Fired newspaper worker: 'They said don't talk'


DES MOINES, Iowa -- A newspaper employee who admitted having sexual contact with several young newspaper carriers under his supervision has not been linked to the disappearance of two paperboys, police said Tuesday.

Frank Sykora, 37, was fired from his job in the circulation department of the Des Moines Register late Monday after a private investigator accused Sykora of sleeping with at least seven paperboys.


Sykora, a former Marine, was interviewed at police headquarters Monday. Police Chief William Moulder said a polygraph test indicated Sykora had no involvement in the disappearances of paperboys Johnny Gosch and Eugene Martin.

Private investigator Sam Soda Monday gave authorities a two-hour videotape in which Sykora admits he fondled 'almost all the boys' and masturbated a 14-year-old youth.

Soda said Sykora let the boys sleep with him in his room apartment and showed them pornographic magazines and films.

Assistant Polk County Attorney Ron Wheeler said he does not have sufficient evidence to file charges. But Moulder said his department's investigation is continuing and charges may yet be filed.

'In any criminal investigation a confession alone is not enough,' Moulder said. 'We need a victim. We need corroborating evidence. There also is a question here of a statute of limitation. We don't know if this happened five years ago, 10 years ago or yesterday.'


Moulder said Sykora gave authorities a list of about 14 children's names. He also said more Register employees may be interviewed.

Gosch disappeared from his West Des Moines route Sept. 5, 1982. Martin vanished from south Des Moines under similiar circumstances Aug. 12.

In announcing Sykora's firing Tuesday, Register marketing director Charles Edwards said, 'We felt the conduct he told us about was not appropriate for a representative of the Register and Tribune Co.'

Sykora, contacted at his home, peered through a small opening in his front door and said, 'They told me at the R & T (Register) to say 'no comment' so that's all I'm going to say.'

Register legal counsel Barbara Mack said the newspaper advised Sykora of his rights, but did not tell him he couldn't talk to anyone.

'He asked if he had to talk to Sam Soda. We told him, 'No.' He asked, 'Do I have to talk to reporters?' We said, 'No, you don't have to. It's your choice,'' she said.

'There was big confusion on his part whether Soda was with the DCI. We spent a lot of time telling him Sam is not with the (Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation).'

Sykora said he began working for the newspaper in 1969 as an adult carrier on contract. He became a regular Register employee seven years ago.


Latest Headlines


Follow Us