|Child sexual abuse: In Alabama and beyond|
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Dr. William Flynn Walker is the biological father of Gincie Walker Upton, whose affair with Birmingham steel executive Bill Upton broke up a marriage of more than 30 years to Linda Upton and led to numerous dubious rulings in the divorce case from Jefferson County private judge Gary Pate.
Walker pleaded guilty to seven federal counts of transporting three different children across state lines between 1984 and 2004 and engaging in illegal sexual acts with them. He also pleaded guilty to state charges of sexual abuse and first-degree sodomy. In August 2006, Walker was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison, without the possibility of parole. He currently is housed at the Federal Correctional Institute at Butner, North Carolina, and is scheduled for release in 2033.
New documents, from the revocation of Walker's medical license, strongly suggest that he did not act alone, but he is the only one to be held accountable for a series of horrific crimes that took place over more than 20 years.
As we noted in a previous post, Walker was a prominent figure in the conservative, evangelical community in Birmingham's southern suburbs. He had been a member at Briarwood Presbyterian Church (PCA) before leaving to start a home schooling program at Evangel Christian Church (PCA).
The Walker convictions took place roughly 10 years ago -- and they involved horrifying examples of child abuse in a community that is known for its right-wing religious fervor -- and yet Web research almost suggests the case never happened. We've been able to find two relatively brief stories at the Shelby County Reporter, which provide the barest of details, and we can find no sign of coverage from The Birmingham News/al.com. That news outlet, the state's largest, was run at the time by members of the Hanson family, who've long had connections to Briarwood Church.
Gincie Walker Upton, now in her 30s, has been diagnosed with multiple-personality disorder. Is that because she was so close to, and perhaps a victim of, her father's criminal acts? Was she a witness to the criminal acts of other prominent individuals who never have been held accountable? Does Alabama have a statute of limitations on cases involving alleged child sexual abuse? Our research indicates the answer is no.
Documents related to the revocation of Dr. Walker's medical license provide perhaps the most detailed account of his actions that has become public so far. (See the documents at the end of this post.) What do the documents tell us? Consider the following:
Based upon evidence presented, the Medical Licensure Commission makes the following findings of fact:
1. September 30, 2005, Dr. Walker was indicted in the United States District Court, Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division, on seven criminal felony counts for violating 18 U.S.C. 2424.
2. All of the felony charges involved transporting minor females in interstate and foreign commerce with the intent that the minor females engage in sexual activity. The minor females were transported from Alabama to Colorado, Kentucky, Florida, Wyoming, the Caribbean, and Russia.
That is shocking stuff. Dr. Walker did not just take the girls to Georgia or Mississippi. He took them to Colorado, Wyoming -- even Russia and the Caribbean. Russia has become known as a hub for human trafficking.
|Briarwood Presbyterian Church|
Our sources say Dr. Walker's victims included his own children, plus the children of others. Some of the trips obviously were via flight. It's not clear if those within the United States involved air travel or ground vehicles. It's also not clear if boys ever were among the abuse victims. The documents we've seen so far point only to girls as victims, and we are not sure about the age range.
How could Dr. Walker engage in such activity for 20 years without the assistance of others? How could he engage in such activity for 20 years without other adults knowing about it -- and failing to at least try to stop it?
Those are just two of many disturbing questions raised by the story of Dr. William Flynn Walker, which might be the most disturbing crime spree in the history of Alabama, especially when you consider its length and the ages of the victims. That media and religious and perhaps corporate figures apparently helped cover it up makes it even more gut-wrenching.
One gets the sense that Dr. Walker had a number of accomplices who probably are still out there, in Birmingham's southern suburbs and in its most fervent religious institutions, perhaps with easy access to a new generation of children. That suggests the Dr. William Flynn Walker case is far from over, that overwhelmingly white and affluent neighborhoods are housing some extremely dark secrets.