Here are plain text versions for some important Des Moines Register articles, relating to the Johnny Gosch and ‘Franklin Scandal’ cases.
September 8, 1984
“A Washington, DC-area man who says he searches for missing children has been ordered to tell a federal grand jury in Des Moines what he knows about missing newspaper carriers Eugene Martin and Johnny Gosch.
Paul Bishop, 25, who describes himself as a “former street kid,” has been subpoenaed to appear Tuesday. He apparently will be asked to discuss statements tied to him alleging that Gosch is being held by child pornographers.
U.S. Attorney Richard Turner wouldn’t confirm or deny whether a grand jury is interested in the cases and declined to comment.
Noreen Gosch, Johnny’s mother, says Bishop has been an unpaid volunteer in the search for her son. She said that she and Bishop are “baffled” by the order. ‘We’ve been told by various sources that law enforcement basically doesn’t have much to go on and they’re trying to find out if we’ve got anything going,” she said.
Bishop, who lives in Springfield, Va., and has made frequent contacts with Noreen and John Gosch, wasn’t available for comment Friday. A phone number he gave to Washington authorities was answered by a man who said he didn’t know Bishop. Asked if Bishop lived at the Washington number, the man said “I don’t think so.” He said he was standing in a phone booth and had picked up the receiver because he heard the phone ringing.
The subpoena could force Bishop to explain under oath statements that Gosch was abducted for pornography and was being held captive along with Martin. Martin, 14, disappeared Aug. 12, and Gosch vanished Sept. 5, 1982, when he was 12. The two were delivering the Des Moines Sunday Register but police have been unable to connect the disappearances.
Sue Martin, Eugene’s stepmother, said Bishop “got us excited and said he knew the boys were alive” in the Southwest. But she said the contact with him “fizzled” and the family no longer is in touch with him. “I didn’t like him,” she said.
About two weeks ago, according to an investigator, Bishop was interviewed by two FBI agents near his home.
Described in an April 18 Washington Times story as head of a “self-proclaimed renegade group” known as KIDS, an acronym for Kids in Distress Services, Bishop recently helped find two East Coast 15-year-old runaways in Little Rock, Ark., after a week-long disappearance, the Times said.
Gosch said Bishop first contacted her in February and was one “of a lot of people who offered assistance,” including private investigators in Rhode Island, Missouri, New Mexico and California. “Most of them called after seeing national publicity on Johnny and wanted to help,” she said. Among the investigators, she said, is Sam J. Soda of Des Moines. Soda said that he hadn’t been subpoenaed and that he knew nothing of a grand jury investigation. Gosch said she knew of no other subpoenas.
Bishop, the Gosches say in a reference letter circulated by him, has given “the only straight answers to questions we have had during this painful search.” The Gosches say he has been “straightforward and honest about the possibilities in our case.” “Mr. Bishop has connections which could make the difference in our son’s life,” the letter said.
In an interview Friday, Gosch said that a pattern has emerged from a number of sightings across the country to indicate that her son is alive. She said the descriptions are “always identical” and resemble her son. “We’ve never been fortunate to be on the spot when they see the boy. By the time we get a man there we can only put pieces together,” she said”.
August 9, 1985
Sam Soda, the private investigator and anti-smut campaigner from Des Moines, no longer is giving SCARED lectures, but he says his fight against child pornography continues. “SCARED fulfilled its mission,” Soda says. “If you look at what happened, people have become educated. Before, child pornography and abuse was hidden. People are now aware.”
About a year ago, Soda organized Stolen Children Are Reported Every Day shortly after newspaper carrier Eugene Martin, 13, apparently had been abducted from his south Des Moines route. In October, Soda turned over to authorities a videotape of an interview he had conducted with a Des Moines Register adult carrier who admitted having had intimate relations with teen-age boys. The carrier later was prosecuted. “It was getting to a point where I was putting on two lectures a day, and we put on as many as four or five in a given week all over the state. It got so well-known and accepted.” Soda said there were 70 lectures in three months, and the talks became too time-consuming and expensive.
Des Moines Mayor Pete Crivaro, who attended a Soda lecture, said Thursday that Soda told a “shocking story.” Soda included in the programs slides showing nude children and sexual devices portrayed in magazines. Said Crivaro: “It stirred up a lot of people. Personally, I’ve never been exposed to child pornography, and what I saw convinced me to support programs to correct the problems.”
Ron Wheeler, first assistant Polk County attorney, said he had “advised (Soda on a friendly basis” that the slides might violate the state’s anti-smut laws. “It reads that a person commits a Class D felony when a person knowingly promotes any material visually depicting a live performance of a child engaging in a prohibited sexual act or a simulation of prohibited sexual act.” Exceptions, Wheeler said, include police officers and officers of the court, doctors, lawyers and psychologists “in performance of their official duties.” “It was left up to Sam. He has provided information to this office that has been helpful,” Wheeler said.
Soda said the slides were explicit. “Call it shock treatment or whatever you want, but it was time that somebody showed them. We still gather a great deal of information,” Soda said, and it is passed to authorities. “The problem is a 100-year-old problem. As long as you have people who molest kids, you’re going to have children abducted”.