Fact Check: NO Evidence Of A Child Sex Trafficking Ring Linked To The 'Franklin Scandal'

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: NO Evidence Of A Child Sex Trafficking Ring Linked To The 'Franklin Scandal' No Trafficking

Was there a child sex trafficking ring run by "high-ranking 'Establishment' members" that was linked to the "Franklin scandal" in Omaha, Nebraska? No, that's not true: The Franklin scandal, which consisted of rumors and statements from alleged victims that credit union funds were used to finance a child sex trafficking ring, was investigated by state and federal officials and deemed false.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post on November 8, 2021. The caption of the post read in part:

'Research eventually led to the Franklin scandal that broke in 1989 when hundreds of children were apparently flown around the US to be abused by high ranking "Establishment" members.'

Epstein, Schwartz & Schwartz (2011), published in the Journal European Psychiatry.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Apr 27 20:16 2022 UTC)

The Franklin scandal was covered by regional and national media and primarily focused on the demise of the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union in Omaha and its manager, Lawrence King. Although reports did discuss an alleged child sex trafficking ring, the claims made by alleged victims of the trafficking were later ruled false by a federal grand jury in 1990. Two of the alleged victims of the rumored abuse were charged with perjury and indicted.

The Facebook post cited its source as "Epstein, Schwartz & Schwartz (2011), published in the Journal European Psychiatry." There was no article in European Psychiatry published in 2011 by these three contributors. However, they were listed as a reference for other articles in the journal. Orit Badouk-Epstein, Joseph Schwartz and Rachel Wingfield Schwartz published a book in 2011 titled "Ritual Abuse and Mind Control: The Manipulation of Attachment Needs," but the book does not include the quote used in the post.

Instead, Lead Stories identified a 2016 poster paper by Rainer Kurz as the source of the quote. The paper was prepared as part of the 24th European Congress of Psychiatry, an event that was hosted by the European Psychiatric Association. Although the paper's stated purpose was "to raise awareness of sadistic abusers and signpost professional development resources regarding extreme abuse 'Death Cults' that seem to operate largely with impunity across the world" and did mention Epstein, Schwartz and Schwartz as a reference for another case, the paper did not exclusively focus on the Franklin scandal.

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