New Movie: Witch Hunt
I would like to bring to everyone's attention the film "Witch Hunt", directed by Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, and narrated by Sean Penn.
The film chronicles the events which transpired in Kern County (Bakersfield) California, and the dozens of people who were falsely charged with child sexual abuse as part of massive "sex rings". Specifically, the film tells the story of John Stoll, Scott and Brenda Kniffen, Alvin and Debbie McCuan, Jeff Modahl, Jack and Jackie Cummings, Rick and Marcella Pitts.
This film is filled with heroes.
The film makers themselves: for tackling such a difficult, and generally unpopular subject matter, and for their fortitude to stick with the project over more than four years determined to see these stories of injustice told.
Those who were falsely imprisoned, bared down, stood strong, and fought the good fight, no matter how long it took, to see the truth about their innocence told.
Those who were involved as with the police, social services, and the District Attorney's office as children, who now as young adults have been brave enough to come forward with the truth about how those in authority were acting in true "criminal" behavior, and not those accused of sexual abuse.
However, hearing these particular young adults speak of their pain, guilt, trauma, confusion, and remorse over allowing social service workers to convince them to lie when they were children was the most powerful aspect of this film for me.
I have heard many, many stories of false arrest (as well as lived one of my own). There is no doubt that the stories of struggle and survival from those falsely accused are moving beyond words. I think for me it is just different since I know so many of those involved personally, and I am so familiar with their lives.
Hearing the pain and perspective from the different side of those wronged by the justice system; hearing how much these false arrests harmed the children involved, is the most powerful aspect of this new film.
I have copies of the DVD available for a donation to the Jesse Friedman Legal Defense Fund. The cost is $30 which includes shipping.