Editor’s note: this is part one of what will likely be a three or four part investigation into what may be the largest and most morally inexcusable criminal coverup in the history of the United States – the Frankly Credit Union/Laurence King investigation of 1988-1990 and the horrifying pedophile prostitution ring that spawned it. This article was prompted by and primarily discusses the never aired 1994 Discovery Channel documentary “Conspiracy of Silence” which is presented in full below. Although I have embedded a cleaner copy of the video from Youtube for ease of viewing at the moment, I am in fact in possession of another digital recording of the documentary – which I will upload if Youtube removes the one I’ve linked to.
One of the biggest, at times even insurmountable problems with cataloguing the extreme corruption, moral decadence and outright criminality in Western society is trying to shatter what I call the “barrier of disbelief” that has become so common in our culture. Expressed simply, the sheer size and objective awfulness of the criminal networks operating inside our governments and institutions are legitimately too terrible for most people to accept – even when malfeasance has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt!
This is of course, a common problem for someone who writes about corruption in media, government and civil institutions primarily and over time I’ve developed a technique for addressing this issue; I tell them about the Heart Attack Gun.
Just what in the name of all that is holy is a heart attack gun? A specialized, monstrous fucking weapon invented by the American Central Intelligence Agency that fires a tiny bullet made of ice and containing a minuscule amount of a shellfish toxin. This toxin is of course, quite deadly; exposure invariably leads to a massive, fatal heart attack – even among otherwise perfectly healthy victims. If that isn’t disturbing enough for you, wait till you find out that the ice pellet melts almost immediately upon contact, leaving a mark roughly the size and shape of a mosquito bite. Of course, an autopsy would detect the presence of the shellfish toxin but heart attacks happen across the world every single day without an autopsy being ordered and with no visible entry wound, there would be almost no reason to perform one in most cases. Sounds like something out of a particularly shitty Jason Bourne flick doesn’t it?
Not so fast my friends because the Heart Attack Gun is abso-fucking-lutely real and has been a matter of public record since Senator Frank Church exposed it to the world during a congressional subcommittee investigating illegal activities by the CIA in 1975. Of course, Church’s committee was never quite able to prove that the CIA had actually used it on anyone but as you can see from the answers provided in the video, the Agency was clearly quite proud of the fact that it worked.
I mention these examples now because the story (and video) I’m about to share with you is at once so shocking, so corrupt and so horrifying that you simply will not want to believe it – I know this because that was precisely the same response I had when I clicked on a link to Conspiracy of Silence and read the video description. We are walking among the shadows now; deep into the heart of a terrifying, thirty year old scandal that shocked the world in 1988 – only to vanish under a wave of altered evidence, witness intimidation and a criminally complicit local media by 1990. Over time, the disturbing allegations surrounding the Franklin Union investigation have faded from public consciousness and in to a sea of incredulous coincidences, hoax allegations and tinfoil hat-style conspiracy theories.
For those of you who’re just about to scramble for the exits, I’ll embed the video now – but please keep in mind that this is a 100% genuine, pre-production copy of a Discovery Channel documentary set to air in May of 1994. The documentary itself had been filmed a year earlier, on location in Omaha, Nebraska by a respected team of film-makers from Yorkshire Television in the UK for the then-princely sum of roughly $500,000. Inexplicably however, the Discovery Channel withdrew their support of the project while it was in final production and with only weeks to go before the show aired – refunding Yorkshire Television the entire cost of production but otherwise offering no additional explanation for the decision whatsoever.
Although the film quality is low, the sound can at times be difficult to make out and there are several post-production video clips missing to go along with the audio; there can be no question whatsoever upon viewing the video that it is an authentic documentary made for television in the early 1990s. In other words, this is a strictly professional operation and not some fly-by-night gang of weirdos dropping killer acid and releasing a sketchy as fuck Youtube video:
Are you still here? Did you watch the video? I ask because to be completely frank with you, if the link hadn’t come from a source I trust without reservation – that probably would have been the end of this article right then and there. Owing to the value of the source however, I did actually watch the video in what would turn out to be a terrifying mixture of morbid fascination and abject horror.
This documentary represents, with extremely little margin for error, the single most conclusive collection of evidence on film that corrupt, powerful individuals in the city of Omaha, Nebraska (and beyond) ran a secret pedophile ring that involved narcotics, blackmail and transporting child prostitutes across the country to be sexually abused by wealthy pederasts. Children as young as eight years old were recruited from Boys Town by Laurence King or surrogates of King and controlled through drugs, threats and violence so that they could be pimped out at disgusting sex parties reportedly containing a literal who’s who of Omaha’s upper society, law enforcement agencies and even prominent members of the Republican Party. Furthermore, numerous important civic agencies in and around Omaha appear to have actively conspired to cover up these heinous crimes against children – including the police department, the prosecutors office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
If you’re asking yourself right now how the fuck a video like this can actually exist, please understand that it almost didn’t – although neither the Discovery Channel, nor Yorkshire Television ever commented officially on why the documentary was pulled, something or someone ordered all copies of the tape to be destroyed soon afterwards. The video is only available because it was submitted anonymously to former Nebraska State Senator and current lawyer John DeCamp; who not only features prominently in the documentary, but was at the time considered the primary advocate for a number of the victims involved.
Folks, let me be perfectly fucking clear here for a moment – I have absolutely no clue how deep this terrifying rabbit hole will eventually go, but just by the information that can be objectively inferred from Conspiracy of Silence alone, it is extremely obvious to me that something unfathomably corrupt, immoral and downright goddamn evil was going on in Nebraska throughout the 1980s and well into the mid-90s.
Clearly limited by time, the availability of current evidence and questions of future legal liability, the documentary we’ve just seen implicates numerous unnamed police officers, FBI agents, politicians, judges and members of the media in the scandal. Furthermore, it only mentions in passing a staggering seventy-six reported victims of sexual assault involved in the case; primarily because they were inexplicably never called to testify before the grand jury back in 1990. In numerous instances, the filmmakers use an overwhelming cascade of circumstantial evidence to suggest the larger scandal going on in Omaha at the time, but stop just short of connecting the dots for the viewer – a good example of this might include repeatedly referencing “the White House” and “the highest levels of the Republican Party” without actually, outright accusing members of the Bush Administration of attending drug-fueled, pedophile sex orgies directly.
In other words, unless you’re deliberately trying to avoid understanding the intent behind Conspiracy of Silence, it is blatantly obvious that the filmmakers were not only aware of, but actively wanted to call attention to the truly massive travesty of justice openly perpetrated by pedophiles and those who would protect pedophiles all throughout the highest levels of Nebraska’s civic institutions.
Over the past few days, I have begun the painfully slow process of unwinding fact from fiction in a thirty year old story that has not only been actively (albeit, quite imperfectly) covered up by at least local media, members of the judiciary and law enforcement officers, but has also captured the imagination of numerous conspiracy theorists far more interested in telling a really good story than telling the actual truth. After wading through what can only be described as staggering amounts of bullshit, I have discovered a small number of credible sources who’ve taken this investigation beyond what we’ve seen in the documentary above; most notably investigative journalist and author Nick Bryant.
Suffice to say my friends, this scandal is big – bigger than the Bay of Pigs, bigger than Iran-Contra and bigger than fucking Watergate by a cool country mile. We are talking about a massive corruption, bribery and blackmail scandal involving the horrifying, sadistic sexual abuse of children; that has been swept under the rug for thirty fucking years because:
- a paper complicit on multiple levels in the scandal smeared the witnesses and in some cases, outright lied to the public
- an FBI office with direct ties to at least one of the alleged abusers did everything possible to make the case go away
- a grand jury couldn’t actually fathom a crime that monstrous being true after being presented a skewed version of the case by an obviously complicit prosecutor
The legal irregularities of the investigation, the grand jury presentation itself and the ensuing perjury trial of victim Alicia Owens alone could function as a short guidebook on how not to see justice served in America for fuck’s sake! There are literally so many things indubitably wrong with how local law enforcement, the FBI and the local prosecutor’s office handled the gathering and presentation of evidence here that it calls into question the objectivity, or even the moral validity of the entire legal process as it pertains to this case.
What kind of depraved monster ignores the recommendations of a state investigative committee and the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board – in order to turn a grand jury investigation about charges of sexual abuse that have been corroborated by multiple witnesses, into a witch trial against said witnesses, that doesn’t even fucking call the accused pederast to testify?! How does that same legal process end up with one of the victims serving four years of a nine to twenty-five bid in prison for perjury – a situation which is not only literally putting the victim on trial, but also has absolutely no legal precedent in the entire fucking history of the American legal system? Just what kind of corrupt, pedophile-protecting goddamn clownshow were these sick sons of bitches in the media, law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office running here?
Every objectively true fact about this case seems to lead to three more questions with terrifying implications – and I haven’t even got to the part where we ask who the fuck has the audacity to threaten witnesses, the Director of the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board and State Senators? Or why an exceptionally irregular number of dead bodies keep showing up under fantastic, nigh-incredulous circumstances around this case – including the suicide under mysterious circumstances of not one, but two siblings of key witnesses about to testify in open court and the eerily-timed plane crash that killed former Nebraska State Police officer and lead investigator for the state legislative committee, Gary Caradori (and his eight year old son.)
If that doesn’t tingle your goddamn Spidey-sense, try to do a quick Google search of either the Franklin Union investigation or virtually anyone listed among the implicated individuals below. Even if you refuse to believe a single word of independently-gathered, corroborating testimony from any of the victims, social workers or investigators involved – isn’t it weird that after all this time there’s almost no credible information about the case available; even to call it a fascinating hoax?
In addition to being accused of running what would be the largest pedophile prostitution ring in US history – Laurence King sang the national anthem at the Republican National Convention, appeared in a 1988 video with Jack Kemp urging black people to vote for George Bush Sr and was eventually convicted of stealing forty million fucking dollars from an Omaha Credit Union after a massive FBI investigation. Doesn’t that seem to you like that story would warrant at least one or two serious journalistic examinations by reputable publishers over the past thirty years, even if you honestly believed King was innocent of all charges related to the pedophile ring? Shouldn’t a guy like that at least have a goddamn Wikipedia page?
What about Peter Citron, a formerly famed entertainment columnist who managed to get himself into the Guinness World Book of Records multiple times before being actually convicted of two separate, unrelated child molestation charges while living very much in the public eye – doesn’t someone like that warrant closer examination than an archived obituary dutifully catalogued by a website devoted entirely to publicizing the Franklin Case? How about influential millionaire businessman Allan Baer, who was actually charged with two counts of pandering before pleading down to a reduced charge of aiding and abetting prostitution – no one is interested in summarizing his life for scholarly observation online either? Hell, while we’re on the subject – why aren’t any of the archived articles from the most important, personally relevant story in the history of the Omaha World Herald available online despite their archives containing articles from as far back as 1983?
Wait, I’m not done. Doesn’t it strike you as more than just a little fucking odd that one of the victims of the Omaha pedophile ring, Paul Bonacci, independently provided sworn testimony about visiting the White House after midnight, months before widespread coverage of the 1989 Washington Call Boy scandal – a case that wasn’t covered up very well and ended splashed all over the front page of the Washington Times but is somehow impossible to find in traditional, online media archives? Are you aware that the reporter covering the story, Paul Rodriguez was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the DC/White House prostitution ring saga, a story that is again only archived on conspiracy websites these days?
Sweet merciful god, isn’t something about this entire story starting to smell like three day old fish guts to you yet, or am I alone in asking these completely fucking rational questions?
In light of all this, it would be virtually impossible for me to credibly discuss all aspects of the Franklin Union pedophile ring scandal here in one article but I assure you that there is a wealth of available information about the case that goes far beyond what we’ve just seen in the video and we’ll be covering that material in depth as the series goes on. For the moment, let’s just stay focused on Conspiracy of Silence itself; to take stock of what we can glean primarily from the film alone and will need for future discussions. There is no question in my mind that this entire, grotesque mockery of justice has multiple threads worth chasing but the shocking allegations in just this single documentary need to be properly catalogued to truly comprehend – below you’ll find two appendices that try to get a handle on the major players involved and what they’ve done to hinder, or help justice be done.
People & Organizations Actively Implicated in the Pedophile Ring or its Coverup by Conspiracy of Silence:
Laurence E. King Jr – former general manager of Franklin Community Federal Credit Union, former prominent member of National Black Republican Council and a man so visibly important in Republican donor circles that he got to sing the national anthem at the 1984 Republican National Convention. I’d link you to his Wikipedia profile, but oddly enough he doesn’t actually have one; which is pretty strange considering that he was convicted of embezzling forty million dollars from the credit union as part of this same, world-famous scandal. King is the architect and main beneficiary of the Omaha pedophile ring; he’s also the guy who rented the planes required to transport the children from Omaha to other parts of the country, most notably Washington, DC. The full catalogue of King’s horrific crimes as documented in Conspiracy of Silence are simply too numerous to list but they include assault, sadism, kidnapping, pandering, sexual assault of a child, transporting a minor across state lines for illegal sexual purposes, creating child pornography, distributing narcotics, threatening victims, bribery, fraud, embezzlement and blackmail.
Alan Baer – prominent millionaire businessman and philanthropist based in Omaha who inherited a small fortune and turned it into a much larger fortune during the heady buy-and-sell days of American corporate life in the 1980’s. Baer too lacks a Wikipedia profile and much like King, it’s almost impossible to find any reference to him online that doesn’t lead back to the Franklin Union investigation and it’s ensuing fallout. In Conspiracy of Silence, multiple victims accuse him of sexual assault, creating child pornography and hosting sex parties at which children as young as eight years old were given drugs and sado-sexually abused by Baer and other prominent figures.
Peter Citron – a former entertainment columnist for the Omaha World Herald (the paper will continue to come up, time and time again throughout this series) who gained fame for retrospectively creepy as fuck stunts like posing as a Grand Island High School student or pitching in a Little League game before writing about it in his column. Citron too appears to be have been almost entirely scrubbed from the internet, although there are a few passing references to his death and involvement with the case available online. This raises questions primarily because Citron was later convicted of child molestation in two separate incidents that are completely unrelated to the horrible crimes exposed during the Franklin Union investigation – something most would consider worthy of at least a passing mention online considering his years of national prominence in print media. Citron stands accused of sexually assaulting multiple very young boys in the film, and engaging in sado-sexual acts such as tying victims up and burning them with lit cigarettes.
Boys Town – a famous, non-profit organization headquartered near Omaha, Nebraska whose primary function was caring for orphaned or abandoned boys at the time of this scandal. As the video mentioned, Boys Town is an extremely powerful and wealthy organization that enjoys all the privileges of an incorporated town, a school district and even a Catholic diocese. Although the documentary doesn’t delve into the full scale of Boys Town’s involvement in the Franklin Union scandal, it does make it clear that Boys Town served as the primary recruiting ground for the pedophile ring’s victims, maintained an extremely close relationship with Laurence King and illegally covered up it’s own internal investigation of sexual abuse a full two years before FBI raids on the Credit Union launched the affair into national headlines. Furthermore, the documentary contains significant, even visceral evidence that Boys Town refused to cooperate with the state investigation committee at the time and were still unwilling to discuss the matter whatsoever four years later when the documentary was filmed.
Omaha Police Department – although he is not mentioned by named in the documentary, former Omaha Chief of Police Robert Wadman was accused of assaulting, raping and impregnating Alisha Owen; one of the female victims of the Omaha pedophile ring. Because these charges are not laid directly in Conspiracy of Silence, I’ll save the detailed discussion of the so-called “legal inquiry” into Robert Wadman’s involvement for the next installment of this series but suffice to say; I was not even fucking aware such an obvious, staggering travesty of justice was possible in the United States of America. At a very minimum, the documentary suggests that the OPD investigation into the charges was less than thorough and any reasonable person watching could infer that it was actually deliberately obstructive – one victim reveals that when police interviewed him “they didn’t really ask anything about Larry King or Alan Baer at all” despite his identification of the suspects by name when giving his police statement. He further adds, “they treated the allegations against the people who abused me, almost like a joke” with justifiable bitterness in his voice.
Omaha FBI Office – once again, a detailed investigation of the Franklin Union case more severely implicates the Omaha office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in this scandal than Conspiracy of Silence does. In particular, Regional Head Nick O’Hara and agent Mickey Mott are identified repeatedly in source material surrounding the case as being outright guilty of obstruction of justice for their role in covering up the scandal. We’ll discuss this again in the next installment of the article, but for now we’re just focusing on the video alone; which strongly indicates the FBI leaked confidential information to the press, intimidated witnesses into recanting their testimony and actively investigated the victims of these horrible crimes while ignoring or even protecting the monstrous perpetrators. One victim reports that during his interview with the FBI he was informed in no uncertain terms that “you will not be believed, you will be charged will perjury” and that “if you keep up with this story, you will go to jail.” Once Federal agents had terrified the victim, Troy Boner, into recanting his story – they proceeded to try and entrap fellow victim Alisa Owens in a 1990 recorded phone conversation obtained by the filmmakers and played aloud during Conspiracy of Silence. To say that the phone call is clearly a rotten, openly dishonest attempt to destroy Owen’s credibility would be a notable understatement – even without Boner’s admission that he was cooperating with the Bureau out of sheer terror at that point. More importantly however, the recording offers clear, and damning insight into the FBI’s overall approach to the case.
Omaha World Herald – the paper of record in the city of Omaha, Nebraska was explicitly identified by multiple, credible officials in the video as being an active participant in and the primary architect of the smear job run on the various, testifying victims of the Omaha pedophile ring. This was accomplished through careful and manipulative leaking of illegally obtained grand jury evidence before the hearings that could only have come from either the FBI or the senate investigative committee itself. It is worth noting that the Omaha World Herald is not some rinky-dink local rag and was able to quickly dominate national coverage on the incident by blatantly putting victims of child rape on trial well in advance of the hearings. It is also worth noting that while Conspiracy of Silence specifically identified OWH columnist Peter Citron as an active member of the pedophile ring, they failed to mention that publisher Harold Anderson was an open supporter of Laurence King and had helped raise money for the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union.
Nebraska Prosecuting Attorneys – perhaps the most damning evidence presented by Conspiracy of Silence however, are the repeated failures, if not outright obstruction of justice by prosecutors at every single level of government in the state. Nebraska Foster Care Review Board director Carol Stitt clearly testifies into the camera that local prosecutors failed to do anything whatsoever about a foot-high, 1988 NFCRB report that directly implicated Laurence King in child abuse allegations from numerous different sources. The documentary also states unequivocally that John DeCamp believes the county prosecutor’s office in Omaha (which ran the grand jury) directly participated in the cover-up. Assistant attorney general Robert Sigler finds the camera’s ire as well when he subpoenas a terrified of returning to jail Troy Boner, in an overt and successful attempt to scare him into refusing to testify in Alisha Owen’s appeal hearing with evidence that would exonerate her of extremely serious perjury charges. Although neither man is mentioned by name, additional source material reveals that State Attorney General, Robert Spire and his controversially appointed special prosecutor Samuel Van Pelt were almost assuredly involved in rigging the objectively corrupt grand jury proceedings in this case. While the precise details of everything these two men did to compromise the integrity of these hearings will have to wait until we start taking a closer look at the books written about the Franklin Scandal by DeCamp and Nick Bryant – Conspiracy of Silence does deal with one shocking violation committed by Van Pelt in particular; even if they don’t actually say his name out loud in the documentary. During filming of preparations for Owen’s perjury appeal, it was revealed that all corroborating testimony offered by each of the four witnesses the prosecution bothered to feature, had been carefully and selectively edited out of the footage that was shown to the grand jury – an activity that is not only dishonest and completely fucking immoral, but also soberingly indicative of who the prosecution was really putting on trial during the grand jury proceedings.
People Identified as Working to Expose the Pedophile Ring or its Coverup by Conspiracy of Silence:
John DeCamp – a former Nebraska State senator and decorated Vietnam veteran who was originally drawn into the scandal when his client, Loren Schmit asked for his advice on how to proceed with the shocking evidence he’d uncovered during the Franklin state subcommittee investigation into the pedophile ring. At the time Conspiracy of Silence was filmed, DeCamp had become the attorney for both Alisha Owen and Paul Bonacci – as well as the leading, and perhaps only remaining champion for the truth about the Omaha pedophile ring in the Nebraska legal system. DeCamp serves as the primary focus of and narrator for the documentary, which he clearly considers a vital weapon in his ongoing quest to finally obtain justice and closure for the victims of these horrifying crimes. Throughout the film, DeCamp repeatedly draws the various threads presented in the documentary together and bluntly states what both the audience and the filmmakers are clearly already thinking – that this entire case fucking stinks and the whole atrocity has been a non-stop assault on justice from square one. His finest moment however is when he points out that “every victim witness who stepped forward in any way, or even was a potential witness that somebody heard about, has either been killed, put in jail under some theory or other, terrified, run out of the state, or discredited” while “every perpetrator, even the convicted ones, have been treated as conquering heroes – obviously, the FBI was protecting something more significant than a bunch of old pedophiles.” Although it is not discussed in this 1994 documentary, DeCamp would go on to represent Paul Bonacci in a bizarre, but successful 1999 civil lawsuit against Laurence King that would award his client over $1 million in presumably noncollectable damages.
Gary Caradori – a former Nebraska State patrolman and the lead investigator originally hired by Loren Schmit and the senate subcommittee to get to the bottom of child sexual assault and prostitution allegations in the Franklin Union scandal. By all available accounts except perhaps the AG’s office, Caradori was a tireless investigator whose many discoveries form the forensic backbone, or “paper trail” that proves something truly terrifying, actually happened in this case. Gary will become more central to our investigation in later installments when we’re able to look at the mountains of hard evidence he uncovered in more detail. Unfortunately, the scope of Caradori’s work isn’t the primary focus for the filmmakers in Conspiracy of Silence – a film which instead focuses almost entirely on his notably suspicious death in a still unexplained plane crash and the ensuing, disastrous effect that event had on the investigation as a whole. Although some of the testimony comes from clearly grief stricken family members, a number of startling facts are presented about the death of Caradori and his eight year old son:
- Before leaving, Caradori told multiple friends and co-workers that he’d investigate important leads while taking his son to see the MLB All-Star game in Chicago. Caradori also told his brother that he had obtained a notebook with names, addresses and phone numbers that if the perpetrators of these crimes “knew he had, they’d kill him.”
- On July the 11th, 1990, Gary and his son were flying home from Chicago after the baseball game when their plane literally broke apart and fell out of the sky before crashing into a wooded area and killing both occupants.
- Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were unable to determine the cause of the accident, but one official is quoted on the news as saying that the crash had spread out over a large area, which “certainly” indicated the plane had broken up in flight.
- Within 24 hours of the fatal crash, FBI investigators impounded all records of the investigation.
- Gary’s wife, his brother, Karen Ormiston and Carol Stitt all directly state on camera that they believe Caradori had been murdered, while Troy Boner merely implies that he thinks it was murder and Loren Schmit gravely notes that “there were a lot of people in this state who wanted to see Gary dead. They got their wish.”
Loren Schmit – 24 year veteran Republican Senator from Nebraska who was put in charge of the Franklin Senate subcommittee investigation and subsequently uncovered a multitude of sexual abuse allegations virtually identical to those reported by social workers at Boys Town and the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board. Despite personally knowing some of the people he was investigating, Schmit dived into the case and was threatened almost immediately by phone on the floor of the legislature by an anonymous caller. The unknown voice refused to identify themselves but warned the senator that “you shouldn’t have an investigation into the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union because it will lead to the highest levels of the Republican Party & we’re both good Republicans.” Undeterred, Schmit’s investigation hired Caradori, then proceeded to track down and record testimony from somewhere in the range of eighty separate witnesses – most of them former child victims of Laurence King and the Omaha pedophile ring. Unfortunately, Schmit (and to a lesser degree, DeCamp) was too trusting of the legal process at that time and enabled the FBI and possibly the county prosecutor’s office to leak the evidence the senate subcommittee uncovered – as part of a smear tactic against the victims, before the grand jury hearings ever took place. Ever the honorable warrior for truth, Schmit had his subcommittee issue a statement condemning the grand jury investigation before seeing his own investigation disbanded a mere two months later. In a heartbreaking moment near the end of the documentary, Schmit rightfully points out that the grand jury “agreed that the victims had been abused, but did not try to find out who had abused them. Instead they convicted Alisha Owen of perjury” – an act which he considers utterly “indefensible” as his voice trails off in sadness, shock and disbelief.
Alisha Owen – former victim of Laurence King and the Omaha pedophile ring. People who’ve studied this case in detail have rightfully pointed out that if our story has a hero, it is likely Alisha Owen. She testified on camera at length before the Franklin senate subcommittee investigation about the Omaha pedophile ring and was instrumental in identifying victims who’d originally come from the Boys Town network. Although unreported in the film, Alisha testified that she was singled out for special abuse by Omaha Chief of Police Robert Wadman – a claim that has been corroborated by multiple witnesses, including Troy Boner in a 1993 sworn affidavit. Also unreported in the film is the hanging death of her younger brother, who was found in his cell after a minor arrest and ruled a death by suicide despite signs of a beating. We’ll deal more carefully with both of these stories in the next segment, but ultimately Owen is important not only because her evidence report was among the most detailed in the trial, but also because despite tremendous pressure to recant her testimony as the FBI had forced the other victims to do one by one – Alisha never changed her story, not even to this day. She served four years in prison for her trouble and raised a daughter who may well be Robert Wadman’s child.
Paul Bonacci – former victim of Laurence King and the Omaha pedophile ring, who was eventually recruited to find other children for King to abuse from the Boys Town campus. Bonacci’s admission to participating in sex crimes with King makes him, at times, a difficult witness to sympathize with but it is also extremely clear to anyone watching that his interactions with King have left him a damaged, remorseful individual. Paul is the other person in this saga who ultimately refused to recant his story and he was charged with, but strangely not convicted of perjury the same as Owens. Although it’s not mentioned in the film, attorney John DeCamp has pointed out in other material that once they’d obtained the outrageously unfair sentence against Alisha, it was largely unnecessary to go after Paul – the message had already been sent to other victims that speaking out would land you in prison. Bonacci is also important to the story because he testifies to both the Omaha PD and the FBI’s lack of interest in actually checking into the allegations of abuse and their focus instead on forcing the victims to recant. Finally, Bonacci drops a bombshell towards the end of the documentary when he talks about being let into the White House late in the evening as part of a night out with Laurence King; an incident that sounds shockingly similar to another incident we know did in fact happen – the 1989 Washington Call Boy/Craig Spence scandal.
Troy Boner – former victim of Laurence King and the Omaha pedophile ring, Boner testified on camera for the Franklin senate subcommittee investigation about the sadistic physical and sexual abuse various members of the ring engaged in. A complicated and clearly tortured man, Boner admits to being controlled by King through his addiction to heroin and to lying for the FBI before the grand jury to smear Alicia Owen by recanting his original testimony – out of fear for his life and liberty. Before agreeing to appear in Conspiracy of Silence, Boner was apparently spurred to come forward by guilt over the gunshot death of his brother Shawn, which was officially ruled a suicide but the Boner family contends was a murder designed to keep them quiet (although it’s not revealed in CoS, other sources indicate that Shawn Boner was absolutely terrified of guns.) This is backed up by Boner’s testimony in a sworn 1993 affidavit discussed in the work of the previously mentioned author and investigative reporter Nick Bryant – a document in which he also admits to delivering an underage Alisha Owen to (at the time) Omaha Chief of Police Robert Wadman for the purposes of sex on multiple occasions.
Karen Ormiston – along with Gary Caradori, one of the investigators originally hired by Loren Schmit and the senate subcommittee to get to the bottom of child sexual assault allegations in the Franklin Union case – she’s the one that survived. Owing to her professional background and close work with Caradori, Ormiston is tasked with dropping many of the bombshells in Conspiracy of Silence that either she, or Gary discovered – among them:
- that Laurence King had rented dozens of airplanes in his own name for trips around the country with unnamed passengers – mostly to DC. Although Ormiston only makes reference to “piles of receipts” in the film, further sources will reveal that they collected records of over two hundred such rentals and had been told off record by an airline employee that King was often seen with “very well dressed, but very young men” departing in said planes.
- that the investigation in Omaha repeatedly uncovered new cases of child sexual assault and prostitution that exactly matched those described in the 1988 NFCRB report. She also indicates that there were an overwhelming number of victim interviews, a number which other sources place at somewhere between sixty and eighty.
- she testifies that Gary was threatened on multiple occasions and that his vehicles were blatantly tampered with in a way she considered so obvious that the tampering itself also counted as a threat.
- Ormiston also reveals that Gary’s briefcase was never recovered from the crash site and that Caradori likely had new evidence with him to bring back from Chicago; other sources on the case, most notably Nick Bryant, indicate that this evidence likely consisted of actual photographs.
- she is among the many in the video who believe that Cardori was murdered and she openly notes that after his death, the investigation was essentially over because nobody else would come forward.
Carol Stitt – director of the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board and apparently the first person to take stories of child sexual abuse and prostitution seriously in the entire state of Nebraska outside of one Boys Town social worker. She testifies that the initial NFCRB report to prosecutors stood literally “a foot high” or more off the desk and yet absolutely nothing was done about the serious, well documented charges of criminal activity and child abuse related to Laurence King. Stitt is a credible and professional witness who repeatedly points out that for reasons that were never adequately explained to her, normal procedure for child sex abuse allegations were not followed by authorities – particularly the police, the FBI and Nebraska prosecutors. Stitt is also one of the many people to testify that she considered Gary Caradori’s death a murder. Towards the end of the documentary she notes painfully that after Gay’s death she knew she was done with the case because if someone could kill Caradori and his son to protect the secret “there was nothing that could stop them, there was no piece of paper we could come up with that was going to get anything done.”
The Unheard Victims – repeatedly throughout the documentary, experts took testimony from a truly incredible number of potential victims – even at one point specifically mentioning that there were at least eighty different reports of sexual abuse involved in the senate subcommittee investigation. Additional sources indicate that Gary Caradori’s original interview list contained two-hundred and sixty-one potential victims, and Nick Bryant’s thorough investigation of the long cold case turned up roughly sixty victims. Only one of these additional victims, Danny King (no relation to Laurence,) is ever mentioned in Conspiracy of Silence but additional outside sources name a number of other victims. Among the most important of these is Eulice Washington; one of the first victims to report Laurence King’s sexual abuse of children, Eulice was actually adopted (and cruelly abused) by King’s cousin Barbara Webb and her husband Jarrett. Although neither she, nor her story are even mentioned in the film, other sources confirm that Washington reported not only the abuse at the hands of her step-parents, but also being forced into King’s prostitution ring as early as 1986 – when absolutely nothing was done about it.
- Nina Illingworth