Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sembler's penile pump missing

If there was a top ten list of the most evil prohibition profiteers in the history of drug war madness, the Semblers and their hideous concentration camp for teenagers, Straight, Inc., would be number one. The vile tactics they used against these kids should have been prosecuted under criminal statutes, but being well connected, they were instead licensed to scam well meaning parents out of their money, in return for torturing their children.

One of them decided to get even.
The fight goes back more than 20 years, to a massive warehouse in Pinellas Park with blue plastic chairs and too many peanut butter sandwiches.

There, at a drug treatment center called Straight, Inc., 17-year-old Richard Bradbury landed in a world that he says was part Lord of the Flies, part Abu Ghraib prison.

Sembler and his wife, Betty, helped found Straight after they found out one of their sons was smoking pot, according to news reports.

In a book published this year, Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids, journalist Maia Szalavitz contends that dehumanizing practices at prisons and mental hospitals have been repackaged as therapy and sold to parents desperate to control their children. The first two chapters feature Straight, and Richard Bradbury.

Bradbury says a fireman molested him when he was 11, abuse that continued for three years with a high school principal and other men the fireman brought around. He dropped out of school but says he was not hooked on drugs when his adoptive parents brought him to Straight.

Other teens further along in the program forced him to sit up in a plastic chair for 10 to 12 hours a day, he says. If he leaned back, he was thrown to the floor and others sat on his arms, legs and chest. Forbidden to use the bathroom, he would soil his clothes. He says he was beaten.

He graduated, joined the staff and inflicted beatings on other teens. He left Straight in 1985, after he said he learned other counselors were sexually abusing teens and tried to report it, only to be told to shut up or be returned to the program as a client.
Read the rest at the link if you want details about the penile pump that finally triggered the law suit and don't judge Bradbury too harshly. Many of the Semblers' victims have never recovered from the experience, some ironically became addicts turning to drugs in order to forget and all suffer painful memories to the present day. One can only hope Mr. Bradbury pulls himself together enough to bring this to trial and expose these two for the vicious predators they are.


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