Franklin child prostitution ring allegations
The Franklin child prostitution ring allegations took place between 1988 and 1991 and involved an alleged child sex ring serving prominent citizens of the Nebraska Republican Party, as well as high-level U.S. politicians. The allegations also claimed that the alleged sex ring was led by, "a cult of devil worshipers involved in the mutilation, sacrifice and cannibalism of numerous children." The allegations centered on the actions of Lawrence E. King Jr., who ran the now defunct Franklin Community Federal Credit Union (FCFCU) in Omaha, Nebraska.
The Nebraska State Foster Care Review Board submitted the results of a two-year investigation into the alleged physical and sexual abuse of foster children to the Executive Board of the Nebraska Legislature, who were investigating reports of child sexual abuse linked to the credit union. Authorities launched a probe, interviewing a number of claimed abuse victims who said that children in foster care were flown to the U.S. East Coast and were abused at "bad parties." After investigation, a grand jury in Douglas County (of which Omaha, Nebraska is the largest city and county seat) determined the abuse allegations were baseless, describing them as a "carefully crafted hoax" and indicted two of the accusers on perjury charges. The grand jury also suggested that the abuse stories originated from a vindictive employee terminated by Boys Town, the famed refuge for troubled youths. Later, a federal grand jury concluded that the abuse allegations were unfounded and indicted 21-year-old Alisha Owen, an alleged victim, on eight counts of perjury. The same grand jury also indicted multiple officers of the credit union, including King, for crimes related to the embezzlement of funds from the credit union. Alisha Owen served 4-1/2 years in prison.
Historian Philip Jenkins explored how hot topics such as the Franklin allegations, whether or not they are worthy of attention or credible on their own merits, are seized by political opportunists for their own purposes. He also described how cases such as the Franklin allegations can acquire credibility, even if they lack any credibility inherently, when reported in various media in a credulous voice. Numerous conspiracy theories evolved and persist, claiming that the alleged abuse was part of a widespread series of crimes including devil worship, cannibalism, drug trafficking, CIA arms dealing and links with the first Bush Administration.
- Jenkins, Philip (2004). Moral Panic: Changing Concepts of the Child Molester in Modern America. Yale University Press. pp. 174–5. ISBN 978-0-300-10963-4.
- Robbins, William (December 18, 1988). "A Lurid, Mysterious Scandal Begins Taking Shape in Omaha". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
- Robbins, William (December 25, 1988). "Nebraska Inquiry Is Given File on Sex Abuse of Foster Children". The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
- Robbins, Williams (July 29, 1990). "Omaha Grand Jury Sees Hoax in Lurid Tales". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
- "Omaha Tales of Sexual Abuse Ruled False". The New York Times. Associated Press. September 27, 1990. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
- USA Today. August 9, 1991. p. 6A. "Alisha Owen, convicted of lying to grand jury probing charges of sex and drug abuse in failure of Omaha credit union, was sentenced to 9 to 15 years in prison."