Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tampa reporter targets my deceased father over Dozier story

At 11:06 p.m. on Friday night (September 6, 2013), Ben Montgomery of the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times) informed me that he is investigating my late father.

Mr. Montgomery sent me an email informing me of this action on his part roughly 10 minutes after sending out a Tweet demanding that I change the content of a story I posted on this blog two days ago about a dog being exhumed by the University of South Florida at the Dozier School Cemetery. I have refused to make the change requested by Mr. Montgomery.

Subsequently, ten minutes after making his demand for the story change, he sent me the following email:

 ----- Forwarded Message -----
From: ""
To: Dale Cox
Sent: Friday, September 6, 2013 11:06 PM
Subject: Re: Dozier

Dale --

Do you know what your father's role was at ACI? I've requested his employment records, but I was wondering if you might shed any light on his time there. I know trustees from ACI were often involved in helping track down Dozier escapees, but do you know whether your father would have been involved in any of those efforts? 


Sent from my iPhone


As you can see, Mr. Montgomery indicates he has requested my late father's employment records. 

I find this action on his part to be uncalled for and disgusting. My father was never an employee of Dozier School for Boys and died at about the time the whole "White House Boys" story first developed. He was never involved with the story.

Mr. Montgomery followed at 12:06 a.m. today with another email explaining that he was investigating my late father because he was "just trying to figure out why you're so vociferous." In other words, he is investigating my late father because I have exercised my Constitutional right of Free Speech.

The media considers itself the guardian of the First Amendment, yet in this case Mr. Montgomery is targeting my late father because I have spoken publicly about the Dozier School story. You can judge for yourself whether that is right or wrong.

My dad, as all who knew him will testify, was an honorable and decent man. To know that a reporter who disagrees with me on the Dozier issue has decided to investigate him is disgusting and sickening.

If you would like to voice your opinion on this matter, I encourage you to do so by writing to the managing editor of the Tampa Bay Times. He is Mr. Montgomery's boss.  His email address is

Dale Cox
September 7, 2013


Anonymous said...

Oh~ this is a get back... No other reason. Sad that someone like that would do such a thing.

L.B. Howell said...

I would say Mr Montgomery is way out of bounds. I knew your father and do not believe he would have mistreated anyone. Being your father was "law enforcement I would think his records are sealed under law.

Anonymous said...

It is clear by his bullying behavior that Mr. Montgomery takes the discovery of the dog personally. His childish and bullying email makes it obvious he is a cat lover.

Dale Cox said...

The cat lover comment made me smile. :) Thank you all for your comments.

Anonymous said...

I once worked in personnel records for one of the counties in Fla. If your father was a state employee, under state of Florida records laws, his personnel file would be public record to a degree. If he was a corrections or law enforcement officer, exempt from record would be things like where he lived, names of family members, and other personal and private details. For personnel records, the retention dates, I think are 25 years. If he separated or retired more than 25 years ago, Mr. Montgomery is SOL. If his record is like most, and you indicate that he was, then there would be nothing but mundane performance appraisals which don't really say anything other than he did a good job.

In my opinion, the reporter is probably not very experienced because he would know this if he has researched state employee personnel records in the past. Of course the family would only remember their father for being the Dad and nothing more. You might want to consult a lawyer if this guy is seriously harassing you and your family.

Dale Cox said...

Thank you very much for the information on personnel records. My mom and I were wondering what the current rules are and discussing them just this morning.

I might be able to better understand if this reporter was a newbie, but he has been around a long time. Most likely he is feeling some embarrassment over the graves thus far being normal historic graves prepared according to proper religious and mortuary practices. And, as you know, the best defense is a good offense, so he is being offensive.


KN said...

Someday these scumbags will have to answer to God for their vindictive actions on earth. Woe to them on that day of judgment! What goes around comes around!

Kathy S. Johnson said...

This is WAY out of line with anything I have ever seen, in the field of journalism! I can't believe Mr. Montgomery's actions!!! When did your father work at ACI? If it was BEFORE 1976, absolutely nothing is considered open to public scrutiny. But, I can't figure out why this person would even be looking at your late father's personnel file. If he was offended by your comments on the dog, then he needs to grow a thicker skin.

Dale Cox said...

Kathy, most of Dad's time there was pre-1976. This is nothing but a thinly veiled effort to suppress my First Amendment rights. As you well know, reporters do not ethically investigate deceased parents to find out why their children dare to speak! It is unethical and immoral and, according to Mr. Wilson (Managing Editor of the paper) has his full support.


Anonymous said...

I just wish the truth would come out in regards to the boys at Dozier. It is a shame that we are worried about the dog and not the boys who were buried at the school. Let the truth come to the light and those punished if still alive. There is more than 31 bodies buried at the school.

Anonymous said...

I am disgusted by the low-life ninnies who masquerade as reporters this day in time. My only foray into the world of Journalism consists of a high-school Journalism class and my online blogs in recent years. I remember from that HS class (some 30+ years ago) that a REAL reporter only focuses on the "Who, What, When, Where, Why and How" of a story. To chase a rabbit down a trail (like this) clearly shows that reporters have traded their neutrality to become paid editorial commentators POSING as reporters. This violates the integrity of the profession and is tantamount to a doctor practicing voodoo! Had to post this anonymously ... I will let you know who I am privately.

Dale Cox said...

Thank you for the note. Don't think for a minute that all involved on either side of the debate are not worried about the boys and adults buried there. If you go to the main page, you will see that I also provided information on the two graves exhumed so far and have done previous postings on the people known to be buried there.