April 30, 2012

“Prosecutors are reviewing pornographic videotapes seized in Montana…. A man identified as Willard Scott Privott appears wearing a pirate costume in a boat full of children, according to affidavits….

“Several children have testified (during Bob Kelly’s trial) that they were taken on boat trips. One 6-year-old boy testified that the boat was driven by a pirate….

“Bill Hart, an assistant attorney general prosecuting the case, said State Bureau of Investigation agents and Edenton Police Officer Brenda Toppin are reviewing the confiscated material….”

– From an Associated Press dispatch, Nov. 30, 1991

Needless to say, the Montana tape seizure was quickly revealed as a fool’s errand.

But how excited the prosecutors must have been by the prospect of finally finding actual evidence to support their multiplicity of charges!

I e-mailed the Montana stories to Scott Privott, who said that until now he had only heard word-of-mouth accounts.

He remembered Dorene Anna Stearns and David Lee Etheridge as no more than acquaintances in Edenton. “As far as her tales of seeing me in a movie, I wonder how even the state could believe that…. If a movie did exist and she saw it in ’87, why didn’t she report it to authorities back then?”