Geraldo Rivera's interview with Jesse Friedman
"Busting the Kiddie Porn Underground"
Geraldo: "Why didn't you stop this? You knew what was going on. Why didn't you help those children? Why didn't you stop what was going on?"
Jesse: "After years and years of a very bad situation between my father and myself and the whole family (sigh) . I was too scared. Once . once I realized what was going on and that it was getting worse, the stakes got worse. As more and more bad things happened, there was more and more pressure form my father, and there was more and more fear that grew inside of me that if anyone ever found out -- it would be horrible for everybody. I was scared for myself. I was scared that I'd lose my father . that was the most important thing to me for the most of my life."
Geraldo: "How many victims were there?"
Jesse: " It's very difficult to say. There were certain kids who were actually physically abused. There were certain children who weren't actually physically abused but who were witnesses to what was going on."
Geraldo: "How many kids, Jesse, did you and your father actually physically abuse in your home?"
Jesse: (long sigh, appears to be mentally counting) "I guess 17."
Geraldo: "Seventeen different children."
Jesse: (nods) "Seventeen children."
Geraldo: "The state says there was probably three times that many â€" most ranging in age from what to . to 11?"
Jesse: (nods) Nine to 11 mostly, mostly around 10 and 11.
Geraldo: "What did he do to you?"
Jesse: (looks Geraldo in the eye for first time in interview, voice strengthens) "He did about everything to me. It started when I was about 8 or 9 and he would fondle me. He would read me bedtime stories and he would fondle me in bed. He'd shower with me. He'd play with my penis. And as I hit puberty he became activity involved in having sex with me.
Geraldo: "What did you do to the children?"
Jesse: "What did I do to the children? I fondled them. I was forced to pose in 100's of photos for my father in all sorts of sexual positions with the kids and the kids likewise with myself. Oral sex going both ways. I was forced to pose with my penis against their anus. I would control the kids. I would keep them in line of the class got too riled upâ€¦"
Geraldo asks Jesse about the child pornography that Arnold Friedman apparently removed from the house prior to the police search.
Geraldo: "What about the photographs . did he sell them?"
Jesse: "I don't think he actually sold them. I just think it was trade . you know . between friends for the most part."
Geraldo: "Like baseball cards?"
Jesse: "Yeah, yeah. A hobby . like collecting stamps or collecting coins . having pictures of naked boys.
Geraldo: "It's so sick Jesse; so perverse."
Jesse: (looks Geraldo straight in the eye) " It's worse than that . But it's not like it just started happening one night. It gradually grew into worse and worse things and once it got started, it was very difficult to stop."
Geraldo: "Why didn't the kids ever tell?"
Jesse: "The same reason I never told."
Geraldo: "Did you threaten them Jesse?"
Jesse: "I told them that if they told anyone what was going on that I knew terrible, terrible things would happen to all of us. I told them I thought my father would hurt them much worse than he had been doing already. I knew my father made vicious threats to the kids about . about burning down their home and things like that; and I re-established that with the kids . that it was perfectly possible, that my father would burn down their homes or hunt down their parents or something like that . if they told what was going on."