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The Franklin Committee Reaction To The Owen Verdict - June 22, 1991 - Omaha World-Herald

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June 22, 1991 The Franklin Committee Reaction To The Owen Verdict; [Sunrise Edition] Omaha World - Herald. Omaha, Neb pg. 10

Full Text (517 words)
(Copyright 1991 Omaha World-Herald Company)

The Alisha Owen Verdict

The Nebraska Legislature formed a seven-member committee of state senators in January 1989 to investigate the failure of the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union and allegations of child sexual abuse.

A total of $300,000 eventually was appropriated by the Legislature to aid in the investigation by the committee headed by State Sen. Loran Schmit of Bellwood. The committee gathered 21 hours of videotaped testimony from three young people who said they had been sexually and physically abused when they were minors.

Alisha Owen and her friends Troy Boner and James Daniel "Danny" King were the young people who made the statements in late 1989 to Gary Caradori, the legislative committee's investigator. Boner and King later recanted their statements.

State lawmakers allowed the committee to go out of existence at the beginning of this year. The committee's report has not yet been made public.

REACTION TO THE OWEN VERDICT

Reaction to Friday's conviction of Alisha Owen on eight counts of purjury in the case:

Committee member Sen. Jerome Warner of Waverly:

"There isn't any question in my mind that the whole process of review and investigation for alleged child abuse is going to be improved and a lot more attention given to it.
'As far as the committee itself is concerned, I never had any regrets about what the committee did based on what we knew at the time.

"I don't think you are going to have the kind of media attention that's been given without some permanent scars.

"It would be well for the state to try and benefit from the things we have learned that can be helpful and constructive for the future and then put the balance aside."

Lincoln attorney John Stevens Berry, counsel to the committee:

"The Franklin committee did not make the decision as to whether there would be prosecution. The Franklin committee had information and turned it over to authorities.

"I think the committee was composed of good, hard-working, ethical and concerned senators. These were not people who took any matters lightly. They were not troublemakers."

Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, who resigned from the special committee in July 1989, citing what he said were concerns that Schmit was trying to shift investigation away from child abuse allegations:

"I really don't think the things (Franklin Community Federal Credit Union's top executive) Larry King knew will ever be made public.

"If the law-enforcement agencies had done their job in the beginning, there would never have been a need to have any involvement by the Legislature."

Chambers criticized former State Sen. and Lincoln lobbyist John DeCamp for what he said was DeCamp's involvement in the committee's activities. An interim report made public by the committee in 1989, Chambers said, had DeCamp's "fingers all over it."

Committee member Sen. Bernice Labedz of Omaha:

"I did my job as I saw fit." She declined to comment further.

State Sen. Loran Schmit of Bellwood, chairman of the Legislature's special Franklin committee, and committee members Dennis Baack of Kimball and Dan Lynch of Omaha could not be reached for comment Friday.


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