In 1989, at the suggestion of a Fairfax County judge and a high school guidance counselor, Wesley Fager and his wife placed their 16 year old son Bill into Straight, Inc. in Springfield, Virginia because they suspected he was using drugs. It would be the last time they saw Bill privately until he escaped three months later. The Fager's had been led into believing that Straight was a character building program much like the Marine Corps. Before entering Straight they had been told repeatedly that Straight was not interested in money-- only Bill. But the day they signed a contract Straight demanded $7,500 cash for the first three months treatment (and $500 a month thereafter) suggesting that the Fagers borrow against their life insurance, take out a second mortgage, or borrow from a rich relative. They signed a statement that if they withdrew Bill the next day they would forfeit the payment, and in fine print they had agreed to not sue Straight regardless what happened there. In Straight they learned that not just Bill, but the whole family was sick and needed treatment. Tremendous pressure was placed on their other child, a daughter, to convince her she needed rehabilitation treatment from Straight too, even though she had no drug problem. The Fagers were shown pictures of dead kids and became convinced Bill would die without Straight. They were encouraged to see the Group of Straight kids known as phasors clean shaven with neat haircuts -- and no black Led Zepplin tee-shirts. The Fagers attended mandatory fellowship meetings every Monday and Friday night, no exceptions, which lasted until late in the evening. They opened their home up as a boarding house for four to six kids every night where they prepared meals for and provided laundry services, bathing facilities and sleeping accommodations for their young boarders. They bore the brunt of most of the expenses for this. They were forbidden from asking their young boarders about any happenings of the day unless all parties were present. If a kid had received a black eye from another boy that day, the parent could not ask about the eye unless the hitter was also present! The Fagers took kids to and from the camp compound and took off work to take kids to doctor appointments. One of them had to be in the home every evening seven days a week, unless spelled by an out-of-town parent. They could not leave town without Straight's approval--not for their job or even to attend a funeral. They could not have company, even a preacher, unless the person had been interviewed by Straight.
Straight was like a church to Mr. Fager with people hugging and kissing him and at the same time scolding him publicly in sessions we now know are synanons. Husbands stood wives up, and wives their husbands, to publicly report each others misdeeds to the parent Group . Group members took turns scolding the standing spouse while ending each indictment with "but I love you" which became so used that the word love ceased to have meaning. Many parents broke down and cried at these public confessionals. They sang childish songs like Row Row Row Your Boat.. A hat was passed around at fellowship meetings and parents were stood up and scolded for not contributing to the bus fund. When one man and woman who lived together as a common-law couple were pressured into getting married, Straight suggested they get married on the drug rehab compound! When not at work or taking care of kids in their home, the Fagers were selling raffle tickets, candies, Christmas trees, Christmas wreaths and flowers for Straight. Mrs. Fager prepared meals which were sold to other parents at the fellowship meetings.
Fagers attended an extended, weekend-long synanon which was similar,
in ways, to an est seminar. Bathroom
visits were controlled and you were led around by your
belt loop when you did get permission to go to the
bathroom. Parent Group was
hypnotized in mass at this retreat which Mr. Fager feels
was the most humiliating experience of his life up until
that time. Parents wrote daily confessionals called
Moral Inventories which were turned in to staff and
publicly discussed. Carnal knowledge between a man
and his wife was strictly forbidden during this holy period.
Phasors would turn in a parent for holding hands.
Mothers were forbidden from wearing makeup. Parents could
not make or receive calls during the retreat period.
Since 1993 Mr. Fager has been active
in researching and reporting on destructive juvenile rehabilitation programs
like Straight, Inc. In 2000 he published, on-line, his
book A Clockwork Straight for which he was named in Marquis
Who Who in America 2002. Also in 2000 Mr. Fager published an
article on Straight in CULTinfo, the journal of the Leo J. Ryan Foundation.
He was a principal organizer of and speaker at (along with Dr. Arnold
Trebach, Professor Emeritus of Law at American University) the conferences
Saving Our Children from Drug
Treatment Abuse held in Bethesda, Maryland in July, 2001 and the The
Second International Conference on Juvenile Treatment Abuse in Saint
Petersburg, Fl. in June 2002. In 2001 he was a speaker on the Straights
at the Save Our Families Conference in Tampa, Fl. He
has a web page on the Straights at www.thestraights.net
, FOX News on-line reported on Mr. Fager's work on May 26, 2002.
In 2002 Carta (an Italian magazine) used information from
his web site to write an article on Ambassador Mel Sembler and his
relationship to the Straights. Mr. Fager has appeared twice on talk
radio WMNF in Tampa, Fl. to discuss Straight. In 2002 he was awarded
the Richard Bradbury Award for Heroism for his work in exposing
child abuse in destructive rehabilitation programs.