Arnold Friedman and his son Jesse plead guilty

January 22, 2009

At a time when child sexual abuse has been identified as a major public health crisis, the new film “Capturing the Friedmans” takes a skeptical attitude regarding believing children. The 1989, Arnold Friedman and his son Jesse plead guilty to multiple charges of sodomy and sexual abuse against young boys who took computer classes taught in the basement of their home. Jesse now claims he was wrongly convicted. Our research into the case shows that the director of the film sacrificed truth in favor of creating artistic ambiguity. Clear evidence is omitted and facts are distorted. In addition, the film relies on popular but erroneous myths about child sexual abuse. As a result, uncertainty is created about the guilt of two confessed pedophiles — who are recast as victims — while the real victims — the boys and their families — are portrayed as untrustworthy.

Newsday staff reporter Victor Manuel Ramos interviews several of the victims who Arnold and Jesse Friedman plead guilty to abusing. “For Gregory, the hullabaloo over Jarecki’s film — and whether the director will pick up an Oscar tonight — is a sideshow to the legacy of the abuse. Even now, Gregory said he sometimes wakes up at night shaking, especially after hearing of other child abuse cases on the news or elsewhere. What would be passing news to others, hits home for him. Diagnosed in his preteen years, Gregory said he has persistent rectal bleeding from the abuse. Memories aside, the physical scar will never let him forget. `This is the constant reminder I live with every day,’ Gregory said, `that I was abused.'”

“CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS” Documentary or Whitewash?

October 2, 2008


Permission is hereby granted to copy and distribute this documented information regarding “Capturing the Friedmans.” This page is designed to be printed out as a as a one-page flyer for distribution. This advisory may be deleted prior to distribution.

To use this page as a one-page flyer, you may need to —- paste the section below into your word processor program and then reduce the font size and adjust the borders if necessary.


Documentary or Whitewash?

Have you seen Andrew Jareckis award-winning film? Did it leave you with the impression that Jesse Friedman and maybe his father, Arnold, were victims of a witch hunt conducted by an inept and overzealous investigation team? That conclusion is no accident. Jarecki omitted incriminating evidence that might have made you think differently about Jesse and Arnold. Consider this information, and decide for yourself if this well-reviewed documentarycan be trusted.

1. What Arnold and Jesse admitted under oath: The film shows–but minimizes the fact- – that Arnold and Jesse admitted to molesting 13 boys, ages 7-11. Arnold pled to 8 counts of sodomy, 28 counts of first-degree sexual abuse, and also admitted to ramming a childs head into a wall in front of other children. Jesse pled to 17 counts of sodomy, 4 counts of first degree sexual abuse.
2. Arnold had an established history as a child molester: The film acknowledges that Arnold was an admitted pedophile. He admitted to abusing his own brother when the brother was 8. Although initially admitting to abusing only one boy, Arnold admitted in a therapy session with Elaine to abusing (though not sodomizing) two boys, one of whom was the child of his good friend. He went to therapy out of fear that he would molest his own children.
3. Was no evidence found in the house beyond one stack of porn? (1) Although Jarecki shows the house looking porn free and a voice-over says porn was only found in the office, the prosecutor says in the movie that child pornography was found all over the house. (2) In 1986, Arnold Friedman mail-ordered
Boy Love,” a magazine featuring graphic pictures of men having sex with children, which led to a sting operation. Jarecki doesn’t say that other child- porn magazines were found on classroom shelves; the boys said Arnold used them to initiate discussions of sex. (3) Jarecki fails to mention that parents were not allowed into the classroom or that nine obscene computer games were found in Friedmans classroom such as “Dirty Movie” (“animation of woman who undresses, spreads her legs and then masturbates/ urinates”), and “Seasons Greeting” (“animation of Mickey Mouse, dressed in a Santa suit, appears with erection and ejaculates”). An early newspaper report said “Talking Sam”, in which a male figure exposes his genitals, was used to demonstrate and initiate touching games with the boys. Boys were allowed to take these computer disks to their homes, where a few were found by police. (4) Numerous children, ages 7-12, disclosed similar details about sexual gamessuch as leap-frog and Simon says. (5) Jarecki didnt mention that child-sized dildos were found in a cabinet just outside the classroom.
4. What about the witness who was left out of the film? Jesse
s friend, Ross Goldstein, witnessed and admitted to participating in the crimes, could identify the victims, and would have testified in court. He pled guilty to 3 counts of first-degree sodomy. Both he and Jesse pled to one count of using a child in a sexual performance (pornography).
5. Why didn
t the boys tell anyone? Children tellabout abuse indirectly. In 1989 some wet their beds, took baseball bats to bed, could not sleep. The children reported Arnold threatened to burn down their houses, kill parents, if they told.
6. Why was there no physical evidence? Jarecki fails to mention that the Friedmans pled guilty so none was sought. Physical evidence is typically rare in such cases. Many assume that child sexual abuse must leave gaping tears and telltale scars, but due to the nature of children
s bodies, even when there are physical signs, most disappear in a few days.
7. Can Jesse
s retraction of his fathers abuse of him be believed? Jesse said in a 1989 interview that he was halfway between loving and hatinghis father. He said Arnold fondled and later sodomized him. Jesse started seeing a psychiatrist at the age of 10; he was diagnosed manic depressive. He started using drugs at 16 and was soon stoned on a daily basis; his weight ballooned; he had no friends. Court psychiatric testimony described Jesses joy when his father turned from Jesse to children in the class. When interviewed on the Geraldo Rivera Show, Jesse sobbed while describing sexual abuse by his father and confessed to abusing three children. He said, “I fondled [the children]…I was forced to, to pose in hundreds of photos for my father in all sorts of sexual positions with the kids…He now claims that his story and his tears were “fictionalized to win leniency”. However, he had already been sentenced. So which is the truth — his admission or his recent retraction?

8. What else do we know about the Friedmans? They often appear confused. Sometimes they remember that ithappened, sometimes not. Arnolds brother and David hit their heads, saying maybe someday theyll remember something, but they dont, now. Jesse describes them as sweeping things under the rug. When Elaine saw one of Arnolds child porn magazines she didnt register what it was until she looked again. The film shows her being mistreated by her sons for questioning Arnolds innocence. Victoria News describes one astonishing sequence [of the film], on the morning of one of the sons’ sentencing, the boys decide to shoot footage while harassing the parents of some of the alleged victims.
9. What else do we know about Arnold? As a child, Arnold witnessed his mother having sex with various men. Elaine, in a 1989 article, said that her normally emotionless husband was almost in tears when police took his child porn photos. Arnolds motion from prison to have them returned (as well as the names and numbers of numerous victims) was denied. In the film, Jesse’s attorney describes Arnold in a prison visit asking to move to another table because he is excited by a 4 or 5 year old boy bouncing on his father’s lap nearby.


1. Bessent, A.E. (1989, May 28). The secret life of Arnold Friedman. Newsday. LI., NY,0,1128093.story?coll=ny-li-span-headlines Posted also among many other useful articles at
2. Vitello, P., Commentary: Interesting, not accurate. (2003, July 27) Newsday, LI . NY,0,4000086.column?coll=ny-news-print

Additional information on the Friedman case :

“Detective Stands by Friedman Probe” By Robin Topping and Denise M. Bonilla –,0,7179404,print.story?coll=ny-linews-headlines

“Responding to charges of police coercion in the 1980s sex abuse case against Arnold and Jesse Friedman, the lead detective said children were never pressured into making accusations.” “Galasso denied hypnosis was used and said detectives did not coerce statements from the victims. Some of the victims also were reluctant to talk because Friedman and his father — who killed himself in prison in the mid-to-late 1990s — had threatened them if they disclosed the abuse, she said. Galasso said it was sometimes necessary to conduct multiple interviews to get the child’s whole story, which was often given in pieces. Many children also were questioned by parents, therapists and prosecutors, she said, who were told the same versions of events. In addition, a third person charged with abusing the students, Ross Goldstein, a neighbor who later pleaded guilty and aided the prosecution, corroborated several of the victims’ stories….Galasso said Friedman gave police a detailed confession and also failed two polygraph tests, which are not admissible in court.”

State of New York v. Arnold Friedman. Motion for order requiring return of property seized from 17 Picadilly Road, Great Neck, Nassau County, New York, seized pursuant to search warrant of November 25, 1987. Motion #C-427, Indictment #67104 & 67430. “Judge Abbey L. Boklan approved Arnold Friedmans’ request for the return of all property seized at the Friedman home with the exception of pornographic materials listed in this document. Materials include such items as: 5 pornographic movies, assorted order forms for pornography, assorted pornographic magazine cutouts, 2 partially nude photos of children, 3 sheets advertising homosexuality with boys, 6 photos of naked people, 3 battery operated sex aids, 1 hypodermic needle, 9 pornographic computer games (with descriptions), list of names and phone numbers of 9 victims, 2 registration sheets with names of victims.”

Case of Arnold and Jesse Friedman “Capturing the Friedmans”

“Capturing the Friedmans”: Examining the Myths Behind the Movie “The assertion of suggestive therapy practices is contradicted by a statement by the two main clinicians who worked with the victims in the Friedman case. Dr. Sandra Kaplan and Dr. David Pelcovitz of NorthShore University Hospital in Long Island, both of whom are well-known experts in the field of psychological trauma, provided group therapy for the Friedmans’ victims. Drs. Kaplan and Pelcovitz emphasize that hypnosis was never used in the treatment of these children and that no therapy was offered until after all forensic evidence was gathered by the police (Pelcovitz, personal communication with Dr. Joyanna Silberg, January 11, 2004).”


Geraldo Rivera’s interview with Jesse Friedman – (Geraldo!) In a 1989 interview with Geraldo Rivera, Jesse by phone from prison sobbed as he described how he was sexually abused by his father, and confessed to sexually abusing three children himself. For a transcript ($6.00) contact Burrelle’s Transcripts at 1-800-777-8398, or Burrelle’s Transcripts, Department I, P.O. Box 7, Livingston, NJ 07039-0007.

Excerpt from

Geraldo Rivera’s interview with Jesse Friedman “Busting the Kiddie Porn Underground” February 23, 1989 — Geraldo!

The whole show was devoted to exposing the extent of the problem of child porn in America. The Friedman case is used as a prime example. Geraldo Rivera interviews Jesse in prison. Jesse confessed to Geraldo that he and his father abused 17 children (he was convicted of only abusing 13) and stated that even more children witnessed the abuse.

Jesse described his own abuse by his father which started at around age 8 (his father would fondle him while reading him bedtime stories) and progressed to sodomy. Jesse told in explicit detail how he and his father abused the children during computer classes and Jesse helped “keep the children in line” during the classes. When asked why the children never told, Jesse replied: “For the same reason I never told.” Jesse went on to reveal that he and his father threatened the children by telling them that they would “hunt down” their parents and burn their houses down if they talked. ┬áSeveral parents of the victims are interviewed. They note that the Friedmans also threatened to send explicit sexual pictures of the children to area newspapers and television stations. Jesse explains that child porn was his father’s “hobby” and admits that he posed for 100s of photographs and videos in which he sexually abused the children. Geraldo notes that Jesse told him the names of some of his father’s friends with whom he traded child porn.

Jesse’s attorney, Peter Panera, is interviewed. He tells how he and Jesse made a special trip to Wisconsin to visit Arnold Friedman in prison to convince him to reveal where he had hidden the photos and videos of the children. Arnold refused to reveal what he had done with them, despite the fact that it would have helped gain leniency for his son. Ms. Friedman also appears on the show. She suggests that the case against her son has been exaggerated.