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Group Seeks Federal Intervention Kerrey's Help Sought in Abuse Probe Aug 18, 1989 - Omaha World-Herald

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Aug 18, 1989 Group Seeks Federal Intervention Kerrey's Help Sought in Abuse Probe; [Sunrise Edition] Robert Dorr. Omaha World - Herald. Omaha, Neb. pg. 18

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(Copyright 1989 Omaha World-Herald Company)

A group based in Lincoln that supports and counsels abused children, including youngsters allegedly sexually abused in satanic rituals, has asked Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., for his help in the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union case.

Federal intervention may be needed to ensure a full investigation of child-abuse allegations against Lawrence E. King Jr., Franklin's former chief executive, and others, wrote Lee Nugara, Nebraska chapter president of Believe the Children.

King has denied any personal involvement in alleged child abuse. "It's all hearsay, and it's all garbage," he said earlier.

King was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges relating to financial aspects of Franklin's failure. A total of $38 million is missing, federal officials have said.

'Denial, Confusion'

In a letter to Kerrey, Nugara wrote:

"We have been extremely concerned by the lack of response by investigative agencies.

"We found denial, we found confusion, we found indifference, we found apathy, we found reluctance to pursue the allegations as more and more prominent names came to light during the course of the investigation."

Steve Jarding, press secretary to Kerrey, said from Washington that the letter hadn't arrived yet.

Nugara, interviewed Thursday from Lincoln, declined to disclose the "prominent names" referred to in his letter.

His letter said his group is the state chapter of a "national organization created out of a need to address the issues surrounding the sexual abuse of children and the ritualistic aspect that appears to be a startling component in so many child-abuse cases across the nation."

Child-Care Professionals

In the interview, Nugara said the group he heads has 10 board members, mainly child-care professionals in Lincoln.

Members of the group meet with child-abuse victims and their families in homes and offer "support, comfort, counseling and prayer."

Nugara said he works as a child-care professional for a private agency. He declined to name the agency, saying he didn't want to get it involved.

Nugara's connection with the Franklin Credit matter resulted from "some people coming to us and asking for help." He has talked with three children allegedly abused, he said.

Those youngsters mentioned a half-dozen or so prominent people who attended ritualistic events that included "satanic worship," he said. Sexual abuse of the youngsters was part of the ritual, he said the youngsters told him.

Nugara said he believes those children are telling the truth because they didn't know each other and they said the same things about what happened.

"Some of the stuff is so crazy they can't be lying," he said.

Nugara said he hoped the Nebraska Legislature's special committee on Franklin Credit's failure would fully investigate child abuse. But he now has less hope of that happening, he said, leading to his letter to Kerrey.

Resignations

Two committee members, Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, who was vice-chairman, and Sen. Jim McFarland of Lincoln, have resigned, as have counsel Kirk Naylor Jr. and investigator Jerry Lowe.

However, Sen. Loran Schmit of Bellwood, the committee's chairman, has said the committee will pursue child-abuse allegations.

The FBI, Omaha Police Department, Nebraska State Patrol and Nebraska Attorney General's Office have said they investigated but couldn't substantiate child-abuse allegations.

Rep. Doug Bereuter, R-Neb., said last week that he has asked the inspector general's office of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate whether children in Nebraska's foster care programs have been abused.

Bereuter said he asked for the probe in response to a request by the Nebraska Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse. He said the committee had told himn it was concerned about allegations of child abuse in connection with Franklin.

Credit: World-Herald Staff Writer

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