Date: Mon, 20 Dec 93 22:09:11 -0700
From: email@example.com (Kevin Vanhorn)
Subject: Waco article, part 2
The Roden Gunfight
One incident which the government and press used to paint the Branch Davidians as dangerous and violent was the gunfight with George Roden that took place at Mt. Carmel in 1988. But it was George Roden who was dangerous, violent, murderous and insane.
In 1984 a dispute arose between George Roden and David Koresh over leadership of the Davidians. This culminated in Roden forcing Koresh and his followers off of the Mt. Carmel property at gunpoint . Koresh led his group to the city of Palestine, Texas .
By late 1987 things were faring badly for George Roden. He had almost no money, few followers, mounting debts and an angry Texas Supreme Court Justice on his trail . So Roden decided to conclusively settle the leadership dispute with Koresh. He went to a graveyard and dug up the body of a man who had been dead 25 years, put the casket in the Mt. Carmel chapel, and said that whoever could raise this man from the dead was the one to lead the Davidians.
Koresh reported the action to the Sheriff's Department. He was told that his word alone wasn't enough -- proof was needed. So on November 3, 1987, Koresh and several men went out to Mt. Carmel to take pictures of the body in the casket. The Sheriff had warned them to be careful, because Roden was dangerous, so they armed themselves. The plan was to open the casket, take the pictures, and leave, but Roden caught them, and a gunfight ensued in which Roden was wounded .
Koresh and seven other Davidians were charged with attempted murder . Jack Harwell, McLennan County Sheriff, called Koresh on the phone and informed him of the charges. He asked Koresh and the others to turn themselves in, and to surrender their weapons. When deputies arrived at Mount Carmel, Koresh and the other Davidians peacefully complied . Officials traced the weapons and found that each was legally purchased .
On March 21, 1988, Roden was served with a citation for contempt of court. U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr. sentenced him to six months in jail for continuing to file expletive-filled motions threatening the justices with AIDS and herpes, despite orders to cease and desist [70,65,30].
On April 25, Koresh's seven followers were acquitted, and the jury hung 9-3 in favor of Koresh's acquittal. The state then dropped the charges against him [68,20].
Koresh paid up 16 years of delinquent taxes on the Mount Carmel property, which allowed him and his followers to move in . Upon returning to the property they found a methamphetamine lab and large piles of pornographic material. They burned the pornography and reported the meth lab to the DA's office .
Fifteen months after Koresh's trial, in the summer of 1989, Roden was approached by a man who claimed to be the Messiah. Roden split the man's head open with an ax . Odessa police charged Roden with murder. The following year he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a state mental hospital , where he remains to this day .
Allegations of Child Abuse
Another tactic the federal government used to demonize the Davidians was to accuse them of child abuse. These accusations originally arose from Marc Breault, a former follower of Koresh who had a bitter falling out with him. Breault quit the sect at the end of 1989 and moved to Australia. He then threw himself into a campaign to discredit his former mentor, in the process leading away most of the Australian members of the sect.
In March 1990 Breault, his wife and a number of his Australian followers swore out more than 30 pages of affidavits claiming that Koresh was abusing children. A second set of affidavits was sworn out for use in a child custody hearing in early 1992, in which a Michigan man named David Jewell petitioned to gain custody of his daughter, then living at Mt. Carmel with Jewell's ex-wife. However, the allegations were mostly general and lacking in detail .
Thus the allegations of child abuse sprung from two sources: (1) a man who hated Koresh and was obsessed with discrediting him; and (2) a child-custody dispute. Note that allegations of child abuse are a common tactic in child-custody disputes.
As a result of Breault's efforts, local authorities began an investigation of the child abuse charges. Officials of the Child Protective Services division of the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, and the McLennan County sheriff's office, visited Mt. Carmel in February and March 1992. They found no evidence of child abuse .
On April 23, 1993, in response to the Clinton administration's continued claims of child abuse, the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services offered the following summary of its nine-week investigation: "None of the allegations could be verified. The children denied being abused in any way by any adults in the compound. They denied any knowledge of other children being abused. The adults consistently denied participation in or knowledge of any abuse to children. Examinations of the children produced no indication of current or previous injuries." Texas child protection officials also said they received no further abuse allegations after that time .
Breault had also contacted the FBI, accusing Koresh of a number of other crimes besides child abuse. A February 23, 1993 FBI memo, obtained by the Dallas Morning News, stated that no information had been developed to verify the allegations of "child abuse and neglect, tax evasion, slavery and reports of possible mass destruction."
The Clinton administration alleged that the Davidians were abusing children during the siege of Mt. Carmel. This was contradicted by those who actually saw the children. During the siege a man named Louis Alaniz managed to sneak past federal officials to visit the Davidians (he was not a Davidian himself). After leaving, he reported that the children at Mt. Carmel appeared happy, playing and laughing continuously, and that there were no outward signs of child abuse .
Sheriff Jack Harwell, who was the only outside negotiator brought into the Mount Carmel siege, said there was never any proof that children were being abused inside the compound. None of the children who were released from the compound, Harwell said, showed any signs of physical abuse .
According to Texas child protective services officials, none of the 21 children released to the authorities showed signs of abuse, and none of them confirmed that any abuse was committed. The children were physically and psychologically examined [45, 47]. Dr. Bruce Perry, the head of the team treating the children, stated flatly: "(N)one of the 21 children had been sexually abused or molested." 
After the blaze that killed most of the Davidians, the Clinton administration stepped up its "child abuse" offensive. White House communications director George Stephanopoulos claimed that "there was overwhelming evidence of child abuse in the Waco compound."  But this claim was contradicted by others within the federal government itself.
FBI director William Sessions said his agency had "no contemporaneous evidence" of child abuse in the compound during the siege . "[T]here had been no recent reports of the beating of children." In response to Janet Reno's claim of reports that "babies were being beaten," Sessions said, "I do not know what the attorney general was referring to specifically." 
The Justice Department itself put the lie to Clinton's and Reno's wild accusations. In a report released in early October, the Justice Department said there was no evidence of child abuse at the compound during the siege or even enough evidence to arrest Koresh on such charges before the February 28 raid .