Mary Rich and her husband were so impressed with a man they met in church–he knew so much more about the Bible than they–that they invited him and his family over for dinner. They just couldn't get over how obedient and well–behaved Ronald Larrinaga’s children were. In fact,  they were so impressed that they joined his 'church.'  What ensued is one of the most brutally, terrifying and disgusting accounts of child and adult sexual abuse, of beatings which made walls drip with blood,  and of mind control--all in the name of Jesus--that I have ever read.  The story was upstaged in the media by David Koresh's standoff with law enforcement the same way that Synanon Church's self-destruction was overshadowed by Jim Jones and the mass suicide of over 900 people. One of Mary Rich's duties was to write letters to law enforcement officials threatening civil suit for violation of their religious freedom.   While, perhaps,  most 'faith-based'  social programs are truly loving and non-destructive places, there is a growing concern over many, MANY programs like those described by Alexia Parks in An Amecian Gulag, by Wes Fager's editorial on faith-based programs, by some of the new Straights which are aligning themselves with religion,  and by Mary Rich and Carol Jose in their book evil web which can be ordered by clicking on the cover above.  We need to send a strong message to the President: JUST SAY NO TO 'FAITH-BASED' SOCIAL PROGRAMS.

Suicide Attempts, page 2 of 2

Straight students are sometimes sent before the Bomb Squad--a six man team of old comers and counselors who bend their fingers back, spit in their face, and scream obscenities at them to "get honest" about prior drug usage and sometimes to tell all about their sex life.  Trumped-up confessions about drug usage are required in order to string parents along so they will keep the child in treatment longer and so that the charity will take in more money.  The kids are constantly implored to admit to trumped-up confessions of past experiences of sexual perversion including incest, homosexuality, bestiality, rape, cross dressing, sodomy or some other embarrassing overt sex act, or thought. The kids are made to put the confession in writing and to sign it. These extorted confessions, variously called Dishonest lists, F.O.S. (Full of Shit) lists, and COCs (Chain of Commands)  are very explicit and can cause great guilt and shame in the child. By potentially making some students preoccupied and depressed about his sexuality he may lose his desire to fight back, to resist.   Straight tracker Claire Martin speaking on the film "Straight-Tough Love or Abuse" produced by the Drug Policy Foundation says that her son told her he would admit to almost anything to keep from being abused.  That they keep asking the students whether there  was incest in the family.  That they would say,  it's alright,  we've all done things like that.  Why was Straight so interested in things like that,  and why was Straight always being called down for not reporting to state authorities alleged incidences of incest?   Professor Beyerstein,  in his report on Straight,  offers that  a confession can be used to blackmail the perpetrator at a later date. Potentially, could not the confessions  be used against the family should the parents later sue or go to the police? Former client Jeanine Wright told a reporter that kids made up phony confessions as it seemed the best ticket out. Michael Calabrese fled the Straight program after three months in the early 1980s. He reported to a reporter with the St. Petersburg Times that, "You were suppose to confess all kinds of bad stuff, and if you didn’t, they figured you were lying." (2)  James Seagraves told a Florida newspaper reporter in 1992 that he saw clients, "taunted by staff and clients with information they revealed about themselves during rap sessions."  [Creative Loafing, May 20, 1992, by CL Tampa, Inc.]    Former Straight student Tim Ashley of Stowe, Ohio testifying in court in Fairfax, Virginia in 1993 had this to say about the sexual confessions, "[these confessions were] just things that you keep inside yourself that are the biggest and darkest secrets you have. . . But it was just very disgusting and graphic things that they wanted you to come up with." Mr. Ashley went on to describe how once the confession had been extorted, a person would be confronted with them in Group. Mr. Ashley told me that on Friday nights after open meetings the kids sometimes arranged their chairs into two circles, girls on one side, boys on the other. If there was someone they wanted to get to, as perhaps a boy may have admitted to having committed a homosexual act, someone would come up to him and holler out, "Guess what girls, Bob sucked a boy’s cock!"  Former student  Ms. T. L. from Maryland confirms that when they made girls confess to having had girl-girl sexual relationships Group tended to treat it as perhaps sensual or sexy  whereas when boys admitted to homosexual experiences Group seemed to chide them.   There is a secret, unwritten maxim which many former Straight clients have parlayed to the author--FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT. No doubt many savvy clients did invent confessions--the more bizarre, the better--so that the torture would stop. But others undoubtedly spilled their hearts out in sincere efforts to please their masters or in order to not fill left out.(3)  Destructively, the confessions could be  read aloud in the Peer Group of 200 other boys and girls where the student may alternately be shouted down for not having  been honest in the first place,  then hugged for finally being honest,  and then blown away again for having admitted to having performed a disgusting act.   Each cruel and humiliating indictment is always followed with,  "but I love you."  [g]

Interim notes:
[g] For data on seized Straight confessions consult: Rick Sampson, formerly Maryland Office of Drug Rehabilitation Licenses or Nelson Sabatini, 410-544-0172, Head Maryland Dept Human Services.


Sexual Abuse. 

Before reading further,  please click here to see a real Straight confession.

Former Straight-Springfield client  Scott Wagner is a frequent poster on Kathy Moya's Internet discussion forum.  He admits that he  got "felt up" by his Straight  old comer while in a Straight foster home and that he just  did the "lay there and pretend it's not happening."  routine.  He writes that he still suffers from  post traumatic stress because of it.  Scott tells the story of one host home where three brothers lived.  Every night,  he says,  he  "cringed over on my side of the room on the floor"  while the middle brother was molesting the smaller newcomers.   From a posting by Scott on our forum:  

Scott:  The rampant homosexuality in the host homes when I was there was never discussed except when some 12 year old kid, who had looked at a joint once, was raped by his old comer and stated so in group. He had initially been stood up and confronted when the guys sitting around him noticed he was sitting in a pool of his own blood from the internal tears he had suffered. Of course D. M. ..... came out and quickly informed us that we would be breaking the anonymity rule and would go to federal prison if we ever said anything about the rape to anyone. I never saw the twelve year old again. 

Colleen, another frequent poster,  adds:  You are right Scott about the boy taken out of the program because of the rape, I stayed in contact with his sister for a long time after being out of the program, and after he got out he used all the info that he learned about drugs to go and do them, so then he had a real drug problem, oh well. I remember that page about the rape being taken out of 5th phase obs. It's a good thing staff never knew I read it before it was taken out, because I would have probably been threatened or set back.  [The author has further information on this tragedy and will share with Virginia or federal law enforcement officials if asked.] 

Scott:  The point I am making is that Straight set up an artificial and twisted sexuality that was as much a tool for mind control as anything else. They got you to confess about any sort of adolescent experimentation you may have engaged in then shamed the living hell out of you for it. I had been abused both inside and outside of my adoptive family for years going back preschool. Anytime I mentioned it I was confronted and told that it was my druggie behavior that had caused these things to happen to me. I believed it at the time since it was the same thing I was being told by my adoptive parents who put me in there in the first place.

Homosexual and heterosexual abuse is rampant. In Florida 50 year old Straight counselor Arthur Nicol got seven years for sexually molesting one of his male clients and his friend.(5) In Virginia three old comer females raped a newcomer female with a curling iron for failing to write her diary. A former client  at one of the Straights told this author that his old comer required him to give him back massages while he lay nude in the bed and on one occasion the old comer rolled over and had a hard on.   In Virginia a 13 year-old male was sexually abused by his 19 year-old old comer who was locked in the bathroom with the youth as required by Straight. Straight was slow in reporting the rape to state authorities.  The old comer had previously molested two others in his charge and had been set back and cured of his homosexuality by the Group, and then progressed again in the program to the point of being locked in the bathroom with a naked newcomer again when the third rape occurred.  Later information will be presented where Straight female clients  at Straight-St Pete were treated less severely in return for having sex with their female captors.   So for 2 - 5 years, while their sexual organs are developing and their mental attitudes should be maturing, Straight kids are forbidden to even think about persons of the opposite sex in a sexual way. Instead they often sleep in beds with members of the same sex, are watched by members of the same sex when they shower or use the commode. Clients as young as 12 mix with clients as old as 21, sitting in raps all day long listening to boys self criticizing for masturbating in their mother's underwear or for having anal sex with other boys while girls self criticize for eating other girls. Physical restraint is used on those who do not participate. They continue talking about this stuff to their newcomer while they are using the toilet. Straight no doubt has caused a great deal of anxiety and sexual problems in many of its young clients. Interestingly, in his 1995 book Adolescence: Guiding Youth Through the Perilous Ordeal, Dr. Newton lists KIDS of North Jersey as a recommended treatment center for adolescents plagued with sexual traumas or compulsions.

Richard Bradbury is a former client turned counselor at Straight-Saint Petersburg who says he quit because Straight was brainwashing children and because lesbian counselors were trading sex for less harsh treatment. Click on the remarkable white Slavery? letter.   It is from Stephen Knowles, then director of Straight-Saint Petersburg, to Mr. Bradbury regarding Mr. Bradbury’s concerns over lesbian counselors trading less harsh treatment for sex. Amazingly Mr. Knowles does not deny the problem and even admits there are "girl/girl" issues, but he takes Straight’s standard position that Bradbury had obtained this information during Straight confessionals and that Mr. Bradbury was consequently breaking federal confidentiality regulations revealing the information and more importantly, perhaps, Mr. Bradbury was breaking his vows of secrecy by breaking Straight’s catch-22 rule of NO TALKING BEHIND BACKS. In other words for  each case of alleged sexual abuse of which Mr. Bradbury was knowledgeable, he could only discuss it with the press or law enforcement in the presence of the abused child and the alleged lesbian counselor. But then he still could not discuss the issue because the abused person had been a child and that would break federal confidentiality regulations. In other words abuse of any sort can not be reported about Straight. Since Straight-St Petersburg is noted for enrolling students from around the country there is a strong concern that some children may have been transported across state lines where they were sexually abused by Straight officials.   If you have any information concerning such issues please contact the author.

Growing Together is a Sembler-based synanon which has been in operation in Lake Worth, Florida since 1989.  If you currently run a foster home for a Straight-like program  you should read the following 1997 five-page police report of an alleged gang rape at a Growing Together extension foster home and think of the liability implications for you for running a host home for one of these programs.   Here's the report:  police report, page 1police report, page 2, police report page 3, police report page 4 and  police report page 5.   Eight  years before that the Saint Petersburg Times reported on a Mrs. Ferris who claims her son had been sexually abused by his host mother while a TV station down there learned that Straight allowed one parent to operate a host home knowing that she was a former prostitute.   In 1991 The Washington Post [February 3, 1991,  p. B03]  reported that the Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services sent a letter dated Jan 29 to Straight-Springfield stating  that "Child Protective Services {was} not contacted promptly after {a patient's} disclosure of rape." The letter, explaining why the state denied renewal of the program's licenses, said,  "the rape, which allegedly occurred two years ago, was disclosed March 28, 1990, and reported to Child Protective Services on April 27, 1990."   The article notes that the state recently found that the Springfield program failed to notify county officials of allegations that a 13-year-old boy in the program had been sexually abused by a 19-year-old client. The state found the 19-year-old had been allowed to remain in the program after he had been accused of sexually abusing two other clients.  [Author's note:  the host parents were sued by the raped child.  You might want to consider this if you run a dormitory for a Straight-like program so they can avoid the expense and try to dodge the liability issue.  Or you might consider this.  In a letter to Mike Becker of Florida's HRS dated 12/11/91 from former student Peter H.,  Peter describes an incident when he was laying in bed in a host home in November 1991 when his old comer jumped on top of him and started hitting him in the groin so hard he started crying.  He wrote that he had reported the incident to a staff member but no report had ever been written.]   

In March 1990 a teenage girl named Beth was removed from Straight-Virginia Beach by that state citing that she was under the "imminent danger" clause of that state's Child Abuse and Neglect Law after she claimed being kissed and touched by a male counselor. A straight official named Barker was tried in Circuit Court in Chesapeake, Virginia on January 8, 1991. I do not know the outcome of that trial, but 30 days later Straight--Virginia Beach closed down.   A letter dated March 3, 1992 from Jeff M.   to James Hess of Florida's  HRS reported on a senior Straight staff member at Straight-St Pete,  a female,  who displayed "gross sexual behavior (grabbing her crotch and breasts with comments to the boys side such as 'bite this'', etc.)"   Another allegation was that two girls had escaped but had been brought back by the police,  and that another  female staff member started accusing them of having sex while eloped and asked them questions in front of mixed Group like "how big were they,  did you like it,  did you get off. . ."     One former Straight student told this author  he was raped at  Straight--Springfield,  escaped,  and lived in a drainage ditch.  Richard Bradbury tells the story of a  boy who had admitted having sex with an animal so they made him stand on a stool in the Group of several hundred people and demonstrate having sex with an animal.

Colleen is a frequent poster on our Kathy Moya's Internet discussion forum.   She tells the following story.  I remember my Mom had brought in pictures of me and one was me in my nightgown and I got confronted for half an hour about how I was a prostitute and posed for porno. . .  Another is [name withheld], now when I was sat on the guys side he told me that they were going to gang bang me and nobody would be able to help me. . .   I too had past sexual abuse and anyone who ever tried to talk about the pain they suffered from rapes or even childhood incest got confronted and told it was all their fault and they they were a cheap slut. That does a lot for the ole self esteem.  Here are some additional statements concerning sexual abuses that have been posted by former clients from Straight-like synanons on our internet discussion forum:

Greg [a former Seedling]:  I reached puberty during my third  month in the program. I remember young girls being stood up and berated as sluts after they confessed their first sexual experiences. Other girls they new on the outside would scream at them about their sexual behavior prior to coming in. I remember one boy, obviously a few cards short of a full deck, being forced to stand up in "Boys Rap"and recount giving an adult friend of the family oral sex . Same speech was given in full group the next day. He was desperate for understanding and only got glazed looks from everyone. I remember the hands going up which meant he was going to be berated by the group. The following week he was gone.

Fred [Straight-St Pete and Springfield]: One home had this large 'gang' shower. I recall [name withheld]  talking in group about 'how positive' it was to shower together with his newcomers.

ScottM [Straight Boston]:   . . . do you remember when about 5-10 kids were systematically molested by [name withheld]? (He's now dead as you probably know, found dead on the highway.)

Pegasus: Girls who had a little too much fun with the holding on to the belt loop and would fondle my butt, took the job of watching me in the shower a little *too* seriously... waking up from sleep with the distinct belief someone's hands had been on me.

Jennifer:  Sex was a huge issue when I was  in St. Pete Straight. We had to describe every event, even down to masturbating. I remember one girl shaking and crying because they were making her feel so guilty and sick for masturbating. We had a rap on it everyday almost. 

Some Frank Talk about the Straights, Sexual Identity  and Suicide.   The Straights use powerful and proven psychological techniques to obtain sometimes genuine,   sometimes genuine  but highly exaggerated,  and sometimes utterly false confessions from its young prisoners.  Lifton,  Singer and others write about these techniques.   In our society if a heterosexual male or female reads a Playboy or Penthouse magazine,  besides seeing  pictures of nude women in all issues,  in some issues they will invariably see pictures of two women engaged in an explicit  sexual act.  But rarely,  if ever,  will they see two males engaged in an explicit  sexual act.   For those heterosexual men and women who have seen adult movies on cable TV (and if you haven't then trust me)  you will see the same thing.  Movies of men and women engaged in sex,  and occasionally a scene with two women having sex--but never two men.   You see,  in this society, in many heterosexual quarters men find it erotic for two women to engage in sex,  but would find it abhorrent  to see two men engaged in such activity.  Thus it is in the Straights.  You have heard of instances in this report where girls are  blasted for lesbian activity but in other instances Group looks approvingly at them for it.   Not so for the boys.  The males are always broad-sided for these admissions.  Tragically,  in this society,  kids may be sexually exploited by older kids,  by adults and even by their own parent.  These unfortunate kids are exploited children and will have to deal with these heavy issues when they become teenagers and young adults and begin to hear stories that might make them feel sexually inadequate or not normal (whatever that means),  and I'm not going to get into the issues of what happens to people who want to just be normal,  but don't feel that way.  What Straight does is it lays out all that stuff to its unlicensed children psychiatrists and ridicules kids for these actions.  They make them feel uncomfortable and make them question their normalcy.   Professor Beyerstein warns that faked  sexual confessions are  more likely to shift in the direction of the behavior, rather than the other way around.     In other words some of these young people,  confused after leaving Straight,  might act out on these confessions, much like a self fulfilling prophecy.   And besides the trumped-up confessions,  many kids are placed in a Straight to cure them of a drug problem they may or may not have and wind up being sexually molested in there.  If   as a child or a young man,  I was raped by an older male,  that would not make me  a homosexual,  but  the incident could make me fear or believe that I was a homosexual.  It could put doubts in me that I had asked for it or that I liked it.   The Sullivan Report published in 1989 found that homosexuals in the age group 15 to 24 were three times more likely as heterosexuals to kill themselves, and concluded that homosexuality was one of the risk factors for youth suicide. [Washington Post, 1-13-90, p. A5.]  Don't be surprised when you get to the page on "Straight  and suicide" to see large numbers of former Straight  students killing themselves.  Almost always male.  Almost always white.  And don't be surprised to see some instances of double suicides involving males.  

The Dangers of Brainwashing.   In his book Escape from Red China [1962] Robert Loh made this personal observation about the general populace in China as it underwent brainwashing in the 1950s:

Suicides came in waves . . .The sight of people jumping out of windows became common place. The coffin makers were sold out weeks ahead. The funeral homes doubled up so that several funerals were held simultaneously in one room. The parks were patrolled to prevent people from hanging themselves from the trees. [p.98]

In 1961 American psychiatrist Robert J. Lifton wrote the definitive text on Communist Chinese brainwashing called Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, A Study of "Brainwashing" in China. Lifton had this to say about the relationship of brainwashing to suicide and mental illness.

"As the assaults continue the prisoners begin to feel one of the "most primitive and painful emotions known to man--the fear of total annihilation." This is the point at which physical and mental integration break down. Some prisoners may be brought by their severe anxiety and depression to the point of suicidal preoccupations and attempts. Dr. Vincent recounted: "They scolded me in a nasty way . . .It was so utterly hopeless. For six weeks I did nothing but think how I might kill myself." . . . Others experience delusions and hallucinations usually associated with psychosis . . .At this point, the prisoner's immediate prospects appear to be physical illness, psychosis, or death. If death is to remain symbolic--and psychic damage kept from progressing beyond the reversible stage--some form of desperately needed relief must be supplied.[pp.70 - 72] And further on he writes, Prison officials do take great pains to prevent martyrdom, suicide, death, and irreversible psychosis; but the prisoner is nonetheless inevitably made to feel that his physical and emotional survival is at stake." [p. 489]

More specific to our particular subject are those who have looked at Straight-like programs and have warned that the methodology  may harm children and can even lead to suicide!

1970s According to a letter included in the 1974 U.S. Senate report which likened the methods of The Seed to Communist brainwashing  one Jeffery J. Elenewski, Ph.D. was  a clinical psychologist with The Children's Psychiatric Center in Dade County, Florida and was previously employed by the Dade County Department of Youth Services, Division of Psychological Services.  The referenced letter was from Dr. Elenewski to  Mr. Alex Miller , Youth Coordinator, Florida State Drug Abuse Program, Miami and deals with kids he has treated who have escaped from The Seed.   He wrote:  In some instances they were locked in rooms by themselves and denied food for days. They also reported that they were made to sit in chairs without speaking while listening to others berate them for hours. . . I recently interviewed a child, he wrote, that would be diagnosed as an emotionally unstable personality with paranoid overtones. The use of the above noted practices with this kind of child could easily result in a precipitation of major mental disturbance. Fortunately this child was able to run from the Seed before very much damage had been done to her psychologically. She did manifest some confusion and paranoid ideation which she felt was a result of the manner in which she was treated by the Seed personnel. I have also interviewed children who made suicide attempts following their running form the Seed. Overwhelming feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and despair were in evidence.
1980s Dr. Richard Ofshe is a noted sociologist and mind control expert at Berkeley.  In the mid-1980s he was called in as an expert witness for the state of Ohio to testify in that state's criminal investigation of Straight.  World-renowned psychologist Dr. Margaret Thayer Singer,  also of Berkeley, was another expert witness against the Straight cult.    Dr. Ofshe is well acquainted with synanons.  He has even participated in their Games (or synanons) at Synanon Church.   He co-authored the Pulitzer prize winning book The Light on Synanon.  Dr. Ofshe has made this public statement about Straight:  Straight conducts a program that practices psychological coercion and physical assault against children under the guise of drug and alcohol treatment. I believe there is reason to fear for the physical and mental safety of any child sent to the program.
1990s In 1990 Straight invited Dr. Barry Beyerstein,  a leading Canadian researcher on opiates and brain functioning,  to come look them over.  He did and he was so shocked at what he saw he wrote a paper exposing Straight's deceptive and psychologically damaging program.  In it he warned  that the methods employed,  in extreme cases,  could lead to psychotic-like behavior and suicidal tendencies.

Just as Straight planners learned how to brainwash from accounts of people who had undergone brainwashing, they learned that there is danger of pushing people to psychotic breaks or to suicide as they are psychologically and physically broken down.

Are the Straights creating an environment for suicide?

Profile of  a Suicidal American Youth Profile of a Straight Kid
According to psychiatrist Gary Rosenberg, former director of the adolescent inpatient program at Fair Oaks Hospital in New Jersey,  suicidal kids suffer from feelings of hopelessness and depression. [The News (Patterson, NJ) 10-4-84, article, "Teenager tells of life obsessed with death."]  A 1985 study by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine indicates that a feeling of hopelessness is a strong predictor of who will go on to kill themselves. [New York Times, 2-10-85, p. I 23.]  Even Miller Newton in his book Adolescence acknowledges that experts agree that depression is the primary cause of suicides. (p.154)


You have read already on this very page where psychiatrist Robert J. Lifton wrote:  Some prisoners may be brought by their severe anxiety and depression to the point of suicidal preoccupations and attempts.  Dr. Vincent recounted: "They scolded me in a nasty way . . .It was so utterly hopeless. . .    You also read an accounting by Dr. Jeffery J. Elenewsk on his experience with escapees from The Seed stating:  I have also interviewed children who made suicide attempts following their running from the Seed. Overwhelming feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and despair were in evidence.  
David Lester reports that suicidal youths have a lower self esteem than non-suicidal youths. [The News (Patterson, NJ) 10-4-84, article, "Teenager tells of life obsessed with death."] The attempt of Straight is to tear a child down and to rob him of all self esteem,  before building him back up.  
Experts on teenage suicide agree that there is a high correlation between teens who abuse drugs and alcohol and those who eventually go on to suicide attempts.


Fake it till you make it!

Many Straight kids  have used drugs to some degree,  but rarely to the extent that they were coaxed into admitting to.   Many Straight kids have used drugs rarely or not at all.  Alarmingly,  Dr. Beyerstein warns that by forcing people to admit to behavior they have not done,  it is more likely to shift in the direction of the behavior, rather than the other way around.   In other words Straight may have caused some kids to use drugs they have never used upon leaving Straight because Straight made them admit to using them when,   and indeed there are stories  of former straight clients who did not start using drugs until after they got out of Straight.
The Sullivan Report published in 1989 found that homosexuals in the age group 15 to 24 were three times more likely as heterosexuals to kill themselves, and concluded that homosexuality was one of the risk factors for youth suicide. [Washington Post, 1-13-90, p. A5.] It appears that Straight's bizarre sexual therapy could have coaxed many kids into admitting they were homosexuals whether they were are were not.  Furthermore because of the un-professional manner in which many Straights are operated it is a nesting ground for sexual abuses of all kinds.  Alarmingly,  Dr. Beyerstein warns that by forcing people to admit to behavior they have not done,  it is more likely to shift in the direction of the behavior, rather than the other way around.  Let's be clear on what all this means.  If Straight should make a kid say he had committed a homosexual act, even though the child had not,  it is possible that the child may later act out on that.  According to the Sullivan report,  if you make a person think he might be a homosexual,  then you might cause him to kill himself. 
According to psychiatrist Gary Rosenberg, former director of the adolescent inpatient program at Fair Oaks Hospital in New Jersey, and to many others, the rate of suicide among white males is almost double that of non-whites.  [The Bergen Record, Apr 1987, "Studying the tragic illusions of teens who think suicide" by E. Light.] Straight treated almost exclusively white kids since their parents were in a better position to pay its enormous bills.  Combining this with the above category and considering reports that Straight was more tolerant of factual or invented girl/girl relationships than boy/boy relationships,  if this chart is any sort of a predictor at all,  then we might expect to find large numbers of straight induced suicides among white males vice female suicides.   A further suspicion might could be drawn to mind.  Why is the suicide rate amongst white males so high in America?    
David Lester reports that suicidal youths have a lower self esteem than non-suicidal youths.       [Lester, David, The Cruelest Death, 1993, p. 58.] Straight students are robbed of their sense of self esteem.
Kids adjusting to a new town or country are at a higher risk.  [The News (Patterson, NJ) 10-4-84, article, "Teenager tells of life obsessed with death."] Straight kids are shipped to new towns and allowed to have no friends while their new found acquaintances spit on them and beat them up and tell on them.  Canadian students move to a new country.
Kids not living with their parents. [The News (Patterson, NJ) 10-4-84, article, "Teenager tells of life obsessed with death."] Straight  kids are not allowed to live with their parents.  Kids come to distrust their parents and to resent them for placing them into Straight.
Low grades in school. [The News (Patterson, NJ) 10-4-84, article, "Teenager tells of life obsessed with death."] Straight students are not allowed to go to school at all in the early phases of brainwashing and once they are,  school work is never a big priority to them nor are they permitted time to study.  When they do graduate from Straight,  they have lost contact with their former friends and they have not made friends at Straight nor have they matured socially along with the general population.   Many non-Straight kids who make poor grades find other activities to boost their self esteem--sports,  band,  and even trade classes in school which though they may make poor grades some will go on to become successful tradesmen. Straight graduates have been  denied all of this.  They lose contacts with old friends and  they are often too depressed to study and they feel embarrassed to be in school with kids two years younger than themselves.  
A study presented at the 1988 American Psychiatric Association annual meeting showed new data that aggressive kids who for years turned their aggression outwards on others, were in a suicidal category of young people who ultimately turn that aggression on themselves. [St Petersburg Times, 5-12-88, p. 15A.] As Straight clients move up through their phases, they are forced to become verbally and physically abusive and aggressive to lower phase clients least they be set back. They are taught to spit in people’s faces, to painfully restrain them and to beat them, to bend their fingers back and to flip their ears, to rub their faces in the carpet.  Socially they have been taught to physically assault or verbally abuse those who disagree with them.
The 1988 American Psychiatric Association study also found that teenagers with a history of suspicion were more susceptible to suicide. Straight kids are suspicious of one another because they are punished if they do not rat on one another for rule infractions. They are suspicious of police officers because they have been told that escape is futile because the police are aware of what happens in the program, they support it, and that they will carry captured escapees back to the program--and,  in fact,  the police often do. The kids are suspicious of judges because they have been told that judges will court order them in for two years if they refuse to sign in voluntarily for a two week trial period,  and many judges do court order kids to Straights.  They distrust state and county social workers because they frequently fail to act when violations have been reported.  They distrust their own parents who brought them there under false pretenses.
There are claims that even some prescription drugs can lead to psychosis and even to  suicide.   In the 1980s Synanon Church was accused of giving addicts drugs to control them. At Straight- Springfield an old comer once got in Tim Ashley's face and Tim broke his nose. Thereafter Tim sat in the back of Group on some sort of medication. There are allegations surfacing on our discussion forum that Straight Dallas had large med lines where pills were dispensed. ScottM, a frequent poster who had been in Straight Boston, has posted that Desipramine was handed out like "candy." "Literally," he writes, "you just had to go to the med line and ask for a prescription from the doctor." He notes that Desipramine's precautions state: "It is important that this drug be dispensed in the least possible quantities to depressed outpatients since suicide has been accomplished with this class of drug." A poster named Mother whose son is in a second-generation Straight reports that her son has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and that "he is given 90 mg of ADDERALL, a mix of 5 different dexamphetamines (speed)," though, she writes, "the average daily dosage for this medicine is 20-25 mgs." She claims that another kid in that program is on 120 mg of ADDERALL and adds that chronic overdoses of ADDERALL can cause "panic attacks, paranoia and even psychosis."
Brainwashing often leads to suicidal ideations and suicides. Nobody knows how many kids the Straights have attempted to or are currently brainwashing,  but the figure might exceed  50,000.  
And what about murder?  To take another's life one needs to be emotionally cruel or indifferent and very often physically brutal which is what Straight teaches.    Dr. Rosenberg has stated that homicide might be suicidal depression turned outward.(6)    And I would suspect that Mel and Betty Sembler would heed Dr. Rosenberg's opinion.  He worked at Fair Oaks hospital whose director used to be Dr. Mark Gold.  Dr. Gold serves as a director along with Betty's SOS charity.  If Straight is setting up some kids to kill themselves,  then could it not also be setting up others to murder?     

Straight: Case Histories of Suicide Ideations and Attempts. In the 1970s a 16 year-old girl in The Seed, Straight's forerunner, had sliced her wrists with a razor while alone in a bathroom stall. She later told a reporter that all she could think about is there would be no more Seed.(7) Consequently, Straight kids are issued plastic razors and are watched even as they wipe themselves on the commode. [Though Straight kids frequently share these plastic razors as well as toothbrushes.]  Paul Kulek, Straight-St Pete (87) carved on himself with staples found on the floor.(10) Straight-Cincinnati told Eric Weaver's parents, that Eric's self inflicted permanent body scars was normal developments in the treatment process!(11) There are allegations that staff members in Straight-Dallas stood idly by as Texas kids carved on their bodies with scraps of metal.(12) A girl was kept at Straight-Boston even though the consulting physician said she had no drug problem. She was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after she sliced her wrists at Straight.(13)

A Straight-Maryland client who had made approximately 10 - 11 suicide attempts, was found on a roof top drinking alcohol. Yet he did not get to see a psychiatrist for another 18 days.(16) An unconfirmed report states that one morning in 1981 at Straight-St Pete Todd R. arrived from his foster home covered in blood from head to foot. Todd R. had carved on his entire body-- apparently using a broken fingernail. On another occasion Todd banged his head against polls.(17) Straight-Atlanta client # 17 escaped from his host home, drank a bottle of cough medicine and some whiskey, and sliced his arm with glass requiring 23 stitches. The emergency room physician recommended that the client see a psychiatrist yet there is no evidence a psychiatrists was called.(18) Fred Collins, Jr., Ph.D., who was awarded $220,000 for false imprisonment by Straight, says he had suicidal thoughts when he was in Straight.(19) An HRS inspection of Straight-St Pete found a girl who reported being depressed and having suicidal thoughts who had put in a request for help the day before, but no one had yet responded. A Dr. Gold diagnosed Straight-St Pete client #6411 to be a possible suicide risk and recommended testing to see "if psychiatric treatment is necessary." This was never followed up.

Interim notes:
[h] Straight often discounts a child's suicidal gestures as just wanting to get attention so they scream at suicidal kids or sing mocking songs like the Tasty Cake Song. Leah Bright--the 15 year-old girl who was thrown by her hair to the floor by Miller Newton and sentenced to 80 hours without sleep--says that when she admitted to wanting to kill herself she was made to wear a sweatshirt with the word PSYCHOTIC on it. In his 1995 book Adolescence: Guiding Youth Through the Perilous Ordeal, for which he received a Ph.D. in neuropsychology, Dr. Newton states that "Some suicide attempts by adolescents are clearly attention-getting behaviors."[p. 158]

Here are some of the stories about suicide attempts and self mutilations that have been posted on Kathy Moya's internet discussion forum:

  • ScottM (Straight Boston):  . . . one of my newcomers that slashed his wrists in my bathroom.  This kid weighed about 300 pounds and everyone was terrified of him. They broke his knee in group while restraining him one day by bending it back the other way (fucking gross!!)  He slashed his wrist with a serrated edge from a saran wrap roll. I had a host brother watching him and I was downstairs listening to music (3'rd phase was a big deal to me).  My father was so pissed off at this kid he made him clean up his own blood before we went to the hospital (he got it EVERYWHERE).  His mother ended up withdrawing him that night and they went right to the News Media. He told me on the way (we went in a police cruiser) to the hospital that he didn't want to die, he just simply wanted to talk to his mother. It worked, I didn't even bother fighting with the nurses to stay with him, I didn't care. I saw him after I got out and he was doing well.
  • Jeff H:  (In 1998 Jeff says he was a 13 yearold kid at  SAFE, a Sembler-based synanon still in operation in Orlando, Florida.):    about after a month i was there i started misbehaving. . .   Soon as I arrived . . .  from the host home I was thrown into the TIME OUT ROOM. Let me tell you about the time-out room. It is a 6x10 room with all concrete , no furniture , and no windows. Basically Alcatraz's solitary confinement. I was in there until the day was over so about 13 hours. Then on Fridays when it was OPEN MEETING I was given no lunch or dinner. Also I received no attention. So I did things to get attention. I started self-mutilation.  I would take my fingers and scratch the skin on my arms until it was bleeding. So all in all I have 90 something scars on my arms now.  I am sorry but i am getting extremely emotional right now so I am going to go I will tell more later when my parents arrive home. Because I don't feel to well right now. 
  • Jennifer (Straight Dallas,  eMail to author):  Remembers  that S.W., G.G. and S. C. carved on themselves at Straight-Dallas.
  • H.S. told this writer that she had suicidal thoughts at KIDS of B.C.
  • Marty:  recalls a kid in a Florida Straight drinking Drano in a suicide attempt. 
  • Semi: I was not an alcoholic / drug addict when i entered the program. i was intaked on a sibling interview to see my brother. i was a virgin, moderate drinker and had tried drugs a total of 7 times. i was 17 and entered on aug 8/89. i lied the entire time i was in there and took incidences and made them much larger than they were because they did not believe my real life story. i was a normal kid with exceptional abilities. i was a gifted athlete and honor roll student. i was going places and kids took that away from me. i lost my family as well. to make matter worse, i worked at AARC Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre and was sexually harassed/fondled by someone on the board. . .  suffered severe depression, lived through suicide attempts. . .  trust me at the time, was pretty pissed that i lived.
"The first time I was on 4th phase. I just drove myself to downtown Detroit and bought the drug, after I dropped my newcomers off at the Building. I did more than just contemplate it, I filled a syringe completely full of cocaine and put it to my arm. This is known as an “aborted suicide attempt.” The other time was during my 10th month on 5th phase, when I was at home, with newcomers, I got into a conflict about Straight rules and impulsively swallowed all my pills, right in front of my mother and everyone."
John, Straight-Detroit


1. xxxxxxxxx.

2. SPT, 6-6-81, p. B1;  7-6-81, Section B.

3. For data on Straight confessions contact Rich Sampson, xxxxxxx, formerly Md Office of Drug Rehabilitation Licenses. Nelson Sabatini, 410-544-0172, Head Md Dept Human Services. G.R. xxxxxxxxxx,   T.A. xxxxxxxx

4. Trebach, op. cit., p. 39.

5. St Petersburg Times, 8-30-9.

6. The Bergen Record, Apr 1987, "Studying the tragic illusions of teens who think suicide" by E. Light.

7. St Petersburg Times, 10-19-75, p. 1B.

8. Victim's attorney Sandra Havrilak, Fairfax, Va.

9. Draft Va. Dept Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse to Straight-Springfield, dated 3-26-90.

10. St Petersburg Times, 5-7-87, p. 1A.

11. Washington Post, 10-16-86, p. c01. Attorney J.S. 

12. Texas Monthly, Jun 1990, p. 161.

13. Bette McClure , Office of Health & Human Services letter dated 3-6-91 to Debra Dragton, Straight-Boston. License Agreement between Mass. Office of Children and Straight-Boston, Div. of Admin. Appeals Docket # OC 91-1293.

14. Howard County Sun (Maryland), 2-8-89.

15. Draft Va Dept Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse to Straight-Springfield, dated 3-26-90.

16. Ltr. dated 12-23-91 from Gene Heisler, Md Dept of Health & Mental Hygiene to Eugene Nieto, Straight-Md.

17. Contact xxxxxxxxxx  for information on T. R. and for other abuses at Straight-St Pete, Straight-DC, and Straight-Boston. His number is xxxxxxxx.

18. Letter from Susie Woods, Georgia Dept of Human Resources dated 2-28-92 to Suzanne Hardman-Broder, Straight-Marietta.

19. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Fred received a Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in c. 1995.

This web page is offered as a public service and as an educational resource to those interested in learning about the potential dangers of abusive Sembler-based synanons.   The page is the on-line publishing arm of the Oakton Institute for Cultic Studies.  Music is a rendition of Whiter Shade of Pale provided from page washedashore.com/music/mid.