New York Times
ROCKEFELLER HEADS VICE
Son of the Standard Oil Man Demurs Because of Youth and Business but Is
Judge O’Sullivan, In Strong Charges, Says Organized Traffic Should Be Thoroughly
The first note of District Attorney Whitman’s administration was sounded yesterday morning when Judge O’Sullivan, in General Sessions, intrusted the additional Grand Jury with an exhaustive investigation of the recent charges that an organized white slave traffic exists in this city. The launching of the action followed a conference between Mr. Whitman, the Judges of General Sessions, and several of the Federal immigration authorities.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr., foreman of the Grand Jury, was somewhat taken aback to find himself confronted with so important a task, and he begged the Judge to relieve him, pleading as excuse the condition of his health, his youth, his inexperience, and the multiplicity of his business interests. Judge. O’Sullivan, however was firm.
"I have selected you for this task because of your standing in this community," he said. "You owe this service as a patriotic duty to your city."
Mr. Rockefeller bowed slightly in acceptance, and was formally sworn in as foreman of the investigating jury. Mr. Whitman, who came in to be introduced to the members of the new Grand Juries, remained to hear the Judge’s charges.
"There have been spread broadcast in the public prints," said the Judge to the jury, "statements that the City of New York is a centre or clearing house for an organized traffic in women, or what has come to be known as the white slave traffic.
"Some of these statements may have been published with ulterior motives and may have been mere sensationalism, but some, also, are said to be based upon official investigations and charges made by persons who profess to have knowledge of the fact.
"If this so-called white slave traffic exists, it is not enough that we should await Federal action or that we should seek new legislation to stamp it out. We must look to our own law as it is now."
Judge O’Sullivan then read various passages from the Penal Code in relation to abduction, kidnapping, and kindred crimes, with penalties ranging from fines under $1,000 to fifty years in prison. He also pointed out that the coming investigation should not stop with agents, but should penetrate to the men behind the traffic.
"The law may never succeed in stamping out individual violations," he said, "but, gentlemen, its machinery is at your command, the wealth of this opulent city is at your call, the sympathy and sentiment of its decent and law-abiding citizens are with you. Your inquiry should not be satisfied with a half-way answer. If organized traffic in women exists in this city, the law is adequate to end it and punish the persons engaged in it. If such traffic does not exist, your inquiry should end such a sensational slander against the City of New York."
It was the intention of the court that the additional Grand Jury should be burdened with no other duty than the investigation, but at Mr. Whitman’s request it will be engaged this week in diagnosing of several minor matters needing immediate action.
Besides Mr. Rockefeller, the members of the investigating jury are George F. Crane, 16 West Twelfth Street, a prominent insurance man; Aaron J. Bach, merchant, 55 East Eightieth Street; Peter J. Cooney, contractor, 2468 Hoffman Street; Charles H. Paddock, clerk, 141 West Seventieth Street; Gilbert Francklyn, real estate, 48 East Twenty-sixth Street; Eugene H. Paddock, clerk, 149 West Seventy-Second Street; Francis E. Ward, real estate, 159 West Seventy-third Street; Joseph P. Day, real estate, 34 Gramercy Park; Edward B. Patch, manager, 2 East Forty-fifth Street; Isaac J. Cohen, insurance, 689 West End Avenue; Bruno Richter, merchant, 17 East Ninety-second Street; Robert H. Gibbons, real estate, 245 West Forty-fourth Street; J. Sinclair Armstrong, publisher, 32 East Sixty-first Street; Samuel Aufhauser, 1211 Madison Avenue; William T. Walton, merchant, 255 West Eighty-fourth Street; James B. Ford, 4 East Forty-third Street; Richard L. Morris, banker, 136 Madison Avenue; John D. Barney, 73 West 116th Street; Charles W. Romeyn, architect, 63 East Sixty-fourth Street; Lawrence P. Bayne, coffee, 128 East Thirty-fourth Street, and Ernst F. Greeff, dry goods, 37 West Eighty-eighth Street.
The regular Grand Jury was also charged yesterday. Sylvester J. O’Sullivan, manager of the United States Fidelity and Guarantee Company, is foreman.
Mr. Whitman said yesterday that even if no organization were found to exist behind the white slave traffic, the unearthing and conviction of sporadic cases would make the labor of investigation well worth while. He has put Assistant District Attorney Appleton in charge of the investigation.