ping him. . . We were just pullin’ like hell.” At night at Valley School, the boys would run 20 laps around the gym. Guards stood at each corner with leather belts, “and they’d whip us as we went by. That was for recreation.” Released after seven months, Moreno returned to his poverty-stricken home and ten-kid family living in a two-room house. After four months he was involved in stealing beer from a boxcar and sent back. Second-timers went to lockup automatically. In the middle of the night the boys, sleeping two in a cell, were awakened to go to the restroom and would line up to go. As they passed a guard, he would strike them, kick them, and slap them. Moreno decided never to go again at night, but when he told a guard he didn’t need to go, the guard told him he had to. “When they come to a colored guy, they just beat him bloody,” Moreno says. Three or four guards would participate, some of them coming into lockup from other parts. This went on every night for two weeks. Assigned to Dorm 3, Terrace School, Moreno remembers that there were “a few good guys,” respected by the boys. “They [guards] would say, ‘Oh, Mr. So and So is coming, hide the paddle.’ There’s a few guys that are righteous.” A certain guard, whom Moreno names, “was the one that started my mental hate, and it started building up in me. He was real mean, well built, and he controlled everything. He had his little shoeshine boys and his little snitches. . . . I remember he was very sadistical.” This guard required the bunks to be made military-tight. Sometimes he’d line up boys and tell them to bend over and give them three swats each. “He’d really get both hands into it, and sometimes he hit in the back, too high. He didn’t like that so it didn’t count. One time he got mad and hit a boy head, shoulders, back, everything. He went wild.” This particular guard had it in for him, Moreno says, because the guard knew Moreno tried to .get the boys to agree to tell the supervisor about him, “or why don’t we get together and beat him up and run away?” About six of them decided they might do it, and the guard learned of it and “beat the hell out of all of us. He beat ’em bloody—-kicked ’emhe was wearing boots,” gave them karate chops on the neck, and “stomped me again . . . started choking me. That made me go mad, myself.” Another time, Moreno says, the guard slapped him, hit him with his fist, kicked him on the shin, and got him by the neck, asked him if he had “ever been killed before,” and hit his head against a steel pole. “That’s when I went out for a while. When I came to he was still hitting me with his fists.” A cut in the boy’s head left a one-inch scar he still carries. Some of the boys got together and told the 8 The Texas Observer guard to stop, the first time Moreno saw them act together in that way. “He stoppedlooked at blood on his hands. Maybe that made him come to his mind.” The guard asked him, Moreno says, “Are you gonna tell on me?” and the boy decided he’d better not. He was afraid of the guard, and “I thought the supervisor might whip me for being a rat or a snitch.” No “incident report” was sent in. Moreno did not have to work, and one night the guard invited him to teach him how to play the guitar., Moreno figures now the guard was scared and was gentling him. Moreno asked for a transfer to another dorm, but did not get it, and every time he asked for it again, the guard “would beat on me.” He was in lockup 180 days, then 90 days. He ran away four times, and was beat up when he was caught and brought back, as was the custom. The runs were tried sometimes from open fields where the boys were working. A mounted guard, whom Moreno names, made boys who tried to run away run all the way back, and “he’d get that horse to knock you down with the hoof. He had him trained or something. Whoever was left behind, the horse stomped or struck with his foot. I don’t know how it didn’t kill him. That horse knocked me down a few times.” Then, Moreno says, he was sent to Mountain View, which he thought was a whole lot better than Gatesville. “They had the toughest guards and supervisors, but they were all fair guys.” One time they hit Moreno a few licks, “but that was for a reasonfor having a fight with a guy.” But in lockup you couldn’t hum or sing; all day you couldn’t touch the bunk, you had to sit on the floor; you had to work outside in very cold weather. It was all this, “working in the cold, thinking, that drove me nuts.” In the mechanic shop, where he could get gasoline, “I would put it on a rag and sniff it, just to get away from reality. I started going insane as I sniffed that gas, every day. I went into another world, with that gas, I did. It kinda shocked me, where I got with that gas.” He became very depressed, wouldn’t talk to anyone, and once, when a guard told him to get up but he didn’t hear and didn’t get up, “somebody hit me on the head.” “I’d been hit on the head so many timesI just went mad and swung back.” Seeing it was a guard, “I let the guard win the fight. The guard was fairI said I didn’t know what I was doing.” But Moreno was reported, and “six guys whipped me in the office and put me in lockup the fourth time. I just started hitting my own head on the wall, scratching my own hands till blood came out. I had a nervous breakdown in there.” In two months’ at Augtin State Hospital, he was given ten shock treatments. “I was in vocational training there. A social worker said to me, ‘Would you like to become a barber?’ Sure, I said.” He has been barbering four years. Wesley Baylor RECALLING ten and a half months at Hilltop in the Gatesville school, a 19-year-old Houston youth, who has been a carpet-layer’s helper the last seven months, says he is “ready to straighten things out up there, because I know some boys at Mountain View.” He will testify and take a lie detector test. He came forward voluntarily to Raul Gonzalez, a lawyer for the Houston Legal Foundation, after seeing Gonzalez’ name in the paper in connection with the Gatesville controversy. His name is Wesley Baylor. He was charged with molesting a minor. This is what he says: He served at Hilltop from Dec. 23, 1965, to Nov. 2, 1966. In that period, he saw about 75 beatings of boys, and he was “racked,” as the boys say, six or seven times, himself. About four or five guards were involved in these events. Baylor willingly specified their names. He saw a Spanish boy knocked up against a table and kicked, hit so that his mouth bled, and told to go wash up. “You kept seeing boys get kicked and beat. Guards would come up and put their arm around you and say, ‘You and I are pretty good buddies, aren’t we,’ and you’d say ‘Yeah,’ and about that time you’d get a fist in your gut.” For talking in line, a man Baylor named took him into a side room, and “He threw me up against the wall, he threw me into a trash can, he slapped me around,” but “I didn’t complain to the counselors because it might get back to the guards.” Some boys tried to sneak letters out to “tell their parents what kind of a place it was,” but an official Baylor named “would kick ’em, slap him. A colored boy was kicked.” When matrons or chaplains were around, there was no racking. Guards made boys having to go to hospital “sign phony incident reports,” putting their injuries off on fighting among the boys, themselves. “When me and a colored guy, we were messin’ around, and a guard came up and said ‘OK, you boys like to fight, uh?’ He smashed our heads up against the wall and then took our heads and smashed ’em together. I can’t see nothin’ like that.” “You could be sittin: there watching TV and the guards will come up behind you and hit you on the head with something, pick you up by the ear, or twist your arm they’ve done that several times.” And, “I’ll tell you the thing that’s bad.” Parents are permitted to bring in stuff like candies and cookies, and this is put in the boys’ lockers. “You have to give them [the guards] something before you can get it. They put it in your locker in the clothes room. The guards go in there and get it. That’s just like stealing!” If he did it at a store, Baylor said, he’d be
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.