May 16, 2005

Free Baran

My friend, Daniel Alexander, is currently working on a documentary featuring the story of Bernie Baran, a 39-year-old Pittsfield, Mass. native who many feel was wrongfully imprisoned for something he didn't do - an innocent victim of a homophobic witchhunt. There are so many inconsistencies and fishy circumstances that demand that Baran's case be rexamined.

For example, Katha Politt wrote in The Nation back in 2000, the following:
  • The children first denied being molested, and produced accusations under parental coaching (one girl [...] told a therapist after the trial that her mother had told her to say Baran had molested her so they could get toys and money.)
  • Key medical evidence has since been scientifically discredited. [One child] tested positive for gonorrhea of the throat - Baran tested negative. The test used on the child had a 50% error rate. A follow-up test on the child was never ordered.
  • In court, the children were unforthcoming, wildly contradictory, glad to see their supposed molester [... ] and denied that anything bad happened to them.

Enough people need to know about this story so that Bernie can get his life back. He doesn't have the luxury of having a huge legal defense fund to take care of all of the expenses related to his case; he's not a household name; he didn't zoom across a Southern California freeway in a white Bronco. It's time to stand up for the little guy. It's time for justice to be served.

In this current environment of closed-door, cognitively dissonant, let's-change-the-rules-because-we-can political landscape of ours, no one is safe. Bernie's story could just as easily be yours.

1 comment:

Adobo said...

Christ- this is when i get sick to my stomach and get really pissed off at our ignorant society. I do hope the movie will shed light on his innocence. I will spread the word where I can. Thank you Daniel you are a true soldier for the innocent.