The Journal of History     Summer 2008    TABLE OF CONTENTS

Is Ritual Child Abuse Just a Hoax?

By Victoria Hardy
February 15, 2008

Do we only see what we want to see? Or do we only see what we are shown? Many admit to knowing there is both good and evil on this earth, but it appears we feel that evil exists only in individuals or small pockets of like-minded people, never can we conceive, it seems, that evil may be pervasive, systematic and organized. I know, in this day and age, the debate about evil is long, does it exist and what constitutes evil versus lifestyle choice. I´ve always figured in the end it is only my own actions I will have to be responsible for, so I try not to judge others, but I have to state that I find the ritual torture, molestation and often, murder of children to rest fully in the realm of evil.

According to the reports from the US Department of Justice 797,500 children (18 and younger) were reported missing in a one year period studied, resulting in an average of 2,185 being reported missing each day. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children This is an shockingly high number, considering those numbers only represent the United States and only the children that are reported missing, not the throwaway kids that exist in every town and city across America. So where are all these children going?

It seems in the 1980s we received a few clues from the mainstream media about what may be happening, but the stories were called hoaxes and disappeared from view, dismissed and supposedly debunked. Where this sordid tale begins and ends is still a mystery for me, but I will start with the disappearance of Johnny Gosch on Sept. 5, 1982, the country´s first milk carton kid. Johnny was a good-looking 12 year-old boy when he disappeared from his route delivering the Des Moines Register Sunday paper. At the time of his disappearance police did not immediately begin searching for him and waited a 72-hour window before considering him officially missing.

Ms. Gosch maintains that Johnny was taken as part of a huge and well-organized human trafficking ring used for the purpose of satisfying pedophiles for profit. In recent years she has received photographs in the mail, made at the time of Johnny´s disappearance, of he and other boys tied and gagged. She has had contact with Johnny only once since he was kidnapped, when, as an adult, he turned up on her doorstep late one night and explained that he was involved in something too deep and dangerous to ever escape. She is the author of the book, "Why Johnny Can´t Come Home." Johnny Gosch Foundation

In 1984, a woman accused employees of the McMartin Preschool of molesting her young son when he came home bleeding from his rectum, a doctor verified that the child had been sodomized and thus became the longest criminal trial in American history. The story made headlines for years, as hundreds of preschool attendees came forward with stories of satanic ritual sexual abuse, animal mutilations and tunnels under the school which whisked the kids off to unknown locations to participate in sex with adults. Shock and outrage swept the country, but the defendants maintained their innocence throughout the long years of investigation, hearings and trials. Eventually, charges against all defendants were dropped, except for the son of the owner, Ray Buckley and after two juries deadlocked, he was released.

We, across America, relaxed knowing that justice was served and that no satanic, occult, or sexual rituals had occurred and many believed that the McMartin family deserved an apology, despite the claims of hundreds of children who had stepped forward. The newspapers declared it was a witch hunt brought on by mass hysteria, many books and documentaries were made siding with the McMartin family and headlines like "Indict the Children, Jail the Parents" appeared across the country, including The Wall Street Journal. Although a task force was created, little media attention was given to the fact that the McMartin Preschool was not the only school in the area under investigation.

During the investigation, 460 children reported being sexually abused and 80 per cent showed physical symptoms including vaginal and rectal scarring, anal bleeding and sexually transmitted chlamydia infections. The children´s stories were remarkably similar concerning the nature, location and perpetrators of the abuse. Although the media held our attention, the public was never informed that teenagers and twenty-year-olds, former students of McMartin´s Preschool, had also come forward confirming the claims of the children, but were not allowed to testify due to the statute of limitations. The judge in the case ruled that the children (aged 2 to 11) could not testify on closed circuit television, but had to face the attorneys and face them they did, each child was grilled by all the defense attorneys, one after another. And as the parents of the children next in line watched, they decided pull their kids from the proceedings.

Nor was it brought to the public´s attention that a couple key witnesses died suspicious deaths before they could testify. Judy Johnson, the first parent to raise concerns of molestation was declared a paranoid schizophrenic by the media, although she had no such medical diagnosis and was later found naked and sprawled out in her kitchen floor, dead of alcohol poisoning. And Paul Bynum, a prosecution witness and private detective hired by the defense was found dead of a single gunshot wound the morning he was scheduled to testify. His death was ruled a suicide, although friends and family declared it was not something he would do. McMartin Preschool Revisited

"Neither side is going to like what I have to say," Bynum told a reporter before he died. Bynum wanted to know how his citation books, the official police records kept from his time as a detective, had turned up in Ray Buckley´s desk when he was arrested for molestation. And he could corroborate a key point in the children's testimonies. The children had stated their attackers killed turtles and other small animals to scare them into silence and Bynum, while retained by the defense, found numerous turtle shells and other small animal bones buried in the yard of the preschool.

According to the editor of the Los Angeles Times, Noel Greenwood, the widespread media coverage was "a mean-spirited campaign" organized to discredit the kids and their therapists. Besides the ridicule the media heaped on Judy Johnson before her death, they also belittled the children´s claims, deeming the idea of a tunnel under the preschool, impossible. But when the parents hired an independent excavation team and that team found the back-filled tunnel system, the media issued one short paragraph mentioning "evidence" of a tunnel and promptly quit covering the story. The discovery of the often-ridiculed tunnel was also not admitted into evidence at trial due to a myriad of reasons.

Due to the fact that the preschool had recently changed hands and was set for demolition, the excavation team was given little time to complete the dig, but discovered that tunnels ran under several of the classrooms and uncovered the larger "secret room" that the children had described. An additional tunnel was also discovered leading out from under the preschool, to the triplex apartment next door and coming up into a bathroom under a moveable tub. Archaeological Investigations of the McMartin Preschool

In a interview on L.A.´s Pacifica Radio, Jackie MacGauley, mother of a McMartin student, said, "It was interesting because a lot of the child development specialists, psychiatrists, and therapists across the country thought that it was some psychological phenomenon that the kids would talk about tunnels. Somehow that idea got 'planted,' and they had all these theories as to why all the kids would talk about something like this. It obviously couldn't be true. And the district attorney at the time just flatly did not believe it, and really didn't want to look." History now states that the McMartin Preschool ritual abuse case was nothing more than a hoax perpetrated by deceitful therapists, lying children, and mass hysteria. And interestingly enough, of the hundreds of children who came forward and were interviewed, only one has recanted his story.

In 1988, Franklin Credit Union in Omaha, Nebraska was raided and upon examining the books it was found that close to $40 million was missing. The credit union was run by Larry King (not the talk show host) who at the time was a fast moving Republican star and sang at the Republican conventions in 1984 and 1988. Not only did investigators discover falsified books, they also found a large cache of child pornography. Due to newsprint publicity (television news didn´t touch this event), eighty children came forward with stories of ritual sexual abuse by high-powered community and political leaders. The Boys Town School featured prominently in the claims and was said to be a hunting ground for rich and powerful pedophiles. As the strands of this scandal reached all the way to Washington DC, John DeCamp, former US Republican senator, was sent to disprove the case, the results of his investigation and an attempt to save his life, after many threats, is the book, "The Franklin Cover-Up: Child Abuse, Satanism and Murder in Nebraska." Alex Jones interview with John DeCamp

As the witnesses came forward stories of children being transported across the country to exclusive parties where they were molested, auctioned off and even murdered came to light. At these events where orgies, satanic rituals, and endless drugs were available; many photographs and videos were made, later to be used for blackmail, to ensure silence or for profit. John DeCamp had his doubts when he began investigating the allegations, the claims seemed too wild to be true, but then he met one of the victims, Paul Bonacci, who had kept a very detailed journal from the time he was 12-years old.

Bonacci's diary contained information about locations, events and named high powered leaders, not just politicians but heads of banking, publishing and from the entertainment field. As Bonacci described a particular Washington party, DeCamp was amazed; he had attended the same party as a senator and remembered that children had been present at the event. Of course, DeCamp didn´t witness any of the ritual abuses described, because those, Bonacci explained, happened after the party, when the crowd had slimmed down considerably.

In 1989, the front page of The Washington Times screamed a shocking headline, "Homosexual Prostitution Inquiry Ensnares VIPs with Reagan, Bush" the subtitle states, " ´Call boys´ took midnight tour of the White House." The Times confirmed that Washington lobbyist Craig J. Spence had arranged for four midnight tours of the White House for young boys. The Law Party Paul Bonacci stated he had been on two of those tours and was able to describe rooms in the White House that are not typically seen by the public. Bonacci clarified that he did not have sex in the White House, but afterwards he was taken to party and forced to have sex with adults. Craig J. Spence was later found dead, the death was ruled a suicide.

Gary Caradori, an investigator for the Nebraska State legislature, met with Russell Nelson, a former photographer for Larry King, in Chicago. Nelson handed over video and photographic evidence to support the claims of ritual abuse, but on the return trip home Caradori´s plane disintegrated in air killing both he and his 8 year-old son. A local deputy, the first on the scene, claimed that the crash site was littered with photos of child pornography, but soon federal agents appeared and retrieved all the evidence, warning the deputy to keep his mouth shut. The deputy had trouble keeping quiet about the strange events until he had a head on collision several months later, he survived, although severely injured, his wife did not. The Gunderson Report

Four victims eventually agreed to testify, Paul Bonacci, Alisha Owens, Troy Boner, and Danny King. Danny King, often described as "pathetic" he was so broken by the abuse, recanted his story and Troy Boner also recanted after his brother was found dead, it was ruled suicide after it was decided the boy had lost a game of Russian roulette. Boner insisted his brother was afraid of guns and never would have touched one, he also confided to friends that he had to "lie or die." After recanting before the grand jury he disappeared, it is rumored that he later turned up in a mental institution in 2003, was sedated and found dead the next morning.

Alisha Owens did not recant, despite the fact that her brother was also found dead by yet another suicide. Due to Owens testimony that she had sex with the chief of police at 14-years old, as well as other allegations, she was convicted of perjury and sentenced to 9-27 years. The grand jury threw out all allegations of child abuse and declared the charges "a carefully crafted hoax...scripted by a person or persons with considerable knowledge of the people and institutions of Omaha." No conspirator was ever named and no further investigations were undertaken. Wikipedia

During Owens´ imprisonment, which began in 1991, she was kept in solitary confinement longer that any other woman in the history of the State of Nebraska. Owens was released on parole in 1997, but then the show "Inside Edition" aired an episode discussing the idea that Johnny Gosch may still be alive and she was picked up a week later, she was informed she had to complete her sentence in jail. During pre-trial interviews, Owens stated that she had seen Gosch, as well as several boys from Boys Town, at the exclusive parties where she and others had been abused. Owens was released in 2000 and said she only wants to lead a "normal" life.

Larry King was convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to a 15-year prison sentence. In 1999, Bonacci sued King in civil suit in which he alleged child abuse, mind control, satanic ritual abuse, and sexual abuse. Bonacci was awarded a $1 million dollar default judgment because King did not appear to defend the allegations. All told, 14 people connected with the Franklin cover up have died, including DeCamp´s friend and mentor, William Colby, former CIA director, who was discovered floating in a pond in 1996.

In 1993 the Discovery Channel contracted a British documentary team to investigate the story, Yorkshire Television spent 10 months in Nebraska interviewing witnesses and reviewing taped testimonies. The documentary, Conspiracy of Silence, was slated for air in 1994 and was listed in the TV Guide, but it was never shown. It is said that influential and connected people put pressure on the cable industry, fully reimbursing the production company and the Discovery Channel and that all copies were destroyed. Luckily, an unfinished version later turned up on John DeCamp´s doorstep. Conspiracy of Silence

And in a stranger twist of an already strange story, a young reporter appeared in White House briefings in 2003 going by the name Jeff Gannon, he caught the attention of the other reporters for the "soft" questions he asked the president or his press secretary. Controversy was stirred when it was discovered that the name Jeff Gannon was a secret service approved alias for James Guckert, who had been granted remarkable access to the White House. Gannon/Guckert claimed to be a reporter for Talon News, but at the time he made his first appearance in the briefings, he had never published a single article. The Raw Story

It quickly came to light that Gannon/Guckert advertised himself on pornographic gay websites as an escort charging $200 an hour. Washington Post And then rumor and speculations began flying on the Internet that Gannon/Guckert was really kidnap victim Johnny Gosch. Whether or not Gannon is actually Gosch, no one seems to know, but I understand that Gannon has refused DNA testing.

Both Gannon and his business partner, Bobby Eberle, owned the now defunct and admittedly partisan Talon News. And in another coincidence, a couple named Eberle were some of the most outspoken defenders of the McMartin family during the preschool scandal. They have published two books, "The Politics of Child Abuse," about false allegations of child abuse in day care facilities, in 1986 and "The Abuse of Innocence," supporting the McMartin family, in 1996. Since the publication of the books the Eberles are considered experts in the field of childhood sexual abuse. Interestingly enough, the Eberles have also published many hard and soft-core pornographic magazines. Excerpt from 1988 Ms. Magazine in a book review of "The Abuse of Innocence," a writer for the Tampa Tribune stated, "For a period of time during the 70s, Paul and Shirley Eberle were the most prolific publishers of child pornography in the United States." Wikipedia Whether or not these Eberles are related, I have no idea, but if not, it sure is a curious coincidence.

There you have it, the tip of a very complex and dangerous mystery. So do we choose not to see evil in our society or does the media simply do a fine job in hiding the ugliness from us? Dozens of some of the most powerful people in America were accused and identified in these cases and never charged with a single crime. Hundreds of children told the same or very similar stories, displayed physical and emotional symptoms and evidence was presented confirming their claims, yet somehow, the courts and the public decided they were all lying. We want to believe that the pedophile is the lone stranger that we can warn our children about, we want to believe the abductions and molestations of our youth are just disturbing, isolated events, but the truth is, it is a huge and lucrative business.

If we choose to believe what is written in this article and within the many links provided, many will assume that the scandals from Nebraska and California could never happen in their town, in their neighborhood or with their children, but how do we really know? The pedophile, child pornography and human trafficking networks are organized by well connected people, working in unison with other seemingly upstanding community leaders and backed by more money and resources than most of us, struggling to pay our bills month to month, can imagine.

Are we forgetting that just recently Mark Foley, who was once considered a crusader for abused and exploited kids, was caught propositioning and writing sexually tinged emails to teenage pages? Are we forgetting the Catholic Church scandals? The truth that no one wants to accept and the media makes easy to ignore, is that this is happening all across our country, remember those 2,185 children that disappear everyday? And in the McMartin and Franklin cases, the children were mostly just used, threatened, fondled, raped, filmed, brain washed and returned to their homes and most parents had no clue. I think it is time we begin looking at the real evils in this world and learn to recognize it for what is it, because if we cannot or refuse to see evil, then how can we protect our children and ourselves?

Victoria Hardy

Victoria Hardy is the drummer for the pop duo 3 Feet Up. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, who is also the other half of the duo and they have released 2 CDs since 2005: 3 feet up CDs. 3 Feet Up was featured in the Living Room Live Series on the CBS Early Show in July of 2006.


The Journal of History - Summer 2008 Copyright © 2008 by News Source, Inc.