The infiltration of Operation PAR by Straight
by Wesley Fager (c) October 16, 2003
Updated on 12-18-04 in red

At Straight (or DFAF)
At Operation PAR
Betty Sembler founder on board of directors
Susan Latvala* on advisory board chairman of board of directors
Terry Hensley* executive director DFAF director
Chris Yarnold director Straight-Sarasota director of marketing
Randy Ratliff director Straight-St Pete Interim Executive Vice President
Anthony Battaglia Anthony Battaglia was never a Straight officer, director or advisor, but he was one of Straight's principal consulting attorneys officer/director Operation Par Hope for a Brighter Future Foundation, Inc.
Dr. Donald Sullivan and his wife Judge Irene Sullivan Donald Sullivan was secretary of Straight Foundation, Inc. Irene Sullivan is a committee member of Poetic Justice Planning Committee for Operation PAR
Fred Bullard is a Sembler business partner   Karol Bullard, wife of Fred Bullard, is a committee member of Poetic Justice Planning Committee for Operation PAR

Operation Parental Awareness and Responsibility (Operation PAR) was incorporated in Saint Petersburg, Florida in 1970 to treat Pinellas County teenagers for drug addiction problems. It was the brainchild of local citizen Shirley Coletti who used the services of Sheriff Don Genung and State Attorney James T. Russell (the same two do gooders who invited the Straight concept to St. Petersburg in 1973) to get PAR off the ground. By the 1980's it was understood in Pinellas County that if you were a black teenager from a family of limited resources and you truly had a drug addiction problem you could seek help from Operation PAR, most of whose counselors had a college degree. Operation PAR cost for services was based on a sliding scale based upon a child's family's ability to pay. However, in that time period if you were a white teenager living in Pinellas County, more especially if your parents were white and affluent, and if you had an addiction problem, or if you had once drunk a beer or smoked a marijuana cigarette, or, in some cases, if you were simply a white teenager in Pinellas County you were a target for entrapment into Straight. At Straight you would be treated for addiction by some kids who were recovering drug addicts and by some kids who were simply in Straight. [See Mel and Betty Sembler: Marketing to White Families]

When Straight was forced to close in 1993 because of its dastardly reputation for criminal child abuse combined with its reputation for the intentional infliction of emotional distress upon large masses of children, the way was paved to make Operation PAR the largest family rehabilitation program in Pinellas County which is what it has become. Today Operation PAR is a therapeutic community with a staff of over 600 including paraprofessionals and professionals and has sites in Hernando, Pinellas, Pasco, Lee and Manatee counties.

After Straight closed, Betty Sembler made good use of the 17 years of specialized experience she had gained in treating children for drug addiction and joined the board of directors for Operation PAR. Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala, whose husband Jack Latvala is the former director of the Florida state Republican Party, is chairman of the board at Operation Par. Ms. Latvala is also on the Advisory Board for Straight (now called Drug Free American Foundation). Randy Ratliff, formerly director of Straight-St. Petersburg is now interim Executive Vice President of Operation Par. Chris Yarnold, formerly director of Straight-Sarasota, also works for Operation Par. Former St. Petersburg Police Chief Terry Hensley has been both the executive director of Straight (DFAF) and a director of Operation Par.

As far as can be ascertained by an outsider, Straight did not have a corporate attorney, as such. Through the years Straight hired many attorneys to represent it in its many legal matters, plus many other attorneys were on Straight's board. But attorney Anthony Battaglia was one of the most used attorneys by Straight beyond its own board member attorneys. See Battaglia. Today Battaglia is an officer / director of Operation Par Hope for a Brighter Future Foundation, Inc.

Dr. Donald Sullivan was secretary of Straight Foundation, Inc. Today his wife Irene Sullivan is a judge and a committee member of Poetic Justice Planning Committee for Operation PAR. See The Sullivan's and the Clary Report.

Sixth Circuit Court Judge Walt Logan, the judge who has issued a temporary injunction against anti-Straight activist Ray Bradbury, is a member of the Juvenile Welfare Board and also presides over juvenile court in Pinellas County. According to the St. Petersburg Times of May 9, 1997, Judge Logan stated, "There isn't a day that goes by that we don't send someone to Operation Par at some level." Sixth Circuit Judge Dee Anna Farnell is also on the Juvenile Welfare Board and is one of the judges Logan was referring to who help him send at least one kid a day to Operation PAR. Judge Dee Anna Farnell's husband is Judge Crockett Farnell--the judge who presided over State Attorney James T. Russell's attempt to railroad Ray Bradbury into prison in 1988. [See State Attorney tries to railroad Ray Bradbury in 1988 ]

In 1979 when drug store magnet Jack Eckerd wanted more GOP candidates elected to the state legislature he hired Jack Latvala and moved him to Pinellas County. Mel Sembler builds shopping centers for his good friend Jack Eckerd (now deceased). Another place Logan and his team sends wayward kids is to Eckerd Wilderness which was started by Jack Eckerd.