Flow Chart of the Straights
and opening and closing dates for Straight, Inc. 3-8-02
by Wesley M. Fager (c) 2000
1. My coined word "Straight-like" does not mean or imply abusive. Click here for a definition of the coined word Straight-like.
2. Proctor Advocate shown below is not part of the Newton chain, but some of the therapeutic concepts of this program were adapted from Newton's KIDS' program.
Significant dates associated with the Straights
Camp Actual location opened closed Notes
Saint Petersburg, Florida, known today as the Drug Free America Foundation Saint Petersburg April 22, 1976 Active Straight, Inc. was incorporated on April 22, 1976 but did not start operating a treatment camp until September 1, 1976. After Straight lost its appeal for falsely imprisoning Fred Collins and had to pay him $220,000, mostly in punitive damages, Straight officers became very alarmed that they could be personally sued, so they made an astonishing maneuver. On September 26, 1985 they changed the by-laws for Straight, Inc. by changing its mission to one of educating the public on the dangers of adolescent substance abuse. The name was changed from Straight, Inc. to Straight Foundation, Inc. An article was added that said foundation funds could be used to hire attorneys to defend board members in case they were sued. An article stated that in the event a legal judgment was made against a board member, then foundation money could be used to pay the judgment! Then they created a brand new organization whose mission it would be to treat adolescents from drug addiction just like the old Straight, Inc. had done. This brand new treatment organization was also incorporated on September 26, 1985 and was named Straight, Inc.!!! Through the years the old Straight, Inc., now called Straight Foundation, Inc., had managed to buy up property--and had amassed some cash. It now leased this property back to the new Straight, Inc. and even made grants to penniless Straight, Inc. to operate. Physically the foundation and the national headquarters for the drug rehab program ran out of the same facility until April of 1993 when the headquarters for Straight, Inc. transferred to Atlanta, Georgia. On July 2 - 3 1993 Straight, Inc. formally ceased to exist, but not Straight Foundation, Inc.--the education arm. In an effort to distance itself from the name Straight which today is synonymous with "child abuse", on December 5, 1995 Straight Foundation, Inc. changed its name once again to its current name--the Drug Free America Foundation, Inc.
Saint Petersburg, Florida Saint Petersburg September 26, 1985 April 24-25, 1993 Survived multiple state health investigations, warnings and probations; civil suits including a $720,000 judgment for abusing former client Karen Norton; and criminal investigations before finally transferring its remaining clients to Straight-Atlanta and closing. Was investigated by FBI for fraud after closing but no indictments ever isued. Was investigated by state health department after closing for allegations that Mel Sembler had interfered with a state health team which had wanted to close Straight-St Pete in 1989 for repeatedly failing to comply with state health regulations.
Sarasota, Florida Sarasota November 1980 July 19, 1983 Closed after state prosecutors produced a report of multiple counts of violent criminal acts substantiated by Straight counselors who had been granted immunity for their testimony, and after several former clients sued.
Atlanta Marietta August 1981 July 1-2, 1993 Straight - Atlanta was founded in Marietta, Ga. in August 1981 as the second Straight expansion program. In April 1993 Straight - St Pete closed its flagship program in Saint Petersburg, Florida and transferred its clients to Straight - Atlanta. The national corporate office was also transferred to Straight - Atlanta . Straight - Atlanta (the last Straight operating facility) closed on July 1 - 2, 1993. But on June 21, 1993, just 11 days before closing, Straight official Kathleen M. Cone incorporated a Straight-like program called Phoenix Institute for Adolescents 4 ½ miles from Straight’s facility.
Cincinnati Milford March 22, 1982 1987 In 1987 the state of Ohio took Straight to court to close it down for criminal child abuse. The day the trial was to start Straight voluntarily closed and transferred its clients to Atlanta and Detroit. In 1990 Kids Helping Kids of Hebron, Ky.--a Straight-like program co-founded by former Straight officer George Ross--changed its name and moved into the old Straight facility in Milford, Ohio where it operates today as Kids Helping Kids of Cincinnati.
Washington, DC 1 Springfield, Virginia October 28, 1982 July 26, 1991 Straight was under criminal investigation in Virginia when the state health department decided not to renew its license. Straight demanded a hearing before a judge, but voluntarily closed the day before the hearing and just "popped" open three days later in Maryland taking its clients with it..
Washington, DC 2 Columbia, Maryland July 29, 1991 February 28, 1992 Straight-Columbia officials just walked off the job leaving their clients to fend for themselves when this Straight closed in Maryland.
National Headquarters in St Petersburg Saint Petersburg January 30, 1983 May 1993 Ground was broken for construction of the facility on 1-30-83. Actual operational start date not known.
National Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia Marietta May 1993 July 1-2, 1993
Orlando Orlando January 1984 August 14, 1992 On August 14, 1992 Straight - Orlando officially closed and on that very day Michael Scaletta, the executive director of Straight - Orlando, incorporated SAFE, Inc. taking Loretta Parrish, Straight - Orlando's marketing director, and Straight's clients with him. He leased his facility from Straight. Today Ms. Parrish is the owner and executive director of SAFE.
Dallas, Texas Dallas October 31, 1991
Detroit Plymouth February 23, 1986 1993 On June 18, 1993, three days before Straight official Kathleen M. Cone created a Straight-like program named Phoenix Adolescent Institute in Marietta, Ga. 4 ½ miles from the Straight facility in Marietta, former Straight official Helen Gowanny, helped found Pathway Family Center only 15 miles from the old Straight facility near Detroit.
Boston, Massachusetts Stoughton July 1991 Straight closed when the state of Massachusetts pulled Straight's foster care license.
Southern California Yorbi Linda July 1989 August 1990 Straight's former national clinical director, Dr. Miller Newton, ran one of his KIDS programs in Yorbi Linda. KIDS closed in 1989 under criminal investigation and Straight moved into the facility and took over KIDS' clients. California closed Straight down for child abuse in 1990 and Straight transferred its clients to Straight-Dallas. The failure of Straight-Southern California probably stopped the formation of Straight-Seattle.