The Truth Hurts

A roundup of the civil cases surrounding the Ramseys.

However, the unsealed deposition did lead -- indirectly -- to yet another lawsuit, this one for criminal libel. A California therapist, Mary Bienkowski, saw a Lee Hill TV interview about the Miles lawsuit and contacted him on behalf of one of her clients. This client gave a detailed and astonishing story of the violence and sexual abuse she'd suffered at adult parties throughout her childhood -- particularly at Christmastime. The Boulder Daily Camera repeated her story of garottes and blows to the head and provocative party dresses in a breathless front-page article on February 25, 2000, and noted that this woman was acquainted with the Ramseys through her mother's godfather, Fleet White Sr. Fleet White Jr., a onetime friend of John Ramsey's, had long been a thorn in DA Hunter's side, pointing out the weaknesses of his office and calling for a special prosecutor in the Ramsey case. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hunter told the Camera's Barrie Hartman that he found the California woman's claims "overly believable."

A day later, everyone was furiously backpedaling. The woman's story bore no relationship to the facts as police knew them, and her behavior became more and more erratic. Now Hunter said that "opinions about believability [were] premature." Fleet and Priscilla White accused the Camera and other media organizations of criminal libel. Later that year, Chief District Judge Roxanne Bailin terminated the investigation into that case, saying the Whites had asked her to do so -- a fact that they have adamantly denied.

And one more lawsuit, again involving the Camera: the case of Allie Krupski, 23 years old and a year out of journalism school, inexplicably chosen by her editors over several more experienced reporters to cover the Ramsey story. Stressed, overworked and suffering from ill health -- she had been in a car accident earlier in the year -- Krupski took time off in November 1997 and was fired in December. The newspaper then accused her of stealing documents related to her Ramsey reporting; a judge dismissed that accusation. Krupski copied her files for the Camera -- and then sued the paper for defamation. She was ultimately awarded $115,000 by a jury.

The Marquess of Boulder: Former police detective Steve Thomas.
John Johnston
The Marquess of Boulder: Former police detective Steve Thomas.


Read more Westword coverage of the JonBenet Ramsey case

Read more Westword coverage of the JonBenet Ramsey case

« Previous Page
My Voice Nation Help