* indicates an alias name-The Creation of a Credit Union-
In December of 1968 The Franklin Credit Union was founded in Omaha, Nebraska. In a district represented by Senator Ernie Chambers, the community credit union stated the goal of making credit available for businesses and individuals in the African-American community of North Omaha.
In August of 1970 Lawrence E. King Jr. became the Credit Union’s new Bank Manager. Lawrence E. King Jr., known best as Larry King, is a large African-American man, and early in his career had made friends with the Democratic Party. King however, came to the conclusion that if he were to swap political parties he might achieve his desires at a much faster rate.
Jumping into the Republican Party boat, Larry King began climbing the rungs to the top. By 1984 Larry King had been quoted in Newsweek Magazine as The fastest rising black star in the Republican Party. That same year, in August, King sang the National Anthem at the Republican GOP Convention in Dallas, Texas. After the convention King threw a lavish party for the entire Republican Party on the TV set of the show Dallas.-Warning Signs-
About a year later, and 25 miles outside of Omaha, the Washington County Sheriff’s Department of Nebraska contacted the Nebraska Department of Social Services (DSS). The Sheriff’s Department informed the DSS office that they had picked up two foster children from their foster parent’s home. The Sheriff’s Department had acted after complaints had been made by two foster children who were in the care of Jarrett and Barbara Webb.
One of the children, Sean McArthur* had welts and scratches he said had been inflicted by the Webbs. The Sheriff’s Department had also picked up Joey Patterson*, who complained of having been beaten by the Webbs. The Webbs however, were not the only ones named, and were well connected to Larry King; Jarrett Webb was a board member at the Franklin Credit Union, and Barbara Webb is Larry King’s cousin. (1)
In November of 1985 a third child, Nelly Patterson,* had also fled from the Webb’s care after claiming she, too, had been abused. A short time later the DSS reported that they in conjunction with a Nebraska State Deputy had interviewed Nelly* and her sister Kimberly*. The two girls reported that they had been beaten numerous times by both Jarrett and Barbara Webb, and that they refused to go back to the Webbs’.
But Nelly’s* story didn’t stop there. After she had fled from the Webbs she was put under the foster care of Ron and Kathleen Sorensen. While under their care, Nelly* told a State Patrol Investigator that she had not only been physically abused by the Webbs but she had also been sexually abused by Jarrett Webb. State Patrol Investigator, Jane F. Tooley, wrote in her report on January 30 1986:
Nelly stated that when she was approximately nine or ten years of age, that Jarrett Webb kissed her for a long time and that she pulled away because she couldn’t breathe and it was nasty. ……Nelly stated again that when she was approximately nine or ten years old that on one occasion Jarrett Webb made her take a nap with him in his bed and she stated “he played with all my body parts.” (2)
By February of 1986 DSS requested that two other children in the foster care of the Webbs be removed immediately as an emergency action. The emergency listed eight different concerns that DSS had about Jarrett and Barbara Webb. Once allegations began to surface against the Webbs, lie detector tests were administered by the Nebraska State Patrol to ensure that the children were telling the truth.
Accompanying the tests came a report from a Nebraska state youth worker named Julie Walters. Walter’s report included the names of Larry King, Fort Calhoun’s School Superintendent Deward Finch, and Fort Calhoun’s High School Principal Kent Miller, as possible child abuse perpetrators. (3)
But the Webbs had an edge in their defense; Washington County Prosecutor Pat Tripp, representing Nelly Patterson,* was good friends with both Deward Finch and Kent Miller. Tripp later dismissed all charges against the Webbs, even though Nelly* had passed multiple lie detector tests. Furthermore, other children under the Webb’s care had corroborated Nelly’s* testimony. For the present moment King was able to skip a rap, but eventually this case and others would come back to haunt him.
-A Young Man Comes Forward-
While Pat Tripp was ensuring that all of the charges against the Webb’s were cleared, 17 year old, Omaha native, Paul Bonacci had come forward to reveal his history of physical sexual abuse. Bonacci opened up to Omaha Northwest High School officials giving them names of his abusers. Names including: Larry King, a wealthy business tycoon Alan Baer, and former publisher of the Omaha World Herald Harold Andersen. Bonacci would go on to list dozens of other prominent local and national business and political figures.-Financial Woes-
Even before Larry King’s name came up surrounding child abuse allegations, King had found himself entangled in a web of unethical business practice. Most public officials felt that they couldn’t scrutinize King’s "extra" spending, because they didn’t want to seem like The big bad white guy jumping on the tiny, Black Credit Union. But this didn’t hold back everybody from speaking out. In February of 1984 Franklin Credit Union Teller Edward Hobbs wrote a memo alleging embezzlement and other improprieties at the Franklin Credit Union.
Hobbs gave a letter to Larry King and sent a copy to Nebraska State Legislator Peter Hoagland, and the Nebraska State Banking Director, Roger Beverage. The day after Hobbs gave the letter to King he was fired. Later, Roger Beverage replied to Hobbs stating that they had been watching Larry King for some time, and that they were aware of his living beyond his means. Unfortunately their "watching" didn’t get Hobbs his job back. But Hobb’s letter may have aided the IRS in launching an investigation into Larry King and his wife Alice's personal tax returns. (4)
To say Larry King was "living beyond his means," was putting it lightly. King’s annual salary at the Credit Union was about $17,000. King was also invested in Omaha clubs and restaurants, including: the Carnivale and the Showcase Lounge, however these investments generated little to no profits. Yet, King managed to drive a variety of luxury cars, live in a quarter-million dollar house in Omaha, and rent a $5,000/month penthouse in Washington D.C.
King’s donations to various organizations and people included the Omaha Press Club, Lobbyists for Gay and Lesbian Rights, and the Republican Party, and totaled into the thousands each year. King was not just living beyond his means; he was openly showcasing his wealth, assuming he was invincible to scrutiny.
-The Millionaire Heir-
One of Larry King’s top "customers" was Alan Baer, a business tycoon, who was heir to the Brandeis department store chain, and was invested in Ak-Sar-Ben, AA Lancer Hockey Team, the Baer Law Firm, and Baer Media. On the surface Baer and King seemed to be business friends, but their relationship went to a much darker place. Baer would often stay at a suite in the Twin Tower penthouse in Omaha.
At the penthouse, Baer threw parties where business and political leaders of the Nebraska area would come. At the parties cocaine would be served on a large tray as if it was an ordure. Victim-witnesses said they were “passed around” for the guest’s sexual pleasure. Victim witnesses at these parties included Paul Bonacci, Alisha Owen, as well as, Troy Boner. Troy Boner had met Baer in 1983 at one of his parties at the Twin Towers suite. While at the suite, Baer paid Troy to perform oral sex on him. Troy later became a child prostitute for Baer and Larry King.
Alan Baer was just one of Larry King’s dozens of customers. Allegations of King’s other unlikely customers included: former Nebraska State Game & Parks Commissioner Eugene Mahoney, former Omaha World Herald Columnist Peter Citron, former Omaha Judge Harold Andersen, - Theodore Carlson, and Omaha Lawyer Thomas McKinney.
But King’s clientele didn’t stop in Omaha. King flew children to cities all over the nation dozens of times for sex parties. Victim-witnesses also testified that children had been taken from Boys Town by Larry King, and later taken to some of the same sex parties. In 1988 King repeated his recital of the National Anthem at the Republican GOP Convention. But even with his powerful connections King couldn’t avoid indictment forever. (5)
After a long investigation the IRS was finally able to catch up with King. On November 4, 1988 the FBI and the IRS raided the Franklin Credit Union. The closing had come as a response to an investigation conducted on King’s personal tax returns. By the end of the day, the Franklin Credit Union’s doors would be permanently closed for business, and the beginning of a massive cover-up would begin to construct itself.
Two weeks after the Franklin Credit Union was closed Larry King was handed down a lawsuit from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) in the sum of $4 million. (6) Officials alleged that King diverted the funds directly from the Franklin Credit Union, using the money for personal expenses and other business interests.
Days after King’s lawsuit articles started pouring out of media outlets disclosing King’s lavish lifestyle. Reports detailed how King had spent the money diverted from the Credit Union. King had rented a penthouse in Washington D.C., had driven a Mercedes, and traveled in chartered limousines and jets. (7)
By December the NCUA had totaled King’s stolen assets to the tune of $34 Million. King initially denied the charges of diverting funds from the Franklin Credit Union for personal use. King had wondered if any money was missing at all, saying "I don't think there's that much money missing - if there's money missing."-Darker Allegations-
Throughout the month of November and December reports began being made public about a link between the Omaha Franklin Credit Union collapse and child sexual and physical abuse. Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers, of Omaha, who had initially helped start the Franklin Credit Union in 1968, came forward and said he had received numerous reports, to which he clearly gave credence, that instances of child sexual and physical abuse were linked to the scandal. (8)
As a result of such broad allegations multiple agencies began to launch investigations, committees were formed, and court hearings were scheduled.
Nicholas O’Hara, acting head of the F.B.I. in Omaha, said his investigation centered around money laundering. Later, courts would hear that laundered funds from the Franklin Credit Union had been used in a transaction between Lieutenant Colonel Michael Aquino and Larry King, diverted funds that were used for and Iran Contra exchange.
Days before Christmas of 1988, local Omaha TV stations began reporting that the Franklin investigation was now looking into allegations of drug trafficking and various types of abuse. Investigators working on the Franklin Case began to widen their inquiries. Investigators would later find key victim-witnesses who testified about their histories of sexual and physical abuse. These same key-witnesses also provided investigators with information pertaining to drug trafficking and a nationwide ring of child prostitution.
-The Start of an Investigation and the Forming of a Committee-
Shortly after Franklin’s closing, two Nebraska State Senators stepped forward to take leadership of the investigation, Senator Ernie Chambers, of North Omaha, and Senator Loran Schmit, of Bellwood. (9)
Ernie Chambers had been the local Senator when the Franklin Credit Union had been founded in 1968. Chambers had received numerous complaints about Larry King’s lifestyle leading up to Franklin’s closing. Throughout 1988 Chambers received reports from the Foster Care Review Board in which abused children had named Larry King as a perpetrator.
Loran Schmit had heard of King while still in the early stages of his career in Omaha, while King was a democratic activist. Former State Senator John DeCamp was Loran Schmit’s personal attorney throughout the course of the Franklin Investigation. DeCamp informed Schmit of his own recollections of King’s past. DeCamp spoke of King’s copious parties after the 1984 and 1988 Republican GOP conventions where DeCamp had been in attendance.-Early Court Sessions-
After the first session in front of the Legislature’s Executive Board Senator Ernie Chambers made an important announcement regarding the nature of the Franklin Investigation. Chambers told the public that the investigation would not only look into financial wrongdoing, but would also focus on physical and sexual abuse of children.
Later that week on December 19, 1988, Carol Stitt, Dennis Carlson, and Burrell Williams, of the Foster Care Review Board, summarized abuse complaints involving Franklin in front of the Legislature’s Executive Board. The Review Board would go on to transpire a host of allegations that would shock most people especially those in the Omaha Community.
Dennis Carlson told the Board that allegations included cult activities, sacrifices of small children, and sexual abuse. The Foster Care Review also presented their files on the Webb foster home. And considering Larry King’s name had surfaced surrounding the investigation into child abuse at the Webb home, prosecutors felt they had built a case against the former Franklin Manager.
After the December 19th session Chambers and Schmit both concluded that a more rapid investigation into abuse allegations must be conducted. Following the session an immediate response came from the Nebraska State Legislature. The Legislature would respond by forming the Franklin Committee, conducting their inaugural session in January of 1989. The committee would conduct a full ranging and in-depth investigation into allegations of child abuse, sex abuse, drug running, and prostitution immediate to those in the Franklin Case.-Lowe Investigates-
In February of 1989 the Franklin Committee hired Jerry Lowe, a former Lincoln, Nebraska, police officer, as their lead investigator. On February 15, 1989 the Committee received their first results from Lowe’s evaluation on the Franklin case.
Lowe painted a picture of a tangled web of bureaucracies, power, money, and sex. Lowe went on to question negligence by Law Agencies in instances of misconduct that dated back years.
Lowe continued sending the committee new reports on his investigation. Throughout the course of his reports Lowe communicated that the investigation was hot due to King’s wealthy connections and political ties. He also communicated that King seemed to have been involved in transactions dealing with guns and money between Nicaragua involving the CIA. Lowe’s investigation would continue to deepen, reporting on King’s acquaintances. (10)-Contradictions Between Investigators-
During the same time Lowe was conducting his investigation into King's web, the Omaha Police Department, and others surrounding the Franklin Case were wrapping up their investigations.
An article in the Omaha World Herald, dated February 5th, 1989, summed up the F.B.I.‘s and the Omaha Police’s findings. Both concluded that there was no substance to the allegations.
In an interview earlier that week, Nicholas O'Hara, special agent in charge for the FBI in Nebraska and Iowa, said, "At this point, I'm satisfied there is no substance to the allegations as far as federal criminal statutes go. We are almost at the end of that point in the investigation." (11)-The Other Investigator, Spire-
Attorney General Robert Spire had been conducting an investigation on Larry King and others since July of 1988. The investigation centered around reports given to Spire from the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board on the insistence of Carol Stitt. The reports were a copulation of testimony taken by the Foster Care Review Board from child victims and witnesses.
Stitt and others at the Foster Care Review Board assumed Spire would take the allegations from the children’s testimony seriously. But when they met with Spire months later in December of 88,’ they were surprised to see that little had been done to look into the reports.
By the next time Spire testified in front of the Franklin Committee it was June of 1989. Spire concluded that he agreed with the findings of the Omaha Police and F.B.I., and that there was no substance to the allegations. Spire had succeeded for the time being in sidestepping any type of investigation that might damage his career and others around him.Money Trails Shake Things Up
In a July meeting between Franklin Committee members, Senator Loran Schmit announced that the Franklin investigation would be taking a new direction. Schmit continued by telling the committee that the investigation would now be focused on following the money trail. Schmit asserted that no important crime could be committed without spending money. Schmit also suggested there was insufficient evidence concerning the abuse allegations.
Schmit’s announcement seemed to have taken most committee members aback. Senator Ernie Chambers, Special Counsel Kirk Naylor, and investigator Jerry Lowe, all abruptly resigned concluding Schmit’s announcement. Shortly thereafter Senator McFarland also resigned from the Committee, leaving only 5 of the 10 members on the committee on board. (12)The Investigation Continues
After the resignations the Franklin Committee regrouped. In August of 89’ the committee hired Gary Caradori as their new investigator. Caradori who had little experience as a private investigator initially found himself in over his head. Caradori recalled his first impressions of the case saying, “From the onset it was apparent that I was up against a barrier regarding mistrust of the Franklin Legislative Committee.” (13)
Caradori, however, would prove himself to be an extremely adept investigator. His investigation would uncover many of the mysteries surrounding Franklin, and ultimately he would make the definitive sacrifice for it.-Caradori takes Videotaped Testimony-
While Loran Schmit followed the money trail, recently hired investigator Gary Caradori took another approach to the Franklin investigation; he went in search of victim-witnesses. Caradori’s search was successful and by the end of his investigation he had collected over 30 hours of video testimony from four victim-witnesses: Paul Bonacci, Alisha Owen, Troy Boner, and Danny King.
The interviews connected the dots for Caradori where other trails had run cold. The interviews described in detail allegations of sexual abuse, drug use, and other crimes connected to the Franklin Credit Union, Larry King, and prominent businessmen in the Omaha area.
The allegations from the testimony would become a central matter in the Franklin Case. Unfortunately few were allowed to personally view the taped testimonies. Small segments of the testimonies were shown on Omaha TV networks, but much of the testimony was kept private, and subjected to rumors and speculation. (14)-Alisha’s Testimony-
In the “Franklin Cover-Up,” Senator John DeCamp transcribes Gary Caradori’s personal notes concerning the videotaped testimonies taken from the victim-witnesses. In October 30, 1989 Caradori wrote the following notes after hearing Alisha Owen’s testimony,
“Ms. Owens indicated, after a three-hour interview, that she had been heavily Involved with various individuals in Omaha, including former members of the Franklin Credit Union.” (15)
On November 7, Caradori followed up with a second interview from victim-witness Alisha Owen.Caradori made an annotated transcript along with the video taped testimony. The following are excerpts from Caradori’s transcript,
“During the course of the statement, Alisha stated that she became involved with Larry King in August of 1983, Alisha was 14 years old at the time.
She indicated that she met Larry King through some boys from Boys’ Town” (Omaha, NE). (16)Alisha Owen went on to describe a party that she attended at a Twin Towers penthouse in Omaha, in August of 1983:“Present when they arrived at the party were Larry King, [sic], Alan Baer, Harold Andersen, and other adult that Alisha did not identify at this time. Alisha estimated that there were approximately six adults and 20 minors.”
Owen’s also described some of the other activities she conducted on behalf of Larry King and others:
“Alisha took numerous trips at the direction of Larry King for sexual purposes. These trips include trips to Los Angeles, Kansas City, & Pasadena, CA. On these flights were other minors.
When Alisha was asked who participated and who was aware of the transportation of kids across state lines for sexual purposes, she said that Larry King and Alan Baer were aware of this.” (17)
After Caradori added it all up he had recommended 62 individuals and documents to be subpoenaed on the basis of Alicia’s testimony. (18)
Alisha Owen had given Caradori the name of another victim-witness named Troy Boner who could attest to her testimony. Caradori received a call from Troy on November 25, in which Troy spent nearly five hours telling his story to Caradori.
Troy told Caradori that he initially met Larry King through Alan Baer in July of 1984, and that he had been giving Alan Baer sexual favors in return for money since August of 1983. Troy also spoke of Larry King, and how he too, began performing sexual favors for King in return for money and drugs. By the end of the phone call Caradori had corroborated five names with Alisha’s testimony: Larry King, Alan Baer, P.J. Morgan, [sic], and Harold Andersen.
-A Committee Response-
At a press conference held on December 18, 1989, Loran Schmit announced that the Franklin Committee had viewed videotaped testimonies from Alisha Owen, Troy Boner, and Danny King. Schmit said that “members of our committee are dismayed.” (19) Schmit went on to concede that the new evidence from the taped testimonies had made the committee members very concerned about the abuse allegations.
-The DeCamp Memo-
Shortly after the start of the New Year, a memo was released to the public written by former Nebraska State Senator and lawyer John DeCamp. The memo became infamously known as “The DeCamp Memo.” DeCamp publicly named for the first time central characters that were being investigated in response to child and sexual abuse allegations.
DeCamp said that you had to turn a blind eye not to be seeing what was going on surrounding the Franklin investigation. Central figures named in the memo included: Larry King, Alan Baer, Harold Andersen, and Peter Citron. DeCamp went on to say that the central figures named “were some of the centerpieces in a coordinated program of child abuse, drug abuse, and abuse of their various public positions of trust and honor.” (20)
DeCamp’s memo infuriated some while others were empowered by the confirmation to the rumors. As a clash arose between the two sides, the Kansas City Star summed up their feelings on the memo:“Hardly modest, DeCamp takes credit for the conveying of the grand juries. “If it had not been for that memo, there would not even be a grand jury investigation today,” DeCamp contends….DeCamp had the audacity to name among others, Harold Andersen, former publisher of the “Omaha World Herald.” DeCamp left the implication that Andersen, an icon of journalism who lunches with President Bush, had a fetish for children. Said one politician, “It was like insulting God.” (21)
The Omaha World Herald also lashed out against the DeCamp memo. The paper claimed that the memo was both irresponsible and condemning. Along with the criticism from the Omaha World Herald, DeCamp was handed down a lawsuit from one of the paper’s columnists, Peter Citron. Citron’s lawsuit, however, fell by the wayside after he found himself charged with multiple counts of child abuse in February of 1990. -Shifting Winds-
In April of 1990 a federal magistrate ruled that Larry King was mentally incompetent to stand trial and that he should be hospitalized for what a psychiatrist called "probable delusional paranoid disorder-grandiose type."
Prosecutors had compiled 40 counts of fraud to charge King with, however with the incompetent ruling prosecutors were unsure of any sort of trial at all. While the financial investigation ran into snags, Caradori’s investigation was picking up, and by May of 1990 he had met his fourth victim witness, Paul Bonacci. (22) -Paul’s Story-
In May of 1990 Gary Caradori met with victim-witness, Paul Bonacci for the first time. Paul had already spoken to multiple city officials regarding his history of sexual and physical abuse. Paul’s story helped Caradori put together the missing pieces of the Franklin puzzle. Through Paul’s abuse and trauma he had developed multiple personality disorder. One of Paul’s personalities used his mind as if it were a computer, storing information: names, dates, and places. Paul’s ability to remember exact places, dates, and names helped Caradori corroborate much of Alisha Troy, and Danny’s testimonies.
On May 10, 1990 Caradori met with Paul Bonacci for the first time at the Douglas County Jail. Paul was being held under charges of fondling one of his relatives. The following are excerpts from Caradori’s personal notes taken the day he met with Paul,
“Upon having Mr. Bonacci meet me in an interviewing room, Bonacci related to this writer that he knew Troy Boner, Danny King, and Alicia [sic] Owen. He further advised that he had been a victim of Alan Baer, Peter Citron, and Larry King, and had some knowledge of [sic], Harold Andersen, and a judge he later on referred to as Carlson.
The subject stated that he had been on at least one to two hundred trips and had been involved in extensive homosexual activity as a child and as a young adult, with his homosexual activity starting when he was approximately 8-10 years old.
The Subject then stated that between the years of 1982 and 1986 he had probably been on at least 200-300 trips. The subject stated that he made at least 15-20 trips to various parts of California, a couple of trips to Washington D.C., and also trips to Des Moines, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Austin Houston, Dallas, St Louis, Miami, Pasadena, Tampa, Lincoln, and Grand Island.
Some of those trips he thought involved politicians from Washington D.C., however, he didn’t know anyone by name because of his young age.
When questioned about Alan Baer, he stated that he first met him in the “Milk Run,” an area near and surrounding the Correctional Center. He stated that he was approximately 12 years old and that this occurred possibly in 1979. He stated that Alan Baer would pay him $20 for oral sex. He stated the last time he had sex with Alan Baer was, he believed, around November 15, 1989, In Alan Baer’s apartment at the Twin Towers.
Paul Bonacci went on to state that he had gone on many “scavenger hunts” for Alan Baer. He defined “scavenger hunts” as an activity in which he would go out and recruit young boys for Alan Baer.” (23)
The following week Caradori returned to the county jail to take a videotaped testimony of Paul Bonacci. Paul’s testimony reaffirmed and amplified Alisha and Troy’s testimonies for Caradori.
Caradori, though, needed more hard evidence to help present his case to the Franklin Jury.-A Franklin Martyr-
In July of 1990 Gary Caradori took a trip to Chicago with his 8 year-old Son, Andrew. While on the trip Caradori and his son enjoyed the MLB All-Star game at Wrigley Field, but the trip had other intentions. Caradori’s investigation had led him to Russell “Rusty” Nelson.
Rusty had been Larry King’s personal photographer for years, and had taken hundreds of photographs at various functions hosted by Larry King. While in Chicago Caradori met Rusty, Rusty gave Caradori photos from some of King’s “sex” parties. The photos were the insurance Caradori had been in search of. After meeting with Rusty, Caradori contacted his home office, informing the office he now had the smoking gun to his investigation. (24)
The following day on July 11, 1990, Caradori and his son left Chicago for Omaha in Gary’s small engine plane. Minutes after their departure Caradori’s plane crashed into a field near Aurora, Illinois, instantly killing Gary and his son. Eyewitnesses to the crash said that they saw the plane break apart in the air, and watched as the pieces fell to the ground. When local authorities arrived on the scene of the crash much of the plane was missing. A federal investigation later concluded that there was no sign of foul play.
Caradori’s death sent a shockwave of fear through those close to the Franklin investigation. Most felt that Caradori’s crash was no accident at all; that those responsible for the crash would stop at no ends to block any further investigation into the Franklin matter. -The Hoax Raises its Ugly Head-
The fear summoned by Caradori’s death encouraged two of the victim-witnesses to recant their testimonies. First Danny King, and later Troy Boner, both claiming that Caradori had fed them answers while conducting their videotaped interviews.
Caradori’s tragic departure to the investigation and the recantations by Danny King and Troy Boner left the Franklin Committee and Prosecutors between a rock and a hard place. Within hours of Caradori’s death F.B.I. officers had issued a subpoena to obtain all of Caradori’s records. By the time it was all said and done Franklin Prosecutors had lost invaluable records and testimonies desperately needed for their case. (25)
Two and half years after Franklin’s doors had been closed in November of 1988 the Grand Jury finally issued its Franklin Case Report. Only twelve days after Caradori’s death, the Grand Jury testified that the entire case was “A Carefully Crafted Hoax.” The 42-page report largely disregarded facts surrounding the Franklin investigation as a whole. And went on to detail their findings using pretentious language to discount points they did not agree with. (26)
The Report acknowledged that Larry King had used money and other possessions to entice young men into sexual relationships; but concluded that these men were of consensual age. The Grand Jury also reported they would leave the financial investigation in the hands of the National Credit Union Association.
The Grand Jury did find Alan Baer guilty of pandering, and handed down an indictment to the millionaire; however the Report concluded that none of Baer’s sexual activities were related to the Franklin Credit Union or Larry King. (27) The Grand Jury also found Peter Citron to be guilty of child sexual abuse, but linked in no way to Franklin or King.
More shocking than Baer and Citron’s indictments, though, were the indictments handed down to Alisha Owen and Paul Bonacci. The Grand Jury conceded that both Alisha and Paul had lied under oath, and that they would be tried under multiple perjury charges. Alisha was later indicted on 8 counts of perjury, and Paul on 3 counts. Both were later convicted of all charges, and sentenced stiff jail time.
Paul and Alisha’s sentences came as a shock to their lawyers. John DeCamp argued he had never heard of such stiff sentences handed down to anyone of such young age. Alisha and Paul’s prison sentences was the knockout blow to the Franklin Committee. But not everyone was knocked down, and the fight for justice marched on.-Trials Continue
Even though the Grand Jury had already made a decision on the abuse allegations, there was still a whole host of outstanding trials related to the Franklin matter. In October of 1990 six psychiatrists testified that Larry King was (finally) fit to stand trial. In a case that was moving dramatically slow, this came as a huge aid to lawmakers seeking prosecution against King.
King was facing 40 counts of conspiracy, fraud and federal income-tax violations, which involved the disappearance of $39 million from the Franklin Credit Union. (28) Defense attorneys hoped the Judge presiding over the case would re-rule King incompetent for trial, however that winter the fatal blow was handed to King. On December 7, U.S. District Judge William Cambridge ruled Lawrence E. King Jr. was indeed mentally competent to stand trial for all 40 criminal charges stemming from the Franklin investigation. (29)
By February of 1991 Both Larry King, and his wife Alice had entered a plea-bargain, pleading guilty to certain charges. King’s agreement included testimony that helped charge seven other conspirators related to Franklin’s collapse. Included were: E. Thomas Harvey Jr., Franklin's chief accountant, and his mother, Mary Jane Harvey, Noel Seltzer, Robert F. Morley, Larry J. Murray, Sandra Rhode Prucha, administrative assistant to King at Franklin, and Jerry Quintero, a bookkeeper at Franklin. (30)
-DeCamp, Still On the Beat-
John DeCamp, who had fought alongside Senator Loran Schmit in the Franklin abuse trials had now found himself representing victim witnesses Paul Bonacci and Alisha Owen. In February of 1991 DeCamp filed a $110 Million Civil Rights suit on behalf of Paul Bonacci, against the Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha, Lawrence King, Peter Citron, Alan Baer, Harold Andersen, Michael Hoch, Kenneth Bovasso, and other key Nebraska persons and institutions.
In it’s usual manor the Omaha World Herald published an article ostracizing DeCamp’s civil suit filed on behalf of Bonnaci. In the article Catholic Archdiocese defense attorney Daniel Hortz claimed he had looked into the allegations surrounding the diocese saying:
"They are absolutely frivolous. They were made without any investigation [on DeCamp's part] that we can tell." (31)
Throughout the spring and into the summer of 1991 DeCamp sought testimony and evidence that might help him in his fight for Paul Bonacci and the truth. But as the civil suit lagged on both Alisha Owen and Paul Bonacci stood trial for their perjury charges.
In a tearful testimony Alisha Owen testified her own defense, repeating her previous allegations. Unfortunately neither Alisha nor Paul had the same comforts of their alleged abusers. The Judge ruled in favor of prosecutors, charging Alisha and Paul in all counts. (32)
Nevertheless DeCamp continued his fight for Bonacci and others. DeCamp wouldn’t find victory in court until 1999 when Judge Urbon finally awarded Bonacci $1 Million in damages against Larry King. But in the eight years between Omaha would find itself as a backdrop to ever evolving scandals.-The Johnny Gosch Thread-
In July of 1991 The Des Moines Register broke a news story that victim-witness Paul Bonacci had handed over evidence to investigators who had been in search of Johnny Gosch. Johnny had been kidnapped in Des Moines, Iowa, while on his paper route in September of 1982.
Bonacci’s testimony matched up to evidence that had not yet been released to the public, establishing his honesty and integrity. Bonacci’s assistance to the case hadn’t come as an accident, though. John DeCamp had noted that one of the events described by Bonacci had striking similarities to the Johnny Gosh abduction.
After DeCamp established Bonnaci’s story with information collected at the public library he contacted the Gosch family. Initially the Gosch family was hesitant to listen to Bonacci, but after a couple weeks Mr. Gosch made a trip to Omaha to hear Bonacci’s account.
Bonacci’s testimony shocked Mr. Gosch. Bonacci told Gosch about Johnny’s birthmark, information that had never made it to the public audience. Bonnaci went on to tell Mr. Gosch that he helped in kidnapping Johnny, using himself as lure to get Johnny into the kidnapper’s car. Bonacci also recalled pictures taken of Johnny days before the kidnapping, which was confirmed by a woman who saw the photographers, and reported it to the police. (33)
Noreen Gosch and others continued their search for Johnny over the next twenty years, when in 2005 there was a huge break.
Jeff Gannon, a reporter with fake credentials, had been publicly ridiculed and ousted after presenting a question to President Bush at a Washington press conference in February of 2005. Investigators found this hadn’t been Jeff Gannon’s first visit to the White House. White House records showed that Gannon had made dozens of trips to the White House. But Gannon’s wild story was only beginning.
Investigators also found that Jeff Gannon had been serving the Washington D.C. community as a homosexual male prostitute, complete with his own website describing himself and his services. Following the revelation that Gannon had been a prostitute online bloggers made an interesting observation. It seemed as though a picture collected from Gannon’s escort site pictured Gannon with a birthmark, perfectly resembling that of Johnny Gosch’s. Immediately bloggers began to hypothesize a theory into the Gannon-Gosch connection.
Jeff Gannon became a media spotlight in the world of conspiracy theorists. It seemed as though everybody had a take on who Jeff Gannon was, and his secret agenda. Some theorized Gannon was a spy for another country, while others claimed famous journalist, Hunter S. Thompson’s suicide came as a result of Gannon’s public ousting. But when Noreen Gosch was contacted the story finally began to take shape.
Noreen looked over the photos taken from Jeff Gannon’s site, and concluded that there was indeed physical similarities to those of her son. Gannon, however, continuously denies any connection the Gosch family. Noreen has contacted Gannon numerous times seeking a blood test to prove her case, but each time Gannon has either declined or backed out at the last minute. Just like DeCamp, Noreen Gosch continues her search for justice, and to finally be re-united with her son. http://www.johnnygosch.com-DeCamp Tells All-
By 1992 most of Omaha had all but forgotten the Franklin mystery. Nevertheless, DeCamp and others marched forward. But DeCamp wasn’t sure what direction to take next, so he sought counsel from his long time friend and mentor former Director of the CIA William Colby. Colby thoughtfully advised DeCamp to tell his entire story. Colby asserted that by telling every last detail, with nothing left to hide, DeCamp could evade his adversaries, and finally get the entire truth out to the public.
In May of 1992 DeCamp self published The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska. DeCamp continued his story by updating the book six times, with two editions. The second edition came as a response to the tragic death of DeCamp’s mentor William Colby. In the second edition DeCamp dedicates the last chapter of the book to his long time friend. DeCamp contended that Colby’s death was no accident at all.
In the book DeCamp points out Colby’s meticulous habits, always keeping everything perfectly organized, and never missing a beat. So when news outlets reported that Colby’s residence was found with the door open and a meal on the table, DeCamp began to contemplate another theory into Colby’s death. And adding to the fact that Colby had fallen victim to a “robbery” just a week earlier, DeCamp began to doubt the official story.
Immediately after DeCamp published his book he was threatened with lawsuits. DeCamp, however, who was a veteran lawyer, knew that truth was always a defense, holding by his accounts in the book. DeCamp watched as multiple threats never materialized. The Franklin Cover-Up, which can be found at most local Omaha bookstores and libraries serves as the ultimate tool in understanding the full story of the Franklin matter. To get your copy click here to visit out Franklin Cover-Up page.
-The Silence Doesn’t Break-
In 1993 the Yorkshire Television Group sent a small team to Omaha, Nebraska to investigate what was left of the Franklin Case. After spending nearly a year in Omaha collecting footage and interviews, the crew felt they had a documentary that may even win awards. With nearly half a million dollars spent on production, Conspiracy of Silence was set to shatter the silence that had shrouded the case.
In May of 1994 when the ground-breaking documentary was scheduled to air thousands tuned in to find that once again the powers that be had silenced the Franklin story. Later DeCamp was told that cable companies had struck a deal with Congress to not impede on their programming if they pulled Conspiracy of Silence. An unknown purchaser bought all of the copies of the program, and reimbursed Yorkshire Television the production costs. But not all copies were destroyed. In 1995 John DeCamp received a cutting room copy of the documentary. Click here to visit our media page to view Conspiracy of Silence for yourself.-The Never-ending Story-
In 1999 DeCamp and Paul Bonacci saw their first legal victory in the Franklin matter when Judge Urbom awarded Bonacci $1 Million, to be paid by Larry King.(34) Though the lawsuit had come more than a decade after Franklin’s doors had closed, justice seemed to be finally pervading. But the settlement didn’t seem to open any more doors into Franklin matter, leaving DeCamp, Bonacci, and others in search of more.
A time progressed, old age finally caught up with those related to the Franklin Case. In November of 2002 Alan Baer died of cancer. After leaving much of his Ak-Sar-Ben legacy behind him, Baer had purchased the Omaha Reader, a local media paper in 1999. Throughout the following three years Baer shepherded the paper’s growth.
Old age, though, wasn’t everyone’s nemesis. For years the Franklin matter had haunted Troy Boner. Following his interviews with the Yorkshire TV crew Boner fell off the radar until 2003. After running into a New Mexico hospital in 2003, waving the Franklin Cover-Up book, and screaming that they were out to get him because of the book, Boner was sedated. The next day when hospital workers went to check on Boner he was found dead. The death was never publicly investigated, and remains a mystery.
Large media groups have continuously overlooked the Franklin story, but this doesn’t mean the word isn’t getting out. With help from others, such as former FBI agent Ted Gunderson, and former NY Police Detective Jimmy Rothstein, DeCamp has gotten the Franklin Story out to thousands. Those of us fighting for justice, continue our fight to educate those who are still in the dark, knowing one day we will finally stand in the light of truth.