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(redirected from STRAIGHT Inc)


Desite the name, this isn't an ex-gay organization; in fact, it's defunct as of 1993. However, the story of STRAIGHT, Inc. is one whose repercussions are still being felt today – and which are related to at least one other entry here at Cast Iron Chaos.

During the 1980s, STRAIGHT was a successful rehabilitation program for troubled teenagers and children with drug problems, with dozens of chapters across the country. However, a series of scandals involving numerous accusations of physical and sexual abuse, mental scarring, and "cult-like" control tactics inflicted on many of the kids in the Straight Inc. programs led to the organization collapsing in the early 1990s, amid a large number of lawsuits and huge monetary settlements. [1]

A substantial amount of dirt and accusations about Straight Inc. has been compiled online at the Web site, including a plethora of information about the group's founder, Melvin Sembler. It's worth noting that in 2001, Sembler was appointed by President George W. Bush as the United States Ambassador to Italy…even though he couldn't speak Italian. (He subsequently resigned in 2005.) Sembler apparently even played a role in the scandal that brought down "Scooter" Libby, the White House Chief of Staff (as reported in ''Washington Monthly'').

STRAIGHT is gone but not forgotten: survivors of STRAIGHT still gather in support groups and keep in touch with one another, as seen on the STRAIGHT Inc. Veterans message board. (A Yahoo group called STRAIGHT Inc. Alumni also exists.)

Meanwhile, several offshoots of STRAIGHT have risen from the remains of the original, with the most prominent of these descendants being SAFE and Kids Helping Kids.