The Franklin child abuse scandal – stunning cover-up of child prostitution ring for wealthy elitists and political leaders
// March 5th, 2016 // Government
A Conspiracy of Silence
In 1993, a film crew from Yorkshire Television in the UK travelled to Omaha, Nebraska to make a documentary about a pedophile ring. The project was funded by the Discovery Channel and set to air in 1994 in the UK and in the United States a year later. To their horror, filmmakers uncovered a vast operation functioning throughout the country that supplied children to the wealthy and political establishment for purposes of molestation, drug trafficking, and blackmail.
The filmmakers were in the final editing stage of the documentary when the Discovery Channel suddenly withdrew support for the project. To this day the documentary remains unaired. The film told the story of Lawrence King and an alleged cover-up that reached the highest levels of big business and United States government.
John DeCamp’s “The Franklin Cover-Up” book exposes widespread abuse at Boys Town foster home
Much of the documentary was based on John DeCamp’s expose, The Franklin Cover-Up. DeCamp, a seasoned attorney, highly decorated Viet Nam veteran, and former Republican Senator, explained what he uncovered,
“It’s a web of intrigue that starts in our holy of holies, Boys Town Nebraska, one of the most respected institutions in the United States, and spreads out like a spider web to Washington DC right up to the steps of the nation’s capital, steps of the Whitehouse. It involves some of the most respected and powerful and richest businessmen in this country – and the centerpiece of the entire web is the use of children for sex, drug dealing, drug couriers, and the compromising of politicians and businessmen.”
The story sounds bizarre, sketchy, and too horrible to be true, but a plethora of evidence exists that suggests that not only did the events really occur, but that the episode sparked a massive cover-up, one that even lead to the deaths of the lead investigator, key witnesses, and several of the accused pedophiles and involved several prominent wealthy businessmen, upper-echelon political figures, high-level legal officials, and the police.
Lawrence “Larry” King and his ties to Boys Town, Nebraska
The founding of Boys Town
Boys Town (also called Boystown) was founded in 1917 in Douglas County, Nebraska by catholic priest, Edward J. Flanagan. The project started as a home for orphans, abandoned, neglected, and abused boys and girls. News of Flanagan’s humanitarian project spread worldwide and even spawned a 1938 movie, Boys Town, starring Spencer Tracy (who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Father Flanagan) and a rowdy, young Mickey Rooney. The foster home’s popularity brings in much money (1/3 of its contributions are from public donations) and it is believed to hold a massive cash reserve of over $500 million dollars. A lot of money passes through its doors and Omaha’s Larry King possessed the means to safely hold it for them.
Lawrence “Larry” King
Lawrence “Larry” King was the leader of the Black Republican Council and in the 1980’s, was one of the fastest rising stars in the Republican party. Ten years’ prior, King was brought to Omaha to save a failing credit institution, Franklin Federal Credit Union, and it was his position at the Franklin Credit Union that lead to his close ties with Boys Town. Boys Town held quite a few valuable accounts in the bank.
As an act of “goodwill”, Larry King employed many of the Boys Town boys at the credit union where they took minor roles cleaning up the bank, shuffling files, and toting records about. The community recognized the many boys at the bank as King’s contribution to the city. Thus a pillar of the community was brought to his knees when in 1986, Paul Bonacci approached a school official claiming King had sexually abused him – and many other Boys Town children.
Paul Bonacci comes forward with claims of rampant Boys Town abuse
According to Paul Bonacci, Larry King used boys as young as ten years old as sex toys at bizarre pedophile parties. Bonacci says that from 1978 through 1982, he was one of those victims. He recalled there were several groups of boys involved in “crews” that King organized and supplied to wealthy elitists under names such as Bodies by God (for teenage boys) and The Golden Boys (for children that were under the age of ten).
The claims were outrageous, bizarre, unheard of, however, this was not the first time King had been accused of such behavior. King had been dogged by accusations of pedophilia before. One of this first accusers, Eulice “Lisa” Washington, had made a similar claim against him a year earlier.
Eulice Washington comes forward with outrageous claims of sexual abuse
Eulice had been adopted by King’s relatives, Jarrett and Barbara Webb, in the 1970’s. Her case came to the forefront in 1985 after it was noticed that she continually ran away from her foster parents’ home. Initially reluctant to disclose information about her foster parents, she finally recounted a remarkable tale, telling authorities that her time with the Webb’s was fraught with pain and neglect. According to Eulice, she and other adoptive children living with the Webb’s were routinely beaten. She also says that at the age of ten years old, Jarrett Web began sexually abusing her.
The Nebraska Department of Social Services took Eulice’s case and it became the center of investigation for Andrea L. Carener, who couldn’t help but notice how many times Boys Town came up in Eulice’s testimony. To ensure her honesty, Eulice was given a polygraph test and passed. Soon after, according to Nick Bryant, author of The Franklin Scandal, in separate interviews, the Webb’s adopted children “flooded Nebraska’s Department of Social Services personnel with bone-chilling anecdotes of horrific abuse.”
Eulice says the abuse did not end with her adoptive father. Supported by her sister, she detailed a massive child sex, homosexual, and pornography ring, run in Nebraska by Larry King. She described how she was regularly taken to Washington by plane, with other youths, to attend parties hosted by King. She explained that the parties involved many prominent people, including businessmen and politicians. She told how she was first sent out of state for a pedophilic party:
“The Webb’s 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. On the two trips I was on, Boys Town kids were on the planes. 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.”
Years later, a 50-page handwritten report penned by Department of Social Services worker, Julie Walters, surfaced. It documented Eulice’s accusations in horrific detail.
“3/25/86. Met with Kathleen [Sorenson] and Lisa for about 2 hours in Blair [Neb.] questioning Lisa for more details about sexual abuse…. Lisa admitted to being used as a prostitute by Larry King when she was on trips with his family. She started going on trips when she was in 10th grade. Besides herself and Larry there was also Mrs. King, their son, Prince, and 2-3 other couples. They traveled in Larry’s private plane, Lisa said that at these trip parties, which Larry hosted, she sat naked ‘looking pretty and innocent’ and guests could engage in ANY sexual activity they wanted (but penetration was not allowed) with her….
Lisa said she first met V.P. George Bush at the Republican Convention (that Larry King sang the national anthem at) and saw him again at a Washington, D.C. party that Larry hosted. At that party, Lisa saw no women (‘make-up was perfect — you had to check their legs to make sure they weren’t a woman’).
The polygraph test which Lisa took only centered around sexual abuse committed by Jarrett Webb. At that time, she had said only general things about Larry’s trips (i.e. where they went, etc.). She only began talking about her involvement in prostitution during those trips on 3/25/86….
Lisa also accompanied Mr. and Mrs. King and Prince on trips to Chicago, N.Y. and Washington, D.C. beginning when she was 15 years old. She missed twenty-two days of school almost totally due to these trips. Lisa was taken along on the pretense of being Prince’s babysitter. Last year she met V.P. George Bush and saw him again at one of the parties Larry gave while on a Washington, D.C. trip. At some of the parties there are just men (as was the case at the party George Bush attended) — older men and younger men in their early twenties. Lisa said she has seen sodomy committed at those parties….
At these parties, Lisa said every guest had a bodyguard and she saw some of the men wearing guns. All guests had to produce a card which was run through a machine to verify who the guest was, in fact, who they said they were. And then each guest was frisked down before entering the party. / Note #7
She indicates that in September or October 1984, when [Lisa] Washing- ton was fourteen or fifteen years of age, she went on a trip to Chicago with Larry King and fifteen to twenty boys from Omaha. She flew to Chicago on a private plane.
The plane was large and had rows of two seats apiece on either side of the interior middle aisle.
She indicates that King got the boys from Boys Town and the boys worked for him. She stated that Rod Evans and two other boys with the last name of Evans were on the plane. Could not recall the names of the other boys.
The boys who flew to Chicago with Washington and King were between the ages of fifteen and eighteen. Most of the boys were black but some were white. She was shown a color photograph of a boy and identified that boy as being one of the boys on the plane. She could not recall his name.
She indicates that she was coerced to going on the trip by Barbara Webb.
She indicates that she attended a party in Chicago with King and the male youths. She indicated George Bush was present.
She indicates that she set [sic] at a table at the party while wearing nothing but a negligee. She stated that George Bush saw her on the table. She stated she saw George Bush pay King money, and that Bush left the party with a nineteen-year-old black boy named Brent.”
Today, Eulice Washington dedicates her life to working with children who have been abused.
Boys Town officials are told their “children” are being abused
After the horrifying allegations that children were being abused at Boys Town, the police were of course notified. They reportedly put little faith in the accusations and rather than launch an official investigation, notified Boys Town school officials. Unfortunately, the news was not delivered to all officials but rather, was sent directly, and solely, to the head of Boys Town, Father Valpeter.
Father Valpeter would later claim that he carried out his own investigation but found no evidence of abuse. According to him, the victims refused to talk. As a result, Larry King remained free, and according to victims, continued preying on the young boys from Boys Town.
A routine review brings the abuse scandal to the attention of Nebraska’s State Foster Review Board
“The information presented to the Foster Care Review Board, either via the telephone reports, the personal reports, or the reports we reviewed, Larry King’s name was consistently present as someone the youth were making allegations against.”
Stitt dug further and found an astounding list of prominent individuals who were reported to be involved in the abuse of the children. Stitt turned the information over to the authorities but to her disdain, “nothing happened”. Instead, Stitt says after she uncovered the suspicious activities, she began receiving threats. She recalls one call placed directly to her home the night before she testified before the legislative committed, in which the caller bluntly told her,
“If you speak, you won’t live to regret it.”
Today, lead investigators in Omaha claim they never heard anything about the accusations but Stitt is convinced the case was never pursued because the perpetrators “included some of the richest and most powerful people in Omaha – including the Omaha Police Department”.
Larry King plunders the accounts of the Franklin Credit Union
At the time, King was heralded as the great black hope, a leader who righteously helped impoverished black people forge through their plight. However, authorities looking into the allegations of child abuse, began to recognize King’s unusual spending habits. He was purchasing private planes, luxurious automobiles, and extravagant homes, including one in Washington, D.C. The IRS became involved, launched an investigation and on April 11, 1988, the Franklin Credit Union was raided by the FBI.
As a result of the investigation, King was found to have stolen nearly $40 million from the credit union. He was indicted on 40 criminal counts including conspiracy, fraud, and embezzlement. In 1991, King was convicted and the Franklin Credit Union collapsed. Strangely, no mention of child abuse, pedophilia, lavish sex parties, or a child sex ring ever surfaced and the evidence in the case against King was seemingly kept under wrap.
State of Nebraska launches a parallel investigation into Franklin Credit Union and Larry King
At the same time the FBI was processing the Franklin Credit Union case, the state of Nebraska launched its own operation. An investigative committee was created and Senator Loran Schmit assigned to lead. Schmit wisely followed the money trail and in no time, found it led directly to the original allegations of child abuse. Schmit released a three-page report urging the subcommittees to “find out where the money went and you’ll find the rest.” As an example, Schmit cited a $2,800 credit card receipt that showed Larry King purchased an expensive coat for a young man (the man was later found shot to death – his death was ruled a suicide).
Almost as soon as Schmit began his investigation, anonymous threats began to arrive at his office. According to Schmit,
“I received a phone call on the floor of the legislature. The caller did not identify himself. But he said, Loran, you do not want to have anything to do with the investigation of the Franklin Credit Union. And I asked who I was speaking to and they said that doesn’t matter. But you shouldn’t have that investigation. I said why not and he said, it will reach to the highest levels of the Republican party… And we’re both good Republicans.”
Private investigators hired to look into allegations of child sexual abuse
The Nebraska legislative committee hired former Nebraska state patrolman, Gary Caradori, and Karen Ormiston to act as private investigators for the case. They were instructed to ignore rumor and gossip, and focus only on hard facts with solid, supporting evidence behind them. Almost immediately they found new victims of the pedophile sex ring and each told the exact same story as the victims from Boys Town three years earlier. According to Karen Ormiston,
“They were telling us about prominent people in Omaha and elsewhere that were abusing children at parties.”
Senator Schmit says the names on the list were disturbing. He knew many of them personally and was “shocked” that their names could be included in a list of child sexual abusers.
As Gary Caradori uncovered more and more victims of the powerful group, he began to suspect that someone of great importance was doing their best to closely watch, and disrupt, his investigation. Conclusive evidence that he was being monitored came when his wife, Sandy, a middle school English teacher, told him an old friend who worked for Lincoln Telephone Company came to their house and informed her that their phone was being tapped.
Ignoring the surveillance placed on him, Caradori continued interviewing witnesses and victims. In November and December 1989, Caradori interviewed several key witnesses (in addition to Paul Bonacci) who would become intricately entangled in the investigation: Alisha Owen, Troy Boner, and Danny King.
Paul Bonacci recalls being flown across the country to “bad parties”
Paul A. Bonacci told Caradori he was a victim of sex abuse since he was 8 years old. He described how children were flown around the United States for “bad parties” and says he attended about 100 such parties at a penthouse in Omaha’s Twin Towers from 1981 to 1986.
Bonacci says the pedophile sex parties grew more gruesome and at times, he was tied up while other children were forced to sexually abuse him. Bonacci claims he was tortured too, the first of which involved cigarette burns on his arms and legs (scars from the burns are clearly visible in photos of Bonacci).
Troy Boner accuses Alan Baer of predatory abuse
Troy Boner says he was introduced to the pedophile sex parties when he was 17 years old by Alan Baer, a wealthy Omaha businessman (he owned the popular mid-west Bandeiras Department Store chain). Boner says Baer was an “extremely sick man” who “took sex however he could”. He says Larry King was the same kind of person except Larry king was more violent, rough, and uncaring with the children he had sex with.
Danny King corroborates Paul Bonacci’s testimony
James “Danny” King says that he, along with Troy Boner, attended many of the parties Larry King threw in the penthouse of Omaha’s Twin Towers and like the others, says he was sexually abused at the parties. Danny corroborated testimony from not only Paul Bonacci, but a witness who provided an stunningly vivid recollection of the events – Alisha Owen.
Alisha Owen’s vivid recollection of Larry King pedophile sex parties
How Alisha became involved with Larry King’s parties
Unlike most of the children who claimed to have been abused, Alisha Owen did not come from a massively dysfunctional family. Her parents were church-going Christians who raised Alisha under a strict set of moral guidelines. Still, at age 14, Alisha fell in with the wrong crowd which soon led to friendships with several rowdy Boys Town residents.
Alisha told investigators that she was heavily involved in pedophilic activity with a variety of high-profile politicians, businessmen, and Omaha city leaders, including Larry King. She also provided investigators with an extensive list of victim names, many of which later validated her accusations against Larry King.
Alisa says she first became involved with Larry King in 1983 when she was just 14 years old. She met King through some of the boys from Boys Town, primarily Jeff Hubbell, who invited her to one of King’s parties in August 1983.
Alisha arrived at the Twin Towers (now Swanson Towers at 8405 Indian Hills Drive in Omaha, Nebraska) penthouse apartment with Jeff Hubbell and Troy Boner. She says drugs were freely available at the party and teens could “play bartender” and have any drink they wanted.
She described a game played at the parties called “501” where the children took turns unbuttoning each other’s pants (501 jeans) with their teeth and toes while the adults watched. She says when her turn came, she balked. The adults pressured her to play by teasing her saying, “Maybe she’s just a little girl and shouldn’t be here.”
Alisha names perpetrators
Alisha’s testimony was intricately detailed and precise. She was able to describe abuse locations including where the doors of hotel rooms were located and how the furniture was arranged inside the rooms. Among the minors she named in attendance at the parties were Danny King, Jeff Hubbell, Troy Boner, Joel Webb, Larry ?, Jeremy ?, and Kurt ?. Despite adult attendees using aliases or taking care not to reveal their real names, she was able to supply names of some of the people she says were in attendance. The list was shocking.
Larry King – the Federal Credit Union owner and close friend of Boys Town.
Alfie Allen – a friend of Larry King’s. Not much else is known about “Alfie”.
Alan Baer – wealth Omaha businessman, owner and executive at Brandeis Stores. Indicted in Franklin Credit Union scandal and charged with pandering. He plead no contest to a reduced charge of aiding and abetting prostitution and paid a small fine.
Robert Wadman – Omaha Chief of Police whom she says once told her, “Larry King owes me a lot”. He was dismissed from his position in 1989. The reasons for his dismissal are disputed.
Shelia/Sheila Calder – a woman who “organized” the parties.
Peter Citron – entertainment columnist for the Omaha World-Herald. Citron was later arrested for pedophilia in an unrelated case.
Harold Anderson – Omaha World-Herald executive.
Eugene “Gene” Mahoney – former state senator, head of Nebraska Forestry Service.
Theodore Carlson – Omaha County Judge.
Mike Mercer – a “friend” of Larry King’s.
Unknown – a “superintendent of a school” (another witness names him as Deward “Skip” Finch).
Unknown – a photographer that many believe was Republican Party photographer, Rusty Nelson.
And many other adults who she did not have names for.
Alisha describes how children were flown across the country for pedophile sex parties
Over the next few years, Alisha says she attended many sex parties at the Twin Towers penthouse apartment. She says she typically received money, about $50, from participants at the party and occasionally they would take her out and buy her expensive clothes. She claims many photographs and video of the pedophile acts were taken.
Alisha says the parties soon moved to local clubs including The Max Bar, French Café, and The Run, and described how she and boys from Boys Town were taken across the country on airplanes for similar sex parties – to places such as Los Angeles, Kansas City, Pasadena, and Dallas. She was able to provide details of the flights including those who flew with her, hotels they stayed at, flight numbers, stopovers, flight times, and descriptions of the baggage that they carried aboard the airplane (she says she carried bags for the adults and was told to not open them).
Alisha stated that in her opinion, someone in the administration of Boys Town had to be involved because “the boys seemed to have no problem getting out of Boys Town to attend the parties”.
Witnesses testimony is consistent – details about a party photographer emerge
Investigators couldn’t help but notice that in almost all cases, the witness’s testimony matched – perfectly. For instance, all witnesses say the sex parties were often hosted at the penthouse suite in the Twin Towers luxury block and that eventually they were flown across the country for pedophile sex parties. They described how drugs were often used to “persuade” the children to participate in certain sexual acts – and all witnesses agree that the sessions were filmed and photographed.
To date, no pictures nor video of the events have surfaced (although it was believed Caradori came close to acquiring such evidence). Some of the victims named the purported photographer – prominent photographer for the Republican Party, Rusty Nelson. Years after their accusations against Nelson were made public, it was reported that Nelson had previously been imprisoned for possession of child pornography.
Nick Bryant, author of The Franklin Scandal, says he interviewed Nelson in 2003. In the interview, Nelson explained that he was hired to take pictures of adults and children in compromising positions for the purpose of blackmail.
“The content of the pictures, and the events surrounding them, would be an instant end to a politician’s career.”
Bryant says Nelson promised Investigator Caradori incriminating photographs. They agreed to meet in Chicago – a trip that would yield tragic consequences for Caradori.
Supporting testimony from other witnesses
During the Nebraska Legislative Committee’s investigation, Schmit and Caradori say more supporting witnesses were found. The following lists some of the corroborating witness testimony they uncovered.
Former airplane charter service employee confirms underage boys on flight
A former airplane charter service employee recalled Larry King using the charter service on a weekly basis. She said he routinely travelled with a number of young men who were “very good looking”, clean cut, and clean shaven. She recalled that they never spoke on the flight which she found extremely odd. Caradori obtained hundreds of flight itineraries from two charter services but few had passenger manifests or lists of persons on the flight and thus, the names of the “young men” could not be determined. He noted however, that most flights were to Washington, D.C.
David Hill and Fred Carter confirm Boys Town abuse
Caradori discovered supporting testimony from David Hill, who confirmed he had been molested by Boys Town priest Father James Kelly, and Fred Carter who confirmed Larry King’s pandering of Boys Town children. Carter explained how the children were selected.
“There were certain kids that were… that had the look… that had that marketability. It was all about money.”
Tony Harris confirms Larry King parties in Washington D.C.
Tony Harris told Caradori that King flew him to Washington several times with five to ten other kids. He recalled the clientele at King’s parties as “quite distinguished, high society types”. Harris says King paid them from $100 to $500 in cash and that children would get “privileges” back at Boys Town. He also recalled being told that if he talked, “there would be consequences”.
Nilolai Caymen confirms Larry King parties
Nilolai Caymen, a former Boys Town student, says he was eleven years old when Larry King started flying him to the parties.
“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 yourself 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 the room or a single boy sitting there [performing sex acts].”
Caymen also says he was subjected to sadistic acts many times (sadistic sex or torture was also corroborated by Owen, Boner, and Bonacci). Caymen says that in 1988, after a particularly brutal sadistic session, he finally approached Boys Town leaders to tell of the abuse. He was promptly placed on a plane and sent to a psychiatric hospital in Georgia where he remained for two years. After leaving the hospital, Caymen changed his legal name (from Andre Painie) to avoid harassment.
Boys Town police officer confirms Larry King regularly visited Boys Town
A Boys Town police officer says he observed a vehicle registered to Larry King on the Boys Town property many times during his employment from 1985 through 1987. In one instance, he approached his superior to ask about it and was told to “leave it alone”.
Senator Schmit turns evidence over to FBI
After Schmit’s investigation reached a threshold of suspicion, he was told to turn all evidence over to the FBI. Included in the evidence was video testimony from the four primary witnesses (Troy Boner, Alisha Owen, Paul Bonacci, and Danny King). The witness’s testimony quickly leaked to the press and in an odd twist, a hostile media (particularly the Omaha World-Herald) began discrediting the witnesses and portraying them as the criminals. It seemed as if the press were making every attempt to destroy the credibility of the four youth. Soon legal authorities also began to discredit the witnesses claiming their testimony was “a conspiracy of allegations, none of which had any truth to them.”
Lawrence Shmit was devastated by the reaction to the evidence he turned over to them. With regards to the negative media reaction, the investigators found it odd that at least two of the accused sexual predators held high level positions at the Omaha World-Herald newspaper.
Authorities threaten victims with charges of perjury
As pressure to file charges against the accused increased, Troy Boner says he was told by the authorities that if he went forward with his testimony, he “was going to jail” for perjury. Boner says he then realized they believed nothing of what he was telling him. “Out of fear”, he recanted his story and began working with investigators to convince other victims to recant their stories – particularly Alisha Owen who would eventually be charged with eight counts of perjury.
In an attempt to trap Alisha in lies, the FBI worked with Boner to record a conversation between him and Alisha. However, the transcript of the conversation shows that the FBI’s attempt to trap Alisha backfired.
Boner: You concocted this whole thing Alisha
Owen: You’re full of S***. Who the hell do you have listening on this phone call?
Boner: I have nobody listening to me
Owen: I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing here.
Boner: I’m not playing any game here.
Owen: I don’t know who you have listening to this phone call or…
Boner: You’re being stupid Alisha. I’m not going to go to jail for you… and that’s what’s going to happen.
Owen: Why would you go to jail? For telling the truth?
Boner: No, for lying.
Owen: What have you lied about?
Boner: I haven’t lied.
Owen: Ok, but then why are you…
Boner: Listen. Shut up! Listen to me. You’re not out here being talked to them every day. The pressure is kind of hard.
The suspicious death of lead investigator, Gary Caradori
While the FBI, media, and authorities were attempting to discredit the victims’ testimony, private investigators Gary Caradori and Karen Ormiston say they continued to receive anonymous threats. Ormiston claims that Caradori’s car was tampered with several times, an act that she believes was meant as a threat since the tampering attempts were so blatantly obvious.
On July 11, 1990, during the middle of the investigation, Gary Caradori and his 8-year-old son Ajay were returning from a Chicago All-Stars baseball game aboard a private airplane. Caradori had been pursuing new leads at the time and according to his wife, Caradori told her that while in Chicago, he intended to meet with photographer Rusty Nelson to obtain incriminating photographs of the abuse.
Upon returning from the game, Caradori’s private plan crashed in a remote cornfield, killing both Gary Caradori and his young son. The wreckage was spread over a large area indicating that the airplane had somehow broken up in flight. Federal investigators were never able to determine what tore the plane apart in mid-air.
Strangely, missing from the wreckage (and never found) was Caradori’s personal briefcase which many suspect contained the incriminating photographs obtained from Rusty Nelson. Within 48 hours of the crash, the FBI delivered a subpoena to Caradori’s widow demanding she turn over all of her husband’s evidence related to the Franklin investigation. According to Caradori’s brother,
“I really believe that somebody killed my brother… And may God help those that did that to him, and his family.”
Troy Boner reverse his recantation and sticks to his original story
Troy Boner says that the airplane crash and “murder” of Gary Caradori produced a profound impact on him. Just before the perjury trial of Alisha Owen, Boner recanted his recantation and stuck with his original story. Then six months later, on January 10, 1991, his brother Sean died in an inexplicable gun accident. Boner was convinced he and his family had been sent a warning message. He decided once again, to keep his mouth shut.
The Nebraska legislative investigation is quickly shut down
Shortly after the plane crash that killed Gary Caradori and the gun accident that killed Troy’s brother, Sean Boner, the Nebraska legislative investigation was mysteriously shut down. The Grand Jury threw out the Franklin case labelling it a “carefully crafted hoax”.
Lawrence Schmit quickly issued a report denouncing the grand jury’s conclusion. Despite his objections, two months after his report was issued, the committee was shut down. According to Schmit,
“The message was not lost on most politicians in Nebraska. I think the message that was delivered was if any committee every tries to conduct a thorough investigation again, this same thing will happen… It has shaken my faith in the institutions of government.”
Alisha Owen convicted of perjury
In July 1991, Alisha Owen was convicted of perjury and sentenced to between 9 and 29 years in prison.
“I can’t find a case in the history of this country where some kid got sentenced to 25 or 30 years in prison for something like this. If you were going to pick a “tell sign”, something that says there’s something fishy about this whole thing, it was in the sentencing itself.”
The message was clear – if you dare come forward, watch what happens.
Three months later, Larry King was sentenced for the $40-million-dollar Franklin Credit Union fraud. His maximum sentence was 15 years – 10 years less than Alisha Owen.
John DeCamp fights for the victims – discovers trial video was edited
Shortly after Alisha’s conviction for perjury, John DeCamp, attorney and member of the Nebraska Legislature, joined the victim’s fight. His first act was to ensure Troy Boner knew that the key to staying alive was to expose the truth behind the Boys Town abuse accusattions. DeCamp spent many hours interviewing Boner. Afterward he said,
“I have no doubt that he is now telling the truth, number one, and number two, that he originally told the truth.”
In yet another odd twist, DeCamp found that the tapes of Alisha Owens’ testimony had been edited – the parts of her story that matched Troy Boner’s testimony had been edited out.
“It was clear that parts of their testimony that were edited out, were eerily similar and would have been near impossible to conspire to make up – specific details such as airlines taken during their travels to parties, where they sat, where their flights switched, where layovers were, and how long each leg of the flights were.”
DeCamp prodded Boner and he finally agreed (yet again) to stick with his original story. He agreed to testify against the Boys Town abusers and immediately received a subpoena for perjury. Boner fled and went into hiding.
The subpoena hinted to DeCamp that someone very powerful was at the top of the Franklin scandal. He began investigating Larry King’s political contacts in Washington, D.C. and was stunned at what he discovered.
Paul Bonacci reveals stunning Washington, D.C. involvement in the Franklin scandal – and another witness dies
Despite threats of perjury, Paul Bonacci agreed to continue with his testimony against the Boys Town abusers. He took DeCamp and other investigators to Washington, D.C. where he pointed out the home that Larry King used for the pedophile sex parties. The house was a large, immaculate home on D.C.’s Embassy Row. Bonacci explained that at first, he was flown to the parties a few times each year. Soon, he was being flown to Washington D.C. about once a month. He noted that often times the parties began as legitimate political parties but after many of the politicians had left, the sex party would begin.
Powerful Washington D.C. lobbyist, Craig Spence, proves key to the investigation
Bonacci says one of the abusers had close ties to the upper echelons of American government – powerful Washington lobbyist Craig Spence. According to Bonacci, Larry King took youngsters on midnight tours of the White House with the help of Craig Spence and Secret Service insiders. Insider access, for pedophile predators no less, to the most secure home in the country seemed beyond belief. However, in 1989, the Washington Times confirmed that Craig Spence arranged at least four midnight tours of the White House including one on June 29, 1988, on which he took with him a 15-year-old boy whom he falsely identified as his son. The Times also discovered a Secret Service agent assigned to the midnight shift at the White House had been furloughed. They found that he was interrogated for more than 10 hours as armed agents with search warrants searched his home for nearly two hours.
Craig Spence’s involvement in the affair seemed to be the investigators’ golden egg. Spence’s true involvement however, would never be known. In early November, only four months after the allegations surfaced, Spence committed suicide inside the Boston Ritz Carlton hotel. His suicide note, written with a black felt-tip marker on the mirror of his room, read:
“Chief, consider this my resignation, effective immediately. As you always said, you can’t ask others to make a sacrifice if you are not ready to do the same. Life is duty. God bless America.”
Washington Times writer, Paul Rodriguez investigates Washington D.C. callboy operations
While in Washington D.C., John DeCamp met with the Washington Times writer, Paul Rodriguez, about a story he had written that year. Rodriguez conducted an undercover investigation that lead to several groups inside a callboy operation running in Washington D.C.. The size of the callboy operation was unheard of. In fact, his investigation revealed it to be the largest male prostitution ring in the city that had ever been uncovered. The sex ring was proven to generate over $1 million per year but according to Rodriguez, there was something that bothered him even more. Despite being the largest male prostitution operation ever discovered in the city, the only people prosecuted were Henry Vincent and three of his “lieutenants”. The operation claimed to have clients that ranged from the White House to Capitol Hill to the State House to large, powerful churches and the media. Oddly, prosecutors never went after any of the clients.
In addition, Rodriguez’s discovery hinted there could be tantalizing ties to the Franklin scandal accusations. He says that his investigation often revealed pedophilia crimes but there was never quite enough to conclusively confirm the illegal sexual abuse of children.
“We couldn’t quite nail it (in all cases) and of course, to accuse someone of high stature, you have to be quite careful.”
Rodriquez says he obtained credit card records, receipts, and a list of clients – about 20,000 documents in all. When prosecutors found out that Rodriguez was accessing the documents, they sealed all related records by court order. The only way to gain access was to obtain consent from the prostitutes, attorneys, and clients that were accused of using the services of the callboy operation. This of course, meant the documents would never see the light of day. Thus far, all attempts to unseal the records have failed.
DeCamp believed a major Washington callboy operation matching the modus operandi and timeframe of the Boys Town accusers was surely no coincidence.
The suppression of Conspiracy of Silence
The Conspiracy of Silence documentary, which exposed the horrific events surrounding the Franklin Scandal, was to air on May 3, 1994 on the Discovery Channel. According to reports, just prior to airing, an unnamed congressmen threatened the TV Cable industry with restrictive legislation. Soon after, the rights to the documentary were purchased by unnamed persons who ordered all copies of the film be destroyed. To date, only a pre-release copy of the show exists. Leaked copies can be found on the Internet.
Although Troy Boner went into hiding and was not heard from for several years He would later arrive at a New Mexico hospital claiming the Franklin abusers were “after him”. He was immediately admitted and sedated. The following day he was found dead in his hospital room.
In April 2001, Larry King was released from prison. It is believed he resides somewhere on the East Coast (likely Virginia).
Boys Town continues to prosper and now has locations in 12 regions across the country: California, Nevada, Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, Louisiana, North Florida, Central Florida, South Florida, Washington D.C., New York, and New England.
Despite being accused of lying and serving prison time for three counts of perjury, Paul Bonacci filed a civil suit against Larry King. He won and was awarded a judgment of $1 million dollars.
Paul Bonacci testimony unexpected assists investigators with a notorious child abduction case
While in prison for perjury, Bonacci’s testimony was further validated by an incredible story that turned out to be one of the most notorious kidnapping cases in the country. In July 1991, just as the sentencing of Alisha Owen wrapped up, news broke in Iowa that Paul Bonacci had given evidence involving the disappearance of Johnny Gosch.
The disappearance of 12-year-old Johnny Gosch
12-year-old Johnny Gosch had been missing since September 5, 1982. On that date, an early Sunday morning, he left for his routine Des Moines Register newspaper delivery route and then disappeared. For nine year, his parents searched the country for him. In late 1990, the Gosch’s got the first major break in years, because of what Paul Bonacci remembered seeing during the Boys Town abuse atrocities.
Recalling Bonacci’s testimony, John DeCamp noted that one of the events Paul described reminded him of the case of Johnny Gosch. He confirmed the similarity of the details of the case and then contacted the Gosch family.
“They advised me that they had had their fill of false leads from people who claimed to know something about their missing boy, and people who claimed to have information for sale but did not seem genuinely interested.”
The Des Moines Register of July 24, 1991 reported on what developed:
“A Nebraska inmate has provided details about the abduction of Johnny Gosch that only someone with firsthand knowledge could have had, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Inmate Paul Bonacci’s account “did not match up 90 percent, not 95 percent, not 98 percent, but 100 percent,” John DeCamp said, “I am convinced this kid is telling absolutely the truth- … He never varied on the time. He gave a description of Johnny’s pants, names on his shirt, scars on the body.”
DeCamp said he became suspicious of a Gosch connection when he read a transcript of a psychiatrist’s interview with Bonacci in which an “incident” involving a newspaper carrier was mentioned. DeCamp said Bonacci didn’t identify Gosch by his full name.
“I went to the library and checked on Johnny Gosch. I wrote to the Gosches and told them I don’t know if there is any validity, but the dates coincide and he talks about someone from Iowa.”
DeCamp said John Gosch, the boy’s father, met with Bonacci, “and started getting chills. I believe he believed him,” DeCamp said.”
Johnny Gosch’s father, John Gosch, Sr., did indeed visit Paul Bonacci in prison, unannounced. Sitting down across from him, Gosch asked Bonacci, “Do you know who I am?” Bonacci replied, “You look like — it can’t be — the eyes, you look like Johnny Gosch.”
The World-Herald confirmed on July 22, 1991 that Bonacci knew “some incredible things” about the case.
“There were photographs taken of Johnny prior to the kidnapping. We know this because a woman reported it to police. We’re convinced Bonacci saw those pictures. He accurately described the location, which is not far from our home. He described many things about the pictures which we have never publicly talked about.”
Complete Franklin Scandal timeline
The following timeline was assembled by a Franklin Scandal researcher and lists key participants and their purported activities. It has been edited it to reduce space.
12-31-1968 – Franklin Credit Union is established in Omaha, Nebraska.
8-1970 – Lawrence E. King Jr. becomes manager at The Franklin Credit Union.
7-1976 – Accountant Thomas Harvey, of the Franklin Credit Union, discovers the manipulation of the bank accounts. Harvey begins to manipulate the Franklin Credit Union books to cover for the missing money. By the end of 1976 $400,000 was missing from the Credit Union’s bank funds.
1978 – Paul Bonacci attends sex parties with Alan Baer at an apartment at the Twin Towers in Omaha.
12-1978 – Paul Bonacci starts a sexual arrangement with Harold W. Andersen at the Red Lion Inn.
1979 – Paul Bonacci is introduced to Peter Citron at Peony Park.
12-1980 – Paul Bonacci meets Lawrence King in Sarpy County, where he says they preformed satanic ritual abuse.
1981 – An anonymous letter was sent to the National Credit Union association detailing concerns about the Franklin Credit Union. A limited investigation took place; the investigation revealed approximately $400,000 was missing.
8-1981 – Paul Bonacci began going of town with Alan Baer, he would assist Baer in entrapping new children to be used by Baer and others.
1982 – Paul Bonacci was flown to California (Bohemian Grove) to participate in orgies.
1983 – James Daniel (Danny) King meets Lawrence King and Alan Baer at a party.
4-1-1983 – Harold Andersen speaks at the Franklin Credit Union Annual Meeting.
8-1983 – Troy Boner meets Alan Baer thru a friend at Twin Towers apartments.
2-1984 – James Daniel King takes an out of town trip with Alan Baer.
2-1984 – Edward Hobbs, a Franklin Credit Union teller who had worked for the bank for five years, writes a letter to the Franklin Board alleging embezzlement at the Franklin Credit Union. The following day Hobbs was fired. Hobbs also supplied a letter to an Attorney and a Legislator. Their response to Hobbs was that “We’ve been watching Lawrence King for some time. We are aware of his living beyond his means. However, the Department can’t do anything because we don’t want to seem like the big bad white guy jumping on the tiny, black credit union.”
4-1984 – James Daniel King meets Lawrence King at Alan Baer’s residence.
7-1984 – Troy Boner meets Lawrence King at the Max Bar in downtown Omaha.
8-1984 – Lawrence King throws a lavish party in Dallas, Texas, after singing the National Anthem at the Republican National GOP Convention.
9-1984 – Lawrence King gets an apartment for Troy Boner at 48th & Dodge, at the apartment King would abuse Boner.
9-1984 – Lawrence King takes Lisa Webb and 15-20 boys from Boys Town Omaha to Chicago for a sex party.
1-1985 – A party is thrown at the Brandeis Building in Omaha, where both Troy Boner and Lawrence King were in attendance.
5-1-1985 – Alisha Owen gives birth to a baby named Amanda Jayne.
6-1985 – Foster children are removed from Jarrett and Barbara Webb’s home after children complain of physical and sexual abuse by the Webbs.
8-1985 – Party at the Woodman Tower Ballroom. In attendance were James Daniel King, Lawrence King, Alisha Owen, Rusty Nelson, and Troy Boner.
11-1985 – Throughout a six-week investigation by Lincoln and Omaha Police thirteen individuals were arrested for child pornography charges. Included in the arrests were: Joseph Burke, Walter Carlson, Winford Fryar, and Leo Weidenfeller, all of which were charged with felonies. Misdemeanor arrests included: Alden Jensen, Ben Bruner, Jon N. Nelsen, Harold Potter, Alvin R. Buehler, Mark Woods, Lawrence Reeves, Harold Miller, and Don Nordboe. Joseph Burke was later sentenced to 2-5 years in prison. Walter Carlson was sentenced 15 months – 3 years. Investigators, however, indicated in reports that there initial six week investigation did not mean the investigation was over, and that half of the pornographic material still had not been viewed by police. Reports though indicated no further investigation took place into the child pornography ring. Later certain investigators of the Franklin Case would question whether or not this case had any ties to the Franklin debacle.
1-1986 – Lisa Webb, who testified to have been abused by the Webb’s was administered, and passed multiple polygraph tests questioning her allegations. However, prosecuting attorney Pat Tripp made a decision not to prosecute the Webb’s.
3-1986 – Julie Walters interviews the Webb girls, after the interviews Walters contacts Pat Flocken regarding the allegations made by the girls. Allegations included instances where Larry King was in attendance at parties in which the Webb girls and other children had been physically and sexually abused.
4-1986 – Paul Bonacci reveals his history of sexual abuse to school authorities. Authorities contacted the Omaha Police, however, no investigation was ever made based on the allegations.
6-1986 – Harold Andersen raised $600,000 to pay for a renovation of the Franklin Credit Union.
6-1987 – Lawrence King donates $16,000 to the Omaha Press Club (a club of Omaha’s business elite).
12-1987 – The Foster Care Review Board begins investigating Franklin related allegations.
3-1988 – The Initial Franklin probe begins.
6-1988 – Omaha Police Department begins to receive allegations from the public concerning Lawrence King photographing young ladies at the Twin Tower Apartments.
6-1988 – The Omaha Police Department receives a report from Kristin Hallberg of the Richard Young Psychiatric Hospital in Omaha regarding sexual abuse and homicide allegations involving Larry King. These allegations came as a response to reports from the Foster Care Review Board on Nelly Patterson*, and her sister Kendra.*
7-1988 -The Foster Care Review Board turns over all investigative information to Attorney General Robert Spire and the Omaha Police Department.
8-1988 – Lawrence King throws a lavish party in New Orleans, after a return appearance to the Republican GOP Convention to sing the National Anthem.
10-02-1988 – Lawrence King donates $18,000 of Franklin’s assets to the D.C. Board of Human Rights Camp Fund, a lobby for gay and lesbian rights.
11-04-1988 – The Franklin Credit Union is closed by the FBI and IRS. After the closing $37,000,000 in secret liabilities were discovered. Originally the Franklin Credit Union ledgers showed $2,600,000 in liabilities.
11-14-1988 – The NCUA files a lawsuit against Lawrence King, contending he diverted money from the credit union for his personal use. The NCUA suit claimed King had used the diverted funds to run his businesses and to pay interest and principal on unrecorded certificates of deposit.
11-18-1988 – The Nebraska Legislature passes a resolution to investigate improprieties at the Franklin Credit Union.
11-21-1988 – The Foster Care Review Board receives additional information from the Richard Young Hospital (Kristin Hallberg) including allegations of cult activities and sacrifices of small children, and sexual abuse.
12-1-1988 – NCUA officials raise their estimate of Franklin’s potential liabilities to $39 million.
12-1988 – Lawrence King admits in an Omaha World Herald article that he suspects the Franklin case involves more than the certificate of deposit allegations, King declined to be any more specific about the allegations.
12-1988 – Lawrence King denies diverting more than $34,000,000 from Franklin’s assets. King followed by asking the court to dismiss the civil lawsuit that had been taken out against him. King also requested for a trial by jury.
12-1988 – The FBI and Nebraska State Patrol contact the Foster Care Review Board and question certain children’s reliability and credibility.
12-19-1988 – Omaha TV news outlets mentioned they were investigating the sex and drugs angle of the Franklin Case. This marked the first time the media mentioned drugs in relation to Franklin matter.
12-25-1988 – The State Foster Care Review Board turns over their report of sexual abuse to the Executive Board of the Nebraska Legislature.
1-10-1989 – The Franklin Committee is formed by LB-5.
2-19-1989 – Senator Loran Schmit meets with Lawrence King. During the meeting King discusses his powerful acquaintances including Harold Andersen and agents of the FBI and Omaha Police.
5-19-1989 – A federal grand jury charges Lawrence E. King Jr. with 40 felony counts. His wife, Alice, was indicted on 12 charges. Three employees of Franklin who sold certificates of deposit on commission were indicted on income-tax-evasion charges.
5-23-1989 – Lawrence and Alice King plead not guilty.
6-13-1989 – Mrs. Harvey and her son, E. Thomas Harvey Jr., Franklin’s chief accountant, each pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling and one count of evading federal income taxes.
6-22-1989 – Omaha Police Officer Chris Carmean testifies in front of the Franklin Committee that the child abuse witnesses are credible.
7-1989 – Nicholas O’Hara of the FBI claims there are no credible witnesses for the Franklin Case.
7-1989 – The Franklin Committee reports that their intent of investigative action is to follow the money trail.
7-1989 – Ernie Chambers, James McFarland, Kirk Taylor, and Jerry Lowe resign from the Franklin Committee in light of the new angle the committee was to take by following the money trail.
7-25-1989 – Concerned Parents Group formed to press local officials in regards to the Franklin Case
8-21-1989 – Gary Caradori hired as Chief Investigator for the Legislature’s Franklin Committee.
11-25-1989 – Gary Caradori interviews victim Troy Boner at the Residence Inn.
12-27-1989 – The Franklin Committee gives copies of taped testimonies to the FBI, which subsequently was leaked to the media.
1-18-1990 – John DeCamp releases the “Franklin Memo,” which included the names of Harold Andersen, Lawrence King, Peter Citron, and Alan Baer.
1-30-1990 – Attorney General Robert Spire calls for a Grand Jury.
2-23-1990 – Sex Charges (unrelated to the Franklin Case) filed against Peter Citron.
3-12-1990 – The Douglas County Grand Jury convened.
3-19-1990 – The Douglas County Grand Jury starts the Franklin abuse trial.
3-29-1990 – Lawrence King is declared incompetent to stand trial.
4-19-1990 – Harold Andersen testifies before the Grand Jury.
4-26-1990 – Mayor P.J. Morgan testifies before the Grand Jury, stating that he was “outraged” by accusations against him involving the Franklin Case.
5-14-1990 – Gary Caradori takes videotaped statements from Paul Bonacci.
5-15-1990 – Former World-Herald columnist, Peter Citron pleaded no contest to two felony charges of fondling boys. He is later diagnosed as a mentally disordered sex offender requiring treatment.
5-25-1990 – Judge Murphy orders for a blood test on Alisha Owen’s baby.
7-11-1990 – Gary Caradori and his son, Andrew, are killed in a plane crash in Aurora Illinois.
7-23-1990 – Peter Citron sentenced to 3-8 years for sexual assault.
7-23-1990 – Media Polls taken in Omaha show that 70-90% of the population polled believe there is a cover-up that has taken place in the Franklin matter.
7-23-1990- Paul Bonacci is indicted on 3 counts of perjury.
7-23-1990 – Alan Baer is indicted on felony charges of pandering.
7-23-1990 – Alisha Owen is indicted on 8 counts of perjury.
7-24-1990 – The Grand Jury throws out the Franklin Case, labeling it as a “carefully crafted hoax.”
7-26-1990 – Alan Baer pleaded innocent to pandering charges, and is released on a signature bond.
8-8-1990 – Paul Bonacci and Alisha Owen enter innocent pleas to their perjury charges.
8-17-1990 – John DeCamp files a suit against the Douglas County Grand Jury.
11-07-1990 – Lawrence King is now called competent to stand trial.
1-4-1991 – John DeCamp’s suit against the Grand Jury is dismissed.
1-11-1991 – The Nebraska State Legislature refuses to continue the Franklin Committee’s investigation after losing important chairs on the committee.
2-1-1991 – John DeCamp files a Civil Rights suit on behalf of Paul Bonacci, against the Catholic Archbishop of Omaha, Lawrence King, Peter Citron, Alan Baer, Harold Andersen, Michael Hoch, Kenneth Bovasso, and other Nebraska persons and institutions.
2-11-1991 – Lawrence and Alice King enter a plea bargain to stay out of open court.
5-1992 – John DeCamp publishes The Franklin Cover-Up.
7-1-1993 – Alice King completes her prison sentence in Dallas, Texas.
7-5-1993 – Lawrence King had paid $25.00, and his wife Alice had paid $10.00, thus far, after agreeing to pay $41,800,000 in the plea bargain they had entered in 1991.
5-3-1994 – The Discovery Channel, was to air the Yorkshire documentary Conspiracy of Silence, about the Franklin cover-up, however, the documentary was pulled off the air at the last minute, and purchased by an unknown buyer.
2-14-1999 – Paul Bonacci wins a judgment of $1 million against Lawrence King, John DeCamp had represented Bonacci in his lawsuit against King.
11-1999 – Alisha Owen is denied a hearing to commute her sentence in order to set her free.
1-2000 – Lawrence King drops an appeal to the $1 million judgment against him.
4-10-2001 – Lawrence King is released from prison after serving less than 10 years of his 15-year sentence.
Spring-2003 – Troy Boner arrives at a New Mexico hospital; he was sedated upon admittance, the next day he was found dead in his hospital room.
Conspiracy of Silence (unaired documentary) Transcript
The following is a complete written transcript of the unaired documentary Conspiracy of Silence. Although the documentary never aired on public television, leaked copies of a pre-release version leaked to the public.
In 1993, a film crew from Yorkshire Television in the U.K. led by producer Nick Grey and Director Tim Tate went to Omaha, Nebraska in the U.S.A. to make a documentary about an alleged pedophile ring.
Funded by the Discovery Channel in the U.S.A, their proposed film would first be broadcast in the U.K. and Ireland as part of Yorkshire Television’s documentary series: “First Tuesday.” A U.S. broadcast would follow.
In Omaha, the film crew discovered the machinations of a vast operation functioning throughout the country providing children to the wealthy and the political establishment for molestation, drug trafficking, and blackmail.
A year later in 1994, the documentary “Conspiracy of Silence” was to air in the U.K. but—during final editing with first broadcast approaching—the Discovery Channel inexplicably reimbursed Yorkshire Television the half million dollars it cost to make.
To this day, the documentary remains “unaired.” What follows is an unpolished yet coherent, rough cut of that documentary:
A Republican from the Midwest, Lawrence E. King, is serving a 15 year prison sentence for a multimillion dollar fraud. But financial crime is only half the story. This is the true story of Lawrence King. It is the story of an evil at the heart of America, of a cover-up at the highest level. One man is attempting to uncover the full story. John DeCamp is among the most highly decorated Vietnam veterans. A former Republican state senator in Lincoln Nebraska, he is now a lawyer fighting the evil of Lawrence King’s network.
John DeCamp: “It’s a web of intrigue that starts in our holy of holies, Boys Town Nebraska, one of the most respected institutions in the United States, and spreads out like a spider web to Washington, D.C., right up to the steps of the nation’s capitol, the steps of the White House, involves some of the most respected, and powerful, and richest businessmen in this United States of America, and the centerpiece of the entire web is the use of children for sex, and drug dealing, and drug couriers, the compromising to politicians, the compromising to businessmen, but worst of all the corruption of key institutions of government that have the duty and responsibility to make sure these things never happen.”
Made famous by an Oscar winning film, Boys Town Nebraska is America’s favorite children’s charity. It was founded in 1917 by Father Edward Flanagan.
Monsignor Hupp, former executive director, Boys Town: “Boys Town was started to be a home for orphans. It was after World War I. And since then, society has changed and the problems of the boys have changed. And so now, it’s a question of taking care of homeless, abandoned, neglected, abused boys, and now girls also.”
With cash reserves of five hundred million dollars, Boys Town is the richest square mile in the world. It has been granted the privileges of an incorporated town, a Catholic diocese, and a school district for five hundred boys and girls. One third of its annual income is raised from public donations solicited by begging letters and promotional videos.
Boy’s Town promotional video: “I’m Father Val Peter, caretaker of Father Flanagan’s dream and the executive director of Boys Town. ‘Does Boys Town really exist?’ people ask me. You bet it does.” “Located in the heartland of America, Boys Town youth have come from many backgrounds and locals. As they graduate, they shall seek new adventures and head for different places, but always, they shall carry with them the spirit of Boys Town. If you’d like to help Boys Town, send your tax deductible gift to Father Val Peter, Boys Town, Nebraska 68010.”
John DeCamp: “Boys Town for me was the first thing I ever heard of when you think of institutions that you respect. Believe it or not, I was there for a while when I was a young boy. Probably worldwide, there is no other institution other than Boys Town that has done so much good for so many children over such a long period of time so successfully. When an institution like that gets contaminated [for] purposes of abusing children instead of protecting children, then you’d better, if you’ve got any decency at all, do something about it or at least get it cleared up.”
John DeCamp lays the blame for the contamination of Boys Town on the one-time leader of the National Black Republican Council, Larry King.
John DeCamp: “Larry King was the fastest rising black star of the entire Republican Party of the United States during all of the 1980s. And he was also one of the most evil individuals in this country in terms of being a dealer of children, in terms of being a thief, forty million that they documented that he stole, and in terms of using, and compromising, and corrupting one after another politicians.”
The base for his network was a small people’s bank in Omaha, Nebraska, the Franklin Federal Credit Union. Larry King was its general manager.
Larry King: “Thank you. This is especially an exciting day for me.”
Noel Seltzer, former Franklin Credit Union executive: “Mr. King was a very charismatic person. When he came in to the Credit Union, he was brought in because the Credit Union was actually failing. He did everything to build the Credit Union.”
King courted the leaders of Omaha’s wealthy business district. Banks, industry, and charities placed millions of dollars in King’s hands. From 1979, Larry King developed close commercial ties to Boys Town, and Boys Town youngsters were sent to work for his companies.
Noel Seltzer, former Franklin Credit Union executive: “Boys Town had quite a few accounts at Franklin Credit Union. Those were considered very valuable accounts. They were handled exclusively by the bookkeeping department. But on the average of once a month or once every two months, we always seemed to incorporate a person from Boys Town.”
King used Boys Town as a source for young boys for his business, and for sex and drug orgies. Paul Bonacci was a victim of King’s abuse. He was also sent by King to lure Boys Town youngsters off campus.
Paul Bonacci: “We used to just drive around, go up toward the home … scavenger hunts, picking up some of the kids, you know, just kind of win their confidence, become friends with them for a while, start inviting them to the parties. The kids were ten years old or older.”
In 1986, King’s plundering of Boys Town by staff to the chief executive, Father Val Peter. Subsequent testimony proves that he carried out his own investigation but that King’s victims refused to talk.
Carol Stitt, Director, foster care review board: “Nebraska has a very clear statute that child abuse allegations should be reported to authorities. They shouldn’t be reported to the principal of a school, director of a facility, they should be reported directly to either Child Protective Services or law enforcement. An internal investigation at Boys Town would have no status. I mean, in other words, that evidence that was collected may be something that could augment, but it certainly could not take the place of, an investigation, a criminal investigation.”
Interviewer: “Could you understand why a very detailed report from a social worker employed at Boys Town identifying children and identifying their alleged abuses never saw the light of day, nothing happened with that?”
Monsignor Hupp, former executive director, Boys Town: “No, I couldn’t understand that because had I known that, I wouldn’t put up with that, but is that—something like that happened? I don’t know. In retrospect, I regret having any association with Larry King. Had I known it at the time, it would never have happened.”
Despite the investigation, Larry King remained free to feed his pedophilic parties with child victims. But in 1988, a routine review brought the Boys Town cases to the attention of Nebraska’s state foster care review board.
Carol Stitt: “In the information presented to the foster care review board, either via the telephone reports, the personal reports, or the reports we reviewed, Larry King’s name was consistently present as someone that the youth were making allegations against. I turned that information over to authorities and nothing happened. I would say we handed over at least a foot high amount of material. Generally speaking, the allegations were ignored.”
Omaha police now accept that Larry King may have been abusing children, but it’s most senior detective claims that he never received any evidence.
Police Detective: “It is certainly possible that Mr. King was involved in illegal acts with children. If there was sufficient evidence of those types of allegations he would have been prosecuted by the county’s attorney’s office.”
Carol Stitt: “For me it was very clear that the case was not investigated, not pursued, because of the alleged perpetrators.”
Those perpetrators named by the children formed a ring of rich and powerful pedophiles in Omaha, men from industry, politics, the media, even the police. Besides Larry King, ringleaders were department store billionaire Alan Baer, and the celebrity columnist of the Omaha World Herald newspaper, Peter Citron. With the judicial system apparently paralyzed, Larry King’s business and political empire grew. He courted the Republican Party nationally and plundered Franklin’s accounts to finance a luxury lifestyle of limousines, private planes and palatial homes, three in Omaha and one in Washington, D.C. Franklin’s records show he spent ten million on jewelry, flowers, and private planes. And his lavish spending bought him a charmed life.
John DeCamp: “Larry King was constantly heralded, cheered, applauded in the news media as the great businessman that’s helping the poor people, the black community of Omaha.”
But King’s extravagance attracted the attention of the Internal Revenue Service. As a result, on April 11, 1988, the Franklin Credit Union was raided and closed by the FBI. King was arrested and a federal investigation showed he’d stolen forty million dollars from Franklin. But the FBI’s inquiries were secret and evidence of King’s sex ring was quickly covered up.
In November 1988, Nebraska’s state government set up a parallel investigation into the Franklin financial collapse. A legislative committee was formed. Its chairman was the Republican head of Nebraska’s banking committee, corn famer and state senator Loran Schmit. But the money trail led quickly to the original allegations of child abuse, and almost immediately, anonymous threats began.
Loran Schmit, senator of Nebraska: “I received a phone call on the floor of the legislature. The caller didn’t identify himself, but he said, ‘Loran, you do not want to have an investigation of the Franklin Federal Credit Union.’ And I asked who I was speaking to and they said, ‘that doesn’t matter, but you shouldn’t have that investigation.’ And I said, ‘Well, why not,’ and he said, ‘It will reach to the highest levels of the Republican Party, and we’re both good Republicans.’”
Carol Stitt: “The night before we testified before the legislative committee, I did receive a phone call at home that said, ‘If you speak, you won’t live to regret it.’”
Undeterred, Schmit’s committee hired professional investigators, Karen Ormiston and Gary Caradori.
Senator Loran Schmit: “When we hired Mr. Caradori, I was very specific to him. I said, ‘We do not want you to bring to the committee rumors, innuendos, nothing that cannot be backed up with facts.’ I said, ‘Bring to the committee that which we can take to the prosecutor.’”
On the streets of Omaha, Gary Caradori and Karen Ormiston found new victims of King’s pedophile network. Every new youngster told the same story as those from Boys Town, covered up three years earlier.
Karen Ormiston (private investigator): “They were telling us about prominent people in Omaha and elsewhere that were abusing children at parties.”
Senator Loran Schmit: “The prominent citizens’ names that originally came up were of concern to me because I knew many of those individuals, and I, very frankly, was shocked to have those names show up on the list.”
Ormiston and Carradori recorded their new witnesses on video tape. A victim of abuse since he was eight, Paul Bonacci was present at many of Larry King’s sex parties.
[Recorded Interview by private investigator] Gary Caradori: “Who were some of these people that would come to these parties?”
Paul Bonacci: “Larry King.” [other names inaudible]
Media personality Peter Citron procured some of his victims from Boys Town.
Bonacci: “The kids he liked were mainly around the age of probably about eight and thirteen. It was mainly fondling and oral sex with them. He did have some anal sex, but he usually did that with the older kids.”
But Citron’s abuse of Paul Bonacci involved ever more sadistic parties.
Bonacci: “He would tie me up and have some of the kids perform sex on me. They would burn me with cigarettes.”
Caradori: “Whenever you were tied up, was there anybody else present other than you, Peter Citron and Larry King?”
Bonacci: “Yes. It was Alan Baer sometimes, Larry King, Paul Morino, … also Troy Boner. Troy was there.”
Troy Boner was seventeen when he was introduced to the pedophile parties by Alan Baer.
Troy Boner: “He lifted me up, moved me over to the bed, said ‘Let’s get on the bed,’ … as they say, sixty-nine position.”
Troy Boner: “Alan Baer was a sick f___. He didn’t care. He wanted sex, nasty, you know, I don’t even know if you can call it sex. And he’d take it any way he could get it, pay for it, he liked to, but if he had to take it by force, he would. Larry King was the same kind of sick f___ Alan Baer was, except Larry Kind was more violent, more sure of himself. I would see him f___ a ten year old boy in the a__ until he bled. He’d push him down, and then go out and meet with decent people.”
King would also provide underage girls for abuse. Alisha Owen was fifteen when she attended her first party.
Alisha Owen: “I met some guys there that were from Boys Town. It was at that party that I met Larry King. At the time that I met Larry King, I did not know he was Larry King. It was the first time I’d ever met him.”
Alan Baer and Larry King frequently hosted the child sex parties in penthouse apartments at the Twin Towers luxury block.
Owen: “A lot of it was me handcuffed with my hands behind my head and my feet tied, and them doing different things. … Most of the time, Larry King took pictures quite a bit during that time.”
Ormiston: “We were appalled. Appalled. It was incredible what these kids went through, I think.”
Boner: “I was shocked when I walked in. There was a kid, I would say about fifteen years old out in the middle of the room. I was standing in front of him. He was bent over and the other guy was like reaching under him, … while a guy who Jeff told me was a police officer was shoving beads up his rectum.
Boner: “Everything from just touching to a huge squash stuck into you, in your a__, heat, hot things poked at you and stuck in you. I got those scars in my arm one night at a party where Larry King was. He had brought somebody in—I don’t remember clearly who it was. Wanted to see how strong of men we were or something, and have us push our arms together. King has these same scars. You push them tight together and then you light cigarettes, and as soon as they get burning, you just drop them down between your arms and you just let it burn. They made us stand there naked and touch each other by holding our arms together and let it burn. It’s on film someplace. I mean they filmed it burning.”
Owen: “And those of us that didn’t like to be involved, and didn’t want to be involved, were threatened.”
Interviewer: “And who would do these threatening remarks?”
Owen: “Larry King. When they threatened, ‘I can go find somebody that will kill you or that will kill your family,’ you didn’t tell anybody.”
Boner: “Larry King was also here. He came in and we drank and did cocaine. I didn’t do much. He turned me on to it—Larry King did…. He didn’t like me because I would get high on drugs and I would question him about it. How can you do this? Once I asked him, he wanted me to s___ on him. And I did, gladly. I even said to him, ‘You stupid f_____.’ You’re paying me, how can you get into that? I got beat up by it. I came home here a lot of times beat the s__ for misspeaking, my tongue so to speak and just telling him how I felt sometimes.”
Bonacci: “Drugs was a strong part of how they got control of some of the kids, because that’s what some of the kids were there to get. They would do the sexual acts and then be provided with cocaine or whatever type of drug they wanted.”
Boner: “Heroin was my drug of choice. Till this day, I remain an addict, you know.”
Ormiston: “Larry King was, I would say, the center of transporting the children around the country. The airplanes were usually leased in his name. They were paid for by Larry King.”
Owen: “We met them in Pasadena. Larry King was there. There was three boys that I had seen at one of the receptions. I was almost positive they were Boys Town boys, almost positive….They were young.”
Senator Schmit: “Boys Town came up frequently during the investigation. But we found it very difficult to get information on Boys Town. I was not able to get any information on my visit there and Mr. Caradori could not get information either.”
Four years on, Boys Town remains unwilling to discuss its involvement with Larry King. We asked for an interview with chief executive Father Val Peter. But Boys Town’s public affairs officer refused: “I would have to give you a flat no. I’m just going to tell you at this point that we will not participate with you. We have no interest in talking to you folks. It is something we don’t even care to delve into.”
[An in-person visit to the office of Val Peter by interviewer] “We’re here because we have to give Father Val Peter and Boys Town every opportunity to talk to us about the very serious allegations.“
Boys Town Employee: “Turn your recorder off. Please step outside.”
Interviewer: “Why is it Boys Town is unwilling to discuss your relationship with Larry King?
Boys Town Employee: “We don’t have a relationship with Larry King.”
Interviewer: “I’m afraid papers that we possess show that Boys Town had a relationship with Larry King.”
Boys Town Employee: “I suggest you be very careful about what you report.”
By the spring of 1989, so serious were the child abuse allegations by the Franklin committee, that its chairman, Senator Loran Schmit, sought the advice of his lawyer, John DeCamp. He told Schmit to turn over all the evidence to the FBI. Immediately, the videotaped testimony was leaked to a hostile media.
Ormiston: “The media immediately started discrediting the witnesses. The witnesses came across in the media, in the Omaha World Herald especially, as the criminals.”
Carol Stitt: “The last three victim witnesses were demolished by the press, particularly the Omaha World Herald. The paper never looked for information that would support any of the allegations. The whole purpose of the allegations was to destroy any credibility these youths may have.”
Bonacci: “I’ve heard that people said that Caradori coached me and that he told me what to say. But the fact was that I didn’t meet Gary Caradori until way after I’d already talked to the Omaha police about the abuse and had named all the same people. They didn’t ask me very much about Larry King or even Alan Baer at all. They treated the allegations I made about the people who abused me almost like a joke.”
Police Detective: “The information did not come our way. It was given as I said to the FBI and Nebraska State Patrol. They conducted their own investigations of the information. The stories were of such significance that the investigators first wanted to prove the accuracy of the stories. As they set about the investigation of the three, initially three, then a fourth person that were telling the stories, as the investigation developed, it became obvious to investigators that the information was not accurate, that in fact, it was an entire conspiracy of allegations, none of which had any truth to them.”
Senator Schmit: “I was very disappointed with the way the FBI and law enforcement treated the victims. They in fact, turned them into the offenders, so to speak. And instead of taking the evidence that was delivered to them by the victims, and interrogating the persons who the victims identified, they seemed to bear down and try to get the victims to change their story.”
Troy Boner was brought in for questioning by the FBI.
Boner: “The FBI’s attitude was just, no, these kinds of things don’t happen. From the first interview when I went and realized they don’t believe a f___in’ thing I’m saying you know. I mean, they were just appalled, but I realized what that look in their eye was back then. It was fear. It was fear, you know. I mean, I had witnessed first-hand things that would, you know, destroy this city, people, position. It’s not going to be believed, they said. It will not be believed. You will be found guilty of perjury. I mean, they weren’t telling me maybe. They were saying there’s no way. You go on with this story—you’re going to jail. I mean that was said to me direct. Just out of fear, I came to recant the story, out of fear.”
Troy Boner agreed to recant his video-taped testimony and state instead that his evidence had been invented. Next, the FBI used Troy in an attempt to trap Alisha Owen into recanting her evidence about Larry King’s ring of powerful pedophiles. The phone call, recorded by the FBI on March the 9, 1990, proves conclusive evidence for John DeCamp.
[Phone recording] “This is Special Agent Michael F. Mott. Following will be a consensually recorded telephone call between Troy Boner and Alisha Owen.”
Boner: “Hey, what’s going on?”
Owen: “I’d like to ask you that.”
Boner: “Talk to me.”
Owen: “No, you talk to me. I want to know why you’re lying. Why are you lying?”
Boner: “What are you talking about?
Owen: “That’s what I’m asking you.”
Boner: “You’re calling me why I’m lying?”
Boner: “You concocted this whole thing, Alisha.”
Owen: “You’re full of s___. You’re full of s___. Who do you have listening on this line?”
Boner: “I have nobody listening to me! I’m listening to you and I’m hoping you’d give me some f___in’ answers.”
Owen: “I’ll be honest with you. I don’t know what games you’re playing.”
Boner: “I’m not trying to play a game.”
Owen: “And I don’t know who you have on this phone call….”
Troy: “You are being stupid, Alisha. I am not going to go to jail for you, and that is what is going to happen.”
Alisha: “Why would you go to jail? Jail for telling the truth?”
Troy: “No, jail for lying.”
Alisha: “What have you lied about?”
Troy: “I haven’t lied.”
Alisha: “Ok, but then why are…?”
Troy: “Listen—shut up! Listen to me. You are not out here being talked to every day. The pressure is kind of hard.”
DeCamp: “You literally have to have bricks for brains to take on the FBI in this country and that is exactly what you would have to do to do this properly. THEY NOW, IN MY OPINION, IN MY INVESTIGATION, ARE THE ARCHITECTS OF THE COVER-UP.”
We asked the FBI for an interview about its investigation of the Franklin Scandal.
FBI Agent: “Murray Homequest for the FBI here – we feel it would be inappropriate for us to comment. We worked this with the Omaha police department. We just don’t feel it would be appropriate for us to make comments.”
As Gary Caradori and Karen Ormiston sought out new witnesses on the streets of Omaha, they found themselves under constant threat.
Karen Ormiston: “Gary was threatened several times. His vehicles were tampered with. I would think whoever tampered with them, it was a scare tactic because it was so obvious that they were being tampered with.”
Gary Caradori’s brother: “Gary got– there is one piece of evidence I know he got that he even said he got one step ahead of them this time. He told us about this book, it was like addresses, telephone numbers, names. He said if they knew he had it, they’d kill him.”
On July 11, 1990 Gary Caradori and his 8 year old son AJ were flying home from Chicago. They had watched the all-stars baseball game and Caradori had been pursuing new leads.
[Newsreel] “Investigator from the National transportation Safety Board are in Harold Cameron’s Corn field trying to determine what caused this private plane to crash killing its 2 occupants.”
The bodies of Gary Caradori and 8 year old AJ were found in the wreckage.
[Newsreel] “National transportation Safety Board investigators say wreckage from the crash is apparently strewn over a 3/4 to 1 mile long stretch in this field. The fact that this wreckage is scattered over a large area certainly demonstrates that it did break up in flight. The exact mechanism of the breakup yet is still unknown.”
The Federal Investigation was never able to discover what tore the plane apart.
Karen Ormiston: “There are things missing from the plane. His brief case is missing. Again we will never know what all was missing because I don’t know what he had with him. I don’t know what he did in Chicago. He may have had information that he was coming back with.”
Within 24 hours of the tragedy, FBI agents impounded all records of the investigation. Gary’s widow, Sandie, is still unable to come to terms with her loss.
Sandie Caradori: “As a mother, I don’t want to ever think that somebody murdered my child, let alone my husband, but I think if you’d ever talk to any parent, be it a mother or father that has ever lost a child, I mean the worst thing that you can think of is that somebody would want to murder a child.”
Gary Caradori’s brother: “I really feel that somebody killed my brother. And inside me, I know somebody killed by brother. If somebody can help us out or… somebody knows something. May God help those who did that to him and his family.”
Gary Caradori’s death pricked Troy Boner’s conscience. He promised Sandie that he would recant his recantation and tell the truth.
Troy: “I wanted to set the record straight. I was going to do it and would, you know, the truth would come out, and somebody would be held accountable for his death. And then at the funeral I had seen FBI guys, you know, and they looked at me. You know, I was supposed to meet Senator Labedz? and Schmit for lunch after the funeral, and that is when I decided, I told my mom, ‘You know, we’re not going to do the lunch, we are going to hightail it out of Lincoln now.’”
Karen Ormistan: “The effect of Gary’s crash on the investigation, I think, in effect, put an end to anybody else coming forward with sensitive information like this.”
Carol Stitt: “That is when I was finished, because I figured out if they murdered Gary and his son, there was nothing that would stop them, there was no piece of paper, there was nothing we could come up with that was going to get anything done.”
Under pressure from the FBI, Troy Boner agreed to tell a Douglas County Grand Jury investigating Larry King that he and Alisha Owen had concocted the entire child abuse story on payment of $500.00 bond. Troy Boner was to be the star witness against Alisha Owen but he grew uneasy about maintaining what he claims were the lies fed to him by the FBI. But when his brother Shawn died in and inexplicable gun accident, Troy and his family were convinced that he was sent a warning message.
Troy: “You know, they killed him just flat outright, somehow, professionally, made something happen, you know, to shut me up.”
Troy’s mother: “The purpose of Shawn’s death—to instill fear, and it worked.”
Troy: “Do I feel guilty about my brother? Yes, I do. That’s where all this is coming from. This is where the energy is coming from that I’m getting to do this. It’s for him because it should have been me there instead of him. Really. I mean, I’m not trying to make anybody feel bad, but I mean he was brilliant and innocent. You know, it should have been me. He had so much to give, I have taken so much. You know, it should have been the other way around.”
Troy’s mom, Loni Boner: “I can’t explain to you what it feels like to lose a child. But when you see the pain your kids have because of that, it’s much worse [crying]. I can’t do anything for them. I can’t take that pain away for them.”
Senator Loran Schmit’s legislative committee issued a report denouncing the grand jury. Two months later, it was disbanded leaving Schmit a broke man.
Senator Schmit: “The message was not lost on most politicians in Nebraska. I think the message delivered was if any of the committee ever tries to conduct a thorough investigation again, the same thing will happen. It has shaken my faith in the institutions of government. I used to be a firm believer that the system would work and that people who did things wrong would be punished. And we discovered victims who claim to have been abused and who the grand jury acknowledged had been abused, but they did not try to find out who had abused those individuals. Instead, they convicted Alisha Owen of perjury and that’s from my point of view.”
In July 1991, Alisha Owen was convicted of perjury. Her sentence was between 9 and 25 years.
DeCamp: “I can’t find a case in the history of this country where some kid got sentenced to 25 or 30 years in prison for something like this. If you were going to pick a—what I call a tell-tale sign, something that says something’s fishy about the whole thing—It was in the sentencing itself. For some reason they had to send a signal to every kid who was a potential witness (my opinion again) a signal so loud and clear: ‘If you dare to come forward, if you dare to talk, watch what happens.’”
Three months later, Larry King was jailed for the 40 million dollar fraud. He was given a 15 year sentence – 10 years less than Alisha Owen. John DeCamp is now the only man fighting to help Larry King’s victims. He has become the lawyer for Paul Bonacci and Alisha Owen.
DeCamp: “I live in Nebraska. Hell, I was born here, raised here, I have 4 kids growing up here. Like it or not, it’s my heritage, you know? If it’s a dirty cesspool that I’ve got to live in or look back on that I left, that ain’t good. The real cost, if I were going to say, to my family has been the fear and intimidation that has put some of the kids—a couple of the kids are really frightened and really had some sleeping problems over it—you know, hear this or that. That‘s been the real concern I’ve had.
In the face of mysterious threats, John has turned for advice to his friend and onetime boss, former head of the CIA, Bill Colby.
DeCamp: “Bill Colby told me, better than anything, the one thing that the bad people can’t afford is publicity, and knocking you off right now or doing something obvious to one of your kids would bring them more trouble than it’s worth.”
Bill Colby: “I said you have to consider the possibility of some danger to not only your reputation, but to your person. I mean, people do react rather violently to some kinds of charges, or particularly if they’re true, there is more apt to be a negative reaction than if they’re false. If they’re false charges, than they can be reacted to in a normal way, by a libel suit or whatever. But if there’s truth in it, there can be a danger in that situation. We’ve seen that happen in other cases.”
John DeCamp has arranged to meet Troy Boner, the young man he sees as the key to the cover-up.
DeCamp: “He is in great danger. The reason is he carries the secret, so to speak. He served his purpose for the FBI and others by committing the lies that put the seal on the cover-up. His greatest safety probably lies in doing exactly what he knows he should do—that is exposing the whole thing, taking one final last chance and telling the truth.
Troy: “My fears are that, you know, I am not going to be believed again. It is just going to be a whole other kind of exploitation like it was last time, you know. And afraid that that’s going to happen, or that I might end up dead or a loved one might end up dead again. I want this to go forward and have something done so that all those other kids who a lot more worse things have happened to can come forward and see that action can be taken because there are a lot of other kids out there that things happen to them, a lot worse that happened to me.”
DeCamp: “You have to, if you want to protect yourself and your life and your family’s life both now and particularly in the future, is to use the institutions of government that have been set up to protect you, and make them work. That means you go into Federal court, you go after the people that have done this cover-up, and you expose it so there is no longer any percentage on their part in eliminating you because the secret is out.”
Troy: “That’s why we’re here today, to let it out.”
DeCamp: “I have no doubt that he is now telling the truth number one, and number two that he originally told the truth. Potentially they could decide to charge him with perjury because now he is telling that ‘They forced me to lie. I did lie at Alisha’s trial. I did lie before the grand jury. I did it because the authorities were forcing me to do it. And I was scared for my family, my brother had been killed when I tried to back out the one time.’ Potentially they could charge him with perjury this time.”
Alisha Owen is out of prison and on bail while DeCamp appeals against her perjury conviction. As he prepares for a court hearing new evidence of the cover-up emerges, and once again, it involves Troy Boner’s evidence.
Alisha: “The tapes that were shown to the Grand jury had been edited Everything that matched Troy’s statement…”
John DeCamp: “Was shown them.”
Alisha Owen: “That matched mine, were edited out. And I think maybe one of the things we want to do is show to the judge specifically how, where these little five minute segments of, ‘Look, this tape says this,’ and show him, ‘It isn’t in this tape, and this is the tape the grand jury saw.’”
John DeCamp: “I’m going to attempt to get these tapes, and we’ll see what happens next.”
But to obtain the evidence DeCamp must approach some of the very officials he believes were involved in the cover up, the county attorneys’ office which ran the grand jury.
DeCamp: “In the good old Alisha Owen case, 127194, I’m trying to get the evidence, the tapes and the transcripts of Troy and Danny, Troy Boner.”
Office Clerk: “That might be downstairs. We had that up here once.”
DeCamp: “Yeah—I think there’s two tapes, there should be, because I understand, and the transcript of them. But if I could get them, I could start reviewing them and figure out maybe a little bit on what’s happening on some things.”
Office Clerk: “Check with the county attorneys, they have all the bills up there. Robert…”
DeCamp: “Let me guess, Robert Sigler has them.”
Robert Sigler is the prosecuting attorney fighting to send Alisha Owen back to prison. After lengthy negotiations, DeCamp emerges with the tapes the grand jury never saw.
[Recorded video of Troy Boner’s interview by Priv. investigator, Gary Caradori]
Troy Boner: “I went with $4,000, about $4,000 of cocaine.”
Gary Caradori: “Okay, and what airline?”
Troy Boner: “I flew out of American.”
Gary Caradori: “Okay, and did you go direct?”
Troy Boner: “No, there was a stopover in Van Bu… No, there was a stopover in Dallas, Fort Worth.”
Caradori: “So you went from where to where to where?”
Troy Boner: “I went from Omaha to Dallas, Fort Worth, like an hour and then—a big, big plane from Dallas to Los Angeles.”
Caradori: “Alright, did anybody go with you?”
Troy Boner: “Alisha Owen.”
DeCamp: “If these indeed were left out of the grand jury proceedings, then I am totally shocked and angry beyond words. Here it is, so to speak, the smoking gun, that they can go out and verify—the corroboration. In other words, the linkage to King that was denied. Cover-up, organized, planned, deliberate cover-up.”
The courthouse Wahoo, Nebraska: the hearings begin. Alisha Owen is ready to testify, so too is Paul Bonacci, but there is no sign of Troy Boner. DeCamp discovers that Robert Sigler has sent the young man a threatening subpoena. Fearing arrest for perjury, Troy has gone into hiding. In court, DeCamp successfully pleads for another adjournment. The county attorney’s office begins to search for Troy Boner, but Robert Sigler won’t say why.
Interviewer: “Can I ask you whether you are about to charge Troy Boner with perjury?”
Robert Sigler: “Oh, no comment on that.”
Interviewer: “Why, is it, I wonder, Mr. Sigler, you’re a public official, aren’t you? Mr. Sigler, is it true you are about to charge on Troy Boner with perjury?”
Robert Sigler: “No comment!”
Interviewer: “Mr. Sigler, if you do not charge Troy Boner with perjury, does that mean you accept what he is saying is true?”
Robert Sigler: “No comment.”
Interviewer: “Why are you trying to have Troy Boner summoned to this hearing, Mr. Sigler?”
Robert Sigler: “No comment.”
Interviewer: “Why no comment, Mr. Sigler?”
Robert Sigler: “No comment.”
DeCamp: “Every victim witness who stepped forward in any way, or even was a potential witness that somebody heard about, has either been killed, put in jail under some theory or other, terrified or run out of the state, discredited. Every perpetrator, every perpetrator, even the convicted ones have been treated as conquering heroes. Obviously, the FBI was protecting something a lot more significant than a bunch of old pedophiles having improper relations with little boys. They were protecting something a lot more significant than a bunch of drug peddlers. They were protecting, in my opinion, they were protecting some very prominent politicians, some very powerful and wealthy individuals associated with those politicians and the political system, up to and including the highest political people in this entire country.”
In search of answers, John DeCamp goes to Washington to investigate Larry King’s powerful connections in the nation’s capitol. Paul Bonacci has come too. Larry King threw child-sex parties at his five thousand dollar a month Washington house. Paul Bonacci was one of the victims.
Paul Bonacci: “Larry king’s house down in Washington, D.C. was, it was a nice house. It was on what, I guess, I believe was Embassy Row, because that’s what they kept talking about. There were a lot of flags from different countries when you drove around in the area.”
DeCamp: “So tell me Paul, how often did you come here?”
Paul Bonacci: “I was about 14 about 1981, and at first it was about 3 or 4 times the first year. After that, it was about once a month, after 81.”
DeCamp: “And who brought you here?”
Paul Bonacci: “Larry King brought me here.”
DeCamp: “And this is the actual house where you…”
Paul Bonacci: “Yes.”
DeCamp: “And what? You were used for sex there?”
Paul Bonacci: “Yes. In some of the parties when they started off were straight political-type parties with no sex. And then when some of the men had left, some of the politicians had left, the ones that had planned, they had planned on engaging in some type of sexual activity, that would come after the party. Some of the kids would be held downstairs in some of the rooms where if they acted up or if they started freaking out because of the drugs that they were on, they would put them in a room that they couldn’t get out of and they would lock them in.”
DeCamp: “Were there drugs at these parties?”
Paul Bonacci: “Yes.”
DeCamp: “What kind of drugs?”
Paul Bonacci: “Anything you wanted—cocaine, heroin, speedballs…”
DeCamp: “You’re telling me those things were at these parties where you had Larry King and prominent politicians?”
Paul Bonacci: “Yes.”
DeCamp: “Were they readily available to anybody at the party?”
Paul Bonacci: “They—at the after parties, they were readily available for anybody. Beforehand, they did it more upstairs than they did it anywhere else. It was kind of in the back rooms.”
DeCamp: “Were any attempts ever made that you know of to expose this situation?”
Paul Bonacci: “As far as I know, nothing’s ever been done, and most of the people that were in there had already been, I guess you can say, compromised.”
King’s partner in sex-crime was powerful Washington lobbyist, Craig Spence. He took youngsters like Bonacci on midnight tours of the White House.
DeCamp: “So you were in the White House then?”
Paul Bonacci: “Yes.”
DeCamp: “And how did you gain access?”
Paul Bonacci: “Well, I came down with Larry King, but Craig Spence was the one that arranged the trip for us, and it was kind of a gift for our services that we were doing.”
DeCamp: “How many times were you on this kind of a trip?”
Paul Bonacci: “I came to it on two times.”
DeCamp: “Two times. And were you used for sex on those occasions?”
Paul Bonacci: “Not till after we left.”
DeCamp: “After you left the White House?”
Paul Bonacci: “Yes.”
DeCamp: “What time of night?”
Paul Bonacci: “It was usually around midnight. To me it was just kind of weird being in the White House at that time of the night, and getting to go into places that the guy was telling us that nobody gets to go to. And we’ve seen, I’ve seen rooms in there that I’d never even heard about. Craig Spence and Larry King had a couple of groups, one was called ‘Bodies by God,’ and they had the callboys, and there was another group that was started by Larry King which was called the ‘Golden Boys,’ which was kids that were usually under the age of approximately ten.”
On the trail of Craig Spence, DeCamp finds the investigative reporter who exposed Spence’s callboy network, Paul Rodriquez of the Washington Times.
Paul Rodriquez: “We had uncovered a series of allegations from some minors that led me to a callboy operation here in Washington.”
DeCamp: “That sure fits with, you know, with the boy Paul Bonacci, and he tells a tale of being brought to the White House on occasion, kind of as a reward for the kid.”
Paul Rodriguez: “Craig Spence’s dad committed suicide. He had advanced stages of aids. He was an aid’s carrier and he killed himself. This was the thing that always bothered me. They claim it was the largest male prostitution ring in the city that they’ve ever, ever had uncovered. It was a million dollars a year minimum.”
Paul Rodriquez: “And yet they only prosecuted the operator, Henry Vincent, and three of his lieutenants as it were. They never went after any of the Johns or the clients. This operation which was again, quite large, claimed to have clients that ran from the White House to the Capitol Hill, to the State House, to the churches, within the media, and a lot of…”
DeCamp: “That’s precisely what Paul describes as the people he was with.”
Paul Rodriquez: “And a lot of the stuff led there, but we couldn’t quite nail it at all cases because, again, to accuse someone of high stature you’ve got to be very careful.”
DeCamp: “I understand.”
Paul Rodriquez: “We were able to do it through the mother load, which provided us credit card receipts and cancelled checks, and then lists of the clients. The prosecutors knew all this stuff. There was approximately twenty thousand pieces of documents, or twenty thousand documents that they had. They sealed the entire record when they found out I was accessing them. They required consent agreements from all the lawyers, all the clients, all the relatives of all the clients, all the hookers, including the clients themselves.”
DeCamp: “Which means you can never gain access.”
Paul Rodriquez: “They sealed them by court order and we have tried, we’ve attempted on several occasions to unseal that, and we’ve been told that it will be a cold day in Hell before those records ever get unsealed. And it makes me wonder what’s in those records?”
The Attorney General is now involved. Bill Colby has passed the DeCamp evidence to a senior lawyer in the Justice Department.
He [Former Director of the CIA, William Colby] did say that the Attorney General’s office would be very sensitive to any charges of abuse of children. That this was a matter of considerable priority to the Department that this sort of thing not take place and that they would assign an officer to look into the case.
For John DeCamp, the story of Larry King’s corrupt empire holds a dire warning for America.
DeCamp: “If you can control about three or four key elements, you can totally own a state. You can make right, wrong; you can make truth, falsehood; falsehood, truth. If you control the media, if you control the Justice Department, if you control the police, you own the system.”
Police Detective: “It’s beyond belief that arguably the most powerful person in the world, the President of the United States in the form of Richard Nixon, could not prevent the investigation of Watergate, or that President Reagan could not prevent the investigation of Iran-Contra, and yet somehow this group of unnamed, unknown, anonymous individuals in Omaha, Nebraska have such power, they can control and protect all of these people from being investigated. Those allegations are ridiculous.”
DeCamp: “Well, first of all, Nixon did cover up Watergate, number one. Bush did cover up Iran-Contra, at least officially; and Omaha has successfully covered up this situation. In each case, it was the press that exposed the problem. It wasn’t institutions of government. They had been corrupted, they had been compromised, they were the ones doing the cover up. The Justice Department, acting through FBI and the US attorney’s office in Omaha, emerges from the record of the Franklin investigation. Not so much as a party to the cover up, but as its coordinator. Reading grand juries, harassment of witnesses, incitement of perjury and tampering with evidence, federal personnel were seen to apply all those techniques in the Franklin case.
Final Update developments, at end of the book, “The Franklin Cover-up,” by John DeCamp (first edition), 2004-2005 :
In late 2003, Troy Boner walked into a hospital in New Mexico screaming, “they’re after me, they’re after me because of this book.”
The book Troy was waving was this book, The Franklin Cover-Up.
Boner was “… mildly sedated and calmed down … and put in a private room for ‘observation.” “When nurses came to check on him early next morning, Boner was sitting in a chair, bleeding from the mouth and quite dead. Former FBI Los Angeles Bureau Chief Ted Gunderson tried to get autopsy and other information and details that were promised him on Boner’s death, but Gunderson, and apparently every other entity, were totally shut out of all information. No news stories on Boner’s death were published in the news, despite Boner’s previous front page fame and “notoriety” in the Franklin case.
List of suspicious deaths
Troy Boner, checked into a Omaha hospital visibly shaken and claiming he was being targeted because of this testimony in the case. He was found dead the next morning.
Shawn Boner, Troy’s brother, found shot in the head shortly after Troy was to testify before court.
Bill Baker, associate of Larry King and alleged to be involved in the production of child pornography.
Gary Caradori and his eight year old son, Andrew, killed in a plane crash. The FAA determined the plane “came apart” in mid-air but never determined the cause of the crash. Key pieces of Caradori’s property (e.g. investigation briefcase) were missing in the wreckage and have never been found.
Newt Copple, a primary informant of Caradori, was 70 when he ‘died in his sleep’ but exhibited no health problems before his death.
Clare Howard, the secretary of Alan Baer, the wealthy Omaha businessman who was alleged to be involved in the pedophile abuse and subsequent cover-up. Howard died suspiciously “in her sleep”.
Mike Lewis, former caregiver of victim-witness Loretta Smith. Death attributed to ‘severe diabetic reaction’ at the age of 32.
Joe Malek, associate of King, died from a gunshot which was ruled a suicide.
Aaron Owen, brother of victim-witness Alisha Owen, died in his jail cell hours before Alisha was supposed to testify, ruled a suicide.
Charlie Rodgers, alleged sexual partner of Larry King, died of a shotgun wound to the head, ruled a suicide.
Bill Skoleski, Omaha police officer said to be secretly keeping a file on Larry King, died of a heart attack.
Kathleen Sorenson, foster parent of children who had escaped the Webb family, and outspoken activist on raising awareness of the abuse of the children she cared for.
Curtis Tucker, an associate of Larry King, who allegedly jumped out the window of a Holiday Inn in Omaha.
Harmon Tucker, a school superintendent in Omaha who some thought was the “superintendent” that Alisha Owen said attended the sex parties.
Caradori Leads list
Following are individuals on Caradori’s “leads list” who he felt should have been contacted or were contacted during his investigation. The notes are his own comments:
Involved in prostitution while attending Central High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Alleged to have a video tape with confessions of Larry King.
A resident of Council, Bluffs, Iowa. Catered the Republican Party event hosted by Larry King in New Orleans, LA, in 1988.
Friend and/or lover of Larry King. Mr. King rented an apartment at the Twin Towers and Alfie Allen resided there. Present at many parties. Larry King allegedly purchased or leased a Mercedes Benz for this subject.
Individual alleged by Gary Lee Vincent to have exploited him sexually. See Exhibit VID-III for the video taped allegations.
Alleged sexual exploitation of male minors. Omaha World-Herald executive. Residence telephone [REDACTED]. Business telephone [REDACTED]. A letter was remitted to Mr. Anderson to set up an interview. See Exhibit X-1. Also see Exhibits VID-1, VID-II, VID-III, and VID-IV.
Currently incarcerated for involvement with child pornography.
Employee of Union Pacific Railroad. Alleged to have sexually exploited male minors. Alleged to have a child pornography collection. Alleged to have attempted to pick up young boys. A letter was remitted to Mr. Andreson in an attempt to set up an interview. See Exhibit X-2. Home address: [REDACTED] Street, Ralston, Nebraska, telephone [REDACTED]. Residence identified by Danny King. See Exhibit PH-2. For allegations see Exhibits VID IV and VID VI.
Student Placement Officer for the Omaha Public Schools. May have knowledge regarding Peter Citron. Business Address: [REDACTED] Street, Omaha, Nebraska.
Executive of the former Brandeis Stores. Alleged to have sexually exploited male minors. Alleged to be involved with illegal drug use and drug trafficking. A letter was recently remitted to Mr. Baer in an attempt to set up an interview. See Exhibit X-3. Please not that I had met with Mr. Baer and his attorney several months ago. Business Address: [REDACTED] Street, Omaha, Nebraska. Business telephone [REDACTED]. For allegations see Exhibits VID-I, II, IV, V, and VI.
Possible victim of satanic cult abuse.
Alleged to have been sexually exploited by Keith Carter. Ray is a relative to Gary Lee Vincent, and alleged to have introduced Gary Lee Vincent to Keith Carter. May possibly be incarcerated. For allegations see Exhibit VID-III.
Joe Barker III
Insurance executive at Massachusetts Mutual. Larry Kind was a client of Joe Barker, and allegedly attended parties. Larry Kind is alleged to have put a large amount of money into an insurance policy prior to the closing of the Franklin Credit Union. Business telephone [REDACTED].
Minister at Grace Apostolic Church located at [REDACTED] Street, Omaha, Nebraska. Alleged to have counseled individuals abused by Larry King. Has been interviewed and information was remitted to Reverend Barlow, however, he remained uncooperative. A letter was remitted to Reverend Barlow in an attempt to set up an interview. See Exhibit X-4. Business telephone [REDACTED], Residence telephone [REDACTED].
Concerned citizen of Omaha, Nebraska. Has remitted information regarding this case. Residence telephone [REDACTED]. See Exhibit X-5.
Photographer employed by Larry King. Possibly involved with child pornography. Has been interviewed, however, stated that he has no knowledge. Address: [REDACTED] Street, #1, Omaha, Nebraska, telephone [REDACTED].
Individual who has information regarding the Franklin Credit Union and/or child sexual exploitation. See Joel Rogers transcript Exhibit X-6.
Possible victim of satanic cult abuse.
An alleged drug dealer who formally associated with Willie Theisen. May be willing to cooperate due to a fallout with Willie Theisen.
Victim of exploitation. For allegations and statements see video taped statements which is marked Exhibits III, IV, V, and VII.
Omaha businessman. Friend of Gary Sorgenfrei. Has been interviewed. Business telephone [REDACTED]. See Exhibit AUD II and AUD IJ.
Assistant to Bill Baker who was killed in South Omaha. (Bill Baker allegedly had pornographic photographs and videotapes.) Mr. Boolman may reside in an apartment located above the Dining Car Restaurant located at 10th and Pacific Street. Also alleged to be a good friend of Larry King’s.
Wife of Mike Boyle. Alleged to have information regarding this investigation, however, it was also alleged that her husband does not want her to get involved because of the alleged perpetrators involved. Business telephone [REDACTED]; Residence telephone [REDACTED].
Former Mayor of Omaha, Nebraska. Larry King may have made a substantial contribution to his election campaign in 1981, which amount may have been published in the Omaha World-Herald. Residence telephone [REDACTED].
Sarpy County Probation Officer for juvenile court who alleges that there was a cover up regarding the investigation of a school teacher, Michael Heveron, in Papillion, Nebraska. Also alleged a connection with the Oak Hills Country Club and child sexual exploitation.
An attorney alleged by Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Morris to have information regarding this investigation. Address: [REDACTED] Street, Suite 310, Omaha, Nebraska. Business telephone [REDACTED].
May have been sexually involved with Larry King. Also has a roommate who may have been involved sexually with Larry King. Address: [REDACTED], Omaha, Nebraska. DOB 8/17/64.
Former resident of Uta Halee. Possible victim of sexual exploitation and satanic cult abuse.
Friend of Shawnetta Moore.
Introduced Troy Boner to Alan Baer and is aware that Troy was exploited sexually by Alan Baer. Rod was possibly also sexually exploited.
Former employee of the French Cafe. Arranged parties hosted by Larry King with the children. Currently residing in Tacoma, Washington. See Exhibit AUD IA.
Former employee of the Franklin Credit Union.
Former Vice Chairman of the Foster Care Review Board. Was instrumental in bringing to light allegations of child abuse in 1988. Business telephone [REDACTED]. See Exhibit X-7.
Judge Theodore Carlson
District Judge who allegedly sexually exploited Alisha Owens. Business address: Hall of Justice, 17th and Farnam, Omaha, Nebraska. A letter was remitted to Judge Carlson in an attempt to set up an interview (See Exhibit X-8) For allegations see Exhibits VID-I, II, and III.
Formally incarcerated for sexual abuse of children. Paroled in February of 1989. Address [REDACTED] Omaha, Nebraska.
Omaha Police Officer who originally interviewed Shawnetta Moore. Business telephone [REDACTED] See Exhibit X-9 for the police reports. Please note that Bob Wadman immediately removed Chris Carmean from the case.
Sandi Caradori Investigative Notes
Gary Caradori’s wife, Sandi, wrote the following account of her talks with Troy Boner before his death.
The following is a written account of the happenings on July 11, 1990, and July 12, 1990, regarding telephone calls and conversations with Troy Boner.
I need to preface this writing by explaining that in the course of the Franklin Credit Union investigation, many calls were received at our home from Troy Boner. I was familiar with the individual’s voice and can be 100% assured that I did, in fact, receive the telephone calls from him. In the early evening of Wednesday, July 11, 1990, several telephone calls were received at our home by an individuals identifying himself as “Troy.” Difference individuals answered the telephone and took the message from him. I was either talking to other visitors at our home or in no shape to come to the telephone. In any event, if necessary I can supply names of the parties who can attest to the fact that a “Troy” called for me during that evening.
Later in the evening, Troy again called and I was able to go to the telephone. It should be noted that I did not initiate the call, nor did I know what, if anything he wanted to speak to me about.
The following is a synopsis of the conversation:
SC: Sandi Caradori
TB: Troy Boner
SC: This is Sandi Caradori… Troy, what do you want to say?
SC: Troy, that is the least of my worries. How are you?
TB: I am so sorry. I am so sorry. He shouldn’t have died.
SC: What are you saying Troy? What are you trying to tell me?
TB: Gary wasn’t lying. He didn’t tell me what to say. What I told him was the truth. (He spoke very rapidly as if fighting back tears.) They made me take it back. The threatened me.
SC: Troy, you should tell someone… Do you want me to call Senator Schmit? You need to come out with the truth once and for all. Troy, what has happened?
TB: You don’t understand, they threatened me. They made me take it back. I was so scared.
(At this point I felt I needed someone else to hear this so I asked Troy to tell what he had just told me to our son, Sean.)
SC: Troy, I want you to talk to Sean, Gary’s 16-year old son. Please tell him, alright?
TB: Yeah, sure.
Sean: Yeah, man what do you want?
I, along with the ten to 15 other people in our kitchen/family room heard Sean’s portion of the conversation as follows:
Sean: Okay buddy, you need to do it for my Dad, man. Okay… Okay…
(I got back on the telephone and told him I would try to contact Senator Schmit or Karen. He said he’d be at 341-3031 but only for a short time. He said he was going to be “on the move” or something to that effect. He further stated, “I’ll go to anyone who’ll listen. I’ll go without my lawyer. I’m gonna come clean.”
He then asked if I would talk with his mother. She wanted to talk. I said, “Of course”.
Troy’s mother’s voice was familiar. She had called our house several times for Gary. One time she wanted to know if she could get reimbursed for collect telephone calls from Troy. She even said that Gary told her he’d pay for it, etc. Gary was home but didn’t want to speak with her so I took the call and listened to what she had to say. She said that the telephone company was going to disconnect her telephone. Later, Gary said it was just a ploy and he was disturbed that she said that Gary had told her that he would take care of the telephone bill. Troy’s mother related the following:
Mrs. Boner: Mrs. Caradori, I am so sorry. I’m so sorry. This is such a tragedy. I knew something happened to Troy. He got so scared just before he changed his story. They were threatening him. I knew he shouldn’t have backed away from the truth (or some similar expression).
Troy then got back on the telephone and I repeatedly asked that he would promise me that he would come through for me, for Gary, and for A.J. He said. “I promise… Tomorrow… To anyone who will listen… the FBI, the news — anyone.”
I was unable to reach Senator Schmit and it was almost 11:30PM. I thought that I should let Troy do this on his own in the morning.
The next day I did not hear anything on the television or the radio and I really felt that Troy had probably backed away. That evening he called me again. He said, Sandi, I tried, I tried. I went to Mickey Mott and ______ (FBI Agents). They laughed at me. They said they spent too much time and money on this case now for me to change my story. I also went to Frank Brown but he said he didn’t want to take a statement because of my Grand Jury testimony.”
Troy sounded very down and disappointed, as was I. I related that I would let Karen know as well as Senator Schmit and that maybe they could help. Troy agreed.
The next day we planned a short meeting at the office to confirm our standing in the business for our Lincoln staff. I arrived at the office at approximately 9:30 AM and found out that the FBI was in Karen’s office service Caracorp, Inc. with a subpoena. I was extremely upset because the timing certainly left much to be desired. I opened the closed door and noted two FBI agents, Karen Ormiston, and our security director, Joe Hebenstreit. They were all seated in the office. I said, “I don’t think I need to introduce myself. What are you doing here? I can’t believe this.”
The smaller individual stammered a bit and looked at Karen and said, “Who… who is this?” “She’s Gary’s widow.” He then halfway stood up and extended his hand as if to shake mine and expressed his/their sympathy. The whole ordeal was extremely unprofessional. He then looked over his shoulder at the other agent, gave him a smirk, and shook his head. He identified himself as Micky Mott. I again voiced my outrage and they indicated that Gary had been expecting this subpoena. The said that they were trying to deliver the subpoena when they received the news about the airplane crash on the radio. I sincerely question this.
I then asked them directly whether Troy Boner had tried to speak with them on the previous day. Mr. Mott said, “We can’t confirm or deny that.” I indicated that I did deserve an answer. Mr. Mott then said, “Yeah, he came to the office but we can’t waste our time with him. He has lost all credibility.” I said, “Gentlemen, he is still a US citizen and deserves to be heard.”
End of notes.
Troy Boner affidavit swearing he lied when he recanted his testimony under pressure from FBI
Article: Homosexual prostitution inquiry ensnares VIPs with Reagan, Bush ‘Call boys’ took midnight tour of White House
The following was published in the Washington Times on June 29, 1989. It reports on the callboy operations discovered by Paul Rodriguez and hints at ties to the Franklin scandal.
Paul M. Rodriguez and George Archibald; June 29, 1989
A homosexual prostitution ring is under investigation by federal and District authorities and includes among its clients key officials of the Reagan and Bush administrations, military officers, congressional aides and US and foreign businessmen with close social ties to Washington’s political elite, documents obtained by The Washington Times reveal.
One of the ring’s high-profile clients was so well-connected, in fact, that he could arrange a middle-of-the-night tour of the White House for his friends on Sunday, July 3, of last year. Among the six persons on the extraordinary 1 a.m. tour were two male prostitutes.
Federal authorities, including the Secret Service, are investigating criminal aspects of the ring and have told male prostitutes and their homosexual clients that a grand jury will deliberate over the evidence throughout the summer, The Times learned.
Reporters for this newspaper examined hundreds of credit-card vouchers, drawn on both corporate and personal cards and made payable to the escort service operated by the homosexual ring. Many of the vouchers were run through a so-called “sub-merchant” account of the Chambers Funeral Home by a son of the owner, without the company’s knowledge.
Among the client names contained in the vouchers – and identified by prostitutes and escort operators – are government officials, locally based US military officers, businessmen, lawyers, bankers, congressional aides and other professionals.
Editors of The Times said the newspaper would print only the names of those found to be in sensitive government posts or positions of influence. “There is no intention of publishing names or facts about the operation merely for titillation,” said Wesley Pruden, managing editor of The Times.
The office of US Attorney General Jay B. Stephens, former deputy White House counsel to President Reagan, is coordinating federal aspects of the inquiry but refused to discuss the investigation or grand jury actions.
Several former White House colleagues of Mr. Stephen are listed among clients of the homosexual prostitution ring, according to the credit card records, and those persons have confirmed that the charges were theirs.
Mr. Stephen’s office, after first saying it would cooperate with The Times’ inquiry, withdrew the offer late yesterday and also declined to say whether Mr. Stephens would recuse himself from the case because of possible conflict of interest.
At least one highly placed Bush administration official and a wealthy businessman who procured homosexual prostitutes from the escort services operated by the ring are cooperating with the investigation, several sources said.
Among clients who charged homosexual prostitutes services on major credit cards over the past 18 months are Charles K. Dutcher, former associate director of presidential personnel in the Reagan administration, and Paul R. Balach, Labor Secretary Elizabeth Dole’s political personnel liaison to the White House.
In the 1970s, Mr. Dutcher was a congressional aide to former Rep. Robert Bauman, Maryland Republican, who resigned from the House after admitted having engaged in sexual liaisons with teen-age male prostitutes. Mr. Dutcher also worked on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle when he represented an Indiana district in the House.
A charge also was discovered against the credit card of a former White House staffer who prepared the president’s daily news summary in the Reagan administration. Todd A Blodgett said he had not made the charge.
One of the ring’s big spending clients is Craig J. Spence, Washington socialite and international trade consultant, according to documents and interviews with operators and prostitutes who say they engaged in sexual activities with Mr. Spence.
Mr. Spence spent upwards of $20,000 a month for male prostitutes who provided sex to him and his friends, said to include military personnel who also acted as his “bodyguards.” It was Mr. Spence who arranged the nocturnal tour of the Reagan White House. Repeated attempts to reach Mr. Spence by telephone, fax machine and personal visits to his home, were unsuccessful.
Credit card vouchers confirm that Mr. Spence charged thousands of dollars on American Express and Visa cards, sometimes making $600 charges against his cards several times a day, drawn in behalf of an escort service called Professional Services Inc.
Members of major news organizations also procured escort services from the ring, credit card documents show. These include Stanley Mark Tapscott, who was an assistant managing editor of The Washington Times.
Mr. Tapscott, whose resignation on June 20 was accepted, said he had not procured homosexual escorts or sexual services of any kind. He said in an interview that he had talked to two women he arranged to meet through the escort service as part of an investigation of a dial-a-porn services he had initiated a year earlier when he was editor of the newspaper’s Money section. The charges were made against his company American Express card. His editors knew of no such investigation.
Before joining The Times, Mr. Tapscott worked for the Office of Personnel Management in the Reagan administration.
Managers of the escort ring said that “a few women” were used for clients who called with specific requests but that the regular stable was altogether male.
The documents show that a number of clients – lawyers, doctors and business executives – used corporate credit cards to procure escort services and that a number of military officers from the United States and allied countries – including one foreign officer using a “Department of Defence” credit card – charged male escort services.
One former top-level Pentagon officer said that for the past eight years, military and civilian intelligence authorities have been concerned that “a nest of homosexuals” at top levels of the Reagan administration may have been penetrated by Soviet-backed espionage agents posing as male prostitutes, said one former top-level Pentagon official.
A major concern, said the former official with longtime ties to top-ranking military intelligence officers, was that hostile foreign intelligence services were using young male prostitutes to compromise top administration homosexuals, thus making them subject to blackmail.
“We have known for many, many years that there is a department of the KGB [Soviet intelligence] whose job it is to prey on sexual deviants,” said retired Lt. Gen. Daniel Graham, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Because “closet” homosexuals in government service can be easily “turned” through blackmail for espionage purposes, Gen. Graham said, “we have always in intelligence tried very hard not to be giving classified information to known homosexuals.”
Those interviewed by The Times confirmed that there were blackmail attempts by male prostitutes who wanted money and other favors to protect clients’ sexual lives.
The clients interviewed say a Feb. 28 police raid on a house at 6004 34th Place NW was set off by reports of blackmail and possible credit-card fraud complaints and by District hotel operators about prostitution activities.
In the raid, spearheaded by the Washington Field Office of the U.S. Secret Service, authorities found a telephone switchboard operation serving a half-dozen homosexual escort services.
Secret Service agents and District police vice investigators confiscated financial records, as well as ledgers, photos, diaries, telephone records, Rolodexes and client lists of the prostitution network, during the raid and with subsequent subpoenas issued by D.C. Superior Court.
Although the confiscated material was turned over to District police on the scene, witnesses and law enforcement agents say the Secret Service kept one box containing names and other information about high-level government officials who were clients of the male escort business.
District police officials say that, to their knowledge, this is the first time the Secret Service has ever become involved in such a raid in this area.
Initially, the Secret Service denied it was involved in the raid, but after a second raid of the 34th Place house on May 18, the agency acknowledged its involvement in the investigation.
Secret Service spokesman Bob Snow said the agency participated in the search and seizure operation because of its jurisdiction over credit card fraud. “We come into such operations usually at the request of a U.S. attorney … if the fraud involves $10,000 or more … We are not involved in any local prostitution investigation,” said Mr. Snow.
Witnesses to the February raid said 12 Secret Service agents in blue parkas entered the house and spent several hours collecting and removing boxes of files.
Federal and District investigators have since interrogated several prostitutes working for the ring, as well as clients of homosexual escort services operating under such names as Jovan, Man-to-Man, Metrodate, Ultimate Models and Ultimate First Class.
In addition to credit-card fraud, the investigation is said to be focused on illegal interstate prostitution, abduction and use of minors for sexual perversion, extortion, larceny and related illicit drug trafficking and use by prostitutes and their clients.
One of the chief operators of Professional Services Inc. and a regular client of the service speculated in separate interviews that the investigation would be restricted because “big names” were involved.
“Henry Vinson [the operator] said a high level official is going to try to block the investigation and may succeed,” said Mr. Balach, the labor secretary’s liaison to the White House. Mr. Vinson said he believes a highly placed federal official, whom he would not name, is working to derail the investigation, but he would not elaborate.
Authorities have been investigation possible credit card fraud by the ring operators since last fall.
Operators of the ring told The Times that videotapes, audio tapes and still photographs were made of sex acts performed by clients and the call boys, including perverted acts.
Documents show that customers were charged for “videotapes” from the operation
Judgment against Larry King from Paul Bonacci trial
The following is the official judgment against Larry King in the Paul Bonacci civil lawsuit. It should be noted that although Bonacci was convicted of perjury, he later won the civil lawsuit against Larry King (similar to the situation in the O.J. Simpson trial).
February 25, 1999
To Whom It Concerns:
The trial on February 5, 1999 resulted in a million dollar judgement. I believe that judgement, completely independent of the Default Judgement in the case because the singular issue was damages, makes it clear that the evidence presented was credible and Judge Urbom acted on that basis and to send a message to a number of individuals (both clean and dirty) who were a part of the Franklin saga. I believe the U.S. Attorney has no choice but to either CHARGE THE WITNESSES WITH PERJURY HAVING TESTIFIED UNDER OATH IN A FEDERAL COURT ON VERY MATERIAL MATTERS (From Murder to Bribery to Perjury to the most vile corruption involving young people) OR, THE U.S. ATTORNEY HAS AN OBLIGATION TO INIVESTIGATE. FURTHER INTO THE FRANKLIN SAGA AND REOPEN MATTERS This time there ARE PICTURES. This time RUSTY NELSON exists and testified completely contrary to Chief Wadman’s testimony under oath to the legislature. This time Noreen Gosch validated the credibility and story of Paul Bonacci… and a lot, lot more. At minimum some Federal or State authority (Whether it is a Judge. Attorney General. Prosecutor. etc.) has an obligation to reopen particularly the Alisha Owen case. If my witnesses in Court on February 5, 1999 are telling the truth, then Alisha Owen is also. If Alishn Owen is LYING, as a jury said then my witnesses are lying, It appears to me to put the U.S. Attorney and Nebraska Attomey General and Judicial System on the horns of a dilemma – and failure to act would to me at least appear to be deliberate obstruction of justice at a minimum.
John W. DeCamp
DeCamp Legal Services
US DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
99 F E B 22 AM 8 : 14
GARY D MCFARLAND
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
PAUL A. BONACCI, 4:CV91-33037
vs. MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
LAWRENICE E. KING,
On February 27, 1998, I found that default judgment should be entered against the defendant Lawrence E. King in favor of the plaintiff, Paul A. Bonaccl. A trial on the issue of the damages due the plaintiff by that defendant was had on February 5, 1999.
Two counts are alleged against the defendant King in the complaint. Count V alleges a conspiracy with public officers to deprive the plaintiff of his civil rights, designed to continue to subject the plaintiff to emotional abuse and to prevent him from informing authorities of criminal conduct. Count VII charges battery, false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress, negligence and conspiracy to deprive the plaintiff of civil rights. Between December 1980 and 1988, the complaint alleges, the defendant King continually subjected the plaintiff to repeated sexual assaults, false imprisonments, infliction of extreme emotional distress, organized and directed satanic rituals, 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 sexual contacts with the defendant King and others and participate in deviate sexual games and masochistic orgies with other minor children. The defendant King’s default has made those allegations true as to him. The issue now is the relief to be granted monetarily.
The now uncontradicted evidence is that the plaintiff has suffered much. He has suffered bums, broken fingers, beatings of the head and face and other indignities by the wrongful actions of the defendant King. In addition to the misery of going through the experiences just related over a period of eight years, the plaintiff has suffered the lingering results to the present time. He is a victim of multiple personality disorder, involving as many as fourteen distinct personalities aside from his primary personality. He has given up a desired military career and received threats on his life. He suffers from sleeplessness, has bad dreams, has difficulty in holding a job, is fearful that others are following him, fears getting killed, has depressing flashbacks, and is verbally violent on occasion, all in connection with the multiple personality disorder and caused by the wrongful activities of the defendant King.
Almost certainly the defendant King has little remaining financial resources, but a fair judgment to compensate the plaintiff is necessary. For the sixteen years since the abuse of the plaintiff began I conclude that a fair compensation for the damages he has suffered is $800,000.
A punitive award also is justified, but the amount needs to be limited because of the small effect that such a judgment would have on the defendant King, given his financial condition and his presence now in prison. I deem a punitive award of $200,000 to be adequate.
Dated February 19, 1999.
BY THE COURT
Warren K. Urbom
United States Senior District. Judge
US DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
99 F E B 22 AM 8 : 15
GARY D MCFARLAND
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
PAUL A. BONACCI, 4:CV91-3037
LAWRENCE E. KING,
IT IS ORDERED that the plaintiff shall have judgment against the defendant Lawrence E. King in the amount of $1,000,000 and taxable court costs in accordance with the Memorandum of Decision of today, together with interest at the rate of 4.584 percent per annum.
Dated February 19, 1999.
BY THE COURT
Warren K. Urbom
United States Senior District Judge
State of Nebraska vs Alisha J. Owen appeals
The following is the Alisha Owen appeal following her conviction on eight counts of perjury. The document contains many facts about the case and serves as a good “summary” of the Franklin Scandal.
State v. OwenAnnotate this Case
510 N.W.2d 503 (1993)
STATE of Nebraska, Appellee, v. Alisha J. OWEN, Appellant.
Court of Appeals of Nebraska.
August 3, 1993.
*508 John W. DeCamp, of DeCamp Legal Services, P.C., Lincoln, for appellant.
Don Stenberg, Attorney General, and Delores Coe-Barbee, Lincoln, for appellee.
CONNOLLY, MILLER-LERMAN and WRIGHT, JJ.
This appeal arises from the conviction of the appellant, Alisha J. Owen, on eight counts of perjury under Neb.Rev.Stat. § 28-915 (Reissue 1989). Owen assigns 24 errors. We affirm on all errors properly raised on appeal except those dealing with alleged misconduct by the jury during deliberation and alleged improper communication between the judge and jury during deliberation. We vacate the trial court’s order overruling Owen’s motion for new trial and remand this cause with directions to the district court to conduct an evidentiary hearing on the allegations concerning jury misconduct and improper communication between the judge and jury.
The trial of Owen lasted 5 weeks. The record contains over 4,000 pages of trial testimony and 182 exhibits, including approximately 11 hours of videotaped testimony. Included in the exhibits are more than 1,000 pages of testimony from a previous grand jury proceeding related to Owen’s perjury trial. Having reviewed the foregoing, we present a summary of the facts relevant to the issues raised on appeal.
1. GRAND JURY INDICTMENT
This case developed out of the original investigation of the financial collapse of the Franklin Community Credit Union (Franklin) in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska. A federal grand jury and the National Credit Union Association investigated in detail the financial misdeeds that caused the credit union to fail. During the investigation of Franklin’s financial collapse, allegations surfaced in which adults with connections to the credit union were accused of child sexual abuse. The gist of the allegations was that Larry King, Jr., former head of the credit union, had thrown a series of parties at which minors were sexually abused.
A Douglas County grand jury was impaneled March 19, 1990, to examine alleged illegal activities of the credit union’s members, officers, employees, and benefactors. The county grand jury focused its attention on the sexual abuse allegations. Financial abuses concerning the credit union were considered only to the extent that they offered possible leads to dealings involving drugs, pornography, and illicit sexual activity.
The most controversial evidence examined by the grand jury consisted of videotaped statements and live grand jury testimony by the appellant, Owen, and three other youths, Paul Bonacci, Troy Boner, and James “Danny” King, who claimed they had been sexually molested by adults involved in an ongoing scheme of child sexual exploitation. The videotapes had been made in connection with a separate Franklin investigation undertaken by the Nebraska Legislature.
In testimony before the grand jury, Boner and Danny King recanted their videotaped statements. They told the grand jury that the entire chain of allegations was false. The grand jury found that Boner and Danny King had followed Owen’s lead in making the videotapes and participating in the scam because they had believed, as had Owen, that the ruse would eventually lead to lucrative book, television, and movie contracts. Furthermore, at the time the videotapes were made, Owen was serving a prison sentence for having passed bad checks. The grand *509 jury determined that Owen had hoped that by stirring up a controversy and then cooperating with authorities in the investigation of the alleged child sexual abuse ring, she could obtain a reduced prison sentence or improved living conditions.
Even absent the recantations of Boner and Danny King, the grand jury found that the allegations of all four youths were lacking in credibility. The grand jury found that the “story of sexual abuse, drugs, prostitution, and judicial bribery presented in the legislative videotapes [was] a carefully crafted hoax, scripted by a person or persons with considerable knowledge of the people and institutions of Omaha.” Owen and Bonacci, the two youths who stood by their videotaped statements alleging sexual exploitation, were indicted for perjury.
2. BACKGROUND ON OWEN (a) The Casey Connection
The State argued that Owen’s story of Franklin-related child sexual abuse began to take shape when she met Michael Casey in the fall of 1988.
Owen was arrested in September 1988 for having issued bad checks. She was detained for several days and then released pending disposition of her case. On October 20, Owen checked herself into the St. Joseph Center for Mental Health for psychiatric evaluation and remained there until November 30. Within days of her release, Owen attempted suicide. She was hospitalized again at St. Joseph’s from December 5 to 16.
While at St. Joseph’s, Owen became acquainted with Casey, whom the grand jury described as a “con man” passing himself off as an investigative reporter who “endeavored to uncover the `real’ Franklin story.” Shortly after Owen was released from St. Joseph’s in December, Casey contacted her about moving in with him and his male roommate. Casey said that he was an investigative reporter for the New York Times and that he would train Owen to be his assistant. In a February 1990 interview, Owen told FBI special agent Michael Mott that during the 2 to 3 weeks she stayed with Casey, he pumped her for Franklin-related information. She told Mott that she had stonewalled Casey, telling him that she was not involved in the scandal herself. However, in a letter to Owen dated March 15, 1990, and found among Owen’s personal papers, Casey wrote that he was working with producers in Los Angeles and Omaha to develop his “Franklin project” and that he would send Owen a copy of the first draft of a script for a play so that Owen could review it and offer her ideas. In a greeting card to Owen dated March 23, 1990, and found among Owen’s personal papers, Casey wrote that three national publications and a movie producer were interested in his Franklin project and that Owen was “assured of a job when [you] get out of their [sic] as a consultant and researcher.”
At trial, Bill Gehrig, a friend of Owen who had visited her during her stay at St. Joseph’s, testified that Owen had told him in January 1990 that she had been working with Casey on an investigative report on the Franklin collapse and that she was involved in the stories of abuse that were beginning to surface in the public media at that time. Owen testified that Gehrig was mistaken; she denied ever representing herself as an investigative assistant to Casey on a Franklin probe.
On October 30, 1989, while Owen was serving her prison sentence for a bad check conviction at the Nebraska Center for Women in York, she was contacted by Gary Caradori, a private investigator. Caradori was conducting an investigation for a special committee of the Nebraska Legislature created specifically to investigate Franklin-related allegations of child sexual abuse. Owen said Caradori had told her that he had found her by picking up the name Alisha “off of the streets” and then running the name through a police computer. However, the March 15, 1990, letter to Owen from Casey included the following excerpt:
I also know and feel that promises were madebefore I ever gave Gary you[r] name and locationhe’d assured me that if your info checked out you would receive favorable consideration and protection outside of a prison environment. I feel most *510 responsible if promises were made to you and not kept!
(b) Owen Comes Forth with Allegations
Owen testified that Caradori had shocked her when he informed her at their initial meeting at the Nebraska Center for Women in York on October 30, 1989, that her name had come up more than once in the course of his investigation, particularly among people who knew Larry King. Initially, Owen refused to cooperate with Caradori. She subsequently changed her mind and mentioned that she knew Larry King and other people linked to the child sexual abuse accusations. Owen balked when Caradori said he wanted her to make a formal statement. That concluded the October 30 meeting.
Eventually, Owen decided to tell Caradori her whole story. Caradori returned to the Center for Women around November 7 and began the interviewing process that would yield three videotaped statements by Owen detailing the sexual abuse she allegedly had suffered at the hands of adults connected with Larry King.
On December 15, 1989, in response to a directive from the Attorney General’s office, the Nebraska State Patrol interviewed Owen about her Franklin-related allegations. In February and April 1990, the FBI conducted a series of interviews with Owen on the Franklin scandal. Owen was not forced to participate in any of these interviews. Investigators for both law enforcement agencies testified that it was made clear to Owen that she was being interviewed as a victim and a witness, not interrogated as a suspect. The accounts of sexual exploitation that Owen described to the State Patrol and the FBI were generally consistent with the allegations she had made for Caradori on videotape.
In live testimony before the Douglas County grand jury, Owen reasserted the allegations that she had made on videotape for Caradori and in her interviews with the State Patrol and the FBI. The grand jury determined that Owen was lying. At the conclusion of its proceedings on July 23, 1990, the grand jury handed down an indictment charging Owen with eight counts of perjury pursuant to § 28-915, which provides that a “person is guilty of perjury … if in any official proceeding he or she makes a false statement under oath … or affirms the truth of a statement previously made, when the statement is material and he or she does not believe it to be true.”
3. PRETRIAL PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The indictment was filed in district court July 24, 1990. At her August 8 arraignment, Owen pled not guilty. On April 18, 1991, the district court issued an order in which it found that there had been adequate time for discovery. Consequently, the court ordered that all pretrial motions be filed on or before Monday, April 29, as a trial date was set for May 20.
Over the 2 days of Tuesday, April 30, and Wednesday, May 1, defense counsel filed 1 motion to quash, 1 motion for a discovery order, 2 motions in limine, 2 motions to suppress, and 10 motions to dismiss. The court denied hearings on all the motions on grounds that they had been filed out of time. Defense counsel disputed the finding that the motions had been filed out of time. He argued that the court had given him permission to file motions out of time as long as the prosecutor was notified of the late filings. The judge disagreed with defense counsel and rejected the assertion that mere notice of late filings was sufficient. The judge insisted that he had given defense counsel permission to file motions after April 29 only if the agreement of the prosecutor had been secured in advance. The record indicates that defense counsel did not inform the prosecutor of the late filings until after the motions had been filed.
Meanwhile, the State had filed a timely motion asking the court to make a pretrial finding that the statements given by Owen to the State Patrol and the FBI between December 15, 1989, and April 10, 1990, had been made voluntarily. The hearing on the motion fills the first 496 pages of the bill of exceptions. Despite the time devoted to the issue, we are unable to find in the record a ruling on the motion by the trial judge. *511 However, it is clear from the record that the parties proceeded at trial as if the motion had been granted and the judge had found that Owen’s statements to the law enforcement agencies had been made voluntarily.
Immediately before the start of testimony at trial, with the jury impaneled and sworn but not yet in the jury box, defense counsel moved for a mistrial on grounds that Owen’s constitutional right to a fair trial had been violated in the course of jury selection. Defense counsel claimed that the State had violated Owen’s right to a fair trial by using six of its seven peremptory challenges to excuse females. The motion was overruled, and the jury trial was commenced.
We now review the evidence adduced at trial pertaining to each of the individual charges.
(a) Count I (i) Alleged Perjury
In substance, Owen testified to the grand jury that she was certain that she had first met Troy Boner and Danny King in August 1983 at a party hosted by Larry King at the Twin Towers, an apartment complex at 30th and Farnam Streets in Omaha. Owen said a Boys Town resident, Richard “Jeff” Hubbell, had taken her to the party, the first of many such parties that Owen, Boner, and Danny King would attend at the Twin Towers. Owen told the grand jury that Robert Wadman, the chief of the Omaha Police Division during the time period in question, and Harold Anderson, the publisher of the Omaha World-Herald during that same time period, were “participants” in these parties. Owen reasserted all of these allegations at trial.
At trial, the State offered the testimony of Hubbell, who testified that he had met Owen at a dance one night in the summer of 1983, but had left the dance sometime before 11 p.m. and had never seen Owen again. Hubbell said he had never taken Owen to the Twin Towers and had never set foot in the complex himself. He disavowed any acquaintance with or knowledge of Larry King, the police chief, the newspaper publisher, and the other people to whom he allegedly had introduced Owen at the party in August 1983.
Bill Gehrig, the friend of Owen who testified that Owen had claimed to be working with Michael Casey on a Franklin investigation, testified that Owen had met Boner for the first time in the summer of 1988 at an Omaha bar called The Run. Boner corroborated Gehrig’s testimony that he and Owen had first met in 1988, not 1983.
The State also offered the testimony of the police chief and the newspaper publisher, both of whom completely denied any participation in or knowledge of the parties described by Owen. Details of the testimony of the chief and the publisher will be brought out in our review of other counts that more directly involve those two men.
(b) Count II (i) Alleged Perjury
In substance, Owen testified to the grand jury that she had attended a second party at the Twin Towers in late August or early September 1983. Owen said that adults in attendance included Larry King, the police chief, and the newspaper publisher. On that occasion, according to Owen, she stayed all night in Alfie Allen’s apartment and had sex with Boner. She reasserted the allegations at trial.
We again point out that the police chief and the newspaper publisher denied all allegations pertaining to them and that Boner himself testified that he and Owen had first met in the summer of 1988, not 1983. Furthermore, Boner testified that he had never met Larry King. According to Boner, the connection between himself and the alleged Twin Towers parties was the product of Owen’s imagination. Boner testified that he first became involved in the Franklin affair when Gary Caradori, the investigator for the Legislature’s “Franklin Committee,” contacted him in November 1989 and wanted to know all about the sexual abuse Boner had suffered at the hands of Larry King and company. Boner testified that he had no idea what Caradori was talking about. He *512 would later discover that Owen had already made a videotaped statement for the investigator and had named Boner as one of the victims of a child sexual abuse ring.
After an initial phone call, Boner met with Caradori in person. Caradori kept insisting that Boner come out with the truth about having been sexually abused. At that time, Boner still was not aware that Owen had identified him as a fellow victim. Caradori implied that he already knew Boner’s story, but wanted Boner to verify the details. In an attempt to induce Boner to reveal his own experiences of sexual abuse, Caradori referred to prominent Omahans, including Larry King, and to incidents involving transportation of drugs and sexual exploitation with which he thought Boner was familiar. Perhaps most importantly, Caradori told Boner that within a year Boner would be receiving millions of dollars in civil damage awards and book and movie rights. Boner testified that although he knew nothing of the people or events mentioned by Caradori, he decided to play along and make a statement on videotape explaining how he had been victimized.
According to Owen, Larry King owned a penthouse apartment at the Twin Towers, but almost all the parties she attended at the Twin Towers in 1983 and 1984, including the one referred to in count II, were held in Allen’s apartment, which was one or two floors below King’s penthouse. Betty Cutler, a present owner of the Twin Towers, testified that according to her records Larry King was not a tenant at the Twin Towers in either 1983 or 1984. King first rented the east penthouse of the south tower of the complex on August 20, 1987, and apartment 3-B on February 2, 1988. Both leases terminated June 30, 1988. Cutler had no record of Allen ever occupying a Twin Towers apartment. Allen himself testified that he had never lived in or rented an apartment at the Twin Towers. He denied any knowledge of the alleged series of parties described by Owen and claimed he had never met Owen.
(c) Count III (i) Alleged Perjury
In substance, Owen testified to the grand jury that at the first of the Twin Towers parties in August 1983, she saw the publisher of the World-Herald fondle a 12-year-old boy and later take him into a bedroom. She reasserted the allegation at trial.
The newspaper publisher testified that Owen’s allegations regarding him were “ridiculous lies.” He said he had never been inside the Twin Towers. The publisher acknowledged that he knew Larry King. King had approached the publisher in the early 1980’s and had asked him to help persuade Omaha businesses to make deposits into Franklin. Franklin was located in a low-income area of Omaha and served a low-income clientele. The publisher worked with other business leaders in Omaha to channel business deposits to Franklin, thereby increasing the credit union’s deposits by $1 to $2 million. The publisher once attended a thank-you party hosted by King for those who had helped the credit union. The publisher also recalled seeing King at other social events, but never at the Twin Towers and never in the context alleged by Owen.
(d) Counts IV and V (i) Alleged Perjury
Count IV alleges in substance that Owen testified to the grand jury that sometime in September 1983, prior to her 15th birthday, she was sexually molested by the Omaha police chief at a Twin Towers party. She reasserted the allegation at trial.
Count V alleges in substance that Owen testified to the grand jury that a series of sexual encounters between herself and the Omaha police chief began September 21, 1983. The chief would pick her up once or twice a month on Wednesday afternoon and drive her to a motel in Council Bluffs, Iowa, for a sexual encounter. This happened 20 to 25 times. The encounters with the chief ended in September 1984, when Owen became pregnant. Owen insisted that the chief had fathered the child. She reasserted these allegations at trial and claimed that some of the encounters occurred at motels in Bellevue.
*513 (ii) Evidence
The police chief testified that he had met Larry King in conjunction with community action programs aimed at reducing crime in the area of Omaha served by Franklin. He recalled seeing King socially on three occasions, but never at the Twin Towers and never at the type of parties described by Owen. The chief stated he had been inside the Twin Towers one time to address a meeting of either the Urban League or the NAACP on the subject of community relations with the police.
The police chief testified that he had never met Owen. He testified that he had given blood samples to three different laboratories that had conducted DNA testing and that all of the tests had confirmed that he was not the father of Owen’s child. Eventually, a paternity suit against the chief was withdrawn.
Owen testified to the grand jury that the police chief was in good physical shape with no surgical scars. Given their many sexual encounters, Owen said she would have noticed any scars on the chief’s body.
The police chief had been shot in the left arm while working as an undercover officer in Arizona in 1973. As a result of bone graft surgeries to repair the damaged arm, the chief has a noticeable scar on his left forearm from a “large, irregular incision running approximately from his wrist to his elbow.” Surgeons had removed bone from the point of the right hip for use in the bone graft in the left forearm. The removal of bone from the hip left a “very large” and “easy-to-see” scar that extends around the front of the chief’s right hip.
At her perjury trial, Owen offered a very detailed description of the police chief’s body from head to toe but did not include the surgical scars described above. She dismissed as unconvincing a series of photographs of the scar on the chief’s left forearm and refused to believe that the chief’s left arm was 50 percent disabled. She said she never saw the scar on the chief’s right hip.
The State pointed out that Owen did not name the police chief as the father of her child until several years after the child was born. The State introduced testimony by several witnesses who claimed that Owen initially had named another man as the father of her child.
Owen’s child was born May 1, 1985. On May 15, in the course of applying for welfare for her child, Owen told Mary Jane Krance, an income maintenance worker for the State of Nebraska, that the father of the child was Mark Burkhart. Owen testified at trial that she was afraid to name the police chief as the father for fear of possible repercussions that would result if the State sought reimbursement from the chief for welfare benefits paid to Owen. In three subsequent annual interviews to reevaluate the level of public assistance necessary, Owen continued to name Burkhart as the father. No father was named in Owen’s application for 1989.
Ann O’Connor, a probation officer for Douglas County, prepared a presentence investigation report on Owen in September 1989 in conjunction with Owen’s sentencing hearing following her conviction for passing bad checks. Owen told O’Connor that Burkhart was the father of Owen’s child.
The State called Terry Clements, a friend and occasional sexual partner of Owen from December 1984 to February 1988, as a rebuttal witness to corroborate the fact that Owen initially had named Burkhart as the father of her child. Clements testified that while Owen was pregnant in the fall of 1984, she had explained to him that Burkhart was the best friend of her boyfriend and that she had slept with Burkhart to spite her boyfriend. According to Clements, Owen showed him a picture of Burkhart in her high school yearbook and an entry in her diary in which Owen referred to Burkhart as the father of her child.
(e) Count VI (i) Alleged Perjury
In substance, Owen testified to the grand jury that in March 1984 the police chief removed his gun from his shoulder holster and penetrated her vagina with the barrel of the gun. At her perjury trial, Owen testified that at these motel trysts the chief always had a gun, either in a shoulder holster or tucked into the waistband of his pants.
The police chief testified that he did not own any holsters and that he had never *514 carried a gun while in Omaha. A subordinate officer who had worked with the chief on a daily basis during the chief’s 7 years in Omaha testified that the chief had never worn a shoulder holster and had never carried a gun. The chief’s personal secretary also testified that she had never seen him wear a shoulder holster or carry a gun.
(f) Count VII (i) Alleged Perjury
In substance, Owen testified to the grand jury that in September 1983 she received a ride home from a Twin Towers party with Danny King and another person identified as “Larry the Kid,” alleged by Owen to be the personal bodyguard of Larry King.
Special agent Mott testified that according to records obtained by the FBI’s Houston office, Danny King was in the seventh grade at the North Shore Middle School in Galena Park, Texas, in September 1983. Danny King corroborated Mott’s testimony. He testified that he was living with his mother in Galena Park and attending North Shore Middle School in the fall of 1983 and that he did not travel back and forth between Galena Park and Omaha on weekends. Danny King said he first met Owen in the summer of 1988, not 1983. He claimed that he had never met Larry King or Larry the Kid and that he and had never been inside the Twin Towers.
(g) Count VIII (i) Alleged Perjury
In substance, Owen testified to the grand jury that she had met Theodore Carlson, a judge of the Douglas County District Court, at a reception hosted by Larry King at the French Cafe in Omaha on a Saturday afternoon in October 1983. Owen said she had performed oral sex on the judge in the basement of the French Cafe sometime between 1:30 and 4 p.m. while the reception was going on upstairs. She reasserted the allegations at trial.
Judith Moore, an employee at the French Cafe since 1974 and the general manager since 1976, contradicted Owen’s grand jury testimony on two facts related to the alleged incident involving the judge. First, Owen had testified that a blond-haired woman named “Shiela” had managed the reception, but Moore testified that no such woman had ever worked for the French Cafe since Moore had joined the staff in 1974. Second, Owen had testified that 25 to 35 people had attended the reception on the main floor of the restaurant. As general manager, Moore would have been responsible for such a gathering, but she did not recall any such function on a Saturday in October 1983. She checked the restaurant’s books and found no record of such a party. The only party hosted by Larry King at the French Cafe in 1983 took place on April 1.
Mott testified that Owen had told him that her first encounter with the judge had taken place December 21, 1983, at a motel in Council Bluffs. Owen acknowledged at trial that on videotape she had said that she first met the judge in April 1984. She testified at trial that she had first learned of the judge’s identity in 1986 when she recognized him from a distance at the courthouse and asked a bystander for the judge’s name. Given the alleged encounters in 1983, the recognition and identification in 1986, and Owen’s detailed description of the judge’s face at trial, the prosecutor asked Owen why she was unable to identify the judge in a series of photographs presented to her by Caradori. Owen replied that she was not wearing her glasses at the time, that there were 30 to 40 “little black and white” photographs, and that the judge was wearing glasses in the Caradori photograph, while Owen had seen the judge only without glasses.
The judge testified that he had never had any contact with Owen, and he accounted for his whereabouts on every Saturday afternoon in October 1983.
5. CONVICTION AND POSTTRIAL PROCEEDINGS (a) Judgment and Sentence
Owen was convicted on all eight counts of perjury and was sentenced to a prison term of 3 to 5 years on each count as follows:
*515 Sentence[s] imposed as to Counts I, II and III shall be served concurrent to each other and consecutive to the sentence now being served.
The sentences imposed on Counts IV, V and VI shall be served concurrent to each other and consecutive to Counts I, II and III.
The sentences imposed as to Counts VII and VIII shall be served concurrent with each other and consecutive to the sentences imposed on Counts IV, V and VI. The judgment and sentences were rendered August 8, 1991.
(b) Motion for New Trial
On August 20, argument was heard on Owen’s motion for a new trial. Of the various arguments put forward to support the motion, we are concerned with those based on information contained in posttrial affidavits signed by defense counsel and two jurors. According to the affidavits, the following incidents occurred during the course of jury deliberation:
The jury commenced deliberation at 9 a.m. on June 19, 1991, and continued deliberating until evening recess at 4:30 p.m. One of the juror affidavits stated that the trial judge entered the jury room prior to evening recess on June 19 to admonish the jurors concerning their separation. The affiant claimed that at that time, although an instruction on the term “reasonable doubt” had been given to the jury, the judge was asked for further definition of the term. The affiant stated that the judge responded to the request for further definition of reasonable doubt by saying that “what is a reasonable doubt is to be left up to each individual juror.” (During the hearing on the motion for new trial, the judge denied making any substantive comment on reasonable doubt and insisted that he had told the jurors he could not discuss the term without both lawyers present.) The affiant stated that several jurors, while at home on the evening of June 19, consulted dictionaries for definitions of the words “reasonable” and “doubt,” wrote down the definitions, brought the dictionary definitions with them into the jury room when deliberations were resumed on the morning of June 20, and recited the definitions to their fellow jurors.
Deliberations on June 20 continued until approximately noon. At that time, according to another of the juror affidavits, the jury foreman informed the bailiff that the jury had reached an impasse and was unable to agree on a verdict. The affiant believed that the bailiff had communicated this information to the judge. The affiant stated that the bailiff returned to the jury room and verbally communicated a message from the judge that, considering the length of the trial (5 weeks), it was too early in the process for the jurors to abandon the effort to reach a verdict.
The jury continued deliberating the rest of June 20 and resumed deliberations on the morning of June 21. A verdict was reached at approximately 11 a.m. on June 21.
Defense counsel argued that Owen deserved a new trial because (1) the alleged response to the question on reasonable doubt on June 19 and the message to keep deliberating on June 20 constituted instructions by the judge that should have been given in open court with the parties present and (2) the dictionary definitions of the words “reasonable” and “doubt” constituted extraneous prejudicial information improperly brought to the jury’s attention. In support of these contentions, defense counsel offered the juror affidavits discussed above. The State objected to the offer of the affidavits.
During the hearing on the motion, defense counsel repeatedly asked the judge to recuse himself so that an impartial judge could conduct an evidentiary hearing and rule on whether there had been misconduct warranting a new trial. The judge denied the motion for recusal of himself and refused to admit any of the affidavits into evidence. (Although not admitted into evidence, the affidavits are included in the record on appeal.) There was no evidentiary hearing on the allegations of prejudicial misconduct by the judge and jury. The motion for new trial was taken under advisement.
On September 5, 1991, the trial judge issued an order overruling the motion for new trial. In the order, the trial judge did not make any specific findings or provide any substantive discussion of the allegations of *516 prejudicial misconduct by himself and the jury.
II. ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR
Owen assigns 24 errors. We refuse to consider assignments of error not discussed in the opening or supplemental briefs. See State v. Moss, 240 Neb. 21, 480 N.W.2d 198 (1992). We have consolidated the remaining assignments of error, which we address individually in the analysis below.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
The errors assigned pertain to decisions by the trial judge on admission of evidence, limitation of cross-examination, pretrial motion procedure, misconduct by the prosecutor and the trial judge, and motions for mistrial and new trial. We are guided by the following rules of appellate review:
1. GENERAL PRINCIPLES
Judicial abuse of discretion means that the reasons or rulings of the trial judge are clearly untenable and unfairly deprive a litigant of a substantial right and a just result. State v. Thomas, 238 Neb. 4, 468 N.W.2d 607 (1991).
Harmless error exists when there is some incorrect conduct by the trial court which, on review of the entire record, did not materially influence the jury in a verdict adverse to a substantial right of the defendant. State v. Coleman, 239 Neb. 800, 478 N.W.2d 349 (1992).
Regarding a question of law, an appellate court has an obligation to reach a conclusion independent of that of the trial court in a judgment under review. Nebraska Builders Prod. Co. v. Industrial Erectors, 239 Neb. 744, 478 N.W.2d 257 (1992).
2. PRETRIAL ORDERS
As a general rule, a trial court has broad discretion in regard to amendment of a pretrial order, and its ruling with respect thereto will not be disturbed absent an abuse of that discretion. State v. Hinn, 229 Neb. 556, 427 N.W.2d 791 (1988).
3. ADMISSION OF EVIDENCE
In proceedings where the statutes embodying the rules of evidence apply, the admission of evidence is controlled by rule and not by judicial discretion, except where judicial discretion is a factor involved in assessing admissibility. State v. Timmerman, 240 Neb. 74, 480 N.W.2d 411 (1992).
Erroneous admission of evidence is harmless error and does not require reversal if the evidence erroneously admitted is cumulative and other relevant evidence, properly admitted or admitted without objection, supports the finding by the trier of fact. State v. Melton, 239 Neb. 790, 478 N.W.2d 341 (1992).
To be relevant, evidence must be rationally related to an issue by a likelihood, not a mere possibility, of proving or disproving an issue to be decided. State v. Coleman, supra.
It is within the discretion of the trial court to determine the admissibility of evidence of other wrongs or acts, and the trial court’s decision will not be reversed absent an abuse of that discretion. Neb.Rev.Stat. § 27-404(2) (Reissue 1989); State v. Christian, 237 Neb. 294, 465 N.W.2d 756 (1991).
To determine whether unfair prejudice existed in the admission of evidence under § 27-404(2), an appellate court considers (1) whether the evidence was relevant, (2) whether the evidence had a proper purpose, (3) whether the probative value of the evidence outweighed its potential for unfair prejudice, and (4) whether the trial court, if requested, instructed the jury to consider the evidence only for the purpose for which it was admitted. State v. Stueben, 240 Neb. 170, 481 N.W.2d 178 (1992).
In the absence of an abuse of discretion, a trial court’s ruling regarding the extent, scope, and course of cross-examination will be upheld on appeal. State v. Blair, 230 Neb. 775, 433 N.W.2d 518 (1988).
*517 5. MISTRIAL
A mistrial is properly granted only when an event occurs during the course of a trial which is of such a nature that its damaging effects cannot be removed by proper admonition or instruction to the jury and would thus result in preventing a fair trial. The decision to grant a motion for mistrial is within the discretion of the trial court and will be upheld on appeal absent a showing of abuse of discretion. State v. Bronson, 242 Neb. 931, 496 N.W.2d 882 (1993).
In order for error to be predicated upon misconduct of counsel, it must be so flagrant that neither retraction nor rebuke from the court can entirely destroy its influence. Id.
7. MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL
A motion for new trial is addressed to the discretion of the trial court. In the absence of an abuse of discretion, a trial court’s disposition of a motion for new trial will be upheld on appeal. Loving v. Baker’s Supermarkets, 238 Neb. 727, 472 N.W.2d 695 (1991).
IV. ANALYSIS 1. PRETRIAL MOTIONS
Assignment of error: The court erred in overruling Owen’s pretrial motions without first conducting an evidentiary hearing on the motions.
Owen acknowledges that the motions at issue were filed after the deadline for pretrial filings established by the court. However, she cites State v. Hinn, 229 Neb. 556, 427 N.W.2d 791 (1988), for the proposition that rules regarding pretrial orders do not apply to criminal cases. Owen is mistaken. In the statement relied on by Owen, the Supreme Court referred specifically to pretrial conferences:
Although, as a general rule, a trial court has broad discretion in regard to amendment of a pretrial order, and its ruling with respect thereto will not be disturbed absent an abuse of that discretion, we do not agree with the court that the general rules regarding pretrial conferences apply to criminal defendants.
(Emphasis supplied.) Id. at 559, 427 N.W.2d at 794. Hinn does not suspend in criminal cases the rule that pretrial orders are made by the trial court in its discretion. In the case at bar, the trial court issued and enforced a pretrial order limiting the timeframe for the filing of pretrial motions. We will not disturb the trial court’s ruling on the pretrial motions filed out of time unless that ruling was clearly untenable and unfairly deprived Owen of her right to a fair trial.
Owen asserts that, by refusing to consider the pretrial motions filed out of time, the court prevented defense counsel from engaging in discovery and preparing a substantive defense. We reject that assertion. The trial court did not prevent defense counsel from engaging in discovery and preparing his case. Defense counsel had over 8 months to engage in discovery and prepare a defense, and he had 11 days’ notice of the filing deadline. Defense counsel bore the responsibility for any difficulties he experienced as a result of missing the filing deadline. We find nothing in the record to indicate that the trial court abused its discretion by adhering to its deadline for pretrial filings.
2. MOTION TO QUASH THE INDICTMENT
Assignment of error: The court erred in refusing to consider the motion to quash the grand jury indictment, which failed to allege a crime.
For two reasons, we do not reach the merits of Owen’s argument for quashing the indictment. First, the motion to quash was one of the pretrial motions filed out of time. Second, even if the motion had been timely filed, at her arraignment Owen waived the right to quash the indictment when she entered a plea of not guilty to the eight counts of perjury alleged in the indictment. See Neb.Rev.Stat. § 29-1812 (Reissue 1989) (by pleading the general issue, the accused shall be taken to have waived all defects *518 which may be excepted to by a motion to quash). See, also, State v. Bocian, 226 Neb. 613, 413 N.W.2d 893 (1987) (all defects that may be excepted to by a motion to quash are taken as waived by a defendant pleading the general issue).
3. PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT
Assignment of error: The court erred in refusing to grant a mistrial based on prosecutorial misconduct at trial.
A party who fails at trial to make a timely motion for mistrial based on prosecutorial misconduct waives the right to assert on appeal that the trial court erred in not declaring a mistrial due to prosecutorial misconduct. See State v. Armstrong, 1 NCA 101, 485 N.W.2d 341 (1992). A party may not raise alleged misconduct of adverse counsel on appeal where, despite knowledge of the alleged misconduct, the party claiming the misconduct failed to request a mistrial and instead agreed to take the chances of a favorable verdict. State v. Anderson and Hochstein, 207 Neb. 51, 296 N.W.2d 440 (1980). Owen never moved for a mistrial on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct, so this assignment of error is not properly before us.
We briefly review the issue for plain error. See State v. Wilcox, 239 Neb. 882, 479 N.W.2d 134 (1992) (plain error may be found on appeal when an error, unasserted or uncomplained of at trial, but plainly evident from the record, prejudicially affects a litigant’s substantial right and, if uncorrected, would cause a miscarriage of justice or damage the integrity, reputation, and fairness of the judicial process). If the prosecutor did engage in the sort of misconduct alleged by Owen on appeal, such misconduct could well have prejudiced Owen’s right to a fair trial and resulted in a miscarriage of justice damaging to the integrity of the judicial process.
Animosity between the prosecutor and defense counsel (not Owen’s counsel in this appeal) developed during pretrial proceedings, with defense counsel at one point directing profanity at the prosecutor. The judge threatened defense counsel with contempt if he directed another “threat” or “vilification” at the prosecutor or anyone else in the courtroom. The acrimonious courtroom atmosphere created during pretrial proceedings persisted throughout the trial.
We must point out that many of the occasions of alleged prosecutorial misconduct cited by Owen in her brief were simply instances where the prosecutor raised and argued legitimate objections. That said, the record also shows that the prosecutor made his share of hostile remarks during the trial. However, the record indicates that defense counsel consistently fired the first shots across the bow in pretrial proceedings and continued to goad the prosecutor during the trial with a steady stream of petulant and derisive comments. Defense counsel cannot harass the prosecutor until he gets a response in kind and then turn around and claim that the court erred by not declaring a mistrial based on the prosecutor’s retaliatory comments. In any event, the prosecutor’s occasional lapses in professional decorum were not so flagrant that they prejudiced Owen’s right to a fair trial.
4. JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT
Assignment of error: The court engaged in misconduct that was unduly prejudicial to Owen.
A claim of improper conduct on the part of the trial judge in the presence of the jury will not be reviewed on appeal in the absence of a timely objection. Pitt v. Checker Cab Co., 217 Neb. 600, 350 N.W.2d 507 (1984). Although there are numerous occasions in the record where tempers flared during argumentative exchanges between the trial judge and defense counsel, Owen never moved for a mistrial on grounds of judicial misconduct. Therefore, she failed to preserve that issue for appellate review. However, as in the case of the allegation of prosecutorial misconduct, we review the issue for plain error to determine whether a miscarriage of justice occurred.
On this issue, Owen offers the general allegation that the trial judge criticized defense counsel while treating the prosecutor with a contrasting degree of respect “in front *519 of the jury on numerous occasions.” Brief for appellant at 18. In support of this contention, Owen then sets out 37 citations to the record. Owen next proffers several pages of propositions of law regarding judicial misconduct. Owen concludes this section of the brief with the sweeping assertion that it was “inconceivable that the jury did not understand that the trial judge was impatient with, intolerant of, and disrespectful of defense counsel and the defendant” to such a degree that Owen was deprived of her right to a fair and impartial trial. Brief for appellant at 22-23. Owen provides no argument connecting the alleged instances of misconduct in the record with the propositions of law governing misconduct and fair trial. The allegedly prejudicial statements of the trial judge in this case are not examined and measured against the incidents of judicial misconduct found to be prejudicial in the case law cited by Owen.
Upon review of the entire record, we find that the trial judge showed a considerable amount of patience with defense counsel. Owen’s allegation of misconduct by the trial judge is not supported by the record. This assignment of error is without merit.
5. WELFARE AND PRESENTENCE REPORT INFORMATION
Assignment of error: The court erred in admitting into evidence information related to Owen’s applications for medicaid benefits for her child and information from a presentence investigation report on Owen prepared in relation to a prior offense.
Mary Jane Krance, an income maintenance worker for the State of Nebraska, testified for the State that, in the course of applying annually for medicaid benefits for her child from 1985 to 1988, Owen had named Mark Burkhart, not the police chief, as the father of the child. Neb.Rev.Stat. § 68-313 (Reissue 1990) states that
[i]t shall be unlawful, except as permitted by section 68-313.01 and except for purposes directly connected with the administration of general assistance … for any person or persons to … make use of… any information concerning … persons applying for or receiving such aid or assistance, directly or indirectly derived from the records, papers, files, or communications of the state … or acquired in the course of the performance of official duties.
Under Neb.Rev.Stat. § 68-313.01 (Reissue 1990),
[m]embers of the Nebraska Legislature and all state and county officials of this state shall have free access at all times to all records and information in connection with the aid and assistance referred to in section 68-313. The public shall have free access to all information concerning lists of names and amounts of payments which appear on any financial records, except that no lists shall be used for commercial or political purposes.
We can find nothing in §§ 68-313 and 68-313.01, in the legislative histories of the two statutes, or in Nebraska case law that permits the State to introduce Krance’s testimony regarding Owen’s identification of someone other than the police chief as the father of her child. In its brief and at oral argument, the State failed to offer any authority for the use of Krance’s testimony as evidence against a defendant in a criminal trial. Section 68-313 allows the entities described in § 68-313.01 to make use of welfare-related information for purposes directly connected with the administration of general assistance. Certainly, the county attorney’s office is allowed access to Owen’s welfare records under § 68-313.01 and would be authorized to use information from those records to prosecute a welfare applicant for defrauding the Department of Social Services. However, the statutes read together prohibit the use of welfare-related information as evidence against a welfare applicant in a criminal trial not directly connected with the administration of general assistance. Therefore, the trial court erred in admitting the testimony of Krance on the matter of the man originally named by Owen as the father of the child for whom Owen sought medicaid benefits.
*520 (b) Presentence Report
Ann O’Connor, a probation officer for Douglas County, testified for the State that while she was in the course of preparing a presentence investigation report on Owen in September 1989 in conjunction with Owen’s sentencing hearing following her conviction for passing bad checks, Owen had told O’Connor that Burkhart was the father of her child.
Neb.Rev.Stat. § 29-2261(6) (Reissue 1989) states that
[a]ny presentence report … shall be privileged and shall not be disclosed directly or indirectly to anyone other than a judge, probation officers to whom an offender’s file is duly transferred, or others entitled by law to receive such information. The court may permit inspection of the report… by the offender or his or her attorney, or other person having a proper interest therein, whenever the court finds it is in the best interest of a particular offender….
We can find no authority in § 29-2261, in its legislative history, or in Nebraska case law that permits the State to introduce O’Connor’s testimony that in 1989 Owen had identified Burkhart as the father of her child.
The State argues that information derived from Owen’s 1989 presentence report is admissible under Minnesota v. Murphy, 465 U.S. 420, 104 S. Ct. 1136, 79 L. Ed. 2d 409 (1984). We do not find Murphy helpful in reviewing this assignment of error. Murphy dealt with the issue of whether a probationer was in custody, and thus entitled to a Miranda warning, when he made an incriminating statement to his probation officer. Murphy does not address the privilege against disclosure of information from a presentence investigation report prepared for a sentencing hearing. The State offers no substantive argument to explain how Murphy overrides, or qualifies as an exception to, the privilege established by the Nebraska Legislature in § 29-2261. We are not trying to resolve whether Owen was in custody and compelled to identify the father of her child. The privilege in § 29-2261 applies even if Owen was not in custody and not compelled to identify the father of her child.
Neither the legislative history nor the case law citing § 29-2261 sheds any light on who might comprise the group of “others entitled by law to receive such information,” but we are unwilling to expand that group to include jurors in a criminal trial. Therefore, the trial court erred in admitting O’Connor’s testimony that in 1989 Owen had named Burkhart as the father of her child.
(c) Harmless Error
Despite an error by a trial court in admitting evidence, an appellate court may affirm a trial court judgment if the error in admission of evidence was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. See State v. Christian, 237 Neb. 294, 465 N.W.2d 756 (1991). Erroneous admission of evidence is harmless error and does not require reversal if the evidence erroneously admitted is cumulative and other relevant evidence, properly admitted or admitted without objection, supports the finding by the trier of fact. See State v. Coleman, 239 Neb. 800, 478 N.W.2d 349 (1992). “Cumulative evidence” means tending to prove the same point to which other evidence has been offered. Id.
The importance of the testimony by Krance and O’Connor was weakened by Owen’s testimony that she had falsely identified the father of her child because she feared reprisals if she identified the police chief as the father. Given the nature of Owen’s allegations against the chief, her reason for giving false information to state agencies was plausible.
Owen had no plausible rebuttal to the testimony of Terry Clements. Clements testified that at the time she was pregnant, Owen had told him that Burkhart was the father of her baby. Clements said Owen had shown him a picture of Burkhart in her high school yearbook and an entry in her diary in which Owen referred to Burkhart as the father of her child.
The most probative evidence on this issue was derived from the testimony concerning the police chief. Owen testified that she and the chief had engaged in sexual relations on many occasions. Indeed, she claimed to have *521 seen the chief naked often enough that she could give a detailed description of the chief’s body from head to toe, which she did for the record. However, in her physical description of the chief Owen neglected to mention large and permanent scars on the chief’s left arm and right hip and the noticeable atrophy and disability of the chief’s left arm and hand. This failure to identify inescapably obvious physical features severely undermined Owen’s claim to having had sex with the chief, which in turn undermined her claim that the chief had fathered her child. Most important is the fact that the chief’s unequivocal denial of any contact at all with Owen was bolstered by his testimony, unchallenged at trial by defense counsel, that several DNA blood tests had confirmed that he was not the father of Owen’s child. Upon review of the record, it is clear that the chief’s testimonial evidence that genetic testing had proven that he had not fathered Owen’s child eclipsed all the other evidence and testimony on this issue.
The testimony of Krance and O’Connor was cumulative evidence. Given the probative weight of the testimony of Clements and especially the testimony of the police chief, we find beyond a reasonable doubt that the decision of the jury on this question would have remained the same even without the testimony of Krance and O’Connor. Therefore, the trial court’s admission of the testimony of Krance and O’Connor constituted harmless error.
6. PRIOR BAD ACTS
Assignment of error: The court erred in allowing the State to introduce evidence of prior bad acts by Owen.
In her brief, Owen claimed that the State had introduced evidence of prior crimes and bad acts in order to “bring her character into disrepute.” Brief for appellant at 31. In support of that contention, she set out 53 citations to the record. Owen did not offer substantive argument on any of the 53 instances of alleged error concerning evidence of prior conduct. Instead, Owen set out 5 pages of propositions of law regarding relevancy, probative value versus unfair prejudice, harmless error, and prosecutorial misconduct in relation to the offering of evidence of prior criminal conduct. Owen concluded her argument with the following paragraph:
In this case, the prosecution managed to admit into evidence testimony regarding the defendant’s prior crimes of issuing bad checks, prior promiscuous behavior on the part of the defendant, prior instances of the defendant’s lying, character evidence showing the defendant’s tendency to lie, evidence of the [d]efendant’s involvement in drug use and sales, evidence regarding a mental health hospitalization of the [d]efendant, and other similar character evidence. The admission of this evidence was prejudicial to the defendant and was specifically introduced for the purpose of prejudicing the defendant in the minds of the jury.
Brief for appellant at 37.
Many of the 53 sections of the record cited by Owen do not contain an objection by defense counsel. A party waives the right to assert on appeal prejudicial error concerning admission of evidence when that evidence is received at trial without objection. State v. Chapman, 234 Neb. 369, 451 N.W.2d 263 (1990). Regarding the remainder of the citations to the record, Owen does not make specific connections between the propositions of law set out in the brief and the alleged occasions of erroneous admission of evidence at trial. For substantive argument, Owen offers only the sweeping paragraph quoted above, which essentially says that the State brought out facts about Owen’s past that undermined her character in front of the jury. Owen does not explain why the portions of testimony cited in her brief were unfairly prejudicial, irrelevant, or in some other way inadmissible. Therefore, we treat this error as one assigned but not discussed, and we refuse to consider it. See State v. Moss, 240 Neb. 21, 480 N.W.2d 198 (1992).
7. FIFTH AMENDMENT CHALLENGE
Assignment of error: The court erred in excluding evidence regarding the circumstances under which statements by Owen were obtained while Owen was in prison.
*522 The only portion of the record cited by Owen to support this assignment of error involved an instance where the court sustained an objection by the State when defense counsel asked an FBI investigator whether Owen had been in custody during her interviews with him at the Center for Women. In pretrial proceedings, the trial court had ruled that Miranda warnings had not been required during those interviews because Owen had offered the statements voluntarily. Nonetheless, defense counsel attempted at trial to bring out the fact that Owen had never been given Miranda warnings by State Patrol and FBI interviewers. The State objected to the questioning about Miranda warnings on grounds that defense counsel was implying to the jury that the law enforcement officers had been required to give Owen Miranda warnings. In sustaining the objection, the court instructed defense counsel to “stay away from” the subjects of custodial interrogation and Miranda warnings.
Owen was obliged to raise her Fifth Amendment challenge before trial. See Neb. Rev.Stat. § 29-115 (Reissue 1989) (generally, unless claims of a statement being involuntary or taken in violation of the Fifth Amendment are raised by motion before trial, all objections to the use of such statement shall be deemed waived). See, also, State v. Warren, 227 Neb. 160, 416 N.W.2d 249 (1987) (any objection as to the voluntariness of a statement of a defendant in a criminal case must be made as a pretrial motion to suppress the statement; failure to object at this stage results in a waiver of the objection). However, the final sentence of § 29-115 states that none of the provisions requiring that objections be raised before trial shall affect the right of the defendant to present to the fact finder at trial “the question of whether the proper constitutional safeguards were given to any defendant either in custody or otherwise significantly deprived of his or her liberty….” Owen relies on this language as a catchall provision pursuant to which her right to raise Fifth Amendment issues before the jury at trial was preserved.
Owen is mistaken because she was not being detained by the investigators who were interviewing her. The Nebraska Supreme Court has stated that
“incarceration does not ipso facto render an interrogation custodial, Cervantes v. Walker, 589 F.2d 424, 427 (9th Cir.1978), cited in Flittie v. Solem, 775 F.2d 933, 944 (8th Cir.1985) (en banc). In all cases, we must consider the totality of the circumstances, including the individual’s `freedom to leave the scene and the purpose, place and length’ of the questioning. [Citation omitted.] When an individual is incarcerated for an unrelated offense, this requires some restriction on his freedom of action in connection with the interrogation itself. See Cervantes, 589 F.2d at 427-28.”
State v. Bradley, 236 Neb. 371, 393, 461 N.W.2d 524, 540 (1990) (quoting Leviston v. Black, 843 F.2d 302 (8th Cir.1988), cert. denied 488 U.S. 865, 109 S. Ct. 168, 102 L.Ed.2d 138). In Bradley, an associate of the defendant, Bradley, had telephoned Bradley at two locations, the correctional center where Bradley was held in custody and the shop where Bradley worked under the supervision of the Department of Correctional Services. The phone calls were recorded by police, and Bradley made incriminating statements later used against him. Bradley argued that the trial court had erred by admitting the phone conversations into evidence because he was in custody when the statements were made and was not given Miranda warnings prior to the recorded phone conversations. The Supreme Court held that the phone conversations were admissible against Bradley because “[i]t was common for Bradley to engage in telephone conversations at these locations. Under the circumstances, Bradley could not have felt compelled to speak with [his associate] on the telephone, and he could have discontinued the conversation at any time.” Bradley, 236 Neb. at 393-94, 461 N.W.2d at 540.
When we ask whether the defendant was subjected to custodial interrogation requiring a Miranda warning, we are asking whether the person to whom the defendant made the statement was exercising custodial or compelling force on the defendant in order to coerce the defendant into making the statement. Although she was incarcerated, *523 Owen was not in the custody of the investigators who took statements from her while she was in prison, nor were those investigators depriving her of her liberty. The record indicates that the investigators approached Owen as a possible victim and made it clear to her that she was under no compulsion to speak with them. Owen was in the custody of prison officials during the interviews, but she was accompanied by her attorney during all interviews with the investigators except the initial inquiry, and she was free at all times to disengage herself from the interviews and leave the room in which the interviews were conducted. Given her freedom to leave the scene of the interviews and the purpose of the interviews, Owen was not a defendant either in custody or otherwise significantly deprived of her liberty when she made the statements to the investigators. Therefore, Owen was not entitled to raise before the jury Fifth Amendment issues regarding custodial interrogation and Miranda warnings, and the trial judge properly excluded evidence regarding the circumstances under which the statements were obtained.
8. BLOOD TEST
Assignment of error: The court erred in permitting the police chief to testify as to the results of genetic blood testing.
Defense counsel made no objection while the police chief testified that the results of genetic blood tests had confirmed that he was not the father of Owen’s child. A party waives the right to assert on appeal prejudicial error concerning admission of evidence when that evidence is received at trial without objection. State v. Chapman, 234 Neb. 369, 451 N.W.2d 263 (1990). Therefore, this assignment of error is not properly before the court, and we refuse to consider it.
9. PEREMPTORY CHALLENGES
Assignment of error: The court erred in refusing to grant a mistrial due to the State’s discriminatory use of peremptory challenges during jury selection.
Of the six people excused from the jury on peremptory challenges by the State, five were women. The State also used a peremptory challenge to excuse a woman from the pool of alternate jurors. There is nothing in the record to indicate explicitly that the women were excused solely because of their gender. However, even if the State had excused the women because of their gender, Owen acknowledges in her supplemental brief that the Nebraska Supreme Court has held that the federal constitutional rule prohibiting strikes based on race does not apply to strikes based on gender. See State v. Culver, 233 Neb. 228, 444 N.W.2d 662 (1989).
Owen argues that Culver should not be followed by this court. On federal constitutional questions, this court is bound by precedent from two sources: the Nebraska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court. To date, the U.S. Supreme Court has not expanded the rule prohibiting strikes based on race to include strikes based on gender, see Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S. Ct. 1712, 90 L. Ed. 2d 69 (1986), and the Nebraska Supreme Court has not modified its ruling in Culver regarding gender-based strikes. Therefore, the trial court was correct in overruling the motion for mistrial based on alleged discriminatory exercise of gender-based peremptory challenges by the State.
10. LIMITATION OF CROSS-EXAMINATION
Assignment of error: The court erred by improperly limiting cross-examination by defense counsel.
This is another assignment of error not supported by substantive argument.
In her supplemental brief, Owen offers 10 citations to the record, 1 of them 16 pages long, in support of her claim that the trial court improperly limited the scope of defense counsel’s cross-examination of the State’s witnesses. Owen cites propositions of law regarding impeachment of witnesses and proper scope of cross-examination and then concludes her argument by asserting that “the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to allow the defendant sufficient latitude to attack the credibility and accuracy of the witnesses against her.” Supplemental brief *524 for appellant at 20. There is not one word of argument in this section of Owen’s supplemental brief explaining how or why the trial court erred in its limitation of cross-examination. The appellant cannot simply present a litany of citations to the record and leave it to the court to develop an argument to support the appellant’s assignment of error. We will not find error in the limitation of cross-examination unless we find that the rationale of the trial court for limiting cross-examination was clearly untenable. Owen offers no argument demonstrating that the trial court’s rulings on the scope of cross-examination were untenable, and upon review of the record, we find no abuse of discretion in the limitation of cross-examination.
Assignment of error: The court erred in allowing hearsay evidence against Owen.
In support of this assignment of error, Owen provided four citations to the record and proffered the blanket assertion that each cited portion of the record constituted an occasion on which the trial court erred by admitting hearsay. She then cited several propositions of law concerning hearsay and concluded the argument with the assertion that the hearsay evidence admitted against Owen violated the Nebraska rules of evidence and Owen’s right to confrontation. There is no discussion of the actual testimony that Owen claims was hearsay, no discussion of why the trial court erred in allowing the challenged testimony, and no discussion of how Owen was denied her right to confrontation, and no such denial is obvious from the record. Therefore, we treat this error as one assigned but not discussed, and we refuse to consider it. See State v. Moss, 240 Neb. 21, 480 N.W.2d 198 (1992).
12. EVIDENCE REGARDING SCHMIT AND DECAMP
Assignment of error: The court erred in admitting prejudicial and irrelevant evidence.
State Senator Loran Schmit testified as a witness for Owen. Schmit had served as the chairman of the Legislature’s Franklin Committee and had allowed Gary Caradori to work out of his office at the State Capitol. Schmit testified that Troy Boner came to his State Capitol office shortly after the death of Caradori in a plane crash in July 1990 and informed Schmit that he (Boner) had told Caradori the truth. While testifying before the Douglas County grand jury in March 1990, Boner had recanted the story he had told Caradori. Boner had told the grand jury that the allegations about a child sexual abuse ring were false. According to Schmit, though, in July 1990 Boner said he had recanted the original story he told to Caradori at the prodding of the FBI.
The direct examination of Schmit was limited to the workings of the Franklin Committee and the meeting with Boner in July 1990. On cross-examination, the prosecutor questioned Schmit about his involvement in the video gambling industry and about his relationship with John DeCamp, a former colleague in the Legislature and one of Schmit’s personal attorneys at the time of the trial. (DeCamp is counsel to Owen in this appeal.) The State brought out several reasons why Schmit might have wanted to see Owen’s version of the Franklin scandal vindicated. Schmit testified on cross-examination that in 1984 the World-Herald, published at the time by Harold Anderson, had editorialized very heavily against the video gambling industry as a whole and against Schmit personally because of his involvement in the industry and his efforts in the Legislature to protect the industry. Schmit said that he had lost a great deal of money that he had invested in a video slot machine business when the Legislature outlawed the machines in 1984. On the matter of Schmit’s relationship with DeCamp, Schmit testified that on January 12, 1990, DeCamp hosted a dinner meeting at his home at which DeCamp, Schmit, Caradori, and Owen’s initial lawyer (not her trial counsel) discussed how Owen’s case should be handled. The record indicates that on January 18, DeCamp released a memorandum addressed to a World-Herald reporter and “the public” in which Anderson was identified as one of several prominent Omahans involved in the alleged Franklin scandal. A copy of the memorandum was found amongst Owen’s personal papers.
*525 Owen argues that the court erred by allowing the prosecutor to inquire into previous World-Herald commentary critical of Schmit and into Schmit’s relationship with DeCamp, subjects not raised on direct examination. We do not reach the merits of this assignment of error because the issue was not properly preserved for appellate review.
One who fails to object to or move to strike testimony may not predicate error on its admission. State v. Campbell, 239 Neb. 14, 473 N.W.2d 420 (1991). To preserve a claimed error in the admission of evidence, a litigant must make a timely objection which specifies the ground of the objection to the offered evidence. State v. Armstrong, 1 NCA 101, 485 N.W.2d 341 (1992). In the 16 pages of the record in which the cross-examination of Schmit touched upon Schmit’s rift with the World-Herald and his relationship with DeCamp, defense counsel made only one objection directed at those two subjects. The objection was made in response to the prosecutor’s question to Schmit asking how much money he had lost in the video slot machine matter. Defense counsel objected on grounds that the line of questioning had nothing to do with the workings of the Franklin Committee or Boner’s visit to Schmit’s office. The prosecutor responded that the questioning dealt with Schmit’s possible motive and bias. The objection was overruled. A great deal of the testimony challenged by Owen on appeal had already been admitted into the record by the time defense counsel made this limited objection. Subsequent to the objection, more testimony, most notably the information about the January 12 meeting at DeCamp’s home, was admitted without a specific objection on the grounds set forth on appeal. Therefore, this assignment of error was not properly preserved in the record, and we refuse to consider it.
13. MISCONDUCT DURING JURY DELIBERATIONS
Assignment of error: The court erred in refusing to grant Owen’s motion for new trial based on misconduct by the judge and jury during jury deliberations.
We refer the reader to the facts in § I(5)(b) for a review of the allegations concerning misconduct by the judge and jury during jury deliberations.
(a) Further Instruction to Jury
One of the juror affidavits alleged that the trial judge entered the jury room at the conclusion of the first day of deliberations and gave the following response to a juror’s question about the meaning of the term “reasonable doubt”: “[W]hat is a reasonable doubt is to be left up to each individual juror.” If the allegation is true, the trial judge gave what could be construed as a further instruction on reasonable doubt without putting the further instruction in writing. Once the jury has commenced deliberation, no oral explanation of any instruction is allowed. See Neb.Rev.Stat. § 25-1115 (Reissue 1989). Any instruction given to the jury by the court and not reduced to writing constitutes error and is “sufficient cause for the reversal of the judgment rendered” in the trial court. Id. Furthermore, the alleged instruction was given without notice to the parties or their counsel, which would constitute error under Neb.Rev.Stat. § 25-1116 (Reissue 1989). If during deliberations jurors “desire to be informed as to any part of the law arising in the case, they may request the officer to conduct them to the court where the information upon the point of law shall be given … in the presence of or after notice to the parties or their counsel.” § 25-1116. When it becomes necessary for the court to give further instruction to the jury while it is deliberating, the proper practice is to call the jury into open court and to give any additional instructions in writing in the presence of the parties or their counsel. Nebraska Depository Inst. Guar. Corp. v. Stastny, 243 Neb. 36, 497 N.W.2d 657 (1993).
Violations of the procedural guidelines of §§ 25-1115 and 25-1116 do not result in an automatic reversal of judgment and order for a new trial. After a jury has retired to deliberate, it is error to give an instruction to the jury out of the presence of the parties or their counsel, but if it clearly appears that prejudice did not flow therefrom, such error is not grounds for reversal. *526 See In re Estate of Corbett, 211 Neb. 335, 318 N.W.2d 720 (1982). In order for a new trial to be granted on the basis of improper communication between judge and jury, it must be shown that a substantial right of the defendant was adversely affected and that the defendant was prejudiced thereby. See State v. Mahlin, 236 Neb. 818, 464 N.W.2d 312 (1991). In Mahlin, the Supreme Court quoted its own rule from State v. White, 191 Neb. 772, 217 N.W.2d 916 (1974):
“There is reversible error if the record affirmatively shows that defendant has been prejudiced by private communication between the trial court and jurors, and a new trial should be granted where the record is silent as to a possibility of prejudice, although reversal is not required if the record affirmatively shows communication had no tendency to influence the verdict.”
Mahlin, 236 Neb. at 823, 464 N.W.2d at 316.
Improper communication between judge and jury is not per se prejudicial error, but the State bears the burden of disproving prejudice if a criminal defendant shows that there was improper communication between judge and jury. See Simants v. State, 202 Neb. 828, 277 N.W.2d 217 (1979) (holding that if in a criminal case improper communication between a juror and a nonjuror is shown, a rebuttable presumption of prejudice arises and the burden is on the State to prove that the communication was not prejudicial).
In Mahlin, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the defendant’s motion for new trial because “the defendant presented no direct evidence that a communication in fact occurred and, apparently, made no effort to ascertain the facts by questioning court personnel or members of the jury.” Mahlin, 236 Neb. at 823-24, 464 N.W.2d at 316. In the case at bar, Owen presented direct evidence, in the form of a juror affidavit, of an alleged improper communication.
We do not have sufficient information to render an appellate decision on this matter. We cannot find reversible error on the record before us because the record does not affirmatively show whether an additional oral instruction on reasonable doubt was given, not to mention whether it was prejudicial to Owen. Yet, we cannot ignore the fact that the juror affidavit presented by Owen raises the possibility of an improper communication that could have prejudiced Owen’s substantial right to a fair trial. If a further instruction on reasonable doubt was given, Owen should have been notified so that a proper objection could have been raised had Owen believed that the State’s burden of proof was not being defined properly by the court.
A motion requesting a judge to recuse himself on the grounds of bias or prejudice is addressed to the discretion of the judge, and an order overruling such a motion will be affirmed on appeal unless the record establishes bias or prejudice as a matter of law. State v. Shepard, 239 Neb. 639, 477 N.W.2d 567 (1991). The record reflects five instances during the hearing of the motion for new trial where defense counsel moved for the trial judge to recuse himself and allow another judge to preside over an evidentiary hearing to resolve the issue of an alleged improper further instruction on reasonable doubt. The trial judge denied the allegation in the affidavit that he provided a further, spontaneous instruction on reasonable doubt, and he refused to recuse himself and allow an evidentiary hearing on this matter. We cannot resolve this matter until the trial judge testifies in the record as to what, if anything, he said in response to the jury’s inquiry about reasonable doubt. Therefore, we find that the judge’s decision not to recuse himself and allow an evidentiary hearing constituted an abuse of discretion because it deprived Owen of her substantial right to determine whether a further instruction on the State’s burden of proof had been given without her knowledge and, if so, whether such conduct was prejudicial.
(b) Dictionary Definitions
One of the juror affidavits stated that several jurors brought written dictionary definitions of the words “reasonable” and “doubt” into the jury room during deliberations and recited those definitions for the other jurors.
*527 A jury is not to consider any extraneous evidence in reaching its decision. See Priest v. McConnell, 219 Neb. 328, 363 N.W.2d 173 (1985). In Priest, jurors deliberating in a wrongful death action consulted a dictionary for definitions of the terms “negligence,” “contributory,” and “preponderance,” and one of the jurors stated in a posttrial affidavit that the jury had relied on the dictionary definitions in determining the plaintiff’s burden of proof. The trial court had failed to properly instruct the jury on the terms for which the jurors sought dictionary definitions. The jury rendered a verdict in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff’s motion for new trial based on jury misconduct was overruled, and the plaintiff appealed. Before announcing its holding, the Supreme Court noted that while the jury’s use of dictionary definitions constituted misconduct, only misconduct prejudicial to a party’s substantial rights justifies reversal of a judgment. The Supreme Court then reversed the judgment and remanded the cause for a new trial. The court found that the plaintiff might have been prejudiced by the combination of the failure of the trial court to properly instruct the jury on critical terms and the jury’s resort to dictionary definitions to fill in the blanks.
The case before us differs from Priest in that the trial judge in the instant case did give a proper jury instruction on reasonable doubt. However, the possibility that the jury might have relied on dictionary definitions of the words “reasonable” and “doubt” in determining the State’s burden of proof raises a legitimate question of potential prejudice to Owen.
On the matter of juror misconduct, the Nebraska Supreme Court has stated that
[w]hen an allegation of misconduct is made, and is supported by a showing which tends to prove that serious misconduct occurred, the trial court should conduct an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the alleged misconduct actually occurred. If it occurred, the trial court must then determine whether it was prejudicial to the extent the defendant was denied a fair trial. If the trial court determines that the misconduct did not occur, or that it was not prejudicial, adequate findings should be made so that the determination may be reviewed.
(Emphasis supplied.) State v. Steinmark, 201 Neb. 200, 204-05, 266 N.W.2d 751, 754 (1978). See, also, State v. McDonald, 230 Neb. 85, 430 N.W.2d 282 (1988). In Hunt v. Methodist Hosp., 240 Neb. 838, 849, 485 N.W.2d 737, 745 (1992), the Supreme Court reiterated the requirement that whatever the outcome of the evidentiary hearing on alleged jury misconduct, the trial court “must make adequate findings so that the ruling may be reviewed.”
On the issue of whether the alleged jury misconduct in connection with the dictionary definitions of the words “reasonable” and “doubt” was prejudicial, the burden of proof rests with Owen. In order for a new trial to be granted because of juror misconduct, the party claiming the misconduct has the burden to show by clear and convincing evidence that prejudice has occurred. Hunt v. Methodist Hosp., supra; State v. Benitez, 1 NCA 1988, 493 N.W.2d 353 (1992). The subject matter of the complaining party’s offer of proof is carefully circumscribed by statute. Neb.Rev.Stat. § 27-606(2) (Reissue 1989) prohibits a juror from testifying to the effect of evidence upon his or her mental processes or emotions during deliberations. See Loving v. Baker’s Supermarkets, 238 Neb. 727, 472 N.W.2d 695 (1991). However, § 27-606(2) allows a juror to testify on the question of whether extraneous prejudicial information was improperly brought to the jury’s attention during deliberations. Loving v. Baker’s Supermarkets, supra. Consequently, the party trying to prove prejudicial jury misconduct faces a paradox. Affidavits about exposure to extraneous prejudicial information are admissible under § 27-606(2), yet the rule precludes juror testimony to establish that the extraneous prejudicial information actually entered into the verdict. Loving v. Baker’s Supermarkets, supra. Therefore, the question of whether prejudice resulted from jury misconduct must be resolved by the trial court’s drawing reasonable inferences as to the effect of the extraneous information on an average juror. Id. In *528 making its determination, the trial court must apply the following test:
[E]xtraneous material or information considered by a jury may be deemed prejudicial without proof of actual prejudice if the material or information relates to an issue submitted to the jury and there is a reasonable possibility that the extraneous material or information affected the verdict to the detriment of a litigant.
Id. at 737, 472 N.W.2d at 701.
We face the same impediment to review on this issue that we faced in the matter of the alleged further jury instruction on reasonable doubt. We are unable to properly review the question of whether the jury’s alleged resort to dictionary definitions prejudiced Owen because the trial court neglected to conduct the type of evidentiary hearing that is required under Nebraska law in a situation of this type. Owen made a showing, in the form of a juror affidavit, of potentially serious misconduct by the jury. Under Steinmark and McDonald, an evidentiary hearing should have been held.
(c) Allen Charge
Another of the juror affidavits stated that midway through the second day of deliberations the jury foreman sent word to the judge that the jury was deadlocked. According to the affiant, the judge replied orally through the bailiff that the jurors should continue deliberating because, given the length of the trial, it was too soon to abandon the effort to reach a verdict.
A directive from the court to a deadlocked jury to keep deliberating is commonly called an “Allen charge.” See State v. Garza, 185 Neb. 445, 176 N.W.2d 664 (1970) (discussing the charge given to a deadlocked jury to continue deliberating in Allen v. United States, 164 U.S. 492, 17 S. Ct. 154, 41 L. Ed. 528 (1896)). If it is true that the judge delivered to the jury an Allen charge orally and without notice to the parties or their counsel, such a charge would have violated §§ 25-1115 and 25-1116 and the State would bear the burden of proving that Owen was not prejudiced by the improper communication between judge and jury. See Simants v. State, 202 Neb. 828, 277 N.W.2d 217 (1979).
Although it proved to be unsupported by competent evidence, the allegation in Mahlin concerning improper communication between the judge and jury without the knowledge of either the prosecution or the defense is similar to the allegation made by Owen in the case before us. Defense counsel in Mahlin alleged that the jury had sent written statements and questions to the judge via the bailiff, including a statement that the jury could not reach a verdict on one of the counts against the defendant. Defense counsel went on to allege that the judge’s responses were conveyed to the jury verbally by the bailiff without notice to the parties at any time during the communication between judge and jury. According to Owen, we are confronted in this case with a similar scenario of alleged off-the-record communication between judge and jury. Owen’s allegation is supported by an affidavit from a juror, which makes her allegation more meritorious than that made in Mahlin, where the allegation of improper communication was not supported by a juror affidavit, but, instead, was based solely on the affidavit of defense counsel.
As was the case with the alleged improper reasonable doubt instruction and the dictionary definitions, we are not able to engage in meaningful review of the misconduct alleged on appeal because the record does not contain adequate findings regarding the allegation of misconduct. The record does not include findings on the following questions: “Did the alleged misconduct occur?” and “If so, was it prejudicial to Owen?”
We cannot ignore the juror affidavit alleging what might be construed as an off-the-record Allen charge. However, we are not prepared to accept the affidavit alone as uncontrovertible proof that such a charge was given. Even if such a charge was given in violation of §§ 25-1115 and 25-1116, we cannot determine whether the charge was prejudicial to Owen until we know exactly what the judge said to the jury in the alleged charge. If the charge to keep deliberating was given, we cannot tell from the record whether the charge rose to the level of a *529 peremptory order directing an agreement, thereby invading the province of the jury and depriving Owen of her constitutional right to a decision by an impartial and uncoerced jury, or whether the charge, instead, was merely an innocuous explanation to the jurors that it was too early to settle for a hung jury because, given the length of the trial, they had not been deliberating very long. See State v. Garza, supra. See, also, Potard v. State, 140 Neb. 116, 299 N.W. 362 (1941). The allegation of an improper Allen charge was further reason why the trial judge should have recused himself from the hearing on the motion for new trial. Another judge should have been allowed to conduct an evidentiary hearing and make the necessary findings concerning the alleged improper charge to the jury.
We affirm the judgment of the trial court on all matters properly raised on appeal except Owen’s motion for new trial. We express no opinion as to whether the alleged acts of misconduct in connection with jury deliberations occurred or, if they occurred, whether they were prejudicial to Owen. We simply point out that under Nebraska law, when allegations of serious misconduct affecting jury deliberations are supported by juror affidavits, those allegations may not be disposed of in summary fashion.
We vacate the order of the trial court denying Owen’s motion for new trial and remand this cause to the trial court with directions that a judge other than the trial judge rule on the motion for new trial after conducting an evidentiary hearing on that portion of the motion alleging improprieties during jury deliberations by the jury and by the trial judge.
We direct the judge presiding over the hearing on the motion for new trial to incorporate into the ruling on the motion his or her findings on the following issues: (1) whether dictionary definitions of the words “reasonable” and “doubt” were improperly brought to the jury’s attention during deliberations and, if so, whether the presentation of the definitions was prejudicial to Owen; (2) whether, without notice to the parties or their counsel and without doing so in writing, the judge gave an improper further instruction on reasonable doubt to the jury during deliberations and, if so, whether the instruction was prejudicial to Owen; and (3) whether, without notice to the parties or their counsel and without doing so in writing, the judge delivered an Allen charge directing the jurors to continue deliberating even though they appeared to be deadlocked and, if so, whether the charge was prejudicial to Owen.
AFFIRMED IN PART, AND IN PART VACATED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.
Transcription of investigative report written by Karen Ormiston
The following is an transcription of the investigative report written by Caradori’s investigative partner, Karen Ormiston.
The document, titled “Investigative Report,” was transcribed from a JPG image copy of the original document (which I believe was made public online by Nick Bryant, author of The Franklin Scandal). I am transcribing these to HTML so that these pages may be indexed in Google’s search results, thereby allowing more people to find this information. The original file can be seen here, and it should be noted that typos were copied as they appear in the original.
Case Name: Franklin Credit Union/Investigation
Report Date: August 14, 1990
Report By: Karen J. Ormiston, Private Investigator
On the above date this writer telephoned Jody, Senator Schmit’s assistant, reference Wally Magnuss reviewing the reports generated by Jerry Lowe after his interview with Wally. Jody indicated that having Wally read the reports would be fine.
This writer then proceeded to Omaha, Nebraska, in order to meet with Wally Magnuss. Upon arriving at the pre-arranged location, this writer conducted general conversation and then gave Wally the report to read. After Wally read the report, he indicated that everything in the report was true and that he really didn’t have anything else to add. I informed Wally that any information he could gain reference this investigation would be very helpful. He stated that he was moving to Council Bluffs, Iowa, later this week, but that he would continue to cooperate with this writer. I did ask Wally if he remembered a body guard which fits the description of Larry the Kid. He stated that he was pretty sure that he did, and that he would be able to find out who this individual is.
This writer then proceeded to Blair, Nebraska, to visit with a former police officer of Boys Town, Nebraska, identified as [DETACTED]. address [DETACTED], Blair, Nebraska, telephone [DETACTED].
Upon arriving in Blair, this writer telephoned [DETACTED] and requested that he meet me at a local Pizza hut. After [DETACTED] arrived the following information was gained. Please note that I do have a resume of Mr. Kupres who had remitted his resume in hopes of obtaining an investigative position with Caracorp, Inc.
[DETACTED] indicated that he had worked as a police officer for Boys Town for approximately three years. He stated that he had run the license plates on a vehicle which was registered to Larry King several times, but that his superiors had directed him to “leave it alone”.
[DETACTED] went on to state that he had been “framed” for sexual assault on his daughter, who was residing with him at Boys Town at the time. He stated that Boys Town officials gave him a choice between jail or resigning. He stated that he then resigned. He also stated that he had been charged with a Misdemeanor reference this matter. This occurred in the latter part of 1987.
[DETACTED] went on to state that his former partner, Steve Obradovich, had also resigned, and that other officers at Boys Town knew that he had been framed for this charge. He stated that he would talk to his partner and arrange a meeting between his partner and this writer.
He indicated that his supervisor at Boys Town was Chief Robert Allbreight.
[DETACTED] also stated that his mother worked at Boys Town for approximately 9 1/2 years and that she would have information reference questionable activities at Boys Town. A meeting will also be set up between myself and [DETACTED]’s mother.
This writer then returned to Lincoln, Nebraska.
End of report.
Gary Caradori’s written description of phone calls made on April 20, 1990
The following is an transcription of Gary Caradori’s written description of several phone calls he made on April 20th, 1990.
The document, titled “Investigative Report,” was transcribed from a JPG image copy of the original document (which I believe was made public online by Nick Bryant, author of The Franklin Scandal). I am transcribing these to HTML so that these pages may be indexed in Google’s search results, thereby allowing more people to find this information. The original file can be seen here, and it should be noted that typos were copied as they appear in the original.
Case Name: FCU/Investigation
Report Date: April 20, 1990
Report By: Gary A. Caradori, Special Investigator
On the above date this writer spent several hours receiving telephone calls. One call was from Laura Edwards advising this writer that Larry wanted to visit with me in the near future. I informed her I would make arrangements for Saturday.
Further this writer received a telephone call from Cindy Craig, sister of Gary Sorgenfrei. Briefly, Cindy told this writer that the FBI and a member of the State Patrol were harassing her brother and trying to get him to talk about things he just didn’t know about. She stated that her brother is extremely scared. He wants to tell the truth, however, he felt extremely uncomfortable with the FBI and the State Patrol Investigators. She stated that a Phillips and FBI Agent Coulter were very harsh with her brother. Prior to ending the conversation, Cindy stated that she would help this writer anyway she could and she told me to give her a call sometime around April 25th. She indicated that she would make arrangements to come to Omaha and arrange to this writer to take a statement from Gary, her brother.
At approximately 1415, this writer received a telephone call from Alisha Owen. She talked about the FBI hinting to her that if she changed her story that they would insure that they would “go after” this writer and Mike Casey for “fabricating” an investigation. She informed me that she had not fabricated any part of any story and that she was sticking to the story she told me, and that she wished me well. For my own protection, I tape recorded the conversation which lasted approximately 30 minutes.
It should be noted that the name that Senator Loran Schmit had given this writer as being the individual working at Classic Foods, should be Jeff Coffee and not Scott Coffee as previously noted.
End of report
Transcription of Gary Caradori’s notes on topics related to the Franklin Investigation.
The following is an transcription of Gary Caradori’s notes on several topics related to the Franklin Investigation.
The document, titled “Investigative Notes,” was transcribed from a JPG image copy of the original document (which I believe was made public online by Nick Bryant, author of The Franklin Scandal). I am transcribing these to HTML so that these pages may be indexed in Google’s search results, thereby allowing more people to find this information. The original file can be seen here, and it should be noted that typos were copied as they appear in the original.
INVESTIGATIVE NOTES — GARY CARADORI
February 19, 1990
1. Joanie Gregory: She is a social worker for DSS. She is responsible for investigating families who are applying for foster care licenses Her duties also include on-site checks when renewal of a foster care license is needed.
Approximately 2.5 years ago she was inspecting the home of Jarrett and Barbara Webb for a renewal of their license. She felt the environment was not right (specifics not available) and wrote a letter to DSS in Lincoln. She received no response. After a couple of months, she wrote a letter to the Omaha Police Department regarding the same situation with the Webb’s. She was then contacted by the FBI. In the meantime she had tried to do some research on her own, but evidently some files were missing. To this writer’s knowledge, a letter was not written to the FBI. The FBI informed Joanie Gregory that it would probably be in her best interests if she “forgot this information.”
Ms. Gregory is a long-time employee of DSS. She evidently was abused as a child. She related this abuse to a potential foster care couple within the past few weeks. It is recommended that we contact Prudy within the Nebraska Children’s Home, as she did witnessed this. She also may be able to shed some light on Ms. Gregory’s emotional state at this time. Prudy may also have further information.
2. I was informed that LK [Larry King] was sent to Missouri for observation because the Secret Service had discovered that he had purchased a ticket to Governor Orr’s breakfast with President Bush. LK was approached at a local florist shop, and was rushed to court by the Secret Service, or at their demand. This was so sudden that LK’s attorney’s were unaware of what was going on.
3. It was reported that LK is receiving money from a black Baptist Church in Omaha, during this investigation. The setup is that six individuals are donating 600.00 to the church each month for a total of 3,600.00. The church in turn donates 3,000.00 per month to LK and keeps 600.00 for the church. It was reported that LK’s usual church, a Presberterian church, was approached to do this, however, they refused to cooperate.
4. Charles Miller: Mr Miller was and still may be involved in a program developed by the state Games and Parks Commission. It is a “hunting and safety” class. Young people who are not old enough to obtain hunting licenses can attend this six to eight hour class and receive a permit to hunt. This program is underwritten by the state and run by volunteers. Miller was a volunteer in this programe. The percentage of students going through his class was very high, compared to the other volunteers.
Gary Caradori’s written account of his meeting with Sky Harbor Air
The following is an transcription of Gary Caradori’s written account of his meeting with Sky Harbor Air.
The document, titled “Investigative Report,” was transcribed from a JPG image copy of the original document (which I believe was made public online by Nick Bryant, author of The Franklin Scandal). I am transcribing these to HTML so that these pages may be indexed in Google’s search results, thereby allowing more people to find this information. The original file can be seen here, and it should be noted that typos were copied as they appear in the original.
Case Name: FCU/Investigation
Report Date: April 13, 1990
Report By: Gary A. Caradori, Special Investigator
On the above date this writer met with Miss Evelyn Littlejohn at the Garden Cafe located in the Old Market of downtown Omaha. Evelyn Littlejohn would only list her telephone number as 422-1506.
During the conversation, Miss Littlejohn indicated that there was a white female she described as having long, red, shaggy hair who drove an older light gray Datsun (or something similar), who would travel with Larry King. Ms. Littlejohn indicated that she could never put together why someone who was so wealthy would bother to associate with an individual “looking like that.”
In reference to her prior employment at Sky Harbor Air Service, Miss Littlejohn stated that she was employed sometime, she thought, around 1985-1986. She was employed there for several months. She stated that she would see Larry Kind fly out of Sky Harbor on the average of at least once a week, and that every time he would depart, there would be young adult males on those flights. She stated that these young males were very good looking, attired in fancy suits, gold chains, watches and rings, and were very clean cut and clean shaven. She stated that it was very odd to her in that none of these young adults would talk.
She stated that at the most, she had seen at least five young people at one time depart from Sky Harbor. She stated that many times she would be there when they returned. She did recall a black male, approximate age 16, who when she went to the Franklin Credit Union to conduct some business, would recognize from the flights and who worked as a teller at the Credit Union.
She further stated that there was a white female by the name of Carol (last name unknown), who had blond hair and worked with her on the line and who eventually married a mechanic from Sky Harbor. They have apparently moved out of state. Miss Littlejohn stated that Carol stayed there approximately a year after she left her employment.
Again, prior to ending the conversation, Miss Littlejohn stated that the strange thing about these young good-looking males was that they never spoke when they came to the airport. She stated again that they were very well dressed.
Miss Littlejohn stated that she didn’t want to get together again with this writer for fear of being seen with me, and possibly creating the idea that she may have information related to Franklin. I did tell her that I would like to get together with her one more time and show her some photographs of different individuals who worked at the Franklin Credit Union. I told her I would contact her in the next few weeks. Miss Littlejohn was extremely reluctant at this but I reiterated that I would be contacting her again.
End of report
Transcription of Sandi Caradori’s account of her dealings with Troy Boner and the FBI following the death of her husband
The following is an transcription of Sandi Caradori’s written account of her dealings with Troy Boner and the FBI following the death of her husband.
The document, titled “Investigative Notes,” were transcribed from a JPG image copy of the original document (which I believe was made public online by Nick Bryant, author of The Franklin Scandal). I am transcribing these to HTML so that these pages may be indexed in Google’s search results, thereby allowing more people to find this information. The original file can be seen here, and it should be noted that typos were copied as they appear in the original.
US Court of Appeals confirmation in Paul A. Bonacci case
Notice: Eighth Circuit Rule 28a(k) Governs Citation of Unpublished Opinions and Provides That They Are Not Precedent and Generally Should Not Be Cited Unless Relevant to Establishing the Doctrines of Res Judicata, Collateral Estoppel, the Law of the Case, or if the Opinion Has Persuasive Value on a Material Issue and No Published Opinion Would Serve As Well.paul A. Bonacci, Appellant, v. Lawrence King; Peter Citron, Defendants,alan Baer, Appellee,robert Wadman; Michael Hoch; City of Omaha, a Municipalcorporation; Grand Jury, Douglas County; Thecatholic Archbishop, of Omaha, Defendants, 112 F.3d 513 (8th Cir. 1997)Annotate this Case
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit – 112 F.3d 513 (8th Cir. 1997)
Submitted April 29, 1997. Filed May 7, 1997
Before HANSEN, MORRIS SHEPPARD ARNOLD, and MURPHY, Circuit Judges.
Paul A. Bonacci appeals the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Alan Baer in Bonacci’s action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986. We conclude the court’s alternative holdings–that Bonacci did not show he was a member of a traditionally disadvantaged group protected under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3), and that Bonacci presented no evidence to establish a conspiracy–are correct. Bonacci has not challenged the dismissal of his supplemental state law claims. Having reviewed the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the district court. See 8th Cir. R. 47B.
Robert C. Wadman vs City of Omaha
Wadman v. City of OmahaAnnotate this Case
438 N.W.2d 749 (1989)
231 Neb. 819
Robert C. WADMAN, Appellee, v. CITY OF OMAHA et al., Appellees, Frank Jackson, Intervenor-Appellant.
Supreme Court of Nebraska.
April 21, 1989.
*751 Thomas F. Dowd, of Dowd, Fahey, Dinsmore & Hasiak, Omaha, for appellant.
Martin A. Cannon, of Matthews & Cannon, P.C., Omaha, for appellee Robert C. Wadman.
BOSLAUGH, WHITE, SHANAHAN, and FAHRNBRUCH, JJ., and WITTHOFF, District Judge.
As the result of a hearing before the Omaha personnel director, Robert C. Wadman was dismissed from his employment as chief of police of the Omaha Police Division (OPD) on account of insubordination in his refusal to sign disciplinary notices directed by the Omaha public safety director, Keith Lant. After the Omaha Personnel Board upheld Wadman’s dismissal, Wadman filed his petition in error in the district court for Douglas County, contending that Lant’s directive to Wadman was unreasonable, so that Wadman’s refusal to obey the directive was not insubordination. The district court reversed the personnel board’s decision and ordered Wadman’s reinstatement. When the city decided not to appeal from the district court’s decision, Frank Jackson, an Omaha taxpayer, intervened pursuant to Neb.Rev.Stat. § 14-810 (Reissue 1987) and the Omaha Home Rule Charter, art. VIII, § 8.10, which provide that a taxpayer may defend any suit against a city of the metropolitan class (Omaha) if the city refuses to defend the suit. On behalf of the city, Jackson appeals and claims that the district court erred in its conclusion that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the personnel board’s findings and order for Wadman’s dismissal.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
In an error proceeding, both the district court and the Supreme Court review an administrative agency’s decision to determine whether the agency acted within its jurisdiction and whether relevant evidence in the record supports the agency’s decision. Trolson v. Board of Ed. of Sch. Dist. of Blair, 229 Neb. 37, 424 N.W.2d 881 (1988); Stone v. City of Omaha, 229 Neb. 10, 424 N.W.2d 617 (1988). Evidence supports an administrative agency’s decision reviewed in an error proceeding if the agency could reasonably find the facts for the agency’s decision on the basis of the relevant evidence contained in the record before the agency. Trolson v. Board of Ed. of Sch. Dist. of Blair, supra; Stone v. City of Omaha, supra. In an error proceeding to review a decision by an administrative agency, the reviewing court is restricted to the record before the administrative agency and does not reweigh evidence or make independent findings of fact. Coffelt v. City of Omaha, 223 Neb. 108, 388 N.W.2d 467 (1986); Richardson v. City of Omaha, 214 Neb. 97, 333 N.W.2d 656 (1983).
DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE AT OPD
OPD is part of the Department of Public Safety of the City of Omaha. The public safety director heads the safety department and is the police chief’s immediate superior. Omaha Mun.Code, ch. 23, art. III, §§ 23-292 to 23-296 (1980) confers on the safety director the power or authority to discipline department employees, including OPD employees, by admonishment, reprimand, suspension, demotion, or dismissal.
Specifically, Omaha Mun.Code, supra, § 23-294, states:
A department head may suspend any employee without pay for cause for a period or periods not exceeding sixty (60) calendar days in any twelve (12) months, however, no single suspension shall be for more than thirty (30) calendar days. The department head shall notify the employee concerned and the personnel director in writing not later than one day after the date the suspension is made effective. Such notice shall include the reasons for and the duration of the suspension.
Omaha Mun.Code, supra, § 23-296, in part provides:
*752 A department head may dismiss for cause any regular employee under his jurisdiction by delivering at least fifteen (15) days before the effective date thereof a written statement of reasons to the employee concerned and to the personnel director. If the department head, because of the reasons for the discharge, desires to make an immediate separation from the service he may make a suspension without pay pending discharge.
Under the collective bargaining agreement between OPD employees and the city, police officers involved in a disciplinary action must receive written notice of the reason for the officer’s suspension or dismissal from employment. Pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement, disciplinary notice relative to suspension and dismissal is patterned on the notice specified by §§ 23-294 and 23-296 of the Omaha Municipal Code.
The safety director and police chief had developed a longstanding practice in furtherance of the disciplinary process authorized by the Omaha Municipal Code and collective bargaining agreement. When improper conduct by police personnel became known, usually as a consequence of an investigation, the police chief drafted a suggested or recommended disciplinary notice, which indicated the proposed discipline to be imposed; signed the notice “By order of /s/ [police chief]”; and submitted the proposed notice to the safety director for the director’s approval and signature. The chief’s proposed disciplinary notice, submitted for the safety director’s approval, was only a recommendation. In the absence of discipline actually imposed by the safety director, the chief cannot discipline a police officer by admonishment, reprimand, suspension, demotion, or dismissal. If the safety director disagreed with the chief’s recommended discipline, the chief redrafted another disciplinary notice conforming with the safety director’s instructions and submitted the redraft to the safety director for approval. In all cases, after approving the disciplinary notice drafted by the police chief and the discipline to be imposed, the safety director returned the approved disciplinary notice to the chief for transmittal to the police officer involved in the disciplinary action. Since at least 1972, all disciplinary notices, specifying the discipline imposed, have been signed by both the safety director and the police chief. The apparent genesis of the police chief’s role in transmitting a disciplinary notice is Neb.Rev. Stat. § 14-602 (Reissue 1987), which pertains to cities of the metropolitan class (Omaha) and provides in part: “All orders relating to the direction of the police force shall be given through the chief of police….”
None of the Omaha ordinances, contained in the record presented to the courts in these proceedings, requires a written directive from the safety director to the police chief for commencement of disciplinary action against a police officer or a document issued or signed by the safety director to impose a particular form of discipline authorized under the municipal code.
THE PLAN FOR ARREST OF JOHN HOWELL
In October 1985, OPD Lt. Anthony Infantino met with OPD Officers James Alexander and Tom Martin and gave the officers a memo entitled “Mission Impossible”an outline of an undercover plan designed by Police Lt. Timothy Dunning for surveillance and arrest of John Howell. Although Alexander and Martin were experienced narcotics and intelligence officers, Infantino assigned the officers to “conduct a covert type surveillance in an attempt to arrest [John Howell] for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.” John Howell had relatives who held political office, including his father, Sam Howell, Douglas County treasurer, and his brother-in-law, Michael Boyle, mayor of Omaha. Infantino told Alexander and Martin that the purpose of John Howell’s arrest was to provide Howell’s relatives with an opportunity to interfere with or obstruct the criminal justice process and that Infantino’s superiors as well as the FBI knew about and approved the plan to arrest Howell. Pursuant to the plan and after surveillance of Howell for 8 hours each day during 7 days *753 of surveillance, Alexander and Martin arrested Howell for drunk driving in October 1985. Howell’s case went through the court system without incident and resulted in Howell’s conviction and sentence for DWI, presumably in late 1985 or sometime in the forepart of 1986.
In August 1986, Alexander and Martin approached Safety Director Keith Lant and told him about the undercover operation which led to Howell’s arrest, the underlying plan to involve political figures in improper activity undertaken as the result of Howell’s arrest, and possible implication or knowledge of OPD personnel in the undercover operation, including Capt. John Mitchell, Dunning, and Infantino.
Mayor Boyle and Lant ordered an inquiry into the Howell arrest, an investigation led by Wadman with the help of OPD Lts. Dennis Howard and Foster Burchard and the Omaha labor relations director, Tom Marfisi.
During the course of the investigation, Dunning was interviewed by Lant, Marfisi and Burchard concerning the Howell arrest, and was ordered not to discuss his interview with anyone. Notwithstanding silence ordered by the investigators, Dunning contacted Infantino and discussed the interview by Lant, Marfisi, and Burchard. Mitchell was “evasive” in his response to questions during his interview concerning the Howell arrest. A polygraph examination was inconclusive concerning Mitchell’s denial of participation in a plot to involve political figures through their improper response to Howell’s arrest.
On October 1, 1986, Wadman concluded that there was no plot to involve political figures in misconduct resulting from Howell’s arrest and that none of the officers investigated had violated any OPD policies or procedures concerning the Howell arrest. Consequently, in a memo to Lant, Wadman recommended that no disciplinary action be taken against Mitchell and that Dunning be suspended for 1 day on account of Dunning’s discussing his interview with Infantino in violation of the investigators’ order to refrain from discussing the interview. Wadman further recommended that Infantino be given a written reprimand for poor judgment exhibited by writing the “Mission Impossible” memo. To his memo Wadman attached the proposed disciplinary notices to Dunning and Infantino.
Later on October 1, Wadman met with Lant, Marfisi, and members of the city’s legal department to discuss Wadman’s recommendations. Lant conveyed his belief that the investigation showed a plot to involve political figures as the result of the Howell arrest and expressed his opinion that Wadman’s recommended discipline for Dunning and Infantino was too lenient. Lant then suggested termination of Mitchell’s employment based on Mitchell’s improper conduct leading to Howell’s arrest and Mitchell’s deceptive conduct during the investigation into the undercover plan for the Howell arrest. Lant proposed a 30-day suspension for Dunning on account of Dunning’s participation in the plan for Howell’s arrest, deceptive conduct during the departmental inquiry into the Howell arrest, and discussing his interview with Infantino notwithstanding the direct order not to discuss his interview regarding the circumstances surrounding Howell’s arrest. Lant also proposed a 3-day suspension for Infantino on account of Infantino’s participation in the operation for Howell’s arrest. Wadman, Lant, and Marfisi discussed other options for disciplining Mitchell, Dunning, and Infantino, but the meeting produced no consensus on the discipline to be imposed. At Lant’s request, Wadman returned to his office, where he awaited Lant’s decision on the discipline to be imposed. About an hour later, Lant telephoned Wadman and told him that Mitchell’s employment was terminated, Dunning received a 30-day suspension, and Infantino received a 3-day suspension. Lant then directed Wadman to prepare the disciplinary notices for Mitchell, Dunning, and Infantino. The notice to Mitchell stated that his dismissal was the result of Mitchell’s “improper conduct *754 surrounding the DWI arrest of John Howell in October of 1985” and Mitchell’s “deceptive conduct over the last 30 days in the Internal Security Investigation surrounding the above arrest.” The reason for Dunning’s suspension, expressed in the disciplinary notice, was:
During the course of the past month, you have been interviewed concerning your involvement in the arrest of John Howell for a charge of OMVI. On September 3, 1986, you were ordered to refrain from talking about this investigation with any other Police employee. Subsequent to that date, you did in fact discuss the case with another Police employee, thereby disregarding the above mentioned order given to you. This action is also taken, pursuant to Article 6, Section 1(J), and that during the course of the investigation recited above, you, on two occasions, were not truthful when being interrogated by Internal Security. Further, this action is taken pursuant to Article 6, Section 1(J), in that you failed to follow any proper procedures in creating and executing the undercover plan, to arrest John Howell, in October of 1985, for DWI, and to “monitor” the case through the Criminal Justice System, to see if anyone would “interfer” [sic] with that process.
In the notice to Infantino, the reason was expressed:
During the month of October 1985, in collaboration with Lt. Tim Dunning, and others, you created a plan to arrest John Howell for DWI and to watch the case go through the system. That plan, and in particular the memo that you gave to Officers Martin and Alexander, constitutes the … violation.
In response to Lant’s directive concerning the disciplinary notices, Wadman said: “I won’t sign.” Lant then told Wadman: “I’ll give you an out. You can sign under duress, you can disclaim, you can write anything you want and disagree with my discipline. I need your signature on that document… and I’ll be down and sign them.” Wadman renewed his refusal to sign the disciplinary notices and explained that, based on polygraph examinations of Mitchell, Dunning, and Infantino, he did not believe that the Howell arrest was a part of a plot to provide political figures with the opportunity to interfere in the criminal justice process, as expressed in the disciplinary notices directed by Lant. Later on October 1, Lant personally issued and signed the disciplinary notices without Wadman’s signature.
DISMISSAL OF WADMAN
As the result of Wadman’s refusal to sign the disciplinary notices, Lant sent Wadman the following notice:
You are hereby suspended as an employee of the City of Omaha and member of the Omaha Police Division for a period of fifteen (15) days pending consideration of my recommendation that you be terminated from City employment. This action is taken because of: On October 1, 1986 you were given a direct order by the undersigned to sign and deliver three letters notifying certain individuals that disciplinary action was being taken against them. You were advised by the undersigned that you should sign the letters but were free to indicate thereon, in writing, your disapproval of same and reasons therefor. You were further advised that same was a direct order, yet you nonetheless refused to obey. Your conduct has been deemed to constitute insubordination. This action is taken because of your violation of Section 23-291(f) of the Omaha Municipal Code, and because your actions reflect discredit upon the service and are a direct hinderance to the effective performance of City government functions.
Under Omaha Mun.Code, ch. 23, art. III, § 23-291(f) (1980), insubordination is “good cause” to subject a police officer to disciplinary action, but the ordinance fails to define or otherwise characterize insubordination.
After a hearing, the city personnel director dismissed Wadman from employment. At the hearing in his appeal to the *755 Omaha Personnel Board, Wadman, through his lawyer, detailed his position:
Boyle’s and Lant’s proposal was improper in Wadman’s view, and he would not set his name down beside the words “by order of.” As Wadman put it, he “would not sign a lie.” It would have been a lie, if he pretended authorship of Lant’s document. He does not have a duty to lie for Mr. Lant, direct order or no, and to refuse to do so was not insubordinate.
The Omaha Personnel Board, unanimously upholding Wadman’s dismissal, found that Wadman was insubordinate in his refusal to comply with Lant’s directive concerning the disciplinary notices to Mitchell, Dunning, and Infantino, which the personnel board described as “a reasonable and lawful order” from Lant to Wadman.
In his petition in error, Wadman alleged several procedural deficiencies concerning the composition of the personnel board, which, according to Wadman, rendered the personnel board incapable of legally determining the validity of the charges against Wadman. Also, Wadman claimed that the personnel board’s decision was “erroneous, unsupported by evidence, and unsupported by the law” because Lant’s order to Wadman concerning the disciplinary notices was “unreasonable” and Wadman’s conduct in refusing to sign the disciplinary notice did not cause any discredit to the OPD or hinder the “effective performance of City government.” Finally, in his petition Wadman acknowledged that he lacked “authority to order discipline,” but concluded: “Nevertheless, the Mayor and the department head `ordered’ [Wadman] to sign as author of an order, and purportedly discharged him for insubordination when he ethically refused the ultra vivres [sic] order.”
Although Wadman did not expressly allege that his signing the disciplinary notices would have been the exercise of authority improperly delegated by Lant, the district court found that, as the result of an absence of guidelines or standards “specifying the conditions under which the delegated discretion could be exercised,” there was no valid delegation of the safety director’s authority to discipline members of the police department and concluded that “there is no competent evidence to sustain the decision of the Personnel Board upholding the termination of the Police Chief for insubordination.” The district court reversed the dismissal order of the personnel board and entered judgment that Wadman be reinstated to his position as police chief with payment of benefits and wages withheld during his suspension and on account of his dismissal from employment.
Although § 23-291(f) of the Omaha Municipal Code fails to define or characterize insubordination, we hold that insubordination is an employee’s willful or intentional disregard of, or refusal to obey, an employer’s reasonable order, rule, or regulation, which is expressed or implied and is given or promulgated under lawful authority related to the employment. Sims v. Bd. of Trustees, Holly Springs, etc., 414 So. 2d 431 (Miss.1982); Bd. of Trustees of S.D. No. 4 v. Colwell, 611 P.2d 427 (Wyo.1980); Ray v. Minneapolis Board of Education, 295 Minn. 13, 202 N.W.2d 375 (1972); Parrish v. Civil Service Commission, 66 Cal. 2d 260, 425 P.2d 223, 57 Cal. Rptr. 623 (1967); Porter v. Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co., 247 S.C. 370, 147 S.E.2d 620 (1966); Cunningham v. Civil Service Comm’n, 48 Haw. 278, 398 P.2d 155 (1964); MacIntosh v. Abbot, 231 Mass. 180, 120 N.E. 383 (1918).
“`Under the law, an employee is required to obey all reasonable orders of the employer.'” Stoffel v. Metcalfe Construction Co., 145 Neb. 450, 455, 17 N.W.2d 3, 6-7 (1945) (quoting Bang v. International Sisal Co., 212 Minn. 135, 4 N.W.2d 113 (1942)).
An employee’s good faith disagreement with the employer’s opinion or judgment underlying a reasonable order does not justify the employee’s refusal to follow the employer’s valid order. See, Matter of MacMillan v. Morgenthau, 146 Misc. 588, 263 N.Y.S. 568 (1933) (employee’s difference of opinion with employer does not *756 justify refusal to obey the employer’s orders); Siglin v. Kayenta Unified School Dist. No. 27, 134 Ariz. 233, 655 P.2d 353 (1982).
In substance, Wadman argues that Lant directed him to sign an order imposing discipline on Mitchell, Dunning, and Infantino, whereas only Lant, as safety director, was authorized to impose discipline on police officers. However, Wadman overlooks the salient fact that imposition of discipline, whether suspension or dismissal from employment, is ultimately effectuated by the safety director, not by Wadman. Because the safety director actually decides whether an officer will be subjected to disciplinary action and determines the particular discipline imposed on the officer, the police chief is only a conduit through which a notice of disciplinary action and the nature of the discipline imposed is transmitted to a police officer. What the district court mistakenly characterized as an impermissible delegation of authority is actually an appropriate directive for transmittal of disciplinary notices through the police chain of command, a statutorily prescribed procedure, see § 14-602, which has been utilized in a longstanding practice of the Omaha Police Division. Although Wadman’s consent or approval was unnecessary for imposition of discipline on an officer, Wadman’s signature on the disciplinary notices, nevertheless, served an important function in the disciplinary processcompliance with the statutory mandate that orders relating to the direction of the police force must be “given through the chief of police,” § 14-602, or, more simply and fundamentally, obedience to law. In the final analysis of the disciplinary process, Wadman made no decision or determination which necessarily resulted in discipline of an officer and had no discretion in the process once the safety director had determined to commence disciplinary action against an officer and had imposed an authorized form of discipline, and Lant did not direct Wadman to make such a determination or decision. Imposition of discipline on Mitchell, Dunning, and Infantino was already an accomplished fact when Wadman was directed to transmit the disciplinary notices to the officers, although, in the case of dismissal as the discipline, the effective date of the dismissal was deferred until 15 days had elapsed after delivery of the disciplinary notice to the disciplined officer. See Omaha Mun.Code, ch. 23, art. III, § 23-296 (1980).
Lant’s offer of the disclaimer, if accepted by Wadman, would have left no doubt in the disciplined officer’s mind that the originator of the discipline was Lant, not Wadman. Given Lant’s allowance of absolute ability for the injection of Wadman’s express disagreement into the disciplinary notices in question and the opportunity for Wadman’s total disclaimer of approval and responsibility for initiating the disciplinary action against the police officers, Lant’s directive cannot reasonably be construed as an order that Wadman represent himself to be the author of the disciplinary notices. Moreover, Wadman’s disagreement with the commencement of disciplinary action or the discipline imposed, even if such disagreement is founded on a good faith opinion, did not justify willful disobedience to Lant’s directive.
Consequently, there is relevant evidence to support the personnel board’s finding that Wadman willfully or intentionally refused to obey Lant’s express directive, which was made under lawful authority pertinent to Wadman’s duties as police chief. Thus, there was evidence supporting the personnel board’s conclusion that Wadman was insubordinate in his refusal to carry out the directive from Lant.
Implicit in the district court’s decision and judgment is the conclusion that the personnel board was empowered to order Wadman’s dismissal from employment. Since Wadman has not cross-appealed concerning any of the procedural deficiencies alleged in his petition in error, deficiencies which, according to Wadman, prevented the personnel board from entering a valid order for Wadman’s dismissal from employment, we do not reach any issue based on the alleged invalidity of the process by which the personnel board was constituted *757 or ordered Wadman’s dismissal from employment.
Therefore, the district court’s judgment is reversed, and this cause is remanded to the district court with direction that the court enter judgment, affirming the personnel board’s order dismissing Wadman from employment as the chief of police in the Omaha Police Division.
REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTION.
BOSLAUGH, Justice, dissenting.
The issue in this case is whether the order which the director of public safety gave to the appellee Wadman was of such a nature that Wadman was required to obey it. The trial court found that under the circumstances in this case, the order was not a reasonable order and that the appellee’s refusal to obey it was not insubordination.
The majority opinion points out that although it has been the custom for disciplinary notices to be signed by both the safety director and the chief of police, the authority to impose discipline is vested in the safety director and the only disciplinary authority vested in the chief of police is purely advisory.
The order involved in this case was a direct order from the safety director to the appellee to sign three letters which advised the officers addressed of discipline which the safety director had decided to impose upon them. The letters, however, were in the form of letters from the appellee to the officers and concluded with the words, “By order of.” Although the safety director informed the appellee that he could “sign under duress” and “disclaim” and “disagree with my discipline,” the forms of the letters indicated that the discipline was being imposed by the order of the appellee. The appellee had no authority to impose discipline.
Neb.Rev.Stat. § 14-602 (Reissue 1987), which provides in part that “[a]ll orders relating to the direction of the police force shall be given through the chief of police,” in my opinion, does not relate to the imposition of discipline but refers to the operation of the department and the performance of police work.
I would affirm the judgment of the district court.
Sources: The Franklin Cover-Up, The Franklin Scandal, Conspiracy of Silence (pre-production leaked copy), Wikipedia, FranklinCase.org, Red Dirt Report, FranklinScandal.com, The People’s History, The Washington Times, Omaha World-Herald, Counter Punch, Above Top Secret, Rense
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