Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network

Human Rights Defenders

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1



"In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 1948) in most solemn form, the dignity of a person is acknowledged to all human beings; and as a consequence there is proclaimed, as a fundamental right, the right of free movement in search for truth and in the attainment of moral good and of justice, and also the right to a dignified life. "
-- Pope John XXIII, 1881-1963 Pacem in Terris, 1963

"Democracy is not the law of the majority but the protection of the minority."
-- Albert Camus

The Family Foundation School has been covering up child abuse and the NYS Board of Education Supervisor, Tom Hogan, has assisted them in covering up the abuse.

"I am the inferior of any man whose rights I trample underfoot."

-- Horace Greeley

"A nation's success or failure in achieving democracy is judged in part by how well it responds to those at the bottom and the margins of the social order... The very problems that democratic change brings -- social tension, heightened expectations, political unrest -- are also strengths. Discord is a sign of progress afoot; unease is an indication that a society has let go of what it knows and is working out something better and new." 


Sandra Day O'Connor

Source:The Nation


Wes Fager Documents Child Abuse at Straight Inc.

Wes Fager[i]  had documented the abuses of Straight Inc. for years.  Wesley Fager was a computer scientist, mathematician, engineer, author, web page designer, teacher, lecturer and investigative reporter.  He decided to research and report on fraud and abuse in the teen health care industry.   Fager gained personal experience with the abusive teen program when he enrolled his own son in a Springfield, VA chapter of Straight Inc., on the advice of a high school guidance counselor. Separated and not permitted to communicate with his son, Fager did not see his son again until three months later after he’d escaped from the program. Fager decided to provide a clearing website that would be a place to post the accumulating evidence of rampant child abuse.[ii]  He collected stories of suicides[iii] and attempted suicides[iv], rapes, forced abortions[v], molestations, physical abuse[vi], lawsuits, court testimonies and extensive documentation of profound psychological abuse at Straight Inc. chapters all over the country.  In 2000 Fager published his findings in an on-line book called A Clockwork Straight.[vii]  He was named in Marquis Who's Who in America 2002 for that work on teen residential treatment abuse.  He also received the Richard Bradbury Award for Heroism[viii] in St Petersburg, Florida.  He was the editor of an on-line newspaper and had an article published in the Journal for the Leo J. Ryan Foundation.   FOX News[ix] on-line reported on his work May 26, 2002.  In 2002 Carta (an Italian magazine) used information from his web site to write an article on then-Ambassador to Italy, Melvin Sembler.

[i] Fager, Wesley,  “Biography of Wes Fager,”,

[ii] The,

[iii] The Straights,,

[iv] Attempted suicides.,

[vi] Physical Abuse at Straight Inc.,,

[vii] Fager, Wesley, A Clockwork Straight,,

[viii] Richard Bradbury Award,,

[ix] Wes Fager on Fox News,,

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."

-- James Madison

Richard Bradbury - Survivor - Activist

Richard “Ray” Bradbury, “Straight” survivor and activist, invoked his First Amendment right to speak out against the abuse.  Former clients from the St Petersburg, Florida Straight Inc. program had convinced Bradbury to get their records from the program. They were too afraid to make the effort since they had been abused there.  They also knew Straight Inc. had kidnapped clients and had been found guilty in a Virginia federal court for the false imprisonment of Fred Collins.  Straight Inc. had a pending court case in Pinellas County Circuit Court for the false imprisonment of Karen Norton, for which they were found guilty. 

The state attorney, James T. Russell, the St. Petersburg Police Department and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department did not act to protect Straight Inc. survivors/victims.  These citizens, as former clients in St. Petersburg, signed a paper authorizing 23-yr-old Richard “Ray” Bradbury to obtain their medical records for them.  The victims hoped that these documents might prove to state health regulators that Straight Inc. abused juveniles.  Bradbury agreed to petition Straight Inc. for the documents, but his request was denied.  On or about the night of January 26, 1988, Bradbury and an accomplice allegedly broke into Straight Inc. to get the documents to turn over to state health officials.  Police arrived and the alleged accomplice was arrested, but Bradbury allegedly fled.  The alleged accomplice was given probation.   Seven months later, Bradbury learned that a warrant had been issued for his arrest, and he voluntarily surrendered.

The judge found Richard Bradbury guilty. Judge Crockett Farnell ordered adjudication withheld, which means that, while he accepted an agreement to resolve the charge, there has been no final adjudication, pending completion of imposed requirements:

  1. 1250 hours of community service
  2. five years probation
  3. banned from Pinellas County for five years

Bradbury was essentially banned from approaching Straight Inc. and Sembler to protest again for at least 5 years.  However, he used the 1250 hours of community service to create an organization in 1988 to cleanup Tampa Bay, which he called Community Improvement, Inc.  Its objectives were to disrupt, expose and close abusive facilities within Straight Inc. Although banned from Pinellas County, Bradbury worked effectively through the newly organized Community Improvement Inc. to close all 12 Straight Inc. treatment camps in Pinellas County following state criminal and/or health investigations.  Straight Inc. would often, for appearance sake, cite economic reasons for the closures.  Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS) IG report in 1993 (the Clary Report)[i] revealed that state health officials sought to close the flagship facility in St. Petersburg in 1989, but concluded that Melvin Sembler and unnamed state senators had likely intervened to stop the officials from closing it.[ii]

[i]  The Clary Report, was the result of an investigation into Straight, conducted by Lowell Clary, Acting Inspector General for Florida’s Department of Health and Human Services (HRS) now called the Office of Children and Family.  Mr. Clary had begun his investigation back in December because of damaging documents about Straight's operations which he had received from Richard Bradbury.  Mr. Clary released his findings on May 19, 1993 a month after Straight, Inc. had closed.  His report, which is presented below in its entirety, insinuates team was preparing to deny the license. According to the report Harry Moffitt, an HRS senior program specialist, said that deputy assistant secretary Linda Lewis questioned why Florida would continue to let Straight operate in spite of allegations of withholding medication and food from clients, depriving them of sleep and using excessive force against them. That when Ms. Lewis brought this up to Ivor Groves, an assistant secretary to HRS, she had been told that she would be fired on the spot if she did not do as told. Groves denied the conversation and Lewis did not recall it. The report also revealed a definite pattern of abuse or excessive force used against clients at Straight facilities.  See the five page report here:

[ii] Fager, Wesley,  “Ray Bradbury's Watergate: Justice Pinellas County Style,” 2003,,

Straight Inc. avoids payment of damages to survivors/victims

In 1983, a former patient won a $220,000 jury award for unlawful imprisonment that involved regular beatings at the Straight Inc., facility in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Another Florida client, Karen Norton, won a $721,000 jury award in 1990 for abuses she endured at the facility, the majority for punitive damages, for abuse and false imprisonment.  One of her complaints was that Miller Newton had thrown her against a wall.  Dozens, if not hundreds, of other lawsuits were settled out of court.  Straight Inc. claimed in court that they did not have adequate assets.  They filed documents that Straight Inc. owned only five properties.  Straight Inc. Board member, Joseph Garcia, represented himself as an expert in real estate law and claimed that the held property was worth only half the appraised value,   or about $315,000.  A sixth property was never included in filings on assets but, on April 1, 1992, they sold that property for $200,000.  Two years after the Norton trial, Straight Inc. sold the five presented properties for $895,000, not the $315,000 that Garcia had implied they were worth.[i]

[i] Piercing the Veil,,

"Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself."

~ Robert G. Ingersoll

KIDS - Doctor Miller Newton

Reverend Doctor Miller Newton – KIDS of Bergen County (NJ)

Melvin Sembler responded to allegations of child abuse by replacing Straight Inc.’s clinical director Jim Hartz with Rev. Dr. Miller Newton.  Introduction of Miller Newton to the drug rehabilitation business had been orchestrated to include endorsement of the KIDS program by local, state and even federal authorities.[i]   Public forums held on the drug abuse issue were attended by notable officials: Carol Loscalzo of the Bergen County Department of Family Guidance; New Jersey state Senator Frank X. Graves Jr., D-35th District; Assemblyman John Girgenti, D-Hawthorne, Richard Russo, head of the New Jersey Division of Alcohol, Narcotics, and Drug Abuse and U.S. Rep. Robert Torricelli, Hackensack Democrat. These endorsements gave the appearance of political support to the KIDS program.[ii]  [iii]

The KIDS program was not licensed through the state health department.

No standards defined staff’s professional qualifications or the quality control criteria of services provided to clients.[iv]  KIDS program was not a licensed program regulated by the state health department in part because it did not dispense medication and was considered “nonresidential”. [v]  State law did not require a license for outpatient programs.  Teens were taken from their own families and placed in the homes of other clients more advanced in the program.[vi] [vii] [viii] [ix] [x] [xi]  In order to obtain state licensing, programs must comply with certain building code regulations, open their books to officials, and show how they treat clients. Licensed facilities must also agree to four unannounced inspections yearly.[xii]No one can regulate compassion into a program that at times chooses to cross the boundaries of common decency, but licensing and regular inspections would provide a needed measure of scrutiny.” …wrote one reader in a letter to the editor of the Bergen Record. [xiii]

All licensed programs in New Jersey are required to abide by a client bill of rights, a practice not necessarily followed by private programs. All public programs are licensed by the state. Licenses are also required of all residential-programs, public or private. Private, nonresidential programs that do not dispense medicine do not have to be licensed.  Many experts advise consumers to steer clear of programs that do not guarantee patients certain privileges, such as the right to terminate treatment, to air grievances, or to speak to an attorney.  At the core of a counseling program's effectiveness is the quality of its staff. At the minimum, therapists should have state certification as alcoholism or substance abuse counselors, experts agree. But certification was not required by law and these programs skirted around licensing and regulation requirements.

Virgil Miller Newton III had been clinical director of Straight Inc.  Although he called himself a doctor, he had no medical license and had questionable credentials in psychology. He had obtained his degree in psychology from an alternative school in Boston, MA, one that did not require class attendance.  He had a degree in anthropology.  His credentials to act as clinical director of a network of residential treatment centers did not include scientific study of clinical research in substance abuse treatment. [xiv] [xv]

Miller Newton was forced to resign his position as clinical director of Straight Inc. in 1983 amid allegations of abuse and insurance fraud.[xvi] [xvii] [xviii] [xix] [xx] [xxi]  [xxii] [xxiii]  [xxiv] [xxv] [xxvi] Under his watch, David Levin, former assistant state prosecutor for Sarasota County, Florida, led the criminal investigation of Straight-Sarasota in 1983 resulting in the closing of that treatment camp.  The prosecutor's office in Sarasota was publicly stating that the counselors doing the abuse at Straight- Sarasota had admitted under oath that they had been taught to do their abuse at Straight-Saint Petersburg.  Statements from fellow prosecutors and Congressional inquiries about abuse at Straight forced James T. Russell to investigate Straight on numerous occasions, but he never found any wrong doing. The following 1983 civil suits/criminal investigations immediately preceded Newton's resignation: Michael Daniels sued Straight-St Pete for psychological abuse; Newton and Straight-St Pete settled separate suits with Arletha Schauteet and Hope Hyrons.  Martin Brashears, an adult, sued Straight-Atlanta for false imprisonment. Larry Williams sued Straight-Sarasota. Benson Williams sued Straight-Sarasota for beatings, pulling him by hair, hanging him by his underpants to a bedpost, and for torture. [xxvii]

Miller Newton left Florida and started his own second-generation Straight-related program in New Jersey, KIDS of Bergen County.  KIDS operated in the 1980’s and advertised itself as a drug rehabilitation facility for juveniles aged 12 to 24.[xxviii]  Publicly promoted as the answer to the “War on Drugs”, it claimed to provide family therapy.[xxix] [xxx] [xxxi]   Miller Newton used a marketing firm to determine best location for his KIDS program.  He chose a white, upper middle-class area that lacked a program to treat drug and alcohol dependency for adolescents and one with lax licensing requirements.  In addition to addiction treatment, KIDS of Bergen County also claimed to treat behavioral problems and eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.[xxxii]  Area families were open to a family therapy approach and had good insurance coverage for the fees. 

In affluent Bergen County, Miller Newton acquired an empty warehouse in Hackensack, NJ.   He dubbed this new program KIDS of Bergen County.  The facility was not fancy and staffing costs were controlled by hiring untrained former graduates of Straight Inc., Life and The SEED.  The only qualification required for staff was to be a graduate of one of these unlicensed programs.  These peer counselors often did not have high school diplomas and were not trained in counseling.  SEED peer mentors used public humiliation and bullying.

The Bergen County prosecutor, Larry J. McClure started to investigate allegations of physical abuse and unlawful restraint of teenagers at KIDS of Bergen County (River Edge).  Reports of abuse included teenagers struck by other teens or by peer counselors, isolated in small windowless rooms for hours or days at a time, or pinned to the floor beneath other teenagers.  Todd LeBlanc, who escaped from KIDS, told the prosecutor's office that he was confined to a 10-by-12-foot room in three episodes for “acting out.”  The Bergen Record reported that “The first time, Todd said, he was isolated in the room for 12 consecutive days and let out at night by two teenagers guarding the door. The second time, he said, he was confined to the room for 30 days; the third confinement lasted 58 days. Each time, he spent at least 14 hours a day in the room, he said.”

The teens stated that they were coerced into the program, were then falsely imprisoned and not permitted to leave.   There were instances of physical injuries, including bruises, fractured noses, back and neck injuries.[xxxiii]

Newton Miller, president and clinical director, appointed his wife, Ruth Ann Newton, as assistant director.[xxxiv]  Using the “Tough Love” parents support group to spread the word, he recruited clients for his new KIDS program.   Children considered to have “behavior problems” were admitted to the program even if they did not have a drug problem.  Former marketing director for KIDS, Brian Connelly, described KIDS as a “minimum security correctional institution.” [xxxv]  For the first year, clients in the program are watched constantly and led around by more advanced teenagers, who keep a hand on their shoulder or a finger in their belt loop.  Official documents included a 30-page “treatment agreement” for minors with 140 rules listed that parents were required to sign.  Families could not discuss any aspect of the program or treatment with anyone outside the program.  Parents were not informed about where their children would sleep during the first phase of treatment, when clients were sent to "host homes" at night. [xxxvi]

The contract also required that, when the client stayed at the host family's house, a more advanced client must sleep in front of the bedroom door, apparently to impede escape.   Under the contract, parents sign that they relinquish “all claims for false imprisonment, assault, harassment, and threats of any kind.”  Such rigidity prompted certified substance abuse professionals to warn that the program bordered on institutionalism.

Here is a description of the program: “The teens spent seven days a week at the building, up to 18 or more hours a day. There were five ‘phases’ of the program and kids on 1st and 2nd phase were not allowed to go to school. They were not even allowed to read. They sat in the blue chairs facing forward, back straight, with their hands on their knees.

On 1st phase, children did not live at home. They stayed with other clients on higher phases of the program and were only allowed to talk to their families twice a week for five minutes at a time. They were called "newcomers" but sometimes 1st phase lasted for over a year. On 2nd phase, the kids lived at home but still spent all day at the building. At this point they were called "oldcomers" and took 1st phasers home with them and children were fully responsible for other children. A lot of abuse occurred in the "host homes". On 3rd phase, the clients returned to school or were allowed to get a job but still had to spend time at the building every day. They were not allowed to have any contact with people not in the program. On 4th phase, days off were allowed. They still took 1st phasers home with them but they were able to start to develop friendships with other clients of the same sex. Clients were also allowed to watch T.V. on 4th phase. On 5th phase, clients were allowed to talk to other 5th phase clients of the opposite sex and day off excursions could be co-ed as long as the ratio of boys to girls was uneven. After graduation there was six months of aftercare and no dating was allowed for five months. Abuse ranged from verbal to physical with clients being restrained for hours at a time on the hard floor by up to five other teens. The staff members were just children themselves and completely unqualified to be responsible for such a large group of kids.” [xxxvii]

Not content with only managing KIDS of Bergen County, Miller Newton expanded his program by taking 19 clients to Texas in 1986 and opening KIDS of El Paso.  He further expanded his program shortly thereafter.  He opened KIDS of Southern California in Yorba Linda in March, 1988 and he opened KIDS of Greater Salt Lake in Utah in 1989.

Reports started to pour in from California, Utah[xxxviii] and Texas that there was psychic abuse of children; use of psychologically damaging tactics and that children were falsely imprisoned in KIDS programs.[xxxix]  Zoning issues surfaced regarding the use of the Hackensack property for a business without a business license. [xl]

The Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA) moved to close KIDS of El Paso. The TCADA indicated from a commission report that the KIDS of El Paso staff had hit, pushed, and assaulted patients in 1987 and 1988. Patients were reported to have been routinely deprived of sleep, billeted in overcrowded rooms, and denied permission to use the bathroom, causing them to soil themselves.  The TCADA revoked KIDS of El Paso's license, charging that teens in the program had been mistreated and poorly supervised. The program appealed, and had its license conditionally reinstated for a year.  Then, the KIDS program declared bankruptcy.

The California Department of Social Services reported that KIDS of Southern California was operating without a required license.  In 1989 California health authorities closed down the KIDS program in that state for reasons of criminal child abuse.  Straight Inc. moved into the facility and assumed Miller Newton's clients.  Just a year later, state authorities closed the California Straight Inc. program also, citing: “Documentation on file indicates that there have been incidents where children have been subjected to unusual punishment, infliction of pain, humiliation, intimidation, ridicule, coercion, threat, mental abuse or other actions of a punitive nature, including:… interference with daily living functions such as eating, sleeping or toileting, or withholding of medication.” [xli]

As legal battles and lawsuits mounted, Miller Newton retreated, closing the Salt Lake facility and bringing children to New Jersey where the program had remained open.  News media became aware of the problem.  There were numerous articles in the Bergen Journal and a TV airing of “West 57th St.” [xlii] Finally, Bergen County prosecutors obtained legal authority to remove teens.  Miller Newton farmed out the remaining clients to satellite homes, shut down the Hackensack facility and reopened in Secaucus, New Jersey.  He legally changed his name from KIDS of Bergen County to KIDS of North Jersey.  Despite abuse allegations against the KIDS program, Miller Newton secured a special certificate from the Commissioner of Health and Human Services to operate his program in the Secaucus location.  This area was populated mainly by minorities with less high incomes, so the KIDS program was unable to rely on private insurance.  The program secured the right to bill Medicaid for services.  The KIDS program was accused of insurance fraud and many major insurance companies refused to pay claims coming from KIDS.  New Jersey launched a Medicaid fraud investigation in 1999.  After the raid by Bergen County prosecutors, Miller Newton moved operations to neighboring Hudson County and set up shop in Secaucus.   One former client of KIDS, Rebecca Erlich, sued Miller Newton and his team of psychologists for $4.5 million and won that lawsuit in 2001.  Her attorney, Phil Elberg, filed another lawsuit against Miller Newton in 2003, settling for a $6.5 million award for another former KIDS client, Lulu Corter.  Miller Newton also settled with former client Antonio Carrera for $3 million.  Before that trial commenced, Dr. Zisalo Wancier, the program's psychiatrist, agreed to a $750,000 settlement. Miller Newton settled before Carrera was to testify but Judge Maurice Gallipoli still let him testify about his five year incarceration.  

Miller Newton moved to Madeira Beach, FL. He faith-converted, was ordained a priest by the Antiochian Orthodox Church and renamed Fr Cassian Newton.  When he tried to counsel children in his new location, Florida refused to grant him a needed license because of the public outcry launched by the survivors/victims of KIDS.  Miller Newton was briefly employed at St. Petersburg Junior College, but was released when his background was revealed.  To avoid paying taxes and the growing number of damage claims against him, Miller Newton and his wife filed bankruptcy.[xliii]


[i] “Kids of Bergen County  Helping Teens Fight Addiction to Drugs, Liquor,”  3-14-85, Bergen Record,,

[ii] Ibert, Deborah L., “Family is Considered Key in War on Drugs,” Forum on Adolescent Narcotics Abuse , Bergen Record, April 21, 1985, Page A-59 (20 in.) SECTION: NEWS.   Drug abuse among adolescents is a growing problem in New Jersey, said Richard Russo, head of the New Jersey Division of Alcohol, Narcotics, and Drug Abuse. He was one of five speakers invited to participate in the forum on adolescent drug use, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Robert Torricelli, Hackensack Democrat.  Torricelli scheduled the forum, which was held at the Bergen County Courthouse, as one of his regular meetings with constituents.,

[iii] Eaton, Sabrina, “Elmwood Park Parents Urged To Join War Against Drug Abuse,”  Bergen Record,  August 19, 1986, Page C-6 (8 in.) SECTION: ELMWOOD PARK,,

[iv] Gardner, Laura, “Licenses Optional For Drug Advisors,” Bergen Record, July 20, 1986, Page A-1 (31 in.) Despite growing support for state regulation of all substance-abuse treatment programs, entrepreneurs in the business of counseling drug abusers can hang out their shingles without government approval.  The result, state Health Department officials and drug counselors say, is that consumers remain vulnerable to unprofessional treatment.  Currently, programs that provide outpatient counseling for drug abusers -- but no medical treatment -- are not required to be licensed by the state.  But some officials have pointed to KIDS of Bergen County, which was the object of an official inquiry, as an example of a treatment program that should seek voluntary licensure through the state Health Department. In order to obtain state licensing, programs must comply with certain building code regulations, open their books to officials, and show how they treat clients. They also must agree to four unannounced inspections yearly.

[v] Gardner, Laura, “Probe Of KIDS Prompts Call For State,” Bergen Record,  February 5, 1987, Thursday; Page B-1 (ill.) (21 in.),

[vi] Leith, Rod, “Hearing on Home Postponed,” Bergen Record, June 30, 1988, Thursday; Page B-7 (4 in.),

[vii] Leith, Rod, “A Fine For Housing Too Many Teens,” Bergen Record,  July 27, 1988, Page B-1 (19 in.)  SECTION: NEWS,,

[viii] David, Goldman, ” Lodi KIDS Shelter Cited As Illegal Boardinghouse,” Bergen Record,  August 14, 1988, Page A-32 (10 in.) SECTION: South Community,,

[ix] Goldman, David, “Anger In Lodi Over Drug-Rehab Kids,” Bergen Record
August 21, 1988, Page A-31 (21 in.) SECTION: South Community,,

[x] “Bowing to Fear,” Bergen Record,  August 29, 1988, Page B-10 (10 in.) SECTION: OPINION  TYPE: EDITORIAL ,,

[xi] Bartelli, Jan,  “Couple Sheltering Kids Leave Hasbrouck Heights,” Bergen Record,   January 10, 1989, Page B-3 (11 in.),,

[xii] Gardner, Laura, “Drug Therapy Business Booms,” Bergen Record, November 10, 1986, Page A-1 (ill.) (37 in.) Hackensack-based KIDS of Bergen, took no chances. Before deciding to open its doors, KIDS conducted a marketing study to identify the best communities for its business, said Miller Newton, founder and director.  Newton said the market survey helped locate KIDS in an area where a large number of families live with "an emotional investment in being a family." The program requires the whole family to participate in recovery, he said.  All the private programs in Bergen County subscribe to the philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous, which urges addicts to accept a "higher power.",

[xiii] “Unlicensed & Unregulated,” Bergen Record,  February 12, 1987, Page A-18 (9 in.) SECTION: OPINION, TYPE: EDITORIAL,,

[xiv] Fager, Wes (2000).  Reverend Doctor Virgil Miller Newton at Straight Inc. and at KIDS North Jersey/KIDS of Bergen County,,

[xv] Fager, Wes (2000). "Academic Credentials of Father Doctor2 Miller Newton" Newton joined Straight, Inc. St Petersburg as Assistant Director. The Straight program was founded in 1976. The average stay in Straight Inc. was twenty months long, and Straight’s corporate goals were, “to admit 14 clients per month.” In 1980, while he was assistant director at Straight, Inc., Newton’s only formal training in the drug field was a workshop on alcoholism, which he attended in 1979 at the Johnson Institute in Minneapolis. It was during this time he also switched his doctoral focus to teen drug abuse. He defended his doctoral thesis titled “The Organization and Implementation of Family Involvement in Adolescent Drug-Use Rehabilitation,” and graduated in 1981 with a PhD in Public Administration and Urban Anthropology.  Newton had obtained directorship of the St Petersburg facility by 1981, and in July 1982, Mel Sembler promoted him to the position of National Director of Straight, Inc.   While National Director of Straight, Inc., Newton’s wife Ruth Ann joined the staff of the St Petersburg Straight Inc. program becoming an Associate Director.

[xvi] Goldsby, Frankie S. Official letter sent to Dr Miller Newton Regarding Alleged Abuse, (July 14, 1982), Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, The Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services sent Newton a letter on July 14, 1982, reporting accounts at Straight Inc. of Marathoning for up to 70 hours (i.e. sleep deprivation), disciplining by the “Spanking Machine,” confrontations (including physical), restricted diets and false imprisonment of legal adults. The Florida state’s attorney for Sarasota County released a 600 page criminal investigation of Sarasota Straight Inc. including allegations of kidnapping, false imprisonment, threats of being court ordered into the program unless the youth voluntarily enrolled, enrolling youths who were not drug dependent, hair pulling, grabbing clients around the neck and throwing clients against the wall. David Levin, principal investigator (and assistant state attorney) stated “…it was child abuse and torture, directed by Miller Newton.” Sarasota Straight Inc. in Florida subsequently closed voluntarily, and so the state dropped its investigation. This was retrieved at,  website  now removed so try site.

[xvii] Winston, Ali (January 25, 2007), "Settlement reached in KIDS abuse case,” The Jersey Journal (Hudson County, NJ), the website removed so try site.

[xviii] Winston, Ali, The Jersey Journal (Hudson County,NJ), January 23, 2007, "Ex-patient: I was prisoner at treatment center,”


[xix] McDivitt, Anita; Pitts, Jay "Drug treatment center loses case,” St Petersburg Times (St  Peterburg, FL) November 10, 1990,


[xx] Winston, Ali, "Ex-patient: I was prisoner at treatment center,” The Jersey Journal (Hudson County,NJ) January 23, 2007,


[xxi] Journey, Mark "Straight client wins $721, 000 suit,” St Petersburg Times (St Petresburg, FL) November 10, 1990.


[xxii] Fager, Wesley, “Reverend Doctor Virgil Miller Newton, III, formerly National Clinical Director for Straight, Inc.  and alleged child abuse at Straight, Inc.”


[xxiii] Trebach, op. cit., pp. 57-59. St Petersburg Times, 1-30-83, p. 1B. Brandenton Herald, 8-4-83. The Herald cites settlements with a LuAnn Jones of Sanford and with Hope Hyrons.


[xxiv]Straight settled with this Hillsborough County woman for $37,500,”

St. Petersburg Times, 6 -11-85.


[xxv] On March 16, 1981 state officials Terrell Harper and Marshall met with Miller Newton and two female clients who had recently escaped from Straight-St Pete but had been returned. In the presence of the state officials Newton threatened the two girls that they could be "sent to a mental institution," and then told one of the girls he was considering advising her parents to take her to a treatment program in Georgia where she could be "locked-up for 6 months" on just her parents’ signature. HRS removed one of the girls the next day. The other child was removed three days later by her mother at the recommendation of a court appointed guardian ad litem. State investigators found that the locks to the bedroom doors where these girls sleep--a Ms. M's home--had been reversed to lock from the outside. This is a violation of Florida Statue Chapter 397.041.


[xxvi] "Kids of America: Caring and Concern" St. Petersburg Times, 9-19-83, p. b1. West 57th Street 1-21-89.


[xxvii] Brandenton Herald, FL, 9-17-83. Brandenton Herald, 9-8-83, p. B1. St. Petersburg Times, 9-7-83, p. 4B.

[xxviii] Gardner, Laura, “Kids: Is it treatment or Torment?” Bergen Record, July 13, 1986, Page A-1 (45 in.) Staff writer Susan Edelman contributed to this report.,

[xxix] Diane Raring, “Helping Teens Fight Addiction to Drugs, Liquor,” March 14, 1985, Bergen Record Corp.,

[xxx] Ibert, Deborah L., “Family is Considered Key in War on Drugs – Forum on Adolescent Narcotics Abuse,” Bergen Record, April 21, 1985, Page A-59 (20 in.),

[xxxi] “Newton, Miller, Students Have Right to Protection,”  Bergen Record, August 13, 1985,” Page A-19 (ill.) (15 in.)  SECTION: OPINION TYPE: OP-ED   Forced testing of school students for drugs. Dr. Miller Newton is president and clinical director of KIDS of Bergen County, a private, nonprofit organization based in River Edge that helps young people with drug and alcohol problems.

[xxxii] Glidewell, Jan,  “Yet Another Hot Potato Falls Into His Hands,” Series: OFF/BEAT, St. Petersburg Times; St. Petersburg;  Bergen Record, Jan 17, 1989; Sub Title: [CITY Edition]  Start Page: 1 ; 1; 1,,

[xxxiii] Gardner, Laura, Staff Writer, “KIDS: Is it Treatment or Torment?” Bergen Record, July 13, 1986, Sunday; Page A-1 (45 in.) Staff writer Susan Edelman contributed to this report,,

[xxxiv] Gardner, Laura, Staff Writer, “Licenses Optional for Drug Advisers,” Bergen Record, July 20, 1986, Sunday; Page A-1 (31 in.),,

[xxxv] Gardner, Laura, Staff Writer, “In Drug Program, Is the Cure A Curse?” Bergen Record, July 27, 1986, Sunday; Page A-17 (ill.) (36 in.),,

[xxxvi] Gardner, Laura, “In Drug Program, Is the Cure A Curse?”  Bergen Record,  July 27, 1986, Sunday; Page A-17 (ill.) (36 in.).

[xxxvii] Kids of Bergen County Website,,

[xxxviii] Stoltzfus, Duane, “KIDS Program Faces New Charges In Utah,” Bergen Record,  October 24, 1989, Page B-1 (16 in.) SECTION: NEWS Jennifer Woolston, a 19-year-old who filed the lawsuit last month, claims she broke an arm and foot when she fell from a second-story roof while trying to escape from the program, according to her lawyer, Mary C. Corporon.  Corporon said Woolston had left weeks earlier and was "kidnapped" on the street Sept. 3 by a group that included her parents and a man who showed her a badge and said she was under arrest. She was returned to the center, remaining there until she tried the rooftop escape Sept. 18.

[xxxix] Stoltzfus, Duane, “KIDS Under Fire In Texas, Calif. -- Bergen-Based Drug Program,”  Bergen Record, April 17, 1989, Page A-1 (ill.) (48 in.).

[xl] Leith, Rod, “Does Zoning Exclude Drug Rehab Kids?”  Bergen Record,  June 26, 1988, Page A-25 (19 in.)  SECTION: South Community.

[xli] Letter dated June 27, 1990 from Fred Dumont, Santa Ana, California District Manager for Dept. of Social Services to Straight and National Headquarters explaining why state authorities ordered the program closed.

[xlii] "Kids of America: Caring and Concern," St. Petersburg Times, 9-19-83, p. b1. West 57th Street 1-21-89.

[xliii] May 3, 2004 Bankruptcy Document  Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Middle District of Florida Court Case 01-09883-8G7  Re: Virgil M. Newton,  Ruth Ann Newton,  Stephen L. Meininger Trustee of the Estate -  IRS claim $96,653.60,,

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for the law."

Justice Louis D. Brandeis

Source: Olmstead v. United States, 1928

Bergen KIDS Program now AARC in Canada

This child abuse in residential treatment is not limited to the U.S.A.  Former staff of the KIDS program established an abusive teen rehabilitation center in Canada called the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center (AARC).[i] [ii]  AARC is a “treatment” program that uses the Straight, Inc., Synanon, and The SEED models.  It has been reported to be abusive by investigative reporters at CBC News.  This 12-step program in Canada abuses minors and uses methods that are similar to KIDS of Bergen County.  In 1988, KIDS of Bergen County had 40 Canadian clients and the Canadian government paid $25/day each or $1,000/day.  When Canadian authorities learned that they had not been paying for psychiatric or physician services, they refused to continue payments to KIDS, although they had already paid $250,000.[iii]   


On November 1, 1988, Straight, Inc. added a “sales” office at 104th Street, Suite 114, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to its insurance coverage.  On January 13, 1989, Straight Inc. added "Straight Association of Edmonton" to its insurance coverage. Concurrently, Miller Newton recruited many Canadian teens from Calgary, Alberta (173 miles from Edmonton) into his New Jersey program.  He opened KIDS of the Canadian West, a support center to guide teens completing his New Jersey program to integrate back into society.  Miller Newton hoped to make KIDS of the Canadian West his Canadian franchise treatment program.  Dean Vause, a counselor at North Battleford High School, had referred Calgary kids to Miller Newton.  Vause took a job at KIDS with the intention of directing KIDS of the Canadian West or KCW. 

The Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF) helped sponsor the Canadian Drug Conference in May, 2002 in Vancouver, where AARC seeks to expand its $50,000/yr per person program.  Using the KIDS model, AARC boards clients out in host homes, which they call “recovery” homes.  AARC's web page speaks of “peer” staff.  These employees, as in the KIDS programs, are other teens further along in the treatment program that tends to “newcomers.”  This is how confrontation-type therapeutic communities operate to keep overhead costs low and profits high.  The costs of the AARC program are reportedly covered by a combination of user fees, private and corporate donations, government grants, service group donations, third party fundraisers, as well as AARC's own fundraisers.   AARC is a tax-exempt charity and received a $1 million gift from the Rotary Club.  Although a medical doctor is paid by the program to provide clinical services for sick children, there are no medical doctors on the actual drug rehabilitation staff.  Some members of the peer staff are unpaid and former program graduates are paid low salaries, so overhead costs are low.  Yet, AARC charges $50,000/yr for treatment.  Reports of abuse have surfaced at AARC, yet it still continues to thrive and grow.  A group of advocates are exposing the abuses of AARC. [iv]  The “Fifth Estate” is CBC's current affairs and investigative program that did an investigation of abuse allegations and produced several YouTube videos.


[i] Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center, 303 Forge Road S.E. Calgary, AB T2H0S9.

[ii] AARC: Recovering Krystal. Additional information can be obtained from Dr. David Suzuki, "The Nature of Things",,

[iii] The Bergen Record, Aug 16, 1990, p. B1.

[iv] Fagin, Keith Stop, AARC, Calgary, Alberta, T2A4T8, Canada,Telephone:4038632071,,

"Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights."

-- Thomas Jefferson

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Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network


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"Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself."  Confucius

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt- Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic", delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910