Scientology™ vs. good ole Southern Baptism: eat crow Judge Babb
Florida Sixth Circuit Judge Linda Babb visited a Narconon™ drug rehabilitation facility and liked what she saw so much that she stated, "It [Narconon™] seems better organized and funded than a lot of programs we use. Skepticism about the program probably is due to perceived ties to Scientology. If it was the Southern Baptists, I don't think it would be scrutinized as much." [Src: St. Petersburg Times, Mar. 30, 2003]
Well Justice Babb, ABC TV Wear News in Pensacola, Florida has just published a three part series on alleged child abuse in two Southern Baptist boarding schools right down there in Florida. Before linking to the series it might be useful to get some background material on where these schools came from, who accredits them, and Wiley Cameron and Michael Palmer--the Baptist preachers behind them.
The Roloff Schools, Wiley Cameron and TACCA. The Roloff Schools are a string of Christian boarding schools for wayward teens founded by Lester Roloff, a fundamentalist Baptist preacher. In the 1970s Texas health authorities investigated the schools for allegations of whipping, handcuffing and using other abusive tactics on teenagers. The schools protested state scrutiny and the case ended up in the US Supreme Court which ruled that Roloff would have to abide by state licensing laws. So in 1985 two Roloff schools, the Rebekah Home for Girls and Anchor Home for Girls, moved to Missouri. Another school, Mountain Park Baptist Boarding Academy, moved to Missouri from Mississippi in 1987 after a judge ordered teens to be removed. The founder of Mountain Park had been trained by Roloff. Roloff died in a plane crash in 1982 and was replaced by a man named Wiley Cameron.
When George Bush became governor of Texas he decided that men of God needed no state regulatory license to run social programs and so he introduced his faith-based initiative. Roloff's Wiley Cameron was invited over to Texas to meet with Bush's faith-based committee and ultimately Bush invited Cameron back to Texas. The Texas Organization of Christian Child Caring Agencies or TACCCA accredited Roloff Schools and Wiley Cameron was on the board of directors of TACCCA. Rebekah had moved from Texas to Missouri, and was now back in Texas.
Soon Cameron's schools were back in trouble in Texas for allegations of child abuse. Wiley was put in jail for refusing to turn over records to investigators and his wife Faye Cameron was barred for life from working with kids in Texas. In 2001, with George Bush gone, Texas had had enough of his faith-based stupidity and changed the law back to require faith-based organizations to be licensed by the state just like anybody else. This time Wiley Cameron took his kids to Florida. (Early in 2004 Mountain Park Baptist Boarding Academy closed in Missouri after a federal jury awarded a former student $20,000 for abuse. (See Mountain Park. Also see The Texas Faith-Based Initiative at Five Years.)
George Bush did not invent state faith-based deregulation. But George Bush did not invent the idea of faith-based state deregulation. Six years before introducing the concept to Texas, health officials in the state of Oklahoma had refused to license the Scientology™-affiliated Narconon™ drug rehabilitation program in that state. And then surprisingly the state legislature introduced legislation that exempted health care facilities from state licensing provided they got accreditation elsewhere. So Narconon™ went to CARF--the Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities--in Tucson, Arizona. A report in the Newkirk Herald Journal of 16 July 1992 reported that Narconon™ had "hired" the first two C.A.R.F. inspectors sent to evaluate their operation. (Kids Helping Kids of Cincinnati and Growing Together in Lakeworth, Florida are two second-generation Straights, both of which are CARF accredited. Also see rumors of Narconon infiltration of CARF, 20 September 1992 and Critical Evaluations of Narconon.)
FACCCA and Michael Palmer. In 1984, the state of Florida passed a faith-based law called Florida Statute 409.176 that exempts church-run social programs from state regulations. Today many church boarding schools in Florida are accredited by FACCCA--the Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies. A man named Michael Palmer is VP of FACCCA. Palmer opened Victory Christian Academy in Jay, Florida after he was closed down in California and Mexico for alleged abuse and licensing issues at youth homes he ran in those places.
Wiley Cameron closed Rebekah Girl's Home in Texas and opened New Beginnings Rebekah Academy in Pace, Florida. Rebekah is licensed by FACCCA. Faye Cameron has left Rebekah in Florida after allegedly hitting a girl with a curtain rod.
Read or view now ABC TV Pensacola, Florida Wear News' three part series on Wiley Cameron and Michael Palmer by Mollye Barrows:first video in the series.
Pensacola's "Independent News" report Secrets in the Schoolhouse by Duwayne Escobedo
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