News traveled quickly around the UFO community of Stan Romanek's arrest in February on child exploitation charges related to possessing and distributing pornography. Romanek's status as a high profile and controversial alleged alien abductee put the wheels of conspiracy theories in motion, as expressed in comments posted at 'Orlando Paranormal Examiner'.
Many suggested Romanek was set up and unjustly charged in order to quiet his declarations of contact with an alien intelligence. Romanek's wife, Lisa Romanek, was quoted by 'Huffington Post' as stating the couple was being harassed and that the arrest had everything to do with being outspoken about what she termed the ET/UFO reality. Rumors of state-sponsored harassment were further fueled by the involvement of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the investigation and resulting arrest, circumstances that many suggested were unusual and indicative of conspiracy.
'Orlando Paranormal Examiner' conducted research to establish if the involvement of the DHS was, in fact, unusual in such cases. The conclusion was no, not in the least.
Many people associate the DHS with counter terrorism operations. While that is correct, counter terrorism is not the exclusive interest of the agency, which actually conducts many additional law enforcement activities, including investigation of human trafficking, child exploitation and similar crimes.
A 2011 press release available on the DHS website provided details about Operation Protect Our Children, jointly conducted between the DHS and the Department of Justice. Statements contained in the press release suggested the DHS is committed to working with law enforcement partners to shut down websites and arrest individuals engaging in the promotion and sharing of child pornography.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is identified as the principle investigative arm of the DHS, containing over 20,000 employees located in all 50 states and 47 foreign countries. The ICE website indicated that the same week Romanek was arrested, a Denver man appeared in court on charges of producing, distributing and possessing child pornography, circumstances resulting from an ICE investigation.
Similarly and since the time of the Romanek arrest, a March 6 ICE press release indicated a South Florida man was indicted for possession and distribution of child pornography. As a matter of fact, the ICE website enables access to viewing dozens of such press releases published just since the turn of the year. Clearly, the DHS conducts such operations on a regular basis.
Conspiracy theories are not impossible, and their actuality has precedence. Some significant conspiracies have been validated, well documented and thoroughly reported. Validated conspiracies, however, require much more than allegations. They require verifiable evidence which produces proof of the alleged circumstances.
If the Romaneks and their following hope to persuade others and a U.S. court to share their claimed beliefs of a conspiracy, much more will be required than simply arguing the point. To expect others to share one's beliefs without producing conclusive evidence is simply unreasonable - and the point could be well made that is a primary problem within the collective UFO community in general.