Tuesday, July 14, 2020

MUFON Executive Director Jan Harzan Arrested

Just hours ago, I learned that Jan Harzan, the Executive Director of MUFON, had been arrested on a number of felony charges. He is accused of soliciting a minor “for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.” The Huntington Beach Police Department said that Harzan had been communicating with a girl he believed to be thirteen.

Jan Harzan
According to the police, “"On July 3, detectives contacted a male by the name of Jan Harzan after Harzan solicited sexual activity from a detective he believed was a 13 year old girl. The suspect [Harzan] solicited the minor to meet for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity, and when the suspect agreed to meet the supposed minor, detectives were there to take him into custody. [Harzan was] arrested for multiple felonies and transported to the Huntington Beach Jail [for] specifically targeting minor females online."
Harzan had been the Executive Director of MUFON since 2013 and had shifted the direction of the organization from a more active, scientific investigation of UFOs to one that seemed to have a more business-oriented mission.
MUFON began in the late 1960s, when Walt Andrus, then a member of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) suggested to Coral Lorenzen that he would organize the field investigators living in the Midwest into a group to prevent duplication of effort. According to Lorenzen, this was the core of MUFON, originally named the Midwest UFO Network. Andrus eventually broke with APRO turning MUFON into the Mutual UFO Network, an autonomous organization.

In recent years, after the retirement of Andrus, MUFON had several international directors and in 2013, Harzan took over as the Executive Director. He changed the look of the MUFON Journal from a magazine that dealt with UFO sightings, investigations and controversies to one that focused on glitz with very little real substance.

In 2018, John Ventre, then the Pennsylvania State Director, a member of MUFON’s “Inner Circle,” and a promoter of UFO symposium in the northeast US, was fired after a Facebook posting that was little more than a racist rant. Ventre said that it was in response to the promos for a television program that seemed to portray white Americans in a very negative light. Harzan’s response was tepid at best but under pressure, he eventually fired Ventre.

The episode resulted in several state directors resigning because of the lack of a swift response. And just last month another state director made a number of comments posted to a number of racist comments on his Facebook page.

This latest is just another in a long list of missteps. Members of the Inner Circle also made racist comments. Membership in the Inner Circle was based on a yearly contribution of five grand to the organization. In recent years, a number of them have dropped out because of past comments and beliefs.

This latest blow, given the serious nature of the accusations, does not bode well for MUFON. Some of the members I have communicated with in the last few hours have suggested this might mean the end of MUFON. I was told, “This is awful for MUFON.”

I will be interviewing Rob Swiatec, a member of the MUFON Board of Directors for my radio show/podcast. I’ll post a link to it as soon as it is available.


William Strathmann said...


MUFON Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/mutualufonetwork

Statement from the MUFON Board of Directors

In light of recent events, Jan Harzan has been permanently removed as the Executive Director of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON).

Effective immediately, he will no longer serve any role in the organization.

David MacDonald, Executive Director Emeritus and a member of the MUFON Board of Directors, will now assume the duties of Executive Director. MUFON remains committed to its core mission: the study of UFOs for the benefit of humanity. This mission is greater than any one person or member of MUFON and supersedes all other considerations. We will continue to move forward and focus on our mission statement.

The MUFON Board of Directors

Louis Nicholson said...

I knew about Ventre's racist comments but I didnt know about the others'. That and Harzan's issue kills MUFON for me.

MUFON on the Move said...

MUFON’s Executive Director has been arrested on child solicitation charges. We’re stunned. This does not seem In line at all with the person we worked with years ago. If true, my heart goes out to the rest of the Board, John Schuessler, leaders and all of the MUFON investigators who have spent an enormous amount of their own time, money and efforts in the pursuit of information relating to the UFO phenomenon. Their mission remains the same and their work should continue. Vicki LeBlanc

Mike said...

There are new investigation group efforts manifesting, like Skyhub and perhaps ttsa's The Vault, etc. Also, developing news may spur academic institutions to take this subject up.

Some Guy on the Innernets said...

MUFON has been counterproductive to its "core mission" for many years now. I hope it does not wobble on as a zombie. It needs to be put out of its misery. Whatever data that has not been sold off by now needs to go to some appropriate place. I wish the best for the volunteers who did all the actual work. Thank you, all you volunteers. I considered joining your ranks at one time. A close look at how things were being run put an end to those thoughts.

Rendlesham Revisited said...

The question is how long has Hazarn been involved in the type of behaviour involving children? The accusations have reached the British tabloid the Sun to boot. I see no good come of this at all. What about Dave MacDonald and his fantasy plane rides? Mufon should step up and appoint appropriate people or close doors. Hazarn will have ruined countless lives by his actions. What a mess.