Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois on May 15, 1977 · 20
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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois · 20

Chicago, Illinois
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 15, 1977
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20 Section 1 Chicago Tribune, Sunday! May 15, 1977- A national malady Child porno: Sickness for Continued from page one printing operations and elaborate shipping routes to make detection extremely difficult. The sale of child pornography went on for months before most agenices even became aware of it, and many have been slow to react. Only four cities Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Houston have special police units to deal with it. THE TRIBUNE investigation has established that child sex rackets operate on a national and international scale involving thousands'of adult perverts often working with one another and exchanging child victims. Among the findings: Chicago is the headquarters of a nationwide ring trafficking in young boys "chickens," in the argot of the streets and placing them in various "homes" to serve male customers, or "chicken hawks." Although federal law makes it a crime to transport a female under 18 years of age across state lines for immoral purposes, there is no such protection for boys. So extensive are these nationwide dealings that The Tribune was able to obtain a list of 5,000 names and addresses of the ring's clients living in every part of the country. A newsletter for the "boy love" trade is published clandestinely in the Chicago area by a group of men police say includes an employe of a church-run college. The newsletter serves as a na- "They are destroyed by these experiences. They are emotionally and spiritually murdered." tionwide conduit through which pedophiles adults whose sexual preference is for children can buy films, contact boys and establish liaison with one another. In Los Angeles, the leading center of child pornography and prostitution in America, police estimate as many as 30,000 children are involved, including Mexican youngsters smuggled into the country in specially constructed automobiles. Los Angeles police are investigating the murder of several Mexican children to determine if they might have been among the smuggled cargo. Some children are sold into prostitution and pornography by their parents. Los Angeles police recently found a 3-year-old girl, a 5-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy, all children of prostitutes, whose mothers had sold them into pornography. . Police who smashed a pornographic film operation in New York last month and seized 4,000 copies of films involving children 8 to 12 years old, said much of the material was destined for buyers in Chicago. Father, teacher: Tangled life of child pornographeir By Michael Sneed FOR ALL ANYONE knew, he was a schoolteacher devoted to his family and community in Port Huron, Mich. An average guy with aspirations. The fellow next door, who liked kids and went to church on Sundays. The father of a young son. A man who held college degrees in youth services and electronics. The son of a policeman turned elected official. An amateur photographer ,who learned to use a camera by taking mugshots at the police department. WHAT THEY DIDNT know was that he was one of the Midwest's leading child pornographers and the worst kind of pimp. A flesh profiteer who fed off the young, who filmed, processed and sold child pornography film, who sold the sexual services of his young male models. From his cell in a Michigan prison, where he is serving a 2-to-10-year sentence for molesting a 10-year-old boy, Gerald S. Richards, 36, talked about the child pornography business, a business he likens to a nationwide spi-derweb. While going to college and supporting his family in 1968, Richards started working in one of the first porno shops to open in Port Huron. "I HAD NO reason to get into the business," he said. "I was curious and I needed the money." He planned to get out when his son was a year old, but was hooked. "I was making good money on the side reselling porno prints I got at the store," he explained. So, armed with shop contacts with pornography publishers, distributors and customers, Richards left the store and set up his own mail order- business. HIS LIFE BECAME a maze of forwarding addresses for his mail order pornographic picture operation; his home and downtown office became his pornography mills; and his contacts grew nationwide. His young "porno" brigade included 20 boy models. "I led two lives," he said. "My family thought I was teaching physical education in a parochial school. I was , but it took very little of my time. My Cadillac was my only sign of wealth. I put a lot of money into better photo equipment. I was careful. They never Profile of a predator of boy nas poor interpersonal reiauun- 4s ship with adult Often financially secure Intelligent, often hold a college degree Married Acts considerate of victims Usually nonviolent, pasiive F,ide self In cleanliness Often works with youth services, like children Associates with other 'boy lovers' Often considered a 'good citizen' Generally take pictures of victim and wap them with pal; the younger the subject the better Sources: Los Angeles Police Department, Interviews with pornographers In New Orleans, police say, a group ; of adult perverts established a Boy Scout troop in 1974 for the purpose of using boys ranging from 11 to 15 years old for homosexual purposes. Nineteen men have been charged with multiple counts of crimes against nature, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years on each count. Among them are two Boston-area millionaires and a California millionaire alleged to have flown to New Orleans to have sex with the boys. Police investigation of the case extended into 34 states. An Episcopal priest in Tennessee, the Rev. Claudius I. Bud Vermilye Jr., is awaiting trial on charges he took in runaway and neglected children at his Boys Farm, encouraged them to engage in homosexual orgies, secretly filmed the orgies and allowed adult "sponsors" to abuse the boys. The Tribune investigation disclosed that a half-dozen Illinois men had bought films from the priest. Vermilye was indicted on 16 charges, including 3 counts of crimes against nature, 8 counts of aiding and. abetting crimes against nature, 4 counts of contributing in the delinauencv of minors, and 1 count of using minors in the production of pornographic materials. Pornographers in at least five states Michigan, New Jersey, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Florida have used or have attempted to use federal, state and county funds to establish foster homes and child care camps for their operations, and some have used foster children in pornographic movies. In at least one instance, pornographers obtained a federal income tax exemption Gerald S. Richards knew." Richards was married, but he also became homosexually involved with one of his male models a 12-year-old boy who was his babysitter, next-door neighbor, assistant in his professional magic act,' and his solicitor for other young boy models. "He took care of things and nobody ever squealed. It was procedure to keep a blackmail photo file of each boy to avoid any squealing but I eventually threw his away. He was a genius." RECRUITING CHILDREN was not difficult. "It's the easiest thing in the world to get a kid," Richards said. "What you want is a kid with no moral, religious background, and you have got it made. A kid whose father is absent or doesn't care about him. They don't have a chance. They are brainwashed and left sexually confused. They can end up like the men who entice them." Behind it all, Richards said, is the BL movement, which stands for "boy love." Promoters of the BL syndrome publish magazines and newsletters which contain their philosophy and carefully coded classified ads. "IT IS THROUGH these ads that subscribers make their contacts, contacts for films, pictures, and sex with others who feel the same way about the sexual use of children," he related. Richards subscribed to the BL ma "J'',l'fcs)sl. . i . ' ' r 1 Profile of the boy victim; id Young-8 to 17 year old Underachieves in scnooi or ai home Usually no previous homosexual activity" Underdeveloped and no secondary sex characteristic From a low-income background in West and East coast area; from average background in Midwest Parents absent physically or psychologically No strong moral or religious affiliations. No previous delinquency Poor sociological development Warm personality Tribune Chart for a "church" later identified as a front for their operations. ALTHOUGH THE various pornography and child prostitution operations extend across the nation, police say there is no single organization running them. But the adults involved maintain contact through newsletters and exchanges of children. "It seems to be like spider webs strung out all over the nation," said Mason Spong, a New Orleans juvenile division detective involved in the investigation of the Boy Scout operation there. "It seems like spider webs strung out all over the nation." Child pornography as a big business began with the importation of such material from Europe about 18 months ago. The child magazines and films quickly became big sellers in adult bookshops and American pornographers, alert to a good business opportunity, rushed into the market. The child victims are typically runaways, who come to a city with only enough money to sustain them for two or three days, or boys from broken homes. s ADULT EXPLOITERS pick up the runaways at bus stations, hamburger stands, and amusement arcades, and offer them money and gifts in exchange for sexual favors. Frequently they show the children pornography to arouse gazines and advertised in them to build up his "boy hungry" clientele. His magic act was also coded in the BL ads. He found "his business partner through an ad in a California magazine called the Better Life Monthly, America's No. 1 boy love journal. "I screened his mail for four months. Subscribers are screened through an intricate process. You check the grade of paper, typewriter keys, numbers of letters weighing sincerity and insistence. Of course, you keep the letters as a security measure." WITH THE HELP of his partner, he incorporated as a tax exempt-front known as Brother Paul's Children's Mission. Richards was Brother Paul. His partner is being sought on a fugitive warrant by the Michigan State Police. Several times, Richards made trips to Chicago with his partner, where contacts for boys were made with porno shop proprietors. "The names would be furnished either by a porno shop guy or through a hotel clerk," he explained. He eventually was arrested for molesting one of his models a model who was in demand because he was very young. He was only 8 years old when he was "tested" on a camping trip to see if he'd fit into the operation. "It was a bad scene," Richards said. "I was teetering between wrong and right. But the money was too good. I couldn't stop. I just couldn't put that rubber stamp down when I'd see all that mail coming in and thought of the money." HE REFUSES, however, to estimate just how much money he made from his pornographic career. "Sometimes I would even use self-hypnosis to figure out ways to make money," he recalled. Richards was arrested on July 23, 1975, and pleaded guilty. "I was guilty. I felt like I had murdered my own son." He has also voluntarily turned over his files and is scheduled to appear before the Michigan State Assembly "to prevent other kids being trapped in this business." Summing up the results of his porno business career, Richards sighed: , "My wife is now divorcing me, my son is being deprived of a father, my father's public career is ruined, and my assistant probably will be a homosexual." sale them sexually, and give them drugs and alcohol to lower their inhibitions. With small children, Los Angeles police say, dolls and candy are used. And in one Chicago case, "the kids were so young that pizza and Coca-Cola were sufficient," said Gillis, the deputy state's attorney. According to a Los Angeles police report, "Many suspects are wealthy and financially secure men who can afford to give elaborate gifts, including automobiles and motorcycles, to their victims." EXPERTS SAY MANY of the children are attracted to adult exploiters because they receive from them something else they never had in the broken homes from which they came approval and affection., "A lot of these children are told for the first time that they are worthwhile. Unfortunately, they are not complimented because of good grades or because they are good at basketball, but because they have been sodomized," said Frank Osanka, 41, a sociologist at Lewis University in Glen Ellyn. Osanka teaches the only course in the United States on child abuse and neglect, and numbers several law-enforcement officials among his students. THE COSTS OF sexually exploiting children are minimal and the profits enormous. In Los Angeles, where most of the material is produced, police estimate a pornographic publication that retails for $7.50 to $12.50 per copy can be produced for 35 to 50 cents. A cheap home-movie camera can be used to produce films that sell thousands of copies for $30 to $50 each. Children can earn up to $150 a day posing for pictures or movies, and in Los Angeles police found one 12-year-old boy who was making up to $1,000 a day as a prostitute. Often the money winds up in the hands of pimps, police say, but the pimps spend generously on food, clothing and entertainment for the children. STEPHEN F. HUTCHINSON, legal counsel of Dr. Densen-Gerber's Odyssey Institute, said most child pornographic material now on the market is produced in the United States, shipped to Scandi navia, ana tnen shipped back to America to give the impression it was made in Europe. "We have evidence of companies producing this filth in Arizona and Califor-nia and one such operation going 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in New York," he said. Tennessee police said they have evidence that films taken at the Boys Farm orgies were shipped to Europe and back to the United States. THE PORNOGRAPHY business has flourished amid a welter of legal confusion and conflict, with obscenity laws being -struck down in some states as unconstitutional and pro:::utors groping for other means of attack. It is extremely difficult to catch oor- nographers in the act of filming children, because this normally is done in private apartments or homes. In cases where pornographers are apprehended, their child victims often are unwilling to testify against them, out of loyalty for the favors and attention they have received. If they are willing to testify, judges and juries sometimes will not believe their stories or will consider them too young to be key witnesses in a criminal prosecution. PROSECUTING THE sellers of por-nography also presents other problems. Obscenity laws cannot be used in Illinois and other states where they have been declared unconstitutional because of vague terminology, although a number of bills aimed at overcoming these objections are pending in the Illinois legislature. And when obscenity convictions are obtained, they often are successfully challenged on grounds that any prosecution involving printed or film matter infringes on the rights of free expression guaranteed under the 1st Amendment. Child abuse laws are a weapon, but in some states law-enforcement officials say they do not provide sufficient penalties. In California, the maximum sentence for child abuse is only two years, and in 40 arrest cases in Los Angeles since September authorities have obtained just one conviction. SGT. LLOYD MARTIN, a Los Angeles policeman who heads a special unit dealing with child abuse, doesn't pretend to have the answer, but he rates Two seized in suburban bomb raids FEDERAL AGENTS seized five pipe bombs in two Oak Lawn house raids late Friday and arrested two men for allegedly running a bomb factory. The raids were carried out by agents of the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms bureau of the Treasury Department and Oak Lawn police. Charged with possession of illegal destructive devices were Clifford Roberts, 24, of 5309 W. Kimball PL, Oak Lawn; and James Wells, 5412 W. Franklin St., also in the South suburb. Neither of the men offered resistance when they were Police seize 2 in sex Continued from page one engaged in sex acts with Welch on three occasions. Welch, who police said denied having sex with the boy, was charged with taking idecent liberties with a child. The boy had been in Welch's care as a ward of the Illinois Department of Chil- r Ey um W Tribune Photo by Karen Engstrom A curious passerby peers into the shop at 414 S, State St. It's easy to buy child pornography By George Bliss BUYING CHILD pornography in some of Chicago's "adult" bookshops is as easy as shopping for groceries. Two Tribune reporters recently bought more than $80 worth of films and magazines involving children as young as 5 years old in visits to three shops on South State Street. At the first shop at 412 S. State," a clerk denied any child pornography was in stock. But a reporter found a copy of Boys' School, a slick color magazine featuring teen-age boys, and bought it for $7.50. NEXT DOOR at 414 S. State, a clerk also denied selling child pornography. But a glass display case in front of him contained a variety of 8 mm. child films. He readily sold two films entitled "Lolita" and "Golden Boys" for $30 each. Asked if the shop had any copies of Loll i tots, the biggest-selling child pornography magazine in America, the clerk said, "No, but we're supposed to get it in next month." THE WIDEST ASSORTMENT of child pornography was found in a shop at 426 S. State. Several months ago, 15 members of the New York-based Odyssey Insti child pornography as a crime worse than murder. "A homicide, once committed, is over," he said in an interview. "But a crime against a child is never over. It has ruined a life." Psychiatrists and sociologists agree that the social cost from this wholesale exploitation of one of America's most precious resources its children may be staggering. SEXUALLY ABUSED children fre-quently grow up to enter a life of drugs and prostitution, they say, because they can find no place in normal society. The experts say premature sex can , leave children with genital damage and even lead to cervical cancer in girls. Psychologically, the victims often become prey to grotesque fears and are unable to experience normal sexual fulfillment as adults. "Intercourse can become painful for them for the rest of their lives," said Dr. Nahman Greenberg, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois School of Medicine and an expert on child sexual abuse. LOS ANGELES police say some sadistic adults torture children who do not follow orders, or threaten to disfigure them. Robin M. Lloyd, author of "For Money or Love," a study of juvenile male prostitution generally considered the most authoritative work on the subject, suggests that America's children comprise one of the most disadvantaged minorities. "They are too young to vote; too young to have consumer spending pow arrested in Roberts' home, according to ATF agent Dale Faesi. In Roberts' house, the eight agents found three b:mbs tnd an incomplete bomb, Faesi said. They also found an electKc-switch detora'or, B-B pellets used as "grape" inside the bombs, and firecracker powder, he said. Two more bombs and 2,500 M-80 firecrackers were found in Wells house, he said. FAESI SAID warrants to search the two homes were obtained after a four-month investigation, in which undercov dren and Family Services since May 2, police said. THRE THREE-MONTH police Investigation directed by Kelly that culminated in the arrests was supervised by Sgt. Robert Becker of the Area 6 youth division and involved Youth Officers Patrick Deady, Joseph Bongiorno, William De Jl jfcsJiSStaaw I tl ?h 1', PEEP (S tute, a national organization campaigning against child abuse and neg lect, picketed outside this shop with signs reading "Save the Children." A dozen men then emerged from the shop with signs reading "Sex Is God" and "I'll Read What I Damn Well Please." A clerk in the shop obligingly pointed out a large display of films and magazines to the reporters, who purchased three pocket-sized magazines "Hanna and Her Uncle," "Chil-Irensex 3000," and "Torrid Tots" for $5 each. BUT A REPORTER who asked for child pornography at Fran's bookshop at 6234 S. Western A v. met with a different reaction. "You're sick! You're really sick!" a woman clerk shouted as the reporter retreated out the front door. A few days earlier, Chicago undercover police had visited the same shop and said they had bought a variety of child pornography magazines openly displayed on the shelves. Because of the publicity that has been focused recently on child pornography, police said, some Chicago shops have withdrawn these-materials from display and have put them under the counter, to be sold only to regular customers. er; too young to have lobbyists speak for them," he said. WHAT KIND of people are the men who exploit them? "The pedophile is a well-known type," said Dr. Greenberg. "His kind of inter- est in children is probably extremely , narcissistic. He seeks sexual gratifica- ' tion out of a projection of himself. "He doesn't look for a dirty, scruffy 1 kid. He is usually looking for a very fine, elegant boy, who represents for ' him the symbol and height of what he would like to have been himself. "The pedophile believes he is adoring, indulging, gratifying the boy a theme that runs through "boy love" publications. He also hates this boy. He envies him, has contempt for him. It's purely jealousy; the boy represents what he would like to have been." GREENBERG SAID the large market for child pornography does not mean there are more pedophiles today than in past times. "The market hasn't been present because the law has been more restrictive," he said. "Many people who before were less likely to chance buying it child pornography and producing it are now more inclined to. "It's doing a great disservice. Any civilization to exist has to maintain certain kinds of civilizing behavior and restraint of urges, instinctual trends which may get twisted into areas of perversion." MONDAY: Child pornography and child prostitution in the Chicago area, and the men behind it. er agents bought 3 homemade bombs and 4,000 M-80s from the two men, he said. Faesi said neither Wells nor Roberts has any known connection with a gang or syndicate. Roberts has an electronics background, he said. "Apparently they were in this just for the profit," he said. Both were held overnight Friday In the federal jail, but were released Saturday morning on recognizance bonds after a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Carl B. Sussman. film ring Giulio, and Luis Alvizu. Sgt. Kelly credited police Supt. James Rochford with, a major role in the outcome of the investigation. "Without the manpower he assignedtoour unit, this result would not have been possible," he said. Y ' J'

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