Jesse Friedman is looking to clear his name after 25 years. The Great Neck, Long Island native was a defendant in a high-profile, controversial Nassau County child sex abuse prosecution for which he served thirteen years in prison.
Jesse and his father Arnold confessed to sexually abusing more than a dozen young boys in the basement of their home.
Jesse was paroled in 1991. His father committed suicide while still in prison in 1995.
The case was the subject of an Oscar nominated documentary called Capturing the Friedmans.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice appointed an independent panel in 2010 to oversee her office’s work on the case. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Second Circuit refused to overturn Jesse Friedman’s attempt to overturn his conviction, but did criticize the handling of the prosecution by law enforcement, stating that overzealousness by the police may have led to the Friedmans being coerced into giving a confession.
The court cited the “hysteria” over child abuse in the 1980’s. Back then, questionable techniques used by investigators interviewing children lead to many controversial convictions. Perhaps the most famous was the McMartin Preschool Case out of California.
Jesse Friedman maintains his own website about the case. The case contains court documents, personal information, and even promotes Jesse’s memoir of his time in prison.
He also has a link to Professor Elizabeth F. Loftus of U.C. Irvine, who has written extensively about the unreliability of repressed memory. She addresses suspect interview techniques that were used by law enforcement in both the McMartin Preschool case, the Friedman case, and many other child sex abuse cases in the 1980’s.
Please keep in mind that nothing contained in this article should be construed as legal advice.