Decades after NY molesting conviction, Friedman fights to clear name

Mon Nov 3, 2014 11:38am EST
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By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jesse Friedman, whose conviction as a teenage child molester was portrayed in the Oscar-nominated film "Capturing the Friedmans," is not giving up his decades-long campaign to clear his name.

Friedman has asked a court to review evidence in his case, one of the most notorious in the history of New York's Long Island, contending that prosecutors coached and intimidated child witnesses into making false allegations. A judge could issue a ruling on his request any day now.

Friedman also alleges that prosecutors defamed him after a more recent reinvestigation of the case, and a lawsuit he filed is winding its way through the courts.

Friedman was 18 when he pleaded guilty to molesting more than a dozen boys in the 1980s at computer classes taught by his father in the basement of their home in suburban Great Neck.

The documentary on the Friedmans pieced together intimate home videos and revealing interviews, and raised questions about the police work and prosecution tactics.

Now 45, Friedman wants exoneration even though his prison sentence is behind him. Having completed parole, he is a married man who has found work as an online bookseller.

"I haven't gotten to the end yet," he said in a recent interview at his Bridgeport, Connecticut home. "I could just say, 'It's time to move on,' but I don't and I'm not going to because justice for justice's sake, truth for truth's sake. It's still important."

Controversy always surrounded the Friedman case, from the sensational details at its start to the doubts about its veracity that linger today.   Continued...

Jesse Friedman (R), poses with his wife Lisabeth Walsh, in this October 17, 2012 handout photo in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, provided courtesy of Jesse Friedman on October 30, 2014.   REUTERS/Jesse Friedman/Handout via Reuters