Boulder detectives interview therapist

by B.J. Plasket
© 2000, The Daily Times Call

   BOULDER — A California woman's claims of childhood sexual abuse by a group that included people associated with the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation includes allegations that she and another female child were regularly taken on summer trips where they were assaulted and used in child pornography, the Times-Call has learned.

   Meanwhile, Boulder detectives on Wednesday interviewed the California therapist who has been treating the 37-year-old so-called "mystery woman."

   Federal authorities, however, have not yet contacted the therapist, she said Wednesday.

   Mary Bienkowski, who has been treating the woman for 10 years, declined comment on her interview with Boulder police.

   Bienkowski did, however, say she hopes others will support her patient's claims.

   "It is my hope that others who know will come forward," she said.

   The Times-Call, meanwhile, has learned the woman's story includes allegations that when she was between the ages of 6 and 12 and living in California, she and another female child close to her age were taken on summer road trips up the West Coast by two adults. Those trips, the source said, included stops in Oregon, Washington and Canada.

   It was during those trips — usually taken in August — that the woman and the other little girl were assaulted and photographed by other adults.

   According to the source, the trips usually went to the same towns — and ended with assaults by the same people — each year.

   Those sites included small remote towns in both California and Oregon, the Times-Call has learned. One site was a remote ranch in Oregon where out-buildings were used as sets for pornographic films featuring children.

   According to the source, the woman's allegations also include the following:

   In addition to the female child taken with her on the summer road trips, the woman reported that two other children of similar age — a boy and a girl — were victimized by some of the same adults.

   The woman was assaulted during at least one trip to Nevada and at least one trip to Colorado.

   A family doctor once treated her for what was described as a mild bladder infection, but the procedure actually involved surgical repair of genital injuries.

   That same doctor reportedly saw other suspicious injuries but never alerted authorities.

   Many of the assaults reportedly took place at parties during the Christmas holidays.

   At these parties, the source said, the sexual assaults usually began while the child was on the lap of a man dressed as Santa Claus.

   The Santa Claus character would begin the sexual contact by fondling the child before handing her over to the other adults.

   The woman was often introduced to adult men who were referred to as "Uncle," but were not actually related to her. Those men invariably assaulted her, according to the source.

   The woman was often kept out of school around the holidays because of injuries and other trauma stemming from the assaults. She reportedly missed 45 days of school — much of it around Christmas — during one school year.

   When contacted Wednesday, Bienkowski said her patient did not come up with the stories after the 1996 slaying of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey.

   "No, she did not," Bienkowski said. "Ninety-nine percent of what this client told me and wrote down was documented before 1995."

   The woman making the allegations remains in hiding outside California. Her Boulder attorney, Lee Hill, has repeatedly said his client has been threatened and that he is concerned for her safety.

   Assistant District Attorney Bill Wise on Monday said authorities are taking the woman's claims very seriously.