Rumors About Dozier's Past Still Circulate

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The Dozier School for Boys in Marianna has been closed for nearly a year. But the facility's alleged past, as an abusive place, where teenagers and adolescents were beaten, tortured, even murdered, lives on.

Now, some college researchers claim they've found new gravesites on the Dozier property.
"It has taken me 19 years to get anybody to believe this." Roger Kiser describes himself as a survivor of the Dozier school for boys. He was there in 1959,1960 and 1961.

"We saw many boys bought out of the white house, we know were dead, black and white, hauled out by wheelbarrow...so we know there is bodies scattered all over the facility."

Kiser wrote the book "The White House Boys an American Tragedy" to reveal not only his experience, but that of many of the young men who were sentenced to the former reform school. "If you stepped off the sidewalk you got beat if you ate too much you got beat, if you smiled you got beat, if you smiled too much you got beat, it was total terror"

It’s a terror he tried to recreate in a film and in his writings. "People will not believe it when you say this was a concentration camp, they absolutely do not believe you."

The Marianna facility was closed in 2008, but its past remains an open book. In addition to locating graves, the U-S-F group is attempting to document the history of the cemetery. Work began in January. "It is going to find out these stories are true, there's broken bones, bodies that have been shot...it is going to prove that."

Kiser says the Justice Department confirmed abuse at state-run juvenile facility. He hopes the next step brings justice. "The next chapter is getting justice for the boys who were killed, justice for the men who survived it because it was horrible and an apology from the state of Florida."

The University of South Florida team members will conduct a computer scan of the data they found to identify what is in the unmarked graves. But they say they'll need a court order to identify who is in the graves.



 
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