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FBI Asks Information in Franklin Case, Woman Says Teens Told Her of Abuse - Dec 21, 1988 - Omaha World-Herald

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FBI Asks Information in Franklin Case, Woman Says Teens Told Her of Abuse; [Metro Edition] James Allen Flanery. Omaha World Herald - Dec 21, 1988. pg. 17

Full Text (973 words)
(Copyright 1988 Omaha World-Herald Company)

An Ohio probation officer has told The World-Herald that the FBI, which is investigating the failed Franklin Community Federal Credit Union, has asked her to provide information she collected in 1986 regarding alleged sexual and physical abuse of teen-agers.

Julie Walters, a former Boys Town family teacher and assistant community director, said that as a favor to a friend she interviewed two teen-agers. The teens described parties in Omaha, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and other cities where alleged "sexual misuse of a minor" occurred, she said.

"Men would have the right to play with them, but there would not be intercourse," Mrs. Walters said one of the teen-agers told her.

"I'd consider it serious sexual abuse and misconduct involving a minor," she said.

Mrs. Walters said an FBI agent in Omaha telephoned her Monday and asked her to send the information she collected from the teen-agers in March 1986.

Information gathered by Mrs. Walters also was turned over Monday to the Legislature's Executive Board. The information was part of a package of materials collected by the State Foster Care Review Board.

The Executive Board is forming a subcommittee to investigate the Nov. 4 collapse of Franklin Credit and related issues. One of those issues is alleged sexual and physical abuse of children, board members have said.

Similar Accounts

Nicholas O'Hara, special agent in charge of the FBI in Nebraska and Iowa, said last week that one of his agents was investigating allegations of abuse of young people and adults as part of its probe of Franklin.

Two people who have talked with officials investigating Franklin said they also had spoken with the teen-agers interviewed by Mrs. Walters. They said they had received similar accounts of parties and alleged sexual activity.

The two said that by at least late March 1986, they had turned over to law enforcement agencies information they and Mrs. Walters had gathered.

The information was part of a package turned over by the Foster Care Review Board July 25, 1988, to the Omaha Police Department and the Nebraska Attorney General's Office.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha said Monday that Omaha police and the Attorney General's Office had "sat on" this and other information from the Foster Care Review Board about alleged abuse.

Attorney General Robert Spire and Omaha Police Chief Robert Wadman said they had not sat on the information. Both said they immediately had pursued information given to them July 25 by Dennis Carlson, vice chairman of the Foster Care Review Board and a Nebraska Bar Association official.

Spire said the investigation by his office was continuing on a number of fronts. Wadman said police have pursued the information received "as far as they could, and it did not result in any substantive charges or information."'More Truth Than Not'

Mrs. Walters, who now is employed as a probation officer by the Hamilton, Ohio, Juvenile Court, said in a telephone interview that what she heard from the teen-agers seemed at first "too bizarre to be true."

"But working in probation, I'm more sure than ever that there is more truth than not in their accounts," she said. "The conclusion I reached was the kids I spoke with were not lying."

Mrs. Walters said she came to know the two teen-agers because one of them told a friend of Mrs. Walters' that some former Boys Town residents had been seen at some of the parties. She said she verified that the names provided were former Boys Town residents, but she said their whereabouts were unknown in 1986.

She said she never made direct contact with any of the former residents.

At the time, Mrs. Walters said, she was working in admissions at Boys Town. She said she and her husband, Tom, both former family teachers at Boys Town, moved to Cincinnati in August 1987.Beatings Told

During three interviews in March 1986 with the two teen-agers, Mrs. Walters said, she learned of "specific allegations of physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse," some of it connected with a foster-care home.

She said the teen-agers told her that children in the home were beaten with a rubber paddle. She said the teen-agers also said children had been beaten with extension cords.

Some of the children were naked during the beatings, she said.

The teens also told her they had found pornographic videotapes and still photographs in the home, Mrs. Walters said.

She said one of the teens told her about going to a party in Omaha at which there was sex involving "more than two people, same sex and opposite sex." The teen reported witnessing the acts, Mrs. Walters said.

She said one of the teens also described a party in Washington, D.C., during which youngsters were offered for sexual acts. The teen did not take part in the sex acts, Mrs. Walters quoted the teen-ager as saying.Security

At one party, Mrs. Walters said, the teens described elaborate security.

"They said there was an identification card similar to a credit card that had to be fed into a machine," Mrs. Walters said. "That made sure the person was who he said he was."

The teens told her that guests were frisked and that some of the people at the party had guns.

Mrs. Walters said the teens were picked up for some parties on short notice. "They said they were given no choice about going. Parties were on the average of once every two weeks in Omaha," she quoted the teens as saying. "They knew specific details that you could not have gotten by reading a book. They talked about names and where people were at parties."

She said their experiences "were very difficult" for the teen-agers.

"They seemed to be in turmoil because no one seemed to believe them," Mrs. Walters said. "They also were very fearful."



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