A New York man who spent 13 years in prison for the sexual abuse of minors in the 1980s was rightfully convicted, prosecutors said on Monday, a legal setback in a decade-long campaign to exonerate Jesse Friedman after an Oscar-nominated documentary questioned his prosecution and guilt.
An extensive three-year review “has only increased confidence in the integrity of Jesse Friedman’s guilty plea and adjudication as a sex offender,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a 155-page report.
Friedman was 18 in 1988 when he and his father, Arnold Friedman, were accused of molesting more than a dozen boys during computer classes taught in their home in the upscale Long Island town of Great Neck.
Both Friedmans pleaded guilty, and Jesse served 13 years in prison before being released on parole in 2001.
In 2004, he began efforts to overturn his conviction, saying he had been railroaded by the criminal justice system amid a fervor to jail child molesters.
He has been seeking revocation of his child sex offender status, saying it restricts him from leading a normal life.
His father, who claimed he pleaded guilty in hopes of keeping Jesse from behind bars, killed himself in prison in 2005.