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Since 1866 The Place in Austin GOOD FOOD GOOD BEER 1607 San Jacinto GR 7-4171 tion with a burglary. He is now doing tree work in Houston. “They kicked me, hit me in the face,” he says. When boys ran from the fields, they were chased down by guards on horseback, and Joe Vargas says he saw one of them kicked by the horse. Joe says he got in a fight in the kitchen with another boy, and a guard told Joe to bend over for five pops with a board. But the first lick was “up high,” and two or three other blows fell on the back. The guard quit short of the five licks, evidently because of the boy’s protests. Mrs. Vargas had said that when she pinches Joe at the tendon in his ankle, he can’t feel it. Joe Vargas said this is true and said he had taken a lot of kicks in the leg. He had been hit, too, he said, a lot of times with a little wood club, and once he was slapped for talking to another boy he had had to talk to because the other boy had dropped something on the floor. For talking, their heads were jammed together, Joe says. Joe was incarcerated at Dorm Three, Hackberry School, at Gatesville. He says he saw about ten rackings a week. The father of the family, Cruz Vargas, said in his living room, where he had been watching television, “I ‘don’t say my boys are better than other boysit’s the same. But that’s no reason to treat them like a dog.” Kenneth Cook Now WORKING in Houston, 20-year-old Kenneth Cook is still on adult parole for an offense since his release from Gatesville, but feels beyond the reach of Gatesville because of his age and will testify and take a lie detector test. He was incarcerated at Gatesville in 1964-65. “I’m still carrying something with me a perforated eardrum,” he says. One day, he said, he was sitting at the table in mess hall, talking in a low tone. This was against the rules. He says a guard whom he names walked all the way around the room, came up behind him, and hit him on the ear. “All I could hear was bells,” he says. The next day, Cook says, he went to the hospital, and the doctor told him the ear had a small hole in it. Cook can hear with it, despite this. The medical doctor in the hospital at Hilltop School in Gatesville, Cook alleges, asked him how it happened, and Cook told him a guard had hit him, but the doctor said he didn’t think one of the bosses would do that, it must have been one of the boys. “No, sir, it was one of the bosses,” said Cook, who was then 17. Cook says he wrote a letter to give a friend to get to his parents to tell them what happened and sue, but someone saw him writing it, and he tore it up before he arrived in the office. They did not rack him, he said, but three employees of the school, whom he names, told him he had not been hit, but that “I’d punched my self in the ear” with a pencil. He was told by two officials that “things can happen to people who don’t want to cooperate,” which he took as threats. He said he signed the statement they asked him to, saying he had punctured his own ear. A guard he named whipped him and put him in lockup in connection with “pulling grass” with his hands, Cook said. In all he was racked ten or twelve times. “It was the type of deal where you walked tight and kept your mouth shut,” Cook says. “You never knew when they would pull you in the office and whip hell out of you.” Once when four or five other boys got in some trouble, someone mentioned his name as also involved, even though he had been mowing grass at the time, Cook says, but when he told a guard he named this, he was slapped in the face and punched in the belly. He says he was hit in the chest, fell, and was kicked in the ear and then the belly because he refused to tell on another boy. Cook says he saw a boss get off his horse and kick a boy in his belly, hit him with his fists, and then hit him in the back with the handle of a shovel the boy had been working with. This was in caliche pits where boys in lockup were working during the day. Had anybody said anything while this was happening? “No,” Cook says. “One thing you learn is to keep your mouth shut, or you’ll get it, too.” Domingo Luera NOW WORKING regularly at semi-skilled labor in outdoors Houston, a 20-year-old M e x i c a n-American boy served two terms at Gatesville between 1964 and 1966, totaling 21 months. Willing to be quoted and to testify if asked, he says he would take a lie detector test, too. This is what Domingo Luera says: Sometimes the boys were playing baseball at Hackberry in 1964 and guards would beat some of them with “little old handles” of some kind. “I seen one boy one time, they caught ’em fighting, they lay him down and tore him up with a belt.” That was 1965. He guesses he saw a boy racked about once a day, with fists, hands, sometimes “little sticks, little bats.” Their offenses were fighting, talking out loud, stepping out of a line, running away in open fields. Behind the kitchen at Hilltop, there is a pit with a “whole bunch of grease and oil” in it, and sometimes boys were told to get down into it “and play in it a little while” and then, grease-smeared and with a “terrible smell,” were taken to their dorm and shown to the other boys. Luera calls this place the greasepit. Ronaldo Suarez RECENTLY RELEASED from Live Oak School at Gatesville, a 17-year old Mexican-American boy with a record of delinquency was sent up last year and served eight months. His present employer noticed he was limping when he started work, but sent him out on the job. The boy fell off a truck and his leg was hurt. He says, with fear and trembling, that he had been beaten on just before his release from Gatesville so badly that he could not walk for three days and that he fell from the truck because he was still stiff in the legs. His employer sent him to a medical clinic, and the doctor there later told the employer the boy related the beatings at Gatesville in the medical situation. The doctor put a bandage on one leg and ordered the boy to stay home a week. He is back at work now. He is willing to testify and take a lie detector test. This is what Ronaldo Suarez says: He was the clothesroom boy. A new boy told a guard that someone had stolen his socks. Suarez thinks they probably hadn’t ‘been issued by oversight. A guard, whose name Suarez gives, said he would beat up everybody in the dormitory unless he found out who stole the socks. Some of the boys said to Suarez to steal a pair of socks and give them to the new boy to get them out of this. “I stole him a pair of socks,” Suarez says, and the new boy told the guard he had found them beside the radiator. The guard did not believe this. He has his own style of punishing boys. He sits them down, makes them grasp each side of the flat of the chair with their hands, and hits them on the neck or the legs from the knee to the thigh. Boys who can’t hold on, he kicks. He started this treatment on the new boy, but “he was new and started crying and fell on the floor and said the clothesroom boy gave him the socks.” The guard then resolved to give Suarez this treatment, too. The guard beat Suarez about twenty times on each leg from knee to thigh, and the next day Suarez couldn’t walk. The guard tried to get him to, but “I couldn’t have no nerves to pull my legs like I wanted to.” He was unable to walk three days. The guard then learned Suarez was due to go home and rebuked him for not telling him that. “He wanted to put out this incident report,” Suarez says. “He told me to put down that I got hurt playing football. I just put down what he said, that I got January 24, 1969 11