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Andrew Puel

I arrived at the Florida School for Boys on October 11, 1966. I was sixteen and a half years old, so they put me in Adams Cottage. On October 12 I reported to the administration building to receive the school classes I would be in and my work assignment. After getting all of that completed I went over to the doctor's office to get my vaccinations. We were told to get undressed. There was a black boy about 12 or 13 years old standing about five feet away from me. The boy had an erection and Doctor Wexler walked by and grabbed the boy's penis. The boy arched his back pulling away from the doctor. The boy had a strange grin on his face. It was a grin with a mixture of fear and confusion in it.

About ten minutes later all hell broke loose in the clinic. That same little black boy started yelling, "No, No, No." He was screaming (in horror and fright) at the top of his lungs, as he saw Doctor Wexler coming at him with the hypodermic needle.

Wexler viciously grabbed the boy and started yelling, "Shut up, Shut up" and he began slapping the boy about the head and face while he was yelling at him. I stood there, my young mind was reeling. I realized at that moment that these people had absolute power over me and from what I just witnessed they could do whatever they wanted to me and/or anything they felt like doing. If the doctor could treat us in that manner I could only guess how the other employees might treat us. However, I would soon learn just how cruel and vicious they could be. It is a memory I will remember for the remainder of my life.

Another day a couple of months later while we were in the shower line I literally gasped when I saw the backside of a boy named Mike Bates. His buttocks was as black as an automobile tire. I never realized until that very moment, on that very day, that human skin could possibly look like that on a live person’s body!


Everyone had finished their showers and more than 40 boys at the Florida School for Boys Reformatory were already in bed. Most of the lights had been turned off and only a grey shadow of light appeared on the edge of the hallway walls. When it was bedtime, it was bedtime and there were no questions to be asked. Needing a drink of water I hurried down the narrow hallway to the water fountain to get a quick drink. I knew I had best move quickly because fooling around in any manner could mean severe consequences from the cottage-father.

As I bent upward from the water fountain there in the shadows stood Mr. Crockett, a black man who was the Senior Campus Director. How did he get there? It was as if he appeared from nowhere. He always wore tennis shoes and it was said that he did that so he could sneak up on the boys at any time. Quickly I looked down to show my sign of submissiveness. Slowing raising my eyes but not my head, I watched him. His glare at me was somewhat terrifying and it scared me. It was as if a cat was waiting to pounce on a mouse. Knowing well the strict school rules; I knew I was nothing more than a grasshopper waiting to be played. But as a scared young boy and the stories, I knew it might be much worse. In the back of my mind I remembered someone telling me that he had requested that I become his office boy when I first came to the school. Why? I quickly walked past him and went directly to my bed.

Though I was not at the FSB School very long; I have always wondered if I was protected from many of the employee’s physical, emotional and sexual abuses because my family had some political clout in the State of Florida. I can only thank my God in heaven that I did not have to suffer many of the sexual, physical, mental and emotional abuses that did many of the boys at that facility.