A Carefully Crafted Hoax

In February of 1990, Samuel Van Pelt, a retired Nebraska judge, was appointed special prosecutor of a Douglas County grand jury charged to investigate child exploitation pertaining to King. Unlike a trial, a grand jury proceeding is private, and there is no cross-examination or presentation of the defense case. The special prosecutor calls the witnesses, questions the witnesses, and selects the evidence that is shown to the grand jurors, who are ordinary citizens. Generally, only witnesses and evidence deemed relevant by special prosecutors are pursued by grand juries, so special prosecutors are in a unique position to twist grand jurors judgments in a particular direction.

The first grand jury witness called by Van Pelt was Patricia Flocken — she had formerly served as a guardian of Eulice Washington. Van Pelt’s ostensible rationale for calling Flocken as the first witness was to address the early allegations of sexual and physical abuse in the Webb household and Eulice’s allegations contained in the Boys Town youth worker's report. “Van Pelt was a jerk,” Flocken said. “I don’t think he was brought in to find the truth — I think he was brought in to expose the children as liars. I didn’t think he was at all interested in the kids I represented.”

Though the grand jury’s oddities and abnormalities are too numerous to mention, it is essential to point out that the grand jury focused almost exclusively on the videotaped testimony of Alisha Owen, Troy Boner, Danny King, and Paul Bonacci after they were videotaped by Caradori, even though Caradori identified scores of victims. In their sworn testimony, videotaped by Gary Caradori, Owen, Boner, Danny King, and Bonacci repeatedly corroborated each other, but much of their corroboration was edited out when the videotapes were shown to the grand jurors.

< Back

Next >