Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon

Letter: Protect privacy of Friedman victims

A judge has asked Nassau County prosecutors to

A judge has asked Nassau County prosecutors to turn over all paperwork on the Jesse Friedman case to the former defendant. Friedman claims he was wrongly coerced into pleading guilty in 1988 to charges of child sexual abuse. Credit: Jim Staubitser / News 12

We agree with Newsday about the need to keep all the victims' identities confidential in the Jesse Friedman case, but also see the need to extend this to their statements and testimony as well ["Edit names in Friedman case," Editorial, Aug. 26]. Sealed years ago, the statements made by 9- and 10-year-olds outline, in detail, the abuse they suffered. These are words the victims thought they'd never have to hear again for the rest of their lives.

It is vastly different to testify about one's car being stolen than it is to speak in court about your body being violated. The grand jury system, with its privacy protections, allows victims to speak openly about the violations they may have suffered, with the understanding that who they are, and what they say, will be held confidential if the case never goes to trial.

Friedman pleaded guilty and served his time. A re-examination of the case by the Nassau County district attorney's office concluded that he was not wrongfully convicted. The statements of the victims, and their identities, should remain secret.

To expect adult survivors of child sexual abuse to reach out to the court and ask that their names be held private places an undue burden on these survivors. The work they have done to move on with their lives should not be undermined by having to respond to this issue more than 25 years later.

Anthony Zenkus

Sandy Oliva


Editor's note: The writers represent The Safe Center LI, which serves victims of abuse.