Franklin Stories Leave Warner Uncertain of Truth - Aug 2, 1990 - Omaha World-Herald
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Aug 2, 1990 Franklin Stories Leave Warner Uncertain of Truth; [Sunrise Edition] Gabriella Stern. Omaha World - Herald. Omaha, Neb. pg. 15
Full Text (1095 words)
(Copyright 1990 Omaha World-Herald Company)
Correction. Mrs. Vuchetich has said that Creager was not present at the meeting. See 900803 story, "For the Record."
State Sen. Jerome Warner, a member of the Nebraska Legislature's special Franklin Committee, said Wednesday: "I don't know anymore what story to believe."
Warner was asked about a Wednesday statement by James Daniel King of Omaha that he and a friend, Troy Boner, lied when they told the committee's investigator last fall about incidents of sexual abuse of children in Omaha.
In addition, the 21-year-old "Danny" King's attorney, Pamela Vuchetich of Lincoln, said she had believed King and Boner, 23, when they first made the allegations. Now, she said, she realizes they lied.
Warner sits on the special legislative committee created in January 1989 to investigate the failure of the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union and other matters, including allegations of child sexual abuse.
Warner said the five committee members talked among themselves "early on" about whether the young people were telling the truth in videotaped statements they gave the late Gary Caradori, the committee's private investigator.
"We questioned that right and left early on," Warner said from his home in Waverly. "There were all kinds of discussions as to the validity of what they were saying."
Warner said he and the other committee members did not expect the videotapes to be totally free of errors, since the young people were recalling events that had happened years in the past.
"But we were conscious that there were also a great many similarities in what they were saying," Warner said. "It did not seem feasible that all of that could be pre-arranged, particularly when they wouldn't have been able to know what questions would be asked."
In the past week, King and Boner have said that they told Caradori and his assistant, Karen Ormiston, that their videotaped statements were untrue.
"Gary and Karen never mentioned that the boys said they were lying," Warner said. "I have no recollection of any of Caradori's people suggesting that they (King and Boner) had changed their stories. They would talk about where, supposedly, things occurred, and I know Caradori took them to where they claim they were at."
'They Were Scared'
Warner said he is certain that Caradori did not know the young people were concocting what a grand jury last week called a "hoax." If, in fact, King and Boner told Caradori they had lied, the well-meaning Caradori probably believed that they were afraid to talk about it, Warner said.
"My impression is that they were scared for their own safety. I got that impression from Caradori, who talked about them being scared," Warner said. "It is inconceivable to me that Caradori would have intentionally fabricated and been a part of a hoax."
A Douglas County grand jury used the words "carefully crafted hoax" to describe the videotaped child sexual-abuse allegations made by King, Boner and Alisha Owen, 21.
The report said King and Boner lied to Caradori and told the truth to the grand jury. Miss Owen stuck to her story and was indicted on eight counts of perjury.
Attorney Bob Creager, the legislative committee's co-counsel, said Wednesday that it was impossible for the committee to distinguish fact from fiction in the accounts of child sexual abuse the two young men gave Caradori.
'Spirit of Our Dilemma'
Creager said the young men "appeared to have knowledge of things that could not have been made up" and presented a series of statements to Caradori that they now claim were lies.
"What they are apparently now saying is, 'We stuck stuff in our story that was not true,' " Creager said. "It is not a question of whether it is or isn't a hoax. It's a question of how much of what they said is basically true. And if they said more than was actually true, how are we as a committee and how is the public to be able to draw the line between what they have acknowledged as having been true and what they now say was made up?
"That captures the spirit of our dilemma," Creager said.
The committee resolved that dilemma, he said, by giving the information to state and federal authorities for further examination.
"After that the committee was not in a position to make further inquiry of the witnesses," he said.
Committee members continued to say publicly that the witnesses appeared to be credible.
Creager said proof that the young men's statements to Caradori had substance is the fact that the grand jury connected some of the adults named by the young people to illegal sex activities.
"Citron, Baer and Andresen were players in the tapes. Their involvement is not a hoax," Creager said, referring to Omaha businessman Alan Baer, former World-Herald columnist Peter Citron and Robert Andresen of Ralston.
Last week, Citron began serving a three- to eight-year prison sentence for fondling boys. The judge handling Citron's case said it was not related to the legislative committee's investigation.
The grand jury indicted Baer last week on two counts of pandering involving adult men and cleared Baer of wrongdoing involving minors.
The jury's report said there was evidence that Andresen sexually abused minors. Tuesday, Danny King filed a lawsuit against Andresen alleging that he sexually assaulted him in 1986.
Another committee member, Sen. Bernice Labedz of Omaha, said Wednesday: "If Danny King was lying, why did he tell us about Bob Andresen?"
Creager said he did not agree with some statements made Tuesday by Mrs. Vuchetich and published in The World-Herald Wednesday.
Room and Board
She said that the committee paid for room and board for King and Boner and that she had discussed that fact with Creager and Sen. Loran Schmit of Bellwood, the committee's chairman.
Creager said he, Schmit and other committee members did not know of and did not authorize any committee money paid to King and Boner, aside from expenses incurred during interrogations.
"I will confirm that we met to talk to her about her request that the committee find some way to help the kids, and we told her no," he said.
Creager said that contrary to Mrs. Vuchetich's statement Tuesday, he never met with her in the presence of John DeCamp, Lincoln lobbyist and attorney and former legislator (SEE CORRECTION).
"As far as I can tell, we have never received any communication from Pam Vuchetich at any time that she had reason to believe her witnesses had given false testimony before the committee," Creager said.
Schmit, asked for an interview Wednesday, referred all comments to Creager.Warner - Credit: World-Herald Staff Writer