Franklin child prostitution ring allegations

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The Franklin child prostitution ring allegations were a series of allegations and legal actions surrounding a purported child sex ring serving high-level U.S. politicians. The scandal centered around the actions of Lawrence E. King, a former official at the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union in Omaha, Nebraska. King was eventually arrested and convicted of embezzlement charges.

The allegations were investigated by a special Nebraska state legislative committee and the FBI. A 1990 grand jury report concluded the allegations amounted to a "carefully crafted hoax," although the alleged perpetrators of said hoax were never officially identified. Allegations of a cover up have circulated since, including several books and a documentary film. King eventually served 10 years of a 15-year prison sentence for embezzlement and fraud. He was later served with a $1M default judgment after he failed to appear in court to respond to civil charges of kidnapping and child abuse.


[edit] Child abuse and prostitution allegations

Allegations linking the Franklin Credit Union to a child prostitution ring began to surface in 1988, during an unrelated federal investigation into financial malfeasance at the credit union. News of the abuse allegations made national headlines when the New York Times reported on December 18, 1988 that the "Omaha office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation acknowledged that it had independently received reports of sexual abuse and that they were a subject of its own criminal inquiry into the credit union affair."[1]

On June 29, 1989, six months after the Franklin story was reported in the New York Times, news of a child sex ring with ties to high-level U.S. politicians was reported by the Washington Times in an article bearing the headline "Homosexual Prostitution Inquiry ensnares VIPs with Reagan, Bush."[2] The Washington Times article, by Paul M. Rodriguez and George Archibald, alleged that key officials of the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations were connected to an elaborate Washington, D.C. male prostitution ring, and reported that two of these prostitutes even entered the White House late at night. The allegations included, among other things, charges of "abduction and use of minors for sexual perversion." The Washington Times article made no mention of a possible connection to the Franklin case.

[edit] Grand jury findings

On January 10, 1990, the Nebraska State legislature constituted a special committee to look into the allegations with State Senator Loran Schmit as Chairman. On January 30, 1990, Nebraska State Attorney General Robert Spire called for a grand jury to investigate the allegations. On February 6, 1990, former County District Judge Samuel Van Pelt was appointed a special prosecutor for the Douglas County Grand Jury, which convened on March 12, 1990. On July 23, 1990, after hearing many hours of testimony, the county grand jury threw out all of the allegations concerning sexual child abuse, labeling the charges a "carefully crafted hoax [...] scripted by a person or persons with considerable knowledge of the people and institutions of Omaha," but without identifying who perpetrated the hoax.[3]

[edit] Lawrence King convictions

Lawrence E. King, among the key people named in the allegations, was eventually convicted of embezzling thirty-eight million dollars as manager of the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union in Nebraska.[4] King was one of the Republican party's rising stars, performing the national anthem at the 1984 and 1988 Republican National Conventions. According to the original December 18, 1988, New York Times article, Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers stated King's involvement in the Franklin scandal was "just the tip of an iceberg, and he's not in it by himself."[5] Who or what exactly Chambers was referring to remains unclear, however, the New York Times reported Chambers claimed to have heard credible reports of "boys and girls, some of them from foster homes, who had been transported around the country by airplane to provide sexual favors, for which they were rewarded."[6]

[edit] Bonacci case

Paul A. Bonacci won a default judgment of $800,000 in compensatory damages and $200,000 in punitive damages in a civil action against Lawrence E. King in which the petition alleged kidnapping, mind control, satanic ritual abuse, and sexual abuse, and alleged various personal injuries, both physical and psychological. The judge did not rule on these allegations, but merely ruled on the motion for default judgment.

The judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska in Omaha, on February 27, 1999, was a default judgment following defendant King's failure to appear in response to the charges. At the time, King was in prison, having been sentenced in June 1991 to 15 years (3 consecutive 5-year sentences) following conviction in the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union criminal case on charges including conspiracy, embezzlement, and falsifying book entries.[7] Before his release, an appeal of the $1 million judgment against him was filed. In January 2000, Lawrence King dropped the appeal to the $1 million judgment against him. He was released from prison on April 10, 2001.

[edit] Cover Up Allegations

The 1990 grand jury report came less than two weeks after private detective Gary Caradori, who was hired by a special Nebraska state legislative committee to investigate the allegations, was killed when the small plane he was piloting crashed in Illinois. Senator Loran Schmit, chairman of the legislative committee, told the Omaha World-Herald that "[Caradori] believed that something was going to come out of this investigation. He believed that the evidence was there to be developed and that things couldn't stay under cover forever."[8]

Former Nebraska state senator John DeCamp, who was close to the original Franklin investigation and provided legal counsel to several of the alleged victims in the case, has written extensively about a connection to the Washington, D.C. prostitution ring and what he believes amounted to a coverup. Webster Tarpley also wrote about the Franklin Credit Union scandal and its connection to the Washington prostitution ring in an unauthorized biography of George H. W. Bush published in 1992.

Rumors of a coverup were fueled even further when a national television broadcast of Conspiracy of Silence, an hour-long documentary film about the scandal, was cancelled unexpectedly. The film attempts to establish a connection between the alleged child prostitution ring and the Franklin Federal Credit Union scandal. It was scheduled to air May 3, 1994, on the Discovery Channel and was listed in the April 3rd - May 6th edition of TV Guide magazine, but the broadcast was pulled for reasons that remain unclear.

A new book about the Franklin allegations by investigative journalist Nick Bryant is set for release in May/June 2009.

[edit] See Also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ William Robbins. A Lurid, Mysterious Scandal Begins Taking Shape in Omaha. The New York Times. December 18, 1988
  2. ^ Paul M. Rodriguez and George Archibald. Homosexual prostitution inquiry ensnares VIPs with Reagan, Bush. copy and scanned images of original 29 June 1989 article in The Washington Times.
  3. ^ William Robbins. Omaha Grand Gury Sees Hoax in Lurid Tales. The New York Times. July 29, 1990
  4. ^ William Robbins. Nebraska Inquiry Is Given File on Sex Abuse of Foster Children. The New York Times, 25 December 1988, retrieved 18 January 2008
  5. ^ William Robbins. A Lurid, Mysterious Scandal Begins Taking Shape in Omaha. The New York Times. December 18, 1988
  6. ^ William Robbins. A Lurid, Mysterious Scandal Begins Taking Shape in Omaha. The New York Times. December 18, 1988
  7. ^ David Thompson. Franklin Attorneys Say Case Isn't Over. Omaha World-Herald, 18 June 1991.
  8. ^ Caradori's Airplane Broke up in Flight, Omaha World-Herald. Omaha, NE: July 12, 1990. Page 01

[edit] References

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