Capturing the Friedmans

  • Directors: Andrew Jarecki
  • Producers: Andrew Jarecki, Marc Smerling
  • Writers:
  • Genres: Documentary, Biography
  • Actors: Arnold Friedman, Elaine Friedman, David Friedman, Seth Friedman, Jesse Friedman

The investigation into Arnold Friedman’s life started after he was caught in a pedophile sting operation when he received a magazine of child pornography from the Netherlands by mail. In searching his house, investigators found a large collection of child pornography, which led them to expand their investigation. After learning that Friedman taught children computer classes from his home, the police began to suspect him of abusing his students.

Some of the children Friedman taught had alleged Friedman played bizarre sex games with them during their computer classes. Jarecki interviewed some of these children himself; some stated that they had been in the room with other children alleging abuse, and that nothing had happened. The film portrayed police investigative procedures as the genesis of a “witch-hunt” hysteria in the Friedman’s community.

The Friedmans took home videos while Arnold Friedman (and, later, his son Jesse) awaited trial. They were allowed to stay at home in order to prepare for court. The pictures were not made with publishing in mind, but as a way to record what was happening in their lives. The movie shows much of this footage; family dinners, conversations and arguments. Arnold’s wife eventually advised her husband to confess and protect their son.

Jesse Friedman filed his appeal;[4] a federal judge rejected 2 out of 3 motions of Jesse Friedman’s appeal. The third motion was dismissed in January 2008. [5]