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Miss Owen Weeps on Stand, Repeats Abuse Allegations - June 14, 1991 - Omaha World-Herald

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Jun 14, 1991 Miss Owen Weeps on Stand, Repeats Abuse Allegations; [Metro Edition] Leslie Boellstorff, Robert Dorr. Omaha World - Herald. Omaha, Neb. pg. 1

Full Text (1481 words)
(Copyright 1991 Omaha World-Herald Company)

Alisha Owen testified in her own defense Friday, weeping as she repeated accusations of sexual relationships between adults and youths in Omaha that she made to a grand jury last year.

Her testimony to a Douglas County grand jury about some of those accusations, including statements that she had a sexual relationship with then-Police Chief Robert Wadman in 1983 and 1984 and that he fathered her daughter, led to her indictment by the grand jury on eight perjury charges.

She was tearful when her lawyer, Henry Rosenthal Jr., called her to the stand Friday during the 19th day of her perjury trial in Douglas County District Court.

Under Rosenthal's questioning, Miss Owen, 22, began recounting her entire story of sexual abuse, beginning with a party that she said occurred Aug. 27, 1983, at the Twin Towers apartments at 30th and Farnam Streets.

She reiterated many of the details of the sexual abuse allegations she first told legislative investigator Gary Caradori in November 1989 and the Franklin grand jury in May 1990.

Started in 1983

She said it was Jeff Hubbell who introduced her to the Twin Towers parties after she met him at a Sprite night teen dance at Peony Park on Aug. 26, 1983.

Miss Owen said Hubbell asked her out after dancing with her.

The following day, she said, Hubbell and a black man named Larry picked her up and took her to the apartment complex for the first of a series of parties she said she attended. She said she observed drug use and sexual misconduct at the parties.

Hubbell, who was tracked down by the FBI last year in Nevada where he worked for a construction company, testified previously that he only saw Miss Owen once in his life, at the Sprite night dance. He said he knew nothing about any parties at the Twin Towers.

In her testimony Friday, Miss Owen said that at the first party she met Lawrence E. King Jr., chief executive of the now defunct Franklin Community Federal Credit Union; Alan Baer, then owner of Brandeis department stores; Harold W. Andersen, then publisher of The World-Herald; and Wadman.

She also said she met Troy Boner and James Daniel "Danny" King at that party.

Testimony Recanted

Boner, 24, and Danny King, 21, also made sexual-abuse allegations to Caradori but recanted when they testified to the grand jury. In their trial testimony, they said they fabricated the sexual-abuse allegations because they thought they could make millions of dollars.

Miss Owen also said she met Alfie Allen, whom she believed lived in the seventh- or eighth-floor apartment where a party was held.

Allen has testified that he has never owned or rented a Twin Towers apartment and has been in the building only once in his life.

In her testimony, Miss Owen emphasized that it was only her impression that it was Allen's apartment.

"I've stated repeatedly," she said, "that I've never seen the lease."

Miss Owen choked up a bit as she said, under Rosenthal's questioning, that she saw Andersen fondle a boy at the first party. Andersen denied that allegation in earlier testimony.

Miss Owen's voice broke slightly when she said that she lost her virginity at a second Twin Towers party a week later. She said participants at that party, including herself, were using cocaine. She said she had sex with Boner that night.

'Calm Yourself Down'

Miss Owen began crying when she described a third party, about Sept. 9 or 10, 1983, when she said she first had sexual contact with Wadman. She said she and Wadman were alone together in the apartment after other people left to get dinner.

After she told the jury that Wadman took off her jumpsuit and had her sit on his lap, Miss Owen began crying.

"Just a minute, just calm yourself down," said District Judge Raymond Case as the bailiff brought Miss Owen tissues.

Miss Owen said she visited the French Cafe where, she said, Wadman took her to lunch in an attempt to make up for causing her to cry and to make up for three incidents where she said Wadman picked her up and took her to motels on Wednesday afternoons for sex.

She said those were the only three times Wadman himself picked her up. On other occasions, she said, it was the black man she referred to as "Larry the kid" who drove her to motels to have sex with Wadman.

Threat From Chief

She said Wadman did not pick her up in front of Central High School, but had her walk down the street to a nearby bus stop or a downtown McDonald's restaurant.

Miss Owen did not provide details of her alleged trips to motels with Wadman.

"We had sex," she said.

Miss Owen bit her lip and cried once more as she described a time when, she said, Wadman became angry at her and threatened her.

"He made me think he was going to shoot me and kill me," she said.

Wadman, in his earlier testimony, described Miss Owen's allegations as disgusting and untrue. A blood test last year showed he was not the father of Miss Owen's child.

Miss Owen first told her parents in late October or November 1989 that she had been sexually abused and that Wadman fathered her child, Miss Owen's mother testified Thursday.

It remained unclear whether that conversation occurred before or after Miss Owen was visited at the Nebraska Center for Women at York by Gary Caradori, an investigator for a legislative committee.

Prison Visit

Caradori went to the prison and met Miss Owen on Oct. 30, 1989. When Caradori returned Nov. 7, 1989, he videotaped her story of alleged sexual abuse.

Donna Owen broke into tears as she described what she said happened when she and her husband visited their daughter at the York prison, where Alisha Owen is serving a bad-check sentence.

Mrs. Owen said her daughter asked her whether she knew about allegations of child sexual abuse that arose in the course of the legislative committee's investigation of the failure of Franklin Community Federal Credit Union and said: "I know things about the children who have been abused."

Mrs. Owen said she asked: "You haven't abused any children, have you?"

She said her daughter replied, "Mom, I'm one of the children."

Mrs. Owen testified that her husband, Alvin Owen, Miss Owen's father, joined the conversation, and Miss Owen told both parents that she believed Wadman was the father of her daughter, Amanda, now 6.

While her mother testified, Miss Owen sat 10 feet away and cried quietly.

Prosecutor Gerald Moran asked Mrs. Owen whether she acknowledged that genetic tests by three laboratories eliminated the possibility that Wadman was Amanda Owen's father.

''That's what the labs showed," she said.

Mrs. Owen withdrew the paternity lawsuit she filed on behalf of her granddaughter.

Rebellious Daughter

Much of Alvin and Donna Owen's testimony painted a picture of a frequently rebellious daughter who had difficulty complying with her parents' standards and who displayed increasingly bizarre and self-destructive behavior.

They mentioned incidents when Miss Owen wrote bad checks and hid from law enforcement officers, when she stole and apparently forged her father's company checks, when she lived with a man after they expressed their disapproval, when she ran away with another man and when she attempted suicide.

Testifying later Thursday, State Sen. Bernice Labedz of Omaha, a member of the legislative committee that investigated the Franklin failure, supported earlier testimony that Boner said he had told Caradori the truth and that he wanted to return to his original story of sexual abuse.

Sen. Labedz said Miss Owen had appeared in person before the legislative committee, but Boner and Danny King did not.

Also Thursday, Rosenthal finished reading testimony by Caradori, now dead, to last year's grand jury.

Caradori told the grand jury that he tracked down Miss Owen after getting her name from free-lance writer Michael Casey. Casey and Miss Owen became acquainted when both were patients at the St. Joseph Mental Health Center.

Testimonies Differ

Caradori told the grand jury he believed that the FBI was trying to establish that "there was some tie between me and Mike Casey to fabricate this case." Caradori said he stopped dealing with Casey after a tape provided by Casey proved useless.

Caradori's grand jury testimony contradicted the perjury trial testimony of Boner and King that the two talked for an hour or more to match the stories they told Caradori.

Caradori told the grand jury he made certain that Boner and King didn't have any chance beforehand to compare their stories.

Boner also testified that he learned enough during a 20-minute phone call to Miss Owen from Caradori's office to tell a consistent story. Caradori mentioned nothing about a stop at his office, instead telling the grand jury he took Boner straight to the interview session. Miss Owen

Credit: World-Herald Staff Writers

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