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Presumed Guilty: An Investigation into the Jon Benet Ramsey Case, the Media, and the Culture of Pornography Hardcover – July, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
In what he acknowledges is a very speculative treatment of the JonBenet Ramsey murder case, Singular (The Rise and Rise of David Geffen, etc.) contends that the six-year-old beauty queen's parents did not murder her. He finds that JonBenet's mother, Patsy Ramsey, doesn't fit the profile of women who murder, and he further suggests that JonBenet may have been killed by a pornographer. Singular found photos of children on the Internet who were tied up the way JonBenet was bound, and he learned of a Boulder photographer who had tried to take nude pictures of another child beauty contestant and who was said to have photographed one little girl flying a kite that trailed a "white, nylonlike material" similar to the cord that had been tied around JonBenet's wrist. But Singular's riskiest conjecture involves father John Ramsey. He theorizes that John, fearing that Patsy might die of ovarian cancer before JonBenet attained national celebrity, tried, without Patsy's knowledge, to accelerate the pursuit of JonBenet's fame by having risqu? promotional photos taken of their daughter. After JonBenet was killed, Singular surmises, John wrote the ransom note to cover up his bad judgment. As far-fetched as all this sounds, Singular advances his thesis cautiously and even writes that "the future will reveal how much of it is true." Readers who can't get enough of this grizzly case will find Singular's tone and the modesty of his claims persuasive. 50,000 first printing; major ad/promo. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Veteran crime journalist Singular (Talked to Death, 1987, etc.) offers an original perspective on the sadly epochal killing of JonBenet Ramsey. Singular was in Boulder, Colo., for much of the investigation, and he methodically details its progress, acutely portraying a volatile situation. He depicts many key players, from DA Alex Hunter and various investigators to talk-radio rabble-rousers and Globe scandalmongers; he asserts that the latter parties bear great responsibility for confusing the public perception of the case and for inflaming tensions among the DA, the cops, and other factions to the point where the investigation may be stalemated. He focuses on the carnivorous mode of the mass media, particularly their lurid, immediate indictment of the Ramsey parents. Singulars perceptive exploration of the near-universal call for the Ramseys' heads reveals the gritty power struggles and class schisms that underlie the shiny, comforting facade of the Boulder region. Unlike his dirt-chasing peers, he gives nuanced attention to an unsettling aspect of the case that he considers overlooked yet central: the gray area in which the mainstreamed commodification of childrens sexuality collides with the abuse of child pornography. JonBenet was merely one of many little girls leeringly displayed as things of beauty by the pageant industry, whose evil twin is the underground of child porn producers and collectors, hugely expanded because of the Internet. Although the author claims at points to have uncovered voluminous evidence, he incorporates few of the particulars, giving his odyssey its own patina of conspiracy theory. Singulars ultimate scenariothat neither parent personally murdered JonBenet, but one parents unwitting involvement led to attempts at concealmentbears consideration, but like this subtly rendered book, may well go unheard in the collective din. Without fully lighting the dark corners of an unappealing realm, Singular has produced a balanced, detailed, thoughtful consideration of an incident usually reduced to cultural dissonance. (First printing of 100,000; $100,000 ad/promo) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is a shame that more focus was not given to this aspect of the case during investigation. If you have an interest in this case, you should read this book.
He offers no evidence to support his scenario and not only raises more questions that he answers, but he questions his own answers -- every other sentence in this book ends with a question mark. This is investigative reporting?
Mr. Singular castigates the media for presuming the guilt of the ramseys without evidence -- but he feels no shame about putting forward his own nightmare scenario and presuming its validity without offering a shred of evidence.
Now, as more and more children are disappearing off the streets, from in front of their homes and even from their own bedrooms, this book requires a second and third glance. There is far more going on here than meets the eye, and it has been going on for far too long.
JonBenet is a symbol for what is happening across America today, and she will not rest in peace until we know what happened and why, and until we know enough to put an end to it, once and for all.
by David McGowan
The Pedophocracy, Part I: From Brussels ...
The Pedophocracy, Part II: ... to Washington
The Pedophocracy, Part III: Uncle Sam Wants Your Children
The Pedophocracy, Part IV: McMolestation
The Pedophocracy, Part V: It Couldn't Happen Here
The Pedophocracy, Part VI: Finders Keepers
The Pedophocracy, Part I: From Brussels ...
"Paedophiles can boldly and courageously affirm what they choose ... I am also a theologian and as a theologian, I believe it is God's will that there be closeness and intimacy, unity of flesh, between people ... paedophiles can make the assertion that the pursuit of intimacy and love is what they choose. With boldness, they can say, 'I believe this is in fact part of God's will.'"
Ralph Underwager, 'expert' witness for the defense in scores of child abuse cases and former vocal member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, in an interview in Paidika (a pro-pedophilia publication), conducted in June 1991
To the vast majority of Americans, the name Marc Dutroux doesn't mean much. Drop that name in Belgium though and you're likely to elicit some very visceral reactions. Dutroux - convicted along with his wife in 1989 for the rape and violent abuse of five young girls, the youngest of whom was just eleven - now stands accused of being a key player in an international child prostitution and pornography ring whose practices included kidnapping, rape, sadistic torture, and murder.
Dutroux was sentenced in 1989 to thirteen years for his crimes, but was freed after having served just three. This was in spite of the fact that, as prison governor Yvan Stuaert would later tell a parliamentary commission: “A medical report described him as a perverse psychopath, an explosive mix. He was an evident danger to society.”
The man who turned Dutroux loose on society, Justice Minister Melchior Wathelet, soon after received a prestigious appointment to serve as a judge at the European Court of Justice at the Hague. Shortly after Dutroux’s release, young girls began to disappear in the vicinity of some of his homes. Though technically unemployed and drawing welfare from the state, he nevertheless owned at least six houses and lived quite lavishly.
His rather lucrative income appears to have been derived from trading in child sex-slaves, child prostitution, and child pornography. Many of his houses appeared to stand vacant, though at least some of them were in fact used as torture and imprisonment centers where kidnapped girls were taken and held in underground dungeons.
Some of Dutroux’s homes were used in this way for several years following his early release, with a growing body of evidence to indicate that fact to the police. True to form though, authorities failed to act on the information, or acted on it in a way that showed either complete incompetence (according to most press reports), or police complicity in the operation (according to any sort of logic).
Police seem to have routinely ignored tips that later proved to be accurate, including a report from Dutroux's own mother that her son was holding girls prisoner in one of his houses. In addition, key facts were withheld from investigators working on the disappearances and lines of communication were unaccountably broken, inexcusably hindering the investigation.
Police did search one of Dutroux's homes on no less than three separate occasions over the course of the investigation. On at least two of those occasions, two of the missing girls were being held in heinous conditions imprisoned in a custom-built dungeon in the basement. Nevertheless, the police searches came up empty, despite the fact that the investigating officers reported “hearing children’s voices on one occasion,” according to the Guardian.
It was not until August 13, 1996, four years after the disappearances began, that authorities arrested Dutroux, along with his wife (an elementary school teacher), a lodger, a policeman, and a man the Guardian described as “an associate with political connections” – elsewhere identified as Michel Lelievre.
Two days later, police again searched Dutroux's home and discovered the soundproof dungeon/torture center. As CNN reported, three years earlier “police ignored tips from an informant who said Dutroux was building secret cellars to hold girls before selling them abroad.” And in 1995, the same informant had told police that Dutroux had offered an unidentified third man “the equivalent of $3,000 to $5,000 to kidnap girls.”
Incredibly, it was later reported by the Guardian that police actually had in their possession a videotape of the dungeon being constructed: “Belgian police could have saved the lives of two children allegedly murdered by the paedophile Marc Dutroux if they had watched a video seized from his home which showed him building their hidden cell.” The tape had been seized in one of the earlier searches.
At the time of the final search, two fourteen-year-old girls were found imprisoned in the dungeon, chained and starving. They described to police being used as child prostitutes and in the production of child pornography videos. More than 300 such videos were taken into custody by the police.
On August 17, the story got grimmer as police dug up the bodies of two eight-year-old girls at another of Dutroux's homes. It would later be learned that the girls had been kept in one of Dutroux’s dungeons for nine months after their abductions, during which time they were repeatedly tortured and sexually assaulted, all captured on videotape. The girls were then left to slowly starve to death. Alongside of their decimated corpses was the body of Bernard Weinstein, a former accomplice of Dutroux who had occupied one of the houses for several years. Weinstein had been buried alive.
A few weeks later, two more girls were found buried under concrete at yet another of the Dutroux properties. By that time, ten people were reportedly in custody in connection to the case. Elsewhere in Belgium, the News Telegraph reported that: “The corpses of two women and parts of a third body have been discovered in a freezer at a Lebanese restaurant in Brussels.”
As the body count mounted, the outrage of the Belgian people grew. They demanded to know why this man, dubbed the 'Belgian Beast,' had been released after having served such an absurdly short sentence. And to know why, as evidence had continued to mount and girls had continued to disappear, the police had chosen to do nothing. How many girls, they demanded to know, had been killed as a result of this inaction?
Adding further fuel to the fire, as a Los Angeles Times report revealed, was that: “a highly regarded children’s activist, Marie-France Botte, claims that the Justice Ministry is sitting on a politically sensitive list of customers of pedophile videotapes.”
The same report noted that: “The affair has become further clouded by the discovery of a motorcycle that reportedly matches the description of one used in the 1991 assassination of prominent Belgian businessman and politician Andre Cools. Michel Bourlet, the head prosecutor on the pedophile case, meanwhile, has publicly declared that the investigation can be thoroughly pursued only without political interference. Several years ago, Bourlet was removed from the highly charged Cools case, which remains unsolved.”
A report in Time magazine alluded to murky links between the Dutroux operation and organized crime figures. Much later, Marc Verwilghen - the chief investigating magistrate on the case - would bluntly state: “For me, the Dutroux affair is a question of organised crime.” Also mentioned in the Time article was the use of secret “underground tunnels,” not unlike those described by children a decade earlier at the infamous McMartin Preschool.
Outrage continued to grow as more arrests were made and evidence of high-level government and police complicity continued to emerge. One of Dutroux's accomplices, businessman Jean-Michel Nihoul, confessed to organizing an ‘orgy’ at a Belgian chateau that had been attended by government officials, a former European Commissioner, and a number of law enforcement officers. A Belgian senator would note, quite accurately, that such parties were part of a system “which operates to this day and is used to blackmail the highly placed people who take part.”
In September, twenty-three suspects - at least nine of whom were police officers - were detained and questioned about their possible complicity in the crimes and/or their negligence in investigating the case. As the Los Angeles Times noted in a very brief, two-sentence report, the detainments “were the latest indication that police in the southern city of Charleroi may have helped cover up the alleged crimes of Marc Dutroux.”
The arrests followed raids on the police officers’ homes and on the headquarters of the Charleroi police force and were based on information supplied by police inspector Georges Zicot, who had already been charged as an accomplice. Three magistrates had also reportedly been interrogated by police investigators.
Just days before the arrests, police had also arrested five suspects in the Cools assassination, including a former regional government minister named Alain VanderBiest. Strangely enough, the News Telegraph reported that: “Police investigating the Cools murder in 1991 … have been given helpful leads by some of those arrested in the Dutroux case.” The Telegraph also noted that Cools “had promised ‘shocking revelations’ before his death.”
On October 14 came the straw that broke the camel's back: Jean-Marc Connerotte, who had been serving as the investigating judge on the case, was dismissed by the Belgian Supreme Court. Connerotte was viewed by the people as something of a rarity: a public official/law enforcement officer who actually appeared to be pursuing a prosecution, rather than a cover-up. The News Telegraph described him as: “the only figure in the judiciary who enjoys the nation’s confidence.”
As the New York Times reported, Connerotte “became a national hero in August after saving two children from a secret dungeon kept by a convicted child rapist and ordering the inquiry that led to the discovery of the bodies of four girls kidnapped by a child pornography network.” He had also, in 1994, arrested three men as suspects in the Cools assassination – just before the case was transferred to the jurisdiction of another magistrate.
His removal from the Dutroux case fanned the smoldering flames of public outrage; the Times report noted that: “Hundreds of thousands of people had petitioned the high court to retain the judge.” Adding yet more fuel to the fire, prosecutor Michel Bourlet was claiming that evidence suggested that a pedophile ring composed of the wealthy and powerful had been protected for twenty-five years.
With the families of Dutroux's victims calling for a general strike, men and women all across the country walked away from their jobs in protest as railway workers and bus drivers shut down public transportation, bringing some cities to a virtual standstill. The Telegraph reported that: “In Liege, firemen turned their hoses on the city’s court building” to symbolize the massive clean-up that was in order.
On October 20, 350,000 citizens of the tiny nation took to the streets of Brussels dressed all in white, demanding the reform of a system so corrupt that it would protect the abusers, rapists, torturers, and killers of children. The political fallout from the case would ultimately bring about the resignation of Belgium's State Police Chief, Interior Minister, and Justice Minister – likely sacrificial lambs tossed to the outraged masses to avoid what could easily have exploded into a full-scale insurrection by the people, particularly after police ‘incompetence’ allowed Dutroux to escape and remain at large for a brief time in April of 1998.
There were in fact calls from the people for the entire coalition government to step down. Months later, an opinion survey by Brussels’ Le Soir newspaper found that only one-in-five Belgians still had confidence in the federal government and the nation’s justice system. As the Los Angeles Times reported in January of 1998, “the conviction remains stubbornly widespread that members of the upper crust - government ministers, the Roman Catholic Church, the court of King Albert II - belonged to child sex rings, or protected them.”
The lingering distrust of the people was not alleviated by the fact that a parliamentary inquiry had, in April of 1997, identified thirty officials who had, as the Times tactfully put it, “failed to uncover Dutroux’s misdeeds.” Nearly a year later, none of them had yet suffered any repercussions. Additionally, at least ten missing children suspected of having fallen prey to Dutroux’s operation have never been found.
The commission’s report was, in many people’s eyes, a shameless cover-up. As the News Telegraph summarized, the report “said competition between rival forces had prevented vital information from being exchanged and obvious evidence from being followed up” – rather than acknowledge the obvious, which was that rampant police corruption and complicity were to blame.
Just a few months before the commission issued its report, the Telegraph was reporting that: “Grim rumors … have been circulating that a second paedophile network at least as appalling may have been operating in parallel to that said to involve Dutroux.” The bodies of seven children were believed to have been hidden by the ring, which was thought could be linked to Dutroux through Michel Nihoul.
Two months after that, a man named Patrick Derochette and three of his family members were arrested following the discovery of the body of a nine-year-old girl. Rumors quickly began circulating linking this crime to Dutroux as well. Like Dutroux, Derochette had previously been convicted on multiple counts of child rape. He had been committed to a psychiatric institution from which he was released after just six weeks.
Authorities quickly denied that there was any connection between the two cases. In January of 1998, however, the Telegraph reported that: “new evidence from a lawyer involved in the investigations blows a hole in previous police claims that there was no link between the cases involving the alleged child murderers Marc Dutroux and Patrick Derochette.” Once again, the connection was said to be through Nihoul.
In April of 1999, the Guardian reported that: “the highly respected chairman of a parliamentary inquiry into the case claims that his commission’s findings were muzzled by political and judicial leaders to prevent details emerging of complicity in the crimes … Mr. Verwilghen claims that senior political and legal figures refused to cooperate with the inquiry. He says magistrates and police were officially told to refuse to answer certain questions, in what he describes as ‘a characteristic smothering operation.’”
As of August of 2001, fully five years after Dutroux was taken into custody, his trial had yet to begin. Parents of victims continued to shout of a cover-up, and the Telegraph was reporting that: “It was recently learnt that scientific tests on 6,000 hairs found in the [underground dungeon] began only this year.” These tests could, of course, reveal how many victims passed through Dutroux’s chamber of horrors.
If the Marc Dutroux case were some kind of aberration, it would still be a disturbing story for the level of unspeakable corruption and depravity of the Belgian political and law enforcement establishment of which it speaks. Far more disturbing is the fact that it doesn't appear to be an isolated case at all.
As 1999 drew to a close, the nation of Latvia was rocked by a child prostitution/child pornography scandal that reached to the very top of the political power structure. The case first broke in August, when police uncovered a massive operation involving as many as 2,000 severely abused children. When media reports began linking top Latvian officials to the case, a special parliamentary commission was formed to investigate.
In February 2000, the chairman of the commission delivered a report to Parliament linking the country's Prime Minister, Justice Minister, director of the State Revenue Service, and a number of army and law enforcement officers to the case. Efforts were immediately begun to discredit the commission chairman, including allegations that he is tied to the former KGB – a classic case of red-baiting, enabling the allegations to be dismissed as ‘Communist’ propaganda.
The BBC reported in June of 1999 that two unnamed German men had “gone on trial, accused of running a child pornography ring in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.” The pair, along with at least eleven identified but unindicted accomplices, “made video recordings of the gang sexually abusing children between the ages of three and 14 since 1993.”
A large but unspecified quantity of “videos, photography, magazines and CD-ROMs containing child pornography were confiscated.” Also noted was a possible connection to the Dutroux case: “There have been cases of Slovak children being taken to Vienna to make pornographic films. The Belgian paedophile Marc Dutroux … was a regular visitor to one Slovak town.”
The BBC also filed a brief report on a 1996 case that went almost completely unreported in the English language press: “Mexican police broke up an international child pornography ring based in the resort of Acapulco which they said had at least four thousand clients in the United States,” (emphasis added). A UN envoy investigating the case said that the “child pornography sometimes involved babies of less than one month old.”
On September 29 of 2000, The Irish Times reported that: “Eight people were arrested in Italy and three in Russia, and police said 1,700 people were being investigated in Italy,” as yet another pedophile network surfaced. The images traded by this ring were “divided into several categories … The most gruesome, police said, was coded ‘Necros Pedo,’ in which children were raped and tortured to death.”
And so it is that we first confront that most disturbing of topics – snuff films, which we all know don’t really exist. As recently as February of 1999, the New York Post assured readers that: “Snuff films are the stuff of urban legend … how did this legend get started? No one knows.” The unfortunate truth though is that they do, as it turns out, actually exist, and they likely have existed for as long as film has existed, though they weren't always known by that name.
According to the Post: “The term ‘snuff’ was actually coined during the Charles Manson case, when press reports repeated a rumor that the Manson ‘family’ had filmed home movies of the brutal slayings.” Other reports hold that the term was coined in 1976 by a writer for the New York Times who was in need of a phrase to describe reports of murders following sexual activity being captured on film.
Not long after that, as Carl Raschke wrote: “The Texas House Select Committee on Child Pornography disclosed in the late 1970s that investigators probing leads to organized crime in Houston, Dallas, and other major cities found that ‘slave’ auctions for sixteen- and seventeen-year-old boys were routinely held in Mexico. Some of the boys were featured in brutal snuff or ‘slasher’ movies.”
Raschke also quotes from a study by U.S. mental health professionals that claimed that a child from Mexico “can be packaged, delivered, and sold deep within this country in a short time,” and that many are purchased solely “for the purpose of killing.” In Enslaved, Gordon Thomas reported that: “At the start of the year  Britain's Scotland Yard was continuing to investigate reports that up to twenty children in London had been murdered last year in [snuff films] and the video tapes sold on the Continent.”
An account of the Italian case carried by the Guardian affirmed the existence of snuff films: “police have discovered a massive international paedophile network selling violent child-pornography videos to clients in Italy, the US and Germany … (authorities are) trying to identify 5,000 people who are suspected of attempting to purchase the videos, some of which appear to contain images of children being tortured and murdered.”
The UK’s Independent, in a follow-up published in November of 2000, also confirmed that the seized materials did in fact include child snuff films: “Horrified investigators gathered images of more than 2,000 children who were filmed while being abused, raped, and … killed.” By that time, close to 1,500 people had been charged in the case, but not - as the Guardian noted - “those in high places who are believed to form a ‘paedophile lobby.’”
As in the Belgian and Latvian cases, there were clear indications of high-level complicity and a strong belief among the Italian people that the facts of the case were being covered up. And as with the other cases, the magistrate heading up the inquiry “provoked a furore by denouncing a ‘paedophile lobby’ supported by politicians which he said openly obstructed the investigators and worked to prevent tougher sanctions for the consumers of child pornography,” according to the Independent.
The New York Times reported in March of 1997 that there is “growing public indignation in France and elsewhere about the recurrent reports of kidnapping, rape or incest involving the very young.” The same Times report noted that: “police across France have detained more than 250 people and confiscated some 5,000 videocassettes” in conjunction with an investigation into a massive child pornography ring. Those detained by police were described as “mainly married professionals.” A dozen of them would soon turn up dead, allegedly suicide victims.
In June, the News Telegraph spoke of over 800 French homes being raided and 204 suspects being taken into custody the week before. Among those detained were: “More than 30 teachers … and a number of priests,” as well as the deputy mayor of the town of Saint Mihiel. By the end of the week, four had committed suicide, including a school headmaster.
Three years later, the BBC filed a very brief report noting that a verdict was due “in the trial of more than sixty people accused of possessing child pornography. One of the judges hearing the case said examining the video evidence made him feel physically sick.” In a familiar refrain, it was reported that: “the French courts have been accused of attacking the easy targets -- porn consumers -- rather than producers and distributors. And one children’s rights group has alleged that senior public figures were among those investigated -- but their cases were dropped before coming to court.”
In 1998, another large-scale international ring was discovered operating out of the Netherlands and Berlin, Germany. The New York Times reported that investigators called the case “nauseating,” in that “images of abuse of even babies and infants were peddled via the Internet and other media.” Police discovered “voluminous records of what appear to be clients and suppliers from countries including Israel, Ukraine, Britain, Russia and the United States.”
The ring was first uncovered when a key member was found dead in Italy. According to The Irish Times, he was murdered by another member of the ring. His apartment in the Dutch town of Zandvoort was found to contain “thousands of digital images stored on computer disks,” as well as “hundreds of addresses of suspected suppliers and clients,” according to the New York Times. The images shocked even veteran sex-crimes investigators, one of whom stated that the seized evidence “left [him] speechless … It looks like the perpetrators are not dealing with human beings but with objects.”
In September 1998, another ring was raided – what the BBC described as “a larger and more sinister paedophile network called Wonderland.” The network was so named in honor of Lewis Carroll’s revered children's book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Carroll was widely known to have a predilection for underage girls and boys, and is now something of a patron saint of pedophiles around the globe.
A concerted effort has been made over the decades to cover up Carroll’s pedophilic tendencies, though the truth is evident even in the heavily whitewashed profiles of him that can be found in modern encyclopedias. Microsoft's Encarta notes that: “Always a friend of children, particularly little girls, Carroll wrote thousands of letters to them,” and also that he “gained an additional measure of fame as an amateur photographer. Most of his camera portraits were of children in various costumes and poses, including nude studies.”
The Encyclopaedia Britannica reports that Carroll’s photographic ‘hobby’ was abandoned in 1880, while dismissing suggestions that “this sudden decision was reached because of an impurity of motive for his nude studies.” Britannica also notes that Carroll - who was raised in an environment where there were “few friends outside the family,” and who was ordained a deacon in the Church of England on the winter solstice of 1861 (an occult holiday) - generally lost interest in his child ‘friends’ when they reached the age of twelve.
Wonderland is also the name of the quarterly publication of the Lewis Carroll Collector's Guild, which bills itself as a “voluntary association of persons who believe nudist materials are a constitutionally protected expression and whose collective interests include pre-teen nudes.” As Gordon Thomas has noted: “In Wonderland the ‘delights’ of ‘transgenerational sex’ pepper the pages.” Such is the legacy of the men whose literary works are peddled to our children … but here I digress.
The San Jose Mercury News reported that: “Police in … 22 states and 13 foreign countries conducted coordinated raids … aimed at breaking up an Internet child-pornography ring … The ring involves as many as 200 people around the world, who exchanged over the Internet thousands of sexually explicit images of children as young as 18 months.” The Independent later reported that the ring “shared pictures of children being abused -- in some cases live via web-cam broadcasts over the internet.”
The raids included homes in “Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Sweden,” according to the New York Times, which added that: “Several dozen people were arrested, but officials said they expected more than 100 to be charged.” The Independent later reported that 107 suspects were ultimately arrested. The Mercury News implied that this may be only the tip of the iceberg: “The ring actually extends into 47 countries.”
The case was described by a British official as “stomach-churning.” The Times reported that “Wonderland Club members are believed to have posed their own children for pictures … In other cases … parents may have taken money to let their children be used.” The Guardian reported that over 1,250 children were featured in the photos and videos, “many of whom suffered appalling injuries and were seen sobbing uncontrollably as they were being sexually violated.” The Independent added that the victimized children were “mostly under [the age of] 10.”
A BBC report held that the combined raids resulted in the seizure of more than “750,000 computer images of children.” A Detective Superintendent with the British National Crime Squad called these images “disgusting and the behavior that has been carried out is absolutely appalling.” Though ignored by the American press, “Wonderland originated in the United States.”
Among the scores of U.S. homes raided, one yielded a “database of more than 100,000 sexual photographs of naked boys and girls.” Interestingly enough, the Times also noted that another raid, “in Missouri, turned up a cache of weapons as well as child pornography in a heavily fortified trailer,” illustrating once again - as did the Dutroux case - the close ties between organized pedophilia and other terrorist assaults against society.
As with the earlier raids in Europe, a rash of ‘suicides’ soon followed. By October 24, the Mercury News was reporting that no fewer than four of the thirty-four American suspects had killed themselves. These included a retired Air Force pilot, a microbiologist at the University of Connecticut, and a computer consultant in Colorado.
In the UK, the Wonderland raids - dubbed Operation Cathedral - resulted in the indictments of eight suspects. One of the eight turned up dead four months later – another alleged suicide. The other seven were given ridiculously light sentences in February of 2001 for their complicity in inflicting unfathomable abuse on countless children. Sentences ranged from 12 to 30 months.
Just a few weeks before the sentences were handed down, the Guardian was reporting that: “Police today arrested 13 suspected paedophiles in the largest ever UK operation against child pornography.” Once again a massive amount of appalling evidence was seized, with most of the material featuring “scenes of children being raped and sexually abused.”
The Independent reported in February of 2001 that: “Detectives working on the [Wonderland] case discovered that many of the paedophiles were also members of other child pornography groups.” One of the groups most closely tied to Wonderland was a ring known as the Orchid Club, which had been exposed by a 1996 investigation in San Jose, California. That investigation had led to the indictment of sixteen men on charges of conspiring to produce and exchange child pornography. Members of the club were identified in at least nine states and three foreign countries.
By the time of the Wond
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Stephen Singular is a freelance journalist who did his own investigation into the murder of JonBenét Ramsey.Read more