On July 3, 2020, police in Huntington Beach, California arrested Jan Harzan of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) in an online law enforcement sting operation targeting persons involved in crimes against children. A Facebook post announcing the arrest was made by police earlier today.
Police allege Harzan solicited sex online from what he believed was a 13 year old female and arranged to meet the female to engage in sex. However, the 13 year old female was actually a detective from the department's Special Enforcement Bureau.
The 65 year old Harzan was taken into custody by detectives from the special unit and charged with Communicating with a Minor to Engage in a Lewd Act and Arranging a Meeting to Engage in a Lewd Act with a Minor in Public, both felony crimes. Below is an image of the arrest log listing Harzan.
Some online have speculated Harzan might have been wearing a MUFON field investigator polo shirt when he was arrested.
As of today, MUFON had yet to issue a statement about Harzan's arrest, though it was reported MUFON's board held an emergency meeting today. So, did MUFON know about Harzan's arrest previously, or did the organization only learn of it through today's UFO social media frenzy? Harzan was listed as the Executive Director of MUFON on the organization's website earlier today, but his image and bio have now been removed.
Some are wondering if this is the first time Harzan has allegedly engaged in this sort of criminal activity, or if there might be any other incidents.
Reactions varied online from shock to some hopping on the UFO conspiracy bus claiming Harzan might have been framed because of the belief held by some that UFO disclosure is about to occur...that's another story.
MUFON has had a number of problems in the past few years including John Ventre, a former state director for the organization, making racist comments about African Americans.
Harzan's reaction to these comments certainly did not bolster his standing as leader of the MUFON organization:
The above posting to the MUFON website was later removed and one former member reported while Ventre had publicly not been involved in the organization, Ventre was involved in the planning of a MUFON Symposium and apparently working in the organization behind the scenes.
Ventre's online remarks, among other internal issues, caused several MUFON members to rethink their role in the organization including Ben Moss, Dr. Chris Cogswell, Phil Leech, and James Clarkson who all resigned. Members cited a wide variety of issues with the leadership of Harzan and one time Director of Investigations Chase Kloetzk (see MUFON: The Inside Truth Part 1 and Part 2).
Then there's bigot channeler JZ Knight who is said to have contributed money to MUFON which earned her a place in MUFON's so-called Inner Circle. I wrote about Ventre and Knight's involvement in the organization and James Clarkson's resignation here. Ventre thought it'd be a good idea to pop up here on the Pull Me Under blog and comment about the resignation of James Clarkson:
I responded in kind:
Former International Director of MUFON James Carrion left the organization after he was lied to about funding the organization received from Robert Bigelow and the US government. You can read about it in the excellent article Breaking the Silence: AATIP's Secret Partner Speaks.
Let's not even get started on the Elaine Douglas files or MUFON selling their files and database to Robert Bigelow.
Most recently another MUFON state director appeared to be posting racist comments online. Ken Pfeifer via his Facebook page posted the following:
Some MUFON members allege leadership ignored this in spite of complaints. It was reported Pfeifer was later removed from his MUFON position.
Misogynists, racists, alleged pedophiles...are we missing anything?
Unfortunately, this all paints a rather unflattering picture of those involved with the UFO topic, but this sort of wild publicity isn't anything new nor is this the first time well known UFO personalities have had run-ins with the law or were disciplined for sexual misconduct.
Wendell Stevens, long time promoter of the bogus Billie Meier UFO case, was a convicted child molester. Stevens spent time in jail for molesting a 14 year old girl. Stevens' name still appears on the UFO Mega Con website.
In 2017, alleged UFO abductee Stan Romanek was found guilty of possessing child pornography on his home computer. Romanek was sentenced to a two year term in a half-way house.
Bob Shell, a photographic expert with an interest in UFOs, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after delivering a fatal dose of morphine to a young model he sodomized. Prosecutors believed Shell had sex with the corpse.
Tyler Glockner, producer of fake UFO videos and Secure Team 10 infamy, was arrested for driving under the influence and domestic violence.
Sean David Morton, bunk psychic and self proclaimed world's foremost UFO researcher, is currently incarcerated in federal prison for defrauding the IRS out of nearly $500,000.00 and charging victims in a debt redemption scheme. Morton was also sued by the SEC after he swindled nearly $6,000,000.00 from people in what the government called a "psychic investment scheme".
Richard Boylan, a former psychologist and alien abductee researcher, had his license to practice permanently revoked after he engaged female patients in hot tub sex therapy. You can read the hearing conducted by the Board of Psychology.
In 1990, Bob Lazar was arrested for aiding and abetting a prostitution ring. The charge was later reduced to pandering and it was in Nevada where prostitution is legal under certain guidelines.
Bill Forte was convicted in 2003 of sexually assaulting a 13 year old girl and possessing material showing a child in an obscene sexual act. Forte, who is associated with KGRA, served just over four years in prison and was registered as a high risk sex offender. KGRA is home to programs by Jimmy Church, Richard Dolan and other UFO related programs.
John Ford of Long Island UFO fame was convicted of plotting to murder multiple county officials he believed were involved in a conspiracy to thwart his UFO investigation of an alleged saucer crash. Ford planned to poison his victims with radium.
Bill Cooper was initially involved in UFOs later moving on to conspiracies involving the US government, believing former President Bill Clinton and the IRS were targeting him. The US Marshals Service named Cooper as a major fugitive. When law enforcement attempted to arrest Cooper on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges, Cooper opened fired and shot a deputy in the head. Cooper was killed in the gun battle after vowing he wouldn't be taken alive.
I don't get a good feeling from looking at that picture.
Obviously that doesn't prove anything and I believe in innocent until proven guilty. But the look in Harzan's eyes is truly disquieting to me.
Yes, the history is pretty sordid, and frustrating as hell. Those of us in this field because we are trying to somehow contribute to understanding the phenomena should not be discouraged by this, however.
At API we actively promote a high standard of ethics and conduct, and we do the serious work out of the spotlight. If you've had it with MUFON, ally with us. We don't want to control anyone, we just want to further a research agenda.
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