April 21, 2004

Best. Quote. Ever.

PumpUserOrChildAbuserRichard Leiby reports today on the legal battles between Melvin Sembler and Richard R. Bradbury. Mr. Sembler is the US Ambassador to Italy. He and his wife founded the Straight program, an aggressive drug rehabilitation program that has been highly controversial over the years.

Mr. Bradbury is highly critical of the Semblers and a vocal protestor of Straight's practices. He began digging through their trash a number of years ago. His most prized possession from these scavenges is a penile pump that was apparently prescribed to Sembler after prostate surgery. Bradbury went on to sell the pump for $300,000 on eBay last year. Sembler is now suing Bradbury for invasion of privacy, or some such.

The controversy has been dubbed PumpGate and prompted Wesley Fager, a protestor of Straight and webmaster of TheStraights.com, to say:

"The story is not about a man's penis pump -- it's about child abuse."
I don't know much about the Straight program, but it doesn't seem entirely effective. All of their graduates vocal about the program are clearly on drugs. I hope.
A Case of One Man's Trash, or Hitting Below the Belt? [WP]

Posted by Meghan at April 21, 2004 10:43 AM

The newspaper article states: "The case focuses on a penile pump that Bradbury lifted from Sembler's garbage, then posted on eBay last year for $300,000."
My question is: was anyone actually dumb enough to shell out 300 grand for some guy's presumably used (yuk!) penis pump?

Posted by: Syntacticus at April 21, 2004 12:25 PM

yup. they're clearly on drugs.

Posted by: Swamp City at April 21, 2004 01:29 PM

You would think that with 300k, the guy could afford a better haircut.

You would think.

Posted by: turbulent priest at April 21, 2004 02:39 PM

You think that's hair? I couldn't tell.

Posted by: Swamp City at April 21, 2004 04:33 PM

Further thought: how can you sue somebody for violating your privacy when you threw the thing out in the garbage? When you throw something out it is "res nullius" (a thing belonging to no one).
Res nullius is fair game, I thought, which is why shredding businesses have grown so big in recent years. If the guy set foot on Penis Pump Man's land, then maybe that would be trespassing. You a lawyer, Swampella?

Posted by: Syntacticus at April 21, 2004 05:06 PM

Which one is the ambassador, and which one the protester? The pictures aren't captioned.

Posted by: Zizka at April 22, 2004 03:19 PM

His Excellency is the middle-aged guy on the left.

Posted by: Syntacticus at April 22, 2004 03:57 PM

Whether a right to privacy exists depends on where the garbage is. If it is still within the curtilage of the home, there is a right to privacy. Outside the curtilage, no privacy. See California v. Greenwood, 108 S.Ct. 1625 (1988).

Posted by: John at April 22, 2004 04:06 PM

Why is Martin Gore going through other people's trash?

Posted by: Wisco at April 22, 2004 04:22 PM

Thanks for filling in there, Synty and John. I don't know about Martin Gore, though. I think the dude is just a slightly less creepy grown up version of Anthony Michael Hall. If he hadn't taken steroids to look like this: http://imdb.com/gallery/granitz/1392/Events/1392/AnthonyMic_Grani_379171_400.jpg?path=pgallery&path;_key=Hall,%20Anthony%20Michael
he could easily have grown up to look like that.

Posted by: Swamp City at April 22, 2004 05:24 PM

Sembler sure is a creepy guy. Richard, now that man is a hero. Take it from a Straight Survivor (who isn't on drugs), the straight program was a trip straight from hell. Sembler should and will be held accountable.

Posted by: kpickle39 at April 23, 2004 11:17 AM

Curtilage? Tres cool legal word. Almost as cool as champerty.

Posted by: Syntacticus at April 23, 2004 12:48 PM

Not to mention the guy's super tight with Cheny and some suspect had a little something to do with forged Niger documents making their way into the presidents speaches.

Posted by: ed at April 23, 2004 04:44 PM

That's "Cheney" if you couldn't tell.

Posted by: ed at April 23, 2004 04:45 PM

Your very comments prove why survivors aren't willing to speak out about the program! For your information, most kids in the program DIDN'T have a drug problem - Richard being one of them. In fact, he wanted to be a military policeman. Does that sound like a kid on drugs? And last, for all of your judgment on Richard - he succeeded where the rest of us failed: he brought this to the attention of the national media. So stop focusing on Rich's freaking hair and listen to what we're saying: MELVIN SEMBLER IS A CHILD ABUSER!

Posted by: Leigh Bright at April 23, 2004 05:54 PM

I was in Straight. I was abused, beaten, starved; and other unspeakable treats were exacted upon me. To have Mel Sembler brought to justice (imprisonment and full closure of all assets made from the backs of children) will be pure correctness in the eye of the one U.S. constitution.

Posted by: guywhofucksyourmother at April 26, 2004 02:46 PM

I was a prisioner at STRAIGHT Inc. in the 80's My life has been a never ending fight w/PTSD and depression since I was freed from there. Mel Sembler Knew about the ABUSE and laughed all the way to the bank. Mel Sembler should have to account for the heinous crimes committed inside those warehouses.

Posted by: samantha at May 1, 2004 02:47 PM

I was there in the 80s too. I have long blocked it and moved on with my life... But one day I decided to see if there was anything online about this place, and am SO glad to see something happening... Anyone associated with how this horrible, unspeakably awful place was run (I was in Springfield) should be expected to pay dearly for all the kids abused for all those years. Gads... I'm not a religious person, but I pray for all those who were brainwashed. I was one of the rare ones, apparently, who managed to somehow keep my sanity while faking the robotic brainwash so I could gain just enough freedom to run away and STAY away. Thank God I had some people in my life who truly loved me enough to help me stay undercover till I was 18 (about two years in hiding).

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Posted by: buy tramadol at August 24, 2004 03:31 AM

You might want to pay some serious attention the PUMPGATE the next week, or so. Seems the Semblers may have told some lies to the court on August 11, 2004. Pinellas county court case number 03-6649-CI-013, they have a public web-site.

From reading the affidavits in the case that are public record, looks like serious.

Keep in mind this is the President right hand money-man. Look like some pretty bad news is on the horizon for the President.

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