Chapter -XXI- Omaha
On the morning of June 29, 1989, pandemonium erupted in the corridors of power in the nation's capital. ``Homosexual Prostitution Probe Ensnares Official of Bush, Reagan,'' screamed the front-page headline of the Washington Times with the kicker ``Call Boys Took Midnight Tour of White House.''
The Times reported, ``A homosexual prostitution ring is under investigation by federal and District authorities and includes among its clients key officials of the Reagan and Bush administrations, military officers, congressional aides and U.S. and foreign businessmen with close ties to Washington's political elite.''
The exposeé centered on the role of one Craig Spence, a Republican powerbroker known for his lavish ``power cocktail'' parties. Spence was well connected. He celebrated Independence Day 1988 by conducting a midnight tour of the White House in the company of two teenage male prostitutes among others in his party.
Rumors circulated that a list existed of some 200 Washington prominents who had used the call boy service. The Number Two in charge of personnel affairs at the White House, who was responsible for filling all the top civil service posts in the federal bureaucracy, and Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole's chief of staff, were two individuals publicly identified as patrons of the call boy ring.
Two of the ring's call boys were allegedly KGB operatives, according to a retired general from the Defense Intelligence Agency interviewed by the press. But the evidence seemed to point to a CIA sexual blackmail operation, instead. Spence's entire mansion was covered with hidden microphones, two-way mirrors and video cameras, ever ready to capture the indiscretions of Washington's high, mighty and perverse. The political criteria for proper sexual comportment had long been established in Washington: Any kinkiness goes, so long as you don't get caught. The popular proverb was that the only way a politician could hurt his career was if he were ``caught with a dead woman or a live boy'' in his bed.
Months after the scandal had died down, and a few weeks before he allegedly committed suicide, Spence was asked who had given him the ``key'' to the White House. The Washington Times reported that ``Mr. Spence hinted the tours were arranged by `top level' persons, including Donald Gregg, national security advisor to Vice President Bush''@s1 and later U.S. ambassador to South Korea.
We have already had occasion to examine Don Gregg's role in Iran-Contra, and have observed his curious performance when testifying under oath before congressional committees. Gregg indignantly denied any connection to Spence, yet it is public record that Spence had sponsored a dinner in Gregg's honor in the spring of 1989 at Washington's posh Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown.
George Bush was less than pleased with the media coverage of the prostitution charges and kept abreast of the scandal as it mushroomed. The Washington Times reported in an article titled ``White House Mute on Call Boy Scandal,'' that ``White House sources confirmed that President Bush has followed the story of the late night visit and Mr. Spence's links to a homosexual prostitution ring under investigation by federal authorities since they were disclosed June 29 in the Washington Times. But top officials will not discuss the story's substance, reportedly even among themselves.
``Press officers have rebuffed repeated requests to obtain Mr. Bush's reaction and decline to discuss investigations or fall out from the disclosures.''@s2 By midsummer, the scandal had been buried. The President had managed to avoid giving a single press conference where he would surely have been asked to comment.
As the call boy ring affair dominated the cocktail gossip circuit in Washington, another scandal, halfway across the country in the state of Nebraska, peaked. Again this scandal knocked on the President's door.
A black Republican who had been a leader in organizing minority support for the President's 1988 campaign and who proudly displayed a photo of himself and the President, arm in arm, in his Omaha home, was at the center of a sex and money scandal that continues to rock the Cornhusker state.
The scandal originated with the collapse of the minority-oriented Franklin Community Credit Union in Omaha, directed by Lawrence E. King, Jr., a nationally influential black Republican who sang the national anthem at both the 1984 and 1988 Republican conventions. King became the subject of the Nebraska Senate's investigation conducted by the specially created ``Franklin Committee'' to probe charges of embezzlement. In November 1988, King's offices were raided by the FBI and $40 million was discovered missing. Within weeks, the Nebraska Senate, which initially opened the inquiry to find out where the money had gone, instead found itself questioning young adults and teenagers who said that they had been child prostitutes. Social workers and state child-care administrators accused King of running a child prostitution ring. The charges grew with the former police chief of Omaha, the publisher of the state's largest daily newspaper, and several other political associates of King, finding themselves accused of patronizing the child prostitution ring.
King is now serving a 15-year federal prison sentence for defrauding the Omaha-based credit union. But the magazines Avvenimenti of Italy and Pronto of Spain, among others, have charged that King's crimes were more serious: that he ran a national child prostitution ring that serviced the political and business elite of both Republican and Democratic parties. Child victims of King's operations charged him with participation in at least one satanic ritual murder of a child several years ago. The Washington Post, New York Times, Village Voice and National Law Journal covered the full range of accusations after the story broke in November of 1988. King's money machinations were also linked to the Iran-Contra affair, and some say that King provided the CIA with information garnered from his alleged activities as a ``pimp'' for the high and mighty.
Pronto, the Barcelona-based, largest circulation weekly in Spain with 4.5 million readers, reported that the Lawrence E. King child prostitution 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 himself.''
The weekly stated that Roy Stephens, a private investigator who has worked on the case and heads the Missing Youth Foundation, ``says 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'' to get to the bottom of the story. Stephens says that ``Paul Bonnacci directly accused President Bush of being implicated'' in the affair when he testified before the Franklin Committee.@s3 Bonnacci, who had been one of the child prostitutes, is identified by leading child-abuse experts as a well-informed, credible witness.
Lawrence King was no stranger to President Bush. And Lawrence King was no stranger to Craig Spence. Several of the Omaha child prostitutes testified that they had traveled to Washington, D.C. with King in private planes to attend political events which were followed by sex parties. King and Spence had much in common. Not only were they both Republican Party activists but they had gone into business together procuring prostitutes for Washington's elite.
Bush's name had repeatedly surfaced in the Nebraska scandal. But his name was first put into print in July 1989, a little less than a month after the Washington call boy affair had first made headlines. Omaha's leading daily newspaper reported, ``One child, who has been under psychiatric care, is said to believe she saw George Bush at one of King's parties.''@s4
A full three years after the scandal had first made headlines, Bush's name again appeared in print. Gentleman's Quarterly (GQ) carried a lengthy article, viewed by many political observers in Nebraska as an attempt to refute the charges which would not die, despite the termination of all official inquiries. The GQ piece disputed the allegations as a conspiracy theory that went out of control and resonated because of some mystical sociological phenomena allegedly unique to Nebraskan rural folk who will believe anything and burn ``with the mistrust of city life that once inflamed the prairie with populist passion.'' Numerous polls over the last few years have recorded over 90% saying they believe there has been a ``cover up'' of the truth.
GQ reported that yes, there was theft, corruption and homosexuality in this story, ``but no children were ever involved in this case.'' In fact, ``the only child even mentioned was a 9-year-old boy, whom the least reliable of Caradori's witnesses claimed to have seen in the company of George Bush at one of Larry King's Washington parties.''
Gary Caradori was a retired state police investigator who had been hired by the Nebraska Senate to investigate the case, and who had died mysteriously during the course of his investigations.@s5
Sound crazy? Not to Steve Bowman, an Omaha businessman who is compiling a book about the Franklin money and sex scandal. ``We do have some credible witnesses who say that `Yes, George Bush does have a problem.'... Child abuse has become one of the epidemics of the 1990s,'' Bowman told GQ. Allegedly, one of Bowman's sources is a retired psychiatrist who worked for the CIA. He added that cocaine trafficking and political corruption were the other principal themes of his book.@s6
It didn't sound crazy to Peter Sawyer either. An Australian conservative activist who publishes a controversial newsletter, Inside News, with a circulation of 200,000, dedicated his November 1991 issue entirely to the Nebraska scandal, focusing on President Bush's links to the affair. In a section captioned, ``The Original Allegations: Bush First Named in 1985,'' Sawyer writes,
"Stories about child sex and pornography first became public knowledge in 1989, following the collapse of the Franklin Credit Union. That is not when the allegations started, however. Indeed, given the political flavor of the subsequent investigations, it would be easy to dismiss claims that George Bush had been involved. He was by then a very public figure...."
If the first allegations about a massive child exploitation ring, centered around Larry King and leading all the way to the White House, had been made in 1989, and had all come from the same source, some shenanigans and mischievous collusion could be suspected. However, the allegations arising out of the Franklin Credit Union collapse were not the first.
Way back in 1985, a young girl, Eulice (Lisa) Washington, was the center of an investigation by Andrea L. Carener, of the Nebraska Department of Social Services. The investigation was instigated because Lisa and her sister Tracey continually ran away from their foster parents, Jarrett and Barbara Webb. Initially reluctant to disclose information for fear of being further punished, the two girls eventually recounted a remarkable story, later backed up by other children who had been fostered out to the Webb's [sic].
These debriefings were conducted by Mrs. Julie Walters, another welfare officer, who worked for Boys Town at the time, and who had been called in because of the constant reference by the Webb children and others, to that institution.
Lisa, supported by her sister, detailed a massive child sex, homosexual, and pornography industry, run in Nebraska by Larry King. She described how she was regularly taken to Washington by plane, with other youths, to attend parties hosted by King and involving many prominent people, including businessmen and politicians. Lisa specifically named George Bush as being in attendance on at least two separate occasions. ``Remember, this was in 1985,'' emphasized the Australian newsletter.
The newsletter reproduces several documents on Lisa's case, including a Nebraska State Police report, a State of Nebraska Foster Care Review Board letter to the Attorney General, an investigative report prepared for the Franklin Committee of the Nebraska Senate, and a portion of the handwritten debriefing by Mrs. Julie Walters. Peter Sawyer says that he obtained the documents from sympathetic Australian law enforcement officers who had helped Australian Channel Ten produce an exposeé of a national child prostitution ring Down Under. The Australian cops seem to have been in communication with American law enforcement officers who apparently agreed that there had been a coverup on the Nebraska scandal. Subsequent investigations by the authors established that all four documents were authentic.
Mrs. Julie Walters, now a housewife in the Midwest, confirmed that in 1986 she had interviewed the alleged child prostitute, Lisa, who told her about Mr. Bush. Lisa and her sister Tracey were temporarily living at the time in the home of Kathleen Sorenson, another foster parent. Mrs. Walters explained that at first she was very surprised. But Lisa, who came from a very underprivileged background with no knowledge of political affairs, gave minute details of her attendance at political meetings around the country.
From Julie Walters' 50-page handwritten report:
3/25/86. Met with Kathleen [Sorenson] and Lisa for about 2 hours in Blair [Neb.] questioning Lisa for more details about sexual abuse.... Lisa admitted to being used as a prostitute by Larry King when she was on trips with his family. She started going on trips when she was in 10th grade. Besides herself and Larry there was also Mrs. King, their son, Prince, and 2-3 other couples. They traveled in Larry's private plane, Lisa said that at these trip parties, which Larry hosted, she sat naked ``looking pretty and innocent'' and guests could engage in any sexual activity they wanted (but penetration was not allowed) with her.... Lisa said she first met V.P. George Bush at the Republican Convention (that Larry King sang the national anthem at) and saw him again at a Washington, D.C. party that Larry hosted. At that party, Lisa saw no women (``make-up was perfect--you had to check their legs to make sure they weren't a woman'').
The polygraph test which Lisa took only centered around sexual abuse committed by Jarrett Webb. At that time, she had said only general things about Larry's trips (i.e. where they went, etc.). She only began talking about her involvement in prostitution during those trips on 3/25/86....
Lisa also accompanied Mr. and Mrs. King and Prince on trips to Chicago, N.Y. and Washington, D.C. beginning when she was 15 years old. She missed twenty-two days of school almost totally due to these trips. Lisa was taken along on the pretense of being Prince's babysitter. Last year she met V.P. George Bush and saw him again at one of the parties Larry gave while on a Washington, D.C. trip. At some of the parties there are just men (as was the case at the party George Bush attended)--older men and younger men in their early twenties. Lisa said she has seen sodomy committed at those parties....
At these parties, Lisa said every guest had a bodyguard and she saw some of the men wearing guns. All guests had to produce a card which was run through a machine to verify who the guest was, in fact, who they said they were. And then each guest was frisked down before entering the party.@s7
The details of the accusations against Mr. Bush are known to be in the hands of the FBI. A Franklin Committee report stated:
Apparently she [Lisa] was contacted on December 19  and voluntarily came to the FBI offices on December 30, 1988. She was interviewed by Brady, Tucker and Phillips.
She indicates that in September or October 1984, when [Lisa] Washington was fourteen or fifteen years of age, she went on a trip to Chicago with Larry King and fifteen to twenty boys from Omaha. She flew to Chicago on a private plane.
The plane was large and had rows of two seats apiece on either side of the interior middle aisle.
She indicates that King got the boys from Boys Town and the boys worked for him. She stated that Rod Evans and two other boys with the last name of Evans were on the plane. Could not recall the names of the other boys.
The boys who flew to Chicago with Washington and King were between the ages of fifteen and eighteen. Most of the boys were black but some were white. She was shown a color photograph of a boy and identified that boy as being one of the boys on the plane. She could not recall his name.
She indicates that she was coerced to going on the trip by Barbara Webb.
She indicates that she attended a party in Chicago with King and the male youths. She indicated George Bush was present.
She indicates that she set [sic] at a table at the party while wearing nothing but a negligee. She stated that George Bush saw her on the table. She stated she saw George Bush pay King money, and that Bush left the party with a nineteen year old black boy named Brent. Lisa said the party George Bush attended was in Chicago in September or October 1984. According to the Chicago Tribune of October 31, 1984, Bush was in Illinois campaigning for congressional candidates at the end of October.
Lisa added more details on the Chicago trip, and told why she was sure it was George Bush she had seen. According to a May 8, 1989 report by investigator Jerry Lowe, ``Eulice [Lisa] indicated that she recognized George Bush as coming to the party and that Bush had two large white males with him. Eulice indicated Bush came to the party approximately 45 minutes after it started and that he was greeted by Larry King. Eulice indicated that she knew George Bush due to the fact that he had been in political campaigns and also she had observed a picture of Bush with Larry King at Larry King's house in Omaha.''
There is no question that Lisa and Tracey Webb were abused in the way they claimed. But, in keeping with the alleged pattern of coverup, a Washington County, Nebraska judge in December 1990 dismissed all charges against their abusers, Jarrett and Barbara Webb. The judge ignored presented testimony of the 1986 report by Boys Town official Julie Walters. The report stated: ``Lisa was given four polygraph tests administered by a state trooper at the State Patrol office on Center Street in Omaha. The state trooper, after Lisa's testing was completed, told [another foster parent] he tried to `break Lisa down,' but he was convinced she was telling the truth.''@s8
Furthermore, numbers of foster care officials and youth workers debriefed the sisters. All of them fully believed not only their general story of abuse, but specifically their account of Bush's involvement. The March 1986 report on Bush was incorporated into the Foster Care Review Board's official report presented to the Senate Franklin Committee and to law enforcement. As Kathleen Sorenson wrote in a report dated May 1, 1989, ``This was long before he [Bush] was president. It seems like there were more exciting people to `lie' about if that's what they were doing.''@s9
The rumors about Mr. Bush were given new life when Dr. Ronald Roskens, the head of the Agency for International Development (AID), found himself the object of controversy. Executive Intelligence Review reported in the fall of 1991 that Dr. Roskens is the subject of a scandal in which he is being charged with violating federal laws and ethics codes, according to the Oct. 6 Washington Post. A report prepared by AID Inspector General Herbert Beckington, dated April 5 and leaked to the Post, charges Roskens with accepting thousands of dollars in payments from ``different organizations in compensation of his and his wife's travel expenses'' while Roskens was on official government travel. He also took money for a private trip from a company ``from which Roskens had agreed to divest himself as a condition of his presidential appointment.''
The inspector general concluded that the money accepted by Roskens was a clear conflict of interest and violated federal law against earning non-government income. But on Sept. 4, after reviewing the charges, the Department of Justice ... informed Beckington that it had decided not to prosecute--giving no explanation for its decision. The White House is reviewing the case.
Congressional investigators are already looking into the allegations. Should they scratch below the surface, they will find that this is not the first time Roskens has been touched by scandal. Although President Bush promised that he would not tolerate even the appearance of impropriety in his administration, Congress should not be surprised if the White House threatens to start ``breaking legs'' in Roskens's defense.
It is not just that Roskens is a personal friend of the President--although he is.... [A]n unimpeded investigation into Roskens could expose the link between Bush's little publicized birth control mania--much of which is carried out through the State Department's AID in the Third World--and the sexual depravity rampant in U.S. political and intelligence elites. Any such scandal could shatter the illusions of Bush's conservative base, many of whom still accept the President's claims to being ``pro-life,'' ``anti-drug,'' and an American patriot. It should also make anyone who thinks of the propaganda about Bush being the ``education President,'' deeply queasy.
Roskens left his home state of Nebraska for the nation's capital in early 1990 enmired in controversy. He had been fired suddenly as president of the University of Nebraska, in a secret meeting of the state Board of Regents in July 1989. No public explanation was given for his removal. Yet, within weeks, the White House offered Roskens the high-profile job in Washington. The administration knew about the controversy in Nebraska, but Roskens passed an FBI background check, and was confirmed to head AID.
The FBI appears to have overlooked a Feb. 19, 1990 investigative report by the late Gary Caradori [see footnote 5 below], an investigator for the ``Franklin Committee'' of the Nebraska Senate. He wrote, ``I was informed that Roskins [sic] was terminated by the state because of sexual activities reported to the Regents and verified by them. Mr. Roskins [sic] was reported to have had young men at his residence for sexual encounters. As part of the separation from the state, he had to move out of the state-owned house because of the liability to the state if some of his sexual behavior was `illegal.'''@s1@s0
There has been no independent confirmation of the accusation. As of late December 1991, a congressional committee was looking into the charges.
Notes for Chapter -XX-
1. Washington Times, Aug. 9, 1989.
2. Washington Times, July 7, 1989.
3. Pronto (Barcelona, Spain), Aug. 3, 1991 and Aug. 10, 1991.
4. Omaha World-Herald, July 23, 1989.
5. On July 11, 1990, during the course of his investigations, Gary Caradori, 41, died in the crash of his small plane, together with his 8-year-old son, after a mid-air explosion whose cause has not yet been discovered. A skilled and cautious pilot, Caradori told friends repeatedly in the weeks before his death that he feared his plane would be sabotaged.
6. Gentleman's Quarterly, December 1991.
7. Report, written on March 25, 1986 by Julie Walters and authenticated by her in an interview in 1990.
8. Report, early 1989, compiled by Jerry Lowe, the first investigator for the Franklin Committee of the Nebraska State Senate.
9. A book recently published on the Nebraska affair by a former Republican state senator and decorated Vietnam veteran, John W. De Camp, The Franklin Cover-Up: Child Abuse, Satanism and Murder in Nebraska (Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT, Inc., 1992) tells the whole story.
10. Executive Intelligence Review, Oct. 18, 1991.