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9/27/2002

Ramsey files to be reviewed

Travis Henry
The Daily Times-Call

BOULDER — A district judge ruled Thursday that she will review a portion of the JonBenet Ramsey investigation files to determine if any of it should be seen by a Boulder couple who claim they were unfairly linked to the 6-year-old girl’s death.

“The Court is not persuaded that the public’s interest would be served in any fashion by preventing these people access to the now-discredited accusations which had been leveled against them in such an extraordinarily public way,” District Judge Lael Montgomery wrote in her ruling.

Earlier this month, former Ramsey family friend Fleet White Jr. asked Montgomery to order Boulder police to give him investigative records from the 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 — said the records should be turned over because police deemed the accusations as not credible. Montgomery ruled that the Whites do have a “compelling and legitimate interest” in obtaining the records of the allegations against them.

Boulder police Chief Mark Beckner objected to the release of the records, saying the JonBenet Ramsey case was still open and that the accusations against White were part of that investigation. According to Montgomery, the portion of the Ramsey case that includes the accusations against the White’s consists of approximately 40 pages of documents, photos, video and audio tapes. The file Montgomery will review also includes medical information and identities of witnesses who have otherwise never been disclosed. The entire Ramsey murder case contains tens of thousands of documents and other pieces of evidence.

By reviewing the files, Montgomery said she will be able to determine what should and what should not be seen by the Whites. Montgomery said some of the police interviews included in the files “may harm the ongoing investigation by showing just how much the police do or do not know or by disclosing otherwise unknown witnesses.”

If the Whites are able to view the file, it will be the first time the police have turned over any of the Ramsey files to anyone other than attorneys or other law enforcement officials. The district attorney’s office, however, did allow the Whites to view some of their files regarding the Ramsey case earlier this year. The accusations against the Whites stem from a California woman’s claims that 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. Police later determined that the woman’s claims were not credible.

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. Because of the nature of the case, Montgomery noted that it could be a long time before the Ramsey case is ever solved.

“It may be years — it may even be decades — before the underlying investigation is successfully cleared and prosecuted,” Montgomery wrote. Montgomery ruled that nothing will be released until Boulder police are notified of what she plans to release. At that time, Boulder police will be given an opportunity to respond, she ruled.

Neither Beckner nor the Whites returned phone messages Thursday afternoon.

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