A Florida senator filed a bill Friday that may help hundreds subjected to abuse decades ago at a notorious school take another step closer towards closure.
- Hundreds of boys abused at Dozier School in 1950s and 1960s
- Bill calling for official apology filed by Senator Darryl Rouson
- "White House Boys" group has fought for years for official apology
Hundreds of young Florida boys were subjected to brutality and abuse and the Dozier School for boys in Marianna. Some never left -- they were buried in unmarked graves, their bodies only recently recovered.
Those who survived the abuse received scars they'll carry for life. They may now -- finally -- receive an apology from the State of Florida.
“I’ve never seen anybody as brutal or as sadistic as these people were, “ said Bill Price, who lives in Valrico is Vice President of “The Official White House Boys.” The group is made up of about 300 men with stories of beating and sexual abused suffered in the 1950’s and 60’s at Dozier.
The group has fought for years to receive a formal apology from the state.
“It would mean a lot,” said Price. "To know that the state did their investigations, they know that what we are saying is true and they are apologizing for what happened to us.”
State Senator Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg believes it is time for that apology. He filed a bill “to strongly condemn and apologize for the horrors and abuses” at Dozier.
“[The bill] accomplishes three things,” said Rouson. “First an acknowledgment of what happened, then an apology for it and then an expression to be ever vigilant so these atrocities never happen again in our society.”
Senator Darryl Rouson (D - St. Petersburg) (Photo: Jeff Joiner)
Price says men of the White House Boys have died waiting for a formal apology from the state. He is battling cancer and hopes he will live to see the day.
“To know that the state investigated and they know that what we said is true, “ said Price. “They need to apologize.”
Last year, lawmakers voted to pay for the reburial for the boys’ remains found on school grounds. During a hearing on the matter, the Florida Cabinet members each apologized to the Dozier victims for what they had endured.
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