This resource was originally created as a public service and published on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 for those wanting to know more about the Shriners' secret sub-group, the Royal Order of Jesters as well as the former fishing tour operator who took 19 Jesters fishing in Brazil for girls over 13.
The original article listed ten articles. This has been updated with 25 new articles for a total of 35 articles that detail the greatest nonprofit fraud of our time. You can scan the headlines and read the summary of four years of findings that include actual dollar amounts from the Jesters’ nonprofit tax returns, available to the public on Guidestar.org.
The original intention was to provide more information in advance of the April 29 UTMB v Shriners hearing in Galveston, Texas and the May 6 and 7 sentencing’s of two Jesters caught by the FBI in a human trafficking sting out of Buffalo, NY. We’re way beyond that now. Read on with an Adult Content Warning. Yes, there is sex but the most offensive, IMHO, is the fact that these guys are operating a nationwide network of prostitution via human trafficking at tax payer expense.
The buzz at this year's Shriner Fourth of July convention is going to be how their endowment lost $3 billion in less than a year, on top of losing $1 million a day since 2001, as everyone was blindsided by the news that the joint boards are considering closing six of their hospitals "because of the economy."
If anyone asks Shriner leaders "Where did all the money go?" they will be hushed up or threatened or told to leave or brought up on "charges" before an internal kangaroo court or sued for defamation or otherwise retaliated against.
There is a bigger problem, however, that the Shriners should address. It is one that leaders will never acknowledge and one that members will never be allowed to discuss and that is the Shriners secret sub-group, the Royal Order of Jesters and their prostitution/sex crime scandals.
Though the Jesters are holding their annual meeting at the same time as the Shriners convention in San Antonio, they will be persona non grata and swept under the rug.
Because the majority those who control the Shriners joint boards are also Jesters. Why would they implicate themselves and invite more scrutiny when the media is already asking about hospital closures? What if anyone factored mismanagement, corruption and a lack of ethics into the "blame the economy" equation to hypothesize a corporate model that either allowed or facilitated these staggering losses?
So what does the Shriner/Jester family tree look like?
The Shriners and the Royal Order of Jesters are appendant groups of Freemasonry. One must first be a Master Mason before being able to join sub-groups like the Scottish Rite, Knights Templar and the Shriners. However, one must first be a secretly invited Shriner before joining the Royal Order of Jesters, a self-described "luxury organization for only those who can qualify and who can afford it."
There are about 23,500 Jesters organized into "courts" that correspond to the 191 Shriner temples located across North America.
Below is a list of 35 Jester related articles, beginning with "Jesters Exposed," the first article ever written about the ROJ. It was published on February 15, 2008 and was mostly about nonprofit tax technicalities and how the nonprofit group's leaders ordered that the internet be scrubbed of ROJ information to "minimize to the extent possible, our public exposure or its access to Jesters information" because it had been alleged that their weekend meetings were nothing more than prostitution parties where they drank and played high stakes poker.
A few days after that, I learned about how 19 Jesters were named on a witness list for the defense in a defamation action between two fishing tour operators who took groups to fish the Amazon in Brazil. "'Jesters' To Testify about Illegal Drugs, Child Prostitution?" was published about three weeks later, on March 6, 2008, and reported how these Jesters were expected to testify about "their first hand knowledge of prostitution, minor prostitution, use of illegal drugs and/or the alleged illegal entry of one of the tour operators into Indian reservations by the plaintiff and his customers."
Three days later, on March 9, 2008, The Buffalo News reported "Former Judge Tills resigns amid FBI prostitution investigation."
Reporters Dan Herbeck and Aaron Besecker wrote:
"A retired State Supreme Court justice resigned his post as a hearing officer as federal agents investigate his alleged role in taking a local massage parlor worker across state lines for purposes of prostitution. FBI and U.S. Border Patrol agents are investigating allegations that retired Judge Ronald H. Tills, his former law clerk and a retired police captain took the female massage parlor employee in a motor home to a gathering of members of a nationwide group called the Royal Order of Jesters."
Turns out the judge, his law clerk and the retired police captain got caught in a FBI human trafficking sting and pleaded guilty to taking, or conspiring to take, illegal alien prostitutes to Jester parties in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Florida as well as a national meeting held in Ontario, Canada. The law clerk was sentenced last December to four months home confinement, fined $5,000, ordered to 250 hours of community service and put on two years probation.
The former judge and retired police captain are scheduled to be sentenced May 6 and 7 for violating the Mann Act.
Below is a chronological list of Jester articles, with links to those documents being described including Jester tax returns that show how they spent nearly $600,000 on one of their weekend parties, a revised constitution that shows the interdependence between the Shriners and Jesters, a list of meetings, ceremonies like "The Book of the Play," depositions and plea agreements.
"Jesters Exposed" Fri Feb 15, 2008 9:35 PM EST
This is the first article ever written about the Shriner secret sub-group, the Royal Order of Jesters or ROJ. It reports:
• ROJ 2005 tax returns AKA the 990s show that the Jesters fraternal brought in over $1.3 million dollars with assets totaling over $1.8 million dollars.
• ROJ 2005 tax returns show that Jesters charitable brought in over $420,000 with assets totaling $835,000, for a combined worth of about $2.65 million dollars and that charitable contributions went toward building their new $1.2 million 5,000 square foot HQ/museum in Indianapolis, Indiana.
• In 2006, ROJ executive director Alex Rogers, who is also an attorney and past potentate, submitted an application for property tax exemption to the Marion County Assessor that was initially denied because tax authorities were not convinced that the Jesters qualified as a charity, based on the museum claims, under Indiana law.
• Rogers appealed the decision and convinced the Indiana Tax Assessment Board of Appeals that the Jesters are an appendant body of Masonry. Both parties entered into a Settlement Agreement in January, 2007 that stipulated a 100% fraternal tax exemption for the year 2005, otherwise the Jesters would have had to cough up about $12,000 in property taxes.
• Two ROJ executive directors appear to be practicing law out of Jester HQ in Indiana and Texas. IRS nonprofit laws state that no one shall benefit personally from a nonprofit group.
• “Royal Stage Manager” Dennis Schueler sent a letter to Jester webmaster Frank Baillie, informing him that the Jesters had “directed the abolition of all Jester-related bulletin boards and internet sites. The primary reason behind such action was the desire of the Board to minimize to the extent possible, our public exposure or its access to Jesters information.”
• ROJ functions have always been listed on the Imperial Council’s annual session agenda.
• Shriners’ corporate communications director, Alicia Aargiz-Lyons failed to respond to phone messages and emailed questions about the Royal Order of Jesters.
"Jesters" To Testify about Illegal Drugs, Child Prostitution? Thu Mar 6, 2008 1:35 PM EST
This article is about how 19 Jesters were named on a witness list for the defense in a federal defamation lawsuit and associated court documents. It reports:
• Federal court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division regarding a defamation lawsuit between two fishing tour operators, Richard Schair and Phillip Marsteller, includes a defense witness list that names 19 witnesses who are members of the ROJ and are expected to testify about fishing trips to Brazil and “their first hand knowledge of prostitution, minor prostitution, use of illegal drugs and/or entry into Indian reservations by Schair (plaintiff) and/or his customers.”
• The ROJ was investigated by the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas in 2005 after they received a complaint alleging Jester parties revolved around sex with prostitutes, illegal gambling and alcohol. It ended with no “prosecutions.”
• The Wichita Jester Court #24 reported to the IRS that they spent $122,102 in 2006 for the exempt purpose of “recreation, entertainment and companionship.”
• The Long Beach Jester Court #161 reported to the IRS that they spent $82,543 in 2006 as “benefits paid to members.”
• Five girls gave statements to Brazilian federal police officers last year as they were investigating “minor Indian and other girls living near the rivers in the region of the Municipality of Autazes/AM who became victims of sexual exploitation by North American foreign tourists.”
• These depositions described how the girls were, at the time of the alleged minor prostitution, aged 13, 14, 16.
• One of the 16 year olds stated that her 14 year old sister was also recruited.
• All the girls state they were lured onto the fishing boat by someone named "Richard."
• These depositions describe the crime otherwise known as “child sex tourism.”
Judge Central Figure in FBI Probe, the S.O.B.I.B. and the Jesters' Half Million Dollar Weekend Parties Sat Apr 12, 2008 1:30 PM PDT
This article describes how Shriner/Jester and former New York Supreme Court Judge Tills is the focus of the FBI’s investigation, exposes a clandestine Jester sub-group called the S.O.B.I.B. and details shocking data found on Jester tax returns. It reports:
• Tills is listed as a member of an inside Jesters group called the "S.O.B.I.B." The acronym allegedly stands for something like "Secret Order of Brother/s in Blood."
• Ralph Semb, chairman of the board of trustees for the Shriners Hospitals for Children, is both a Jester and a member of the S.O.B.I.B.
• The International Royal Order of Jesters, Inc. and the National Court of the Royal Order of Jesters fail to list the S.O.B.I.B. on line 80b of their 2003, 2004 and 2005 tax returns. Line 80a asks "Is the organization related (other than by association with a statewide or nationwide organization) through common membership, governing bodies, trustees, officers, etc., to any other exempt or non exempt organizations?" Line 80b asks “If 'Yes,' enter the name of the organization."
• The Jesters further fail to correctly answer questions about their exempt purpose.
• Tax returns report that in 2003, the Jesters' weekend ritual “The Book of the Play” (BOP) expenses were $226,268, with income of $400,548. In 2004, they spent $545,806 on the BOP, with income of $584,661. In 2005, they spent $307,345 with income of $454,783.
• Three years of ROJ tax returns report that director's expense as $31,116, $24,778 and $31,865 respectively, though these expenses are not reported in Part II.
• Three years of ROJ tax returns list $0 for Program Services.
• Three years of ROJ tax returns report gross receipts of $1,208,146, $1,394,551 and $1,310, 539.
• A Thursday, December 20, 2007 request for the ROJ 2006 990 and Form 1023 remains unanswered. (The Form 1023 is a group's application for tax exempt status. IRS regulations state that the organization must provide the requested document/s within 30 days from the date it received the request.)
Brazilian Fishing Trip Depositions: "Masons" Pictured Having Sex with Teen Prostitutes? Sun May 25, 2008 3:55 PM PDT
This is the second article requiring an “Adult Warning.” What began as a defamation lawsuit between two fishing tour operators has led to the possibility that “Masons” participated in child sex tourism and minor prostitution. It reports:
· Two fishing guides, previously employed by the plaintiff, were deposed by the Brazilian federal police to describe what they witnessed as part of their same investigation into the international crime of “child sex tourism.”
· These guides spent three days in Miami with attorneys from both sides, interpreters, a videographer and both parties as they testified about what they witnessed in pictures of “Masons” allegedly having sex with teen prostitutes on “Wet-a-Line” fishing boats, some underage.
· Brazilian teens lured into prostitution told fishing tour guides that they had “sex of all kinds” with those on “Wet-A-Line” tours.
· Tour guides described going by fishing boats as the girls engaged in oral sex with the fishermen.
· Tour guides identified groups of American men who went on these tours year after year to party, drink, watch strip contests, have sex and take drugs.
· Tour guides said that girls as young as 9, 13, and 14 were used as prostitutes on the fishing boats.
· Tour guides identified those who returned each year as “Masons.”
· “Masons” were pictured with two underage prostitutes at a party on the fishing boat.
· The “Masons” asked for girls over 13.
Child Sex Tourism: Brazilian Teens Testify About Being Lured into Minor Prostitution for American Tourists Mon Jun 2, 2008 5:58 PM EDT
This is the third of three articles related to how 19 Jesters were called as to testify for the defense in a federal lawsuit about their alleged firsthand knowledge of minor prostitution while fishing trips to Brazil. It reports:
· Five girl’s depositions were taken by the Brazilian Federal Police that allege how same man named “Richard” went to the same village every year, luring girls to help him with housekeeping and cooking on his boat.
· Upon arriving at the boat, the girls discover they were to drink whiskey and have sex with the fishermen.
· The girls report that they are victims of sexual abuse perpetuated by a group of North American tourists.
· One 13 year old reported that was left pregnant.
· “Richard” failed to pay the girls what was promised.
Jester Confesses to Wife He Organized Prostitutes Mon Aug 25, 2008 4:10 PM EDT
This is an interview with a wife who discovered that as her husband became more and more involved with the Jesters, he was getting prostitutes to Jester functions. It reports:
· The ROJ is a strictly stag, luxury organization for no purpose other than to “spread mirth.”
· Wives are allowed at only two events a year.
· The husband said that the Jesters have a “pool” of girls.
· Certain Jesters request their favorite girls.
· Each court's director assigns the job of inviting the girls.
· The Jesters have a doctor who checks the girls “papers.”
· Every court has a member who organizes the girls for their BOP.
Judge Tills Pleads Guilty, Admits Coordinating Prostitutes with Jester National Representatives Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:14 PM EDT
This article is based on a Department of Justice press release that reports “Terrance P. Flynn, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, announced today that RONALD H. TILLS, 73, a former State Supreme Court Judge from Hamburg, New York, pleaded guilty to Information charging him with knowingly transporting a female in interstate commerce with the intent that the female engage in prostitution (Mann Act).” It reports:
• The 9/11 terrorist attack did not deter Judge Tills from getting prostitutes to a weekend Jester party because air traffic was delayed or suspended.
• Judge Tills arranged for the transportation of prostitutes from the Buffalo airport to the Jesters’ national meeting then being held in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
• Tills agreed with representatives of the Jesters’ National Court that members of the Buffalo Court #22 would get the women from the Buffalo airport to the hotel in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, where the national Jesters meeting was being held.
• Judge Tills paid one of these prostitutes to engage in sexual acts with him at a massage parlor.
• Tills and Trowbridge knowingly transported a different undocumented alien from New York to a Jester meeting in Pennsylvania to engage in sexual intercourse and other sexual activity
• Judge Tills arranged for a woman from Buffalo to attend a Jester party in Florida to engage in sexual intercourse and other sexual activity and be paid for it.
• Judge Tills arranged for several women from New York, Ohio and Texas to attend a Jester meeting in Brantford, Ontario, Canada to engage in sexual intercourse and other sexual activity and be paid for it.
• Judge Tills held high offices in the Masonic Grand Lodge of New York and the Ismailia Shriners.
• ROJ bylaws show that they are closely related to the Shriners, with national events being held together as well as ROJ courts dependent on where Shriner temples are located.
Jester Prostitution Updates, Stebick Sentenced Sun Dec 7, 2008 7:11 PM EST
This story reports:
· Michael Stebick, 61 was put on probation for two years, ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and directed to provide 250 hours of community service.
· According to sentencing Judge Skretny, the victim in the case was put up in a hotel by the Jesters, with a sign stating '$70-an-hour' posted outside her room.
· Pictures show Jesters fishing, drinking and cuddling with Brazilian girls.
· John Trowbridge’s sentencing November 4 date was been again rescheduled for May 6, 2009.
· The owner of the “massage parlors,” Len Wah Chong, was sentenced on November 19 to six years in federal prison for enslaving as many as 11 illegal alien prostitutes. She pleaded guilty early last April to "Sex Trafficking of Persons by Force, Fraud and Coercion." She forfeited two properties, $70K in cash and jewelry seized and now must pay $350,000 in restitution to those she kept as sex slaves.
· The Richard W. Schair and Wet-a-Line Tours LLC v Phillip Marsteller and Amazon Tours, Inc. defamation lawsuit was settled out of court on Friday, December, 5.
· On Wednesday, December 3, 2008, Imperial Potentate Douglas Maxwell, Chairman of the SHC Board of Trustees Ralph Semb and Corporate Director of Public Relations Alicia Aargiz-Lyons were emailed the following questions "What is your reaction to the latest news articles about those members of the Royal Order of Jesters pleading guilty in Buffalo to violating the Mann Act?” and “Those Jesters allegedly involved with child sex tourism?" To date, no response.
Tills' Sentencing Rescheduled in Jester Prostitution Case Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:17 PM PST
This article reports that:
· Judge Tills’ sentencing was rescheduled from January 12, 2009 to May 7, 2009.
· Questions about these matters repeatedly phoned and emailed to the Masonic Grand Lodge of New York remain unanswered.
· On Wednesday, December 3, 2008, Imperial Potentate Douglas Maxwell, Chairman of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Board of Trustees and member of the Royal Order of Jesters, Ralph Semb and Corporate Director of Public Relations Alicia Aargiz-Lyons were asked “What is your reaction to the latest news articles about those members of the Royal Order of Jesters pleading guilty in Buffalo to violating the Mann Act?" To date, all three have failed to respond.
The Shriners & "Management by Mirth" Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:31 PM PDT
This editorial points out that the majority of those on the Shriners joint boards are also members of the Royal Order of Jesters and reports:
· Eleven out of twelve on the SHC board of trustees are Jesters.
· Nine out of fourteen of those listed on the 2006 fraternal tax return are Jesters.
· By the end of 2008, four key executives had "resigned" because they opposed recontracting with a fundraiser as not being in the hospital's best interests and may have personally benefitted some board members.
· With the hospital's executive vice president, director of corporate development, controller and senior attorney gone, those Jesters in charge were free to run things without much, if any, corporate oversight.
· The corporate model of "Management by Mirth" could prove fatal because it's based on undisclosed conflicts of interest. It's based on deception because the Shriners have hidden this affiliation with the Royal Order of Jesters from the IRS by not listing them as an affiliated group on their tax returns.
Articles from this point on added on Tuesday, June 12, 2012.
Shriner/Jester Court Updates, Brazilian Indictment & My Statement to the Buffalo News Tue May 5, 2009 5:07 PM PDT
From the article: “Here are updates in two Shriner and Jester court cases, news that the owner of the fishing tour business who took members of the Royal Order of Jesters (ROJ) fishing on the Amazon has closed shop and has been indicted by Brazilian authorities as well as my reaction to a ROJ spokesman disavowing knowledge of activities for which two Jesters are to be sentenced after both pleaded guilty to violating the Mann Act.”
Brazilian Judge Rejects Schair's Request for Habeas Corpus Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:15 PM PDT
This article reports “On June 23, 2009, Brazilian federal judge, MARIA LUCIA GOMES DE SOUZA, denied a June 19, 2009 Habeas Corpus request filed on behalf of former fishing tour operator Richard Wayne Schair of Gainesville, Georgia. If granted, this would have protected Schair from unlawful detention upon entering Brazil after being charged with rape, corruption of minors and operating a house of prostitution.”
Editorial: Schair v Newsvine Illustrates Importance of Reporter Shield and Child Protection Bills Before Congress Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:12 PM PDT
I respond to Richard Schair suing my provider, Newsvine.com, for defamation after I report he’s been indicted by the Brazilian Federal Police for luring underage Brazilian Indian girls into prostitution for his North American fishing clients.
Richard W. Schair v Newsvine Dismissed as Brazilian Judge Accepts Rape & Underage Prostitution Case Against Him Wed Aug 5, 2009 11:04 PM PDT
This article reports “Richard Schair's motion to dismiss was granted last Friday after defendant Newsvine moved his libel and defamation complaint against the MSNBC online subsidiary to federal court. And last Monday, August 3, the Brazilian federal judge overseeing Schair's accepted it from the federal prosecutor's office. This is a step closer to Schair being prosecuted in South America after the Brazilian federal police charged him with rape, operating a house of prostitution and the corruption of minors.”
Editorial: Filings Fly Prior to Tills Sentencing for Jester Prostitution Thu Aug 6, 2009 1:52 AM PDT
This article reports “Former Judge Ronald Tills is being sentenced tomorrow for pleading guilty to violating the Mann Act. He was caught with two others in a FBI human trafficking sting for taking illegal alien prostitutes to weekend meetings of the Royal Order of Jesters so their Master Mason brothers could have sex.”
Nevada Assembly Formally Welcomed Shriners & Jesters Tue Oct 6, 2009 11:29 PM PDT
This article reports “Back on March 9, 2001, Nevada Assemblyman Joe E. Dini Jr. (D) formally welcomed both the Shriners and Royal Order of Jesters to Nevada. Speaking on behalf of the Nevada State Assembly, Dini said ‘DECLARED, That the members of the Assembly of the State of Nevada hereby express a hearty welcome to the Royal Order of Jesters, Reno Court 33 and Las Vegas Court 181, and the Shrine of North America in their endeavors to provide fun and fellowship for its members and to bring necessary medical treatment to children across the United States. Declared by the Assembly March 9, 2001.’
The most recent Jester tax return lists Samuel "Scutter" Newton of Las Vegas Court #181 as an officer of the national court. A witness list for the defense in the federal defamation case Schair v Marsteller states
"Witness (Newton) has firsthand knowledge of prostitution, minor prostitution, use of illegal drugs and/or entry into Indian reservations by Schair and/or his customers.”
Fri Oct 23, 2009 11:24 AM PDT
The article reports “The Shriners secret sub-group, the Royal Order of Jesters, continues partying with prostitutes at tax payer expense, in spite of being investigated for interstate prostitution and child sex tourism. It's business as usual for who have sex with hookers like Misty LaSweet because they think that their Jester brothers in law enforcement and the judiciary system will protect them above all else.”
It also reports that The U.S. Attorney"s office describes the Royal Order of Jesters as:
"This organization maintained chapters throughout the United States, including in Western New York, and it was the custom of these chapters to host periodic meetings, usually on weekends, for their members. At most of these meetings, some members of the organization would be tasked to arrange for the presence of women at the meetings, for the specific purpose of utilizing the women to engage in sexual intercourse and other sexual activity with the organization's members in exchange for money…Sources claim that these "Books" include hospitality rooms for high stakes gambling, with as much as $100,000 in the middle of the tables. They also allege that the Jesters pay for the prostitute's expenses, to include one who regularly accompanies a married member of the Royal line from state to state. These expenses are then hidden on the Jesters' tax returns as un-itemized expenses for the "Book of the Play" and payments to hotels on financial statements.”
Jesters in High Places Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:28 PM PST
This article answers “"How many members of law enforcement or the judiciary or elected officials or other high profile agencies are also members of the Royal Order of Jesters (ROJ)?"
ABC News Confirms FBI Investigating Jesters for Child Sex Tourism Mon Apr 5, 2010 11:06 PM PDT
This article begins “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 Richard Schair 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.”
Retired Deputy Charged in Jester Sex Trafficking Investigation Wed Jun 9, 2010 8:42 PM PDT
This article begins “Dan Herbeck of the Buffalo News reported today that a former Erie County Sheriff’s deputy has been charged with conspiring to violate the Mann Act after allegedly arranging for the transportation of about a dozen prostitutes to a national meeting of the Royal Order of Jesters in Canada.”
Feds Define Jesters Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:56 PM PDT
This article begins The June 7 criminal complaint in the case of United States of America v. Michael Lesinski paints a clear picture of “Mirth and Merriment,” Royal Order of Jesters style… Next, and for the first time, the Royal Order of Jesters are defined in their own self-titled section.
It begins “The Royal Order of Jesters (“ROJ”) is a worldwide fraternal organization whose membership is limited to individuals invited to join by other members. The motto of the ROJ is ‘mirth is king.’ The ROJ has local chapters or ‘courts.’ On occasion, a local court or group of local courts in the same geographical area sponsor social gatherings known as ‘books of the play’ or ‘books.’ The sponsoring courts organize the ‘books’ and arrange for food, lodging, and entertainment at the ‘books.’ The ROJ also sponsors a yearly national ‘book,’ the equivalent of a national convention. In April, 2005, the Jester’s national book was held in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.”
“As set forth below, a typical feature of a ‘book of the play’ is the presence of prostitutes (‘Jester Girls’) who engage in commercial sex acts with members of the ROJ. Arrangements for the prostitutes are generally made by the organizer of the ‘books,’ or the region hosting the national ‘book.’ On occasion, individual Jesters make arrangements to transport prostitutes to ‘books.’”
Jester Confesses to Wife He Organized Prostitutes Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:33 PM PDT
A Jester wife describes what she discovered after a “Jester girl” left a message on their phone for her Jester husband to pick her up at the airport.
Brazilian News Confirms FBI Investigating Child Sex Crimes, Jesters Pictured w/Victims Fri Oct 8, 2010 12:11 PM PDT
This article reports that Brazilian media just covered the Richard Schair story. “The broadcast includes video of the Amazon Santana and interviews with some of the girls, their attorney and a Brazilian Federal Police officer sitting with a box of evidence marked 410/2007. This is the same case number with the same evidence that led the Brazilian federal police to indict former fishing tour operator Richard Schair for rape, operating a prostitution network and using minors as prostitutes.”
Fourth Jester Convicted, Former Judge Tills Out of Prison in Three Weeks Sun Jan 2, 2011 6:57 PM PST
This article reports “Today’s news is that Michael Lesinski, a retired Erie County Deputy Sheriff and member of the Royal Order of Jesters, admitted last November 19 that he knew that others were committing felonies, such as the transportation of prostitutes in interstate and foreign commerce, and concealed it by not reporting the crimes as soon as possible to law enforcement.
The technical term for this is ‘misprision of a felony.’
According to Lesinski’s plea agreement:
“The defendant did not report any of the above facts to any judge or civil or military authority under the United States. Also, when returning to the United States from Canada, the defendant then had knowledge of the purpose of the women’s presence at the Jesters organization meeting and lied to United States Customs officials as to the true purpose of his visit to Canada in a deliberate attempt to conceal the crime.”
Jesters Named Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:57 AM PDT
This article reports “This is a partial list of names of those in charge of such groups from the nonprofit tax returns of the Royal Order of Jesters, the Shriners’ secret sub-group, currently under investigation for sex trafficking, prostitution and child sex tourism.”
Fourth Jester Sentenced Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:36 PM PDT
This article begins “This DOJ headline says it all:
‘Former Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy Sentenced for Failing to Report Jester Prostitution in Canada.’
Former Erie County Deputy Sheriff Michael Lesinski was sentenced today to one year probation and a $1,000 fine for ‘misprision of a felony.’ He pleaded guilty to transporting prostitutes from the Buffalo New York airport to a national Jester convention in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada in April, 2005 and not reporting the felony to authorities.”
Commentorial: Royal Order of Jesters Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:42 AM PDT
This is a response to a comment from “Mavis” and begins “Thank you for sharing your rage and passion because the Jesters do nothing but hurt people, exploit women and girls and rip the rest of us off with their devious little tax schemes.”
Brazil Prosecutes Schair & Co. for Running House of Prostitution Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:44 PM PDT
This article begins “The Brazilian Public Ministry filed notice yesterday that federal attorneys are prosecuting the indictment against former fishing tour operator Richard W. Schair of Gainesville Georgia for allegedly operating a house of prostitution.”
Jesters on the Witness List, What the Brazilian Fishing Guides Saw & What the Girls told the Brazilian Federal Police Fri May 13, 2011 10:26 PM PDT
This article combines the latest about Jester witnesses expected to testify about their first hand knowledge of sex with underage Brazilian girls, what five Brazilian girls told the Federal Police about being forced into prostitution with North Americans and what Brazilian fishing guides reported to the police as they described pictures of “Masons” having sex with underage girls. For example:
“Q: If you could describe for us some of the types of things that you were told by, either saw or told by these prostitutes as to what specifically was occurring on these Wet-a-Line boats?
A: I would see it on the boat that they were practicing oral sex. We would be fishing and sometimes we'd go by and they were practicing oral sex.
Q: Did the girls -- did you ever see or hear anything from the girls, these prostitutes, that they came to you or did they come to you and say that they did anything unusual with any of the customers?
A: Well, a sex that I had never seen, was to shove a ball in the behind and I, you know, they would say that and I heard it.
Q: Was there a certain set or group of people customer-wise that participated in these sex acts with customer, excuse me, with the prostitutes, or was it just general customers that came aboard the boat?
A: No, they were groups who came exclusively to do that type of thing.
Q: And were those groups mainly American men?
Q: Can you describe for us -- I mean I know you indicated earlier that at some point in time the Amazon Santana, I believe you referred to it as, and the Santana I were joined together for the women and the men to get together. What would a typical night be when the boats would join together?
A: You know, party, drinking, strip, sex, drugs, everything.
Q: Do you know the ages of some of the girls that were on the boats with these customers, Wet-a-Line customers, at the time that you worked for Wet-a-Line?
Q: What were some of the ages of the women?
A: They would always say they were of age, but they were never of age.
Q: What is the youngest age that you’re aware of a girl being on the boat as a prostitute?
A: My brother would pick up a group of girls in Autazes and would take by boat to an American. One was 13, one was 14, and there was one who was even 9 years old.
Q: Turning to the next picture, 00664, can you identify any of the individuals in the picture?
I don’t know their names, but they were the boat’s clients.
Q: Do you know if they came with a certain organization?
A: The manager said that they were Masons. I didn’t know what Masons were. To me, it was like a religion, like a belief.
Q: Was it your understanding that there were certain Masons that came on these tours?
Q: Do you know what a Mason is?
A: I didn’t know what it was, but now I know that it’s an organization of people that are all over the world.
Q: Do you know if all of these individuals in this picture were identified to you as being Masons?
A: Yes. It was a group.
Q: Were the two people in the prior picture a part of the Mason group?
A: It was the same group, for sure it was the same group.”
Brazilian Girls Sue Richard Schair for Sex Trafficking Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:54 PM PDT
This article begins “Equality Now, a humanitarian group dedicated to protecting and promoting women’s rights around the world, has just announced their coordination of unprecedented legal efforts to represent four Brazilian Indian girls in a complaint filed today in U.S. District Court, Gainesville Division, against former fishing tour operator and real estate salesman, Richard Schair of Gainesville, Georgia. (1)
The complaint alleges that Schair caused the underage girls to engage in commercial sex acts and describes them as victims of sex trafficking, with one as young as twelve. The complaint further alleges that Schair, ‘by and through his agents and employees, engaged in international commerce and sex trafficking of children by recruiting customers in the United States to engage in ‘sex tourism’ in Brazil.’ Court documents from cases in both the U.S. and Brazil suggest that these customers included members of the Shriner’s secret sub-group, the Royal Order of Jesters, currently under investigation for human trafficking, prostitution and child sex tourism.”
Richard Schair Admits US Criminal Investigation Fri Jul 8, 2011 2:54 PM PDT
This article reports “Yesterday, former fishing tour operator Richard Schair made public a criminal investigation by a federal grand jury into his and ex-wife Amelia’s alleged involvement with child sex tourism in Brazil. Schair filed a pro se motion in the Gainesville, Georgia federal court to ‘stay’ or stop a civil complaint brought against him by four Brazilian girls who allege he caused them, while underage, to engage in commercial sex acts with his North American fishing clients.
Their unprecedented complaint was coordinated by Equality Now, an international humanitarian group dedicated to fighting the sexual abuse and exploitation of women and girls with pro bono legal assistance provided by the Atlanta law firm of King and Spalding.
The complaint was filed to enforce civil remedies provided by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), describing the girls as victims of sex trafficking, with one as young as twelve.
Schair’s motion to stay ‘is a private counterpart to two ongoing criminal actions,’ including prosecution by the Brazilian Public Ministry and Grand Jury FGJ 08-304 (MIA) out of Miami, Florida. It is not yet clear if the foreign prosecution is admissible in support of the stay. Schair’s motion includes a copy of the original Brazilian charging document and documents from the Miami Grand Jury, including a target letter sent to Schair’s ex-wife on December 16, 2010. This request from Assistant US Attorney Marlene Rodriguez asks Amelia to talk with agents because ‘according to information that ICE and FBI supplied, Ms. Schair was involved with a company and/or an individual who may have engaged in child sex tourism in Brazil.’”
The news about Richard Schair being prosecuted in Brazil and investigated by a grand jury in Miami is being reported by the NYT, Brisbane Times, Huffington Post, AOL Travel and Brazil’s largest news outlet, Globo.
Jester’s End Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:44 AM PDT
This poem, as another way to tell this story, was inspired by Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” I also came up for the name of my next book, “The Vampires of Charity” while listening to this same song. This describes the last minutes of a dying Jester and what’s waiting for him on the other side. Here’s a sample:
“But this is not the worst of it
Because as you pass away
It's a tortured, ghastly journey
Of never ending days.
Discarded on a writhing pile
You're thrown at bloody, studded walls
Because your life personified
The very worst of all.”
Updates in Schair's Human Trafficking Cases, Nonprofit News Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:04 AM PDT
This article provides an update in the case of Richard Schair being sued by four Brailian Women under the TVPA. The Judge in charge agreed to grant Schair’s motion to suspend the case. Schair has unsuccessfully attempted to prove his innocence four times now, the most damaging from a Brazilian Judge who denied his request for habeas corpus while being prosecuted by the Brazilan Federal Police and federal attorneys for child sex tourism.
Editorial: Intl' Human Trafficking Day & Jester News Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:16 AM PST
This editorial commemorates International Human Trafficking day by describing the 4th Annual Northwest Conference Against Trafficking & Film Festival.
Editorial: IRS Must End Jester Tax Fraud Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:34 AM PST
From the article:
“If the IRS identified two counts of tax fraud at $250,000 for a total of $500,000 against each 191 Jester courts, the agency could realize nearly a billion dollars in fines. Seizing Jester court assets, as reported on their tax returns, could add another $10 million.
Other agencies investigating the Jesters include ICE, the FBI, the DOJ and Homeland Security.
Once the IRS uses Indiana’s denials to launch a fraud investigation, how long would it take to jerk their nonprofit status?
And how long would it take the other agencies to identify enough predicate acts to launch a RICO investigation of the Jesters?
The maximum sentence for racketeering is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Multiply that by 23,000 Jesters who facilitated or knew of or participated in the human trafficking and the feds could collect a combined fine of $5.750 billion dollars.”
Jesters Lose Tax Decision Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:54 AM PST
This article reports that the state of Indiana’s property tax appeal board denied an appeal submitted by the Royal Order of Jesters after the Marion County Assessor’s initial denial. It explains how property tax exemptions put the burden on surrounding properties then presents arguments from both sides. The Jesters stated they deserved the exemption because
- The property is owned, occupied and used for charitable, educational and religious purposes.
- A previous consent order granted exemption based on fraternal claims.
- They are part of Masonry.
- The Jesters are exempt from federal taxation as both a 501c3 charity and 501c10 fraternity made up of 191 “courts” with 20,500 members.
The state successfully argued that:
- The Jesters building is used for administrative purposes only such as collecting financial information, sending out reports to the various subordinate courts and answering questions about the bylaws.
- The Jesters failed to prove the property was predominantly used for any exempt purpose.
- The Jesters failed to show they provided a public benefit that would justify the loss of tax revenue.
- The Jesters do not serve the class of people that are legitimate subjects of charity.
- The property does not relieve any government burden.
- The Jesters are a recreational group that is predominantly a social club.
- The Jesters aren’t engaged in any charitable activities.
- Jester educational activities are limited to the membership.
- The second case used to support their argument was overturned.
- The government has no obligation to provide entertainment, merriment or “mirth.”
The result is that the property is now classified as “commercial” and, according to officials with the IRS and State of Indiana, the Jesters must now dissolve.
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