"Jesters" To Testify about Illegal Drugs, Child Prostitution?

Newsvine | March 6, 2008
By Sandy Frost

Federal court documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, related to case number 07-21228, list 19 witnesses who are believed to be members of the Royal Order of Jesters (ROJ) AKA Shriners AKA Masons, who 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 libel/slander complaint was filed on May 11, 2007 by Richard W. Schair and Wet-A-Line Tours, L.L.C., plaintiffs, who allege that they were libeled and slandered by Amazon Tours, Inc., defendant, owned by Philip Marstellar, President.

The complaint alleges that Amazon Tours, Inc.:

“has developed a great deal of animosity towards his business competitors including, in particular, Mr. Schair and Wet-A-line Tours, L.L.C. and that defendant’s animosity has manifested itself on many occasions, and most recently in the Miami International Airport where he made and/or published defamatory comments and false accusations about Richard W. Schair and Wet-A-line Tours, L.L.C. to the public and, upon information and belief, to government agents.”

The causes of action include slander, slander per se and tortuous interference with business relationship, for which Schair is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $75,000. The complaint alleges that Amazon Tours, Inc. told a group at the Miami International Airport that Schair was smuggling drugs and was using the yachts that the clients stay onboard in Brazil to move illegal drugs and that they should avoid booking any tours with the Wet-A-Line Tours, L.L.C. because of Schair’s “drug connections.” It also alleges that defendant “knowingly made a false and defamatory report to the Homeland Security Department for the purpose of injury to Schair by causing him embarrassment in front of his clients.”

In response, Amazon Tours, Inc. answered the complaint by stating that the business did not make false statements against Schair, that Schair is not entitled to any relief due to the “doctrine of unclean hands,” and demanded a jury trial. Amazon Tours, Inc. submitted a Defendants’ Pretrial Witness List on December 20, 2007 that lists the name, address and phone number of those so called and the subject of expected testimony. Of the 57 witnesses named, 19, or one third of them, are believed to be members of the Royal Order of Jesters.

The Royal Order of Jesters is a secret fraternal group made up of invited Shriners who, in turn, must be Master Masons. The ROJ and Shriners enjoy the benefits of being classified by the IRS as both non profit charity and fraternal groups.

The Jesters' motto is:

"I am a Jester. What I see here, What I hear here, Shall stay here, When I leave here."

The Royal Order of Jesters was investigated by the Grand Lodge of Texas in 2005 after they received a complaint alleging that:

Prostitutes were available for Jesters to have their way with

• Brothers had sex in front of other brothers

• Brothers held oral sex competitions

• Potentates, Chaplains, Attorneys, Judges and Past Masters were Jesters

• Sex, illegal gambling and alcohol were the preferred order of business

The complaint asked the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas to investigate the Jesters for:

• Actions which disgrace Masonry

• Indulging in the intemperate use of intoxicating liquor

• Gambling

• Profane swearing

• Willfully abandoning their families

• Cohabiting with lewd women

The investigation yielded no prosecutions as those questioned kept quiet.

The U.S. District Court witness list explains that each:

“was a customer of the plaintiffs who fished with the Plaintiffs in Brazil during approximately late August/September 2007. Based on the Wet-A-Line Tours, L.L.C. website, he is believed to be a member of the Royal Order of Jesters as were all other participants on this trip. He is expected to testify that there were twenty Jesters who paid for their trip and that he was one of the nineteen that ultimately participated. He is expected to testify that two boats were supplied by Plaintiffs, one for the Jesters and one for twenty or so girls who accompanied the Jesters. He is expected to testify that the ‘activities’ of the Jesters that week and the nature and extent of services provided by and/or arranged by Plaintiffs or Plaintiffs representatives. He is also expected to authenticate the many hours of videotape and still photographs taken by Defendants of the Jesters’ ‘activities’ during the ‘fishing’ trip. He is expected to identify by way of photographs and association the members of the Jesters group, the identity by name or by description of the girls aboard, the ages of the girls aboard and the exact nature of the activities viewable in the video tape.”

Those witnesses believed to be Jesters include:

William Dewane Meeks, address unknown.

Ferrel Harrison Adams, Jr. Albuquerque, NM.

Robert Rex Lee, M.D., Wichita, KS.

Robert Rex Lee, II, Wichita, KS.

Thomas Raymond Lee, address unknown.

Don Anderson, Albuquerque, NM.

Douglas Allan Boynton, Long Beach, CA Court #161, President, 2005.

Norman Lee Broschous, Peoria, Illinois.

Robert George Duncan, El Bekal Shrine, Long Beach CA Court #161.

Phillip Carl Spellens , El Bekal Shrine, Secretary, 2005, 2006, Long Beach, CA, Court #161.

Claude William Grimes, Redondo Beach, CA.

Carl Wayne Mixon, Sr., New Orleans, LA.

Walker Jenkins, Long Beach, CA.

Samuel Emmett Newton, Jr. Address unknown.

Roy Edward Pennington, New Orleans, LA.

Roy Edward Pennington Jr., New Orleans, LA.

Edward Beynroth Schwimg, Address unknown.

Edward William Sparks, Address unknown.

Harry Howlett Waldron, Jacksonville, FL.

Tax records for the associated ROJ courts #76 (Wichita, KS), #24 (Albuquerque, NM), #161 (Long Beach, CA), #36 (New Orleans, LA) and #90 (Jacksonville, FL) show that, in some cases, over $100,000 is spent annually on “travel, conventions and meetings” so the non profit Jesters can “hold annual events which were devoted to fraternalism and spreading the gospel of mirth and good cheer” while claiming these trips as deductions at tax payer expense.

These tax returns are available at www.guidestar.org.

The Wichita Court #24 reported to the IRS that they spent $122,102 in 2006 for the exempt purpose of “recreation, entertainment and companionship.”

The Albuquerque Court #24 apparently does not file tax returns as none are available through Guidestar.org.

The Long Beach Court #161 reported to the IRS that they spent $82,543 in 2006 as “benefits paid to members.”

This group’s tax return also reports that the books are in care of Phillip Spellens, Secretary, who also signed the return. The same Jesters court reported to the IRS that they spent $69,840 in 2005 as "benefits paid to members" and that Doug Boynton was President.

The New Orleans Court # 36 reported to the IRS that they spent $101,214 in 2006 on “conferences, conventions and meetings” while failing to list an exempt purpose. The same group reported to the IRS that they spent $106,218 in 2005 for “conferences, conventions and meetings” while, again, failing to list an exempt purpose but instead writing “Hurricane Katrina” at the top of this less than complete tax return. The same group reported to the IRS that they spent $145,600.39 in 2004 for “conferences, conventions and meetings” while, again, failing to list an exempt purpose. Listed, however, was the expense of $4,777.50 for hats.

The Jacksonville Court #90 reported to the IRS that they spent $80,397 in 2006 on “conferences, conventions and meetings” while failing to list an exempt purpose. They also spent $79,984 in 2005 and $83, 250 in 2004 while failing, again, to list an exempt purpose.

Also named on the witness list are Jane Does, 1 – 5, who each “has personal knowledge of prostitution, minor prostitution, use of illegal drugs, and/or entry into Indian reservations by Schair and/or his customers.” Jane Doe is described as a minor recruited and/or coerced by Plaintiffs and/or Plaintiff’s representatives for prostitution services for certain of the Plaintiffs’ customers in Brazil during approximately the year of 2000, 2004 and 2005.

Five girls gave statements to Brazilian federal police officers who are 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 girls told the Brazilian Ministry of Justice, Federal Police Department that they 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."

The 13 year old reported that she was a victim of sexual abuse perpetuated by a group of foreigners, North Americans, who asked for her services aboard their fishing vessel, the Amazon Santana. She was told that her job would consist of doing “the general services of the vessel, such as sweeping, laundry and assisting in the food preparation.” She accepted because her family needed the money and after boarding the vessel with other girls, learned that “she would have to have sex and to drink whiskey and beer with the foreigners.” She also told authorities that she spent three days and three nights on the vessel and that each day she had sex with a different foreigner and that she became pregnant during this occasion not knowing which one of the foreigners was the father and that after the birth of her son, she and her Mother were thrown out their home.

Girl 2, aged 14, states that in August, 2005, “Richard” promised to pay her R$200 (Two hundred Reais) but was paid only R$50. This translates to being promised $119.76 but instead paid $29.94 per night. Girl 3, aged 16, states that in September, 2005, “Richard” promised to pay her R$200 to R$300 for 2-3 days work but was instead paid R$80 the first day and R$50 the second day. This translates to being promised $119.81 - $179.71 and instead being paid $47.92 and $29.95. Girl 4, aged 16, states that in August of 2005, she and her 14 year old sister were promised by "Richard" to be paid R$100 per night but were instead paid R$35 each night. This translates to being promised $59.88 per night and instead being paid $20.95.

These statements allege the crime otherwise known as “child sex tourism.”

President George W. Bush told the UN General Assembly in September, 2003 that:

“There's a special evil in the abuse and exploitation of the most innocent and vulnerable. The victims of sex trade see little of life before they see the very worst of life -- an underground of brutality and lonely fear.”

The U.S. Department of State states:

“Child sex tourism (CST) involves people who travel from their own country to another and engage in commercial sex acts with children. CST is a shameful assault on the dignity of children and a form of violent child abuse and violence. The commercial sexual exploitation of children has devastating consequences for these minors, which may include long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease (including HIV/AIDS), drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism, and possibly death.

Tourists engaging in CST often travel to developing countries looking for anonymity and the availability of children in prostitution. The crime is typically fueled by weak law enforcement, corruption, the Internet, ease of travel, and poverty. These sexual offenders come from all socio-economic backgrounds and may hold positions of trust. Previous cases of child sex tourism involving U.S. citizens have included a pediatrician, a retired Army sergeant, a dentist and a university professor. Child pornography is frequently involved in these cases; and drugs may also be used to solicit or control the minors.”

The State Department also reports that:

“Over the last five years, there has been an increase in the prosecution of child sex tourism offenses. At least 32 countries have extraterritorial laws that allow the prosecution of their citizens for CST crimes committed abroad. In response to the phenomenon of CST, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the tourism industry, and governments have begun to address the issue. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) established a task force to combat CST. The WTO, the NGO End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT), and Nordic tour operators created a global Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism in 1999. As of June 2005, 200 travel companies from 21 countries had signed the code (see www.thecode.org.). Many governments have taken commendable steps to combat child sex tourism. For example, France’s Ministry of Education and travel industry representatives developed guidelines on CST for tourism schools and state-owned Air France allocates a portion of in-flight toy sales to fund CST awareness programs. Brazil implemented a national awareness campaign on sex tourism.”

“In 2003, the United States strengthened its ability to fight child sex tourism by passing the Prosecutorial Remedies and other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT) Act and the Trafficking Victim’s Protection Reauthorization Act. These laws increase penalties to a maximum of 30 years in prison for engaging in CST. Since the passage of the PROTECT Act, there have been over 20 indictments and over a dozen convictions of child sex tourists. The Department of Homeland Security has also developed the ‘Operation Predator’ initiative to combat child exploitation, child pornography, and child sex tourism. The United States is also funding the NGO World Vision to conduct major public awareness and deterrence campaigns overseas that include public service announcements, internet messaging, brochures, posters, and billboards.”

Child sex tourists are defined as:

“Typically males and come from all income brackets. Perpetrators usually hail from nations in Western European nations and North America. While some tourists are pedophiles that preferentially seek out children for sexual relationships, many child sex tourists are ‘situational abusers.’ These are individuals who do not consistently seek out children as sexual partners, but who do occasionally engage in sexual acts with children when the opportunity presents itself.”

World Vision, an agency funded by the federal government to fight, among other things, child sex tourism, states that:

“The United States has risen to take legislative action against the growing evils of child sex tourism. In 1994, Congress established 18 U.S.C. § 2423(b), which is aimed towards prosecution of child sex tourists. Section 2423 (b) criminalizes traveling abroad for the purpose of engaging in illegal sexual activity with a minor. Currently, successful prosecution under § 2423(b) requires the government to prove that an alleged child sex tourist from the United States formed the intent to engage in sexual activity with a child prior to meeting the child and initiating sexual contact. In other words, a defendant is only punishable under § 2423(b) if he has the intent, while traveling, to engage in sexual activity with minors. The federal government has successfully utilized § 2423(b) to target several child sex tourists. Current proposals to eliminate the intent requirement may broaden the government's prosecutorial power by allowing the government to prosecute United States citizens who engage in sexual acts with children while abroad, regardless of when they formed the intent to do so.”

Penalties, upon conviction, include fines and up to 30 years in prison and, if previously convicted of a sexual crime involving a minor, life in prison, unless the death penalty is imposed.

The complaint can be read here.

The statements given to the Brazillian Federal Police by the girls claiming to be victims of child sex tourism can be read here.

The witness list can be read here.