Jesse Friedman, a Long Island man who claimed to be wrongly accused of molesting more than a dozen local school children in his home in 1988, has been found guilty anew, according to a 155-page report from the Nassau County DA released on Monday. You may read the report in full below; here is an excerpt:
Friedman, now 46, was 18 years old when police and prosecutors charged him and his father with sexually abusing more than a dozen local children enrolled in a computer class taught at the Friedmans’ Great Neck home. The pair pled guilty and each was sentenced to a lengthy prison term. Jesse Friedman served 13 years in prison and was paroled in 2001 without ever appealing his conviction. Upon his release from prison, Friedman was adjudicated a Level Three sex offender, a status he maintains today.
In 2004, Jesse Friedman chose for the first time in the 16 years since he pled guilty to try and overturn his conviction. His claims were based exclusively on what he believed was “newly discovered evidence” depicted in the 2003 film Capturing the Friedmans. The film attempts to cast the Friedmans as possible victims of police misconduct, community hysteria, and judicial bias.
The investigation, which took nearly three years, not only affirmed Friedman's conviction, but "added critical context, and in some cases supplied refuting evidence" to the theories promulgated by Friedman and his advocates.
Friedman initially pleaded guilty to charges of sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a minor. His father, Arnold, an admitted pedophile, pleaded guilty to 42 counts of sexual abuse and died in prison in 1995. The younger Friedman spent 13 years in prison, and was released in 2001. Though he currently lives with his wife in Connecticut, he told Newsday that he will continue to attempt to clear his name, despite the newly released report.
But the report, which was reviewed by an independent advisory panel, paints a different picture. After exhaustively reviewing and, subsequently, dismissing the assertions of Friedman's innocence, it concludes with this:
The Review Team thoroughly analyzed and weighed all amassed information. Special attention was paid to the alleged recantation evidence, which was found to be either overstated, not reliable, or unable to be substantiated.
The District Attorney’s ultimate decision did not turn on any one piece of evidence or witness account. Instead, it rested upon a consideration of all of the evidence, past and present. No investigation or prosecution is perfect, and this case is no exception. However, in the final analysis, taking all evidence into consideration, and giving it its due weight, Jesse Friedman was not wrongfully convicted.
Here's the full report: