Florida Investigates Graves at Boys School

The men said they were forced into a small, dank room and told to lie down on their stomachs on a bed covered in blood and other bodily fluids and grab the bed's metal bars. Colon said the boys were told if they yelled or whimpered, the whipping would start over.

"There were little pieces of lip and tongue where people were biting themselves trying to control themselves," said Colon, who was sent to the school in 1957 for stealing cars.

After one particularly bad beating, Kiser said he woke up in a school administrator's office. When he went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror, "I screamed as loud as I could because I couldn't tell who I was."

He said he was beaten so badly that his underwear was stuck to his buttocks and he had to go to the infirmary to have pieces removed.

White House Boys

Once, Kiser said, a friend had been taken to the White House. School staff dragged the boy out of the building and left him on the ground, blood running out of his nose and mouth, Kiser said.

A group of boys crowded around to see whether he was all right.

"Roger, would you kiss me?" the boy asked. "Like when your grandmother kisses you when you were hurt because she loves you."

Kiser said he bent down on his knees and kissed the boy's forehead.

The three men said their time at the school left them angry and emotionally detached as they grew older. As the years passed, several of the White House Boys found each other, mostly through the Internet, where some had written about their experiences. They began advocating for an investigation into the abuse.

In October, Kiser, Colon, Straley and several other men returned to the school for a ceremony in which the White House was officially sealed and shut. They walked through the building and saw the graveyard.

Kiser's old friends suggested he light a cigarette, a small act of defiance nearly 50 years after he left the school.

"I couldn't do it. I was whispering, I was afraid," he said. "To see those walls and smell that smell. ... I was still scared to smoke, even at 62 years old."

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