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  Police Smash Child Porn Ring Led by Former Priest, Scoutmaster

By G. Luther Whitington
United Press International
April 11, 1989

Los Angeles — A former Roman Catholic priest and a former assistant Boy Scoutmaster have been charged along with two other men with producing homosexual child pornography tapes in Mexico and distributing them worldwide, police said Tuesday.

"The boys in these films, ranging in age from eight to 14, were graphically sexually and physically abused," said detective Ralph Bennett.

The boys, from poor neighborhoods in Ensenada, Mexico, were paid between $5 and $15 to have sex with each other and with the men charged, he said.

The leader of the child porn ring, former priest John Bauer, 52, of Hollywood, was arrested in August on charges of cultivating marijuana, but jumped bail and is still a fugitive, Bennett said.

"It took us a few days to go through the hundreds of tapes found at his apartment. By the time we realized what we had, he was gone," Bennett said.

Police had to use a flatbed truck to cart away the hundreds of child pornography tapes and other evidence found at Bauer's Hollywood apartment, he said.

A second suspect, Victor Feliciano, 29, a handyman from Rosemead, also was being sought by police. He was believed to be in Europe.

Jerry Houchens, 49, of Santa Ana, and David Negrette, 26, a former assistant scoutmaster, were being held at the Los Angeles County Jail on charges of conspiracy to distribute child pornography.

Negrette has been arraigned and an arraignment for Houchens was scheduled Wednesday, Bennett said.

Police said the four men regulalry made trips to Enseneda, about 200 miles south of Los Angeles, where they took boys to shacks and motels, made the videotapes, then returned to Los Angeles, from where they would sell and distribute them to clients around the world.

All four men were members of the North American Man-Boy Love Association, a group dedicated to adult-child sexual relationships.

In a 1984 article in Chic magazine that profiled Bauer's chain of adult sex shops, the former priest was dubbed the "Priest of Porn," Bennett said.

Police were tipped to the group by a Hollywood homeless shelter, where a teenager who had been to Bauer's apartment was seeking refuge.

"Bauer picked up a lot of the Hollywood street kids and one of them was freaked out about all the pictures of little boys at his apartment," Bennett said. "He told the people at the shelter and they called us."

 
 

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