the$traights dot com p. 2 
rehabilitation, thought reform, and the destruction of young egos
by Wesley Fager (c) 2002 

Tell me your deepest, darkest secret.  Trust me.


Earthlink (co-founded by Scientology minister Reed Slatkin)  fraud story link


Earnshaw's Christmas Bonfire. William Earnshaw hosted a small but fun-filled Straight bonfire at his home in Midland, Virginia on December 15. Besides kids, attendees included William and Shelby, John J., Colleen, Kathy M, Dave S, and Steve M. There were many no-shows due to illness and the weather. The fire itself was measured at its peak to be 20 feet tall, so it was pretty big and hot. There was a lot of good food and pictures of former Straightlings from John J.'s photo collection. A few fireworks went off, but, for the most part, it was talking and laughing for several hours, and enjoying the fellowship of this unique group of people. [W. Earnshaw]

US Supreme Court to consider campaign contributions by foundations An editorial by Wesley Fager, 11-18-02.  

Any serious student of poker knows that a bluff is not an attempt to buy the pot before you. Rather poker is a game of folding;  dropping out early from those hands which you have a low probability of winning and sticking with those where the odds are more favorable. Since you will lose most hands  you must fold most hands to minimize losses. The problem is that if you consistently fold  then the first time  you stay your opponents will know you have something  and they will fold on you! A real catch 22. Thus the bluff. A poker bluff is an advertisement. It is a ploy to stay in a hand that you will probably lose so as to broadcast to your opponents that just because you stay, you do not necessarily have a good hand. And that's the way it is with politics. 

Mel Sembler knows the importance of good advertising. Look, Straight wasn't the biggest juvenile rehab chain in the world for 17 years because its methods were so effective. It was the biggest because it advertised by sending the few who graduated to PTA meetings, to TV studios and to civic meetings proclaiming their wondrous cure at Straight. This was an old Synanon Church trick. Straight didn't rake in $100 million because it claimed a 70% cure rate. It made a lot of money because George Bush, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and a whole host of Republican senators tooted its horn. And why? Because Mel Sembler gave them some money and raised a lot more for them. You know the old bromide, "it takes money to make money." 

Straight doesn't treat anyone anymore for anything. Now it's in the prevention business with a new name--Drug Free America Foundation. It's a foundation. A charity. As a tax-exempt foundation it received a federal grant in 2000 for $314,539. Randall S. Pawley's National Drug and Alcohol Testing, Inc, DFAF's partner in Saint Petersburg which actually does the drug testing part, received $234,000. And Drug Free Business Houston, Calvina Fay's old organization,  got $170,000. It was all a part of the Drug Free America Act 1998 giveaway. 

All of this brings us to this latest announcement by the US Supreme Court that the court will consider the issue of whether tax exempt foundations can make contributions to political parties. You watch. The court knows no more about tax exempt organizations than the rest of us, so some lobby of tax exempt organizations will hire a hot-shot attorney to write an Amicus Curie Brief for the court to explain to it why it would be a good thing for charities to contribute some of their charity money to the party of their choice. If the court decides in favor of  the contributions, well Mel Sembler knows that game better than anybody. Last time he got a $300,000 grant. Do think he will let DFAF give politicians $500,000 if, in return, they will grant $3,000,000 to Straight (I mean DFAF) next time? 

Richard Bradbury Talks Back.  On June 7, 2002 Jeanne Malmgren wrote an article for The Saint Pete Times about the horrors of Straight titled In the Middle of a Nightmare. Former Straight counselor Richard Bradbury was interviewed for that article. On June 14 two people wrote these letters to the editor in support of Straight. One of them reprimanded Mr. Bradbury for not taking responsibility. Here's Richard's reply. If you would like to write to the editor of the St Pete Times click Times Editor

New dissertation on thought reform.  Ron Burks of Wellspring Retreat in Albany, Ohio is now Dr. Ron Burks after completing his dissertation called COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT IN THOUGHT REFORM ENVIRONMENTS at Ohio University in March 2002. Wellspring is the place you send someone to recover from a destructive cult experience. We believe a couple of former clients from a Straight legacy program have attended Wellspring.  Dr. Burks has been added to the list of potential expert witnesses for those who have been involved in a destructive treatment program. 

Elan given clean bill of health.   Testimony given during the recent Michael Skakel  murder trial in Maine caused education authorities in that state to condcut an investigation of the Synanon-derivative school Elan. But state investigators found no violations at Elan. Story

RFK, Jr. Speaks out against Elan. Story 

Boot Camp Director charged with second degree murder.� Fourteen year old Tony Haynes died after being made to stand for hours in blazing 111 degree Arizona heat.



S.A.F.E.T.Y. Net board shapes up. Survivors and Friends for the Ethical Treatment of Youth Network or S.A.F.E.T.Y. Net is the new organization that was formed as a result of the meeting of survivors of destructive rehabilitation programs which was held in Saint Petersburg, Florida in June 2002. Samantha Monroe was selected as the interim Executive Director at that meeting. The new list of officers are: Samantha Monroe - President. Chris Tyler - Executive Director. Mike Sherman and Rhonda Sherman are directors. 



New 12-22-02  Mel Sembler and other Republican millionaires want to hold the 2004 GOP convention in Tampa story 



Camp employees charged with child-abuse homicide.  [A guest editorial by Rick Ross.]  A 14-year-old boy died two months ago from apparent exhaustion, while hiking as part of a wilderness program for troubled teens. Now two employees of "Skyline Journey" in Utah have been charged with child-abuse homicide, reports the New York Times. This is just one more frightening story in a litany of negative reports about "teen boot camps," drug rehabs and an assortment of programs, supposedly designed to correct adolescent behavior.  Con't

Skakel's alleged admission challenged.� Elan School in Maine is a specialty school for wayward kids. Like Straight, Inc., Elan's methods have roots in Synanon Church. Robert Kennedy's nephew Michael Skakel is on trial for murder but his defense attorneys are trying to dismiss his alleged admission to the murder of Martha Moxley claiming the admission was made under duress at Elan which, they say, created an atmosphere where people would confess to anything. Sound like Straight? Story

Florida's Office of Children and Families makes a another major blunder.� Florida's Office of Children and Families (formerly HRS) has cow-towed to political pressure from the Republican party for over 20 years, but sometimes it just screws up form within as when it recently sold 50 boxes of confidential client files for $5. Story.


Prevention Magazine extols the virtues of a peanut butter diet story 



Ex-students call Elan experience "horrific"  Like Straight, Elan has its roots from methods developed at Synanon.  Listen to what former Elan students are saying these days.  Story
Who controls the news you read?  Perhaps you know that the Unification Church owns The Washington Times--the newspaper often quoted from by G. Gordon Liddy and Ollie North;  the newspaper that has sponsored Rush Limbaugh;  the newspaper read by George H. W. Bush.  But did you know the Moonies now own UPI too.  Story.
Where is Rilya Wilson?  Looks like Florida's Department of Children and Families has done it again.  The five year old little girl is under the guardianship of Florida's troubled child welfare system.  She's been missing for 15 months and no one seems to know where she is. story
Judge orders Desisto School to hire consultant to develop restraint policy Click here.
Osama bin Laden and the "al Qaeda" cult

Imagine Tony Soprano going to his psychiatrist only to have her hook him up to a lie detector.  If that sounds bizarre, click.
sound control   (If you're not getting music,  click here.)
This web paged was designed and developed by Wesley Fager with technical assistance from Ginger Warbis of  Ms. Warbis converted the page from frame-based to table-based format in 2001.  Wes Fager converted it to table-based, newspaper format in 2002.
Click here for history of page counter adjustments and corrections.
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, Straight-based synanons*.   The page is the on-line publishing arm of the Oakton Institute for Cultic Studies. [*A synanon  is a therapeutic community approach to drug abstinence  where one's peers attempt to control one's addiction by shouting indictments at the addict.  A Straight-based synanon is a synanon designed for teenagers which was perfected at Straight, Inc. in Saint Petersburg, Florida between 1976 and 1993. ].   Theme from Exorcist is from .