Updated on 4/6/2010:
There are now links to the same depositions referred to by ABC News so you can read what five Brazilian girls told the federal police as well as links to the original Schair v Marsteller defamation complaint that produced the witness list that called for 19 Jesters to testify about sex w/minor prostitutes. There are also links to depositions from fishing guides who claim to have seen all of this. As a public service, here is a link to a file folder with examples of documents that I spent a week translating from Portuguese, the Schair v Newsvine.com complaint that he withdrew after it was moved to federal court, Exhibit B - Plaintiff's Original Complaint, Schair v Marsteller, Notice of Removal of Action granting Schair's motion to withdraw his libel complaint against Newsvine.com from federal court. Also linked is a story about how an internal Shriner investigation revealed a fund raising scam where Vantage Marketing raised $46 million for the children and kept about $43 million. Top leaders were investigated for lobbying to rehire this same fundraiser to the point of firing those so opposed and for admitting to taking free trips from the fundraiser.
Adult Content Warning:
The following includes graphic references to prostitution, child sex tourism and nonprofit tax fraud. Do not read if adult language and sexual references offend you.
“ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer” has confirmed that the FBI and ICE are continuing their investigation into fishing tour operators who facilitate “child sex tourism” for their high paying customers. This report includes a blurred picture of a member of the Royal Order of Jesters partying with a young Brazilian girl on his lap, confirming that the Jesters and the former fishing tour operator who organized their Brazilian fishing trips have been, at the very least, questioned by the FBI. This is the same former fishing tour operator who was indicted last year by the Brazilian federal police for prostitution, rape and violating Indian protection laws.
Over two years ago, “Jesters to Testify about Illegal Drugs, Child Prostitution?” described the unsuccessful defamation lawsuit filed by Richard Schair against competitor Philip Marsteller. Both offered Peacock Bass fishing trips along the Amazon. Marsteller began observing fishing boats with both North American fishermen and young Brazilian girls aboard, began learning about the prostitution of underage Indian girls and began blowing the whistle on what he describes as “a cancer on this industry.”
The case caught my attention because the defense called 19 Jesters, as witnesses who were expected to testify about their first hand knowledge of sex with prostitutes, some minor, while on fishing trips to Brazil. Photographic and depositional evidence motivated the plaintiff to pay the defendant $15,000 to settle out of court.
ABC News went undercover at a Dallas Safari Club convention and secretly filmed a nervous outfitter as he implied that he could hook the “customer” up with fishing trips and “girls.”
One fishing outfitter currently promotes Brazilian fishing trips aboard the Amazon Santana; the same Amazon Santana described in depositions that five Brazilian Indian girls provided to the federal police as they investigated the sexual exploitation of minors along the Amazon for North American tourists. These girls told the police that a man named “Richard” illegally lured them off their reservations to work on his fishing boat, the Amazon Santana, to find that they were expected to get drunk and have sex with the fishermen. The girls needed the money to help their families, initially agreed to work on the fishing boats after “Richard” promised to pay them a set amount and then told the police that he never paid them what he promised.
There is a natural news transition here from covering the supply side of how child sex tourism works to further investigating those who go on these trips year after year. The timing is right because the feds are not going to come up empty handed after spending two years investigating the Jesters for prostitution, sex trafficking and child sex tourism.
Thanks to Dan Herbeck and Aaron Besecker, the Buffalo News first reported three Jesters had been caught in a FBI human trafficking sting, including a former NY State Supreme Court Judge, his law clerk and a retired police captain. Page 21 of this plea agreement describes how the judge got a reduced sentence for providing information about the Jesters’ involvement with prostitution, sex trafficking, the sexual abuse of minors and international travel for those purposes. This page shows that the former judge was arranging a “Book of the Play” trip to Costa Rica, sponsored by the Buffalo Jester Court #27.
After investigating the Shriners for nearly four years, it’s pretty safe to say that corruption is everywhere and that the Jesters' lust for prostitutes is just a part of it. Apparently, some leaders think it’s OK to use their unsuspecting Shriner brothers as a front, creating the warm and fuzzy image that they’re just a bunch of Grandfatherly do-gooders who work hard to raise money to support their network of 22 hospitals that provide free care to burned and crippled children. The corrupt act as if they are above the law, probably because their bylaws state that “Shrine law does not include the law of the land.”
This is no excuse for treating these Elders, especially the veterans, with such disrespect, especially after they have dedicated their golden years to wearing their red fezzes with pride while working so hard to help the kids.
Instead of sharing their vast and valuable life experiences to build a fabulous fraternity of unparalleled charity, these faithful Shriners, these successful business men, government leaders and dedicated family men, are sued into silence for asking questions like “Where does all the money go?” and “Why are your tax returns so messed up?” The members who truly want to embrace the most basic concept of “making good men better” are instead threatened, retaliated against and punished by their corrupt leaders for trying to do so.
What’s worse is the horrific possibility that little burned kids have been used as guinea pigs in clinical research studies for a burn treatment heading to market while still under an unresolved warning letter issued by the FDA.
But that’s another story.
"Bad Medicine" advances the randomly coincidental possibility of insider trading.
ABC News did a good job of providing interviews, pictures and video that show how fishing tour operators provide prostitutes.
I’ve heard that there are videos of Jesters from national “books,” used to blackmail the newly initiated into silence. It’s an “If you squeal, we’ll show this video of you doing this prostitute to your wife” kind of deal. These videos are probably in the custody of those on the Jester’s background investigation committee, tasked with obtaining self-incriminating confessions from prospective Jesters as they further seal vows of silence and protection. Such oaths are part Jester memberships, the first being that of Master Mason who can then join groups like the Scottish Rite, the Knights Templar and the Shriners. The Jesters are made up of those secretly invited from Shriner leadership.
Not only have Jesters been pictured partying with young Brazilian girls, their activities were further described in federal court depositions. From his Tuesday, April 15, 2008 deposition, current PACER document 83-3, former fishing guide Admilson Garcia Da Silva was asked:
“Q: Did you ever witness any of the Wet-A-Line customers engaging in sex acts with these women that were on the Wet-A-Line boats? (PP30)
Q: What did you see?
A: I saw five, five of them, five and five men and two of the women were minors.
Q: I'm sorry. You said you saw five men and five women and two of the women were minors. Is that what you said.
A: That's right.
Q: And what did you see the men and women doing with each other?
A: There was one woman having sex with a man and the other - the other woman only gave them a blow job. (PP 34)”
What would I give to be a fly on the wall as some genius Jester attorney tries to explain to an IRS agent that their exempt purpose of “spreading the gospel of merriment and mirth” includes writing off blow jobs as tax deductions. Payments for the prostitute’s rooms are hidden in finance statements under lump sum payments to hotels for Jester weekend parties.
Seriously, now, what type of nonprofit group mandates that members embrace blackmail to prevent them from ratting out a bunch of guys who think that operating a nationwide network of prostitution and going on fishing trips to party with underage Brazilian girls are nothing more than write offs?
This is the juxtaposition between nonprofit groups who are supposed to provide a benefit to society while operating in secret. A public group should be just that, hiding nothing while embracing the highest standards of nonprofit transparency, accountability and disclosure. After investigating the Shriners and the Jesters, it’s clear that if they just followed the rules, there would be nothing to report.
The Jesters are a self-described men’s luxury organization that, according to this tax return, spent nearly $600,000 on one of their weekend parties. All Jesters, even as Shriners and Master Masons, are all sworn to protect each other, especially those in law enforcement, the judiciary and other positions of authority, though it didn’t work out too well for those Jesters busted in that FBI human trafficking sting out of Buffalo. Details of how they got caught, are in this FBI application for arrest warrants.
I’ve spent the past month trying to get answers from various Louisiana officials about a law enforcement official who is also a Jester, but no one will respond. Maybe they’re too busy dealing with the corrupt cop Katrina case where two New Orleans police admitted to conspiring a cover up of how they, and others, shot six and killed two civilians, including one with special needs, post Katrina. Or maybe the PR people are tied up with the case of the Louisiana federal judge impeached by Congress for corruption.
Here’s the situation.
Governor Bobby Jindal appointed a top law enforcement official as representative to a think-tank that focuses on sharing all types of information regardless of venue or jurisdiction with an emphasis on Homeland Security. My question has to do with the Governor’s appointment process because there is really no way he could have known that this law enforcement official is also part of a group being investigated by the FBI for prostitution, human trafficking and child sex tourism.
The individual in question was not only appointed by Governor Jindal to SEARCH.org, he’s the head of the state’s sentencing commission and, as such, represents Louisiana on the National Association of Sentencing Commission and is also an advisor to the state’s law enforcement commission.
The question is:
Does the Governor’s appointment process provide the prospective appointee the opportunity for self disclosure to prevent conflict of interest and the appearance of impropriety?
It stands to reason that if this individual disclosed his Jester membership, the governor would never have appointed to him to a position with unlimited access to information that could be used to protect his brothers.
In the mean time, I hope that ABC News can get a hold of these Jester sex tapes so they can next report how members of the Royal Order of Jesters have conspired to hijack our nonprofit tax system so they can party with prostitutes at taxpayer expense.
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