Academic Credentials of Father Doctor2 Miller Newton
by Wesley Fager (c) 2000 (updated 1/31/2005)

In 1976 while he was chairman of the board of a private boy’s prison in Florida, Miller Newton made his second unsuccessful bid for Congress. His father, Red Miller, was editor for the influential Tampa Tribune. His former business partner was the chief-of-staff for former Governor of Florida (later U.S. Senator) Bob Graham. In 1977 Miller Newton, B.A. History and Master of Divinity, enrolled in a doctorate program at Union Graduate School, Cincinnati, Ohio, apparently to study public administration. Union was more than a correspondence school because Newton did spend 36 days in colloquia and peer meetings--one was even held near Union Graduate School in Cincinnati.  (A colloquium is a seminar where students and faculty meet and the students give presentations on their graduate projects.)

theStraights and the
The Union Graduate School Crowd

While clinical director at Straight Miller Newton got a PhD from Union Graduate School (AKA Union Institute) in Cincinnati. At the time Union was a non-accredited, alternative college. He did not have to attend classes or take tests. He did attend some seminars called colloquiums. Newton had to write a paper which was his project to demonstrate excellence or PDE. In 1981 he received a Doctor of Philosophy for his paper "The Organization and Implementation of Family Involvement in Adolescent Drug-Use Rehabilitation." Essentially this paper described the six new parent raps which he implemented at Straight. In 1993 Dr. Newton was an Adjunct Professor of Neuropsychology at Union where he taught colloquiums in Cincinnati (December 8 - 12) and in Boston (June 23 - 28 and July 6 - 10).

Sharon Wegscheider is a woman Newton met who was also attending Union. Newton had her visit Straight and give an independent evaluation of Straight.

Dr. Newton left Florida and Straight in 1983 on the heels of state investigations and civil suits to setup his own rendition of Straight in New Jersey he called Kids of Bergen County. Later he opened his own international chain of programs called Kids Centers of America. Two of these were Kids of Southern California and Kids of the Canadian West.

According to Case # 584418 filed 3-9-89 with the Superior Court of Santa Ana, California it was alleged that an official from Kids of Southern California claimed that he or she had also attended Union Graduate School. 

In 1989 CBS' West 57th Street exposed Newton's abuse at KID's. It was then that Canadian authorities learned that they had been paying for psychiatric treatment for Canadian kids in Newton's New Jersey program though the kids had not been receiving this care. And so the Canadian government yanked its support to Newton's program in New Jersey and also withdrew its support to establish Kids of the Canadian West in Calgary. Canadian Dr. Dean Vause who trained under Newton in New Jersey took over the plan to establish a Kids-style program in Canada. When it was finally opened Vause called it the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre (AARC). It is is still in operation and there is a movement to open an AARC-style program in Van Couver.

Dean Vause received a degree in physical education and history from the University of Saskatchewan and later got a masters in educational psychology. In 1994 Vause got a PhD from Union in Educational Psychology. His project demonstrating excellence is titled: "The Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre: A Treatment Centre for Chemical Dependent Youth and Their Families." In his Union PDE, Newton writes that Straight is "kids helping kids." Today Kids Helping Kids of Cincinnati is a Straight-legacy program running out of the old Straight - Cincinnati facility. 

AARC's web page has this endorsement from Dr. Audrey Olsen Faulkner, MSW, Ph.D., ACSW, Social Work Professor with the Union Institute:   My professional assessment is that the AARC is a model program, grounded in research on addictions and on adolescent development.  And this endorsement from Dr. Robert McAndrews, Professor at the Union Institute:  Now that I see the ‘hard’ evidence and follow your thorough analysis, as a critical reviewer I am convinced that your model and actual program is one worth replicating everywhere possible . . .  Dr. Bonnie L. Kelly, Ph.D., a therapist in Pennsylvania has this to say on AARC's web page, The adolescents’ commitment to the program and the community’s support and involvement is commendable.  [A Bonnie Louise Kelly received a PhD in Clinical Psychology in 1993 from Union, the year before Dr. Vause earned his.  ed.]

Miller Newton joined Straight as an assistant director in January 1980. Except for a workshop on alcoholism which he had attended in 1979 at the Johnson Institute in Minneapolis, he had virtually no experience in drug rehabilitation. One of his first assignments at Straight was to develop a method to improve parent/client retention rates. To this end he developed a manual called the SIX NEW PARENT RAPS which he based, in part, on the workshop he attended at the Johnson Institute. These six raps are mandatory training for new parents at Straight. While at Straight he changed the emphasis on his Ph.D. project and in 1981 received a Doctor of Philosophy for his paper The Organization and Implementation of Family Involvement in Adolescent Drug-Use Rehabilitation. Essentially, his thesis incorporated his manual on the "six new parent raps at Straight." The 55 pages of Chapter Five are based, partly, on his implementation of the workshops he attended at Johnson Institute (he attended a second in 1981) which he published separately as the book, Gone Way Down: Teenage Drug Use is a Disease. His thesis lists an enormous bibliography of books which he was required to read as part of his graduation requirement, but he was never tested to verify he had read any of them. In fact he never took any tests at all other than defending his dissertation to his four-man advisory panel. His advisory panel met at Straight. Dr. William Geitz, one of his panel members, worked as a clinical psychologist for Straight, but Newton claims that Geitz did not work for him, he worked for the director.


  • At the Fred Collins trial in 1983 [Newton’s deposition, 2-23-83, p. 66] Newton claimed that his graduate panel member and fellow Straight employee Dr. William Geitz worked for the director, not for him. But Newton’s early resume says that he, Newton, was the director in 1981--the year he received his Ph.D.. Further, in a 1982 press release upon being appointed as Straight’s national clinical director--in addition to being the director Straight-St-Pete--Newton boasted that, "The local programs are responsible to me. That was going on before. It’s just been formalized." The implication is that Newton ruled the clinical staff for some time prior to 7/82. [Source: St. Petersburg Times, July 14, 1982, p. 3B]]

Newton--the anthropologist. In his resume Newton claims he was already an anthropologist in 1978 though his highest education level then was a Master of Theology. [b] In an early resume Newton claims that his Ph.D. is in Public Administration and Urban Anthropology. He testified at the Fred Collins trial that one of his fellow graduate students gave two presentations on black history and anthropology at one of the colloquia. Newton’s panel member for guidance on anthropology was Dr. Jean Battle. But Dr. Battle was actually in education and formerly the Dean of the College of Education, University of South Florida. George Ross, Straight’s education director, was working on a Ph.D. in Education, from University of South Florida. Newton, himself, had been an Associate Professor of Education at the University of South Florida (1969 - 73). And so Newton received a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Urban Anthropology from an unaccredited graduate school for his work in increasing parent/client retentions at Straight. [c] He attended no classes and took no tests--but claims he read a lot of books. His four-man advisory panel which approved his work met at Straight and included a Straight employee, and a college professor with tie-ins to another Straight employee. In 1983 during the Fred Collins trial Newton claimed that his degree was in urban anthropology and public administration. In 1988 in the Michael Daniels trial he claimed the actual major areas were medical anthropology and human service administration. In 1990 during the Karen Norton trial he asserted that he is a "medical anthropologist and a Board certified medical psychotherapist." He stated his concentration at Union is in medical anthropology. And finally, in an undated brochure from Kids of Bergen County, Newton claims he is a clinical anthropologist.


  1. In an early resume Newton claims that he was an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Hillsborough College from 1978 - 80, though his highest academic credential at the time was a Master of Divinity.
  2. Union Graduate School had been denied accreditation in 1978 and was not accredited until 1985.]

Newton, the neuropsychologist. In 1995 Dr. Newton published the book Adolescents: Guiding Youth Through the Perilous Ordeal. The book is endorsed on the back cover by two men. One is Ralph E. Tarter, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, University of Pittsburgh Medical School. In his endorsement Dr. Tarter says that the book "thoroughly reviews the clinical and scientific literature pertaining to the factors determining the successes and failures in this life transition." So the book reviews available literature and is not a report on new research conducted by Dr. Newton. Dr. Tarter should know because in 1993 Miller Newton submitted the manuscript to The Union Institute in Cincinnati (formerly Union Graduate School where he got his first Ph.D.) which awarded Newton another Ph.D. for his effort--and Dr. Tarter supervised Newton’s doctorate program. I do not know what other--if any--course work Dr. Newton had to complete for this degree. The degree awarded is a Ph.D. in neuropsychology. The book covers readable topics such as spirituality, sexuality, social relations, suicide, eating disorders, and depression. As a non-neuropsychologist who has read the book, I do not feel that one needs to have a solid grasp of the traditional areas of neuropsychology to understand it.

[Note: Typical neuropsychological disciplines include things like physiological psychology, behavioral and molecular genetics, behavioral pharmacology, cardiovascular psychophysiology, cell biology, pharmacology, neurology, neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, neurophysiology, biostatistics, and the biological basis for addiction. [From Peterson’s Guide to Graduate Programs in the Biological Sciences 1997, pp. 1691, 1761, 1803.]

Most of the book is general, but when it does get technical, I frequently find weaknesses in his pronouncements. For example, he writes, "Remember that the adolescent is someplace in the process of neurological development, moving from the diffuse brain organization to specified brain organization and moving from simple cognitive systems to more complex cognitive systems involving the ability to think abstractly in a variety of areas." Then he knocks therapists for being too abstract and "conceptual" with their adolescent patients noting that at his KIDS program they’ve developed a "blunt, directive communication" with clients that addresses problems in concrete terms.[p.61] Newton complains of others treating young clients with abstractions, well how about this:

Straight clients, under Dr. Newton as national clinical director, lived under a set of tools for daily living called Tools for Personal Change. One tool is the Five Guidelines for Straight Thinking which works like this:

When a Straight youngster has a troubling thought, he is supposed to ask himself 5 specified questions like whether it helps him achieve his goals and whether it is in his best interest. But the first question is, "Is it based on objective reality?" Thus you see a 12-year-old kid who just had a troubling thought asking himself whether his thought is reality-based (whatever that means!), and, if so, then trying to decide whether it was subjective or objective (whatever that means!). If the child determines that his thought is based on objective reality (eg. it was not subjective reality, objective non-reality, or subjective non-reality), then he must ask himself the other 4 questions and make additional decisions. If the answer to three of the five questions is YES, then he knows he has had a rational thought!! [e] Other Straight abstractions include Straight awareness and musturbation--not to be confused with masturbation.

[Note: This convoluted abstraction is from The Organization and Implementation of Family Involvement in Adolescent Drug-Use Rehabilitation, 1982, by Miller Newton, pp.71, 82. This was his first graduate thesis.]

As has been discussed elsewhere in this paper, many authors developed the notion that sex is addictive in the same way that drug use is addictive because they misinterpreted a concept introduced by Archie Brodsky and Stanton Peele in Love and Addiction (1975). Ten years later Peele explained that what he was trying to say in Love and Addiction is that addiction is not a medical disease because it has the same compulsive profile as many behaviors we regard as quite ordinary and nonbiological, like love affairs. Unfortunately, he points out, many writers construed his book to mean that love and sex are like drug addictions; therefore they are also diseases. One of the authors who apparently got the message bungled is Miller Newton. In Adolescence Newton states: "Sexual addiction tends to produce progressive dysfunction in every other area of life, just as alcoholism and drug dependence do."[p.103] Not only does Newton write that people can be addicted to sex, but they can be addicted to violence as well! He recognizes two basic causes of adolescent violence and aggression. His first cause is that many kids become violent in response to physical or psychological threat. [But these are precisely the two threats which his own programs have been accused of employing.] The other cause, Newton writes, is based on personal power needs. "These teens literally become ‘violence addicts’", he writes, "as a result of subjective perception of a ‘high’ in the feelings of anger and rage."[p.145]

[Note: Love and Addiciton, 1975, by Archie Brodsky and world-renowned addiciton treatment specialist and psychologist Stanton Peele; and Diseasing of America: Addiction Treatment Out of Control, 1989, by Stanton Peele.]

In his book, Dr. Newton specifically recommends only five long-term treatment programs for adolescent drug and alcohol abuse. All are Straight-like program: Growing Together, Pathway Family Center, Second Chance, Kids Helping Kids of Cincinnati, and his own KIDS program. His actual thesis list two other, now defunct, Straight-like programs: LIFE, Inc. and Outreach. For treating adolescents for sexual trauma or compulsions he recommends, among others, his own KIDS program. As far as I can tell only one active program is specifically mentioned as having success in treating juveniles with suicidal ideations--his own KIDS’ program.

For further reading of problems on juvenile drug and alcohol abuse he recommends a book by Straight’s former consultant Robert DuPont. The Bibliography includes a book by Sharon Wegscheider who had been one of his fellow students at Union Graduate School, and who later went to Straight and performed an independent evaluation of the program. In 1981 Robert DuPont invited a Canadian psychiatrist named Andrew I. Malcolm to do an independent evaluation of Straight. In his 1981 study Dr. Malcolm reported Straight to be "phenomenal" and that "St. Petersburg Straight could not, in any sense at all, be correctly described as a cult." Eight years later two other Canadians, both psychologists from Simon Fraser University, visited Straight-DC for a first-hand look. Professor Barry Beyerstein subsequently published the paper "Thought Reform Tactics: The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions." He noted 17 methods that "cults" employ on its unsuspecting members, and concluded that Straight is guilty of using every one of them! Professor Bruce Alexander was shown The Malcolm Report on Straight. In his book Peaceful Measures: Canada’s Way Out of The ‘War on Drugs’ Professor Alexander concludes that Straight’s method’s "can be fairly compared with ‘brainwashing’ in prisoner-of-war camps as documented by Brown chapter 2 [Techniques of Persuasion: From Propaganda to Brainwashing, 1963, by J.A.C. Brown ]. He faulted The Malcolm report for providing no comparisons of Straight clients with untreated controls, and from suffering from other ‘serious methodological deficiencies’. At the beginning of this section I wrote that the back cover of Newton’s book is endorsed by two men. Ralph Tarter who supervised Newton’s Ph.D. project is one; Andrew I. Malcolm is the other. His endorsement says, "It throws more light on the often dark and troubling passage known as adolescence than any other book I have ever read. . . This is a seminal work." Newton acknowledges that June Hayo and Tony Kozakiewics, formerly peer staff (junior staff) and later professional staff at KIDS, had contributed ideas to the manuscript.

[Author’s note on Dr. Newton’s zany ideas on sexual addictions. The idea that ‘sex is addictive’ originated in 1975 in the book Love and Addiction by Archie Brodsky and world-renowned addiction treatment specialist and psychologist Stanton Peele. In his book Diseasing of America: Addiction Treatment Out of Control (1989) Dr. Peele explains that what he was trying to say in Love and Addiction is that addiction is not a medical disease because it has the same compulsive profile as many behaviors we regard as quite ordinary and nonbiological, like love affairs. Unfortunately, he points out, many writers construed his book to mean that love and sex are like drug addictions; therefore they are also diseases. One of the authors who apparently got the message backwards was Miller Newton. In his book Adolescence:Guiding Youth Through the Perilous Ordeal [1995] he states: "Sexual addiction tends to produce progressive dysfunction in every other area of life, just as alcoholism and drug dependence do."[p.103] In his book Kids, Drugs, and Sex [1986] he writes:"Stanton Peele has pointed out that the male/female relationship is subject to the same kind of debilitating dependency as drug-use."[p.30] He argues that confession is necessary for recovery from addiction by quoting from Alcoholics Anonymous STEP 5, "Admitting to God, myself, and another human the exact nature of my wrongs."[p.28] And continues, "The process of dredging up, honestly facing, and seeing the casual relationship of drug-use to guilt-producing behavior is a fundamental part of the recovery process." He even includes confessions he says he has encountered, presumably at his KIDS’ program. Jan (age 16) was a virgin when she started smoking pot, but she progressed in drug usage and to having sex with anyone including two middle-age men and the family dog--now she has crabs [pp. 18 - 19]. Kevin, age 15, was driven by drugs to homosexual experiences as well as sex with several women in their late 30s, his older sister, the family dog, and with a friend’s cat [p.19]. Andrea, age 23, went from pot to "downs and morphine daily." Now she "turns tricks", shoplifts, and besides homosexual sex, has had sex with a people much younger and much older than herself and with animals [pp. 21- 22]. Bob has used several different drugs, has had sex with males and females, but now has VD and problems getting it up! Interestingly, in his 1995 book Adolescence: Guiding Youth Through the Perilous Ordeal, for which he was awarded a Phd. in neuropsychology, Dr. Newton list Kids of North Jersey as a recommended treatment center for adolescents plagued with sexual traumas or compulsions.]