By JAVIER MANJARRESThe State of Florida and Democratic Senator Bill Nelson are butting heads over a University of South Florida request to exhume graves at the Dozier School for Boys, the Florida Panhandle state-run reform school where researchers from the University discovered “numerous unmarked graves.”
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Nelson supports the school’s request to exhume the human remains that were “unexpectedly discovered in January using ground-penetrating radar — graves found outside the school’s small graveyard.”
Secretary of State Ken Ketzner says that the state does not have the power to allow the school, or anyone else, to exhume the graves at the reform school, where guards abused the youths sent to live at the school.
Nelson blames Florida Governor Rick Scott-
“This is a good example of the ridiculous stance that the state of Florida has taken,” Nelson said, “and I believe this is under the direction of the governor.”
USF’s response: The state definitely has that power. The Florida Legislature “has given the (Department of State) the power,” to “excavate human remains,” according to the opinion written by university attorney Gerard Solis.
The state’s position that “human bodies are not objects to be dug up for research purposes,” was also refuted by the university.
“The purpose of USF’s work at Dozier is not to excavate bodies for research as an academic end itself,” read the university’s letter, “but rather it is engaged research intended to locate unmarked human burials and identify any human remains so that those remains can be returned to their families.”
“This is all being run by the governor. He controls the Department of State. If they wanted to do it, that’s all the governor would have to say.“It is absolutely ridiculous that they are refusing for these families, who have lost a child and (their remains) are missing, to have closure.”-Tampa Bay Times
Nelson says that he is “not gonna let this one go,” threatening to make big hay out of this issue, and is considering asking Attorney General Eric and his DOJ to get involved.
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