Jesse Friedman was convicted of child molestation when he was just 19 years old, and he is now trying to get his sex offender status overturned.
The 44-year-old and his father were accused of sexually abusing students in his dad’s computer classes inside their home. The police started investigating the family after a customs agent said there was child porn being mailed to the father.
They interviewed the children who had taken Arnold Friedman’s class over the years. The children claimed that the father and son sexually assaulted them during class.
Arnold signed a statement admitting that he sexually abused 41 children who’d taken his class. Jesse, on the other hand, maintained his innocence for a while. But when he was threatened with a life sentence, he confessed to molesting 13 of the kids.
Jesse was released from prison in 2001, but he still does not feel completely free.
“It’s tantamount to living in exile. It prohibits me from being allowed to go anywhere near where children tend to congregate,” he said. “That’s parks, playgrounds, schools, but it’s also churches and the 7-Eleven. I can’t go to a baseball game, because children tend to go to sporting events.”
Jesse appealed his conviction with the help of “Friedmans” director Andrew Jarecki, noted civil rights lawyer Ron Kuby, and public relations exec Lonnie Soury. So far, they have been able to get five of the victims and several witnesses to sign statements saying the assaults he was convicted of never happened.
If he is cleared of these crimes, Jesse will finally be able to start his life.
“I can work on a career. I could go back to school. I can start a family,” he said. “I’m not even sure what that’s going to be like. It’s a whole realm of life and feeling and freedom and liberty that I think I’ve lost touch with.”
[Image via New York Daily News]