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Florida Senate apologizes for abuse, deaths at reform school

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The Florida Senate formally apologized on Wednesday to victims who suffered brutality, sexual abuse and even death after being sent as boys to a reform school with a history of troubles long denied by the state.

The infamous site, which opened in 1900 in Marianna as the Florida State Reform School and was later named the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, closed in 2011.

From its early days, the school was plagued by allegations of abuse. Senator Darryl Rouson, a Democrat who introduced the resolution expressing official regret and apology, said the state conducted six investigations in the school’s first 13 years after “reports of children being chained to walls in irons, severely beaten and used for child labor.”

A forensic investigation between 2013 and 2016 uncovered graves for 55 boys, 24 more sites than reported in official records, according to the Senate resolution. Most of the bones have not been identified and some of the deaths are believed to have resulted from abuse.

“These bones are telling the story,” Rouson said. “The story they tell is one of a shameful history.”

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Boys were sent to Dozier for a wide range of alleged offenses from murder to smoking and skipping school. Many were not given a hearing or legal representation.

Fourteen men who had been sent to Dozier and a second reform school that opened in 1955 in Okeechobee, Florida, attended the Senate session on Wednesday.

“We apologize,” Rouson said to the men. “We are sorry, and this resolution on behalf of this Florida Senate commits to ensuring that the children of Florida are protected from this kind of abuse and violations of fundamental human decency.”

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The Florida House of Representatives passed a similar resolution last week. Neither chamber is currently considering offering compensation to the victims, local media reported.

Investigative reports by the St. Petersburg Times newspaper starting in 2009 kicked off the increased attention in recent years to the scandal.

After U.S. Justice Department and state investigations revealed abuses by interviewing more than 500 former students, the two schools were shuttered.

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(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Toni Reinhold)


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Former Fox & Friends co-host Clayton Morris flees the US as he faces two dozen lawsuits

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Facing more than two-dozen lawsuits alleging he committed real estate fraud, former "Fox & Friends Weekend" co-host Clayton Morris has reportedly fled the United States, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Morris, who previously resided in a $1.4 million home in New Jersey, moved his family to a coastal resort town in Portugal, the newspaper reported, citing a Facebook post from his wife.

Morris's wife and business partner, former MSNBC anchor Natali Morris, told the IndyStar that she and her husband plan to continue fighting the lawsuits from abroad.

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Trump defenders argued his latest tweets weren’t really racist — but he just completely undercut their arguments

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If you try to defend President Donald Trump, you will always end up having the rug pulled out from underneath you. It's a law of nature.

And yet, so many of the president's allies have failed to learn this simple lesson. So when Trump launched a new attack at progressive Democratic lawmakers that was one of his most obviously racist smears, inevitably, some of his defenders tried to deny the obvious truth.

His screed attacked a group of women who have come to define the left wing of the Democratic caucus, which includes Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Rashida Talib (MI), and Ayanna Pressley (MA). Though only Omar is an immigrant (she was a refugee from Somalia as a child), Trump seemed to assume all four women of color weren't born in the United States, and most egregiously, he suggested they should "go back" to other countries:

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UK prime minister hopefuls slam Trump tweets — but refuse to call them racist

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The two candidates vying to become Britain's next prime minister both condemned on Monday US President Donald Trump's xenophobic tweets about progressive Democrat congresswomen as "totally offensive" and "totally unacceptable".

But front-runner Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt refused to call the tweets racist when pressed to do so during their last debate before next week's announcement of who will succeed Prime Minister Theresa May.

May's spokesman had earlier said that the outgoing leader's view was that Trump's comments were "completely unacceptable".

On Monday Trump doubled down on a series of his tweets from the day before urging the four congresswomen of colour to "go back" to the countries they came from.

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