The Franklin Scandal
The Franklin child prostitution ring allegations were a series of high-profile accusations and legal actions between 1988 and 1991 surrounding an alleged child sex ring serving prominent citizens of Omaha, Nebraska, as well as high-level U.S. politicians.
The allegations centered on the actions of Lawrence E. King, director of the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union (FCFCU) in Omaha and a nationally-prominent political figure who was active in the Republican Party. After investigation, the Douglas County, Nebraska Grand Jury determined the abuse allegations were baseless. Allegations of sexual abuse first emerged in November 1988 during a National Credit Union Administration investigation of unrelated financial irregularities at the FCFCU, at which King had worked for 18 years.
In December, the State Foster Care Review Board submitted the results of a two year investigation into the physical and sexual abuse of foster children to the Executive Board of the Nebraska Legislature who were investigating reports of child sexual abuse linked to the credit union. Authorities launched a probe, interviewing a number of claimed abuse victims who said that children in foster care were flown to the U.S. East Coast and were abused at “bad parties.
Subsequently, John DeCamp, a former Nebraska state Senator, publicly identified five prominent individuals as being involved in a prostitution ring that transported minors across state lines.However, the first of two grand juries determined that the abuse allegations were a “carefully crafted hoax” and specifically exonerated the five persons named by De Camp.
The grand jury also suggested that the abuse stories originated from a vindictive employee terminated by Boys Town, the famed refuge for troubled youths. A special Nebraska legislative committee assigned to investigate the allegations criticized the grand jury findings, with Nebraska Senator Loran Schmit labeling the grand jury’s report “a strange document.”
Moreover, two of the purported victims were indicted for perjury; one was convicted and sentenced to 9-15 years in prison. A Federal Grand Jury later concluded that the abuse allegations were unfounded and indicted 21 year old Alisha Owen on eight counts of perjury.
Journalist Nick Bryant, who believes there was a coverup of child abuse, described the trial of the convicted perjurer as a “travesty.”
King was eventually convicted of embezzling over $38 million from FCFCU, and served 10 years of a 15-year prison sentence. Paul A. Bonacci, who claimed that King abused him for an extended period, filed a lawsuit against King in civil court. When King failed to respond to the charges, United States federal judge Warren Keith Urbom entered a default judgement for $1 million against King.
Numerous theories persisted afterwards, claiming that the Franklin scandal was part of much more widespread series of crimes.