This was more than a shock. It was like being punched in the gut to learn of the arrest of Jan Harzan, International Director of MUFON, for soliciting sex from a minor. The arrest actually occurred back on July 3 — a full eleven days ago. The whole thing was kept incredibly quiet until today, when it was released on the website of the Huntington Beach Police Department, in California.
Everyone knew Jan — or rather, everyone thought they knew Jan.
I am supposed to do a live show tonight with the excellent Danny Silva, but my head is just not there. Even talking about Jan feels painful now. In the short term at least, this is absolutely not good for ufology, and really horrible especially for MUFON. I do believe that as time goes by that MUFON should recover. After all, MUFON was around long before Jan Harzan.
But I do think that MUFON will really need to consider an overhaul to save itself. What Jan was arrested for had nothing to do with Ufology, and one might think that MUFON as an organization will get by just fine, but we all know the world doesn’t work that way. He had become the face of MUFON. What’s brutal about this is that for years before he became Director, most folks I knew in MUFON were waiting for him to take the reins. He was the one they all had hope in.
But MUFON’s new leader, whoever that is going to be, will need to do more than damage control. That person will need to conduct a careful review of all senior personnel in the organization. This is a wakeup call for MUFON, a call for the organization to think long and hard about its public face, its mission, and how to rebuild a severely damaged reputation. For one thing, I would be curious to know why none of this came out until today, since the arrest occurred a full ten days ago. I would think Jan would have informed the rest of the MUFON Board right after it happened, and one would assume that they have been discussing what to do ever since. And yet we have heard nothing.
We should expect to hear very soon from MUFON about the new leadership and direction of the organization.