Bernard Baran was 19 when he was accused of abusing children at a day care center — one of a spasm of such prosecutions in the 1980s. Baran was convicted on the testimony of the children despite the fact that videotapes showed children denying that he touched them and other referring to “prizes” promised for their confirming abuse.
In his trial, the prosecutor used an edited version of the tapes that cut out the statements of children denying that Baran, now 42, touched them. In overturning the conviction, the court cited the ineffective counsel of the defense counsel and the new evidence. There is no mention of the prosecutor who used heavily edited tapes. On the tapes, children repeated deny the allegations but are asked over and over again until they change their statements. One child demands the promised prize for saying that Baran touched him. Presumably, the prosecutor saw these tapes but proceeded to introduce highly misleading and edited versions. There should be an immediate inquiry to determine the facts of what the prosecutor and police knew in this case.
It is rare for courts or the media to confront prosecutors or police who win at any cost in cases later overturned. Baran does not know if he will sue, but he should.
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