Sadly it didn’t win Best Doc last night. However, the DVD is out now and includes some fascinating bonus footage.
The new DVD material elucidates just how flawed the Friedman investigation was. The police moved and manipulated evidence of pornography within the house. And they conducted coercive interviews with the children in the computer class. In the film, one of the detectives on the case, Lloyd Doppman, warns that it’s dangerous to ask leading questions when dealing with suggestible children. Jarecki juxtaposes this statement by Doppman’s colleague, Detective Anthony Squeglia, asserting that in questioning children you must imply the answer without room for denial or evasion: “You don’t give ‘em an option, really.” Not included in the film, however, was the rest of the interview with Squeglia, in which Squeglia says that he had to hold four or five interrogation sessions before the children relented and became “a whole new ball of wax.”
The DVD discloses that Jarecki had access to the contents of a tape recording surreptitiously made by one mother while detectives questioned her son (transcript available online). In that recording, the detectives made the mother leave the room while they told the boy that Arnold Friedman had confessed that “he sodomized a lot of children,” and that two other boys “both say that they saw [you] engaged in it.” When the boy continued to deny that he had seen any abuse, the detectives insinuated that he would become a homosexual unless he admitted to being abused. They told him that as an abused child he had a “little monster inside” that would “rear its ugly head” unless he “gets help and admits that he was victimized.” The child continued to say nothing had happened. After additional failed attempts to pressure the child into speaking, the detectives ended the interview. As they left, one told the mother that her son “was a wise guy and I didn’t like his answers.”