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White House Boys suit is tossed

A Leon County judge on Tuesday dismissed a class-action lawsuit brought by men who say they were tortured in the 1950s and '60s at the state-run Florida School for Boys campuses in Marianna and Okeechobee.

The men, known as the White House Boys, claim they were beaten with a leather strap while detained at the reform schools. The abuse was the subject of a St. Petersburg Times investigation, For Their Own Good.

Judge James O. Shelfer ruled on the legality of the case and told the court his decision had nothing to do with whether he believed the allegations.

Lawyers for the men are deciding whether to appeal the decision or move forward with a claim bill. The claim bill has been on hold as the men sought relief through the courts.

"We've said all along that it was an uphill battle because of the statute of limitations," said Greg Hoag, one of the attorneys representing the men.

Hoag said his clients aren't seeking only monetary damages. "They want to see some change put into effect" at the school in Marianna, which is still open.

Ben Montgomery can be reached at bmontgomery@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8650. Read "For Their Own Good" at magazine. tampabay.com.

White House Boys suit is tossed 02/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 8:34pm]
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