Friday, April 25, 2014
   
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The Franklin Scandal In-Depth Article - By: Nick Bryant

Note from the Admin: The article below is only a segment of what the Franklin Scandal book by Nick Bryant has to offer.  I encourage anyone who has not yet purchased the book to do so.  Click here for details.


Table of Contents:

 


Part 1 - A Lurid Tale

The “lurid” tale of Franklin, to borrow an adjective from the New York Times in 1988, begins with Larry King. Not the CNN talk show host, but Lawrence King, Jr. of Omaha, who sang the national anthem at the 1984 Republican convention in Dallas, and throughout the '80s was described as a “GOP high-roller” and “the fastest rising African-American star” in the Republican Party. As King named-dropped to a reporter for Omaha’s weekly Metropolitan in 1988,

“I know some of the people I admire aren’t very popular. Ed Meese. The late Bill Casey of the CIA. And I love former Chief Justice Burger. Those are the people I really like to talk to. Bill Casey ... I thought so very highly of him.”

Tall and corpulent, King had a fondness for flowers, fine tailored suits, expensive cars, mansions, chartered jets, and glistening jewelry. He had a hand in an array of businesses, but his day job was general manager of the Franklin Federal Credit Union, created to provide loans for Omaha’s underserved black community.

Vice Chairman for Finance of the National Black Republican Council, a sanctioned affiliate of the Republican National Committee, King also chaired the Council of Minority Americans, a nonprofit group that sponsored a $100,000 gala at the 1988 Republican convention in New Orleans. The host committee included former President Gerald Ford, Alexander Haig, and Jack Kemp. A ten-minute videotape featuring King and Jack Kemp, urging blacks to vote for George Bush, Sr., was shown at the gala.

On November 4, 1988, federal agents descended on the Franklin Credit Union; the National Credit Union Administration would ultimately conclude that $39.4 million had been stolen. King was indicted on 40 counts, which included conspiracy, fraud, and embezzlement. Current Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, then chairman of the Equal Opportunity Commission, described King as a “friendly person,” and said his legal travails were “unfortunate.”

Larry King had been dogged by accusations of pedophilia for a number of years. Among the first accusers was Eulice Washington, who claimed King flew her to out-of-state pedophilic orgies. She had been adopted by relatives of King’s in the 1970s. Her new “mother” was King’s cousin Barbara Webb, and her new “father” was husband Jarrett Webb, who sat on the board of the Franklin Federal Credit Union. To Eulice Washington, King had been “Uncle Larry.” “Larry King set up the pedophile ring,” says Eulice. “From my knowledge and from what I saw go down, he was the man who got it moving and rolling. Everything went through him. … He loves boys. He loves them like he shouldn’t.”

Shortly after the Franklin raid, rumors of a nationwide pedophile network swept Nebraska, and in January of 1989 a subcommittee of the state’s legislature convened in Lincoln to investigate both Franklin’s looting and the whispers of far worse crimes. The subcommittee would be called the Franklin Committee, and it was chaired by the 64-year-old Loren Schmit, a corn farmer, stalwart Republican, and 24-year veteran of Nebraska’s legislature. The Franklin Committee had not even started its work when Schmit received his first anonymous phone call—Schmit told reporters for British television that the caller had urged him to drop the inquiry because it would reach the highest levels of the Republican Party.”

Eulice Washington’s initial allegations of child abuse appeared in  a 1988 report from Nebraska’s Foster Care Review Board, a state agency that reviews the plans, services, and placements of children in out-of-home care to ensure their optimum welfare. Though the report contained a series of allegations about King, its centerpiece consisted of interviews of Eulice by a Boys Town youth worker. Eulice stated that she and Boys Town students had been transported across state lines for sexual exploitation. After the Board requested a law enforcement investigation, its report moved through channels at the Omaha Police Department (OPD) and the state attorney general’s office in July of 1988. In the absence of child abuse indictments, the State House swelled with rumors of a cover-up..

"We did receive some sensitive information in July,” said Nebraska’s Attorney General in a December 1988 Lincoln Journal article. “My office acted promptly and professionally and nothing was sat on.” In early 1989, the Franklin Committee issued a subpoena to the Assistant Attorney General, demanding that the Attorney General’s office surrender its reports relating to King and child abuse, but Attorney General Robert Spire refused to honor the subpoena. Spire’s investigator, Thomas Vlahoulis, would be called before the Franklin Committee and confess that he hadn’t interviewed a single alleged victim, and had referred all victim debriefings to the OPD.

The Omaha chief of police, Robert Wadman told the Lincoln Journal that the OPD had pursued all leads and found them unsubstantiated . “Every step that should have been taken was taken,” he said. Yet, Chief Robert Wadman would later confess that the OPD never contacted Eulice, and three months after Wadman’s remarks, the Boys Town youth worker who had interviewed Eulice told the Omaha World-Herald that the OPD had never contacted her either.

In February of 1989, the Franklin subcommittee’s chief investigator sent a memo to its members. “What appears to be documented cases of child abuse and sexual abuse dating back several years with no enforcement action taken by the appropriate agencies is ... mind boggling,” wrote Jerry Lowe. “The information that became public in 1988 relative to Larry King’s family connection with one of the principals ... is cause for further concern.”

King was noticeably absent from the controversy that swirled around him. On February 7, 1990, US Magistrate Richard Kopf ordered that King be sent to a federal medical facility in Springfield, Missouri for a “mental health evaluation” without a formal motion from King’s attorneys. King was picked up and dispatched the day before President George H.W. Bush was to speak at a political fundraiser in Omaha. Having named Bush as one of his personal “friends,” King had reportedly purchased a ticket for the event and had subsequently been detained by the Secret Service.

On February 9, the Lincoln Journal reported that both King’s pastor and his employer deemed him mentally stable—King acquired a “job” at a flower shop after the credit union’s closing. “I didn’t see any indication of mental problems,” said the pastor, adding he would be “surprised if King were declared unfit.” The psychiatrist in Springfield disagreed, making a diagnosis of “probable delusional paranoid disorder.”

King was then remanded back to Omaha for a mental competency hearing—Magistrate Kopf ruled King incompetent to stand trial and sealed his psychiatric report. Judge William Cambridge then sent King “forthwith” to the US Medical Facility in Rochester, Minnesota, where he spent the next five months as a “pretrial detainee.”

Part 2 - Caradori

In July of 1989, Senator Schmit released a three-page report urging his subcommittee to “find out where the money went and you’ll find the rest,” because their previous tactics had yet to yield an indictment. As an example, Schmit cited a $2,800 credit card receipt that showed King had purchased a coat for a man who was later found shot to death. His death would unconvincingly be ruled a suicide.

This shift in direction of the subcommittee prompted three members, including its chief investigator Jerry Lowe, to resign. In a World-Herald article, Lowe stated that Schmit informed him that there was “pressure to stop the investigation,” which Schmit confirmed: “I have gotten phone calls threatening me. I’ve been told to leave it alone or my kids were going to be orphans.”

After Lowe resigned, Schmit called upon Gary Caradori to succeed him as the Franklin subcommittee’s chief investigator. Assuming undercover disguises from priest to plumber, Caradori had a talent for finding teenage runaways enmeshed in prostitution and drugs. Caradori, a former Nebraska state patrolman, had founded an investigative firm in Lincoln, Nebraska, and the Lincoln Journal loved him: “When the police tell you their hands are tied ... when your only witness has skipped town and when the justice system seems like it’s breaking apart, people call Gary Caradori.”

Caradori went to work immediately, finding new victims and perpetrators …and enemies he never anticipated. “An old friend of ours who used to work for Lincoln Telephone came to the house and told us our phone was being tapped,” says Caradori’s wife, Sandy, a middle school English teacher. “He already suspected it. When he arranged meetings over the phone, FBI agents would already be there when he arrived.” Sandy | Audio Clip One

In November and December 1989, Caradori interviewed Alisha Owen, Troy Boner, and Danny King (no relation to Larry King), all in their early 20s. Owen was serving time in the Nebraska Center for Women at York for writing bad checks, while Boner and Danny King were living in the Omaha area. Caradori recorded their sworn testimony on over 20 hours of videotape, where they described being flown around the country as underage prostitutes and attending grotesquely sadistic pedophiliac orgies. Larry King, they said, had organized it all.

In December 1989, Schmit’s subcommittee gave the videotaped statements to Attorney General Spire and Nebraska’s US Attorney.(Caradori videotaped a fourth victim, Paul Bonacci, in May of 1990, who corroborated Owen, Boner, and Danny King.)

Almost immediately, “anonymous” sources started leaking to the Lincoln Journal and the Omaha World-Herald that “one or both” of the young men videotaped by Caradori had failed FBI polygraphs. The FBI refused comment, but State Senator Jerry Chizek denounced the leaks as a violation of federal law: “I’ve been around a lot of investigations in my 53 years,” he said in a Lincoln Journal article, “and I’ve never seen one like this in my life.”

Despite the FBI's attempts to sabotage his investigation, Caradori continued to follow the money. In his “Investigative Report” of April 13, 1990, he described his meeting with a former employee of an airplane charter service used by Larry King. Though the woman was apprehensive about having her name connected to the “Franklin investigation,” she disclosed that King used her charter service on a weekly basis, and routinely traveled with a number of young men who were “very good looking,” dressed in fancy suits, and “clean cut and clean shaven.” The young men, she noted, never spoke, which she found extremely “strange.”

Obtaining hundreds of flight itineraries from two charter services, Caradori had proof that King chartered the planes, but very few of the itineraries had a “passenger manifest” or any list of people on the flight. The itineraries listed several different destinations, but most flights were to Washington, DC.

By May of 1990, Caradori had compiled a “Leads List” of 271 people who may have been victims, perpetrators, or witnesses, and submitted it to state and federal investigators. In June 1990, Caradori warned Schmit’s subcommittee that the Douglas County grand jury was being deliberately “misled by the influence of the State Patrol investigator and various people in the FBI.” He voiced his reluctance to furnish the evidence he was amassing to the Nebraska State Patrol and FBI (as the subcommittee had ordered), because they were using it to sabotage his investigation.

Caradori also testified that he had been trying to obtain pictures of King’s orgies. Some of the victims he interviewed mentioned a photographer named Rusty Nelson: “Photographer in the Omaha area who was employed by Mr. King. Alleged to have taken pornographic photos of children and to have also directed sexual activity for photographs,” said Nelson’s entry on Caradori’s “Leads List.” Caradori referenced five videotape exhibits and an OPD report implicating Nelson in “possible child pornography,” noting that he lived in a luxury apartment sublet from Larry King.

In 2003, I located Rusty Nelson living in a Columbus, Nebraska trailer park. I spend hours with him, judging his veracity, and ultimately discern numerous contradictory statements that severely impugn his credibility. He has also been imprisoned for the possession of child pornography. But, at the same time, Caradori’s investigation clearly tied him to King.

“King hired me to take pictures of adults and children in compromising positions,” Nelson tells me. “The pictures showed who the adults were and who the kids were. I gathered that the purpose was blackmail.  I gathered that the purpose was blackmail and it was political. The content of the pictures, and the events surrounding them, would be an instant end to a politician’s career.”

Nelson went on to say that King had attempted to pressure him into “hardcore” activities, and their relationship fissured. He says that the FBI then started to harass him—not to force his disclosures about King’s pedophile ring, but to silence him. He fled Nebraska and moved to New Mexico, where Caradori first contacted him. Nelson promised Caradori incriminating photographs, and they agreed to meet in Chicago.

Caridori, accompanied by his 8-year-old son A.J., flew his single-engine Piper Saratoga from Lincoln to Chicago on July 7, 1990. The mission, he said to his wife, was to meet Nelson and then go to the Major League All-Star Game with A.J.

“I met with Caradori briefly,” says Nelson. “I just gave him the pictures and got out of there.” Caradori phoned Senator Schmit from Chicago, exclaiming, “We got them by the shorthairs!”

The Piper Saratoga crashed around 2 A.M. on July 11 in a cornfield near Ashton, Illinois, killing both Caradori and his son. Remnants of the plane were scattered up to 1,800 feet from the fuselage, indicating that it had broken up in flight. Two days later, FBI special agent Michael Mott and a colleague delivered a subpoena to Caradori’s grieving widow, demanding all of her husband’s Franklin evidence.

Caradori’s investigative assistant, Karen Ormiston, told the investigators from Britain's Yorkshire Television that someone had tampered with Caradori’s vehicles before his death and, she felt, sabotaged his airplane. Many of his possessions were missing from the wreckage, she said, including the briefcase that presumably held the photographs. She also asserted that Caradori’s death was effectively the end of the Franklin investigation, because additional witnesses were too frightened to emerge from the shadows. “There were many victims,” Ormiston said. “We knew of more. There are more. They’re still out there. They’re afraid to come forward.”

Senator Schmit submitted an affidavit stating that he had been warned that Caradori’s life was in danger. He also wrote a letter to the National Transportation Safety Board regarding the missing backseats of Caradori’s plane: “... I do not know anything about sabotage, but I have been told that a phosphorous type bomb would, in fact, vaporize metal and any other material with which it came in contact and that unless someone knew what they were looking for, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to detect.... I am sure there will be those who will scoff at such a suggestion, but there have been entirely too many violent deaths associated with this investigation....”

The NTSB wasn't able to provide a reason why Caradori's plane broke up in flight, but it unconvincingly offered pilot error or instrumnet malfunctions as possible explanations.

Part 3 - A Parallel Universe

My personal involvement with the bewildering secrets of organized child trafficking in America began in June of 2002 while I was working up an article on another shadowy subject. Unknown to me, I had been launched on a journey to a parallel universe, one that coexists with the universe of Little League, Boy Scouts, Disneyland, and the other hallmarks of wholesome, youthful Americana—a universe where lies masquerade as truth, where shadows reflect light, where innocence is condemned. A universe that embodies collusion, child abuse, and the cover-up of heinous crimes.

I initially embarked on my dark odyssey skeptical and bold, and it left me devastated. I wasn’t shocked by the threats and intimidation I endured delving into this universe, but, rather, by the realization of its very existence. I previously hadn’t been able to conceive of the refined, industrial destruction of children taking place here, and of its cover-up by the very state and federal authorities who have pledged to protect children from the depravity of evil men.

My first inkling of this realm came via an Internet “conspiracy theory.” I’ve never subscribed to conspiracy theories, especially Internet conspiracy theories, but Franklin piqued my interest for two reasons: First, it’s cited by literally thousands of Web sites, and experience has taught me that billows of smoke just might shroud a fire. Second, I have a strong interest in the mistreatment of children. Prior to my current incarnation as a New York-based freelance writer, I was employed by the University of Minnesota to write about the plight of disadvantaged children, co-authoring several academic papers and a book on the subject.

Though Franklin is seemingly everywhere on the Internet, its notoriety is only rooted in two sources: in a book, The Franklin Cover-Up, written and self-published in 1992 by John DeCamp, a former Republican Nebraska state senator, and also in an unaired documentary, Conspiracy of Silence, produced by Britain’s Yorkshire Television. Both The Franklin Cover-Up and Conspiracy of Silence have provided copious fodder for speculation in recent years. A Google of Franklin, child abuse, and Boys Town yields tens of thousands of hits.Image

I ordered a copy of The Franklin Cover-Up from Amazon and tracked down a VHS of Conspiracy of Silence. The documentary arrived first, so I popped it into my VCR. The hour-long film told the tale of an interstate pedophile ring that plundered Boys Town for under-age prostitutes, pandering children to a cabal of powerful pedophiles in Washington, D.C., and it included footage of alleged victims recounting chilling tales of pedophiliac sadism. Conspiracy of Silence also described the fruitless efforts of Nebraska legislators to expose the ring amidst the juggernaut of a massive cover-up that included murder, media manipulation, and collusion by law enforcement.

I found Conspiracy of Silence to be extremely disturbing. As I watched it a second time, I was even more disturbed. I wanted to assure myself that I wasn’t free-falling into an abyss of innuendo, so I invited friends to my apartment and gave screenings of the documentary, which they, too, found chilling.

DeCamp’s The Franklin Cover-Up arrived shortly after Conspiracy of Silence. The book had inspired Conspiracy of Silence, and interviews with DeCamp had played a central role in the documentary. The Franklin Cover-Up is primarily an amalgam of documents that were collected and subpoenaed by the Franklin Committee, that subcommittee of the Nebraska legislature that was formed to investigate crimes related to Omaha’s failed credit union. DeCamp, an attorney and former state senator, acted as legal counsel to the Franklin Committee’s chairman, Senator Schmit The Committee’s documents made a strong case for the existence of the pedophile ring, even though state and federal grand juries ruled that any such rumors were a “hoax.”

The Franklin Cover-Up made two major assertions that were absent from Conspiracy of Silence: The book cited victim debriefings stating that the ring was enmeshed in Satanism, and it also implied that the ring was connected to the CIA. To me this seemed totally implausible. But DeCamp, a seasoned lawyer, presented tidbits of compelling evidence here and there, and I was sufficiently intrigued.

I phoned DeCamp at his law office in Lincoln. He politely cut the call short, but gave me his home number and suggested that I call him over the weekend. When I phoned him on Saturday afternoon, he was watching a University of Nebraska football game and asked me to call later. The juxtaposition of archetypical Americana  as represented by “Husker” football with the  evils of child trafficking initially struck me as strange.

I called DeCamp again in the early evening, and we talked for half an hour or so. I had a list of questions that were kindled by Conspiracy of Silence and The Franklin Cover-Up. Decamp couldn’t provide answers to the majority of my questions, but he wasn’t willing to voice crazed conjectures, which impressed me. He lived in a small town forty miles south of Lincoln, and he invited me to spend a night. The holidays were near—I decided to visit my grandmother in Minneapolis, rent a car, and then drive to Nebraska.

The five-hour drive gave me time to ponder the story. The Franklin Cover-Up offered compelling evidence for the existence of a powerful pedophile ring in Nebraska and its cover-up by state authorities, but it lacked substantive proof for the ring’s connection to Washington, D.C., and blackmail and the CIA. It also lacked proof for the pandering of Boys Town kids. Moreover, I found it very difficult to relinquish the saintly mythology of Father Flanagan’s Boys Town conveyed in the Academy Award-winning movie—with its loving, paternal priests, as characterized by Spencer Tracy, and the lovable, rascally boys epitomized by Mickey Rooney.

Once in Nebraska, I thought I would quickly dispel the fantastic Internet speculation surrounding Franklin, but Fate evidently had other plans. I found DeCamp to be cautiously congenial, and he incrementally provided me with a great deal of documentation. I also gleaned numerous documents from a second source, whom I found to be extremely apprehensive and absolutely unwilling to grant me an “on record” interview. The various documents I collected identified approximately sixty victims of abuse and exploitation.

I then attempted to contact people who were interviewed by the makers of Conspiracy of Silence and people whose names surfaced in The Franklin Cover-Up. Almost everyone I contacted recoiled from even talking about talking. The handful of people who actually met with me were very fearful, and only three agreed to give me an “on record” interview.

My first such interview was with Monsignor Hupp, Director of Boys Town from 1972 to 1983. Though Hupp lacked concrete specifics, he made a number of extremely damning statements about his Boys Town successor Father Valentine Peter.

Before long, I began to receive daily phone calls from a Nebraska State Patrol investigator. I found this rather odd, because I hadn’t contacted the Nebraska State Patrol. I was also followed, and I received a death threat. Death threats are principally designed to dissuade people from pursuing investigations, but in my case it significantly authenticated the reality of Franklin.

I left Nebraska beginning to believe that Franklin had been a killing field for the souls of innumerable children—a killing field that was immaculately covered up by the government, my government. The reluctance to talk, harassment, and death threat only reinforced my burgeoning belief.

When I returned home, I had to decide whether or not I should attempt to authenticate Franklin beyond the shadows of an Internet conspiracy theory. In addition to illuminating the suffering and destruction of untold children, I would hopefully prevent future Franklins from occurring in America. But I have to confess, I’m not suicidal, and martyrdom has never appealed to me. So the death threat weighed heavily on my mind.

Over the years I’ve wavered on several investigative stories in the face of doubt: I wasn’t convinced that the stories were sufficiently important for me to pursue with reckless abandon. The only investigations I’ve pursued with unbridled tenacity, and in the face of considerable rejection, were stories where I concluded that law enforcement was either ignoring or covering up murders....I ultimately made the decision to go forward.

Though my trip had yielded abundant documentation, I felt light years away from the substantial corroboration I needed, because it was such an implausible story—I knew New York editors would be justifiably skeptical of its reality. However, I truly believed, if I could amass overwhelming corroboration of the story, at least one magazine editor would have the moral fortitude to publish my article, since it not only involved the abuse and exploitation of children but also a government cover-up of the crimes.

As I investigated Franklin, I came across anecdotal accounts of more pedophile rings that had been covered up by state and federal authorities. Unfortunately, these alleged rings hadn’t been confronted by public servants who had the moral resolve of the Nebraska legislators, and the investigations were quickly suppressed with either a scant or non-existent paper trail. I also came across accounts of powerbroker pedophile rings in other countries that had characteristics eerily similar to Franklin.

I would ultimately make five additional trips to Nebraska, and two trips down the Eastern seaboard. I decided early on that I would require at least triple corroboration for any aspect of Franklin I would commit to print, because a number of the Franklin victims I found were severely damaged and had themselves become felons. {quotes align=right} I met my triple corroboration standard with room to spare: in the least corroborated aspect of this narrative, I managed to collect four corroborations on the ring’s Washington, DC connections to blackmail and a purported CIA asset who was also a Republican powerbroker.

I submitted an earlier draft of this article to a number of mainstream national magazines, and every one rejected it. Though I realize that the material is complex, and the trail traverses considerable ground, I was shocked by the collective indifference—not a single editor requested to see my documentation, some of which is provided on this Web site.

I’ve been a professional writer for fifteen years, and I’ve learned not to take rejection personally. Nonetheless, I’ve had to wonder whether my efforts would merely provide more backdrop to an ongoing conspiracy of silence.

Part 4 - Eulice

Eulice Washington uttered the earliest known documented allegations of child abuse against King in 1986. I was particularly interested in interviewing her because she was the first of the alleged victims to step forward—I started looking for her when I returned to Nebraska eight months after my initial trip. In September of 2003, I had the opportunity to interview Eulice at her home. Still living near Omaha, in a middle-class suburb, Eulice has dedicated herself to working with children who have been victims of abuse. Her living room is decorated with trophies and ribbons commemorating the many academic and athletic achievements of her four children.

Before I press “RECORD,” Eulice Washington ushers her four children down the hallway, directing her two older children into a bedroom to the right of the hallway and her two younger children into a bedroom to the left, gently closing the doors. Almost immediately, her two older children switch on their stereo and her two younger children launch into video games. A muffled mix of Sade’s crooning and PlayStation machine gun fire wafts down the hallway while Eulice returns to the living room and sinks into the couch, leaning her head into her right hand. As an adolescent, Eulice says, she was forced into King’s interstate pedophile ring by her adopted parents Jarrett and Barbara Webb— Jarrett sat on the Franklin Credit Union’s Board of Directors and Barbara was a first cousin of King’s.

“I was in third grade when my sisters, Tracy and Tasha, and I were adopted by the Webbs,” said Eulice, born in 1969. “The first night we were scared. Tracy and Tasha were crying. …Tasha, my baby [sister] peed on herself, and Mrs. Webb tied her to a doorknob. Then she beat her and left her there all night.”  

The beatings never stopped for the next eight years, as Jarrett and Barbara Webb introduced the three girls, plus two more adopted children and three foster children, to a horsewhip and a black leather strap dubbed the “railroad prop.”

“They beat us all the time,” stated Eulice who has lucid, bronze eyes and an unblemished complexion. “I took most of the abuse, so they wouldn’t beat Tracy and Tasha. They starved us,…. After dinner, we would clean off the table and eat the scraps from the Webb’s plates, because we were so hungry.  

Indeed, in separate interviews, the Webbs’ adopted and foster children flooded Nebraska’s Department of Social Services personnel with bone-chilling anecdotes of horrific physical abuse. A myriad of infractions incited the beatings: The grade of a “C” or lower, using the telephone without permission, or even having the temerity to have friends call the Webb home. The girls would also be beaten for not telling Barbara Webb that they were having their menstrual cycle. Additional infractions that incited beatings included breaking a glass, chewing gum, “making noise when shutting off a light switch,” or folding their clothes improperly. Though the beatings generally occurred because of perceived transgressions, Eulice and Tracy recalled suffering beatings for no reason at all—Barbara Webb would just simply announce, “I’m going to beat everyone today.”  The beatings often occurred in the basement, and the children were generally required to remove all their clothes—the beatings could last for five minutes or persist for well over an hour. A NDSS report notes that a doctor attending to one of the children said that the welts on his back were “most likely” produced by “something similar to a heavy rubber hose.”

Following years of horrific abuse, all the foster and adopted children were removed from the nightmare that was the Webb household. The Webbs evaded child abuse charges during the twelve years they essentially enslaved their foster and adopted children. After Eulice had been liberated from the Webbs, she disclosed to her new foster mother, Kathleen Sorenson, that Jarrett Webb had repeatedly molested her. Maybe a month after we were adopted, Mr. Webb said I was ‘built like a brick shithouse.’ I thought that was kind of odd, since I was a little girl and this was coming from my supposed father. When I was in third grade, it was mostly advances. In fourth grade, Mr. Webb started sexually molesting me.”

At the behest of her Mrs. Sorenson, Eulice submitted to and passed a polygraph test, telling the Nebraska State Patrol about her repeated molestations at the hands of Jarrett Webb. When Nebraska’s Washington County DA failed to press charges against Webb, Mrs. Sorenson next approached Julie Walters, a youth worker at Boys Town, because Eulice had disclosed that the Webbs farmed her out to a pedophile ring as a fifteen-year-old—a ring that ensnared Boys Town students. Julie Walters met with Eulice and her foster mother on three occasions in March 1986, and spent hours writing up the teenager’s allegations. These allegation eventually exploded into the most controversial scandal in the history of Nebraska.

“The Webbs said I was going out of town for the weekend. Not going wasn’t even a choice. I would’ve gotten beaten. We didn’t have choices. We did what we were told to do.” Eulice | Clip Four Image “On the two trips I was on, Boys Town kids were on the planes,” she said. “The boys knew they were going to be used for sex, but it didn’t bother them, because they were being taken care of with clothes and money and access to cars.… I want to say the parties were elegant — champagne was served and the older men were wealthy and dressed very nicely.… Money was exchanged, and the men would leave with the boys.… I was ordered to wear a gown … at the party … they masturbated  in front of me.”

Part 5 - Priests, Pedophiles, and Boys Town

Boys Town, the distinguished Catholic orphanage on the outskirts of Omaha, Nebraska, was established in 1917 by Father Edward Flanagan.Image Its altruistic purpose was to offer “help, hope and healing” to abused, abandoned, and neglected children. Having begun with a population of six boys, Boys Town currently houses thousands of boys and girls at numerous sites across the country.  

Caradori’s “Leads List ” cites a number of Boys Town students who were the purported victims of sexual exploitation, and his “Investigative Report” of April 20, 1990 notes that he interviewed the sister of a former Boys Town student who was allegedly exploited. She said that her brother was “extremely scared” because the State Patrol and FBI had been “very harsh” with him .Image

Noel Seltzer, a former employee of the Franklin Credit Union told Yorkshire Television that Boys Town students were customarily employed by the credit union, and he corroborated those statements for me. Documents indicate that Larry King, and the Franklin Credit Union had an ongoing working relationship with Boy's Town since December 1979. The Franklin subcommittee also acquired excerpts from a Boys Town “Departure Report” that discussed a student employed by King moving into King’s home after leaving Boys Town.

The first former Boys Town student on Caradori’s “Leads List” I managed to locate is David Hill. The thirty-seven-year-old Hill was in the class of ’83 and had played football for Boys Town, but years of drug addiction have whittled away at his formerly husky physique. He wears a baggy blue T-shirt, blue sweatpants, and beat-up NIKE tennis shoes. Initially, he is guarded but also chatty, a banter gleaned from the streets of north Omaha. He is quick witted, and a large, gold incisor dominates the broad smile he flashes. Hill’s self-destructive lifestyle has kept him perpetually unemployed, and he bounces back and forth between his parent’s couch, his girlfriend’s house, and a homeless shelter.

Though Hill’s street ethos makes him apprehensive about being interviewed, he gradually warms up to me after a few days. On our second day together, we drive to Boys Town. As we walk around the campus’ pristinely manicured lawns and majestic brick buildings, he recalls taking a trip to Disney World after his arrival at Boys Town. A vacation to Disney World was a universe removed from his disadvantaged, north Omaha upbringing, and he described the trip as a hallowed dreamscape. “But then there’s the other bullshit,” he sighed.

We strolled over to the football field, a site of Hill’s bygone glory. The Boys Town football team is practicing—we borrow one of their footballs and toss it around. Out of shape, Hill tires quickly.

Hill eventually told me that he hadn’t been molested by anyone connected to Larry King, but by a Boys Town priest named Father James Kelly. He was familiar with many of the names on the “Leads List,” and put me in touch with a former roommate who had been a “mayor” of Boys Town. (The student body formerly elected a fellow student to serve as the mayor of Boys Town, which is an incorporated city with its own police force.)

“Yeah, he…, yeah,” confessed Fred Carter, Hill’s former roommate. when asked about being molested by Father Kelly while at Boys Town. Carter also confirmed King's pandering of Boy's Town children, "There were a certain kids there that were, that had that look, that had that marketability.… I knew certain kids that were into, you know because they were young, and… it was just all about money.”

Hill next introduced me to Tony Harris, another former Boys Town student on the “Leads List.” Harris lives in Kansas City, Missouri, and he greets us at the door of the two-story brick home rented by his girlfriend. Tall and svelte, at 40 he retains the physique of his youth, when he was a star running back for the football team and sprinter for the track team in the Boys Town Class of ‘81. Harris, in a white T-shirt and blue jeans, has the looks and build of a top-notch male model. Hill and Harris hug, joke, and reminisce as we walk into the living room and sit down. They banter for five minutes or so before turning their attention to me, producing an uneasy silence. After I explain my motives to Harris, he consents to be interviewed. Hill excuses himself to play games on Harris’ computer.

“Another Boys Town student recruited me for King,” paraphrasing Harris, who, like Hill, was unemployed. “He flew me to Washington several times with five to ten other kids. Half of them were probably from Boys Town. Appearances can be deceiving, but these men appeared to be quite distinguished, with their jewelry and tailor-made clothes. High society types, I would say. King would pay me anywhere from $100 to $500 in cash, and drugs were also available. I’d also get privileges back at Boys Town. King told me if I talked there would be ‘consequences,’”

Nikolai Cayman is a former Boys Town student who isn’t on Caradori’s “Leads List.” When he originally enrolled in Boys Town in 1985, his name was Andre Paine. Cayman changed his name to avoid disgracing his family: He currently wakes up every morning in the confines of a federal prison cell for the possession of child pornography.

“I was eleven years old [when I started to fly with Larry King],” Cayman told me. "I was introduced to Larry King by another Boys Town student, who told me I could make a lot of money. Meet a lot of important people, and make something of your self… but he never told me exactly what you did… to get you the money … and that's how everything got started. And it wasn't just for King, there were other men, groups of men. They would have these outrageous parties, where they would have a bunch of people, a bunch of men that are just in this room, where you have either two boys in he room or a single boy sitting there masterbating himself, while they look on. It was really just one big orgy… all this alcohol and drugs …. But what I found was that as I got older… there was less activity was happening, when I was eleven. I was popular… always in demand. … Well, the only money I ever received was fifty dollars. It was always a promise, I'll get ya later” Cayman’s story echoes Harris’ regarding the presence of Boys Town students on the flights, the ubiquitous availability of drugs, and also on the affluence of the pedophiles.

A distinct difference between their accounts is that Nickolai Cayman claims to have been occasionally subjected to very sadistic pedophiles: “I still have scars all over my body….” His anecdotes of pedophiliac sadism correspond to the viciousness described by Owen, Boner, and Bonacci to Caradori.

Cayman says that he never personally solicited the weekend passes that allowed him to participate in King’s pedophile ring, but, rather, members of Boys Town’s staff delivered him to different locations under the guise of visiting his “mother,” an impoverished schizophrenic. Cayman maintains that he received very little money from King, but Boys Town staff provided him with “watches, necklaces, and expensive clothing” that weren’t given to other Boys Town students.

In 1988, after a weekend of particularly brutal treatment, Cayman says, he told a Boys Town staff member about his abuse at the hands of King. He had never uttered a word to staff about his weekend junkets before. Boys Town employees summarily placed him on a plane bound for Georgia, where he was deposited in a psychiatric hospital for two years, returning to Boys Town in 1990.

“On the day I was sent away, they woke me up early in the morning,” paraphrasing Nick. “I knew there had to be another reason why I was terminated, because the one they gave me was really flimsy. The caseworkers in Georgia were surprised too—they said, ‘Listen, we just got this call two hours ago, saying you were on the plane,’ so they weren’t really given a full reason as to why I was terminated from Boys Town either.” Nikolai | Audio Clip Three

The testimony of Owen, Boner, and Bonacci, videotaped by Caradori, states that Boys Town students were involved in King’s pedophile ring. Eulice Washington told her foster mother, Boys Town employee Julie Walters, and state investigator Lowe that King exploited Boys Town students, and she stands by her previous statements. If these people are telling the truth, and if Fred Carter, Tony Harris, and Nikolai Cayman are being truthful, then King plundered Boys Town throughout most of the 1980s.

Caradori’s assistant Karen Ormiston interviewed a former Boys Town police officer who stated that he had repeatedly observed a vehicle registered to Larry King on campus during his employment there from 1985 to 1987 and had reported this. This policeman informed Ormiston that his superiors at Boys Town advised him to “leave it alone.” He also told Ormiston that he had subsequently been “framed” with charges of molesting his daughter, who resided with him at Boys Town, and that Boys Town officials gave him the choice “between jail or resigning.” Other Boys Town officers knew that he was being framed, he said, and his partner resigned in protest. His former partner acknowledges that the frame-up was one of “many” reasons for his resignation.

Caradori found Father Val Peter, Boy’s Town president and chief executive. “very uncooperative” with the Franklin subcommittee’s investigation. Father Peter arrived at Boys Town in 1982. He left for a year and returned in 1984, becoming the head man in 1985, a position he held until June of 2005. During Father Peter’s 20-year tenure as director, the organization started to admit girls, and it is now known as Girls and Boys Town. Expanding from its Omaha base, Girls and Boys Town now offers “help, healing and hope” to 43,000 children at 19 sites in 15 states and Washington, DC.

Though Father Peter had a long, successful reign at Boys Town, he embroiled himself in considerable controversy during his last year at the helm of the orphanage because of the organization’s response to four molestation lawsuits . (A fifth lawsuit was filed in September of 2005.) Girls and Boys Town commissioned a report to determine the validity of the allegations, and the report concluded that from 1978 to 2003 no staff member of Boys Town had ever molested a student, and that there wasn’t even a “suggestion” that Boys Town personnel ever covered up sexual abuse.

The report maligned the four plaintiffs, disclosing personal information, evidently gleaned from their Boys Town files. (A number of social service agencies, including Lutheran Family Services and the National Resource Center for Youth Services, have expressed shock about the detailed information Girls and Boys Town has released about the plaintiffs.) Father Peter also publicly excoriated one of the plaintiffs: “Our records show that he left four days before graduation, making threats to people, bragging about marijuana use, flipping the bird to folks."

Patrick Noaker is the attorney representing four of the plaintiffs suing Girls and Boys Town. Noaker and his firm specialize in child abuse lawsuits, and they have litigated molestation lawsuits throughout the country. “I can’t remember ever seeing an organization strike out so offensively at the boys who’ve come forward,” he says. “Boys Town’s response has been malicious. If this is an indication of how they treat children at Boys Town, then the problem is a lot bigger than any of us ever imagined.”

Noaker believes Girls and Boys Town vehemently contests lawsuits to prevent the slightest breach in a brimming reservoir of secrets. “I’m convinced that Boys Town’s administration knows what’s out there, and they know a lot of children were hurt, so they’re scared to death of allowing the top to come off the pot.” He attributed the organization’s response to Father Peter. “I think Val Peter is the person making Boys Town’s decisions. You don’t have to take my word for it; I think the record’s replete with how many disputes Val Peter has had, and how ruthless he’s been in both business dealings and disputes he’s had with others.”

Father Peter fueled further controversy when he battled the Archbishop of Omaha for control of Girls and Boys Town’s Board of Trustees. Archbishop Curtis eventually resigned from the Board of Trustees , even though the incumbent Archbishop of Omaha had headed the Board since Boys Town’s inception in 1917. Archbishop Curtis also relinquished his capacity to appoint Peter’s successor to the Board of Trustees and Peter himself.

After I had decided to pursue my own investigations of the macabre universe that is Franklin, as noted before, my first interview was with Monsignor Robert Hupp, Peter’s predecessor. In January of 2003, Hupp had recently moved from Omaha to Necedah, Wisconsin, and I contacted him by phone from Nebraska. In Conspiracy of Silence, Hupp had said that he regretted Boys Town’s association with King, but he was evasive and vague.

In my interview with Hupp, he made a number of truly scandalous accusations about Peter—accusations that I can’t disclose because I don’t have sufficient corroboration. But in an Omaha World-Herald article on August 27, 2003, Hupp is quoted as saying that he and Peter had “ironed everything out .” Given my interview with Hupp only eight months earlier, I was extremely surprised by his conciliatory statements. Two days after the article appeared, Hupp died at the age of 88, reportedly of a viral infection.

The current Executive Director of Girls and Boys Town is Father Steven Boes, who succeeded Father Peter on July 1, 2005.

Part 6 - A Carefully Crafted Hoax

The Omaha Police Department had received allegations of Larry King's involvement in child abuse even before the Foster Care Review Board's 1988 report was given to law enforcement. Officer Irl Carmean of the OPD’s Robbery and Sexual Assault Unit interviewed a fifteen-year-old girl at a psychiatric hospital. She told Carmean that, at the age of ten, she had been transported from the “Girls Club” to a studio and photographed in the nude — the incorporation papers of the Girls Club of Omaha list Larry King as its president. She also discussed a “sex and drug” party at one of King’s residences attended by “doctors and lawyers.” Though the girl didn’t explicitly state that Boys Town kids were at the party, she reported witnessing “three or four” teenage boys performing oral sex on each other.

In a March 1989 Omaha World-Herald article, Dennis Carlson, Vice Chair of the Foster Care Review Board, said that he had discovered from Officer Carmean that Carmean had been shielding an OPD investigation of King and child abuse from Chief Wadman. Wadman countered that Carmean was in error, and produced reports from five officers stating that the investigation hadn’t been concealed from him.

An OPD “Inter-Office Communication,” however, from Carmean to Chief Wadman, contradicts Wadman’s statements in the World-Herald article. In the memo, Carmean wrote that a superior advised him to hide the investigation of King from Wadman, due to “rumors” of their friendship and Wadman’s lodging at King’s Washington, DC home. Later in March, Wadman denied that he and King had a “personal relationship,” but admitted to attending three of King’s parties, one of which was in Washington, DC.  

Carmean would be reassigned to the Research and Planning Section of the OPD. After Carmean’s reassignment, Wadman requested that the Public Safety Director, a relative of Larry King, refer Carmean to the OPD psychologist. Carmean’s symptoms, according to Wadman, included conveying “negative” and “unsubstantiated” information about the Chief hindering the investigation of King, and generating a report that a “federal agency” had urged a fellow OPD officer to “slow down or back away” from investigating King.

After Nebraska’s Attorney General, Robert Spire, received the Foster Care Review Board’s report alleging King’s pedophile ring, he told the Lincoln Star that his office had conducted a “through investigation” of the child abuse allegations. However, his office’s principle investigator, Thomas Vlahoulis, would confess to the Franklin Committee that he hadn’t interviewed a single alleged victim cited by the report. Moreover, Spire’s office wouldn’t honor the Franklin Committee’s subpoenas.

At the state level, Gary Caradori’s videotaped testimony of Alisha Owen, Troy Boner, and Danny King was submitted to Spire and Nebraska’s US Attorney in December of 1989. The Franklin Committee also let ranking law enforcement and judicial personnel view their videotaped testimony. The three detailed King’s nationwide pedophile network and repeatedly corroborated each other, and some Nebraska law enforcement personnel felt they were credible, so the toothpaste was out of the tube and Nebraska authorities would have to act.

Spire would finally requested that a grand jury be impaneled to investigate Larry King and allegations of child abuse twenty months after receiving the Foster Care Review Board’s report. In February  of 1990, Samuel Van Pelt, a retired Nebraska judge, was appointed special prosecutor of a Douglas County grand jury charged to investigate child exploitation pertaining to King.

Unlike a trial, a grand jury proceeding is private, and there is no cross-examination or presentation of the defense case. The special prosecutor calls the witnesses, questions the witnesses, and selects the evidence that is shown to the grand jurors, who are ordinary citizens. Generally, only witnesses and evidence deemed relevant by special prosecutors are pursued by grand juries, so special prosecutors are in a unique position to twist grand jurors judgments in a particular direction. A former Chief Judge of New York State once quipped that a special prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to "indict a ham sandwich."

Because the special prosecutor exercises considerable control over the grand jury process, Van Pelt’s appointment immediately sparked controversy. A group of citizens wrote a letter to the legislature accusing Van Pelt of being a “hired gun” for the state. They charged that an investigation he previously directed had covered up the shooting death of a Nebraska farmer by a State Patrol SWAT team.

The Douglas County grand jury formally convened on March 19th, 1990, in Omaha’s Douglas County Courthouse, and it had all the pomp and circumstance of a media spectacle. Nebraska’s citizens, the local media, and also media from far and wide eagerly anticipated the grand jury. All and sundry seemed to have countless questions and uncertainties about the “lurid” allegations, and they were starving for the truth.

The first grand jury witness called by Van Pelt was Patricia Flocken — she had formerly served as a guardian of Eulice Washington. Van Pelt’s ostensible rationale for calling Flocken as the first witness was to address the early allegations of sexual and physical abuse in the Webb household and Eulice’s allegations contained in the Julie Walter’s report.

The grand jury’s proceedings and testimony were blanketed in secrecy; but if Flocken had been able to tell the press about her grand jury experience, the hopes of everyone who wanted to see justice on behalf of the children would’ve been dashed. “Van Pelt was a jerk,” Flocken would tell me. “I don’t think he was brought in to find the truth — I think he was brought in to expose the children as liars. I didn’t think he was at all interested in the kids I represented.”

Van Pelt’s appointment as special prosecutor and Flocken’s experience in testifying were only the opening oddities of the five-month long grand jury. Though the grand jury’s oddities and abnormalities are too numerous to mention, it is essential to point out the rather peculiar behavior of Pamela Vuchetich, a Lincoln, Nebraska-based attorney, who consented to represent Troy Boner, Danny King, and Alisha Owen when they appeared before Van Pelt and company.

In a February 1990 World-Herald article, Vuchetich said that her clients numbered among “at least 100” victims snared in a prostitution and pornography ring centered in Omaha. Five months later, Vuchetich declared that the allegations by Owen, Boner, and Danny King involving Larry King’s pedophile ring were fabrications. During this period, Vuchetich reportedly confessed to having an extramarital affair with one of the FBI agents later accused by Troy Boner and Danny King of intimidating them into recanting their previous testimony about Larry King.

While Vuchetich represented Alisha Owen, she was incarcerated at the Nebraska Center for Women at York for writing bad checks. Vuchetich surrendered Owen’s Miranda rights and subjected her to a series of “interviews” with hostile FBI agents from February to April. The FBI quickly had their way in forcing Boner and King’s recantations, but Owen refused to recant her abuse at the hands of King’s cronies.

In an April 30, 1990 Omaha World-Herald article, Vuchetich said she believed Alisha Owen’s account of the abuse, but a “conflict of interest” between clients had forced her to drop Owen as a client. Vuchetich’s conflict arose when Danny King recanted his allegations about Larry King’s pedophile network. Though Danny King recanted in early March, Vuchetich didn’t inform Alisha Owen of her “conflict of interest” until the end of April — shortly before Owen was to appear before the Douglas County grand jury. In an utterly shocking conflict of interest, Vuchetich continued to represent Danny King while he took the stand before the grand jury and testified that Alisha Owen’s accusations about Larry King were lies.

Although Caradori identified scores of victims, the Douglas County grand jury focused almost exclusively on the videotaped testimony of Alisha Owens, Troy Boner, Danny King, and Paul Bonacci. In their sworn testimony, videotaped by Gary Caradori, the four repeatedly corroborated each other, but their corroboration was edited out when the tapes were shown to the Douglas County grand jurors. Boner and Danny King would also recant their previous statements, and testify that  Owens and Bonacci’s allegations regarding Larry King’s pedophile ring were fabricated.  

On July 23, 1990, the Douglas County grand jury declared that the allegations regarding King’s pedophile ring were a “carefully crafted hoax” that was “scripted by a person or persons with considerable knowledge of people and institutions of Omaha....” Though the grand jury’s report didn’t specifically name the hoaxers, it alluded to Michael Casey, a “freelance writer,” and Alisha Owen as being the primary instigators, and it stated that Gary Caradori, only two weeks dead, had been “duped” into participating in the hoax. The grand jury determined that the hoax was perpetrated for financial rewards tied to movie and book deals and civil litigation.

The grand jury acknowledged that Alisha Owen and Paul Bonacci had been abused, but concluded that the adults they accused were innocent. Owen and Bonacci were then indicted on multiple counts of perjury. Alan Baer, one of the prominent Nebraskans originally named by Boner, Owen, Danny King, and Bonacci as a pedophiliac perpetrator, was also indicted on two counts of adult pandering. In a very strange twist, Eulice Washington didn’t recant her allegations about King’s pedophile ring, but she wasn’t indicted on perjury charges.

The Douglas County grand jury report was not only contradictory, but approached the bizarre, quoting Shakespeare’s Henry IV: “Rumor is a pipe, blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures....” Extending the metaphor, the grand jury then named various “rumor mongers” who “played so feverishly on the rumor pipe.” The foreman later admitted that special prosecutor Van Pelt had played an integral role in writing the report. The Franklin subcommittee released a 5-page response denouncing the report, citing its numerous anomalies and contradictions.

Bonnie Cosentino, who appeared before the grand jury, was implicated by the report as one of the “rumormongers.” Cosentino was a member of Concerned Parents, an advocacy group for the alleged victims, and she had volunteered secondhand information on King’s pedophile ring to the Franklin Committee. Cosentino claims that she was badgered and derided by Van Pelt’s prosecutorial assistant shortly before she took the stand.

Though Tony Harris’ name appears on Caradori’s “Leads List,” state and federal investigators failed to contact him. “All Franklin related allegations concerning Boys Town were found to be inaccurate and false,” said the Douglas County grand jury. “No witness before the Grand Jury could confirm ... children were ever transported for any illegal purposes.”

After the Douglas County grand jury report was released, the New York Times and other major newspapers reported that the “lurid” tale in Nebraska had been exposed as witch-hunt hysteria. “Carefully Crafted Hoax” headlined the Omaha World-Herald. Though the grand jury found that allegations about King’s pedophilic network had been fabricated, a Lincoln Journal poll concluded that 56% of Nebraskans thought that illegalities had been covered up.

Part 7 - Alisha Owen: 9 to 15 for Perjury

I met Alisha Owen once, in 2003, at the office of Edward Fogarty, the attorney who represented her for “post-conviction relief.” We spoke for about 50 minutes, and I found her credible, but in light of her brutalization at the hands of both the press and the justice system in Nebraska, she declined to go on the record. I've gleaned the following details from newspaper clippings and legal sources.

In correspondences with Henry Rosenthal from her jail cell at York, after the Douglas County and federal grand juries, Owen described an inappropriate relationship between her attorney Pamela Vuchetich and FBI agent Michael Mott, who repeatedly interviewed her at York with Vuchetich present. Her letters state that Vuchetich and Mott “flirted outrageously.” According to Owen, Vuchetich referred to Mott as “cute,” showed Mott a sexy picture of herself in dance garb, and told Owen that she met with Mott “several times” and even had “dinner” with him.

The letters prompted Rosenthal to subpoena the phone records of Vuchetich, which indicate she spent 2,185 minutes talking to the FBI’s Omaha field office between January 23, 1990, and February 21, 1991. She made 153 calls from her office and 21 from her home, placing the calls between 7:40 A.M. and 10:00 P.M., and they ranged in length from 1 minute to 175 minutes.

In preparation for Owen’s perjury trial, Rosenthal requested Vuchetich sit for a deposition. In a written reply to Rosenthal’s request, Vuchetich stated that she would only be deposed if certain conditions were met, including two hours alone with Owen. Rosenthal responded to Vuchetich’s letter by procuring a subpoena ordering her deposition.

According to an affidavit submitted by Rosenthal, he then consented to have Vuchetich discuss the case informally at his office rather than force her to sit for a deposition. At that meeting, Rosenthal’s affidavit states, Vuchetich divulged to him and Alisha Owen’s mother that Vuchetich had had sexual relations with agent Mott while she was representing Alisha Owen. (Mrs. Owen was serving as an ad hoc paralegal for Rosenthal in return for his pro bono representation of her daughter.) Mrs. Owen later repeated the same story under oath and passed a polygraph test concerning Vuchetich’s confession. Vuchetich subsequently denied her confession, and even attending the office conference.

As previously mentioned, Vuchetich, in an Omaha World-Herald article, said that she believed Alisha Owen’s account of the abuse, but a “conflict of interest” forced her to disengage from the case. In Vuchetich’s response to a complaint levied against her before Nebraska’s State Bar, she stated that Owen’s accusations weren’t necessarily false, even though law enforcement couldn’t corroborate her videotaped testimony.

Yet, in 2000, Vuchetich was deposed by Edward Fogarty and stated that she dumped Owen as a client because Owen explicitly said she would “knowingly and willingly” commit perjury before the Douglas County grand jury.

Fogarty also attempted to subpoena agent Mott for a deposition, and sent him a letter requesting that he take a polygraph test regarding his relationship with Vuchetich. In the letter, Fogarty wrote that he had no doubts about Vuchetich’s confession of their relationship, and a polygraph would determine if her statements were true or simply wishful thinking. Fogarty’s subpoena of agent Mott was quashed, partly on the grounds that Mott’s “disclosures would reveal investigative techniques and procedures, the effectiveness of which would be impaired.”

At Alisha Owen’s 1991 perjury trial, the state had called more than forty witnesses against her. In his testimony, Mott recited a litany of Owen’s alleged lies. Appeal attorney Fogarty later enumerated examples where agent Mott acted as a “know all, see all, hearsay exempt” witness when testifying about the FBI’s interviews with Owen in prison, all conducted without a Miranda warning.

Trial attorney Rosenthal’s cross-examination of agent Mott had attempted to address the alleged relationship between Vuchetich and Mott that compromised Owen’s statutory rights. But Judge Raymond Case declared that their arrangement was a “civil case” and had “nothing to do with what was before the court.” Rosenthal later testified that the judge informed him, in chambers, that he would be held in contempt if he continued to pursue the issue.

Vuchetich achieved unprecedented levels of multitasking at Owen’s perjury trial. Rosenthal called Vuchetich as a witness for the defense, seeking to have her explain her 174 phone calls to the FBI, but she asserted “attorney-client privilege,” which was sustained by the judge. And Vuchetich also represented Danny King, who testified that Owen’s allegations pertaining to King’s pedophile ring, and her exploitation at the hands of prominent Nebraskans, were fabrications. Vuchetich also represented a former friend of Owen’s who appeared as one of the state’s star rebuttal witnesses.

He testified that Owen took his virginity, and that she had a special affinity for the “silky, soft, satiny sheen of virgin penises.” The former friend also testified that Owen disclosed to him that former Omaha Police Chief Wadman wasn’t the father of her child, as she had testified before the Douglas County grand jury.

Chief Wadman took the stand and denied ever meeting Alisha Owen. He testified that a DNA test excluded him as the father but, inexplicably, the state wouldn’t introduce the DNA test into evidence. One of several motions for a new trial made by Owen’s appellate attorneys argued that the state didn’t introduce the DNA test into evidence, and had evinced Owen’s guilt through Wadman’s “hearsay.” Though the appellate judge later ruled that the court “erred” by allowing Wadman’s testimony without the corroboration of an actual DNA test, it refused to consider the motion because Rosenthal hadn’t objected to Wadman’s claim during the trial.

After three days of deadlocked deliberation, the twenty-two-year-old Owen was found guilty on all counts—Judge Case sentenced her to between nine and fifteen years in prison for perjury. Though the content of the perjury charges against Paul Bonacci was similar to those levied against Owen, his perjury charges were immediately dropped upon Owen’s conviction. Alan Baer, whom the grand jury had indicted on two counts of felony pandering, was potentially facing ten years in prison, but his charges were reduced to a misdemeanor, and he paid a $500 fine.  

After Alisha Owen’s trial, a number of the jurors submitted affidavits concerning various “improprieties” throughout their deliberations. As they deliberated Owen’s fate, a number of jurors confessed to watching a segment of 48 Hours hosted by Dan Rather. The theme of the show was the tragedy of good men being falsely accused of abusing minors. Chief Wadman appeared in the broadcast, denying allegations that he had sexually abused minors, and Troy Boner confirmed Wadman’s innocence. Juror affidavits acknowledged that Wadman’s appearance was a “main topic” of discussion in the jury room. One of the jurors submitted an affidavit conceding that the 48 Hours segment played a significant role in sealing Owen’s fate.

Two jurors submitted affidavits stating that there were “deliberate improprieties,” with jurors being provided evidence during their deliberations. The jurors said that evidence introduced in the trial was denied their review , and evidence that had never been introduced was “mysteriously” provided to them. One juror’s affidavit discussed a letter written on yellow legal paper and “signed by Mike Casey,” which described the “hoax” perpetrated by Mike Casey, Alisha Owen, and Gary Caradori. The juror said that the letter, read by “all or most” of the jurors, was the critical item convincing him of Owen’s guilt, and, after the trial, he sorted through “all the evidence and exhibits” and couldn’t find the letter.

Alisha Owen’s appellate attorneys appealed her conviction on several grounds, including prosecutorial, judicial, and juror misconduct. Specific motions included perjured witness testimony, denial of Miranda rights, the jurors using a dictionary to define “reasonable doubt,” and the judge being a practicing attorney. All the appeals were denied.

In October 1993, Troy Boner submitted an affidavit alleging that threats from the FBI compelled him to lie before the Douglas County grand jury and at Alisha Owen’s perjury trial. His affidavit also states that he delivered Alisha Owen to Chief Wadman on “several occasions.” Boner contended that the death of his brother Shawn, who ostensibly shot himself in the head, was the primary motive for his affidavit. He felt that his brother’s death was a “message” for him to remain silent, because he had repeatedly confessed to lying to the Douglas County grand jury. Image

According to an affidavit submitted by Senator Schmit , the FBI threatened alleged pedophile Alan Baer, who had considered cooperating with the Franklin subcommittee in exchange for immunity. Schmit’s affidavit states that attorneys representing Baer relayed to Schmit and two others affiliated with the Franklin subcommittee that FBI agents dispensed a life-threatening warning to Baer to ensure his silence.

When Gary Caradori initially videotaped Alisha Owen’s testimony, she voiced her reservations about coming forward, saying she had been warned that talking would endanger her or family members. On November 7, 1990, as Owen awaited her perjury trial, her 17-year-old brother Aaron was found hanged in his cell at the Lincoln Correctional Center. His death was ruled a suicide.

Nonetheless, she has never recanted her version of events. Alisha Owen was released from prison on 2001.  

Part 8 - Conspiracy of Silence


Yorkshire Television of the United Kingdom produced a documentary, Conspiracy of Silence, to be shown on the Discovery Channel, but the Discovery Channel pulled the plug before it was finished. One of the most noteworthy aspects of  the documentary is an interview with former CIA Director (1973-1976) William Colby.

Colby directed the CIA’s Phoenix program in South Vietnam from 1968 to 1971, and Captain John DeCamp had been one of Colby’s Phoenix subordinates. Colby developed a paternal affection for the brash, young Nebraskan, and the two remained very close until the latter’s death.  DeCamp introduced Colby to Senator Schmit, and Schmit wanted to hire Colby as the Franklin Committee’s initial investigator, but his fellow senators on the committee shot down the appointment. Because of rumors concerning King’s affiliation with the CIA and Franklin monies being diverted to the Nicaraguan Contras, they feared Colby might be part on an ongoing cover-up of King’s activities.

After Caradori’s plane crash, however, the Franklin Committee embraced Colby:  He was hired by the Franklin Committee to investigate Gary Caradori’s death, but he couldn’t provide a definitive explanation for the plane crash, writing to Senator Schmit, “I only regret that we were not able to penetrate more effectively the clouds of confusion and contradiction that have surrounded this whole case.”

Though many conspiracy theorists have posited that King was connected to the CIA, Colby never broached the subject in Conspiracy of Silence. He did say, however, that pursuing the allegations could entail “danger,” and he promised to submit the subcommittee’s child abuse allegations to the US Attorney General.

Two years after that interview, in the spring of 1996, Colby went missing for eight days. His body was found floating in Maryland’s Wicomico River. The medical examiner surmised that the 76-year-old Colby, who was in poor health, had opted to go canoeing by himself on a cold, blustery day in April and had fallen out of his canoe as the result of a heart attack or stroke.

According to DeCamp, Colby disclosed to him that King’s pedophilic pandering was linked to the CIA. DeCamp told me that Colby, a devout Catholic, had become disillusioned with the CIA’s use of children for sinister agendas and was determined to put a stop to it. If what DeCamp says is true, then perhaps Colby’s appearance on Conspiracy of Silence and his giving the Franklin allegations to the US Attorney General was his first salvo in a crusade to expose an evil enterprise. Colby was certainly in a position to be the man who knew too much, and his rather enigmatic death deprives us of that knowledge.  

Yorkshire Television also interviewed Paul Rodriguez, a reporter for the Washington Times, who had talked to Caradori several times while investigating the skin trade in the capital. “One of the angles I was pursuing in our prostitution investigation were allegations that children were involved,” says Rodriguez. “One of the names that came across our radar was Larry King, which very quickly led us to Caradori’s investigation. Caradori’s investigation initially focused on the homegrown abuse of minors, but he said the underground network that he was investigating was far larger than he ever anticipated.”

The Washington Times’ Rodriguez did some serious investigative reporting on DC prostitution—his work was nominated for a Pulitzer. As he ventured deeper into prostitution among the powerful, he kept running into the name of Craig Spence, a registered lobbyist and Republican “powerbroker.”

“I had been told by several prostitutes along with law enforcement that there were connections between Craig Spence and Larry King,” says Rodriguez. “I never pursued those connections, because I was overcome with considerable local material that I had to ferret out. The allegations were that Spence and King hosted blackmail sex parties that included minors.”

The New York Times described Spence’s taste in fashion as “Edwardian dandy.” He had a penchant for capes, stretch limos, and brawny bodyguards. Spence has also been described as DC’s version of Jay Gatsby, for his enigmatic personality and the extravagant parties he threw at his Victorian mansion in the upscale Kalorama neighborhood. Senior members of the Reagan and Bush administrations, ambassadors, senators, and congressmen all attended, including high-level CIA officials William Casey and Ray Cline.

The Washington Times reported that Spence spent $20,000 a month on prostitutes for himself and his associates, and that he had the juice to arrange midnight tours of the White House for himself, his friends, and the “call boys” whose services he leased. Paul Bonacci told Yorkshire Television that he was one of the “call boys” who took a midnight tour, and corroborated that King and Spence were partners in pedophiliac pandering. Rusty Nelson also spoke to me about the partnership of King and Spence.

A June 30, 1989 Washington Times article, “Power Broker Served Drugs, Sex At Parties Bugged for Blackmail,” revealed that audio and video recording devices were hidden in Spence’s home, and discussed his penchant for blackmail. A month later another article reported that Spence used sexually compromising photographs taken in his home to blackmail an associate.

Spence even told the Washington Times that his home had been bugged by “friendly"  intelligence agents, and he continually dropped hints to friends and colleagues that he was freelancing for the CIA. The CIA denied this, but the Washington Times confirmed that Spence was a CIA asset. “We had sources disclose that Spence wasn’t a direct employee,” says Rodriguez. “But he did carry out services for the agency.”

Spence’s parties had two tiers of guests: the squares, who left at a certain hour; and the serious customers, who stuck around for the drugs and hookers. The hookers mostly came from an escort service run by Henry Vinson. After nearly a year of overtures, Vinson consented to an interview with me in December of 2003. He’d left Washington, DC and moved to West Virginia, becoming the proprietor of a successful and legitimate business.

“I visited Spence’s home on many occasions and saw all his blackmail equipment,” Vinson told me. “King and Spence transported children all over the country. They both talked about bringing the boys in from Boys Town, and they arranged for influential people in Washington to be flown to the Midwest to meet these kids. But they preferred to have the pedophiliac parties at Spence’s home, because of the blackmail equipment.”

While King was detained in Minnesota, Vinson was the focus of an investigation launched by the Secret Service and the US Department of Justice, which resulted in a 43-count indictment that included violations of the Mann Act, money laundering, and racketeering. Vinson was already looking at thirty years and a $500,000 fine, but the Assistant US Attorney for the District of Columbia filed a memorandum requesting that Vinson receive an extremely punitive sentence because his escort service hadn’t screened for HIV. Image  

“They were trying to force my silence, and they got it,” says Vinson. “My plea agreement was for 63 months, and I agreed not to be interviewed by the media in exchange for that minimal sentence.”

Though the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, Jay Stephens, identified Vinson’s enterprise as the largest male escort service in DC, only Vinson and three accomplices were arraigned for crimes related to prostitution. Vinson claims that he told federal authorities about the Washington luminaries who used his escort service, but Stephens said that the investigation hadn’t revealed Vinson’s patrons to be affiliated “with any political or military organization,” except for the federal employees whose names had already been made public. “Everything about the government’s investigation was a lie,” says Vinson. Henry | Audio Clip Three

The Washington Times obtained hundreds of credit card receipts, canceled checks, and a list of Vinson’s clients, which indicate that US congressmen patronized Vinson’s escort service. This corroborates Vinson’s account, not the government’s. Vinson also says that he informed federal authorities about the pedophile ring allegedly operated by King and Spence, and that Spence had disclosed that their enterprise was affiliated with the CIA. All of his statements to federal authorities are, however, unavailable. Image  

“I’ve been told that over 25,000 documents were sealed,” says reporter Rodriguez. “We’ve attempted to unseal those documents on two occasions, but were rebuffed. We’ve been told, ‘It will be a cold day in hell’ before those documents are ever unsealed.” Paul R | Audio Clip Four

In November 1989, Craig Spence’s body was found in a room at Boston’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Next to it, on the bed, was a newspaper clipping about then-CIA Director William Webster attempting to protect CIA agents summoned to testify before government bodies. The Washington Post reported that Spence had been subpoenaed by the grand jury investigating Vinson. His death was ruled a suicide.

Like Colby, Spence undoubtedly took a number of secrets to his grave.

Part 9 - "Theory" or Conspiracy?

So what can be concluded from this sordid series of incidents, interviews, indictments, convictions, confessions, denouncements, and deaths? On the one hand, it's hard to cast off the traditional saintly image of Boys Town. On the other hand, Franklin is rife with deeply disturbing aberrations in the legal system that seem calculated to protect people guilty of the most depraved of crimes — the sexual abuse of children.

Nebraska and federal lawn enforcement may have exonerated Larry King of all child abuse, but law enforcement's disavowals are are in stark contrast to the statements of Eulice Washington, the teenage girl interviewed by OPD officer Carmean, Alisha Owen, Troy Boner, Danny King, Paul Bonacci, Fred Carter, Tony Harris, Nikolai Cayman, Rusty Nelson, Henry Vinson, and Paul Rodriguez.

Larry King was suffering from a “probable delusional paranoid disorder” in Rochester, Minnesota while the Douglas County grand jury refused to indict him for child abuse — without ever subpoenaing him or hearing his testimony. After King’s detention at Rochester for approximately five months, he was deemed sufficiently recovered from his “disorder” to assist in his defense and opted for a plea agreement. He ultimately served nine years and nine months for his financial crimes alone. Despite his token prison time for embezzlement, King seems to have been strangely bulletproof when it came to crimes of child abuse.

Though King escaped child abuse charges completely, Paul Bonacci and his attorney, John DeCamp, pursued civil lawsuits against him and others in US District Court. US District Court Judge Warren Urbom declared Bonacci’s accusations to be unsubstantiated and “bizarre” as he dismissed the lawsuits filed by DeCamp against the other alleged perpetrators.Image

King, however, was incarcerated when Bonacci’s lawsuits were initiated, and he failed to respond to the court’s summons, so Judge Urbom granted Bonacci a default judgment against him. DeCamp then requested a specific trial on the issue of damages and called Bonacci and other witnesses, who corroborated Bonacci’s “bizarre” accusations. After Judge Urbom listened to witness testimony, he awarded Paul Bonacci a $1 million judgment.

“The defendant King,” said the judge in his 1999 ruling, “continually subjected the plaintiff to repeated sexual assaults, false imprisonments, infliction of extreme emotional distress ... forced the plaintiff to ‘scavenge’ for children to be a part of the defendant King's sexual abuse and pornography ring, forced the plaintiff to engage in numerous masochistic orgies with other minor children.”

“I don’t think the judge would have given Paul a million dollar award, if he didn’t think he was telling the truth,” says DeCamp. King appealed the judgment, but then withdrew his appeal. DeCamp says King retracted his appeal following “actions for depositions.” The judgment against King has yet to be collected.

And what are we to make of Craig Spence's avowal to Washington Times reporters that the blackmail equipment in his home was furnished by a “friendly" intelligence agents? Henry Vinson claims to have divulged to federal prosecutors that the pedophiliac blackmail enterprise of King and Spence had connections to the CIA. The CIA has denied its affiliation to Spence, and Vinson is a convicted felon, but thousands of documents were sealed in Vinson’s case.

The documentation salvaged by the Washington Times is at odds with the statements issued by the US attorney concerning Vinson’s clientele, but correspond to Vinson’s allegations. Should we believe Vinson, the convicted felon, whose statements concerning his VIP clientele are corroborated, or the government that covered up the names of Vinson’s clientele and still refuses to unseal the documents in his case? The alleged connections of King and Spence to the CIA might very possibly be either proved or discredited by unsealing Vinson’s case files. If the Department of Justice has a sincere interest in justice, and the welfare of children, it should unseal those documents.

Even if King wasn’t connected to the CIA, he appears to have been connected to some very powerful individuals who had the influence to orchestrate a state and federal cover-up of his activities. OPD officer Carmean started to investigate King and allegations of “child pornography” in June of 1988, and generated a report that a “federal agency” had exhorted a fellow OPD officer to “slow down or back away” from investigating King.

Senator Schmit was warned that the scandal extended to the “highest levels of the Republican Party.” He received death threats and was told he would experience major political and financial fallout if he pursued the Franklin investigation. Indeed, he lost his senate seat of twenty-four years and suffered major financial reversals in the wake of the investigation.

The US Department of Justice's assignment of King to a federal institution without a formal motion from his attorneys is rather peculiar. According to both King’s employer and his pastor, he wasn’t suffering from a psychiatric illness that would have rendered him “delusional,” yet the Department of Justice’s unorthodox conduct ensured that King wouldn’t appear before the Franklin subcommittee and the Douglas County grand jury.

The documents collected by the Franklin subcommittee, ensuing affidavits, and Alisha Owen’s letters all indicate that the FBI threatened and coerced witnesses to secure their silence or to lie. Then there’s the purported dalliance between FBI agent Mott and lawyer Vuchetich, her contradictory statements, and her subsequent subversion of her own client. A further example of federal malfeasance is the US Attorney quashing the subpoena that would have required Mott to be deposed and explain the nature of his relationship with Vuchetich — on the grounds that it could reveal FBI investigative techniques!

The Douglas County grand jury proceeding was another arena of official misconduct. Caradori’s “Leads List,” which he surrendered to federal and state authorities, identified scores of minors who were possibly abused. But special prosecutor Van Pelt primarily focused on the four victims videotaped by Caradori. Why didn’t Van Pelt subpoena Tony Harris and the other alleged victims Caradori identified?

After the grand jury indicted Alisha Owen and Paul Bonacci for perjury, why was Owen sentenced to between nine and fifteen years, but Bonacci’s charges dropped? Did the Nebraska judiciary determine that Bonacci was truthful, even though one of his perjury indictments was based upon his sworn statement that he witnessed Chief Wadman and Alisha Owen having sexual intercourse?

Then there are the coincidences.  The timing in the fiery death of Caradori and his son is highly suspicious. Caradori phoned Paul Rodriguez from Chicago and told him he was about obtain pictures of King’s pedophiliac orgies. He later phoned Schmit and exclaimed, “We got them!” The FBI subpoenaing Caradori’s Franklin evidence the day after his death is yet another “coincidence.” And what about the unnatural deaths of numerous people affiliated with King and the Franklin investigation, including Alisha Owen's brother, Troy Boner's brother, and Craig Spence?

Though much Internet speculation on Franklin is rife with inaccuracies, there is, in fact, significant evidence of a nationwide pedophile ring that pillaged Boys Town for victims, engaged in blackmail, and still has the power to orchestrate an ongoing federal cover-up.

Since I’ve started my investigation of Franklin, pedophile scandals involving rings linked to the power elites have rocked Portugal, Belgium, Chile, and Mexico. The Belgian pedophile ring reportedly employed blackmail, and the pedophiles in the Portuguese scandal procured children from Portugal's equivalent of Boys Town. So a scandal like Franklin isn’t unprecedented in recent history.

Over the past five years, I’ve spoken to numerous people — on and off the record — who were enmeshed in Franklin, and the names of some eminently powerful individuals have repeatedly surfaced. Unfortunately, those naming names are convicted felons (like Vinson) or young adults whose dysfunctional backgrounds superimposed on sexual abuse have produced potential witnesses who are severely damaged.

Is the American public ready to accept the well-documented accounts of these marginalized individuals over the word of some of the powerful men it has entrusted with our institutions of government?

Is the American public satisfied by Larry King’s prison term for embezzlement while today he walks a free man? King, by the way, now resides in the vicinity of Washington, DC, where a Boys Town branch was launched in 2006.

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