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Franklin Committee Plans To Keep Up Abuse Probe - July 24, 1989 - Omaha World-Herald

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July 24, 1989 Franklin Committee Plans To Keep Up Abuse Probe; [Metro Edition] Robert Dorr. Omaha World - Herald. Omaha, Neb. pg. 14

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(Copyright 1989 Omaha World-Herald Company)

The remaining five members of the Legislature's Franklin Community Federal Credit Union Committee must keep investigating reports of child abuse "until we find the truth," Sen. Bernice Labedz of Omaha said Monday.

Mrs. Labedz said: "As a mother and grandmother, I believe children when they say they are abused."

The legislative committee, headed by Sen. Loran Schmit of Bellwood, has checked into allegations of child abuse possibly related to Franklin, the credit union's top executive officer, Lawrence E. King Jr., and others.

Four people involved in the committee's investigation have resigned, contending that statements by Schmit may have harmed the committee's investigation of possible child abuse.

Sen. Jim McFarland of Lincoln on Friday became the latest to resign. He said he was concerned that the committee hadn't properly supported its former special counsel Kirk Naylor and special investigator Jerry Lowe.

Naylor, Lowe and committee vice chairman Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha resigned earlier.

Mrs. Labedz said she is "truly sorry and upset that this is happening to the committee."

She said she has no plans to resign. "I'm going to hang in there until we find out the truth. The main concern of mine is child abuse," she said.

She said she thinks Schmit also believes child abuse reports should be investigated.

Meanwhile, Chambers and Lowe criticized an editorial in The Sunday World-Herald that said Schmit doesn't deserve the criticism he has received for saying the committee has been unable to verify rumors and allegations of child abuse.

The editorial concluded: "The committee would be performing perfectly logically in changing course and going down the 'money trail.' It should get on with it."

Lowe took issue with a comment attributed to Schmit in the Sunday editorial. Schmit said: "After the (Franklin committee's July 7) meeting, I received some of the reports from Mr. Lowe, and there was nothing in the file that I found that would verify the allegations of child abuse."

Lowe said the reports he gave to Schmit were only the last two or three he had written, not all his reports on child abuse.

Chambers, speaking on a KKAR talk show, said he detects "a grassroots groundswell" of people who want to see the legislative committee pursue the rumors and reports of possible child abuse.

He said the editorial tried to dampen that groundswell.

Credit: World-Herald Staff Writer

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