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Topics - ramprato

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Straight, Inc. and Derivatives / Radley Balko covers KHK
« on: November 17, 2005, 09:00:00 AM »

November 16, 2005
Kids Drug Warriors Helping Preying on Kids
So after watching the local news report on Kids Helping Kids (and you really need to see the video), I can tell you it is an exact replica of the Straight programs of the 1980s and 90s, all of which were shut down due to allegations of abuse, lawsuits, and criminal probes. Note also the length of stay -- 11-12 months. If that duration is like the one at Straight, much of it is spent in complete isolation from parents and family.

The paramaters of what constitutes "drug-related behavior" were set exceedingly broad at Straight, so that just about any kid could be a potential drug case, and thus a Straight client. That in mind, check out this list of "warning signs" from the KHK website. Just four of these apparently means your kid's probably into the drugs, and a likely enrollee in the program:

Has your child....

seemed depressed
become rebellious and defiant
had trouble with the law
had a bad attitude
avoided you upon arriving home
become increasingly isolated
had a drop in grades
required extra sleep
dropped out of favorite activities
changed friends
started looking unkempt or unhealthy
changed image/clothes/personal style
been caught lying
possessed unexplained money
threatened or attempted suicide
frequently broken curfew
been fired from work
come home high or drunk
destroyed car or property

Do you...

argue with your spouse about your childâ??s behavior
feel anger or dislike for your child
fear you are a failure as a parent

Straight, Inc. and Derivatives / The Riddiler makes the Post - again
« on: November 17, 2005, 08:57:00 AM »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ... ml?sub=new

By Jay Mathews

Thursday, November 17, 2005; Page VA10

After I wrote an article about J.E.B. Stuart High School principal Mel Riddile being named national high school principal of the year ["A Principal's Wide Reach; Head of Fairfax School Wins National Award," Metro, Oct. 23], I received many messages praising his success at raising achievement at a school full of low-income students.

I also received messages from people campaigning against the tough-love approach to adolescent drug abuse rehabilitation practiced by Straight Inc., a company that Riddile worked for in the 1980s. Straight Inc., founded in 1976 in Florida by Mel Sembler, a former U.S. ambassador to Italy, and his wife, Betty, went out of existence in 1993. The Semblers have since started the Drug Free America Foundation ( ), a drug prevention and policy group.

Here is an excerpt of one of the e-mails about Riddile and Straight:

Dear Extra Credit:

I would like to take this opportunity to advise you of the fact that Dr. Riddile was executive/regional director at Straight Inc. for several years back in the 1980s, an organization some parents have accused of systematically physically and psychologically abusing their children. Unfortunately, time does not heal all wounds.

In your article published about Dr. Riddile and his outstanding accomplishments in his role as principal of J.E.B. Stuart, his involvement with Straight is missing. Treatment similar to that used by Straight is still administered in programs called by different names. It is quite possibly the most dangerous drug treatment program ever to exist in this country. Dr. Riddile trained Straight directors in the same building in Ohio in which one of these programs currently operates.

I find it necessary to advise your paper of these facts as part of a movement to expose this ongoing tragedy. I made several requests this year to invite Dr. Riddile to speak out against this treatment program. He claimed that he knew nothing about the specific program in Ohio. But he trained people who engaged in similar treatment modalities. I advised him of this situation in 2003. The requests have been either ignored or denied.

I believe Dr. Riddile knows about the problems associated with the Straight treatment. Please urge him to speak out against this abuse now.

William Earnshaw Sr.

Midland, Va.

Page 2 of 2 < BackBack

Readers Raise Concerns About Past Work of Top Principal

In my article, I did not mention Riddile's drug abuse work, both for Fairfax County and then for Straight, because I didn't think it was relevant to the topic -- how he turned Stuart High into a top educational institution. But I appreciate your concern about Straight, which you told me grew out of what you said you experienced as mistreatment under the program when you were a client.

The Post has published many stories about Straight. They make it clear that there has been much debate over the usefulness of drug treatment programs that place young clients under strict discipline, as Straight did. The articles note that one young client won an initial verdict of $220,000 in damages in 1983 after complaining of being detained for more than four months in a Straight facility in Springfield.

But according to the information I received from both you and Riddile, he was never sued or charged with any crime. Nor did you or any of the other sources you cited ever witness him do anything wrong. Riddle said he has many letters from Straight clients thanking him for what he did for them and said he is proud of his work there. I recommend that readers interested in this issue perform a Google search on Straight Inc. and do their own reading.

Having watched Riddile's work at Stuart for the last eight years, I am convinced that he deserved the award he received and does not deserve these criticisms for work he did in the 1980s that many of his young clients and their families have praised him for. Riddile is one of the 10 best high school principals I have ever seen, and I think Fairfax County is lucky to have him.

Please send your questions, along with your name, e-mail or postal address and telephone number to Extra Credit, The Washington Post, 526 King St., Suite 515, Alexandria, Va. 22314. Or [email protected].

Straight, Inc. and Derivatives / Cheney begs for Sembler's blood money
« on: January 23, 2004, 09:09:00 AM »
:roll: Gee, it must be time to put a president back in office. Cheney is on his way RIGHT NOW to Italy to plea to Sembler for the blood money he made off of us at Straight to help support the Bush campaign. You guys may want to email the Financial Times and let them know how you feel about the 'business as usual' Sembler-Cheney type attitude of spending Straight's blood money. ... 3281238780

Cheney collects

Dick Cheney's après-Davos visit to Rome is billed as a three-day schmoozfest with, among others, Silvio Berlusconi and the Pope, as well as a sightseeing opportunity. But Observer hears that the other purpose of the vice-president's rare excursion overseas is more down-to-earth.

Cheney will spend some serious quality time with Melvin Sembler, the prominent Republican fund-raiser who happens to be the US ambassador to Italy. Sembler, a US shopping-centre developer, has been a Bush family supporter for more than 20 years.

In 1979, Sembler raised money for the first President Bush's failed attempt to reach the White House. He stuck with Bush Snr for the successful run in 1988. His reward was an ambassadorship to Australia.

Sembler also played a leading role as finance chairman for the Republican National Committee from 1997 to 2000. His base in Florida proved crucial in the narrow Republican victory in the 2000 election.

Cheney is described as one of the most powerful vice-presidents in history because of his influence over US foreign policy and his hard-line neo-conservative views on domestic policy. Maybe. But in an election year don't underestimate his fund-raising ability at home - and overseas.

You could write to [email protected] if this kinda thing upsets you.  :wink:  


[ This Message was edited by: ramprato on 2004-01-23 06:11 ]

Straight, Inc. and Derivatives / Pathway survivors?
« on: November 16, 2003, 10:49:00 PM »
Looking for former clients who were actually in PFC who know what happened there. If you believe you were mistreated in PFC, please respond to [email protected]

Thanks, Ken

New article from Wes Fager:

or ... -encl4.htm

  Enclosure 4:
Amongst all the crimes of Straight, is Mel Sembler using the courts to silence his opponents?
by Wesley Fager (c) 2003
Show me a man who pays other men to say nice things about him and I'll show you a man who pays the legal system to silence his detractors.
Wes Fager, 2003

  A SLAPP suit or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation is a frivolous or malicious lawsuit or lawsuits brought on by wealthy individuals or corporations against individuals or nonprofits and social advocacy organizations for the purpose of harassing and intimidating them in order to "shut them up." One goal is to use the court system to sue opponents out of existence. [Attorney Mark Goldowitz, Esq., Oakland, CA, is an expert in SLAPP suits, 510-486-9123.] And while we are reviewing the SLAPP suit question we must be ever mindful of related action, the tort known as Malicious Prosecution. According to the Lectric Law Library "Malicious Prosecution" is an intentional tort arising from the institution or instigation of unjustifiable and unreasonable civil or criminal litigation. An action for malicious prosecution can be brought against the underlying case's plaintiff, plaintiff's counsel and/or advisors.

CAVEAT: Wesley Fager is not an attorney and not qualified to give legal advice. He writes this study as a public service. He has looked at Straight's long history of suing people who try to expose Straight's fraud and abuse and he notes as a person using plain old horse sense that Englander got Judge Logan to issue a gag order against Ray Bradbury to prevent Bradbury from mentioning Sembler's name. The issue of Mel Sembler's former penis pump is one issue. The issue of silencing an opponent of Mel Sembler is another--seems to this writer. And since this report shows that Mel Sembler's Straight program has a history of threatening, gagging and suing opponents--that is a fact as will become abundantly clear in this report, and since we know the definition of a SLAPP suit, it seems to us, in layman terms, that Mel Sembler is using the courts to silence opponents. Of course actual determination of SLAPP will have to come from certified attorneys and legally constituted courts of law.


Threatening, demoting and firing state workers

In 1978 state social services worker Bob Marshall got the kiss of death after a public outcry led to an investigation of Straight for alleged criminal child abuse. Working for Florida's Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS) and acting under direction from headquarters, Mr. Marshall watered-down his final report of findings of child abuse. Nevertheless Bob Marshall was fired.
In 1989 an inspection team from HRS went to Straight-St. Petersburg with the intent of closing Straight for a history of uncorrected violations. A later IG report reveals that Harry Moffitt, a former senior human services program specialist with the Headquarters Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health (ADM) Office and Linda Lewis, a former deputy assistant secretary, Headquarters ADM, were told they would be fired if they denied Straight a license. The report concluded that Mel Sembler was probably the man behind the pressure.
In 1993 Fred Gravius of HRS' IG Office opened an investigation of Straight which led to the report discussed in the previous paragraph. Mr. Gravius was subsequently demoted.
In 2003 Florida state worker Mike Sherman sponsored a conference of Straight survivors. He was subsequently demoted.

The 1988 Kangaroo court that tried to send Ray Bradbury to prison to silence him. Ray Bradbury has been a thorn in Mel and Betty Sembler's side longer than anyone else, exposing the fraud and abuse of their Straight program. Ray Bradbury is responsible for causing them to have to close their beloved Straight in 1993. In 1988 a kangaroo court was held in the Sixth Circuit of Pinellas County, Florida for the purpose of putting Ray Bradbury in prison to silence him. Because of public exposure of the proceedings Bradbury was placed on five years probation (later reduced to about 2.5 years) adjudication withheld, and forbidden to come into Pinellas County where he could stage further demonstrations about what was happening to kids at Straight. That story of his 1988 trial is told here. In light of the Sembler's recent gag against Bradbury, their civil suit against him, and their use of political pressure to try to get the Sheriff and State Attorney to arrest him for criminal wrong doing it is necessary to depose the Semblers, former State Attorney James T. Russell, former prosecutors Richard Ripplinger and Richard Mensch and Richard Mensch's brother former Straight board member Myron Mensch to determine what role the Sembler's played, if any, in the attempt to imprison Ray Bradbury.

Threatening and suing enlightened parents. Few kids ever graduate Straight. Of the few who do, many of them become Straight counselors, thus giving rise to the claim Straight is a cult because you never leave. Many kids escape Straight and sever relationships with their parents. Many parents catch on that they have been mislead, that Straight has taken over their lives and that their child will be there longer they they had been led to believe. The kids are yanked but frequently are afraid to tell of the abuse because of the extorted confessions. But some kids do tell and when their parents find about the abuse they refuse to pay any remaining money owed. Straight has a long history of successfully either threatening these enlightened parents into submission or in using the courts to sue these parents as can be seen here.

Claire DeCunzo Martin of Columbia, Maryland (above).  Having been a parent in Straight - Springfield, Virginia  she knew what Maryland residents were in for in 1991 when authorities ran Straight out of Virginia allowing them to take their young clients with them into Maryland.  
Gagging Tempie Fortson Worthy In 1989 Ms. Tempie Fortson Worthy went to Straight - Dallas seeking help for her 15 year old, emancipated daughter Christi Fortson. Straight later claimed they released Tempie for being violent, but Straight's own spokesperson, Joy Margolis, has publicly acknowledged pandemic violence at Straight - Dallas here. The fact is that Straight encourages kids to be violent and rarely are kids let go for violence. Ms. Worthy found out that her daughter had been abused at Straight and refused to pay Straight the remaining money owed. Following its standard procedure of suing parents who refuse to pay for child abuse, Straight sued Tempie Worthy. Appalled at what Straight was doing to children Tempie Worthy sued Straight and like like Claire DeCunzo Martin of Columbia, Maryland, Greg Reight of Maryland, Janet Kennedy, Ph.D. of El Paso Texas and Ray Bradbury of Tampa, Florida Tempie Worthy became an activist against Straight. She mailed out letters; she picketed Straight. Straight got a judge to issue an injunction to shut her up--she was bad for business. Rather than clean their act up, Straight. just kept abusing kids and sued Ms. Worthy for trying to stop the abuse.

Threatening NBC News. A letter to Straight-Dallas dated August 8, 1991 from the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse notified Straight of the Commission's intent to revoke Straight's license. In that letter the commission stated that, It has been determined that Straight, Inc. has consistently failed to abide by the requirements of law . . . Among violations cited were: treating clients who did not meet Straight's criteria of being chemically dependent or being in danger of becoming chemically dependent; forcing clients to sleep in beds with other clients; failing to care for injured clients; and restraining clients with nylon rope. It was noted that at least one [host home] family failed to provide proper bathroom facilities for the clients of Straight giving them only a container to urinate in during the night. True to form Straight voluntarily closed in Texas on the eve of being forced to close stating it was closing for economic reasons.
Straight - Sarasota was the first Straight to close under investigation by state prosecutors. That one closed in 1983. Next it was Straight - Cincinnati's turn in 1987. As in Virginia in 1991 the Ohio Straight simply voluntarily closed on the day the trial was to begin. But NBC national news was looking at the very disturbing reports coming out of Straight - Cincinnati--a boy who carved on his arms to escape the abuse only to have his parents told that that's what kids do when they come down from drugs--they carve on themselves! Straight didn't fix their problems, but Anthony Battaglia, Straight's attorney, sent NBC a threatening letter demanding to see beforehand what NBC planned to show, notifying NBC that any slanderous distortions could lead to litigation.

Threatening FOX News. In May 2002 FOX News ran this front page article on Straight for several weeks before removing it after, according to the article's author Radley Balko, mysterious attorneys representing either Sembler, or DFAF, or both, complained to FOX. Rradley later wrote that his editor decided to remove the article since: (1) It had already run on the front page, and was merely in the archives when it was pulled; (2) It was easier to pull it than to fight a legal battle over a column that was only accessible through the search engine, and (3) He had neglected to place a call to either the Semblers or DFAF before submitting the piece.

Threatening Radley Balko. Subsequently Balko wrote an expanded 5,000 word article on Straight for Reason Magazine. This time he decided to give DFAF (Straight) a heads up but the Semblers refused to correspond with him over the phone or by eMail, so he sent them an advanced copy of the manuscript. DFAF responded in a certified letter, not by stating specific statements with which it had issues, but by carte blanche stating that if the article were published, they would sue. Furthermore, according to Balko, the staff a DFAF was told not to accept phone calls from Balko. The article has yet to be published.

Threatening Mark Emory. In 1993 the Semblers were forced to close there beloved Straight treatment program. It's reputation for abuse had become just too well known. In 1996 Straight. changed its name (yet again), this time to Drug Free America Foundation. One task DFAF took upon itself was to try to play a leading role in deciding national and international drug policy. To that end on April 26-29, 2001 DFAF and DPNA sponsored the "International Task Force Development on Strategic Policy" conference. One outcome of that conference was to plan another conference to be held in Vancouver, Canada in May of the next year. The Canadian Conference was cosponsored by DFAF and IDEAS, an organization formed by wealthy Canadian real-estate moguls Robert and Lynda Bentall. Mark Emory is a Canadian businessman who is for the legalization of marijuana. He is critical of some drug treatment organizations including Scientology?'s-related Narconon? and Straight. In 2001 his magazine Cannabis Culture did a feature article on the Semblers and Straight which is found here. In 2002 he was appalled to learn that Betty Sembler was trying to bring her expertise to the aid of the Canadians. It was at that time that he made an announcement on his Pot TV Internet page that Betty Sembler was a "court-certified child-abuser." That was a false statement which he should not have made. In point of fact Betty Sembler has never even been indicted by Pinellas County State Attorney James T. Russell or his successor Bernie McCabe for her involvement in Straight, much less convicted or as Mr. Emory had claimed "court-certified". Betty threatened to sue and Mr. Emory broadcast a retraction. [See collusion between James T. Russell and Straight here and here, possible collusion between Bernie McCabe and Straight here.]


and ice cream!
Betty Sembler's last words from The Magic Kingdom were: I said, "let them eat cake . . . and ice cream".
SLAPP SUITS? No one has gained more from Straight than Mel and Betty Sembler. When his company is discussed in the papers about some shopping center being built, the reporter rarely fails to mention "Ambassador" Melvin Sembler. Mel and Betty host spectacular parties out of their Magic Kingdom in Rome. Governor Bush calls Betty Mrs. Ambassadorable; he even named a day in Florida in her honor. Mel and Betty won't hesitate to tell you today they they are responsible for Straight. When the state of Florida tried to close Straight, it appears that Mel Sembler used his political connections to stop it. For years thousands of former Straight clients have suffered, never knowing who was behind the program that caused them so much grief. Now thanks to talk radio shows, TV shows, books, newspaper and magazine articles, conferences, activist groups like ISAC and SAFETY, and most importantly, Internet newspapers, web pages and discussion forums, Straight survivors and activists have been able to slowly piece together what happened to them and why, and who the players are behind it all. Like the Jewish Holocaust in Nazi Germany, more and more survivors from the camps are coming forward and telling their horrific stories. As the momentum grows and the stories get told, the civil suits and threats of civil suits against the story tellers grow too. But are the suits genuine, or are they part of a scheme to use the courts as an instrument to silence those who know what happened there and are willing to exercise their First Amendment right to tell what happened there? After all Straight has a pattern of misleading parents into believing their Straight experience will probably last a few months when they know almost everyone who stays till graduation will be there for almost two years. Straight makes parents pay most of the money upfront and make them sign a statement that if they leave the next day they forfeit all the money. Straight does not inform parents about hidden costs. Straight makes parents sign statements that regardless what happens in Straight they will not. And when parents finally catch on they have been deceived and yank their kid, refusing to pay any money remaining, Straight uses the courts to sue them.

Threatening Ginger Fornits I just don't understand Stephanie Haynes. Go back to the paragraph above discussing where the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA) (it's in blue) wrote a letter to deny Straight its license for abusing children. After making that finding against Straight, one Stephanie Haynes became a board member for the TCADA. Today she is the director of the Drug Prevention Network of the Americas (DPNA) and works closely with DFAF (Straight) to support global drug demand reduction initiatives. She knows Straight has a dark past and yet she works in alliances with Straight. Former Saint Petersburg Police Chief Terry Hensley is another. He became executive director of DFAF after it had gotten out of the drug rehabilitation business. Why did him decide to join a company with a reputation steeped in child abuse. Calvina Fay is another. She followed Terry Hensley as executive director of DFAF. She has saddled herself up with a group that that has a dastardly reputation for criminal child abuse. Not surprisingly people like these might get caught up in the cross-fire over the Straight controversy, more especially since there are those who have issues with the new Straight under its new mission. And yet those who had nothing to do with Straight's abuse, but are willing to play major roles with the new Straight, get upset if they get broadsided in the controversy. _________________________________________________

In 1994 Vice President Al Gore got into trouble because he was calling potential campaign contributors asking for monetary donations for the next election. Why? Because elected officials are paid money by the taxpayers to do the work of the government. Elected government officials can not be paid their government salary while working on work to get reelected. They can do that after they get off work from their homes or private offices, but they can not use government phones, faxes, computers and their salaried time to work to try to get reelected at the next election. This is a violation of theHatch Act which limits the activities of government employees involved in political election campaigns.

In the last few years there has been a grass roots movement in America to curtail our rising prison population by allowing judges to offer certain drug users the option to receive humane treatment in lieu of prison. The backers of the movement have sought to place their plan as ballot initiatives on general state elections. Now you you might think that with their experience in drug abuse treatment that the Semblers would be the people behind this gallant grass roots movement to get first-time offenders treatment instead of saddling them with a prison record. But they are not. In fact they are amongst the biggest opponents of such a plan! The originators of the movement are drug policy reformers and civil libertarians. Mel Sembler is for the privatization of the government. Why? He wants to bid on and manage government jobs. Mel Sembler backs Lamar Alexander, the former governor of Tennessee who was behind the privatization of prisons in his state. Mel Sembler, who always makes money for his partners, is for the privatization of prisons. The more drug offenders are locked up in private prisons the more money investors in private prisons will make. This is another reason why Sembler's financial records must be subpoenaed in his law suit with Bradbury. He is portrayed as an honorable businessman who has been made an ambassador for the charitable work he does, but we need to know the full extent to which his own personal investments in private prisons is. In other words the DFAF charity is opposing the movement for treatment Vs incarceration so it is necessary to show whether the Semblers (including his sons, daughters-in-law and all their varied business enterprises) have a financial reason for doing so. [The author has problems with "humane treatment" and with incarceration of drug users.]

Dan Forbes is the highly respected freelance writer of political and social policy who broke the story on Salon Magazine (the Internet's most read magazine) about a secret plan by the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy to sink $2 billion into TV programs and commercials to plug its anti-drug use message. In 2002 Mr. Forbes, working for The Institute for Policy Studies, wrote the article The Governor's Sub-rosa Plot to Subvert an Election in Ohio. [A condensed version of this very long, highly documented report is here.] From documents obtained by Freedom of Information, Forbes found that Ohio Governor Bob Taft, his wife Hope, his chief of staff and others in his office used government time in a months-long effort to subvert the state's electoral process. What they had done was to work on a sub-rosa campaign to defeat a drug treatment rather than incarceration amendment that was likely to appear on the next election ballot.

Last December the Marijuana Policy Project filed a formal "complaint of possible prohibited personnel practice" with the federal Office of Special Counsel, charging White House Drug Czar John Walters with violating federal law by using "his official authority and influence for the purpose of ... affecting the result of an election" -- specifically, the election that included a ballot initiative in Nevada to legalize marijuana use under certain conditions. Again a government official had been accused of violation of the Hatch Act.

According to Dan Forbes' well documented report when Governor Taft was doing his work to subvert an election he corresponded with several individuals who might would share his interest in stopping the Ohio initiative. Two individuals with whom his staff spoke were Betty Sembler and Calvina Fay. While what Governor Taft was doing might be illegal, what Calvina Fay and Betty Sembler were doing was not. They are not elected officials. At that point Ginger Warbis of published the following statement:

"Calvina is the Executive Director of Drug Free America Foundation. As such, her primary activity seems to focus on promoting and facilitating violations of the Hatch Act. Here we see Calvina lecturing and instructing federal employees in how to prevent reform of our disastrous drug policy. Over here, we see Calvina helping Governor Taft of Ohio to Subvert an Election in Ohio"  

What Ms. Warbis was trying to say, as I read it, is that there are those in government that use their salaried positions to work on election matters and that in one specific instance Calvina Fay and the Drug Free America Foundation were consulted by the Governor's office in Ohio who was using his salaried time illegally to work on an election issue. Under such an interpretation Ms. Fay, as a private citizen, would not be breaking the law, but Governor Taft might be. Well Ms. Fay did not interpret it that way and William Benett, an attorney with Englander and Fischer, sent Ms. Warbis and her husband (using the incorrect names Mr. and Mrs. Fornits) a letter dated April 16, 2003 threatening to sue for defamation, giving them 30 days to print a retraction and make a public apology. This was done, and as far as I know Englander has taken no further action against Warbis. Here is the letter, page 1 and page 2.

Threatening Marti Heath Less than two months later the threats were directed at Marti Heath. Like Ms. Fornits, Ms Heath is another former Straight survivor. Today she is the executive director of ISAC, a group that advocates for the rights of kids in destructive rehabilitation programs. On June 12, 2003 she got an almost laughable letter from an attorney representing Father Cassian. Father Cassian is the former national clinical director of Straight when he was then known as Reverend Doctor Virgil Miller Newton. The story of Dr. Newton's abuses at Straight and at his own second-generation Straight known as KIDS is here and here. Furthermore, there is reason to suspect that Dr. Newton never completely severed all ties with Straight when he was run out of Florida in 1983 which is documented here.

Updated 10-28-03 We are trying to get a copy of the letter Ms. Heath received. Following is an uncorrected conversion in pdf format from ISAC's web page. Please note that there are uncorrected errors from the pdf conversion process: ... rPage1.pdf ... rPage2.pdf ... rPage3.pdf

Excerpts from the uncorrected pdf version of the letter follow:

. . . As you are undoubtedly aware, over the past three to four years you have engaged a maliciously defamatory campaign against Father Cassian. Father Cassian has demonstrated an inordinate amount of forbearance and forgiveness for your reckless, malicious and defamatory conduct. However, Father Cassian was astonished and appalled to learn of your most recent impertinent letter to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese wherein you accuse Father Cassian of being an abusive priest. The allegations you are now making and have made in the past, are nothing short of outrageous, and no doubt arise from your apparent ignorance of both the facts surrounding Father Cassian's work . . .

. . . Further, you have had no contact with Father Cassian since he became a neuropsychologist or an Orthodox priest. . . Father Cassian has
never been accused of any type of sexual abuse whatsoever. All other complaints made during Father Cassian's tenure as director of the Straight programs were investigated and found to be baseless by the appropriate authorities in each jurisdiction. . .

. . . Father Cassian understands and sympathizes with your troubled past and hopes that you find peace within yourself in the very near future. . .

In 1996 Dr. Newton settled with the federal government for $45,000 in return for not being prosecuted for 254 counts of insurance fraud. In 1999 he and his team of psychiatrists settled with former client Rebecca Erlich for $ 4 million for abuse she sustained at KIDS. And then, in July 2003, less than a month after threatening to sue Ms. Heath, Dr. Newton and team settled with former client Lulu Corter for $ 6.5 million for the abuse he metted out to her. Where is Dr. Newton getting the money to sue Marti Heath? Who is behind his suit? There is a clear reason to depose the Semblers, Newton, Fay, Englander, and Newton's attorney to see whether any conversations, planning or financing has been done by the Semblers for this potential suit.

Gagging of Ray Bradbury and the active civil suit to sue him out of existence. Earlier in this report it was disclosed that there was an attempt in 1988 to have Ray Bradbury imprisoned in order to silence him. Ray Bradbury has been Mel and Betty Sembler's principal detractor longer than anyone else. Ray Bradbury is responsible for causing them to have to close Straight. For fifteen years the Semblers have no doubt hoped for a way to silence this man who has done so much to expose the fraud and abuse of the Straight program that they so unabashedly like to boast they founded. Now they think they have found that way. They think Bradbury has finally committed an action which they can convince a Florida judge and jury has nothing to do with exposing the fraud and abuse their Straight program has committed and perhaps the criminal act that Mel Sembler has committed. Bradbury's act? The advertisement on eBay of a penis pump that Mel Sembler readily admits once belonged to him. The Ray Bradbury gag order and the penis pump civil case is discussed at great length at under the orange section PumpGate.

If you have been sued by Straight, DFAF or Mel Sembler, or threatened suit, or arrested or if you are a former Straight official and have a story to tell about Straight's use of the courts to get its way, please contact me at

Straight, Inc. and Derivatives / "LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE"
« on: October 03, 2003, 08:37:00 AM »
From Wes's page:

"LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE: Mel and Betty Sembler to be deposed about their role in Straight put on main page"

The direct link:

Ken :smile:

Straight, Inc. and Derivatives / Send the terrorists to Straight!!!!
« on: February 08, 2003, 08:43:00 AM »
Anybody out there surprised that the Al-Quida terrorists in Guantanamo Bay have now attempted 5 suicides? ... pt_m.shtml (read the following article too)

Sometimes I wonder how much information the government has about our treatment in Straight, The Seed, and its spin-offs, and if we were contributors to their interrogation methods used on todays terrorists... Makes me wonder if they using the same kinds of mind-breaking techniques that they once used on all of us. Think about it ~ that kind of torture could easily suck information out of the most 'committed' Al-Quida terrorist's mind like a vacuum sucks up dirt.

Read here about some of the methods our government uses on them and see if it reminds you of anything: ... E_ID=26285  :roll:


[ This Message was edited by: ramprato on 2003-02-08 05:45 ]

Straight, Inc. and Derivatives / Mel is still bragging
« on: February 07, 2003, 08:09:00 AM »
That son of a bitch is still bragging that he "graduated" 12,000 from an unnamed "drug treatment program". No, I'm not surprised, I just requested to him months back that I didn't want to be on that list he keeps insisting I'm on, I knew I withdrew my name. He's still is blind as a bat.

As recently as January 15th 2003, he is still bragging:

"About twenty-five years ago, I became more active in a political sense. When Betty and I saw what a social and personal scourge illegal drugs was becoming in America, we decided to do something about that. That?s why we founded and directed for many years a treatment program that rehabilitated over 12,000 young drug abusers. Through these activities, Betty and I became friends with the Bush family, going back to 1979 and ?80, when Ambassador George H.W. Bush first ran for President. And so I became more and more active in politics, mostly in fund raising for the Republican Party and its candidates, both in Florida and nationally."

Ken :flame:

Straight, Inc. and Derivatives / ACTION ALERT on PRIDE
« on: January 14, 2003, 09:14:00 AM »
HI all,

As you all know, Betty Sembler founded PRIDE and a lot of you know that PRIDE has a message board that we were all posting to - alerting people to what PRIDE was really all about.  Well yesterday they erased all our posts. Sooooo, I think some of you might be kinda bummed out about this and want to write the old lady some new messages..

Thanks and take care....Ken

Straight, Inc. and Derivatives / Can someone explain to me
« on: January 11, 2003, 11:32:00 AM »

Can someone at KHK or the Cincinnati Enquirer please explain to me what became of the kid named Brew? According to a KHK write-up in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Brew had been "drinking" since 12 and he was quoted revealing some things I don't think he would of revealed about himself (true or MOST LIKELY NOT) if he weren't forced to magnify his "mischief" to gain brownie points from his KHK interrogators, after all they were going for publicity at the expense of a 16 year old: ... about.html

"Started at 12

        Consider 16-year-old Brew from Northern Kentucky, who began drinking at age 12.
        ?I felt like I couldn't have fun if I wasn't high. I felt really insecure, had bad self-esteem and fought with my parents a lot.?

        He stole alcohol from his parents' liquor cabinet or got older friends to buy it for him. He reached a point where he wouldn't go to school or mow the lawn without a couple of drinks first.

        ?I felt bad about my life, but drinking made it better.?

        Fights with his parents increased and his world was spinning out of control. ?Alcohol was just something I had to have. I couldn't do anything without it, but I didn't think it was that bad.?

        Then his parents got him into to Kids Helping Kids, a Clermont County-based, nonprofit intervention program which uses peer counselors. Both teens and their families are involved in treatment and counseling based on Alcoholics Anonymous' 12-step program.

        Brew credits Kids Helping Kids with opening his eyes. He's been sober for more than two months and has restored relationships with friends and family. "

Uh, "relationships with friends"??, I don't think so, isn't a newbie at KHK supposed to sever off all old "druggie ties" including friends?

Well, come to find out in an updated story some seven months later, according to the Enquirer, Brew, "left without completingthe program": ... ction.html

Just wondering if the Enquirer cared to comment on WHY Brew left. How about you guys at KHK, any ideas? Before you answer that, remember the first and most important rule:)


Straight, Inc. and Derivatives / AN Expos? can happen @ KHK too......
« on: January 10, 2003, 08:36:00 AM »
Just thought it might interest some KHK people out there what happens to a Straight spin-off when it appears in a TV news exposé. It happened to SAFE (a Straight spin-off like KHK) in Orlando.

I was in Cincinnati a few months ago and went to where the 'Kids Helping Kids' building (formally Straight Cincinnati) is located. From the road it is impossible NOT to notice the 10 to 12ft chain link fence with barbed wire that surrounds one side of the building. You can view from the road that there is a basketball court within the perimeter of the fence. Is that KHK's answer to show the state of Ohio that they allow the kids in there "recreation"?

I was wondering to anyone out there with a Kid in KHK, or a withdrawn person from KHK, what the deal is with that fence? I mean, what do they tell you  @ KHK? Do they plant a seed in your mind that you can't EVER trust your kid, that he or she will run away? Do they twist it around and tell you that 'they are just protecting him from himself', that they are somehow showing him "love"?

Can I ask you what your plans are 20 years from now when he NO longer wishes to be a part of your life because you fell for KHK garbage HOOK, LINE, & SINKER?

KHK parents, SNAP OUT OF IT, you don't believe permanent estranged relationships can happen to YOU down the line?, think again ~ look around at these sites. Most of us posting here are 20 year survivors of Straight, the predecessor to KHK. Most of us post here are YOUR age. In 1983 while you were doing what you were doing, WE were getting the HELL beaten out of us in that same damned building using the same damned "treatment" methods YOUR kid is now in there being subject to. I was once a prisoner in that building that you guys so graciously added that damned fence with the barbed wire. What in the hell are you thinking, that's a wonderful lifelong traumatic image for your kid to remember you by.

Oh, it should be pretty obvious that I am not here to make friends. I am trying to wake you KHK parents up before it's too late. I am here to save your kids from something right now that you are currently turning a blind eye to. As long as you have them in a "program" where they cannot talk to you, or themselves, or have any freedoms, any God given rights to privacy, being drilled, having their diets messed with in ANY way, made to feel like everything is a "privilege" and not a human right, YOU are participating in permanently breaking them down emotionally and God help you.



[ This Message was edited by: ramprato on 2003-01-09 08:34 ]

:flame: The very building where Kids Helping Kids of Cincinnati is located was once the home of Straight Inc., Cincinnati. Straight Inc. Cincinnati occupied that building from 1982 until about 1987 and then lay basically empty for few years with the exception of a well meaning, but failed attempt of a church trying to make a go out of the place for a little while.

What I'm having a problem with is that the author of this write-up concerning KHK is failing to mention Straight Inc., The Seed, and the numerous lawsuits that surrounded them at that time. This author is also is failing to mention that the LIFE program is a direct descendent of Straight Inc., yet going out of their way to convince the public that "KHK is completely independent and has changed and grown into the program it is today without collaboration with any other program." ... 20Kids.doc

Here is a link to the flow chart over at Wes's site that clearly SHOWS how KHK fits into the scheme of things: ... hts-fc.htm

Get this ~ these assholes realized in 1993 at the time that they got a cheap building to locate to. They bought a 1.3 million dollar building for around 300K because they KNEW about the ongoing lawsuit. I took an excerpt from Wes's page here too along with the link these people are pathological liars, nothing like a pathological liar to make your day, geez....


The great Cincinnati land deal.

After Straight, Inc. was run out of Ohio for abusing kids there, Straight Foundation tried to sale the Cincinnati property. But a group of concerned parents and local companies generally known as the Greater Cincinnati Area Straight Chapter had raised $1.5 million to bring Straight to Cincinnati and they felt that any money made from the sale of the property should stay in the Cincinnati area to help drug addicted kids in that area. Consequently local citizens Donald Bell, Anthony Celebrezze (Attorney General for the state of Ohio), J. Thomas Markham, Samuel B. Thompson, Jr., Nick J. Pishotti, Richard Tarvin, James M. VanBuren, Jr., The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, The Kroger Company and The Proctor & Gamble Company filed a class action suit against Straight in the US District Court in Cincinnati claiming that "at least $1.3 million" of the funds they had raised had been used to purchase the Straight-Cincinnati facility and that any money recovered form the sale of the property should remain in the Cincinnati area [Case # C-1-88-760]. Furthermore they wanted another $62,000 in legal fees they said they had spent trying to keep Straight from walking off with the money.

According to Exhibit A to Garcia?s affidavit, in May 1988 Straight Foundation had received a verbal appraisal from Strickland & Wright for approximately $550,000. Furthermore, the exhibit states that Mr. Wright had been instructed by Straight not to provide a written appraisal. Since Straight claimed the depreciated value of the facility in 1990 to be $1,098,062, and since Straight claimed that it had a verbal appraisal (presumably there is no written confirmation of this appraisal) for only $550,000 or 45.91% of the depreciated value, Mr. Garcia reasoned that all Straight holdings could reasonably be sold for just 45.91% of its depreciated value. He made this claim in spite of the fact that he acknowledges that Faith Tabernacle Church had put down a $15,000 deposit in an effort to buy the property early-on for $650,000 but was unable to raise the money and so Straight Foundation pocketed that $15,000.

According to the settlement agreement approved by the court on September 29, 1989 Straight Foundation and the plaintiffs would split 50-50 on proceeds from the sale of the property, and the plaintiffs would pay their legal fees from their half of the pie. I don?t have complete records of what happened after the 1989 settlement agreement but the best I can piece together from the court docket sheet is that on July 1, 1993 there was a Motion to Intervene by a Tri-State Drug Rehabilitation from across the river in Hebron Kentucky. And on July 2 a hearing was held on a motion to approve the sale and attorney fees. Then, according to Kentucky Post, on July 22, 1993 Tri-State Drug Rehab was the highest bidder on the property. The bid being $301,000. [Kentucky Post, 10/9/93]

The depreciated value of the facility was $1 million. If Straight got a million for it, it would have to give the Cincinnati folks a half million dollars. Even if Straight sold it for just $650,000 they would have to give the Cincinnati folks over $300,000. As it is the building sold for just $301,000 (or 54% of the 45.91% value) and the Cincinnati folks got just $150,500. An affidavit by the plaintiffs dated 9-27-89 shows their legal fees to be $66,345.50. Because of further court actions, I assume their legal fees to have been $70,000 by the time of sale, thus the Cincinnati fathers had managed to recover just $80,000 from their $1,393,165 investment!

Garcia had said that about the only organization that would buy one of their facilities would almost have to be another drug rehab program (as in fat chance of that happening), but that is exactly what did happen. And what is Tri-State Drug Rehab? Its treatment program was formerly called Kids Helping Kids of Hebron and now called Kids Helping Kids of Cincinnati. Kids Helping Kids of Hebron was created, in part, by Straight?s former national training director--Dr. George Ross. The therapeutic program is based almost exclusively on the Straight therapeutic model. At least two program employees have come from Straight. Ruth P. Thomas, first clinical director at KHKs, studied Rational Behavior Training at the University of Kentucky with Dr. Maxie C. Maultsby, as did Dr. Ross. On page 7 of his PhD thesis on Straight, Dr. Newton writes that Straight is "Kids Helping Kids." He went on to call his own Straight-like program Kids of Bergen County. Newton?s thesis was finished in 1981 and Kids Helping Kids of Hebron was founded on July 15, 1981.

The timing of the sale of the Cincinnati facility is worth mentioning. Later you will learn that in 1989 when Dr. Newton?s Kids of Southern California closed failing to get a license, that Straight moved into that very facility and took over the Kids? clientele. When Straight-Orlando closed on August 14, 1992, Michael Scaletta, Straight?s former director at Straight-Orlando, opened up SAFE, Inc. out of the same facility using the same clients. Straight-Detroit closed in 1993. On June 18, 1993, former Straight official Helen Gowanny helped found Pathway Family Center 15 miles from the old Straight camp. Three days later on June 21, 1993, Kathleen M. Cone, formerly the registered agent for Straight, Inc. in Atlanta opened Phoenix Institute for Adolescents just miles from Straight-Atlanta. Ten days later on July 1, 1993 Straight-Atlanta, the last Straight treatment facility closed. On that very day in Cincinnati Kids Helping Kids filed a Motion to Intervene in federal court. A hearing was IMMEDIATELY held the next day for a motion to approve the sale and attorney fees. The property was sold 20 days later for a fraction of its value and the people who had raised the money got a return of just $70,000 out of a $1.3 million investment. Next you?ll see that exactly one week later, when Straight didn?t have to share anything with anyone, the Saint Petersburg properties sold for more than what they had been purchased for.

So real estate attorney Joseph Garcia gets a big fat F when selling Straight properties in the Cincinnati case. Unless, of course, Straight had no intention of giving the Cincinnati folks a half million dollars. If that were the case then Mr. Garcia would get an A+. So what about real estate transactions where Straight would not have to split with anyone. Let?s look at the sale of the Tampa Bay holdings next.

Sale of the Saint Petersburg Properties. The treatment camp in Saint Petersburg closed on April 26, 1993 and the remaining clients were transferred to Straight-Atlanta which continued to operate until July 1. The national corporate office continued to operate for a while also. In early July the Pinellas Park Wesleyan Church learned that the two buildings in Saint Petersburg were for sale and bought them on July 29. Garcia had said that it would be hard to sell the properties, but almost as soon as the properties became available there was a serious buyer. Garcia had said that because of the buildings designs almost no one but the limited market of another drug rehab program would be interested in buying the buildings. He wrote this knowing full-well that a church had already tried to buy the Cincinnati facility. And now the Saint Petersburg properties had been sold to a church. He wrote that the buildings were really only worth 49.91% of their depreciated values. Straight paid $891,680.14 for the two properties. Their combined depreciated value was $687,343.14, and 49.91% of the depreciated value was $315,559.24. Real estate attorney Garcia would have us believe, for some reason, that these properties were worth less than 50% of their reduced (depreciated) values. But nobody told the Wesleyan Church that. They paid almost 300% more than what Mr. Garcia had stated they were worth. Straight had paid $891,680.14 for them and sold them quickly to a church for $895,000. [SPT, 8-5-93, City Edition, Pinellas Park, p. 1]

According to their 1995 tax returns, the total foundation?s total assets were down to $1,163,203 of which only $703,926 was in land, buildings, and equipment.

The Devani and Anderson Properties. Straight had paid no rent at all in its original facility, a small, two-story wooden building at 700 43rd St. S in Saint Petersburg. That facility had been donated by one Ted M. Anderson in 1976. I do not know the final disposition of this property.

In August 1979 one Saul Devani donated a property off State Road 600 to Straight, Inc. On April 1, 1993 Straight Foundation, Inc. sold the property to Frank and Meredith Wilmath, for $200,000 on the following terms. The Wilmath?s were to pay the foundation $2,202.18 a month from May 1, 1993 to April 1, 1995 at which time the entire unpaid principal balance plus interest was to be paid. That?s another $52,852.32. Thus foundation got $250,000 from that donation. (See Devani-Affidavit-and-page-3 and  Devani page 1.  )

So the Garcia affidavit is an astonishing document because it alerts anyone interested in suing Straight  that there is really no money to be got from foundation assets. He claims that because of the designs of the facilities almost no one but a drug rehab would be interested in buying, yet churches and a drug rehab were interested in buying. He says they would be hard to sale and yet the Saint Petersburg facility sold almost immediately. He said that the properties would reasonably sell for less than 50% of their depreciated values  and yet the Saint Petersburg facilities had sold for more than what the Straight parents had paid for them. And he had failed to mention the Devani property altogether. But that is not unusual for Straight officials. During testimony during the Fred Collin?s trial Straight?s executive director Bill Oliver testified to Straight?s land holdings but failed to mention the Devani property [p. 226]. If Oliver  and Garcia had not known or had forgotten about the quarter of a million dollars sitting in the Devani property, how many other properties might they have forgotten?

Hi all,

Read all about how Pathway is suckering in decent people to donate any real estate they have to help pay for a kid's "sobriety scholarship".......

Ken   :roll: ... .asp?id=58

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