A list shared by one-time Congressional candidate and q-anon believer DeAnna Lorraine helps promote the idea that Democrats are running a secret pedophile ring behind the scenes in U.S. government. However, the list was misleading in more ways than one.
The screenshot below shows the first several names on the list, posted to Telegram by an account called Gun Owners of America and reshared by DeAnna Lorraine. The first few names on the list are Democrats in state and local positions, including a State Senator, a state-level party spokesperson, and a Township Board of Commissioners member. Each is followed by an allegation or charge.
Lorraine’s post goes on to list a full 20 individuals, each labeled as a Democrat, some formerly in various government offices, and others just labeled ‘activists’ or ‘fundraisers,’ with charges including possession of child pornography, providing alcohol to underaged young adults, and sexual assault and rape of minors.
The list includes a lot of very serious charges, and sex crimes, especially against minors, must be taken seriously and pursued appropriately.
However, Lorraine’s list is misleading in two ways. First, it claims that these names were unsealed “while you were being diverted by Dr. Seuss,” falsely implying that Democrats targeted racist imagery in children’s books to divert away from these names being revealed. Secondly, it’s cut off short — the full list has nearly 90 names, and an equal number are Republicans.
The Daily Dot responded to this same list — the longer version — being shared last year. At that time, the false implication on social media was that the names were released as part of the Ghislaine Maxwell case. In fact, the names represent charges and individuals that were already public information.
(Side note: Democrats have not targeted Dr. Seuss; the company that owns his intellectual property made a business decision. No legislation or legislator was involved.)
For example, to address one of the names labeled as a Democrat on the list, Charles Wade was a Black Lives Matter activist who was charged with sex trafficking. This wasn’t recently unsealed — Washington Post and other media reported on it in 2016, when it happened.
While it’s a serious allegation and Wade faced charges, it’s false to imply that it was somehow hidden and only recently revealed, and that Democrats are trying to ‘distract’ the public to cover it up.
When the list previously made the rounds, it came from a q-anon site called Our Great Awakening. You can see an archived copy of the page here, from June of 2020. (That’s before the great Dr. Suess Controversy, for the record.)
What’s much more misleading, though, is the names that are left out. The full list contains an approximately equal number of names labeled as Democrat and as Republican, but DeAnna’s share only shows Democrats. While it would be reasonable to conclude from the entire list that abusers often seek positions of prominence or power, the shortened list falsely implies that pedophilia is a partisan problem.
While q-anon’s primary premise was that Donald Trump was trying to take down a Democrat-linked pedophile ring, even the q-anon site lists over 3 dozen Republicans, including at least one — Tim Nolan, who chaired the former president’s campaign in Kentucky — connected to Trump himself. It further lists Republican Senators, activists, and judges.
The site itself doesn’t currently claim that these are ‘recently unsealed.’ Instead, it lists them as being uncovered between 2015 and 2020, linking the cases to Trump’s campaign and term.
However, this isn’t very accurate either. The first Democrat on the list, Keith Farnham, resigned and was charged as a result of a 2014 raid, according to the Chicago Tribune. He’s also not a current danger to anyone — he died serving his prison sentence in 2018. Much the same can be said of another Democrat on the list, Gerry Studds, who served in U.S. Congress from 1973 to 1997, was accused of sexual misconduct alleged to have taken place before that term and of an affair with a 17-year-old in 1983, and died, the New York Times reported, in 2006.
These sexual misconduct cases are important, but they’re not new revelations being covered up, nor are they people Trump has been rounding up to protect the innocent.
Moving on to the list of Republicans, so conveniently deleted from Lorraine’s share, there’s Howard L. Brooks, as another example. The LA Times reported when he faced charges for molesting a 12-year-old boy — in 2002.
Yet again, a very serious charge that was prosecuted. Brooks took a plea deal that involved prison time and registering as a sex offender.
However, this and more recent cases are all left off of the list Lorraine shared, and the cases included are being used in a misleading way. Rather than actually using this information to focus on protecting children, it’s being presented in a skewed way for a political motive — to falsely imply that sex crimes against children are partisan, and continue to promote the q-anon narrative.
Also left off the list, notably, even the longer list that includes Republicans, are the many allegations against Donald Trump himself, including allegations involving an underaged child.
Crimes against children should be nonpartisan matter, that everyone can agree to address. Instead, q-anon and followers like DeAnna Lorraine share skewed information that appropriates the suffering of innocents for political gain.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com