Jackson County Times

Top Story News

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dozier Abuse Case Is Closed Evidence of Abuses was ruled “inconclusive”.

By Sid Riley

The sun can begin shining again at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys. It appears that the dark clouds of suspicion and assumed guilt which have hung over the school for many months, are beginning to part and lift away. This air of relief will work to again allow the institution, and its dedicated employees, current and retired, to resume normal lives, and to work with pride of accomplishment.

On Thursday the FDLE released its conclusions resulting from their investigation of the alleged instances of abuse which supposedly occurred during the period from 1914 to 1960. The investigation initially focused on the thirty-two unmarked graves. After reviewing all available old records, news accounts, and other data, the FDLE was able to identify all but one of the graves and the associated cause of death. This satisfied the needed proof to dispel all allegations of “hidden bodies” and “unreported deaths”.

The second portion of the FDLE investigations focused on allegations of substantial abuses, especially those related to use of excessive force while administering corporal punishment. These claims were in conjunction with a class action lawsuit filed by the “White House Boys”, a group of former internees who claimed to have been mistreated, severely beaten, or sexually abused by the staff during their time at the facility. This lawsuit was dismissed in late February on a procedural disqualification.

The FDLE report stated that after the passage of some fifty years, there remains no tangible, physical evidence that can substantiate or deny the truth of these allegations. After conducting over 100 interviews with involved parties during the era in question, they found general agreement over the place and manner in which punishment was administered. However, they were unable to verify the number of incidents and the severity of the punishment. In these matters, testimonies varied greatly.

In the testimonies garnered from previous inmates at the school, some related tales of severe, inappropriate beatings and abuses. In other instances previous interns told of the experience being “life changing”, and even rewarding.

The lack of any concrete evidence or proof, and more than anything else, the passage of many, many years left the FDLE with little alternative in the matter. Let us hope that these shadows of the past will now be laid to rest.

No comments:

Post a Comment