Jesse Friedman, 46, of Great Neck, New York, was 18 when he and his father were charged with sexually abusing children in the computer class they held at their home. Both father and son plead guilty to the charges and were given lengthy prison terms. The elder Friedman, who openly admitted to abusing children in the past, passed away in prison in 1995 and in 2001, Jesse Friedman was paroled. After his release from prison, Friedman was adjudicated a level three sex offender.
On Monday, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said Jesse Friedman wasn’t wrongfully convicted. “It is my hope that this investigation will do two things: provide some certainty and comfort to the victims of this case, many of whom have faced a decade of relentless attacks on their credibility.” Rice says. “And, at the same time, I hope that the historic and unprecedented nature of this process will encourage others to come forward and advocate for people who they believe have been wrongfully accused. Prosecutors must be as vigilant in preventing and investigating wrongful convictions as they are representing victims of crime. Our office’s door will remain open and we will remain aggressive in seeking the truth both before and after convictions have taken place.”
A Review Team put together by D.A. Rice released a 155 page report which came to the conclusion that “increased confidence in the integrity of Jesse Friedman’s guilty plea and adjudication as a sex offender.” A separate independent advisory panel backs up the review team’s evidence saying their findings were “reasonable and supported by the evidence.”
The Review Team found three of the victims have repeatedly stood by their accusations against Friedman in the last decade alone. The team also found notes from psychiatrists hired by Friedman’s attorney conlcuding he was a “narcissist” and “psychopath” who had the ability to commit the crimes he was originally charged with. A second doctor was also hired and his results were no different. Friedman’s lawyer told the doctors not to issue formal reports as they were damaging to the case.
Another key piece of evidence damaging to Friedman’s character found by the Review Team was that while in prison he was punished for possessing two magazine cut outs of nude children. He also allegedly wrote fictional stories of beastiality, incest, and child rape.
In 2003, a critically acclaimed film was centered around the case called Capturing the Friedmans. An unedited version of it showed Judge Abbey Boklan and Detective Anthony Squeglia were subjected to selective editing which led to misleading portrayals of the two.
The film also played up a key piece of evidence called the Meyers Tape. The tape was supposed to be of heavy-handed police interview techniques cited by Friedman, his advocates, and the court. The notes of this tape were dramatically read by Friedman’s attorney in Capturing the Friedmans. The Review Team couldn’t find the Meyers Tape though. All they found were his attorney’s notes.
“I came to this case without an agenda or any personal stake in its outcome, and without any interest outside of searching for the truth.” Says D.A. Rice. “We were fully prepared to exonerate Mr. Friedman if that’s where the facts led us. But the facts, under any objective analysis, led to a substantially different conclusion.”
[Source: Nassau County District Attorney]