The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on February 28, 2007 · Page 13
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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 13

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007
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AROUND IOWA Wednesday. February 28. 2007 Page 3B U.S. prosecutor emcees Christian event The Des Moines Register ST Critics say appearance calls impartiality into question ASSOCIATED PRiSS A federal prosecutor was serving as master of ceremonies Tuesday night for a Christian organization that sparked controversy last fall when it asked Iowa judges to fill out a survey listing their views on hot issues. U.S. Attorney Matthew Whitaker's decision to take part in the Iowa Christian Alliance's event prompted criticism from a Washington, D.C., lobby group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State. A spokesman said anyone involved in the federal judicial system should attempt to remain as impartial as possible. "Appearing at an event like this certainly raises legitimate questions," said Rob Boston. "It's important that our federal prosecutors present the image of impartiality and that they not be captive to the extreme agenda of special interest groups." An agenda for the Iowa Christian Alliance's event Tuesday night listed Whitaker as the master of ceremonies. The two-hour event was at the Point of Grace Church in Waukee, with Laurence White, an abortion opponent and pastor of a Houston church, as the featured speaker. The program described Whitaker as the winner of three sports letters at the University of Iowa and as a farmer candidate for state office. It does not mention his current job as the U.S. attorney in Des Moines. Whitaker said Tuesday he asked the organization to leave out references to his job. He said his involvement in the event was approved by U.S. Justice Department officials. Whitaker said he is a conservative Christian and is active in his church. He said he knows many of the Christian alliance's members. "This organization is not affiliated with any political party," Whitaker said. "It's not a Democrat or Republican issue. They have t. -... beliefs that they stand for." His personal beliefs do not determine how he does his job as a federal pros ecutor, Whitaker Whitaker said. "How I do my job is I enforce the law, and the law is very clear about what is a crime and what is not," he said. He said federal prosecutors cannot endorse political candidates or political parties, but they are not prohibited from participating in activities sponsored by organizations like the Iowa Christian Alliance. "I'm not endorsing a candi date; I'm not endorsing a party. I'm helping them out with an event, and I'm happy to do it," Whitaker said. U.S. attorneys are nominated by a senator from their state and are appointed by the president. Whitaker was nominated by Sen. Charles Grassley and was appointed by President Bush in June 2004. Whitaker, 37, ran for state treasurer in 2002, but he was defeated by incumbent Michael Fitzgerald, a Democrat. Whitaker was a tight end for the University of Iowa Hawk-eyes football team from I9'J() through 1992. After receiving an MBA and a law degree from the university in 1995, he spent six years in Minneapolis as a corporate attorney for a grocery store chain. He decided to move back to his home Mute and worked in Des Moines at a luw firm before his appointment. The Iowa Christian Alliunce, a group formerly known as the Christiun Coalition of Iowa, reorganized and changed its name last year. The organization opposed the Legislature's recent votes to pass a bill permitting certain types of stem cell research in Iowa and an anti-bullying bill providing protections for homosexual students and others. The alliance was among the groups that pushed judges up for retention last November to declare their positions on a number of controversial issues. Most of the 79 judges did not respond to a questionnaire because their impartiality could be called into question. Bentley had porn in coat, wife says ASSOCIATED PRESS Cedar Rapids, la. James Bentley's wife testified in her husband's child-porn trial Tuesday that she found por nographic photos in his coat pocket of Jetseta Gage and a baby girl a few years ago. Bentley, 35, of Vinton faces six federal charges of sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. They are separate from two state cases in which Bentley is charged with sexually abusing 10 year-old Jetseta before she was kidnapped and slain by his brother in March 2005. The jury in the federal trial was seated Tuesday in U.S District Court in Cedar Rapids, and Richelle Bentley was the first witness. She testified that she confronted her husband after finding the photos. She said he claimed he had found them during a recent move. Richelle Bentley said she told him to mail the pictures to Jetseta's mother, whom he had once dated, and that she never saw them again. Although the Jetseta photos are not included in the federal charges, the judge ruled last week that testimony regarding other alleged abuse by James Bentley could be used in court. U.S. Attorney Sean Berry sought to include such testimony as evidence of James Bentley's propensity to commit sexual abuse. In the federal trial, James Bentley is accused of taking sexually explicit photos of a young girl and an infant girl in 2003. Jurors won't be viewing the pictures James Bentley allegedly took, because the prosecutor doesn't have them. However, Richelle Bentley's sister testified Tuesday that she left a Polaroid camera and film at the Bentleys' Cedar Rapids home in October 2003. When she returned to get the camera a few days later, it was out of film, she said. The state cases against James Bentley are on hold while the Iowa Supreme Court reviews whether a taped interview with Jetseta can be used as evidence against him. "We're thrilled to be coming to Des Moines. We've wanted to come for years." John Bonannl, executive producer of 'The Radio City Christmas Spectacular' 1H. 1 I f - r vu' v-j W v- PHOTOS SPECIAL TO THE REGISTER Six competitive whiz kids and their parents duke it out in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." Civic Center announces part of its 2007-08 lineup SHOWS, from Page 1B as the "Missouri Rockets" and made their debut in St. Louis before strutting onto the New York scene under the guidance of S.L. "Roxy" Rothafel. The "Roxyettes," as they were then known, shared the stage with an eclectic mix of 17 acts, including the Flying Wallendas and dance pioneer Martha Graham. Although the Rockettes began touring outside of New York 13 years ago, their 46 performances here in December will be the first in Iowa. Aside from a multiyear run in Branson, Mo., Des Moines is the smallest city in the world to host the show. While here, the cast and crew plan to visit schools, offer a few master classes and lend their support to local charities "We're thrilled to be coming to Des Moines. We've wanted to come for years," said John Bonanni, the show's executive producer. Along with "Christmas Spectacular," Civic Center President Jeff Chelesvig announced the arrival of three other shows for next season. Arrangements for four others are still pending. Here's what's on the schedule so far: November 2007 "Avenue Q," the cleverly naughty musical in which a mixed cast of puppets and humans sing about everything from racism to Internet porn. The show, which was inspired by "Sesame Street" but clearly targets an older audience, won the 2004 Tony Awards for best musical, best book and best score, beating out that year's front-runner, "Wicked." December 2007 "The Radio City Christmas Spectacular," starring the Rockettes. February 2008 "Twelve Angry Men," the classic drama about a juror who tries to convince his 1 1 colleagues to acquit the defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt. What seems like an open-and-shut murder case turns into a psychological battleground of prejudice and surprising twists of allegiance. April 2008 "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," in which six competitive whiz kids and their parents duke it out for smarty-pants bragging rights. The quirky musical snagged a pair of Tonys in 2005. A- v LU Richard Thomas stars in "Twelve Angry Men." The classic drama comes to the Des Moines Civic Center in February 2008. The Civic Center plans to announce the remaining four shows, as well as ticket information for the entire 2007-08 season, in the next few weeks. Reporter Michael Moraln can be reached at (515) 286-2559 or mmoraindmreg.com Detective says dead man lived fictional life MYSTERY, from Page 18 ered that Carlson's last will and testament had no date of birth and no Social Security number. "I wasn't comfortable with that," Cundiff said. "I wasn't convinced that was him. In fact, I was pretty certain it wasn't him." And then there was the spare room without an entrance. "There was a room built onto the house," Cundiff said. "But there was no way to get into it. We had to go in through a wall, and what we found was he built a room around a Jeep." The Jeep's vehicle identification number led Cundiff to officials in Florida, where the vehicle was reported as stolen in 1986. The owner of the Jeep was Richard Jankowski. Jankowski disappeared about the same time as the Jeep. Federal officials told Cundiff a man by the name of Ronald Wayne Carlson with a similar date of birth had been investigated in connection with a possible fraud case in Wisconsin in 1987. That was about the time Ronald Anthony Carlson turned up in eastern Iowa. "After I found out he was investigated in Wisconsin, I started putting it together, figuring out they were the same person," Cundiff said. "Then I started checking out Richard Jankowski in Florida. I contacted his ex-wife and his sister and sent a photo down there. They ID'd it as the same person we had up here. They said he left in August 1986." "His wife is a very nice lady. He apparently took his wife and some business partners for some money and left the area," Cundiff said. What he could not find were any criminal charges. "I really didn't get into all of that too much because my main goal was to identify him," Cundiff said. Calamus Mayor Terry Steines said it was strange how people didn't seem to put together oddities about Carlson until after his death. "He was an upbeat man," Steines said of the man he knew as Ron Carlson. "He was a big man, a jolly man. He always wanted to know what was going on. He liked to go to all-you-can-eat breakfasts, and we have a lot of them around here." Carlson's health began to fail about 18 months ago, Steines said. "He was in the hospital at Iowa City for quite a while. When he came back he just couldn't get around anymore and we didn't see him." As for his corporations in Iowa, officials are now taking a look at them. Cundiff said he could not talk about that part of the investigation. "It's still a puzzle to me how someone can live under someone else's name for 20 years," Cundiff said. "He never had an Iowa driver's license." The mystery man apparently was stopped in his car by a law enforcement officer in 1993. He gave the officer the name of Ronald Carlson, made up a Help solve the mystery Tell us what you know about Ronald Carlson or Richard Jankowski at DesMoinesRegister.com. Law enforcement officials say that the 59-year-old man known in Calamus as Ronald Anthony Carlson was actually Richard Jankowski, a man who disappeared from Florida 20 years ago and had been investigated for fraud in Wisconsin. date of birth and listed a hometown in Florida that didn't exist. He got a ticket for not having a driver's license and went on his way. Reporter Tom Alei can be reached at (515) 284-8088 or taleidmreg.com Giuliani names Iowa campaign director GIULIANI, from PagelB tial bloc in the caucuses, have expressed misgivings about some of Giuliani's positions on key social issues. Giuliani supports gay rights, abortion rights and gun control, taboo stances for many social conservatives. Giuliani also leads in national polls, including one published Tuesday by Zogby America, showing him with support from 29 percent of likely GOP primary voters and McCain second with support from 20 percent. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points. McCain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson have all traveled to Iowa this year, among other GOP hopefuls. McCain, Romney and Huckabee have had staff in Iowa since last year. Des Moines Republican Katie Gillette, a Giuliani supporter, said Giuliani can wait to begin campaigning in Iowa, unlike the others who are less well-known nationally. He can kind of take his time, Gillette said. "I m al ways for playing big in Iowa, but he is in kind of a unique position where everybody knows him." Giuliani has spent the past two months aggressively raising money, traveling recently to Florida and California. But he has traveled to leadoff primary state New Hampshire in the past month and has a state campaign chairman and staff in the state. Giuliani has also vis ited South Carolina, the state scheduled to host the first Southern primary, twice this year. Reporter Thomas Beaumont can be reached at (515) 286-2532 or tbeaumontdmreg.com . 'Stilt. 8.'.,',.i.T j . tAddress a text message to WO (44636), 2. In the message, type; 'For Sports Scores, typ a team name (w, cubs), For Daily Weather, type V lip code (ex: w 50322), For Stock Quotes, types stock symbol (ex; e&pl), For Movie Times, type "m" zip code (ex: m 50322), 3, Receive a text message with the Information. Li$m more: 4itiF0.net no e " 4 WW

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