The White House Boys Time Line
SEPTEMBER 28, 2007 - DECEMBER 8, 2008
Time line 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 Dozier/Florida School for
Boys at Mariana, its predecessor, the Florida Industrial School for Boys and at other Florida reformatories throughout the state.
This time line accurately reflects those events and occasions where there is a public record or shared informational electronic
SEPTEMBER 28, 2007 Note: There were four original members that started this investigation, Roger Kiser, Dick Colon, Robert Straley
and Michael O’McCarthy. Sadly, Michael O'McCarthy passed away on April 3, 2010.
1980 - 1981 - "Visit To The White House" - written by Michael O'McCarthy - Originally 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 Reform School,
the Florida Industrial School for Boys, the Florida School for Boys and now known as the Dozier School for Boys.
1989-1990 Many of the stories Roger Kiser had written about his abuse at the Florida School for Boys had been posted on his web site
titled “The Sad (American) Orphan” (Yahoo, then called “Geocities”) which had been in existence since 1989-1990.
Roger wrote letters to the Governor's office to inform them of the abuse that took place at FSB. What he received was two letters of
In late 1999 or early 2000 Roger joined a web site called “Classmates.com.” When filling out the application it asked him to submit his
high school’s name. Never having completed high school, he decided to put in “Florida Industrial School for Boys at Marianna" where
he had attended some high school classes. Several weeks later he received notifications that several other men had also signed up
under that same school name. He then began corresponding with several of the men. Shortly thereafter, Roger began categorizing the
stories in various sections on the site and later began building a White House Boys web page which later Roger turned into the White
House Boys’ web site he now owns and manages today. This is: http://thewhitehouseboys.com
SEPTEMBER 2007 - Around the end of September 27, 2007, Robert Straley got a call from Monica, a good friend and road
companion who had worked for him. They 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.
Monica 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 an email link sent from Monica. She had Googled the Florida School for Boys and came
up with Roger Kiser's web site that was put up sometime in 2007. When Straley opened the web site, at the top was a picture of the
"White House" punishment room, just as it had been years ago. Roger's description of his beating was detailed below the picture.
On September 28, 2007 Straley emailed Kiser and they talked on the phone for the better part of a week. Neither had ever heard
of talk of a scandal at the school and had to ask themselves this question: Could this still be going on at FSB? Straley was at FSB
in 1963-1964, hardly the dark ages, John F. Kennedy was President, Camelot was upon us, we were going to the moon yet boys
were being flogged with whips as were used in the 1800's on slaves. For all they knew it could still be taking place.
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 were long dead. The world, at least, should know what happened there.
September 2007 - Through the months of September 2007 to March of 2008 the two ex-prisoners 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. They
searched the Florida Archives, the Florida Correctional Archives, newspaper morgues, court documents and law libraries. They
found there was documented evidence of abuse. Witnesses: 20 Witnesses
MARCH 12, 2008 - Straley & Kiser Googled every newspaper, news source, reporters, anyone that they thought might be interested
in the story. Once he had the contact information they set out to emailing (and snail mail) 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 at the end of
March. He included the name of Michael O’McCarthy, the journalist producer who had participated in the Rosewood campaign that
eventually led to the Florida Legislature granting reparations in the form of a Claims Bill. He immediately got the attention of Ms.
Charlotte Frieson of the People's Voice Weekly News in Roanoke Alabama who published a small the article towards the end of
March which generated little interest. They received return calls from several reporters in Florida that were interested in the story.
However, most said the story was too old.
April 4, 2008: Straley received a call from Michael O'McCarthy who had several years earlier helped break 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. He had asked
O’McCarthy, “Can you do for the White House victims what you did for those in Rosewood?
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. Straley knew he had found the needle in the haystack, a million to one find that
was needed to break this story. O’McCarthy was stunned when he read the press release and somewhat emotional. Straley
asked him if he would help them and he said he would do his best. Michael in Archives: http://tinyurl.com/lrzw52r
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 web site (http://www.justiceforkids.org) (site may be down) 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 WhiteHouse. Barreiro’s response was shock 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 new web site Straley and Kiser had created 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
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 legislators whom he knew and would be
sympathetic to their cause. In order to protect his anonymity O’McCarthy kept Barreiro’s 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 Attorney Clay Townsend and Gus Barreiro, insisted upon it, and because he feared that the other
WHB, would slip and make public very private discussions and negotiations. 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 boot 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 effort managed a phone conference with him. He had perused
the applicable law and had problems with the issue of statute of limitations; they 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 provided the three White House Boys with a courtesy letter of representation so that they 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 during the next 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.
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 WhiteHouse, 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
who 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.
June – July 2008 - Upon returning in late June, Carol Marbin 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. 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 CM 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 and the video component of the Herald.
September, 2008 - By the time Straley returned towards the end of September, Michael had engaged Carol Marbin Miller of the
Miami Herald. Michael called Roger, Robert and Dick to tell them to immediately go to Miami for a video. Dick was unable to be in
Miami so he did not appear in the video. Their affiliate CBS4 did their own very powerful video. These were held for what would
later be Carol Marbin Miller's breaking story.
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.” The DJJ knew they were in a precarious position if the WhiteHouse and what had happened
there were to go public.
At or around the same time a maintenance person came to Barreiro at Dozier and told him that he had orders to “tear down the
WhiteHouse.” 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, they 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. After consultation with the other WHB 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 WhiteHouse … that the labor there was essentially child slave labor. (*) Barreiro reiterated
the concerns to DJJ and the idea was scrapped.
O’McCarthy told Barreiro what the WHB wanted:
A open press conference and memorial; no refutation of any of their allegations, whether about the beatings or the rape room; a
forum to tell the press their stories (the original four White House Boys – though we would be joined at the occasion by Bill Haynes,)
the right to “tour” the WhiteHouse with the press; to be led by Straley to the “rape room,” where he was brutalized by Tidwell and a
unknown man. Lastly, to be taken to the “unmarked graves.”
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 their requests.
OCTOBER 19, 2008
Breaking News Article: Reform School Alumni Recount Severe Beatings, Rapes By Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald: Carole
Marbin Miller breaks the Florida School for Boys story with a front page, 1/3 page column and two full pages in the "A" section of the
newspaper. There was also an online report along with her very powerful video. The story was then turned over to her affiliate CBS4
who did a live news broadcast with their own video. Video turns on automatically at top left of: http://thewhitehouseboysonline.com/
front page. The news article is found here: Breaking News: Carol Marbin Miller: http://tinyurl.com/7r3zy86
O’McCarthy participated in the conference with Barreiro, Bonnie Rogers, the assistant PR person, Samadhi Jones, Christy Daly,
another DJJ official. It was clear that Rogers was the lead person. O’McCarthy told them his WhiteHouse story and reflected the
cause of all those beaten and tortured and raped and again pressed the request. They agreed to the conditions.
Rogers told O’McCarthy that the true reason for changing from the destruction of the WhiteHouse 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 after a decent interval the
WhiteHouse would be demolished and the deal for the October 21 press conference and memorial was set with one caveat: DJJ
Press Representatives would set the press conference.
He objected and said that we were happy to cooperate with Frank Pinella (their PR head,) but that the WHB would issue a joint
press release. She told O’McCarthy to work with Frank. O’McCarthy 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 ceremony, which was to be called the
"Sealing of the WhiteHouse" would receive as much attention as possible; that would be the case with the national and international
coverage given by Brendan Farrington of the AP and Rich Phillips and ED Lavandera, CNN the next day.
October 20, 2008 - The four original White House Boys, Bill Haynes, plus, Barreiro and Rayborn, 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 “brothers.” It was the first time Barreiro would meet all four of the founding
members of the White House Boys Organizations.
October 21, 2008 – the WHB gathered together and were transported out to Dozier. The White House Boys Survivor’s Organization
hosted 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 of the WHB were more than thankful for his help: without Gus Barreiro, the campaign would still be in search of a means for redress.
Because of Barreiro’s undaunted belief in kids and in truth, (“the truth will always win out,” is his favorite saying,) the
victims of the WhiteHouse believed they would soon have their redress and their redemption. In O’McCarthy’s discussions with
Barreiro they had laid out the itinerary:
The WHB (4 original and Bill Haynes) would follow an introduction by Barreiro. (See Brendan Farrington, AP – Carol Marbin Miller,
Miami Herald - Rich Phillips and ED Lavandera, CNN, for full transcript of the event,) Links to breaking news after the ceremony:
Carol Marbin Miller: Men recall dark days at state reformatory
Brendan Farrington: Florida reform school abuse victims recall horrors http://tinyurl.com/meyyt4t
'Whatever is below those crosses is crying out' By Rich Phillips
CNN Senior Producer http://thewhitehouseboysonline.com/ARTICLE-DON.HTML
The men were allowed to speak of the past only, not the present. They spoke in this order: Kiser, Straley, Colon, Haynes and O’
McCarthy were to speak at a podium placed in front of the WhiteHouse. Next to the podium was a covered plaque that would be
revealed when the men stopped speaking. A tree sat nearby and would be planted next to the WhiteHouse.
Roger was first and spoke of his abuse at the Children's Home Society in Jacksonville, then on his beating in the WhiteHouse. He
had been abandoned at the age of four by his mother and at the age of twelve sent to Dozier/FSB.
Straley spoke about the turpentine and lumber camps and the death by flogging of Martin Tabert, a young farm boy in his twenties
who came to Florida to see the ocean. He became sick working in the brutal Putman Lumber Camp and was whipped to death by
Walter Higginbotham, whip master for the camp. The word of his death created such a stir of outrage and objection from the public
that flogging for all adults was banned by Governor Hardee in 1922. The flogging went on for 45 more years at Dozier/FSB, Straley
Martin Tabert's Death By Flogging http://tinyurl.com/lwytzs3
Dick described his own numerous beatings and broke down, Kiser came to the podium and stood with him.
Bill Hayes, who was a correction officer out of state, risked his job and his pension to come to the ceremony and read his statement.
He said he had been in charge of some of the worst murderers and rapists and never once had to resort to physical abuse to get
them to do what he wanted. He asked why did the State of Florida think it necessary to give him two bloody beatings on the same
day (around 130 lashes altogether) when he had done nothing to cause their actions. His speech was powerful and very well done.
Michael O'McCarthy spoke of the general abuse that existed not only then, when he was beaten, but on what the 100 lash floggings
had caused in his own life. He broke down momentarily when he recounted the beating of "Woody" the boy he had ran with. Hearing
his screams had haunted him all his life. He ended his speech with a rally cry of "Never Ever Again!"
The Plaque was unveiled which acknowledged the tribulations of the boys and the men placed the tree in a freshly dug hole and
covered it up. Ceremony Pics: http://tinyurl.com/cjpauod
There were about forty to fifty in attendance, a group from the Governor Christ's office, some of the staff at the Dozier facility and
staff from other facilities. Later, in talking about that day they would all agree that among the people that attended, most did not
realize what had been the purpose of that small whitewashed building they walked by every day to their jobs. The WhiteHouse had
been closed for four decades.
They then took the “tour” of the WhiteHouse with the press and the audience. Many people cried out: "Oh My God" and "It must be
true." The WhiteHouse had the look of a dungeon, dank and dark, moldy and unclean with a very oppressive atmosphere. One boy
had written on the wall "19 times." Michael could only stay inside a few minutes. Straley stood in the exact place where he had stood
fifty some years ago, awaiting his turn at the end of a line of boys. Roger exclaimed how surreal the whole experience seemed.
When they exited they went in search of the “rape” room, with Robert and Barreiro in the lead. The WHB entered the
administration building by a set of descending stairs and into a room in the far back, underground, which Robert did not recognize.
However, Barreiro said they had searched the entire campus and this was the only underground room. Straley was confused but
answered the reporter's questions. He felt perhaps his memory had failed him. After all it had been night and he did not recognize
where they were taking him.
There was a break for lunch. Sandwiches and drinks were provided much to the amazement of the WHB as they had not expected
such a courteous reception. However, the Superintendent, Mary Zahasky, could not have been more gracious.
During this break Roger left and took many pictures of the interior of the WhiteHouse which would be used by reporters for the
next five years.
Straley had a sandwich and then walked out towards the school house next door. He stopped, and wondered if he should go so far.
In his mind he still saw that area as a "out of bounds" section which you could get a beating for, just by standing there. Gus Barreiro
came around the corner on a cart and stopped. He asks Straley if he still thinks there is an underground room at the school. Straley
replies yes and Gus tells him to get in the cart and said he would drive him around it. As they loop around to the back of the school,
Straley asks him to stop and walked immediately to a very small set of steps, four going downward, and a locked steel grated door.
He showed Gus the door and the two rooms that were below sight, their windows blending in with windows on either side. If a person
was not standing close to it, they would not be able to see the door or steps. Gus is surprised. Straley tries to kick down the door but
Gus intervenes and stops him. There were no cameras to catch what was a dramatic moment. Straley shows Gus the dark opening to
the underground tunnels in the right side room. That is the one identifying object, save for a single light bulb hanging from the middle
of the ceiling, that he remembers from that night, all the walls being bare and unpainted. Unknown to him at that moment, he has torn
a ligament in his right knee which would take a year to heal. The ghosts of Marianna had struck out and hurt him once more.
They then caravaned to the “colored boy’s side,” where Barreiro had previously told O’McCarthy the unidentified – but cross marked
grave site had been found. After photo op's, they returned to the main premises. Barreiro led the principles to the boy's record room
that had previously been identified.
Unknown to the DJJ, Brendan Farrington Lead reporter for the Associated Press was in attendance as well as Rich Phillips, CNN and
Ed Lavandera, CNN. The story went nationwide and worldwide the next day to most USA major newspapers, The UK, India, Whales
and other countries.
When the officials in Tallahassee heard the news the DJJ was instructed in a press conference to claim that the Plaque and the Sealing
of the Whitehouse Ceremony was neither an admission nor an apology. The cover-up began that day.
A few weeks later the original WHB parted company; (two of the four WHB envisioning a different agenda.) Dick Colon joins forces
with Roger leaving Robert and Michael to their own devices. Robert builds a second site named:
When negotiations broke down with a prospective attorney (Clay Townsend, who was involved in behalf of Brittany Spears in LA and
could never find time enough,) O’McCarthy and Straley of the WHB Survivor’s Organization sought another counsel.
December – 2008 - Roger Kiser publishes "The White House Boys" An American Tragedy
DECEMBER 2008 Robert Straley & Michael O'McCarthy open their own web site:
http://whitehouseboys.com or http://thewhitehouseboysonline.com/
DECEMBER 2008 Colon and Kiser would act as an organization under the title,http://thewhitehouseboys.com Kiser and Colon
would be represented by Masterson Law 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. Roger and Dick take a sealed request of the same to the office
of State Attorney Bill McCullum.
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 31 unidentified graves found on what the State called the
colored boys side, of the Florida School for Boys at Marianna, now known as the Dozier School for Boys.
Attending were 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 but was able to do the press release at his home office, notifying by phone and email all of the
press in Florida. A former inmate, Bryant Middleton was also present.
Brendan Farrington of AP approached O’McCarthy at the conference telling him he was headed to the Governor’s office on an
unrelated matter and would provide the governor with information regarding the WHB and their press conference. Thus, word of the
press conference reached Florida Governor Charlie Crist that morning.
December 09, 2008 – Governor Crist called for an immediate investigation into the allegations of the White House Boys Survivor’s
Organization by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department Law Enforcement.
Crist's Letter: GOV. CRIST ORDERS INVESTIGATION
December 10, 2008 – Michael O’McCarthy was invited to the Governor’s office to meet with Executive Staff Counsel to the Governor,
Rob Wheeler, and Assistant Chief of Staff to the Governor, Lori Rowe, to discuss the White House Boys cooperation with the
investigation and to make known their list of grievances.
December 15, 2008 Roger Kiser and Dick Colon appear on "The Early Show"
January – 2009 - After discussions with other law firms Straley and O’McCarthy would finally hire the firm of DeLeon and Chavez in
Janurary --2009 Andrew Puel contacts Roger by telephone
March 21-22 2009 First reunion of the White House Boys in Brunswick, Georgia.
April 2009 Robert Straley receives an email informing him he has "joined" a group that have purchased a URL:
He does not recognize any of the names connected to the group save for Dick Colon, one of the original white house boys. He will never be a part of this group.
June --- August 2009 – Robert Straley and Michael O’McCarthy, and the other “white house boys” who have retained Chavez-DeLeon
enter into an agreement to join the Masterson law suit and the Masterson Claims Bill.
September 2009 --- the Florida legislature sets the Claims Bill into abeyance per an administrative rule.
August 2009 --- Masterson law joins with Florida State Senator Arthenia L. Joyner (Democrat,) and a Claims Bill on behalf of all the
White House Boy’s is filed with the Florida State Senate.
August 2010 St. Martin's Press releases the non-fiction hardback book "The Boys of the Dark" A Story of Betrayal and Redemption in
the Deep South. This is written by Pulitzer Prize winner Robin Gaby Fisher with Michael O'McCarthy and Robert Straley as co-authors.
Book Page: http://www.robertstraley.com/Home_Page.html
Written & Researched By:
TO BE CONTINUED