Plot & Details
Academy Award-winner Sean Penn serves as producer and narrator of this documentary detailing the disturbing spike in child-molestation allegations and sex-abuse cases in the small California community of Bakersfield during the 1980s, and the rash of convictions that quickly followed. It was during the Reagan era that the citizens of Bakersfield began to grow concerned about law-and-order issues, eventually electing a new district attorney to crack down on crime. What happened next, no one could have foreseen. Almost overnight, seemingly well-adjusted individuals and happy couples were charged with the heinous crime of child molestation. In the aftermath, the local jails became crowded with alleged child molesters who took every opportunity possible to proclaim their innocence. As the arrests ramped up and heavy sentences were handed down by the local judge, some frightened residents attempted to flee town. But their efforts were in vain, because anyone who fled was quickly tracked down and dragged back to Bakersfield to face their accusers - their own flesh and blood. When accusations of satanic rites began to emerge, the state attorney general launched a comprehensive investigation that proved many of the cases to be legally deficient. Later, it was revealed that many of the over-zealous, under-trained social workers in Bakersfield had coerced the children into making the accusations, prompting the release of numerous accused parents after years behind bars. Could their families every truly be normal again after such a long and drawn out trauma? That question and many more are addresses in this cautionary look at the very real dangers of mass hysteria.
Cinequest Film Festival
|Year||Award||Category||Cast & Crew||Result|
|2009||Cinequest Film Festival||Film Presented||Nominated|