Dozier Victims of Abuse Measure Moves Forward

Marianna, Fla. - State senators are advancing a measure to help the hundreds of boys abused back in the 1940's through the early 1970's in Marianna.

On Monday, the senate criminal justice committee approved a bill that aims to certify the now-men as victims of abuse.

"Grown men, who were then boys, suffered these atrocities," Sen. Darryl Rouson, D- St. Petersburg, said.

More than 500 boys, abused physically, mentally, and sexually, haven't been forgotten.

"It's evidence that in our society, everyone matters," Sen. Dennis Baxley, R- Ocala, said.

"It's a stain on our states history," Sen. Rob Bradley, R- 5th district, said.

Rouson sponsored the official apology in April, to the 500 boys who were abused.

Several victims reacted to the apology.

"I thank you so much for listening to us, and taking it in to some kind of consideration. We're going to have to pay for til' we go our death," one man said.

The bill would give the men "victims of abuse" status.

"Senate bill 1780 is the next step in their quest for justice," Rouson said.

The bill has been a long time coming, but still has some ways to go.

It says boys who attended the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna and the juvenile facility in Okeechobee have the opportunity to submit an application and affidavit for approval.

The affidavit must state that he [the victim] was the victim of physical or sexual abuse while a student. 

Rouson said the information would then let lawmakers review and confirm each claim.

Those victims should receive compensation from the state as a certified victim of abuse.

The bill now goes to the Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee.

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