New Scholarship Spotlight: Destruction of Innocence: The Friedman Case: How Coerced Testimony & Confessions Harm Children, Families & Communities for Decades after the Wrongful Convictions Occur

Gavin DeBecker and Emily Horowitz have posted the above-titled article on SSRN.  Download full article here:  The abstract states:

Between 1984 and 1995, at least 72 individuals were convicted during the national hysteria of mass child molestation and satanic ritual abuse cases. Almost all thoseconvictions have since been overturned. This paper analyzes the present-day, on-going impact from wrongful convictions, focusing on the Friedman case, well-known as the subject of the landmark documentary film, Capturing the Friedmans. Though the US Appeals Court has ruled that Jesse Friedman was likely wrongfully convicted, the case has not yet been overturned. The impact on wrongly-imprisoned defendants is obvious, however the impact on hundreds of children has rarely been considered. Initially sure they were not sexually abused, and confident in their perceptions of reality, these children were dragged to a place of confusion, mistrust of adults, and uncertainty about themselves and the world. This paper provides new evidence and insight from extensive interviews with people police alleged were molested – and who now as adults confirm they were coerced into making false accusations. Also revealed are new witnesses who were present during alleged crimes against others, and now confirm there was no molestation. Child sexual abuse does happen, of course, and is a profound social issue; at the same time, false and hysteria-driven prosecutions robbed resources from cases of actual sex crimes, reduce the public’s faith in the legitimacy of such prosecutions, and interfered with the protection of children. The Friedman case provides a unique opportunity to heal a community still suffering from the wounds of false accusation, confusion, and deceit.

7 responses to “New Scholarship Spotlight: Destruction of Innocence: The Friedman Case: How Coerced Testimony & Confessions Harm Children, Families & Communities for Decades after the Wrongful Convictions Occur

  1. Docile Jim Brady – Columbus OH 43209

    CS is required to investigate tips of suspicious behavior .

    Today I would almost need to witness and film abuse before I reported it ; then that would depend up the nature and degree of the suspected abuse.

    There exist too many examples of phantom abuse for a different protocol ..

  2. It might be user error, but I can’t reach the paper through the link above, which doesn’t go live for me. The paper sounds important, though: I will go see if I can find it through my browser.

  3. In case anyone else had the same problem I had, here is the url to this excellent article:

    Reading it triggered a memory for me, and I went back to my notes from the 2010 conference of the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, targeted to the child protection community. In a keynote talk, Ross Cheit, PhD, disputed a number of the exonerations cited in the article and lambasted the film “Capturing the Friedmans.” He said, “These exonerations all involve minimizing and denying abuse,” and “They are all factually wrong.”

    We have a long way to go. I’m so glad you are bringing light to the innocent convicted and accused in these murky cases.

    For a glimpse of what went on at the 2012 conference of the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, please see

  4. Courtney Bisbee, AZ, a divorced mother of a 4 year old, school nurse: Falsely accused, no presumption of innocence, established protocol for the investigation of child abuse / sex abuse disregarded by the Scottsdale Police dept. SWAT team arrest, NO Miranda rights, NO search warrant for home searched and seized hours earlier, NO medical exam for the police report. Same detective interviewed the teen witnesses and interrogated Courtney 24 hours later with no police witnesses and held her NON-bondable for 66 days. Altered, redacted, interrogation spliced with standard audio cassette and VHS. Submits a DVD dated months later as the “original” tape under oath. This former South Side Chicago police officer new to Scottsdale making a name for himself with “high-profile” child sex crimes (Feb. 11, 2004) during the Catholic Priest sex scandal witch hunts, Jon Benet Ramsey, Michael Jackson (mother/son grifters) copy cat case, Kobe Bryant, and the “new category” of the campaign year — teachers, coaches, nurses, caregivers. Pure scam for $$$’s. New evidence, exculpatory evidence emerged in 2006, given to the officials, yet never heard in an Arizona Court. Why? The history established in the Macumber case, the Ray Krone case, and now the Debra Milke case shows the pattern of injustice that should be criminal in itself.

    Courtney Bisbee is innocent. All know that but NON-DNA and women’s cases have been ignored for far too long. They too are a minority group. Women in Arizona are treated as women were back in the ’50’s — worthless.

  5. Forgot the obvious: NO arrest warrant.

  6. Reblogged this on The 201010 blog and commented:
    This is so relevant as to what happened to me in Cambodia.

  7. 9th Circuit Opinion Milke case – Reversed conviction and sentence (60 pgs) web – corrected.pdf

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