Innocent man freed, but shabby prosecutor still works as judge

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This June, District Attorney David Capeless of Berkshire County, Massachusetts announced that he was dropping all charges against 44-year-old Bernard Baran, a man who has spent half his life behind bars on child molestation charges that the state no longer has the confidence to retry. Baran was convicted in January 1985 of molesting six children at a pre-Kindergarten daycare facility in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He was released on bond in 2006 after an appeals court determined that his trial attorney had been incompetent and that the prosecution may have withheld key exculpatory evidence.

Baran says that during his jail term he was raped and beaten more than 30 times, necessitating six different transfers to new correctional institutions. Such is the cost the prison system exacts on an openly gay man convicted of molesting children. Baran was one of the first people in the country to be prosecuted in the daycare sex abuse panic of the 1980s, a bizarre, nationwide hysteria fed by fears of satanism, homophobia, and a wing of child psychology that used unproven interrogation techniques critics say caused children to recount sexual incidents that never took place.

source: Article 'Innocent Man Freed, But Shabby Prosecutor Still Works as Judge' by Radley Balko;; Reason Magazine; 17 August 2009