Bonacci Gets $1 Million in King Lawsuit - Feb 24, 1999 - Omaha World-Herald
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Feb 24, 1999 Bonacci Gets $1 Million in King Lawsuit; [Sunrise Edition] ROBERT DORR.Â Omaha World - Herald.Â Omaha, Neb.Â pg.Â 17
Full TextÂ (463 words)
(Copyright 1999 Omaha World-Herald Company)
This report includes material from the Associated Press.
A federal judge has awarded $1 million to Paul A. Bonacci, 31, of Omaha, who claimed that Franklin Community Federal Credit Union manager Lawrence E. King Jr. forced him into a child-prostitution ring in the 1980s.
Senior U.S. District Judge Warren Urbom of Lincoln entered the judgment Monday against King, although Urbom did not rule that King committed the abuse.
Urbom indicated that King's failure to respond to Bonacci's lawsuit left him no choice but to find King liable for the harm that Bonacci alleged.
"The defendant King's default has made those allegations true as to him," Urbom said.
King began serving a 15-year federal sentence in 1991 for stealing and misusing the Omaha credit union's funds. He is in federal prison in Colorado and has never responded to Bonacci's allegations in the lawsuit. The north Omaha credit union failed in 1988.
In an interview, Urbom said King was served a court summons in prison and could have legally responded. "A lot of people conduct lawsuits from prison," Urbom said. "There is no indication he (King) wanted to dispute this."
Urbom said he set the amount of damages at $1 million because Bonacci alleged that King had abused him in ways that caused permanent harm, including Bonacci's multiple personality disorder.
Bonacci, represented by Lincoln lawyer John DeCamp, filed the lawsuit in 1991 against 16 defendants, including the Catholic archbishop of Omaha, The World-Herald, retired World-Herald publisher Harold W. Andersen, the Omaha School District, former Omaha Police Chief [.....], businessman Alan Baer, two Omaha police detectives and others.
He alleged that the defendants either sexually abused him when he was a youth or were responsible for that sexual abuse. The 15 others were cleared.
DeCamp said Bonacci was surprised by the amount of the judgment against King.
"Obviously, you don't award $1 million if you don't think he (Bonacci) was telling the truth,"
"I was thinking the judge would award maybe $100,000 just to send a message."
However, DeCamp said he doubts that Bonacci will ever collect damages from King.
Although King stole millions from the credit union, federal authorities believe he wasted it on high living and has little or no money or other assets.
"Almost certainly the defendant King has little remaining financial resources, but a fair judgment to compensate the plaintiff is necessary," Urbom wrote.
Among his many allegations, Bonacci claimed King and others forced him and other young boys and girls to participate in sex orgies and satanic rituals.
A Douglas County grand jury investigating the Franklin case in 1990 called similar allegations raised by four youths, including Bonacci, a hoax.
Urbom awarded Bonacci $800,000 in compensatory damages and $200,000 in punitive damages against King.
Credit: WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER