Should Straight be culpable
for any post-Straight suicides?
today's Washington Post might suggest an answer

an editorial by Wesley Fager (c) 9-6-03


extortion The obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.
18 U.S.C. S 1951(b)(2) (Also known as the Hobbs Act.)

To marathon a person by making her stand on her feet for extended periods of time while yelling and spitting in her face can be deadly, that's what killed Jesus Christ--all the fluid eventually drained to his feet and he died of heart failure. But that's not the cruelest, most destructive thing Straight does to kids. Making a teenager soil her pants and sit in it may be against the laws of man, but it's not the worst Straight does either. Nor is it denying a child food or sleep, bending fingers back, beating him or making her bleed without a Kotex, or even making a kid ask for permission for each wipe of his annus. There is something more heinous yet, utterly despicable and probably lethal. A report in Today's Washington Post that includes a story on Meredith Vieira--the former reporter on CBS' West 57th Street who broke the story on child abuse at Miller Newton's second-generation Straight--presents evidence that might help us understand Straight's ultimate nightmare for some. Might help us understand why of the 40 former Straight clients who are known to have committed suicide, only three have been women.

Had you asked Straight before the states closed it down why there have been so many post-Straight suicides, Straight would have probably said because their clients are little monsters who are drug addicts and that's what drug addicts do, they kill themselves. But we know now that many Straight clients are not drug addicts at all. Most have probably tried marijuana and many were recreational users of marijuana or beer. Some are addicts; others had virtually no history of drug abuse and some no use of any kind at all. If drug addiction is not the common link between Straight kids then what is? What is is the ability a client's parents to pay Straight's high cost either by affluence or by access to funds through a loan, second mortgage, a rich relative or borrowing against a life insurance policy. Perhaps having a high percentage of adoptees as clients sheds some light as to the affluence of Straight's targeted population--affluent white kids, see:

Since Straight clients are not necessarily drug addicts and since Straight was roughly evenly divided between boys and girls, what does cause the high suicide rate and why in the strange proportions given? Before turning to Meredith Vieira and the Washington Post one needs to understand some things about Straight. In Chinese thought reform schools upon which Straight is modeled students are constantly badgered to get honest, tell all. They are coaxed, beaten, frightened, cajoled, deprived of food and sleep--by their peers--and then persuaded to confess to being a reactionary, anti-revolutionary or a sympathizer with George Bush. Likewise Straight students are constantly badgered to get honest, to tell all. They are coaxed, beaten, frightened, cajoled, or just plain terrified into confessing all by their peers. But what Straight is looking for is confession of drug usage that may or may not be true, and for information about their sex life. While the child is being broken down, three questions are frequently asked. Have you ever had sex with an animal? Have you ever had sex with a parent or sibling? Have you ever had sex with someone of the same sex?

Straight knows that sooner or later it will have to let the parents talk to their child. To that end the parent is sent to a school and taught how to talk to his child once he earns back that right. The child is given the same schooling and is pushed constantly for a written confession. Finally after a few weeks or sometimes 6 - 9 months, the child earns TALK. Mom, dad, child and a Straight official have a 5 minute sit-down. It is forbidden to talk about current events in one's life at Straight. Dad says, "son I remember a time in your druggie past when you did (fill in the blank) and it made me feel (select one of the 99 sanctioned feeling words developed by Dr. Newton. All other words are 'thought' words and are forbidden.). Dad then concludes, "but I love you." Next mom says, "Bill, I remember a time in your druggie past when you did (fill in the blank) and it made me feel (chose an allowed feeling word), but I love you." Finally the student says, "Mom, Dad, I remember a time in my druggie past when I (fill in the blank) and it made me feel (chose an allowed feeling word), but I love you." Everyone then stands, hugs, and the session is over. The word blackmail is never used, but if the child has confessed to some embarrassing sexual activity or fantasy that he has indulged in, even if it is a lie, an exaggeration or actually true, that confession has been recorded in the child's own handwriting and signed by him in a Moral Inventory, (COC) Chain of Command, or FOS (full of shit) list. The confession gives Straight additional insurance that the child will not tell of the abuse for fear of embarrassment if exposed to his parents. The confessed material is also available should the child or his parents ever decide to sue. In effect Straight obtains property from the confessor's parents in the monthly fees paid, the parents remining ignorant of the abuse as their child is too frightened and too embarrassed to tell them when he finally has a monitored talk session.

Straight is a two year sentence. Newcomer males must look down whenever females pass. Guys are forbidden to look to the right at the girls group. Guys sleep several to a room, sometimes locked in, sometimes alarmed in. They are accompanied to the bathroom by another male who watches them get into the shower and watches as they wipe themselves on the toilet. In a very unnatural setting, guys talk to one another while one is using the toilet. Many try to commit suicide at Straight but can not because they are watched all the time even when they wipe themselves on the toilet. There is no opportunity to masturbate in private. One kid reports that he once held up five fingers in a rap meaning he could only talk to a 5th Phasor. He told him that he had masturbated last night. The child psychiatrist-guard hugged him and said that his honesty would keep him sober one more day! There are sex raps where kids are forced to talk in group about the content of their confessions. Sometimes boys talk about sucking dicks or being fucked in the ass, openly, in front of their peers. Miller Newton has taken some of these criminally extorted confessions and used them in his book Kids, Sex and Drugs to show, he feels, that drugs make kids want to have sex with members of the opposite sex and with cats and dogs. After graduation clients become 7th Steppers and are allowed no boy-girl relationships for six months. Violators are placed back on first phase. Straight is a homophobic cult that makes kids talk about and think about things they best not be thinking about.

Once the child leaves Straight either by escape, graduation or the parent yanks him the child has time to rest and reflect. Reflection on what he or she has admitted to in Straight. Meredith Vieira demonstrates in the Washington Post that heterosexual girls can kiss one another because it is a guys thing. It turns men on. These women are not lesbians, but they can kiss one another, passionately on the lips, to turn guys on. Read "The Kiss That Leaves Men Open-Mouthed" in The Washington Post:

(In the printed version, besides Meredith Vieira and guest Christy Lemire getting it on, there are photos of Madonna and Britney in a lip lock and Madonna and Christina Aguilera kissing.) The big point to be made here is that the mores of Western society let Straight girls handle their trumped-up confessions better than the boys. When you do what Straight does to a young man, you can kill him. Once they get out, some former male clients understandably question their manhood. This is Straight's great problem. Former male clients sometimes could possibly wonder whether they are now gay because they have admitted under duress to something they may or may not have done. Straight's teenage therapists can easily turn an episode of two 4 year-old boys playing doctor into a homosexual experience. 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.] Most kids come out of Straight probably suffering from Straight-induced post traumatic stress syndrome, anyway. They are depressed and confused. Their sexuality has probably not changed, but many may have taken on life-long Straight induced fears and guilt. Perhaps unable to cope, 37 former male clients have committed suicide. Three women have too. Significantly, 13 of the 40 deaths have been former clients of Straight--Springfield in Fairfax County, Virginia. Suspiciously, during the nine years Straight was in Fairfax County there have been three incidences involving multiple-death suicides by teenagers. Two of those have involved at least one former Straight client and there is a report that one of those was a double suicide involving two former Straight clients! The author feels that he has probably uncovered most of the suicides by former Springfield clients, but not all. He concludes that since he lives in Fairfax County it is easier for him to discover those deaths (suicides, especially of youths, are frequently not reported as such by the press unless it is a multi-death pact). He fears that similar statistics exist for other Straight-related programs. Conservatively he estimates the death toll just from the 12 programs that operated under the name Straight to be 150. The total toll from all related programs could be as high as 250, which if accurate, would make Straight the cult with the third highest suicide rate in the world, exceeded only by Jim Jones The People's Temple where 900 parishoners took cyanide together, and perhaps another group that the author will not name.

Sraight's goal is to make money, not to kill, but has Straight caused people to kill themselves. Consider this:

  • According to statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics, in 1987 the Tampa Bay area (Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties) had the highest suicide rate in the country.(35) It's not just because of the large number of retirees there either. The juvenile suicide rate in Pinellas County rose 130% between 1980 and 1986.(36) A 1992 study found that 1 out of 4 girls in neighboring Pasco County attempted suicide in 1991 (national average was 10%).(37) And in neighboring Hillsborough County the juvenile suicide rate rose from 3 in 1980 to 9 by 1987.(38) 19 youths committed suicide in Pinellas/ Hillsborough Counties in 1989 [up to nine of these were gay.](39) Straight operated its founding center, Straight-St Pete, in Saint Petersburg, Florida in Pinellas County from 1976 to 1993.

  • In 1986 a Straight-like program called Outreach was opened in Cape Coral, Florida. Next year in 1987 a community task force was put together to find out why 19 youths aged 14 - 17 had attempted suicide. [I have no data whether any of these youths were at Outreach, nor do I have any data showing that Outreach was an "abusive" Straight-like program.](40)

  • In 1988 the National Center for Disease Control launched a study on juvenile suicides in Cobb County, Georgia because its suicide rate of 14.7 for every 100,000 was 3 higher than the state average, and 2 times higher than the national average. Straight-Atlanta, operated in Marietta, Georgia in Cobb County.

  • Dr. Richard Schwartz, medical research director for Straight-Springfield, noted in an article for Straight's newsletter EPIDEMIC , Vol 6, that suicide was the fifth ranked cause of death of American teenagers in 1964, third in 1978 and second in 1983. But Straight had started operating in late 1976 and had centers in Cincinnati, Springfield, Virginia, Saint Petersburg and Sarasota by 1983. Suspiciously, the rise in juvenile suicide rates coincide with the rise in the the number of Straights.

There may be a precedent for charging Straight with negligent homicide, negligent manslaughter or at least "child abuse resulting in death by suicide"--and right down there in Florida, no less. On October 30, 1987 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida a trial by jury found Ms. Theresa Jackson guilty of child abuse resulting in the death by suicide of her 17 year-old daughter Tina Mancini. Ms. Jackson had forced her daughter to dance nude at a topless bar so the mother could live off the earnings. This was a third degree felony. Another applicable precedent set in this case is that Broward County Circuit Judge Arthur Franza allowed expert testimony as to "state of mind" of the dead girl to be entered into evidence when he allowed Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Douglas Jacobs to testify about his 'psychological autopsy" of the dead girl.(41)

For further reading on the 40 deaths from Straight, take this link: