Nebraska Inquiry Is Given File on Sex Abuse of Foster Children - Dec 25, 1988 - New York Times
Nebraska Inquiry Is Given File on Sex Abuse of Foster Children - By William Robbins - Special to the New York Times / The New York Times; Section 1; Part 1, Page 18, Column 2; National Desk December 25, 1988, Sunday, Late City Final Edition
LINCOLN, Neb., Dec. 22 A state file containing reports of physical and sexual abuse of foster children, based on interviews with some of the children and including one instance reminiscent of slave auctions, has been turned over to the Executive Board of the Nebraska Legislature.
People familiar with the file's contents describe it as a voluminous compilation of reports acquired over the last two years by the State Foster Care Review Board from a variety of child care professionals, including schoolteachers and social workers. Three leading officials of the review board, which monitors the quality of care in Nebraskan foster homes, submitted the file Monday in a closed meeting with the Executive Board. It will be used by an investigative committee that the Executive Board had already begun forming to look into earlier reports of child sexual abuse and how that abuse might be linked to the collapse of a small Omaha credit union.
Good Parties and Bad Parties
Three leading officials of the review board which monitors the quality of care in Nebraskan foster homes, submitted the file Monday in a closed meeting with the Executive Board. It will be used by an investigative committee that the executive Board had already begun forming to look into earlier reports of child sexual abuse and how that abuse might be linked to the collapse of a small Omaha credit union.
One of the reports in the file, according to a source familiar with it, is an account by an interviewer of a narrative provided by a reputed victim, who described parties at various places, including Omaha and cities to which she was flown on the East Coast.
''The way she described it, some were good parties and some were bad parties,'' said this source, who went on to describe scenes of abuse, including one in which the victim, a teen-ager, was made to stand nude at a party while she was offered at auction to the highest bidder.
''I don't know if they can prove it,'' the source said, ''but if one-tenth of what that girl is saying is true, I'd sure hate to have her talking about me.''
The foster care agency's submission of the file is among the latest developments in a case that began surfacing Nov. 4, when the Government's National Credit Union Administration shut down the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union in Omaha. The agency, which oversees the nation's federally chartered credit unions and insures their deposits, subsequently filed suit against Lawrence E. King Jr., Franklin Community's manager and treasurer, charging him with diverting millions of dollars of the institution's money to his own purposes. In all, the agency says, Franklin Community is missing $38 million.
Mr. King has not been accused of personally engaging in child sexual abuse. But a number of widening Federal and state investigations into the credit union's collapse are aimed in part at determining whether any of the money he is accused of embezzling was ever used to transport children or to pay them for sexual favors. Mr. King, a 44-year-old former vice chairman of the National Black Republican Council, an official affiliate of the Republican Party, has denied all allegations of embezzlement, and in an interview last week his lawyer discounted any link between the credit union case and child abuse.
Some Mystery Remains
Mr. King, a 44-year-old former vice chairman of the National Black Republican Council, an official affiliate of the Rebuplican Pary, had denied all allegations of embezzlement, and in an interview last week his lawyer discounted any link between the credit union case and child abuse.
The number of children involved in that abuse remains something of a mystery, as does the identity of any foster homes involved. The person who spoke of the contents of the foster care agency's file declined to discuss these elements of the case.
One of Franklin Community's employees, a man hired to sell large certificates of deposit that are said to have provided most of the funds that kept the credit union operating, said in a recent interview that on the day it was shut down, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation immediately began asking questions on other subjects.
''They asked me about child pornography, drugs and Larry King's life style, in exactly that order,'' he said. Subseqently, he said, he was called before a Federal grand jury in Omaha and asked to describe his job activities.
The source who spoke of the file's contents said that it reflected efforts dating back several months to spur various investigative agencies to look into the possibility of abuse. And besides the report of auctioning of the services of a teen-ager, the source said, it contains information from other interviews, including some from a child care specialist, Julie Walters, who moved from Omaha late last year to take a position as a juvenile probation officer in Cincinnati.
Mrs. Walters, reached by telephone, told of interviews with two teen-agers who, she said, described physical cruelty to children at foster care homes as well as sexual abuse of teen-agers at parties in Omaha, New York, Chicago and Washington.
Earlier this week, she told an Omaha reporter of a teen-ager's description of a party involving sex between ''more than two people, same sex and opposite sex.''
''It's a horrible thing for me professionally and emotionally,'' she said in the telephone interview, ''to go through watching kids disclosing things that are very traumatic for them, verbalizing situations in which they were victims and saying they knew that nothing would ever be done about it.''
But, she added, ''that is not uncommon for victims of child abuse.''