AMARILLO, Texas (KVII) — Steve Smith, a former Cal Farley's Boys Ranch resident, spoke out today on his experiences of being physically and emotionally abused during his time at the Boys Ranch.
Smith said he was 8-years-old when his mother dropped off him and his younger brother, Rick, at Boys Ranch in 1957.
“I stayed 3,932 days," Smith said, "and my brother stayed about 700 more days than I spent out there.”
Now almost 70-years-old, Smith recalls the first time he was beaten, shortly after arriving at Boys Ranch. He said it started when one of the other boys threw a pile of sand in his face and not being able to see, he blurted out a cuss word.
“I couldn’t see and you know, it felt just like glass," Smith said. "I was 8-years-old and I felt two hands grabbing me and taking me back to the courthouse and when I got in there, they weren’t taking me in there to wash my eyes out. They were taking me in there to whip me.”
Smith tells ABC 7 News that during his time at Boys Ranch, four of his dogs were shot and killed. He said the dogs, three of them named Boots and the other named Snot, meant everything to him.
"I was just a young boy and that's all I had," Smith said.
Over the course of almost 11 years, Smith said he was slapped, slugged, beat and tortured.
He said he even watched helplessly as his younger brother was beaten by staff members. Steve said Rick recently told Steve that he has also been raped while at Boys Ranch.
“How does someone go through life with that on their back? He was ashamed and he didn’t deserve that,” Smith said.
Steve said he served in the Vietnam War and that he has put the war behind him, but his time at Boys Ranch, does not even compare.
"I rather go back to Vietnam then go back to Boys Ranch,” he said.
In a statement today, President and CEO Dan Adams issued an apology to those who may have experienced abuse in any form.
“It was a pure hell for [all the boys who experienced abuse] and they carried that through their life," Smith said. "I don’t know how [the apology is] going to change really, but I'm hoping it will do them all good to know that someone has apologized. And I hope Boys Ranch never goes back to that place again.”
Smith tells ABC 7 News an apology was one of the issues that he wanted addressed. He also said he and others who were abused wanted a fund set up to help ex-ranches with mental health problems that were created by Boys Ranch and staff that abused the boys growing up should not have landmarks and buildings named after them.
He said the Boys Ranch moto is accountability and leadership, and they need to take responsibility for what they did.