Dozier school victim now seeks compensation
Charles Rambo was 11 when he was arrested for jumping the fence after hours at a Tallahassee swimming pool. He was sent to the Dozier School for Boys for 11 months in Marianna. It was 1955 and the school had a practice of brutal beatings as routine discipline for infractions at the school. Rambo's wrong: lying about using a curse word. He was beaten once and the memories still haunt.
Rambo, now 67 and a minister at Christ the Lord Church of Atlanta came forward this week to tell his story to investigators at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The state is investigating the beating allegations about the school. FDLE has been asked by Gov. Charlie Crist to determine if laws were broken and to recommend action.
Rambo described to investigators being stripped bare at the buttocks, forced to grasp the sides of a cot, and beaten by a leather strap -- two feet long, six inches wide and an inch thick -- for 100 licks. "You hold the bed while the punishement is being administered to you,'' Rambo recalled. "If you turn the bed and grab yourself they start it all back over again.''
Rambo's attorney, Fred Flowers, said they will await the FDLE investigation but want's "a full accounting and disclosure of what happened.'' He also wants victims and their heirs to be compensated and referred to the precedent established when the governor and Legislature passed a claims bill to compensate victims of the Rosewood massacre, the black town in Levy County that was destroyed by whites in a 1920s race riot. "We want to see what the governor is finally going to do to try to make right a wrong,'' Flowers said.