with him and not been terrified.

    I hated my home life and spent most of my time at my best friends house even eating most meals there. His Mother also attended our church and my parents and her were friends.

    My parents thought I had problems long before Straight. I was being psyche & IQ tested and sent to counselors since I was 9 or so Mom says now. For the record I had also been a successful Boy Scout, published my own School newspaper at the age of 7 and built my own electric guitar from scratch using old stereo components when I was 9. I did have problems, big problems. I could not accept the things I was being told to believe about the world.

    When you enter the program you begin 1st phase. You are called a new-comer. You have no rights and have to gain permission for each physical move you make, under the guise that you may be trying to escape. This means you even have to ask to move across the bedroom to get a pencil. Bathroom trips also have to be approved and you are watched while doing your business. Remember that the person enforcing this stuff is another kid or two, not some trained clinician. The parents do not normally intervene, even in their own homes.

    It’s 24/7 without a break. You’re not allowed any entertainment, not even reading. No reading road signs on the way to the building. No reading the cereal box at breakfast. No music, no TV, no nothing. You are alone for sure. You have no contact with anyone on the outside including your parents. Every privilege will now have to be earned. For me it was terrifying having no one to help/console me during the most frightening experience of my life.

    You’re either with the program or not, these crazy sounding rules are self-enforcing really. Any infraction is considered to be rebellion, never just a mistake. So the minute you decide to go along, whether faking or not, you have to accept these rules completely and place them on yourself in total, for fear of not progressing and never having freedom again. Punishment is normally only for those resisting in some way. All those who conform are left alone and treated with total respect. It’s a brilliant system and it works.

    As a dear friend said: “It is just horrific, because this has come out of people researching and coming up with theories of how to control people, using other kids coz they know peer pressure will work better than using adult authority figures. It is sick. I just see Facist Nazi’s when I read this…it is their tactics.”

    You can just imagine how the former “click” associations played out once inside the program. You could easily tell what click people were in before the program most of us probably brought it up early when it was our turn to talk. It was one way to not feel alone. Of course it also gave staff the opportunity to place former “hippies” new-comers with former “jock” old-comers, you know, in order to “help us process our true feelings.” How great it must have been to finally get the revenge your click so deserves buy having complete control over your worst high school enemy. I was on the receiving end of that one too.

    Each day, you wake up, get ready for group and eat a breakfast of some sort. The first rap session started at 9AM each day and the last one ended at 9PM, except on Sunday when we started at 1PM. A rap session was a long group discussion led by staff. All the sessions had the same format Past-Present-Future but with different subjects each time. The group sat in two sections with the girls on one half of the room and us on the other. Sometimes the girls and us were separated for sessions to allow for more intimacy. Raps were it, all day every day, except for meals and daily 90 minute exercise. 1 or 2 staff in the room to 120-300 kids depending on the time of day.

    For those 12 hours plus at the building each day, you have to sit up in perfect posture, meaning – facing and watching the person speaking, both feet flat on the floor in front of you and your back not touching your chair in any way. Sounds nice huh? Them looking out for our posture like that. The problem is when the enforcement of such posture is left to the fellow teens sitting around you. Did you get a chance to see Lord of The Flies?

    Here’s how it works. The worst 1st phasers are sat on ‘front row’ closest to staff. So what you want if you’re trying to have a bit of fun is to sit right behind them on the 2nd row. This way as soon as they slouch down and their back touches the chair you get to drive your knuckles into their back!!! This makes them jump forward off the back of the chair. Very entertaining for a teenager who hasn’t been allowed to even read a cereal box for entertainment for months now. Screwing with the other inmates!!! Yay!

    After a few times, if you’re lucky, they will stand up, pissed off. Then you and everyone nearby get to tackle them and force them to the ground. If they keep resisting you get to drag them to the back of the group, stretch them out and sit on them until they clam down. At first they sit just 5 people on you. 1 on each leg and arm and 1 on your torso. This often is enough and in a couple of hours your back up front and sitting up straight.

    Being sat on by 5 people was no problem at all for most of us rebels. I could still get something free and start swinging. Then they went to 7 people and it wasn’t long before I was a standard 9. That’s 9 people sitting on me to shut me up. 2 on each leg, 2 on my torso, 1 on each arm and 1 on my head. They would turn my head to the side and them someone would sit on the side of my head. This would normally shut me up but it would be hours before I would calm down enough to be released. I had times when I would spend several days in a row on the floor with people on top of me.

    I am probably most ashamed to admit firstly that the program works, at least I know it did for me. It really did. I bought it all to the letter. I resisted at first. Not to much physically, but I was open about my opinion of what they wanted. Of course then I figured that I would fake it and get out. This I guess works for a few folks, It didn’t for me, I assure you. I didn’t progress an inch until they broke me. BS got me no where.

    Not only was I tackled and sat on, but I also tackled and sat on others while in straight. This is the hardest thing to think about for me. How they got me to do things I would not normally do,? To that extreme? When I first made 3rd phase, my first new-comer tried to escape by jumping from our moving car on Cattleman road not to far from the building. I didn’t hesitate and jumped out right behind him, tackled him and drug him back to our car. We drove on to the building, went into group and neither of us were even checked over for injuries by anyone.

    While I was on 4th phase and making the best school results of my life, I slept each night with a 21 year old man tied under my bed. He was mentally challenged and known to be violent so this was an extra safety precaution that I had taken, beyond the normal caged window and door-key pinned in my underwear stuff. It also helped us all sleep more since he would often mis-behave during the night to punish us for his captivity. I’d love to know why someone with his obvious issues even ended up in a rehab. He didn’t stay long.

    My first escape wasn’t until my 14th month in the program, long after I had earned the privilege to come and go unsupervised. After earning my way up to 4th phase and living back at home for a while, going to school again for months. After leaping from moving cars and tying R.J. under my bed, after I was broken, after I conformed, then I was started over. This means sent back to the beginning of the program like a new-comer, stripped of everything and taken away from home. That was the last time I ever lived at home as a minor.

    A former director of Sarasota Straight had left the program and went to work at the Life program. (a competitor) He had contacted my folks about switching me over and he confirmed some of the bad Straight rumors that my folks had heard were indeed true. He told them that the Life program was the good of Straight, without the bad. My folks had spoke to another Mother who had switched both her boys to Life recently. Their mother had become a dear friend of my folks ‘in the program’ on the parents side.

    Mom and Dad at this point were having a wonderful new relationship with me, their brand-new, perfect, Straight program son. I was making straight A’s and 1’s in school for the first time ever. I had a bedroom full of program kids every night and I was on my way. 7th phase was just 3 more steps and then graduation. WooHoo! I could probably even got a job working in the program some day.

    Out of their new found respect for my feelings, they sat me down to ask me about switching to the Life program, to see what I wanted. One evening at our kitchen table in a house full of program ears, we talked about it. I don’t remember much more about the conversation than finding out where a few of my program friends had gone, Life. I do know that there wasn’t any decision made and I didn’t think I was leaving Straight at that point in any way. I probably resisted, if I had to guess, I was pretty Pro-Straight at that point.

    The next day when I got to the program after school. They called on me right away, I thought they wanted me to bring the rap out of the confrontation portion and into the positive part at the end where you get to say how well you are doing now and how much you love straight. I leapt to my feat and began my bit. A bad thing happened then. A 5th phasers hand went up. This feeling is like no other.

    My conversation with the folks about the other program had made it to the Straight staff’s attention and this 5th phasers job was to expose the story to the group (about 300) so that they would tear me apart. They did, I couldn’t say anything right, not a chance. The one thing you couldn’t ever be in straight was innocent, impossible. I went down in flames and I was started-over on the spot. Back to 1st phase. That was the last of the original me that ever existed, I ended there.

    Time to run! Escape! A few nights later my old-comer had left some change on the bedroom floor, about 32¢. I watched it all evening, planning how I would wait ‘til they were all asleep and use a coin as a screwdriver to remove the screws holding the expanded metal cage attached to the window and jump from the 3rd floor that night. I did, in my underwear. We weren’t allowed any access to any clothes at night as a deterrent to escape. I actually found laundry on the lines just outside the window and I was off like a flash.

    I ran for a while and stopped finally at a convenience store hungry about 3AM. I was starving of course, starving is part of being on 1st phase unless you are really doing good and/or you have a sweetheart old-comer. I also heard that some of the parents would not allow starving the kids in their home and would make their old-comer kids feed even the bad 1st phasers.

    After a while of watching me search the aisles and counting my 32¢ occasionally inquiring as to the cost of different small items, the clerk said something like, “why don’t you grab a few hotdogs on me?” (Thank you wherever you are!) I wandered outside and started in on my hotdogs. As I was eating, the parking lot was filling up with the 3rd shift of the Winn Dixie distribution center getting off work. One of them offered me a hit on a joint that they were passing around. There I was, high again, just days after being Straight’s super kid.

    Three days later I went home to my parents and begged them to take me back to Straight??? The auto-suggestions had kicked in, Remember I said, the program works. I was sure that I would die if I stayed outside the program. I was scared to death, really. They took me right in. A few days went by before I realized what had happened. There I was, on front row in group thinking, How did I get back here?

    I then knew for the first time that they had brainwashed me. How did I come back to this horrible place and of my own will? I decided I would get out again and this time not come back. 5 months later, somehow I had earned a little trust, a mistake was made and I escaped again from the building in the middle of the day! WooHoo! I ran until I reached a friends house that I had found while out on my previous 3 days of freedom.

    After I escaped the 2nd time I got serious about my drug use. It became my identity. I was free and I was using drugs. I had learned a lot and had almost no fears now. I added a few drugs to my list and found myself in jail again by 18. Luckily for me I had avoided crack, heroine and some of the other “harder stuff.” While in jail I decided to go straight again so I could save up some money. I had been homeless about half of this last bit, since Straight.

    I got out of jail and I stayed completely sober for more than 16 years. I decided to stop using and I did. No drugs or alcohol at all. My best friend helped, he was straight now too. His mother had put him in Straight too, on my folks advice. She then pulled him from the program on 3rd phase about the same time as my start-over. He never used again that I know of.

    At the time he and I were both working part-time as roadies for HAVOC. Our friends band. He did sound and I did lights and also handled all our interactions with normal folks. I had skills and I could make anyone think anything I wanted about me. I could certainly look like a middle class square any time I wanted and this was handy for renting venues and such. I was around drugs all the time, it didn’t bother me in the least. My identity was one of the strange straight roadies that work for Havoc. We would always mingle and entertain ourselves with our intoxicated friends.

    I started all my personal relationships by giving warnings about myself and my psyche. I would say how I have a much deeper understanding of the inner workings of the emotional mind than normal because of being formerly brainwashed and having to get myself out of it in a program designed to teach you about yourself. I would not tolerate anyone in my life unless they agreed to accept this extra side of me and to deal with it whenever necessary. Nothing like a know-it-all, huh?

    I would use the program techniques and other things I had figured out to point out levels of detail in life that most people probably don’t/shouldn’t deal with. Needless to say, I was a mess. I used anyone who would listen as a therapist and could subject them to a verbal “Moral Inventory” of myself without warning. Nothing could interrupt this process once I got started either. What’s more important than truth? I would think. “No you can’t leave the room.” “I can’t go to work now, I have to share this.”

    Another part of the deal if you wanted to be my friend, is no films with torture or captivity in them. No exceptions. Watching anyone being controlled by another makes my feel sick to my stomach, lots of anger, rage. Even watching a child be scolded most of the time is too much for me. Interestingly though, I never connected this with Straight until recently???

    After the band slowed down, I moved in with my parents again. Within just a few months, I found a local country girl and moved in with her and her 3 kids, I married her and became an instant dad at 23. We were lucky to have a free house from her family or we would have starved on my sometimes 6, sometimes 15 thousand a year. A true local business gentleman found me, hired me, mentored me and finally I was nearly lower middle class. Thank you Bob! Hannah was born in May of 1990 and I was a real Dad.

    My 1st marriage ended in 2001 as far as the living arrangements go. It had ended years before, in most other areas. She was always encouraging me to go off where-ever I needed to, please, and get myself together. This even though I was the sole provider to our 4 children, not sleeping around or anything and completely sober. Wasn’t she lucky? I would think to myself then. Meanwhile I ballooned up to 363 pounds and I could silence my children with a glance. Weren’t they lucky? It’s no wonder they haven’t spoken to me since I left. I was a real prize. I was very successful now as far as western standards go. My middle-class parents/siblings actually wanted me around and acted tolerant of me. It was great. I nearly died that way.

    In 2002 I started a new journey. I found the new-age self-improvement game and I was thrilled. I began to work on myself. A lot of it was crap, but there were nuggets to be found among the rubble. I made some great progress and began a new era in life, again.

    A lot has changed for me recently. I’ve been working (under the table) about 25-30 hours a week since March. In the past few months I started having “frozen moments”. They would be just a minute or two at first but then became longer and eventually lasted for hours. Not being able to move, frozen in fear. Like someone quietly hiding in a closet hoping not to be found by a burglar.

    I called my family (Mom, Sis & Bro-N-Law) and told them I was having trouble and asked, if they didn’t hear from me for a while, please check on me. I was scared that I might be losing it and may reach a point of no return soon. Then…

    I was watching a documentary online a little more than a week ago. It was “High: The True Tale of American Marijuana”, about American drug history. I was not prepared for the section of the film about Straight though. I had previously thought that Straight was only 2 locations in Florida and had closed years ago. Boy was I wrong. Straight had been a huge corporation with like 12 locations and was still going in new and different versions. I was shocked. I was one of over 50,000 x-straight kids. George Bush Sr. had even done TV ads for Straight while our Vice-President. Straight hadn’t closed, instead they became Drug Free America Foundation. Advisors to the government on teens and drugs. ANGER – RAGE – ANGER – FURY – BURNING

    What I am trying to avoid telling you is the horror I have felt every moment since I saw that footage. I sleep now in short spurts, waking over and over, only to remember and then wishing I was back asleep. My old 5:30AM wake up has become… finally getting out of bed in frustration around 3AM. I have not been able to work, I have not even left my camper unless I had to since then. I’ve been working on writing this since then also. It helps.

    I’m trying to believe now, that it wasn’t my fault. That the methods that they used to break me were tried and tested to be proven. They have been used by the militaries and governments of most cultures, on adults for a long time. Logically, I know I have nothing to be ashamed about. Still, I feel that I am less than you. My mind tells me that the other kids didn’t break. They were all faking and I was the only one weak and stupid enough to be broken. You wanna’ talk about feeling powerless?

    Now wherever I go, I am thinking about my shame. I’m not ashamed of my drug use, my sexual history or my finances although many people would be. I am ashamed to have been broken. I am afraid because I don’t remember when I quit resisting. I don’t remember the exact moment they broke me. How did they do it? Why did I stop fighting for myself and holding on? My breaking point must be easily accessible to others. How do I shield this fatal weakness? I don’t feel safe.

    Really though, I don’t remember anything about my life prior to Straight that isn’t a belief I formed about myself while I was in Straight. I don’t remember how I saw myself or the world before Straight. It’s like I was erased. This is a terrible feeling, the loss of identity. The anger with this is limitless. Several former Straight kids have gotten arrested for stalking/harassing the program’s founders and I know why. Revenge is now my first and last thought daily.

    It seems my life prior to a week ago was just fiction. It’s like I was still just a Straight escapee and had been running still, my entire life. However even though I am experiencing these horrible feelings and memories again so vividly and constantly now, this seems real and before didn’t. How could living with all this, having never dealt with it, been real? I prefer this realness painful or not.

    I feel I have a chance to live for real now. Since I’ve had this shift. I don’t feel driven to worry about where I am headed now. I don’t even care about probably losing my job. I’m glad to be feeling real and I’m not going to run from it in any way. I’ve already went to the local free clinic and requested counseling. Recovery from Straight is my only priority now.

    I’m staring myself over now, at 45. I feel like a scared teen runaway , 15 years old. Why am I having to do all this on my own? But I’ve got a fresh slate in my own score book for the first time I can remember. I want more than anything for my family members to react to this story the way you have. I‘d like some empathy, some regret, some acceptance. I’d like them once to consider that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t the Devil personified.

    Chris Carlton
    Oct 30th, 2010

  • L. Phillips

    Could you tell me if there is a statue of limitations for a case in 1978? I was in for a psychiatric disorder and had never done drugs, with their complete knowledge. I tried to slit my wrist, they just bandaged it up. I left just short of my 18th birthday, unmedicated for the bipolar disorder. Never did drugs. I’m in therapy for D.I.D., PTSD, Etc. $135.00 an hour.