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9/13/2002

Man wants records for Ramsey case open

By Travis Henry
The Daily Times-Call

BOULDER — Former Ramsey family friend Fleet White Jr. asked a judge Thursday to order Boulder police to give him investigative records from the JonBenet Ramsey murder case detailing accusations that he was involved in a child-sex ring and may have had a part in JonBenet’s death.

White — representing himself and his wife, Priscilla, during the hearing — said the records should be turned over because police deemed the accusations as not credible and issued a press release in May 2000 stating that the department had “concluded” an investigation into claims made by a 37-year-old California woman.

Releasing the records would allow White and his family to “revisit” criminal libel accusations against news agencies who reported the woman’s claims, White said.

According to White, the Boulder Police Department was bullied by then-District Attorney Alex Hunter and the Boulder Daily Camera to investigate the woman’s “ridiculous claims.” White said the records may shed some light on how the case was handled.

“There is a big rug, and this has been swept under that big rug,” White said.

He argued that the investigation into the woman’s claims is separate from the Ramsey case because investigators believe it was untrue.

Boulder police Chief Mark Beckner testified that the Ramsey case is still an open investigation and that releasing any records could jeopardize finding JonBenet’s killer.

“This investigation has not been concluded,” Beckner said. “This is a small piece of an ongoing investigation that has several hundred pieces.”

Beckner said he issued a press release all but exonerating White and his family because he had “empathy” for them, but he never meant to mean that the case was closed.

He said the woman’s claims could be revisited if corroborating evidence came along.

“One could argue we could have done more,” Beckner said. “There are others who believe a similar theory in this case. This is not the only time this has come up.”

In February 2000, the California woman traveled to Colorado and told police she was sexually assaulted as a child by a California-based child-abuse ring that included members of White’s family.

She also claimed that one of her alleged childhood assailants traveled to Boulder with a small female child and attended the same Christmas party as 6-year-old JonBenet the night she died. It was speculated that the party was held at the Boulder home of Fleet White Jr., the former best friend of JonBenet’s father, John Ramsey.

JonBenet’s body was found in the basement the next day by John Ramsey and White after the Ramseys reported finding a ransom note in their home.

According to Colorado law, police chiefs have the discretion of holding back records during an open criminal investigation unless a judge ordered the chief to release them.

Travis Henry can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 326, or by e-mail at thenry@times-call.com.