The term "The White House Boys" was coined in 1997 by Roger Dean Kiser on a former Geocities web site (BHI) Beverly Hills Internet. The term originated from a small white building where boys were beaten at the former Florida Industrial School for Boys at Marianna, Florida. The terms "The American Orphan" and "The Sad Orphan" were also coined at the same time.
The original "White House Boys Organization" was established by Roger Dean Kiser in 1998 and has grown to some 400 members. This organization is no way connected with the so called "Official White House Boys" which consist of some sixteen (16) to thirty (30) members. The "Official White House Boys" came into existence two years after the White House Boys Organization was established. Other than one lie detector test; they have contributed nothing to the investigative process that exposed the horrors which happened at the Dozier school. That organization has tried to take credit for the thousands of hours others worked to expose the Dozier School. The "TIMELINE" laying out how this came to pass is located at
When I wrote the book "The White House Boys-An American Tragedy" it was to tell my story. It was also to somewhat tell the stories of just a few other boys who were also sent to the Florida School for Boys at Marianna. Those other boys were from the Children's Home Society orphanage located in Jacksonville, Florida where I lived most of my childhood. The rules there were very strict and harsh. Eat, school, work and go to bed was the daily routine. There was very little time for play or any form of personal enjoyment. If one disobeyed the rules off to the reform school they went. You did not have to rob, kill, rape, steal or hurt anyone. All you had to do was not abide by their rules and for any violation whatsoever; off you went to the "big prison for kids."
So, my story was to tell the abuses that we few children suffered at the hands of the state when not having actually done anything wrong, except break the orphanage rules; rules such as climbing up in the trees and not having asked permission to get a drink of water or to go to the bathroom.
Personally, there are a large number of the men who came forward to tell of their stories of abuse who actually needed to be sent to the reform school. They were hell raisers in their communities who stole and hurt others on a daily basis. Many were bullies when they were juveniles just as they remain to be bullies today as grown adults.
The difficult part for the state is to determine which young boys should be given some form of consideration or compensation for actually having suffered abuses by the state when such actions were not really unnecessary considering the non-offences committed by the child who had been sent off to the school by various juvenile judges.
Believe me; most of the boys sent to the Marianna school needed a severe adjustment as they were not little angles who were being taken advantage of by society.
Of course there are those who came from abusive homes who went out into the streets in order to survive and those circumstances caused them to do whatever it was which caused them to be sent to the school. Those boys also certainly need some consideration.
The following story is the tale that started the investigation into the terrible abuses that occurred at the Marianna and Okeechobee Reform Schools in Florida.
"THE HORRORS OF THE WHITE HOUSE"
I was about twelve or thirteen years old, when the Duval County Juvenile Court sentenced me to the Florida School for Boys at Marianna for running away from the Children's Home Society Orphanage in Jacksonville, Florida. Early one morning Doctor Robert Loyal Currie called me to the head office. He told me that I would soon visit the "White House," which was a torture room for boys who broke one of their many rules or tried to escape. I was sent to the school for trying to escape from the Children's Home Society orphanage in Jacksonville. I had been incarcerated there for 10 years for the crime of having no parents to care for me.
When I heard that they were taking me to this White House, an extreme fear came over me. I almost passed out and was trembling so badly that my legs collapsed under me. I fell to the floor and lay there. The men told me to "get my sorry butt up" and sit down on the hard, wooden bench outside the office. I waited there for the two men who would take me to the White House. I knew their routine well, as I had heard about it from many other boys who were taken there. Other than the time I learned that I had cancer and would die within six months, I have never known more fear than when I was told I was going to be taken to this place.
After a wait of about 30 minutes, these two men came to get me. They grabbed me by my arms and lifted me off the bench. There were several other boys in the office with me, so I had to try to act as though I was not scared, but they knew. The two men walked with me across the grass circle that divided the offices from the White House. We stopped at another office and a man, Troy Tidwell took the place of one of the men holding me. We continued walking toward the mess hall. As we rounded the building, I could see it right in front of me: THE WHITE HOUSE.
My mind was just going crazy with fear. My thoughts seemed to be swimming in a circle, like a cat that had been thrown into a cold river. I was so scared, I could not think straight. Words were coming from my mouth before my mind could think of what it was I was attempting to say. I was trying to decide if I should run and hide or maybe kill myself. Anything was better than what was going to happen in there.
When we reached the door, one of the men took out his keys and stuck one into the lock. I looked back over my shoulder and I saw about 50 boys. They stared in silence. As the door opened, an ungodly odor filled my nose and I could hardly breathe. I remember trying to step through the doorway, but the odor was so overwhelming that I fell in the short hallway inside. One of the men grabbed me by the back of the shirt collar and jerked it up around my neck, choking me. One of the buttons fell off my shirt and hit the floor, rolling very slowly around the corner. Almost everything was happening in slow motion. My whole body was just numb and it was very difficult for me to breathe. I tried to pull the shirt down from around my neck, but the man jerked it once again and hit me on the top of the head with his knuckles. I hit the floor again and bloodied my nose from the impact. At that point, I was not walking at all; my legs would not work.
The two men picked me up and carried me into a small room, which had nothing in it except a bunk bed and a pillow. They put me down on the floor and ordered me to lie on the bed facing the wall. Crying, I pulled myself up onto the edge of the bed and wiped the blood from my nose onto my shirtsleeve. When I looked up at the men's faces, they were plain, cold and hard. They had no expression whatsoever. I did what they told me to do. One of them said to move my hands to the top of the bunk bed and grab the bar at the headboard. I did so as quickly as I could. Not one sound could be heard. I felt one of the men reach under the pillow and slowly pull something out. I turned over quickly and looked at the one who was standing near me. He had a large leather strap in his hand.
"Turn your God damn head back toward the wall!" he yelled.
I knew what was going to happen and it was going to be very bad. I had been told what to expect by some of the boys, who were taken to the White House. I never heard from some of them again.
I also heard that this giant strap was made of two pieces of leather, with a piece of sheet metal sewn in between the halves. Again, everything was dead silent. I remember tightening my buttocks as much as I could. Then I waited and waited, and waited. I remember someone taking a breath, then a footstep. I turned over very quickly and looked toward the man with the leather strap. There was an ungodly look on his face and I knew he was going to beat me to death. I will never forget that look for as long as I live.
I tried to jump off the bed, but I was knocked backward when the leather strap hit me on the side of the face. I jumped to the end of the bunk and began trying to climb up the cement wall but there was nowhere to climb. Mr. Hatton kept beating me with the leather strap about the chest, back and legs. The men grabbed me, pulled me down and held me to the floor. I was yelling to God to save me, begging for someone, anyone, to help. There was blood all over everything. It was everywhere.
"Please forgive me! Please forgive me," I repeated at the top of my voice. "Please forgive me! Dear God, please help me!"
But it didn't do any good; God didn't hear me that day. Maybe He was smart enough not ever to enter the White House, even to save a child.
After about five minutes of begging, pleading and crying, they told me to get back on the bed and grab the top rail again. They warned that if I tried to get off the bed, the whole thing would repeat from the beginning. I slowly pulled myself up off the floor and got back onto the bed. Again, I grabbed the rail and waited; everything became quiet, except for the two men breathing really hard. Once again, I tightened up my buttocks and waited.
Then all of a sudden, it happened. I thought my head would explode. The thing came down on me over and over. I screamed and kicked and yelled as much as I could, but it did no good. He just kept beating me over and over. However, I never let go of that bed rail. Then there was nothing. The next thing I remember, I was walking into Doctor Currie's Office and the secretary asked me who I was. I was so bloodied that she could not recognize me. Minutes later, still in a stupor, I was taken to Mr. Hatton's office. I was sitting on a wooden bench in the one-armed man's office. I remember wiping the slobber and blood from my mouth. My body felt like it was on fire. I stood and found that I hardly could.
God, God, God, it hurt badly. I will never forget that until the day I die.
One of the men in the office yelled at me to sit down. I told him that I had to go to the bathroom really bad. He pointed at a doorway and said that it was the bathroom; he told me to "make it quick."
"I'm gonna tell somebody about what you people are doing around here when I get out of here one day," I mumbled.
"Talk like that around here will have you wake up dead tomorrow morning, sonny boy," said the man, as he squinted his eyes and pointed his finger at me.
I slowly walked into the bathroom and closed the door. I looked in the mirror. There was dried blood all over my black and blue face, my hair and in my mouth. I took my torn shirt off, which was hanging from the waistband of my pants and then I turned around and looked into the mirror. My back was black and blue, and also bloody. I almost panicked out of my mind when I saw my reflection. I looked like a monster. I started to cry, but I covered my mouth with both hands so no other boys would hear me. I loosened my belt buckle to get my pants down. It was very painful, but the worst was yet to come. Once they were down, I noticed that my legs were all bloody and my skin was black in color.
I stood over the toilet and tried to urinate, but it just would not come out. I decided to take my underwear down and sit on the toilet until I could go, but the underwear would not come off; it was stuck to my rear end and legs. The cotton material had been beaten into the skin of my buttocks and was dried with blood. I pulled my pants back up and washed my face, mainly because I did not want the other boys to see that I had been crying. I was so scared that I could not stop shaking.
Finally, I walked back into the outer office and saw Mr. Sealander, my cottage house parent, standing by the doorway. He took me back to my cottage. He called the office to complain about what happened to me. Then he took me to the hospital where the old nurse, Ms. Womack, and Doctor Wexler sutured up the tears to my buttocks and soaked me in Epsom salts. With tweezers, she pulled the remaining pieces of underwear from my skin. Then she petted that big, ugly cat of hers and sent me away.
Why was this done to me?
I never knew until years later, why I was beaten like that. They did it because I said shit when I slipped on the diving board at the pool. I do not even remember saying that kind of word. I never was a boy who cursed.
I will never forget for as long as I will live, that vicious beating done to me without even knowing why. I will never forget the monster that I saw in the mirror that day. I will never forget what adults are capable of doing to a child. I will never forget that the State of Florida was behind what happened to me and to many, many other boys - just for running away from an abusive orphanage.
I do not hold any grudges against those men. If Mr. Hatton had not beaten me, another man would have done the job. Those were the rules. To them, it was a job they were paid to do. However, I have always wondered if R. W. Hatton was ever troubled the least little bit by that beating. I have always wondered if Doctor Currie, the psychologist, got a sexual thrill out of putting a 12 or 13-year-old boy in his place in that manner.
I spoke with Mr. Troy Tidwell on the telephone on February 11, 1999. He is now 72 years old and still lives in Marianna, Florida. I asked him if he could locate Mr. Sealander. He and I joked about the past and had a few laughs together. I'm sure he had no idea who I was. He may not even remember that far back, although I think it is more likely that he does. How could someone not remember beating little boys like that?
I thank you for caring, Mr. Sealander. Wherever you are, I want to thank you for your kindness and understanding. Because of that one kind deed, I have learned to trust, respect and take the word of my fellow man. Thank you for being kind to me and making me feel that I was worth something to someone. I will always remember, respect and love you for that kindness.
I wish to end this story by thanking the individuals, whoever you are who had the heart, compassion and guts to stop these horrible evil deeds committed by the State of Florida. Though there is very little doubt in my mind that such things are still happening even today.
NOTE: I would like to make one addition to the story which I did not add above. I was asked to lie down on the bed, face the wall and bite into the dirty, bloody pillow and I did as instructed. When the first blow was struck, the leather strap hit my buttocks but the end of the strap continued on and hit me in the right side of my waist. It was like I had been hit with a red hot branding iron. The same type I had seen used to brand cattle on Owen Bolton"s Rainbow K Ranch in Silt, Colorado when I was a young boy. When that strap hit me I actually smelled the burning of cattle hide within a second after being hit. All I could think about was that one cow that caught fire and ran off into the brush. Off the bed I jumped screaming at the top of my voice; the entire time thinking my body had caught fire. That is a fear I still live with even to this day.
THE WHITE HOUSECONTACT INFORMATION
Roger Dean Kiser, Sr.
303 Juliette Circle
Brunswick, GA 31525
firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com
IN MEMORY OF OUR WHITE HOUSE BROTHERS:
Nate Dowling * Richard Charles Noble * George Edward Driver * Leo Collier * Virgil Whitten * Herbert Baker * Wayne Howard * Johnny Williams * James Schusler * Phillip Favata * Ray Hall * James Mutter * John Brodnax * Roger Bryan * James Young * Jackie Florence * Michael O'McCarthy * Frank Marx * Randall Morgan Steed * Manuel Giddens * Michael Smelly * George Owen Smith * John Bennett * Ellis Adams * John GoForth * Timothy Gabriel * Don Brace * Hollis Sutton * Edgar Elton * James Bundy * Michael Bates * Richard Tabb * Michael Raines * William Michael Squires * Leonard Simmons * Eddie Gillman * Nathaniel Sawyer * Arthur Williams * Schley Hunter * Calvin Williams * Charlie Overstreet * Edward Fonders * George Robinson * Walter Askew * Nollie Davis * Robert Rhoden * Samuel Bethel * Lee Smith * Joe Stephens * Thomas Varnadoe * Richard Nelson * Robert Cato * Grady Huff * James (Joseph) Hammond * Earl Wilson * Billey Jackson * Richard Dees * Edwin Fudge * Larry E. Martin * Virgil "Ike" Dwight Whitten * David (Freddie) Hutchins * Stephen T. Turner * Emmett Gillman * Cecil Andrew Barger * Wayne Howard * George Edward Driver, Jr. * Thomas Edward Howard * John Argersinger * Leo Thomas Scott * Gene Newsome * Russ Haitt * Robert Johnson * Bobby Jackson * Albert Williams * Sylvester Settle * James Griffin * Odis Clemons * Issaic Abrams * Dove Kinder *
The Original White House Boys
Dick Colon-Michael O'McCarthy-Roger Kiser-Robert Straley
"The White House Boys" was formed by Roger Dean Kiser and Robert W. Straley.(picture l-r) Dick Colon, Michael O'McCarthy, Roger Dean Kiser and Robert Straley. Together they exposed to the public the horrors hundreds of boys suffered at the hands of those responsible for their care at several Florida Indistrial Schools.
The "White House" Torture Chamber
In this small white building, where boys were beaten until their underwear or pajamas had to be surgically removed from the buttocks, lives the memories and horrors of the worst child abuse in Florida's history.
"If one of your kids were kept in such circumstances you'd be up there with rifles."
Governor Claude Kirk
Blood still on the walls, ceiling and floors even after fifty years. The terrible screams I heard and the brutal beatings I witnessed as a twelve year old will remain in my memory forever. The beatings I suffered are not my horrors today. My horrors are the beatings of crying boys that I had to witness before my own beatings. The horror of knowing that I was next. For almost thirty minutes, at age sixty-two, I stood alone in the exact room where I was almost beaten to death. With my heart racing and the side of my neck pulsating, I lit a cigarette and I cried without feeling shame.
The thick concrete walls and the loud industrial fan easily muffled the horrible screams of the boys as they were beaten bloody. Some were carried to the hospital in wheelbarrows and some had to have their underwear or pajamas surgically removed from the buttocks.
THE WHITE HOUSE Torture Chamber
We was a-pissin� in our britches,
'cause we knew that place so well.�
Most people could never imagine the horrific acts that were committed behind the secret doors of this schools ironically beautiful brick buildings and lush lawns. The victims, and they truly were victims, have finally come forward to unearth the deadly deeds that occured there. The men who made it through this school with their lives, and not much else, now call themselves the White House Boys, after the small white building that still sits on those lush lawns, where they were raped and beaten, to the point of nonrecognition, on a regular basis.
These men now need society's support in order to do what they were not able to do as little boys. These men now need our support in order to stand up to their offenders, support to finally receive what they were continually denied, a life.
"They call it "The White House?"
TROY TIDWELL Mr. Troy Tidwell was one of the main beaters at the school. His beatings of boys ran into the thousands. There are many who despise Tidwell for what he did. Personally, I hold the State of Florida responsible. The Governors knew, Senators knew, Congressmen knew as did most judges and local officials; yet they did nothing to stop these atrocities. Tidwell has stated under oath that he was only doing his job and that may very well be true. However, if that is the case then why does he not step forward and tell the truth before meeting his maker one day? Though most will never forgive him; a few of the men he brutally beat might have some form of respect for a man who tried to right a wrong.
Robert Loyal Currie This was a man who was assigned by the State of Florida to help, train and guide children but in the process he destroyed many lives. The amount of young boys he molested will never be known. There were many instances where this man's actions were exposed and he should have been removed from his position, but many in authority chose to look the other way. I, for one will forever be affected by the evil deeds done in this man's office. I shall forever remember the looks on the secretaries� faces as they sat by with looks of pity and said absolutely nothing.
When Nightmares Become Real
The horror of these brutal beatings stayed with these boys for many years. Some had to sleep with a light on at night for years.
"It hurts, it really hurts. Still today, when you think about it, it really hurts."
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Mr. O.J. Keller UPSET BY THE BRUTAL BEATINGS OF THE BOYS :The beatings were brutal and in my opinion they were criminal in nature."
The atrocities author Roger Kiser suffered at the hands of his "caretakers" in this Florida institution will make your toes curl. The depravity of the people running this home for boys will sicken you. The triumph and hope that Mr. Kiser offers as a result of his broken life will make your life's troubles pale to trivialities, and cause you to question what right you've ever had to complain.
As Mr. Kiser continues his work with the state of Florida and even the FBI, in an effort to ensure that heinous crimes like the ones committed upon him and other young boys are a thing of the past, he has put his personal life back together, setting an example for all of mankind that nothing is greater than the human spirit.
Written with the strength of a survivor and the compassion of one who knows severe physical and emotional pain, Mr. Kiser's book is a well-scripted look into a childhood of hell.
While the subject matter is difficult, the book is exceptional. It flows from fact to feeling in an effortless, plain-spoken manner and is interspersed with photos as well. The White House Boys...An American Tragedy is a must-read true story of abuse and hope.
The White House Boys: An American Tragedy Overview
Hidden far from sight, deep in the thick underbrush of the North Florida woods are the ghostly graves of more than thirty unidentified bodies, some of which are thought to be children who were beaten to death at the old Florida Industrial School for Boys at Marianna. It is suspected that many more bodies will be found in the fields and swamplands surrounding the institution. Investigations into the unmarked graves have compelled many grown men to come forward and share their stories of the abuses they endured and the atrocities they witnessed in the 1950s and 1960s at the institution.
The White House Boys: An American Tragedy is the true story of the horrors recalled by Roger Dean Kiser, one of the boys incarcerated at the facility in the late fifties for the crime of being a confused, unwanted, and wayward child. In a style reminiscent of the works of Mark Twain, Kiser recollects the horrifying verbal, sexual, and physical abuse he and other innocent young boys endured at the hands of their "caretakers." Questions remain unanswered and theories abound, but Roger and the other 'White House Boys' are determined to learn the truth and see justice served.
OUR ATTORNEYS The Masterson Group
We (all who were abused) are currently being represented by a team of lawyers in an effort to seek justice because of the acts of violence that were committed. Our attorneys are interested in determining if there are other witnesses to the abuse that we are attempting to expose. If you would be willing to serve as a witness to the acts of violence, please call Thomas Masterson at 1-727-896-3641 He is one of the attorneys in our legal team that is involved in our representation. You must call to join the SB-0046 senate action bill. Holland & Knight-
100 Norlh Tampa Street. Suite 4100 I-
Tampa, FL 33602-
On the top information bar (under "photos") are pictures of the inside of the "White House Torture Chamber." Most of the pictures were taken on October 21st, 2008. Even after fifty years, blood stains still remain on the walls and floors. Some say horrible screams of agony are still heard in the late night hours.
As I entered the White House for the first time in almost fifty years, I will never forget walking behind several female guards now working at the facility. "OH MY GOD! IT'S TRUE," she said, as she covered her mouth with both hands.
I smiled to myself knowing that the truth lives on.
The toilet facilities are just as nice today they were fifty years ago. As I stood looking at this toilet on October 21, 2008; I well remember one boy asking to use the bathroom before his beating and that request was refused. When the beating was complete the boy left the building with feces all over his legs and boots. He never shed a tear but covered his face with both hands from the embarrassment.
The White House videos and photos shown on this site, was a punishment building where boys from 9-16 years old were brutally whipped with a 3-4 inch wide by two and a half foot long leather strap with a sheet metal insert. Thirty to fifty lashes for general infractions, one hundred lashes for running away. There was a facility for black boys across the street. Whatever happened to the white population was nothing compared to what the blacks suffered, up to two hundred lashes, possibly murder.
The Florida State Reform School, currently being called the Authur G. Dozier School for Boys, established by the State of Florida's lawmakers, has been hiding a horrific secret for over half a century.
The school, which was built in 1897, was intended to be a place where adolescent boys, some as young as 8 years old, could be separated from the prison system, and the evils of adult criminals, and could receive the education and mental support they needed as young men. It was established in order to provide young offenders a place where they could grow and learn, and in that way, be reformed enough to be contributing members of society. Instead, it became a "new kind of hell" which destroyed many lives.
Doctor Byrd tesitified before a United States Subcomittee on juvenile delinquency and his testimony (transcript on information bar above) clearly shows that Troy Tidwell lied during his deposition.
Kissimmee, Florida First Reunion
Orlando, Florida Second Reunion
The White House Boys met in Brunswick, Georgia for their first reunion, Kissimmee, Florida for their second reunion, Orlando, Florida for the third reunion and then Tallahassee, Florida. The fifth reunion was held in Kissimmee where many friendships were reformed, pictutres were shared and many tears were shed. Thoughts were revised, many closed hearts were opened and (after fifty years) smiles began to return to many a sad and somewhat hardened faces. As children, these are men who have overcome the most horrible of abuses. They should be very proud to have survived.
What appeared to be nothing more than a beautiful campus to the general public allowed the brutal beatings, molestations, rapes and possible murders of children to continue (behind closed doors) for more than fifty years.
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A NOTE FROM ROGER
Roger Kiser Founder-"THE WHITE HOUSE BOYS"
E-mail Roger Dean Kiser, Sr. firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Contact Information: 303 Juliette Circle Brunswick, Georgia 31525 (912) 617-0328
Roger's film "THE BULLY" * Click Here Directed by Edward Asner (Mary Tyler Moore Show).
continued my efforts to write about the abuses as well as document other men's stories. The abuses include beatings, floggings, rape, molestations and in some cases the murder of many children. Their stories can be read at the "victims stories" link above.
Florida State Archives
The book "THE TRUTH-YOU DECIDE" by Roger Dean Kiser and Andrew Puel has been placed in the Florida Archives and the horrible abuses committed by the State of Florida upon innocent children will be on display for all to see for generations to come.