Villains Still Out There

…Recently, the country was stunned again by the Gerry Sandusky case at Penn State. Like the Catholic Church, the Penn State football program was an unchallengeable, straight-arrow, totalitarian hierarchy that valued itself more than the lives of children who were being raped by an outrageously flamboyant pedophile. Outside of a few extreme Penn State football fans, nobody had a hard time seeing that something had gone terribly wrong, and that it had gone wrong for a long time because the victims had enormous difficulty coming forward and people in authority didn’t want to believe what was happening before their eyes.

But in Omaha during the first Bush presidency, with the nursery school scandals losing credibility around the country, almost the entire Omaha establishment closed ranks to discredit the accusers. By establishment, I mean the Omaha Police Department, Nebraska State Police, FBI, local and state judiciary, local and state and national media. Against them stood a few teenagers, most of them with drug problems, long rap sheets and traumatized brains. Their allies were some foster care supervisors and parents, plus a divided investigative committee in the Nebraska legislature. Under phenomenal pressure, the teenagers either retracted their testimony of sexual abuse or were crushed in court and sentenced to years in prison for perjury. Key figures in the case ended up dead in numbers that would astound any actuary but apparently interested no one in Omaha law enforcement.

Many years after all this was seemingly resolved in court, my friend Nick decided in 2002 it was a story. I confess that I tried to discourage him. It wasn’t timely, I said. The pedophiles were still out there in the news today, he said. Nobody’s going to believe it, I said. But there’s been an injustice, he said. You’re going to end up dead in a motel room, I said. That’s not definite, he said.

Nobody accepted his proposals for a magazine article, so he started making trips to Nebraska on his own dime. Nobody accepted the complete magazine article he subsequently wrote. He decided to write a book and made more trips to Nebraska.

I told him that the best possible outcome would be that the book was completely ignored. Look what happened to Gary Webb, I said. The New York Times and Washington Post ran him out of journalism for exposing the CIA connection to cocaine smuggling. Webb committed suicide. There’s nothing a major newspaper hates more than a scoop, I said, unless it’s a scoop that exposes the major newspaper blew another story of grave importance. But the story is true, Nick said again, and the real villains are still out there…

http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1315

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