Jun 21, 2006

Bernie Baran Update

A little more than a year ago, I first wrote about Bernie Baran, a Massachusetts man who many feel was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned on charges of child molestation – they believe that Baran was the victim of a homophobic witchhunt. And for the past 20 years, Baran has vehemently maintained his innocence.

Today, the Berkshire Eagle writes that a judge has granted Baran another trial – essentially giving Baran another chance at freedom.

Because his original trial in the 80’s was filled with many shady inconsistencies, this is wonderful news.

The important thing to remember was that the impetus behind Baran’s conviction was the fact that he was targeted for being an openly homosexual man who worked at a day care center. The hysteria that prevailed in 1984 (when his hearing was held) centered around the fear around AIDS and the mystery that surrounded this illness. Many feel that Baran was a convenient scapegoat; hopefully now, with some distance, Baran will get the fair trial he deserves.

UPDATE, 2:20 p.m.: My friend Dan, who has been working on a Baran documentary for the last few years, says that Bernie's "not at all as scary looking as the picture The Berkshire Eagle printed of him, which was taken shortly after major surgery last year, and he still had a morphine patch on his shoulder."

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