Conspirologists sparked intense online speculation about child prostitution, Satanism, and kidnapping in the Midwest and the Capitol.
Google "Johnny Gosch" and you will find a wealth of info on a young boy who disappeared from his Iowa neighborhood in 1982. He has become a part of the "Franklin Cover-up", which began to surface in 1988 with the collapse of a small savings & loan in Omaha, Nebraska, and culminated in a series of trials involving allegations of child prostitution, murder, and Satanic worship involving very well-known citizens of Omaha and beyond. Two people from Omaha insist to this very day that they were pimped out by some of Omaha's most esteemed citizens as children. Paul Bonacci claims that he helped abduct little Johnny Gosch on the orders of Temple of Set founder Michael Aquino, and amazingly Noreen Gosch, the boy's mother, supports this story. She wrote a book, Why Johny Can't Come Home, in which she explained that her son was very much alive and still being controlled by his kidnappers as an adult. He supposedly paid her a brief visit in 1997.
In spring 2005, a bald young reporter named James Guckert was booted out of the White House when it was discovered he didn't have proper press credentials and had possibly engaged in male prostitution. A conspiracy theorist noted his resemblance to an old photo of little Johnny Gosch and proposed that this man, who went by the alias Jeff Gannon, was the kidnapped boy. The reporter denied it and evidence was scant, but speculation was rife on such sites as Jeff Wells's blog Rigorous Intuition. Conspiracy theorists opined that the resemblance between Gannon/Guckert and 12-year-old Johnny Gosch was uncanny, that Gannon could be little Johny Gosch all grown up and corrupted by the Bush administration.
After reading the article on Gannon/Guckert in the June 2005 issue of Vanity Fair, I seriously doubted Gannon and Gosch could be the same person. Gosch would be 35, while Gannon is 48. Trauma can age a person, I agree, but Gannon also has a life history that has been picked over thoroughly by left-wing bloggers. He grew up in Pennsylvania (a grad photo accompanies the Vanity Fair piece) and worked various jobs before he became senior reporter for a teeny Conservative news service called Talon News (now defunct in the wake of the scandal). He graduated from high school when Johnny Gosch was a tyke. While it's thrilling to think that a kidnapped boy has resurfaced as a Bush-administration stooge, smuggled into the White House pressroom by shadowy powers-that-be with orders to "make Bush look good", there doesn't seem to be a single solid item of evidence that Jeff Gannon, male escort and staunch Republican, has ever been anyone other than plain old Jim Guckert (his real name and, significantly, the one he used to gain his first press pass). He wouldn't have been valuable to Bush's administration anyway - Talon News was virtually unknown until the Gannon scandal broke.
Returning to Johnny Gosch and the Franklin cover-up: Was Omaha a hotbed of Satanic and abusive activity in the 1980s? It seems that way. The late Monsignor Hupp, who headed Omaha's famous Boys' Town far longer than even Father Flanagan (played by Spencer Tracey in the 1938 movie Boys Town), confessed to Lincoln lawyer John DeCamp that he knew young boys were being molested by priests at Boys' Town. And there have been several suspicious deaths in the case. Were the abusers involved in Satanic worship and the production of snuff films? That remains to be seen. Bonacci said that he was taken to California's Bohemian Grove, a staple of modern conspiracy theories, and forced to appear in a snuff film with another young boy. The cameraman was none other than gonzo reporter Hunter S. Thompson, who committed suicide in February 2005.