All you need to know
The Pedophocracy, Part I: From Brussels …
The Pedophocracy, Part II: … to Washington
The Pedophocracy, Part III: Uncle Sam Wants Your Children
The Pedophocracy, Part IV: McMolestation
The Pedophocracy, Part V: It Couldn’t Happen Here
The Pedophocracy, Part VI: Finders Keepers
“Paedophiles can boldly and courageously affirm what they choose … I am also a theologian and as a theologian, I believe it is God’s will that there be closeness and intimacy, unity of flesh, between people … paedophiles can make the assertion that the pursuit of intimacy and love is what they choose. With boldness, they can say, ‘I believe this is in fact part of God’s will.'”
Ralph Underwager, ‘expert’ witness for the defense in scores of child abuse cases and former vocal member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, in an interview in Paidika (a pro-pedophilia publication), conducted in June 1991
To the vast majority of Americans, the name Marc Dutroux doesn’t mean much. Drop that name in Belgium though and you’re likely to elicit some very visceral reactions. Dutroux – convicted along with his wife in 1989 for the rape and violent abuse of five young girls, the youngest of whom was just eleven – now stands accused of being a key player in an international child prostitution and pornography ring whose practices included kidnapping, rape, sadistic torture, and murder.
Dutroux was sentenced in 1989 to thirteen years for his crimes, but was freed after having served just three. This was in spite of the fact that, as prison governor Yvan Stuaert would later tell a parliamentary commission: “A medical report described him as a perverse psychopath, an explosive mix. He was an evident danger to society.”
The man who turned Dutroux loose on society, Justice Minister Melchior Wathelet, soon after received a prestigious appointment to serve as a judge at the European Court of Justice at the Hague. Shortly after Dutroux’s release, young girls began to disappear in the vicinity of some of his homes. Though technically unemployed and drawing welfare from the state, he nevertheless owned at least six houses and lived quite lavishly.
His rather lucrative income appears to have been derived from trading in child sex-slaves, child prostitution, and child pornography. Many of his houses appeared to stand vacant, though at least some of them were in fact used as torture and imprisonment centers where kidnapped girls were taken and held in underground dungeons.
Some of Dutroux’s homes were used in this way for several years following his early release, with a growing body of evidence to indicate that fact to the police. True to form though, authorities failed to act on the information, or acted on it in a way that showed either complete incompetence (according to most press reports), or police complicity in the operation (according to any sort of logic).
Police seem to have routinely ignored tips that later proved to be accurate, including a report from Dutroux’s own mother that her son was holding girls prisoner in one of his houses. In addition, key facts were withheld from investigators working on the disappearances and lines of communication were unaccountably broken, inexcusably hindering the investigation.
Police did search one of Dutroux’s homes on no less than three separate occasions over the course of the investigation. On at least two of those occasions, two of the missing girls were being held in heinous conditions imprisoned in a custom-built dungeon in the basement. Nevertheless, the police searches came up empty, despite the fact that the investigating officers reported “hearing children’s voices on one occasion,” according to the Guardian.
It was not until August 13, 1996, four years after the disappearances began, that authorities arrested Dutroux, along with his wife (an elementary school teacher), a lodger, a policeman, and a man the Guardian described as “an associate with political connections” – elsewhere identified as Michel Lelievre.
Two days later, police again searched Dutroux’s home and discovered the soundproof dungeon/torture center. As CNN reported, three years earlier “police ignored tips from an informant who said Dutroux was building secret cellars to hold girls before selling them abroad.” And in 1995, the same informant had told police that Dutroux had offered an unidentified third man “the equivalent of $3,000 to $5,000 to kidnap girls.”
Incredibly, it was later reported by the Guardian that police actually had in their possession a videotape of the dungeon being constructed: “Belgian police could have saved the lives of two children allegedly murdered by the paedophile Marc Dutroux if they had watched a video seized from his home which showed him building their hidden cell.” The tape had been seized in one of the earlier searches.
At the time of the final search, two fourteen-year-old girls were found imprisoned in the dungeon, chained and starving. They described to police being used as child prostitutes and in the production of child pornography videos. More than 300 such videos were taken into custody by the police.
On August 17, the story got grimmer as police dug up the bodies of two eight-year-old girls at another of Dutroux’s homes. It would later be learned that the girls had been kept in one of Dutroux’s dungeons for nine months after their abductions, during which time they were repeatedly tortured and sexually assaulted, all captured on videotape. The girls were then left to slowly starve to death. Alongside of their decimated corpses was the body of Bernard Weinstein, a former accomplice of Dutroux who had occupied one of the houses for several years. Weinstein had been buried alive.
A few weeks later, two more girls were found buried under concrete at yet another of the Dutroux properties. By that time, ten people were reportedly in custody in connection to the case. Elsewhere in Belgium, the News Telegraph reported that: “The corpses of two women and parts of a third body have been discovered in a freezer at a Lebanese restaurant in Brussels.”
As the body count mounted, the outrage of the Belgian people grew. They demanded to know why this man, dubbed the ‘Belgian Beast,’ had been released after having served such an absurdly short sentence. And to know why, as evidence had continued to mount and girls had continued to disappear, the police had chosen to do nothing. How many girls, they demanded to know, had been killed as a result of this inaction?
Adding further fuel to the fire, as a Los Angeles Times report revealed, was that: “a highly regarded children’s activist, Marie-France Botte, claims that the Justice Ministry is sitting on a politically sensitive list of customers of pedophile videotapes.”
The same report noted that: “The affair has become further clouded by the discovery of a motorcycle that reportedly matches the description of one used in the 1991 assassination of prominent Belgian businessman and politician Andre Cools. Michel Bourlet, the head prosecutor on the pedophile case, meanwhile, has publicly declared that the investigation can be thoroughly pursued only without political interference. Several years ago, Bourlet was removed from the highly charged Cools case, which remains unsolved.”
A report in Time magazine alluded to murky links between the Dutroux operation and organized crime figures. Much later, Marc Verwilghen – the chief investigating magistrate on the case – would bluntly state: “For me, the Dutroux affair is a question of organised crime.” Also mentioned in the Time article was the use of secret “underground tunnels,” not unlike those described by children a decade earlier at the infamous McMartin Preschool.
Outrage continued to grow as more arrests were made and evidence of high-level government and police complicity continued to emerge. One of Dutroux’s accomplices, businessman Jean-Michel Nihoul, confessed to organizing an ‘orgy’ at a Belgian chateau that had been attended by government officials, a former European Commissioner, and a number of law enforcement officers. A Belgian senator would note, quite accurately, that such parties were part of a system “which operates to this day and is used to blackmail the highly placed people who take part.”
In September, twenty-three suspects – at least nine of whom were police officers – were detained and questioned about their possible complicity in the crimes and/or their negligence in investigating the case. As the Los Angeles Times noted in a very brief, two-sentence report, the detainments “were the latest indication that police in the southern city of Charleroi may have helped cover up the alleged crimes of Marc Dutroux.”
The arrests followed raids on the police officers’ homes and on the headquarters of the Charleroi police force and were based on information supplied by police inspector Georges Zicot, who had already been charged as an accomplice. Three magistrates had also reportedly been interrogated by police investigators.
Just days before the arrests, police had also arrested five suspects in the Cools assassination, including a former regional government minister named Alain VanderBiest. Strangely enough, the News Telegraph reported that: “Police investigating the Cools murder in 1991 … have been given helpful leads by some of those arrested in the Dutroux case.” The Telegraph also noted that Cools “had promised ‘shocking revelations’ before his death.”
On October 14 came the straw that broke the camel’s back: Jean-Marc Connerotte, who had been serving as the investigating judge on the case, was dismissed by the Belgian Supreme Court. Connerotte was viewed by the people as something of a rarity: a public official/law enforcement officer who actually appeared to be pursuing a prosecution, rather than a cover-up. The News Telegraph described him as: “the only figure in the judiciary who enjoys the nation’s confidence.”
As the New York Times reported, Connerotte “became a national hero in August after saving two children from a secret dungeon kept by a convicted child rapist and ordering the inquiry that led to the discovery of the bodies of four girls kidnapped by a child pornography network.” He had also, in 1994, arrested three men as suspects in the Cools assassination – just before the case was transferred to the jurisdiction of another magistrate.
His removal from the Dutroux case fanned the smoldering flames of public outrage; the Times report noted that: “Hundreds of thousands of people had petitioned the high court to retain the judge.” Adding yet more fuel to the fire, prosecutor Michel Bourlet was claiming that evidence suggested that a pedophile ring composed of the wealthy and powerful had been protected for twenty-five years.
With the families of Dutroux’s victims calling for a general strike, men and women all across the country walked away from their jobs in protest as railway workers and bus drivers shut down public transportation, bringing some cities to a virtual standstill. The Telegraph reported that: “In Liege, firemen turned their hoses on the city’s court building” to symbolize the massive clean-up that was in order.
On October 20, 350,000 citizens of the tiny nation took to the streets of Brussels dressed all in white, demanding the reform of a system so corrupt that it would protect the abusers, rapists, torturers, and killers of children. The political fallout from the case would ultimately bring about the resignation of Belgium’s State Police Chief, Interior Minister, and Justice Minister – likely sacrificial lambs tossed to the outraged masses to avoid what could easily have exploded into a full-scale insurrection by the people, particularly after police ‘incompetence’ allowed Dutroux to escape and remain at large for a brief time in April of 1998.
There were in fact calls from the people for the entire coalition government to step down. Months later, an opinion survey by Brussels’ Le Soir newspaper found that only one-in-five Belgians still had confidence in the federal government and the nation’s justice system. As the Los Angeles Times reported in January of 1998, “the conviction remains stubbornly widespread that members of the upper crust – government ministers, the Roman Catholic Church, the court of King Albert II – belonged to child sex rings, or protected them.”
The lingering distrust of the people was not alleviated by the fact that a parliamentary inquiry had, in April of 1997, identified thirty officials who had, as the Times tactfully put it, “failed to uncover Dutroux’s misdeeds.” Nearly a year later, none of them had yet suffered any repercussions. Additionally, at least ten missing children suspected of having fallen prey to Dutroux’s operation have never been found.
The commission’s report was, in many people’s eyes, a shameless cover-up. As the News Telegraph summarized, the report “said competition between rival forces had prevented vital information from being exchanged and obvious evidence from being followed up” – rather than acknowledge the obvious, which was that rampant police corruption and complicity were to blame.
Just a few months before the commission issued its report, the Telegraph was reporting that: “Grim rumors … have been circulating that a second paedophile network at least as appalling may have been operating in parallel to that said to involve Dutroux.” The bodies of seven children were believed to have been hidden by the ring, which was thought could be linked to Dutroux through Michel Nihoul.
Two months after that, a man named Patrick Derochette and three of his family members were arrested following the discovery of the body of a nine-year-old girl. Rumors quickly began circulating linking this crime to Dutroux as well. Like Dutroux, Derochette had previously been convicted on multiple counts of child rape. He had been committed to a psychiatric institution from which he was released after just six weeks.
Authorities quickly denied that there was any connection between the two cases. In January of 1998, however, the Telegraph reported that: “new evidence from a lawyer involved in the investigations blows a hole in previous police claims that there was no link between the cases involving the alleged child murderers Marc Dutroux and Patrick Derochette.” Once again, the connection was said to be through Nihoul.
In April of 1999, the Guardian reported that: “the highly respected chairman of a parliamentary inquiry into the case claims that his commission’s findings were muzzled by political and judicial leaders to prevent details emerging of complicity in the crimes … Mr. Verwilghen claims that senior political and legal figures refused to cooperate with the inquiry. He says magistrates and police were officially told to refuse to answer certain questions, in what he describes as ‘a characteristic smothering operation.’”
As of August of 2001, fully five years after Dutroux was taken into custody, his trial had yet to begin. Parents of victims continued to shout of a cover-up, and the Telegraph was reporting that: “It was recently learnt that scientific tests on 6,000 hairs found in the [underground dungeon] began only this year.” These tests could, of course, reveal how many victims passed through Dutroux’s chamber of horrors.
If the Marc Dutroux case were some kind of aberration, it would still be a disturbing story for the level of unspeakable corruption and depravity of the Belgian political and law enforcement establishment of which it speaks. Far more disturbing is the fact that it doesn’t appear to be an isolated case at all.
As 1999 drew to a close, the nation of Latvia was rocked by a child prostitution/child pornography scandal that reached to the very top of the political power structure. The case first broke in August, when police uncovered a massive operation involving as many as 2,000 severely abused children. When media reports began linking top Latvian officials to the case, a special parliamentary commission was formed to investigate.
In February 2000, the chairman of the commission delivered a report to Parliament linking the country’s Prime Minister, Justice Minister, director of the State Revenue Service, and a number of army and law enforcement officers to the case. Efforts were immediately begun to discredit the commission chairman, including allegations that he is tied to the former KGB – a classic case of red-baiting, enabling the allegations to be dismissed as ‘Communist’ propaganda.
The BBC reported in June of 1999 that two unnamed German men had “gone on trial, accused of running a child pornography ring in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.” The pair, along with at least eleven identified but unindicted accomplices, “made video recordings of the gang sexually abusing children between the ages of three and 14 since 1993.”
A large but unspecified quantity of “videos, photography, magazines and CD-ROMs containing child pornography were confiscated.” Also noted was a possible connection to the Dutroux case: “There have been cases of Slovak children being taken to Vienna to make pornographic films. The Belgian paedophile Marc Dutroux … was a regular visitor to one Slovak town.”
The BBC also filed a brief report on a 1996 case that went almost completely unreported in the English language press: “Mexican police broke up an international child pornography ring based in the resort of Acapulco which they said had at least four thousand clients in the United States,” (emphasis added). A UN envoy investigating the case said that the “child pornography sometimes involved babies of less than one month old.”
On September 29 of 2000, The Irish Times reported that: “Eight people were arrested in Italy and three in Russia, and police said 1,700 people were being investigated in Italy,” as yet another pedophile network surfaced. The images traded by this ring were “divided into several categories … The most gruesome, police said, was coded ‘Necros Pedo,’ in which children were raped and tortured to death.”
And so it is that we first confront that most disturbing of topics – snuff films, which we all know don’t really exist. As recently as February of 1999, the New York Post assured readers that: “Snuff films are the stuff of urban legend … how did this legend get started? No one knows.” The unfortunate truth though is that they do, as it turns out, actually exist, and they likely have existed for as long as film has existed, though they weren’t always known by that name.
According to the Post: “The term ‘snuff’ was actually coined during the Charles Manson case, when press reports repeated a rumor that the Manson ‘family’ had filmed home movies of the brutal slayings.” Other reports hold that the term was coined in 1976 by a writer for the New York Times who was in need of a phrase to describe reports of murders following sexual activity being captured on film.
Not long after that, as Carl Raschke wrote: “The Texas House Select Committee on Child Pornography disclosed in the late 1970s that investigators probing leads to organized crime in Houston, Dallas, and other major cities found that ‘slave’ auctions for sixteen- and seventeen-year-old boys were routinely held in Mexico. Some of the boys were featured in brutal snuff or ‘slasher’ movies.”
Raschke also quotes from a study by U.S. mental health professionals that claimed that a child from Mexico “can be packaged, delivered, and sold deep within this country in a short time,” and that many are purchased solely “for the purpose of killing.” In Enslaved, Gordon Thomas reported that: “At the start of the year  Britain’s Scotland Yard was continuing to investigate reports that up to twenty children in London had been murdered last year in [snuff films] and the video tapes sold on the Continent.”
An account of the Italian case carried by the Guardian affirmed the existence of snuff films: “police have discovered a massive international paedophile network selling violent child-pornography videos to clients in Italy, the US and Germany … (authorities are) trying to identify 5,000 people who are suspected of attempting to purchase the videos, some of which appear to contain images of children being tortured and murdered.”
The UK’s Independent, in a follow-up published in November of 2000, also confirmed that the seized materials did in fact include child snuff films: “Horrified investigators gathered images of more than 2,000 children who were filmed while being abused, raped, and … killed.” By that time, close to 1,500 people had been charged in the case, but not – as the Guardian noted – “those in high places who are believed to form a ‘paedophile lobby.’”
As in the Belgian and Latvian cases, there were clear indications of high-level complicity and a strong belief among the Italian people that the facts of the case were being covered up. And as with the other cases, the magistrate heading up the inquiry “provoked a furore by denouncing a ‘paedophile lobby’ supported by politicians which he said openly obstructed the investigators and worked to prevent tougher sanctions for the consumers of child pornography,” according to the Independent.
The New York Times reported in March of 1997 that there is “growing public indignation in France and elsewhere about the recurrent reports of kidnapping, rape or incest involving the very young.” The same Times report noted that: “police across France have detained more than 250 people and confiscated some 5,000 videocassettes” in conjunction with an investigation into a massive child pornography ring. Those detained by police were described as “mainly married professionals.” A dozen of them would soon turn up dead, allegedly suicide victims.
In June, the News Telegraph spoke of over 800 French homes being raided and 204 suspects being taken into custody the week before. Among those detained were: “More than 30 teachers … and a number of priests,” as well as the deputy mayor of the town of Saint Mihiel. By the end of the week, four had committed suicide, including a school headmaster.
Three years later, the BBC filed a very brief report noting that a verdict was due “in the trial of more than sixty people accused of possessing child pornography. One of the judges hearing the case said examining the video evidence made him feel physically sick.” In a familiar refrain, it was reported that: “the French courts have been accused of attacking the easy targets — porn consumers — rather than producers and distributors. And one children’s rights group has alleged that senior public figures were among those investigated — but their cases were dropped before coming to court.”
In 1998, another large-scale international ring was discovered operating out of the Netherlands and Berlin, Germany. The New York Times reported that investigators called the case “nauseating,” in that “images of abuse of even babies and infants were peddled via the Internet and other media.” Police discovered “voluminous records of what appear to be clients and suppliers from countries including Israel, Ukraine, Britain, Russia and the United States.”
The ring was first uncovered when a key member was found dead in Italy. According to The Irish Times, he was murdered by another member of the ring. His apartment in the Dutch town of Zandvoort was found to contain “thousands of digital images stored on computer disks,” as well as “hundreds of addresses of suspected suppliers and clients,” according to the New York Times. The images shocked even veteran sex-crimes investigators, one of whom stated that the seized evidence “left [him] speechless … It looks like the perpetrators are not dealing with human beings but with objects.”
In September 1998, another ring was raided – what the BBC described as “a larger and more sinister paedophile network called Wonderland.” The network was so named in honor of Lewis Carroll’s revered children’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Carroll was widely known to have a predilection for underage girls and boys, and is now something of a patron saint of pedophiles around the globe.
A concerted effort has been made over the decades to cover up Carroll’s pedophilic tendencies, though the truth is evident even in the heavily whitewashed profiles of him that can be found in modern encyclopedias. Microsoft’s Encarta notes that: “Always a friend of children, particularly little girls, Carroll wrote thousands of letters to them,” and also that he “gained an additional measure of fame as an amateur photographer. Most of his camera portraits were of children in various costumes and poses, including nude studies.”
The Encyclopaedia Britannica reports that Carroll’s photographic ‘hobby’ was abandoned in 1880, while dismissing suggestions that “this sudden decision was reached because of an impurity of motive for his nude studies.” Britannica also notes that Carroll – who was raised in an environment where there were “few friends outside the family,” and who was ordained a deacon in the Church of England on the winter solstice of 1861 (an occult holiday) – generally lost interest in his child ‘friends’ when they reached the age of twelve.
Wonderland is also the name of the quarterly publication of the Lewis Carroll Collector’s Guild, which bills itself as a “voluntary association of persons who believe nudist materials are a constitutionally protected expression and whose collective interests include pre-teen nudes.” As Gordon Thomas has noted: “In Wonderland the ‘delights’ of ‘transgenerational sex’ pepper the pages.” Such is the legacy of the men whose literary works are peddled to our children … but here I digress.
The San Jose Mercury News reported that: “Police in … 22 states and 13 foreign countries conducted coordinated raids … aimed at breaking up an Internet child-pornography ring … The ring involves as many as 200 people around the world, who exchanged over the Internet thousands of sexually explicit images of children as young as 18 months.” The Independent later reported that the ring “shared pictures of children being abused — in some cases live via web-cam broadcasts over the internet.”
The raids included homes in “Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Sweden,” according to the New York Times, which added that: “Several dozen people were arrested, but officials said they expected more than 100 to be charged.” The Independent later reported that 107 suspects were ultimately arrested. The Mercury News implied that this may be only the tip of the iceberg: “The ring actually extends into 47 countries.”
The case was described by a British official as “stomach-churning.” The Times reported that “Wonderland Club members are believed to have posed their own children for pictures … In other cases … parents may have taken money to let their children be used.” The Guardian reported that over 1,250 children were featured in the photos and videos, “many of whom suffered appalling injuries and were seen sobbing uncontrollably as they were being sexually violated.” The Independent added that the victimized children were “mostly under [the age of] 10.”
A BBC report held that the combined raids resulted in the seizure of more than “750,000 computer images of children.” A Detective Superintendent with the British National Crime Squad called these images “disgusting and the behavior that has been carried out is absolutely appalling.” Though ignored by the American press, “Wonderland originated in the United States.”
Among the scores of U.S. homes raided, one yielded a “database of more than 100,000 sexual photographs of naked boys and girls.” Interestingly enough, the Times also noted that another raid, “in Missouri, turned up a cache of weapons as well as child pornography in a heavily fortified trailer,” illustrating once again – as did the Dutroux case – the close ties between organized pedophilia and other terrorist assaults against society.
As with the earlier raids in Europe, a rash of ‘suicides’ soon followed. By October 24, the Mercury News was reporting that no fewer than four of the thirty-four American suspects had killed themselves. These included a retired Air Force pilot, a microbiologist at the University of Connecticut, and a computer consultant in Colorado.
In the UK, the Wonderland raids – dubbed Operation Cathedral – resulted in the indictments of eight suspects. One of the eight turned up dead four months later – another alleged suicide. The other seven were given ridiculously light sentences in February of 2001 for their complicity in inflicting unfathomable abuse on countless children. Sentences ranged from 12 to 30 months.
Just a few weeks before the sentences were handed down, the Guardian was reporting that: “Police today arrested 13 suspected paedophiles in the largest ever UK operation against child pornography.” Once again a massive amount of appalling evidence was seized, with most of the material featuring “scenes of children being raped and sexually abused.”
The Independent reported in February of 2001 that: “Detectives working on the [Wonderland] case discovered that many of the paedophiles were also members of other child pornography groups.” One of the groups most closely tied to Wonderland was a ring known as the Orchid Club, which had been exposed by a 1996 investigation in San Jose, California. That investigation had led to the indictment of sixteen men on charges of conspiring to produce and exchange child pornography. Members of the club were identified in at least nine states and three foreign countries.
By the time of the Wonderland raids, the Mercury News was able to report that the purported ringleader of the Orchid Club and “twelve others either have pleaded guilty or have been convicted in connection with that case.” Their crimes included recruiting “young relatives and friends of their own children to be molested and photographed.”
The club was also, like Wonderland, involved in “real-time exploitation of children” on the internet. Club members were able to send in requests and have them acted-out on live feeds. The club also held a pedophile ‘summit,’ at which members “traded stories about pre-teen girls they had molested and photographed in sexually explicit poses.” The summit was held, appropriately enough, on April 20 – the birth date of Adolf Hitler and a major satanic holiday.
In late March of 2001, yet another interlinked global network was exposed. The Independent reported that: “US authorities announced the arrest of four American citizens for involvement in an international child-porn ring called Blue Orchid.” The Los Angeles Times added further details the next day, reporting that “the United States and Russia have shut down a Moscow-based international pornography ring that used the Internet to sell videotapes of children engaged in sexual acts.”
These tapes were said to sell for “between $200 and $300.” An Associated Press release held that: “Police seized some 600 videotapes, 200 digital video disks and many boxes of photographs.” Video duplication equipment and sales and shipping records were also seized, leading to “criminal inquiries in 24 nations … Many of the tapes were bought by people in the United States; others went to Germany, Britain, France, Denmark, China, Kuwait, Mexico and scores of other countries.”
The Times reported that nine people had been arrested and fifteen search warrants issued. The AP report noted that four of those arrested were in Russia, where two suspects had, alas, “committed suicide.” The ring was also said by the Times to offer what were cryptically referred to as “custom-made videos” for the hefty price of $5,000 each. The contents of these videos were not revealed.
What was revealed though was that “the prevalence of child pornography has increased dramatically with the growth of the Internet. There are approximately 100,000 web sites worldwide associated with child pornography.” This point was reinforced the very next day when the UK press reported police raids on yet another pedophile ring.
The Guardian reported that: “More than 30 people, including a … man working for a national youth organization, were arrested yesterday in dawn raids on the homes of suspected paedophiles.” Once again being sold and traded were images “which showed children being abused.”
A report on the case in the Independent quoted a law enforcement spokesman as revealing “that those arrested included members of ‘some interesting professions,’” though demurring from revealing what those professions might be. The official also said that they had “a disturbing scenario of one or two juveniles who have been caught in this way. One of them appears to be a 13-year-old boy.”
The police did acknowledge that the arrested boy was “also a potential victim and would be treated in that light,” which seems rather obvious. Nevertheless, a follow-up to the story that the Independent ran in May reported that the boy had become “one of the youngest people to be listed on the sex offenders’ register.”
The very next month, the Guardian carried a report on Eric Franklin Rosser – accused child pornographer, one of the FBI’s ten most wanted criminals and a former keyboardist for John Cougar Mellencamp’s band. According to the report: “Investigators believe Rosser’s material is among pornography circulated by a British paedophile ring … More than 1,800 members are thought to belong to a club called Teenboys. Its website features boys aged around 12 … Teenboys is considered bigger than the notorious Wonderland Club.”
Meanwhile, a pedophile ring in Australia with high-level government connections was handled in a slightly different way. As The Irish Times reported on July 17, 1998:
“Police suspect a series of gruesome gay hate killings in the Sydney region could be the work of a serial killer whose victims might be linked through a notorious paedophile ring. The latest mutilation murder was that of Australia’s longest serving mayor, Frank Arkell, aged 68, who was bludgeoned to death in his flat and who had previously faced 29 child sex charges.
“In the past few months two other men, one a convicted child sex offender, were attacked in their homes in similar circumstances and also suffered horrific injuries. Arkell, the former Lord Mayor of Wollongong, 50 miles south of Sydney, was a key witness in a royal commission into police corruption which uncovered a network of paedophiles.”
Those serial killers sure come in handy sometimes.
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“Paul and Shirley Eberle wrote The Politics of Child Abuse, a book that accuses mothers, mental health professionals, and prosecutors of feeding children stories about sexual abuse. Since the book was published by Lyle Stuart in l986, the Eberles have been cited as experts in sexual abuse trials … What is startling about the Eberles’ reputation as ground-breaking experts in the field is that their dubious credentials have not been widely challenged … Their publication, Finger, depicted scenes of bondage, S & M, and sexual activities involving urination and defecation. A young girl portrayed with a wide smile on her face sits on top of a man whose penis is inside of her; a woman has oral sex with a young boy in a drawing entitled ‘Memories of My Boyhood.'”
Ms. Magazine, December 1988While the size and scope of these operations have grown rapidly in recent years, America has – as it turns out – always been a nation whose laws were friendly to purveyors of child pornography. It was just over twenty years ago – in 1978 – that the very first federal statute on child pornography was passed into law. While forbidding production and sale, the statute placed no restrictions at all on the possession or trade of such materials.
New laws enacted in 1984 forbid the trade of child pornography regardless of whether any money changed hands, though possession still remained legal. In fact, as recently as 1990, private possession of child pornography was legal in 44 of the 50 states, despite the inescapable fact that all such materials were, by necessity, illegally produced and/or illegally acquired.
Technology has for some time now played a key role in greatly expanding the availability of child pornography. The Polaroid camera, for example, eliminated the need for child pornographers to have access to complicit photo labs. Home video cameras did likewise for moving images. Personal computers, digital cameras, web cams, scanners, and – especially – the Internet, have vastly expanded the reach of child pornography networks.
In the age of the Internet, child pornography is a booming business. The Los Angeles Times noted in December of 1999 that: “the number of investigations for Internet-related child pornography is soaring. The FBI launched 1,125 such inquiries this year, more than twice as many as last year.” In the wake of this rising tide, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling on December 17, 1999 which struck a serious blow to the prosecution of child pornography cases.
As the Times reported, the decision stipulated that “the government cannot prohibit computer-generated sexual images that only appear to be pictures of children.” A later report noted that appeals court judge Donald Molloy stated that the First Amendment bars the government from criminalizing the generation of “images of fictitious children engaged in imaginary but explicit sexual conduct.”
On January 22, 2001, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of the case. Should the presidential appointers on the high court choose to affirm the decision of the lower court, prosecution of child pornography cases will become all but impossible in all fifty states. Until that time, prosecutors are “barred from bringing virtual-child pornography cases in California and the eight other Western states within the jurisdiction of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.”
As critics have noted, graphics technology now available to the general public is so sophisticated that it is virtually impossible to determine if an image has been digitally altered, and if therefore any actual children were involved in the generation of the image. Justice Department lawyers argued that very point, noting that the “government may find it impossible in many cases to prove that a pornographic image is of a real child.”
Any good defense attorney could, in other words, raise reasonable doubt as to the authenticity of an image. It could in fact be argued that all such computer images “only appear to be pictures of children.” Computer images are not in fact photos, but are digital computer files that display as a facsimile of the original photo. A sound legal argument could be made that all digitally transferred and displayed child pornography is therefore legal, as it doesn’t represent ‘real children.’
That should come as great news to the international child pornography networks, given that the United States is their number-one market. According to investigative author Gordon Thomas, the majority of child pornography produced worldwide is targeted at the U.S., where by the early 1990s it was already a $3 billion a year business, and growing.
Thomas claims that – according to law enforcement figures – over 22 million copies of child pornography videos were sold or rented in the U.S. in 1991. He also writes that much of that pornographic material is produced here, where it is “part of the largest segment of movie making in the United States.” Jan Hollingsworth concurs with that figure, describing child pornography as: “A three-billion-dollar – per year – U.S. industry that grossed twice that worldwide. It [is] bigger than Disney. Much bigger.”
Speaking of Disney, Thomas notes that child porn videos are frequently trafficked internationally by deceptively packaging them as Disney videos. Strangely enough, the first man to benefit from the circuit court decision was Patrick J. Naughton. You may remember him as the executive with the Walt Disney Co. who ran one of the company’s kid-friendly web sites. Naughton was arrested and later tried on child pornography charges.
He was convicted on December 16, just one day before the decision was handed down in the case before the circuit court. Within hours of the appeals court ruling, Naughton was released by federal prosecutors on $100,000 bail. Despite the fact that he was, as the Times acknowledged, convicted of “possessing pictures of actual children,” the decision was made to release him “until the impact of the court’s ruling can be sorted out,” illustrating the significant undermining of existing law that the court ruling portends.
Closely associated with child pornography is, of course, child abuse. It should go without saying that all kids used in child pornography are abused children, their abuse recorded on film and tape for the depraved enjoyment of other child abusers. Also closely associated with child pornography is the always controversial issue of ‘missing children.’
There is considerable debate as to whether there is a problem in this country with missing children. Some claim that 200,000 or more children disappear without a trace every year. Others steadfastly maintain that numbers such as those are grossly inflated, and that abduction of children by strangers with bad intent is actually quite rare.
The problem is that nobody really knows for sure, since the FBI – America’s compiler of crime statistics – doesn’t bother to keep track. As Ted Gunderson, former FBI station chief for Los Angeles, has stated: “The FBI has an accurate count on the number of automobiles stolen every year. It knows the number of homicides, rapes and robberies, but the FBI has no idea of the number of children that disappear every year. They simply do not ask for the statistics.”
Many believe that the numbers aren’t compiled because the FBI doesn’t want to know – or more accurately, the FBI doesn’t want the American people to know. What is known though is that reports of child abuse have skyrocketed. Between 1963 and 1988, reported cases of child abuse rose from 150,000 to 2,000,000 per year, a 1300% increase in just a quarter-century.
Child abuse may in fact be the most prevalent – and possibly the most significant – crime in American society, given that it provides the breeding ground for so much of the more visible crime plaguing Western culture. As Thomas reports: “over 90 percent of the teenage prison population are now victims of child abuse,” and that population is growing rapidly.
In the wake of this rising tide, the Los Angeles Times reported in March 2001 that: “President [a clearly inappropriate use of the word] Bush’s budget will trim a program aimed at preventing child abuse and cut some child care spending … A child abuse prevention program will see an 18% cut.” That money will apparently be much better spent on handing out tax breaks for the wealthy and building missile defense shields … but here I digress.
Author and e-zine editor Robert Sterling has written of what he refers to as “a pattern of trivialization of child molestation evidence” that seems to characterize high-profile media stories. He points out, for instance, that in the highly publicized Woody Allen and Mia Farrow child custody case, all the attention was focused on Allen’s illicit romance with Soon-yi Previn.
Almost entirely ignored in the media coverage was the fact that Allen was also charged with molesting his own seven-year-old adopted daughter, Dylan. While the press dismissed those allegations as unfounded and unworthy of reporting, Sterling notes that “Connecticut state authorities, based on the testimony of Dylan and others, have stated that they do believe Woody did molest her, but decided not to prosecute anyway,” allegedly to spare the child any further trauma.
Sterling also takes note of the “case of the Menendez brothers, who, after admitting to murdering their parents, painfully revealed that they were ruthlessly abused and molested by them over the years.” Their claims were never fully investigated and the boys were “viciously demonized for trying to escape the murder charges and accused of making up their abuse,” though there was in fact clear evidence of that abuse, according to a private investigator who worked on the case.
Also noted is the kid-gloves treatment afforded Michael Jackson when he was charged with molestation: “even though the accusations against him are widely believed to be true, [they] are merely passed off with a laugh among other smirking monologue jokes on Jay Leno.” And of course, though unmentioned by Sterling, sister LaToya was ridiculed by the media when she came forward with stories about the sexual abuse suffered by the Jackson kids at the hands of their father.
Sterling references other cases as well, including the over-hyped au-pair trial in which evidence of prior abuse of the child by his parents was consistently ignored, and the Susan Smith case, in which the media refused to consider whether her own severe childhood abuse could have been a factor in the murder of her children, despite the fact that her father admitted to the chronic abuse.
Coupled with the fact that the press have consistently downplayed the occurrence of child molestation is the equally disturbing fact that that very same media have actively promoted the sexualization of children – a trend that has been greatly accelerated in recent years, and which serves to legitimize pedophilia.
Taking note of the proliferation of young teen – and even pre-teen – sex symbols, Tom Junod wrote in Esquire that: “the entire culture is besotted with the erotic promise of teenage girls … The lure of jailbait now supplies the erotic energy to a popular culture desperate for what’s new, what’s young, what’s alive.”
The Junod article is, by the way, a profile of Greg Dark, one half of the former ‘Dark Brothers’ – notorious purveyors of dark-themed, occult-tinged porno films. Dark is rather noteworthy for openly peddling child pornography, in that many of his films featured a very young Traci Lords, who began working with the Dark Brothers at the age of thirteen.
But Dark has put those days long behind him. He is now working comfortably in the mainstream. And he is no longer marketing teen sexuality. No, now he is creating music videos … for Britney Spears, Mandy Moore and the pre-pubescent Leslie Carter (sister of Aaron Carter and Back Street Boy Nick Carter). That is, according to Dark, a completely different line of work.
Some interesting facts about Dark emerge in the Esquire profile. It is revealed, for instance, that he was raised by a satanist father. Dark’s father “used to read to Gregory from the works of Aleister Crowley, the noted satanist, when Gregory was very young.” His father’s collection of ‘black magick’ books is one of Dark’s most cherished possessions.
Also revealed is that Dark is a master manipulator, as he candidly admits to his interviewer: “And the thing is, I like manipulating people. I’m comfortable manipulating people. I’m good at it.” Junod adds that, during Dark’s porno days, he “asked people to do things … curious things … and they did them.” Such is the nature of the man crafting the images of America’s teen sex symbols and marketing them to millions of pre-teen fans … but here again I digress.
Also closely associated with child pornography is the issue of child prostitution, which – make no mistake about it – is a booming business. A&E’s “Investigative Reports” has noted that law enforcement figures indicate that there are currently some 600,000 child prostitutes working in the United States and Canada and that $5 billion a year is generated worldwide by pimp organizations specializing in the exploitation of children.
A&E also reported that, throughout North America, there is a “growing use of children in the sex trade,” and that young boys make up 51% of that trade. The FBI has, of course, turned a blind eye; for the last quarter-century, “federal prosecutions of major pimp operations have been virtually nonexistent.” As Dr. Lois Lee has noted: “It’s not a high priority with the FBI to go after kids that are being transported across state lines. It’s really a disgrace.”
Dr. Lee is the founder of “Children of the Night,” an organization devoted to helping repair the shattered lives of child sex trade victims. Her facility, said to be the only one of its kind in the world, has seen 10,000 kids pass through its doors. Fully ninety percent of them have suffered a lifetime of abuse – first at home, and later on the streets and alleys of America’s big cities. Most of them suffered their first abuse before the age of three.
Many of these victims are runaways recruited from small towns across the country, then brought to prime child prostitution markets such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Once there, they have an average life span of just seven years; many of them never reach adulthood. For as long as they survive though, they reap enormous financial rewards for their pimps. The younger the child, the more popular they are with the ‘Johns,’ and therefore the more profitable for their exploiters.
All of this would tend to indicate that America is in something of a state of denial about the proliferation of child molestation, child prostitution, and child pornography rings, which constitute a vast underground in this country. But does this pedophilic underground extend into the halls of power? Is America’s political, corporate and military elite hiding a particularly dirty little secret from the American people? A secret that, if exposed, could shatter America’s cherished political and economic institutions and bring the house of cards crashing down?
Consider the case of Craig Spence, a behind-the-scenes Republican powerbroker in Washington. In June of 1989, the Washington Times published a story that sent shock waves across Capitol Hill. It seems that Spence had been operating a call-boy ring that supplied young boys, some of them very young boys, to the Washington elite of both political parties.
It was rumored that a list of influential clients ran to some 200 names, and some of them were publicly identified. On the list were such names as former CIA director William Casey, former prosecutor and current cable ‘news’ talking-head Joseph diGenova, nominally liberal Congressman Barney Frank, political activist/propagandist Phyllis Schlafly, and former Attorney General John Mitchell – who once co-hosted a party with Spence.
Also connected to the case were prominent figures in the media; on the guest lists for Spence’s ‘parties’ were names such as Ted Koppel and Eric Severeid – who had both been close friends of Spence’s for more than two decades. Koppel had first met Spence when he was serving as the ABC bureau chief in Hong Kong and Spence was purportedly working as a correspondent in Vietnam.
Spence’s mansion was found to be overflowing with surveillance equipment, including hidden cameras and microphones and an abundance of two-way mirrors. It was alleged that the ring was part of a CIA sexual blackmail operation, gathering compromising evidence on Washington politicos and foreign dignitaries. In August, following his arrest on weapon and drug charges, Spence gave an interview to the Times in which he openly claimed to work for the CIA and with high-ranking members of the Reagan and Bush administrations.
His claims were scoffed at and he was largely portrayed as a self-important blowhard. There are indications though that Spence was involved in covert operations as far back as Vietnam, working under journalistic cover. An associate of his from that time told the Washington Post: “Spence pulled disappearing acts in Vietnam — sometimes for weeks at a time … Then he’d turn up, refusing to say where he’d been.”
In Washington, Spence was known to take his show on the road, giving some of his boys regular late-night tours of the White House. These tours were reportedly arranged by Donald Gregg, the national security adviser to then-Vice President George Bush. Though Gregg adamantly denied the accusation, there were undeniable connections between the two men, including the fact that Spence had once sponsored a dinner for Gregg.
The story quickly dropped off the media radar screen, and Washington and the press proceeded to pretend as though it had never been aired at all. According to a Washington Times reporter, the paper trail was quickly covered-up – some 20,000 documents pertaining to the case were sealed by court order. By the time Spence turned up dead in a Boston hotel room less than five months after the story first broke, he was all but forgotten.
The UK’s Independent reported that: “Boston police said he was found lying on his bed at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, dressed in evening clothes, with no obvious signs of injury. The police refused to comment on the cause of death.” The Post had earlier reported that Spence had told a friend: “I may be disappearing soon. It will be sudden. It may appear to be a suicide, but it won’t be.”
Elsewhere in the country, a political operative named Larry King – hailed as “the fastest rising black star in the Republican Party” – was embroiled in another high-level pedophile ring. King, whose operation was based in Omaha, Nebraska, had connections to Craig Spence as well as to Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Oliver North, and various other major players in Washington.
The story first began to emerge with the collapse of the Franklin Community Credit Union run by King, one of many such entities that went belly-up in the 1980s savings and loan scandals. A special senate ‘Franklin Committee’ was formed to look into allegations of financial improprieties, but soon found itself instead investigating claims of child prostitution, child pornography and ritual homicide. Committee members soon found themselves receiving anonymous threats.
The investigation led to the doorsteps of some of the most powerful men in the state of Nebraska – including newspaper publisher Harold Andersen (a lunch partner of George Bush), local columnist Peter Citron, a judge, the mayor of Omaha, the city’s Games and Parks Commissioner, a prominent attorney, the former police chief of Omaha, businessman Alan Baer, and multi-billionaire Warren Buffet (for whose son King sponsored a political fund-raiser).
Also identified as a perpetrator by some of the victim/witnesses was George Bush himself. The scandal was completely ignored by the national U.S. media, and appears to have been covered by the local press for the sole purpose of discrediting the witnesses and denouncing the investigation as yet another ‘witch hunt.’
The case did attract some attention from the European press though. Pronto, the largest circulation weekly in Spain, reported that the scandal “appears to directly implicate politicos of the state of Nebraska and Washington, D.C. who are very close to the White House and George Bush.” The report also noted that “there is reason to believe that the CIA is directly implicated,” and that the “FBI refuses to help in the investigation and has sabotaged any efforts” by others to do so.
A documentary film crew from the UK’s Yorkshire Television, working in conjunction with the Discovery Channel, worked for months investigating the case. The result of their efforts was a film entitled “Conspiracy of Silence” which concluded that the child victims/witnesses were telling the truth. The documentary was scheduled to air on the Discovery Channel on May 3, 1994.
Just days before its scheduled airing, the film was pulled without explanation and all copies were ordered destroyed. At least one production copy of the video survived the purge, however, and has been known to circulate among those derisively labeled as ‘conspiracy theorists.’ For everyone else, the conspiracy of silence continues.
The Omaha operation, described in the film as a “large ring of rich and powerful pedophiles,” appears to have been in business for several years – with the knowledge of, and for the perverse pleasure of, a variety of city, state and federal authorities. Jerry Lowe, the first investigator assigned to the case by the Franklin Committee, reported back that: “The allegations regarding the exploitation of children are indeed disturbing. What appears to be documented cases of child abuse and sexual abuse dating back several years with no enforcement action being taken by the appropriate agencies is on its face, mind-boggling.”
The investigation revealed that many of the child victims had been recruited from one of America’s most revered charitable organizations – Boy’s Town, to whom King had maintained close ties since 1979. Senator Loran Schmit has said: “Boy’s Town came up frequently during the investigation, but we found it difficult to get information about Boy’s Town,” as did the film crew from Yorkshire Television.
Republican state senator and Franklin Committee member John DeCamp, in his book The Franklin Cover-Up, presents a compelling body of evidence to document the charges made by the child victims and various others associated with the operation. Equally disturbing is the evidence of the massive cover-up that was perpetrated by the FBI, local police, the grand jury assigned to the case, and of course the ever-compliant media.
The cover-up involved, according to DeCamp, the untimely deaths of at least fifteen key players in the scandal – including Franklin Committee investigator Gary Caradori, whose private plane was blown out of the sky on July 11, 1990 with Caradori and his eight-year-old son on board. Caradori had been threatened frequently, as had the witnesses from whom he was gathering information. His vehicle had also been repeatedly tampered with.
His brother claimed that Gary had told him that he had recently come into the possession of a key piece of evidence – specifically a book of addresses and phone numbers – which “if they knew he had it, they’d kill him.” The wreckage of his plane was, as a reporter on the scene noted, “strewn over a ¾ to 1 mile stretch.” A National Transportation Safety Board investigator acknowledged that: “the fact that the wreckage is scattered over a large area certainly demonstrates that it did break up in flight.”
Family members claimed that there were items missing from the plane’s wreckage, most significantly Caradori’s briefcase. Within twenty-four hours of the crash, all of his records had been impounded by the FBI. Nevertheless, the NTSB ruled that the crash had been accidental, with no evidence of sabotage.
The Franklin Committee – led by Senator Schmit, who suspected sabotage – ordered a private investigation into the cause of the crash. Strangely enough, the man selected to conduct that inquiry was William Colby, a fifty year veteran of intelligence operations whose career began in the OSS during World War II. Colby’s hiring was urged by his protégé, Senator DeCamp.
In the 1950s, Colby had served as the CIA station chief in Italy during the notorious Operation Gladio days. In the 1960s, he ran the equally notorious Phoenix assassination, torture and terror program in Vietnam that claimed from 20,000 to 40,000 lives. The program was steeped in mind control operations, including the conducting of terminal experiments on VC prisoners-of-war.
Colby next served as the director of the CIA under President Richard Nixon, before being replaced in that post by President Gerald Ford with George Bush. Considering his past history, Colby was certainly an odd choice to lead an inquiry aimed at ascertaining the truth. Colby’s finding, according to the Omaha World Herald, was that: “although the crash had some strange aspects, there was no specific evidence of sabotage.”
As appalling as the trail of dead witnesses was the fact that the child victims, rather than the perpetrators, were thrown in prison. One of them, a young female victim named Alisha Owen, achieved the rather dubious honor of spending more time in solitary confinement than any woman in the history of the Nebraska penal system. She was sentenced to 9-25 years in prison for allegedly committing perjury, ten years longer than the sentence received by King for looting his financial institution of $40 million.
As DeCamp explained to the “Conspiracy of Silence” film crew: “For some reason, they had to send a signal to every kid who is a potential witness.” Senator Schmit, who told the filmmakers that his career had been destroyed and that he had faced financial problems, believed that a clear signal was being sent to Nebraska politicians as well – a signal to not pursue the investigation any further.
A clearly disillusioned Schmit had this to say: “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 claimed to have been abused, and who the grand jury acknowledged had been abused, but they did not try to find out who had abused these individuals. Instead, they convicted Alisha Owen of perjury – indefensible from my point of view.”
It would be a full decade before any of the victims received even a semblance of justice, and that would ultimately come not from a criminal court, but from a civil court. In early 1999, a judgment was entered against defendant Larry King in favor of plaintiff Paul Bonacci – one of the most seriously abused of the child victims, whose abuse at the hands of King began when he was just six years old and which included his forced collaboration in the production of child snuff films. The memorandum of the district court’s decision, issued on February 22, 1999, reads as follows:
“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 now uncontradicted evidence is that the plaintiff has suffered much. He has suffered burns, 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.”
For his years of unspeakable abuse, physical and emotional suffering, and the complete shattering of his life, Bonacci was awarded one million dollars. While a bittersweet victory at best, it was considerably more than most other victims of such abuse have gotten. The trial was significant for another reason as well; it revealed a glimpse of the connections between the King case and various other multi-victim abuse cases around the country.
- 1. Asseo, Laurie “Justices Will Review Ban on Virtual Kiddie Porn,” Associated Press, January 22, 2001
- 2. Bowart, Walter Operation Mind Control, Dell Publishing, 1978
- 3. * DeCamp, John W. The Franklin Cover-Up, AWT, Inc., 1992
- 4. Hollingsworth, Jan Unspeakable Acts, Congdon & Weed, 1986
- 5. Junod, Tom “The Devil in Greg Dark,” Esquire, February 2001
- 6. Laurina, Maria “Paul and Shirley Eberle: A Strange Pair of Experts,” Ms. Magazine, December 1988
- 7. Li, David K. “Naughton Free in Time for Christmas,” New York Post, December 23, 1999
- 8. Li, David K. “Turn Him Loose! Judge Voids Naughton’s Porno Conviction,” New York Post, January 22, 2000
- 9. Lichfield, John “White House ‘Great Gatsby’ Lands in a New York Jail Cell,” The Independent (UK), August 10, 1989
- 10. Lichfield, John “White House Midnight Rambler Found Dead,” The Independent (UK), November 13, 1989
- 11. Mintz, John, Martha Sherill and Elsa Walsh “The Shadow World of Craig Spence,” Washington Post, July 18, 1989
- 12. Savage, David “Justices to Tackle ‘Virtual’ Child Porn,” Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2001
- 13. Sterling, Robert “Daddy’s Little Princess,” The Konformist, http://www.konformist.com
- 14. ** Tarpley, Webster G. and Anton Chaitkin George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, http://www.tarpley.net/bushb.htm
- 15. Thomas, Gordon Journey Into Madness, Bantam, 1989
- 16. Thomas, Gordon Enslaved, Pharos Books, 1991
- 17. Valentine, Douglas The Phoenix Program, William Morrow, 1990
- 18. Weinstein, Henry and Greg Miller “’Virtual’ Child Porn Is Legal, Court Says,” Los Angeles Times, December 18, 1999
- 19. “Obituary of Craig Spence,” Daily Telegraph, November 14, 1989
- 20. “Colby Played Role in Probe of Franklin,” Omaha World Herald, April 30, 1996
- 21. “Bush Budget Seeks Child Program Cuts,” Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2001
- 22. “The Child Sex Trade,” A&E Investigative Reports
- 23. “Conspiracy of Silence,” Yorkshire Television and the Discovery Channel
- 24. Paul A. Bonacci v. Lawrence E. King (4:CV91-3037), United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, Memorandum of Decision, February 22, 1999* Some readers have criticized the use of this book as a source due to the affiliations of the author with various right-wing groups and causes. This is indeed cause for concern. Also of concern is that DeCamp served in Vietnam under his mentor – future CIA director William Colby – as DeCamp himself proudly proclaims in his book. What this means is that he was likely a part of the Phoenix Program. Nevertheless, DeCamp’s book is the only published work to fully explore the so-called Franklin case, and it presents a considerable amount of factual information not available elsewhere.
** This book is also problematic, due to the authors’ decidedly LaRouchian perspective. While the book is, for the most part, factually accurate, much of the analysis and interpretation of those facts misses the mark due to the authors’ ideological bias. As with the DeCamp book, its inclusion as a source should not be interpreted to mean that this author endorses other causes, affiliations, or past actions of these authors.
“It should come as no surprise, then, that long-time CIA and ‘intelligence complex’ operatives turn up on the FMSF Advisory Board. Perhaps the most public member has been Dr. Louis Jolyon ‘Jolly’ West, a legendary figure in CIA mind control circles operating out of UCLA. Another is Dr. Martin Orne, an authority on torture who currently works at the University of Pennsylvania’s Experimental Psychiatry Lab … Still another false memory luminary is Margaret Singer, professor emeritus at the University of California-Berkeley.”
Toward Freedom, May 1998One of the names raised at the Bonacci trial was that of Michael Aquino. Aquino is the ‘High Priest’ and chief executive of the Temple of Set, an overtly satanic cult that split off from the Church of Satan in 1975. Besides tending to those duties, Aquino also has occupied his time serving as (according to an official biography once circulated by the Temple) a “Lieutenant Colonel, Military Intelligence, U.S. Army.”
Aquino was accused in court by the mother of a victim as being a key player in a nationwide pedophile ring. Paul Bonacci himself has also positively identified Aquino as an associate of King, known to the children only as ‘the Colonel.’ King’s personal photographer has identified Aquino as the man to whom he saw King hand over a suitcase full of cash and bonds.
The photographer, Rusty Nelson, also has said that King told him that Aquino was part of the Contra guns and cocaine trafficking operation run by George Bush and another notorious Lt. Col., Oliver North. Aquino has also been linked to Offutt Air Force Base, a Strategic Air Command post near Omaha that was implicated in the investigation by the Franklin Committee. He was also claimed to have ordered the abduction of a Des Moines, Iowa paperboy.
This was certainly not the first time that Aquino had been implicated as a key figure in large scale pedophile/child pornography rings. In July of 1988, not long before the King and Spence cases broke, the San Jose Mercury News ran a lengthy exposé on the Presidio Child Development Center run by the U.S. Army in San Francisco.
Allegations of abuse being perpetrated at the center first emerged in November of 1986. Alarmed by accusations made by her child, a parent had sought a medical examination which confirmed that the three-year-old boy had in fact been anally raped. The boy identified his rapist as ‘Mr. Gary,’ a teacher at the center named Gary Hambright.
Even with the conclusive medical evidence, “it took the Army almost a month to notify the parents of other children who had been in ‘Mr. Gary’s’ class that the incident had taken place.” Within a year, at least sixty victims had been identified, all between the ages of three and seven, and further “allegations would be made by parents that several more children were molested even after the investigation had begun.”
Amazingly enough, the center remained open for more than a year after the first case of abuse was reported, though the Mercury News noted that “day care centers under state jurisdiction are routinely closed when an abuse incident is confirmed.” And this was considerably more than a simple abuse incident that was confirmed.
The stories told by the children implicated many other perpetrators besides Hambright. They also told of being taken away from the center to be abused in private homes; at least three such houses were positively identified. They also told of being forced to play “poopoo baseball” and the “googoo” game – ‘games’ that involved the children being urinated and defecated upon, and being forced to ingest urine and feces.
Many of them also spoke of having guns pointed at them and of having been told that they and/or their parents and siblings would be killed if they told anyone what had been done to them. Despite the mounting number of victim/witnesses, and the numerous crimes alleged by these children, it was only Gary Hambright who was arrested – on January 5, 1987 – and he was charged with abusing just a single child. And even then the charges were dismissed just three months later, in March of 1987.
There is little doubt that literally dozens of children were in fact severely abused at the center. There was irrefutable medical evidence to document that fact. Five of the children had contracted chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease; many others showed clear signs of anal and genital trauma consistent with violent penetration, which authorities chose to ignore. One mother complained to the San Francisco Chronicle that the FBI never interviewed her or her son, even after doctors had confirmed the boy’s abuse.
There were unmistakable psychological signs as well. As The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry noted in April of 1992: “The severity of the trauma for children at the Presidio was immediately manifest in clear cut symptoms. Before the abuse was exposed, parents had already noticed the following changes in their children: vaginal discharge, genital soreness, rashes, fear of the dark, sleep disturbances, nightmares, sexually provocative language, and sexually inappropriate behavior. In addition, the children were exhibiting other radical changes in behavior, including temper outbursts, sudden mood shifts, and poor impulse control. All these behavioral symptoms are to be expected in preschool children who have been molested.”
The journal article, written by Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D., also noted that: “The Presidio case has confronted both the public at large and the mental health community with an extraordinary and abhorrent situation of grave psychological proportions: the willful molestation of young boys and girls by representatives of the most patriarchal and supposedly protective arm of the American government – the U.S. Army.”
The article further noted the nearly homicidal rage provoked in the fathers of the children abused in this way, as they saw the investigations of the crimes perpetrated against their children stonewalled and covered up. One father is quoted as saying: “When something about the Presidio comes on TV, I want to blow someone away.” Another father echoed this sentiment: “I was ready to blow the army base away.”
One of those who the fathers would have liked to blow away was Michael Aquino, along with his wife Lilith. One child positively identified the pair, known to the kids as ‘Mikey’ and ‘Shamby,’ and was also able to positively identify the Aquino’s home and to describe with uncanny accuracy the distinctively satanic interior of the house. The young witness also claimed to have been photographed at the Aquinos’ home.
On August 14 of 1987, a search warrant was served on the house. Confiscated in the raid were numerous videotapes, photographs, photo albums, photographic negatives, cassette tapes, and name and address books. Also observed was what appeared to be a soundproof room. Neither Aquino nor his wife were charged with any crimes, nor have they been to this day – a fact that Aquino claims proves his innocence.
The next month, a fire – which the Army deemed to be accidental – destroyed the Army Community Services Building adjacent to the Presidio’s day care center. Strangely enough, “the fire occurred on the autumnal equinox, a major event on the satanic calendar,” as the Mercury News noted. The fire also destroyed some of the center’s records.
“Three weeks later, fire struck again, this time at the day care center itself.” A building that housed four classrooms, including that of Gary Hambright, was completely destroyed. Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms determined that “both fires, contrary to the Army’s finding, had been arson.”
In between the first and second fires (with evidence indicating that a third arson attempt had been made as well), Hambright was again indicted, this time charged with molesting ten children. In February of 1988, all but one of the charges were dropped. Shortly thereafter, the remaining count was dropped as well, and Hambright was a free man once again. No further charges were brought against him.
In January of 1988, Aquino filed suit against the Army to have it cleared from his record that he had been investigated as a suspected pedophile. According to court records, he also had the gall to charge “Captain Adams-Thompson [the father of a victim] with conduct unbecoming an officer because the Captain reported the allegations of child abuse to the San Francisco police.”
In denying Aquino’s motion, the court concluded that “there was probable cause to title Aquino with offenses of indecent acts with a child, sodomy, conspiracy, kidnapping, and false swearing,” despite the fact that “the San Francisco police department (SFPD) closed its investigation and filed no charges against the plaintiff or anyone else.”
Aquino and various of his defenders have consistently claimed that no one was ever prosecuted in the case due to a lack of evidence – proof that the entire affair was no more than a ‘witch hunt.’ Of course, the failure to prosecute the federal charges could also be due to the fact that, at the time, the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco handling the case was Joseph Russoniello.
Russoniello would later be identified by reporter Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News as a player in the Contra cocaine smuggling operation led by Lt. Col. Oliver North and company, just as witnesses would later identify Lt. Col. Michael Aquino as an operative in the very same sordid affair. It always helps when your legal ‘adversaries’ are actually on your side.
In May of 1989, Aquino was again questioned in connection with child abuse investigations; this time at least five children in three cities were making the accusations. The children had seen Aquino in newspaper and television coverage of the Presidio case and immediately recognized him as one of their abusers.
Three of the children lived in Ukiah – former home of the People’s Temple – where Police Chief Fred Keplinger was overseeing the investigation of the allegations. The Mercury News quoted the chief as saying that “the children are believable. I have no doubt in my mind that something has occurred.” Aquino was also identified by children in Santa Rosa and Fort Bragg.
In the Fort Bragg case, “allegations of ritual abuse erupted … in 1985 when several children at the Jubilation Day Care Center said they were sexually abused by a number of people at the day care center and at several locations away from the center, including at least two churches.” Aquino was identified as having been at one of those churches.
The Mercury News also reported that there was clear evidence of satanic cult activity on the grounds of the Presidio base, including an abundance of satanic graffiti, a satanic altar, and numerous artifacts of satanic rituals. A former MP at the base is quoted as saying: “We were sitting there, we’ve got a cult on the Presidio of San Francisco and nobody cares about it … We were told by the provost marshal to just forget about it.”
On April 19, 1988 – the eve of Adolf Hitler’s birthday, and seven years to the day before the Oklahoma City Federal Building would explode, allegedly due to an act of ‘domestic terrorism’- an open-house was held on the grounds of the Presidio heralding the opening of the new day care facility built to replace the fire-damaged Child Development Center.
As a final note on the Presidio case, a report in the Marin Independent Journal revealed that Aquino owned a building in Marin County – inherited from his mother, Betty Ford-Aquino – that had been jointly leased to the Marin County Child Abuse Council and Project Care for Children. The stated purpose of Project Care was, interestingly enough, to assist parents in locating day care for their children.
As disturbing as the Presidio case was, it was just one of many ritual abuse cases directly tied to one or more branches of the United States armed forces. As the Mercury News reported: “By November, 1987 the Army had received allegations of child abuse at 15 of its day care centers and several elementary schools. There were also at least two cases in Air Force day care centers,” and another in a center run by the U.S. Navy.
In addition, “a special team of experts was sent to Panama [in June of 1988] to help determine if as many as 10 children at a Department of Defense elementary school had been molested and possibly infected with AIDS.” Yet another case emerged in a U.S.-run facility in West Germany.
These cases erupted at some of the most esteemed military bases in the country, including Fort Dix, Fort Leavenworth, Fort Jackson, and West Point. Many of those making the accusations were career military officers who had devoted their lives to unquestioned allegiance to the U.S. armed forces. Many would resign their posts in outraged protest.
It would be redundant to review all these cases, as most of them followed a remarkably similar pattern. Given though that West Point is America’s premier military academy, and given also that the case – like many others – was linked by witnesses to the Presidio, a brief review is warranted here.
As The Times Herald Record reported in June of 1991: “The incidents [at the West Point Child Development Center] unfolded against a backdrop of satanic acts, animal sacrifices and cult-like behavior among the abusers, whose activities extended beyond the U.S. Military Academy borders to Orange County and a military base in San Francisco, parents charged.”
The case first broke in July of 1984, when a three-year-old girl found herself in the emergency room of the West Point Hospital with a lacerated vagina. She told the examining physician that a teacher at the day care center had hurt her. The next month, the parents of another child leveled accusations of abuse at the center.
As the Mercury News reported: “By the end of the year, 50 children had been interviewed by investigators. Children at West Point told stories that would become horrifyingly familiar. They said they had been ritually abused. They said they had had excrement smeared on their bodies and been forced to eat feces and drink urine. They said they were taken away from the day care center and photographed.”
Despite abundant medical and psychological evidence, and literally dozens of child witnesses, and despite “950 interviews by 60 FBI agents assigned to the investigation, an investigation led by former U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani produced no federal grand jury indictments,” according to the Herald Record.
The Herald also noted that: “In 1987, Giuliani said his detailed investigation showed only one or two children were abused.” This was, it should be noted, a bare-faced lie from the fascistic future-mayor and would-be Senator, as the Herald report divulged: “a still-secret, independent report – produced by one of the nation’s top experts on child sexual abuse – confirms the children’s accusations of abuse.”
This was not the first time that the prestigious academy had shown an appalling willingness to overlook extreme levels of abuse directed at children by army personnel. A year before the abuse case broke, a 22-month-old child was murdered by an Army staff sergeant. The Mercury News reported that: “After a court martial hearing, the sergeant was given an 18 month suspended sentence and dishonorable discharge.”
In other words, he served no time and was essentially given a free ride for murdering a child. With help from Giuliani, the FBI, the U.S. Army, and the grand jury, the abusers of countless children at the day care center (which was, appropriately enough, building number 666 on the academy grounds) were likewise given a free ride.
As with the Franklin case, the children and their parents were to find justice only through the civil courts. The Herald Record reported that: “lawyers for both the government and the 11 child plaintiffs agreed that some children were sexually abused at the center two years ago” (again contradicting Giuliani’s bogus conclusions). The government, however, claimed that it could not be held responsible, due to the “assault exemption in the Federal Tort Claim Act.”
As the New York Times explained: “under federal law the government cannot be held liable for assaults committed by its employees and thus cannot be sued for assault.” In other words, the Army did not dispute the allegations, it just rather cavalierly maintained that it was exempt from being sued. The court saw otherwise and awarded $2.7 million to nine of the child victims – paltry compensation for their suffering, but a victory of sorts nonetheless.
The Times opined that the settlement amount “was large for a child-abuse case in which no criminal charges were filed.” The article claimed that the failure to prosecute the case was due to the fact that “the Federal Bureau of Investigation found ‘insufficient evidence to prosecute,’” when in fact the Bureau appears to have deliberately ignored and/or covered-up that evidence.
And so ended the West Point case, except that – as one mother noted – it was hardly over: “These people stole our children. She’s nothing like she used to be. She’s a very angry little girl. She doesn’t trust anyone. She’s nothing like she was before this happened. It’s never going to be over for them, or for us.”
The mother of a Presidio victim had this to say: “People keep telling us we’ve got to let it go — just forget about it and go on … Three weeks ago, our youngest daughter was having nightmares and our other daughter was closing out the whole world, going to her room and siting there, with no radio, no TV, no nothing. Tell me it’s over.”
“I cannot accept promotion in a system that at first refused to acknowledge and now refuses to deal with the victims of extensive child abuse that occurred at the West Point Child Development Center.”
Army Captain Walter R. Grote, refusing a promotion to Major in June 1985. Grote referred to his protest as a “fight for the human rights of all children.”
- 1. Al-Kurdi, Husayn “Messing With Our Minds,” Toward Freedom, May 1998
- 2. Arce, Rose Marie “Liability in Point Abuse Case Debated,” The Times Herald Record (Middletown, New York), December 23, 1986
- 3. Blood, Linda The New Satanists, Warner Books, 1994
- 4. Cunningham, Douglas and Alan Snel “A Legacy of Pain: Settlement Doesn’t Ease Abused Children’s Fears,” The Times Herald Record (Middletown, New York), June 11, 1991
- 5. DeCamp, John W. The Franklin Cover-Up, AWT, Inc., 1992
- 6. Ehrensaft, Diane “Preschool Child Sex Abuse: The Aftermath of the Presidio Case,” The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, April 1992
- 7. Goldston, Linda “Army of the Night,” San Jose Mercury News, July 24, 1988
- 8. Goldston, Linda “Satanic Priest Questioned in New Sex Case,” San Jose Mercury News, May 13, 1989
- 9. Hays, Constance L. “$2.7 Million Settles Army Child-Abuse Case,” New York Times, May 23, 1991
- 10. Sawyer, Kathy “Army Doctor Turns Down Promotion; Lax Response to Case of Child Abuse Cited,” Washington Post, June 25, 1985
- 11. Steinberg, Jeffrey “Satanic Subversion of the U.S. Military,” EIR, July 2, 1999
- 12. “Army Doctor Refuses Promotion in Protest,” San Diego Union Tribune, June 25, 1985
- 13. “The Keys to Hell and Death – Part II,” SFLR News (the newsletter of San Francisco Liberation Radio), May 21, 2001
- 14. Michael Aquino v. The Honorable Michael Stone, Secretary of the Army (Civ. A. No. 90-1547-A), United States District Court, Alexandria Division, July 1, 1991
“Rarely has such a strange and little-understood organization had such a profound effect on media coverage of such a controversial matter. The [False Memory Syndrome] foundation is an aggressive, well-financed PR machine adept at manipulating the press, harassing its critics, and mobilizing a diverse army of psychiatrists, outspoken academics, expert defense witnesses, litigious lawyers, Freud bashers, critics of psychotherapy, and devastated parents.”
Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 1997If there’s anyone who can relate to the sentiments expressed by the Presidio and West Point parents, it is the mothers and fathers of the children from the McMartin Preschool – and there are literally hundreds of them. The McMartin case was, of course, the largest and most well-publicized of the multi-victim, multi-perpetrator ritual abuse cases that sprang forth in the 1980s.
It was also a case that was grotesquely misrepresented by the media, both mainstream and ‘alternative’ – perhaps nowhere more so than in the appalling writings of Alexander Cockburn, the allegedly ‘progressive’ Warren Committee apologist. Cockburn went so far as to write an op-ed piece entitled “The McMartin Case: Indict the Children, Jail the Parents,” which ran in The Wall Street Journal on February 8, 1990.
Virtually everyone agrees that the children of McMartin were victimized, the only debate being whether that victimization was by abusive caretakers or by overzealous therapists and prosecutors. Either way, Cockburn’s stance on the case was unconscionable, and should have sent a clear signal to the progressive community that there was considerably more to the McMartin allegations than met the eye.
The harsh reality is that the McMartin Preschool, in conjunction with at least two other Manhattan Beach preschools and one babysitting service, was the center of a massive child prostitution and child pornography ring whose operations were protected and covered up by any number of local, state and federal officials – or so it would appear.
A glimpse of the true nature and scale of the McMartin case is given by an official correspondence from Sergeant Beth Dickerson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to Agent Ken Lanning at the FBI Academy Behavioral Sciences Unit in Quantico, Virginia, dated February 10, 1985, and reproduced in Larry Kahaner’s Cults That Kill:
“In August 1983, the Manhattan Beach Police Department began an investigation regarding allegations of sexual abuse occurring at the McMartin Preschool … Altogether, approximately 400 children were evaluated by therapists at Children’s Institute International. All interviews were videotaped and 350 children disclosed sexual behavior …
“In all, the victims named seven teachers (six women and one male) at the preschool as having molested them. These individuals are currently charged with 209 counts of child molestation. Also named are about 30 other individuals still uncharged, as well as numerous unidentified ‘strangers.’
“McMartin victims allege sexual abuse occurred on school grounds as well as at a local market, churches, a mortuary, various homes, a farm, a doctor’s office, other preschools and other unknown locations …
“Most children state they were photographed in the nude … They mention drinking a red or pink liquid that made them sleepy … Children disclose animal sacrificing (bunnies, ponies, turtles, etc.) and some of this occurred in churches. Victims describe sticks put in their vaginas and rectums and also being ‘pooped’ and ‘peed’ on. Children say that the adults sometimes dressed in black robes, formed a circle around them and chanted.
“In May 1984, another preschool investigation began in the same policing jurisdiction stemming from a McMartin victim who identified the Manhattan Ranch Preschool as a place where he was taken and molested … additional children have begun disclosing sexual abuse (approximately 60) and they have named six or more additional suspects … These children talk of strangers coming to the school and molesting them, being taken off campus and molested, being photographed nude and some talk of animals being abused. The children talk of being hit with sticks and of being ‘peed’ and ‘pooped’ on …
“[T]he resources of the police department and the District Attorney’s office were not sufficient in order to follow up on the multitude of uncharged suspects in both preschools … The Task Force became operational on November 5, 1984. It should be noted that the Task Force has two other preschools under investigation for alleged sexual abuse in addition to McMartin and Manhattan Ranch. One, the Learning Game Preschool, is clearly linked to McMartin.”
An astounding total of 460 children reported being sexually abused at the three closely-linked Manhattan Beach schools. Even more astounding, investigative author Michael Newton (among others) has noted that Children’s Institute International determined that: “a full eighty percent displayed physical symptoms, including vaginal or rectal scarring, anal bleeding, painful bowel movements, and the ‘anal wick reflex’ associated with violent penetration.”
The stories told by the victim/witnesses were remarkably similar as to the nature of the abuse, the locations where the abuse took place, and the perpetrators of the abuse. And these were not, as is commonly believed, all preschool children telling these stories; some of the witnesses were former students in their teens and twenties, and their stories corroborated those of the children.
The older witnesses were not allowed to testify at the McMartin trials, however, as the statute of limitations for the crimes committed against them had expired. Many of the younger witnesses were unable to offer testimony as well, for various reasons – most notably because they were too severely traumatized. Even so, as author Jan Hollingsworth has pointed out, prosecutors had at their disposal “more than a hundred child witnesses as old as eleven and a truckload of medical reports bearing documentation of scarred genitals and anuses.”
The stories told by these children, it should be noted, were not fed to them by some diabolical team of therapists and headline-seeking journalists. Many of them were offered spontaneously to hundreds of parents and scores of childcare specialists. And the victims of the McMartin Preschool, all adults now, still tell the same stories today.
While anyone suggesting that the allegations in the McMartin case were true – and that a massive cover-up concealed the true nature and scope of the case – is likely to be labeled a ‘conspiracy theorist,’ the most preposterous conspiracy theory surrounding McMartin has always been the notion that some cabal of overzealous therapists was able to implant ‘false memories’ of heinous abuse in the minds of nearly 500 individuals, and have them persist to this day.
Despite the vast number of eyewitnesses – most of them bearing physical evidence of abuse – and despite the fact that the judge who presided over more than a year of pre-trial testimony ruled that the state had more than enough evidence to proceed to trial, District Attorney Ira Reiner inexplicably dropped all charges against five of the seven defendants in the case on January 17 of 1986. Six days before that, he had summarily dismissed two prosecutors on the case.
At least three dozen other suspects who had been independently identified by numerous witnesses were never indicted at all. One of these was a man named Robert Winkler, arrested in neighboring Torrance, California for running a baby-sitting service out of the Coco Palms Motel that authorities described as a front for a sexual abuse ring. Children in the McMartin case recognized Winkler in news footage as the man they had known as the ‘Wolfman.’
The kids described Winkler as being a frequent visitor to the school, delivering drugs for use in abusive rituals, which were sometimes conducted in churches, a cemetery, or a crematorium. The Wolfman, conveniently enough, turned up dead on the eve of his trial, allegedly of a drug overdose.
Winkler wasn’t the only one to miss his day in court in conjunction with the McMartin case. Judy Johnson, the first McMartin parent to lodge a complaint, turned up dead before her scheduled testimony as well. When her body was found sprawled naked on the floor of her home, her death was said to be due to complications from her chronic alcoholism. She was also derided by defense attorneys and their media allies as a mentally unfit crank.
In truth, Johnson was not known to have any mental problems – or a drinking problem – prior to learning of the unthinkable abuse her child had suffered. Considered a key prosecution witness, Johnson received frequent threats prior to her death and was followed when she ventured out in public. Many of the other McMartin parents were openly skeptical of Johnson’s stated cause of death.
A former Hermosa Beach police officer named Paul Bynum, who had been hired by the parents of victims as a private investigator, turned up dead on the eve of his scheduled testimony as well. His death by gunshot was ruled a suicide, though those close to Bynum dispute that finding to this day.
Among other things, Bynum may have testified about his examination of the tunnel excavation project conducted at the school site. This was, of course, the object of much derision by the media. The fact that the children repeatedly told stories of tunnels under the property by which they could be secretly transported to and from the school, and in which they were subjected to unspeakable abuse in a secret room, was frequently cited as ‘proof’ that the children’s stories were fabrications.
It was universally accepted that the tunnels did not actually exist, that being the consensus view of the media and law enforcement authorities. But while it is true that the investigation commissioned by the District Attorney’s office found no evidence of tunnels, one of the dirty little secrets of the McMartin case is that the tunnels did, in fact, exist.
Many of the parents were not satisfied with the ridiculously superficial examination by the DA’s office, and commissioned another investigation of the site when the property was sold in April of 1990. To lead the project, they hired E. Gary Stickel, Ph.D., a highly regarded archeologist recommended to them by the Chair of the Interdisciplinary Program of the Archeology Department at UCLA. Stickel had served as a consultant to Lucasfilms on the Indiana Jones movies.
Also brought on board were several other technical specialists. As Stickel wrote in his report on the excavation: “By engaging a highly recommended professional archeological team, [the parents] hoped to bring scientific authority to whatever might be found or a definitive resolution for whatever was not to be found.” And what the team found was precisely what the children had been telling them they would find for the previous seven years:
“The project unearthed not one but two tunnel complexes as well as previously unrecognized structural features which defied logical explanation. Both tunnel complexes conformed to locations and functional descriptions established by children’s reports. One had been described as providing undetected access to an adjacent building on the east. The other provided outside access under the west wall of the building and contained within it an enlarged, cavernous artifact corresponding to children’s descriptions of a ‘secret room.’
“Both the contour signature of the walls and the nature of recovered artifacts indicated that the tunnels had been dug by hand under the concrete slab floor after the construction of the building … Not only did the discovered features fulfill the research prequalifications as tunnels designed for human traffic, there was also no alternative or natural explanation for the presence of such features …
“If the stories of the children were bogus fantasies, there is no excuse for the tunnels discovered under the school. If there really were tunnels, there is no excuse for the glib dismissal of any and all of the complaints of the children and their parents.”
This investigation was completed before the McMartin trials had concluded, yet this devastating evidence was never presented in court by the prosecution. The existence of this report, complete with photos and maps of the tunnel complexes, was known to the local and national press, but it was never reported. To this day, it is denied that any tunnels ever existed under the McMartin Preschool.
The denial of the tunnels is necessary to maintain the illusion that the children were not credible witnesses, that illusion being essential to the cover-up. For if the children were credible, the implications run far deeper than the tunnels under the school. There is, for example, the stories told by the children of being pimped out as child prostitutes in private homes and businesses all over the community.
They also spoke frequently of being photographed and videotaped while being abused. District Attorney Robert Philibosian publicly declared the McMartin Preschool to be an elaborate front for a massive child pornography operation. Twenty-three parents filed a civil lawsuit making the very same claim, one that appears to be strongly supported by the facts of the case.
Other stories told repeatedly by the children are even more disturbing. They told of being forced to witness and participate in the ritual torture, killing and mutilation of animals and, on occasion, of human babies and children as well. They spoke of being forced to drink the blood and eat the flesh of the slaughtered corpses, of witnessing the beheading of infants, and of being forced to stab infants themselves.
They told as well of being sealed in coffins with the mutilated corpses. And they spoke of being subjected to every sort of depraved sexual activity imaginable, including necrophilia, copraphilia and bestiality. The abuse was of such stunning brutality that it is almost beyond human comprehension that anyone could inflict such physical and psychological torture on children.
And yet these stories were soon being told by thousands of other kids across the country as preschool abuse cases spread like wildfire. Young children from all walks of life, and from all parts of the country, all telling remarkably similar stories of horrific ritual abuse – how was this possible? If they were all victims of ‘false memories,’ how vast a conspiracy would be required for therapists all across the country to implant the very same memories in all of these children?
Experts have noted that the victimized children show a level of knowledge that defies rational explanation if the kids have not experienced what they claim to have experienced. For instance, these child victims can accurately describe the look, smell, texture and colors of human viscera. This is an ability, it has been argued, that very few adults possess, other than those who have been trained as surgeons or coroners.
These children also display a remarkable level of knowledge of a wide variety of human sexual practices, including many bizarre acts that, again, most adults do not have knowledge or awareness of. If these children did not experience these things firsthand, then how did they gain such knowledge?
In February of 1985, Officer Sandi Gallant of the San Francisco Police Department submitted a report to her superiors noting the similarities in numerous ritual abuse cases. She had gathered evidence from fellow officers and police departments across the country and summarized the evidence referenced in the police reports submitted to her. An excerpt from her report reads as follows:
“The information contained herein is distasteful and bizarre, to such a degree that one would choose to discredit it. However, research that I have done in this area has revealed that numerous cases of this type are surfacing around the country and in Canada. The similarities in the stories of each child victim used in these crimes tend to give credibility to the information revealed by others. Additionally, the psychiatrists and therapists who have been treating the victims state that the consistency of the stories and the explicit details revealed cause them to believe that these children are telling the truth. It is also the belief of each law enforcement officer who submitted information for this report that the victims are being truthful and that, in fact, children would be unable to make such stories up.
“During my research, similarities began surfacing which indicate the strong probability that there exists a network of people in this country involved in the sexual abuse and possible homicides of young children. These cases appear to differ from isolated cases of abuse towards children in that the crimes mentioned here have been committed with one common goal in mind – that of mutilating and murdering children for ritualistic or sacrificial purposes. Many of the cases reported also reveal the possibility of child pornography beyond the normal type of ‘kiddie porn’ in that these children are photographed during rituals with some members in robes or other garb and candles, snakes, swords, altars and other types of ritualistic material being used.”
Gallant had requested that the report be sent on to the chief of police for him to review and forward to the FBI. Following his review, however, the chief declined to submit the report. Gallant also tried to get the U.S. Department of Justice to review the paperwork, but she was – not surprisingly – rebuffed there as well.
As for the McMartin case, there has never been any question that the children there were horrifically abused. Though rarely noted in press reports, the jurors were clearly of the opinion that that was, in fact, the case. The hung juries and acquittals were the result of the jury members’ inability to identify the perpetrators of that abuse, which they attributed to the inept presentation of the prosecution’s case.
Another notable fact about the McMartin trials is that the defense was allowed to subject the child witnesses to the longest pretrial hearing in the nation’s history. Facing a battery of as many as seven rabid defense attorneys, the already severely traumatized children were verbally assaulted for weeks on end in a deliberate attempt to break them. The state made little effort to protect these young victims.
Also rarely noted in the reporting on the trials is that the matriarch of the family – Virginia McMartin – admitted on the stand that one of her own granddaughters believed that her children had been molested at the school. McMartin, by the way, had achieved semi-celebrity status in the childcare field. In the mid-1960s, she had traveled to New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and England to visit preschools as a consultant.
In the final analysis, the logical conclusion to be drawn from the McMartin case is that 460 kids did not conspire to all lie about the abuse they suffered. They also did not likely lie about their involvement in child prostitution and child pornography. They certainly did not lie about the tunnels under the school.
They also did not lie about their forced involvement in satanic rituals, in which adults sheathed in black ceremonial robes uttered chants. In fact, at least one such robe was seized from the home of a defendant. And, perhaps most tragically, there is good reason to believe that they did not lie about the blood sacrifices either.
- 1. Constantine, Alex Virtual Government, Feral House, 1997
- 2. Hollingsworth, Jan Unspeakable Acts, Congdon & Weed, 1986
- 3. Kahaner, Larry Cults That Kill, Warner Books, 1989
- 4. Newton, Michael Raising Hell, Avon Books, 1993
- 5. Raschke, Carl Painted Black, Harper and Row, 1990
- 6. Ryder, Daniel Cover-Up of the Century, Ryder Publishing, 1996
- 7. Stanton, Mike “U-Turn on Memory Lane,” Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 1997
- 8. Stickel, E. Gary, Ph.D. “Archaeological Investigations of the McMartin Preschool Site, Manhattan Beach, California” (unpublished report of investigation)
- 9. Summit, Dr. Roland C. “The Dark Tunnels of McMartin,” Journal of Psychohistory, Spring 1994
Prosecutor Dan Casey: “Did you exercise any kind of mind control over your wife in order to get her to have sexual contact?”
Frank Fuster: “If I had that power, you think I would use it against … ? You know … I don’t … I have never. I’m a normal human being.”
On August 8, 1984, Bobby Dean stood on the front lawn of the Fuster home in the Country Walk housing development – a picture-perfect, planned community of relatively upscale suburban homes in Dade County, Florida. By all appearances, this was a small slice of paradise – an oasis untouched by the grim realities of American society.
On this day though, Dean had a loaded gun in his waistband and he fully intended to use it. He was there to finish the job that someone else had failed to complete on December 18 of 1980. On that day, an unidentified assailant had confronted Francisco Fuster Escalona (aka Frank Fuster) at his place of business and shot him once in the side of the head.
Fuster survived the attack, which he explained to the police as a botched robbery, though the officers thought it looked more like an attempted execution. Dean didn’t get the chance to make another attempt; police were on the scene in short order to arrest him.
Fuster himself surrendered to police two days later in response to the issuance of an arrest warrant. He had been under investigation following accusations by neighborhood parents that he and his wife, Iliana, had been brutally abusing their children while in the trusted care of the Fuster’s babysitting service – run out of their Country Walk home.
Fuster had, shall we say, rather questionable qualifications to run a day care center. On January 16, 1969, Fuster pumped two shots into the heart of a fellow motorist in New York City, killing him instantly. An off-duty police officer was, curiously enough, an eyewitness to the summary execution.
Even more curiously, Fuster chambered another round and pointed his gun directly at the armed officer – and yet wasn’t shot. He was arrested though, and tried and convicted before the year was out. On Halloween day (needless to say, yet another occult holiday), he was sentenced to a ten year prison term. He was back on the streets in less than four, after which he received ‘psychiatric care.’
In November of 1982, he was convicted again – this time of a lewd assault on a nine-year-old girl. Despite being his second felony conviction, Fuster was sentenced to just two years probation. It was while on probation for the child molestation conviction that Fuster and his underage wife started up the babysitting service.
His probation officer apparently had no problem with this business venture, although it brought Fuster into unsupervised contact with at least fifty kids. At least thirty of them were horrifically abused. Fuster’s probation officer also had no problem with the fact that Frank had self-terminated his court-ordered psychiatric treatment in August of 1983.
No one really seems to have been too concerned about Fuster’s babysitting service, which – in addition to being run by a convicted child molester – was operating without proper licensing and in violation of local zoning laws. Commercial enterprises were expressly forbidden in the residential community.
Nevertheless, the service operated with the full knowledge of the entity managing the complex. In fact, Fuster’s service used the name Country Walk Babysitting Service, implying that his was an officially sanctioned service provided for the community.
The management company, Arvida, denied there were ever any official links to the Fuster operation after Frank’s past and present activities were revealed. This, of course, was to be expected. Given that Arvida was a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, it wouldn’t really do to be perceived as having connections to a child molestation operation.
The fact remains though that the company took no actions against Fuster for the illegal expropriation of the ‘Country Walk’ name or for violating zoning regulations. Dade County also took a hands-off approach to the Fuster business enterprise. Despite the fact that Frank lacked other required licenses, the convicted murderer was issued an occupational license to run the babysitting service.
Detective Donna Meznarich was the first police investigator sent to look into the allegations being made by the Country Walk parents. She was openly skeptical of the charges before she even knew what they actually were. The parents felt that she came calling with an unmistakable attitude of disbelief.
Nevertheless, enough evidence quickly emerged to issue an arrest warrant for Frank Fuster for probation violations. Considerably more evidence could have been gathered had police conducted a timely search of the Fuster home. Facing imminent arrest, Fuster was observed by his Country Walk neighbors hastily packing boxes into a white van.
Fearing the loss of valuable physical evidence, parents contacted the police – who failed to respond. The detective that disregarded the parents’ concerns that day was Donna Meznarich. She also executed the search warrant the next day, on a home largely – though not entirely – cleansed of incriminating evidence.
With Fuster safely in custody, the stories told by the child victims grew increasingly disturbing. They told of being forced to play “pee-pee” and “ca-ca” games. A photo would be produced at trial showing Fuster’s young son Jaime – one of the most severely abused of the victims – sitting in a bathroom smeared thickly with excrement.
The children also told of being forced to drink “magic punch,” later revealed by Fuster’s wife to be a mixture of Gatorade, urine, and various drugs. It would be revealed at trial that a close friend of the Fuster family owned a pharmacy, providing a reliable source for drugs. This friend was particularly close to Fuster’s mother and uncle.
The children also told of having their lives threatened repeatedly, and of having their parents’ lives threatened as well. They had been compelled to play a game, they said, called “who’s gonna lose their head?” This game frequently ended with the ritual decapitation of an animal, typically a bird.
Finally, perhaps inevitably, the children claimed that they were frequently photographed and videotaped – while being sexually abused and during occult rituals. Fuster claimed to have never owned any video equipment, and none was found in the belated search of the Fuster home. Jaime Fuster though recalled seeing video equipment – as well as guns – being packed into the boxes being loaded into the van just before Fuster’s arrest.
Some investigators have speculated that Fuster was in the business of producing custom, made-to-order child pornography videos. He certainly lived quite well for a self-employed mini-blind installer. He had no problem coming up with the down payment for his Country Walk home, and had no fewer than six bank accounts. He was in the habit of making lump sum deposits of as much as $20,000.
Fuster apparently liked to screen home videos for the kids as well, one of which was said to be a snuff film that the children described as depicting two men butchering a woman in a bathtub and then eating her. Some of the kids also, strangely enough, spoke of being hypnotized by Iliana Fuster, who they said wore a ‘hypnotizer’ on a chain around her neck.
The trial of Frank Fuster had notable parallels to the McMartin prosecutions, though it differed in significant ways as well. The Country Walk parents who actively and vocally worked to see Fuster brought to justice were subjected to death threats by phone, obscene messages in the mail, and dead chickens left on their doorsteps – similar to the harassment suffered by their counterparts in Manhattan Beach.
Also like McMartin, the primary defense strategy was to bring in a hired-gun ‘expert’ of questionable qualifications to attempt to discredit the children’s testimony. The children had been brainwashed by the overzealous therapists, it was claimed, as these villainous therapists were crucified as being the true guilty parties in what was clearly a ‘witch hunt.’
The man originally scheduled to play this starring role for the defense was Ralph Underwager, at the time a prominent mouthpiece for a group calling itself VOCAL – Victims of Child Abuse Laws. As the name implies, this group was largely composed of indicted and/or convicted pedophiles. Underwager had been present at the birth of the organization.
The defense suffered a bit of a setback though when Underwager’s credentials as an ‘expert’ in the field of child development were revealed as being nonexistent at a pretrial deposition. He was quietly dropped by the defense and replaced with Lee Stewart Coleman, who also had close ties to VOCAL. Coleman had played a key role in the unsuccessful prosecution of the defendants in one of the McMartin-linked preschools.
Coleman did not succeed in his mission in the Country Walk case, however. Fuster was found guilty on all fourteen counts. One reason for this is that the children were protected from the abusive pretrial treatment afforded the McMartin kids. Additionally, the police and prosecutors – with some notable exceptions – seem to have actually made an effort to win the case.
Why was this prosecution not subverted as so many others were? That is difficult to say, though the answer may lie in the make-up of the parents seeking justice for their children; among them were a police sergeant, a police lieutenant, two former state prosecutors, a former chief assistant state attorney, and a gun-toting vigilante named Bobby Dean.
In the end, Frank Fuster – the man who appeared at his pretrial hearing in what was described as a “catatonic trance” – was sentenced to be imprisoned until the year 2150. Not even the Santeria priest who attended the trial with Fuster’s mother and uncle had the power to save him. And Arvida – which is to say, the Walt Disney Co. – paid $6 million to seven of his victims.
Even so, justice was not necessarily served. According to the victims, at least two other adults were involved in the abuse. The state knew the identity of at least one of them, but he was never charged with any crimes. Had he been, there’s no telling where the investigation might have led; his wife had once run a babysitting service.
With the heightened awareness of child abuse engendered by the high-profile Fuster case, a number of other cases emerged in the Miami area. In one, police inadvertently stumbled upon a collection of hundreds of photos of a convicted child pornographer engaged in sexual acts with young boys, and promptly arrested the man.
Two days after his release on bond, he was found in a Miami hotel room with a bullet hole in his head. His death was, naturally, ruled a suicide. This timely suicide preempted an investigation that could have, it seems reasonable to conclude, led to the elementary school that was directly across from his home/studio.
Another case that broke in the wake of Country Walk was that of Harold “Grant” Snowden, whose wife also had run a babysitting service. Dozens of kids had passed through her care over the course of a decade. It took two trials, but Snowden was ultimately convicted. In 1983, he had been named the South Miami Police Department’s “Officer of the Year.” Stepping up to handle the appeal of his conviction was F. Lee Bailey, who in the late 1960s had represented a U.S. Air Force Captain in South Carolina accused of child molestation involving multiple victims.
1. Hollingsworth, Jan Unspeakable Acts, Congdon & Weed, 1986
“Little girls have to learn that their fathers are off limits when it comes to gratification of sexual feelings”
Dr. Richard Gardner, another vocal member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, explaining how children are to blame for their molestation (in The Toronto Star, February 4, 1996)
Just a few years later, yet another case broke in the state of Florida. On February 7 of 1987, not long before the Franklin and the Spence cases broke, the Washington Post ran an interesting story that did not at the time seem to have any particular national significance. The article concerned a case of possible kidnapping and child abuse, and read in part as follows:
“Authorities investigating the alleged abuse of six children found with two men in a Tallahassee, Fla., park discovered material yesterday in the Washington area that they say points to a 1960’s style commune called the Finders, described in a court document as a ‘cult’ that allegedly conducted ‘brainwashing’ and used children ‘in rituals.’
“D.C. police, who searched a Northeast Washington warehouse linked to the group removed large plastic bags filled with color slides, photographs and photographic contact sheets. Some photos visible through a bag carried from the warehouse at 1307 Fourth St. NE were wallet-sized pictures of children, similar to school photos, and some were of naked children.
“D.C. police sources said some of the items seized yesterday showed pictures of children engaged in what appeared to be ‘cult rituals.’ Officials of the U.S. Customs Service, called in to aid in the investigation, said that the material seized yesterday includes photos showing children involved in bloodletting ceremonies of animals and one photograph of a child in chains.
“Customs officials said they were looking into whether a child pornography operation was being conducted … Their links to the D.C. area have led authorities into a far-reaching investigation that includes the Finders – a group of about 40 people that court documents allege is led by a man named Marion Pettie – and their various homes, including the duplex apartment building in Glover Park, the Northeast Washington warehouse and a 90 acre farm in rural Madison County, Va. …
“The children, identified in a court document only by the first names of Honeybee, John, Franklin, Bee Bee, Max and Mary, were described as ‘dirty, unkempt, hungry, disturbed and agitated.’ They had been living in the rear of the van for some time, the document said. Yesterday, police spokesman Hunt said one of the children, a 6 yr. old girl, ‘showed signs of sexual abuse’ …
“Five of the children were uncommunicative, according to police, and none seemed to recognize objects such as typewriters and staplers. However, the oldest was able to give investigators some information. She said that the two men ‘were their teachers,’ according to Hunt …
“Before their arrests in the park, [the two adult caretakers] had told police that they were teachers from Washington ‘transporting these children to Mexico and a school for brilliant children,’ according to Hunt. When police asked the men where the children’s mothers were they said they were being weaned from their mothers.”
This was just one of many such stories that emerged across the country in the late 1980s, a phenomenon that would quickly be denounced as a ‘witch hunt’ and as a ‘satanic panic.’ It would be nearly seven years before the press would revisit this particular manifestation of what would come to be regarded as a modern-day case of mass hysteria.
It was the U.S. News and World Report that would ultimately provide the follow-up to the Finders story, but this was certainly not in the interest of shining any light on the earlier allegations. Most likely, the strange saga of the Finders would have disappeared forever if not for the rumors surrounding the case that just wouldn’t seem to go away.
These rumors were addressed in the U.S. News report as follows: “One of the unresolved questions involves allegations that the Finders are somehow linked to the Central Intelligence Agency. Customs Service documents reveal that in 1987, when Customs agents sought to examine the evidence gathered by Washington, D.C. police, they were told that the Finders investigation ‘had become an internal matter.’
“The police report on the case had been classified secret. Even now, Tallahassee police complain about the handling of the Finders investigation by D.C. police. ‘They dropped this case,’ one Tallahassee investigator says, ‘like a hot rock.’ D.C. police will not comment on the matter. As for the CIA, ranking officials describe allegations about links between the intelligence agency and the Finders as ‘hogwash,’ perhaps the result of a simple mix up with D.C. police. The only connection, according to the CIA: A firm that provided computer training to CIA officers also employed several members of the Finders.”
It should probably be noted here that the firm that supplied the training didn’t just employ several members of the Finders but appears to have in fact been a wholly owned subsidiary of the Finders organization. It should also be noted that the CIA does not, as a general rule-of-thumb, assign the training of its officers to outside contractors. If a ‘private’ firm is utilized in such a capacity, it is in all such cases a front group of the CIA itself.
In the last paragraph of the U.S. News report, yet more intriguing connections to Langley are revealed. Speaking of group leader Marion Pettie, it is noted that “the CIA’s interest in the Finders may stem from the fact that his late wife once worked for the agency and that his son worked for a CIA proprietary firm, Air America.” Aside from acknowledging these by then widely known (in Washington, at least) CIA connections, the U.S. News reporters did their very best to bury this story once and for all, denigrating the sordid allegations leveled against the group seven years earlier. The article reads as follows:
“The case is almost seven years old now, but matters surrounding a mysterious group known as the Finders keep growing curiouser and curiouser.
“In early February 1987, an anonymous tipster in Tallahassee, Fla, made a phone call to police. Two ‘well dressed men’ seemed to be ‘supervising’ six disheveled and hungry children in a local park, the caller said. The cops went after the case like bloodhounds, at least at first. The two men were identified as members of the Finders. They were charged with child abuse in Florida. In Washington, D.C. police and U.S. Customs Service agents raided a duplex apartment building and a warehouse connected to the group.
“Among the evidence seized – detailed instructions on obtaining children for unknown purposes and several photographs of nude children.
“According to a Customs Service memorandum obtained by U.S. News, one photo appeared ‘to accent the child’s genitals.’ The more the police learned about the Finders, the more bizarre they seemed: There were suggestions of child abuse, Satanism, dealing in pornography and ritualistic animal slaughter.
“None of the allegations was ever proved, however. The child abuse charges against the two men in Tallahassee were dropped; all six of the children were eventually returned to their mothers, though in the case of two, conditions were attached by a court. In Washington, D.C. police began backing away from the Finders investigation. The group’s practices, the police said, were eccentric – not illegal.”
The article closed by noting that “some of the rumors can last an awfully long time.” Indeed they can, though the rumors would have to circulate outside of the media, which has never again mentioned the case. This does not mean though that there is no additional information available on the subject. As the U.S. News noted in their report, there is a certain Customs Service memorandum that was written at the time of the original investigation.
As this document was in the hands of the News reporters at the time the story was written, as is readily acknowledged, it should logically follow that any pertinent information contained therein would have been faithfully reported. And as we know, the News concluded that “none of the allegations was ever proved.”
Still, it might be interesting to review the document to see what kind of “eccentric – not illegal” practices it was that the group was involved in. The memo is actually a series of memos written by Special Agent Ramon J. Martinez, United States Customs Service. In Martinez’s own words, this is what he observed during his participation in the investigation:
“On Thursday, February 5, 1987, this office was contacted via telephone by Sergeant JoAnn VanMeter of the Tallahassee Police Department, Juvenile Division. Sgt. VanMeter requested assistance in identifying two adult males and six minor children ages 7 years to 2 years.
“The adult males were tentatively identified by TPD as Michael Houlihan and Douglas Ammerman, both of Washington, D.C. who were arrested the previous day on charges of child abuse.
“The police had received an anonymous telephone call relative two well-dressed white men wearing suits and ties in Myers Park, (Tallahassee), apparently watching six dirty and unkempt children in the playground area. Houlihan and Ammerman were near a 1980 Blue Dodge van bearing Virginia license number XHW-557, the inside of which was later described as foul-smelling, filled with maps, books, letters, with a mattress situated to the rear of the van which appeared as if it were used as a bed, and the overall appearance of the van gave the impression that all eight persons were living in it.
“The children were covered with insect bites, were very dirty, most of the children were not wearing underwear and all of the children had not been bathed in many days.
“The men were arrested and charged with multiple counts of child abuse and lodged in the Leon County Jail. Once in custody the men were somewhat evasive in their answers to the police regarding the children and stated only that they both were the children’s teachers and that all were enroute to Mexico to establish a school for brilliant children …
“U.S. Customs was contacted because the police officers involved suspected the adults of being involved in child pornography and knew the Customs Service to have a network of child pornography investigators, and of the existence of the Child Pornography and Protection Unit. SS/A Krietlow stated the two adults were well dressed white males. They had custody of six white children (boys and girls), ages three to six years. The children were observed to be poorly dressed, bruised, dirty, and behaving like wild animals in a public park in Tallahassee … SS/A Krietlow was further advised the children were unaware of the function and purpose of telephones, televisions and toilets, and that the children had stated they were not allowed to live indoors and were only given food as a reward …
“Upon contacting Detective Bradley, I learned that he had initiated an investigation on the two addresses provided by the Tallahassee Police Dept. during December of 1986. An informant had given him information regarding a cult, known as the ‘Finders’ operating various businesses out of a warehouse located at 1307 4th St., N.E., and were supposed to be housing children at 3918/3920 W St., N.W. The information was specific in describing ‘blood rituals’ and sexual orgies involving children, and an as yet unsolved murder in which the Finders may be involved. With the information provided by the informant, Detective Bradley was able to match some of the children in Tallahassee with names of children known or alleged to be in the custody of the Finders. Furthermore, Bradley was able to match the tentative ID of the adults with known members of the Finders. I stood by while Bradley consulted with AUSA Harry Benner and obtained search warrants for the two premises. I advised acting RAC SS/A Tim Halloran of my intention to accompany MPD on the execution of the warrants, received his permission, and was joined by SS/A Harrold. SS/A Harrold accompanied the team which went to 1307 4th St., and I went to 3918/20 W St.
“During the execution of the warrant at 3918/20 W St., I was able to observe and access the entire building … There were several subjects on the premises. Only one was deemed to be connected with the Finders. [He] was located in a room equipped with several computers, printers, and numerous documents. Cursory examination of the documents revealed detailed instructions for obtaining children for unspecified purposes. The instructions included the impregnation of female members of the community known as the Finders, purchasing children, trading, and kidnapping. There were telex messages using MCI account numbers between a computer terminal believed to be located in the same room, and others located across the country and in foreign locations. One such telex specifically ordered the purchase of two children in Hong Kong to be arranged through a contact in the Chinese Embassy there. Another telex expressed interest in ‘bank secrecy’ situations. Other documents identified interests in high-tech transfers to the United Kingdom, numerous properties under the control of the Finders, a keen interest in terrorism, explosives, and the evasion of law enforcement. Also found in the ‘computer room’ was a detailed summary of the events surrounding the arrest and taking into custody of the two adults and six children in Tallahassee the previous night. There were also a set of instructions which appeared to be broadcast via a computer network which advised the participants to move ‘the children’ and keep them moving through different jurisdictions, and instructions on how to avoid police attention …
“On Friday, 2/6/87, I met Detective Bradley at the warehouse on 4th Street, N.E. I duly advised my acting group supervisor, SS/A Don Bludworth. I was again granted unlimited access to the premises. I was able to observe numerous documents which described explicit sexual conduct between the members of the community known as Finders. I also saw a large collection of photographs of unidentified persons. Some of the photographs were nudes, believed to be of members of the Finders. There were numerous photos of children, some nude, at least one of which was a photo of a child ‘on display’ and appearing to accent the child’s genitals. I was only able to examine a very small amount of the photos at this time. However, one of the officers presented me with a photo album for my review. The album contained a series of photos of adults and children dressed in white sheets participating in a ‘blood ritual.’ The ritual centered around the execution of at least two goats. The photos portrayed the execution, disembowelment, skinning and dismemberment of the goats at the hands of the children. This included the removal of the testes of a male goat, the discovery of a female goat’s ‘womb’ and the ‘baby goats’ inside the womb, and the presentation of a goat’s head to one of the children.
“Further inspection of the premises disclosed numerous files relating to activities of the organization in different parts of the world. Locations I observed are as follows: London, Germany, the Bahamas, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Africa, Costa Rica, and ‘Europe.’ There was also a file identified as ‘Palestinian.’ Other files were identified by member name or ‘project’ name. The projects appearing to be operated for commercial purposes under front names for the Finders. There was one file entitled ‘Pentagon Break-In,’ and others referring to members operating in foreign countries. Not observed by me but related by an MPD officer were intelligence files on private families not related to the Finders. The process undertaken appears to be have been a systematic response to local newspaper advertisements for babysitters, tutors, etc. A member of the Finders would respond and gather as much information as possible about the habits, identity, occupation, etc., of the family. The use to which this information was to be put is still unknown. There was also a large amount of data collected on various child care organizations.
“The warehouse contained a large library, two kitchens, a sauna, hot-tub, and a ‘video room.’ The video room seemed to be set up as an indoctrination center. It also appeared that the organization had the capability to produce its own videos. There were what appeared to be training areas for children and what appeared to be an altar set up in a residential area of the warehouse. Many jars of urine and feces were located in this area.”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that most people, upon reading this, will conclude that the practices of the Finders were not in fact merely “eccentric.” The last time I checked into it, running an international terrorist organization specializing in the trafficking of children was definitely illegal. Unless, that is, the organization doing the trafficking is run by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Group leader Marion Pettie shed additional light on his non-connections to the agency in an interview with Steamshovel Press in 1998. Recounting the history of his group, Pettie notes that: “Going back to World War II, I kept open house mainly to intelligence people in Washington. OSS people passing through, things like that.”
He wasn’t, mind you, an intelligence asset himself. In fact, according to Pettie, he has spent his entire life trying – as a private citizen – to spy on the spies. As for his wife, he claims he sent her “in as a spy, to spy on the CIA for me. She was very happy about it, happy to tell me everything she found out. She was in a key place, you know with the records, and she could find out things for me.” I guess Langley has been a little lax on the security lately.
Pettie also acknowledges that his “son worked for Air America, which was a proprietary of the CIA. There are some connections, but not to me personally.” Of course not. In fact, Pettie is something of a CIA watch-dog, proclaiming that he has “been studying them since before they were born.”
“I was studying them back in the 30’s. It was ONI back then [Office of Naval Intelligence], and then the Coordinator of Information comes on, and after that it turns into the OSS and OSS turns into the CIAU and the CIAU turns into the CIA. So I’ve been studying that all of my life. But I wasn’t personally working for them.”
Of course he wasn’t. I have no idea where anyone would get a crazy notion like that. Interestingly enough though, this group which claimed no direct connection to the intelligence community quite obviously had very powerful people within that community protecting it. As the final Customs Service memo notes:
“On Thursday, February 5, 1987, Senior Special Agent Harrold and I assisted the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) with two search warrants involving the possible sexual exploitation of children. During the course of the search warrants, numerous documents were discovered which appeared to be concerned with international trafficking in children, high tech transfer to the United Kingdom, and international transfer of currency.
“On March 31, 1987, I contacted Detective Jim Bradley of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). I was to meet with Detective Bradley to review the documents seized pursuant to two search warrants executed in January, 1987. The meeting was to take place on April 2 or 3, 1987.
“On April 2, 1987, I arrived at MPD at approximately 9:00 a.m. Detective Bradley was not available. I spoke to a third party who was willing to discuss the case with me on a strictly ‘off the record’ basis.
“I was advised that all the passport data had been turned over to the State Department for their investigation. The State Department in turn advised the MPD that all travel and use of the passports by the holders of the passports was within the law and no action would be taken. This included travel to Moscow, North Korea, and North Vietnam from the late 1950s to mid 1970s.
“The individual further advised me of circumstances which indicated that the investigation into the activity of the Finders had become a CIA internal matter. The MPD report has been classified SECRET and was not available for review. I was advised that the FBI had withdrawn from the investigation several weeks prior and that the FBI Foreign Counter Intelligence Division had directed MPD not to advise the FBI Washington Field Office of anything that had transpired.”
The initial arrest of the Finders in Tallahassee, Florida went almost completely unnoticed by the media. So too did another arrest in that same state in August of 2000, just before Florida gained newfound fame as the land of the ‘hanging chads.’ The arrested man was Wayne Camolli, and the charge was operating an on-line child pornography site.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the West Palm Beach home in which Camolli was arrested, not unlike the Finder’s van, “was filled with so much rotting garbage, trash and cat feces that the agents had to borrow oxygen masks and hazardous materials suits from the county fire department to carry out the search.” Seized in the raid were numerous videotapes and a computer.
The most significant aspect of the arrest is that it was initiated by police “investigating Belgium’s most notorious pedophile murder case.” It seems that Camolli had close connections to “Felix DeConinck, a suspect in the kidnapping and molestation of a 14-year-old girl … [and] DeConinck in turn had links to Marc Dutroux.” And so we end up right back where we began, with the case of the ‘Belgian Beast.’
The brief Times report closed by stating that: “U.S. officials couldn’t elaborate on the connection between DeConinck and Dutroux, but said they were part of the same ‘child pornography, molestation and murder investigation.’” It is unlikely that the press will ever revisit the case of Wayne Camolli (tellingly, the L.A. Times article has disappeared from the newspaper’s on-line archives).
As with so many other cases, the final words of the Customs memorandum on the Finders investigation will likely provide the epitaph for this case as well: “No further information will be available. No further action will be taken.”
As a final note, it appears that there may be a hidden agenda behind the recent appearance of a crackdown on internet-based child pornography rings. The Guardian reported in January of 2001 that Interpol “has agreed to set up an electronic library of child sex victims at its headquarters in Lyon, France.” The first images to be processed into that database are 750,000 photos seized by British authorities in the Wonderland raids.
While this could represent a sincere effort by law enforcement personnel to gather evidence against the rings, there could also be a much more sinister goal. As the 2001 Super Bowl made clear, we are now living in an age when electronic ‘facial recognition systems’ are being put to widespread use, meaning that the images of the children stored in Interpol’s computers can soon be positively identified.
Could it be that the database being compiled will be utilized as something of a recruitment list to identify those persons who have been ‘preconditioned’ – so to speak – for future mind control operations? It’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility. Interpol has, after all, been exposed as an illegal organization with distinctively Nazi roots.
Researcher Arlene Tyner has spent a considerable amount of time interviewing and corresponding with victims of mind control operations. In Probe magazine, she wrote that some of them “were turned over to military/CIA doctors by pedophile fathers or other sexually abusive relatives. CIA officials also blackmailed family members known to produce ‘kiddie porn’ in order to gain control of their already abused and psychologically fragmented children.”
One thing is for certain though. Some day, many of the thousands of victims of the child pornography rings will come forward to tell harrowing stories of their early childhood abuse. They will tell of acts of depravity committed against children that are almost beyond human comprehension – and yet their stories will be documented by the images on Interpol’s computers.
But how many of them will be believed?
- 1. Bouchard, Joseph E., Ed Bruske, Mary Thorton, John Harris and Linda Wheeler “Officials Describe ‘Cult Rituals’ in Child Abuse Case,” Washington Post, February 7, 1987
- 2. Davies, Nick and Jeevan Vasager “Global Porn Ring Broken,” Guardian UK, January 11, 2001
- 3. Landsberg, Michelle “Incest: Stop the Nonsense and Get to the Difficult Truth,” The Toronto Star, February 4, 1996
- 4. Martinez, Ramon J. “Report of Investigation,” United States Customs Service Documents, February 7, 1987; February 12, 1987; April 13, 1987
- 5. Thomas, Kenn and Len Bracken “The Finders’ Keeper,” Steamshovel Press, Issue #16, 1998
- 6. Tyner, Arlene “Mind Control Part 3: The Blowback Effect of Brain Tampering,” Probe Magazine, July-August, 2000
- 7. Witkin, Gordon, Peter Cary and Ancel Martinez “Through a Glass, Very Darkly,” U.S. News and World Report, December 27, 1993 – January 3, 1994
- 8. Young, Vaughn and Trevor Meldal-Johnsen The Interpol Connection, Dial Press, 1979
- 9. “Belgian Porn Scandal Leads to Florida Raid,” Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2000