Montel's trailer with Straight survivor Samantha Monroe 20 years
this is your first visit to this site having just seen The
Montel Williams investigative report on teen rehabs, you are probably
wondering whether Straight, Inc. is still in operation, how widespread
was the abuse, who is responsible for the abuse, and what you can do.
From 1976 to 1993 Straight, Inc., a Pinellas County, Florida-based corporation,
was the largest juvenile drug rehabilitation chain in the world. Probably
as many as 50,000 white teenagers entered the program. Samantha "Sammie"
Monroe (the guest Montel interviewed who had been in Straight) was not
the only kid severely abused at Straight. Read Leigh
Bright's declaration of torture; the
torture of Marcie Sizemore; the
torture of Bobby; the
torture of a boy named Donald. Straight was founded and operated by
Melvin and Betty Sembler. As our country adopts the Turbin
Torture Amendment you should be advised that George W. Bush
appointed Melvin Sembler as the current US Ambassador to Italy!
Ambassador Sembler brags on his state department web page that he and
treated 12,000 Straight graduates. One reason for Straight's popularity
was its endorsement by
Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and the president's father, George H. W. Bush.
the Internet brings down an ambassador
Montel Show aired a devastating segment on Straight
on Jan. 18, 2005. The very next day, Jan. 19, Ambassador
Sembler announced in The
St. Petersburg Times that he was stepping down.
We don't know whether the White House called him or
whether he saw the writing on the wall himself. (In
fairness to Mr. Sembler, there was a rumor
floating around Washington a month ago that the President
was going to reshuffle ambassadors and Sembler was on
the list to come home.) Four lingering questions remain:
long will George Bush take the heat and let him stay?
Will the Florida Holocaust Museum continue to let
him hide behind its skirts?
How many other heads will roll since Sembler, in his
share the blame mentality, has talked the president's
brother Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his wife Columba
into joining Straight Foundation's (now known as DFAF)
Advisory Board along with the likes of Florida's Lieutenant
Governor Toni Jennings, Pinellas County Commissioner
Susan Latvala, the butcher, the baker (St. Petersburg
Mayor Richard Baker, that is) and the candlestick
How much longer does Mr. Sembler intend to drag PumpGate
through the news by filing a seemingly endless series
of court motions to postpone?
has taken the efforts of hundreds of loyal readers like
you, and the Internet, to keep the story alive until
a major media source heard you. Thanks to all for a
job well done!
Straight, Inc. closed
in 1993 on the heels of state
investigations and law
FBI investigated Straight in 1993 for alleged financial fraud but
no indictments were handed down], but Straight Foundation, Inc., the education
arm of Straight, continues to operate as a national
drug policy think tank under the name Drug
Free America Foundation. The
president's brother, Governor Jeb Bush, and other high-level
Republicans serve on DFAF's Advisory Board. Today Betty Sembler and other
former Straight officials are directors for Operation
PAR, another Pinellas County, Florida-based drug rehab program.
PAR has never been accused of abuse. There are many second-generation
Straights still in operation (see flow
chart ) and some of these have
been accused of abuse (See Orlando
Weekly on SAFE, New
Times on Growing Together, Kids
of North Jersey, sodomy
in Growing Together host home.)
You can reach
Ambassador Sembler at the US Embassy-Italy, main switchboard (+39)
06.46741 or Public
Information Office, or at his place of business The
Sembler Company, (727) 384-6000. You can reach Betty Sembler at Operation
PAR, 1-888-PAR-NEXT. If you are an attorney or aid for Ambassador
Sembler tell him that Ken Kay informed The Montel Show that WWASPS denies
all charges and ask the ambassador if he will make any public statement
about the show. As for sending your kids overseas Montel said this, "any
parent that signs his kids over to another and lets that other take his
kids out of country has committed a crime." Amen and thank you, Montel!!!
If you are Sammie Monroe (or her sisters) or the former WWASPS clients
and parents who appeared--thank you for a job well done.!!! Author Maia
Szalavitz tied it all together--no one could have done a better job
in the few moments she had. We eagerly anticipate her forthcoming book.
To all others: there's a discussion forum on Straight here.
Also there are three protests scheduled for this quarter. Check back to
the main page for details. Come join the protests!
Straight, Inc. (1976 - 1993) was a destructive, mind-control cult.
Many Straight officials formed their own Straight-like programs as
Straights closed. There continues to be other juvenile drug programs
that use some parts of the Straight clinical method. This is not to
say that any or all of these others programs are abusive or that they
are mind-control cults, but we do list them under theStraights to
mean that they use some Straight-perfected, therapeutic methods.