Bernard Baran Radio Interview This Evening

February 27th, 2013

Bernard Baran will be interviewed this evening, February 27th, by TRadioV in San Francisco.

The interview will take place at 6 p.m. pst and 9 p.m. est.

Here is the link:

I am so sorry this battle is still going on. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office can be very cruel.

-Bob Chatelle

Bernard Baran, Exonerated and Compensated, Fights to Clear His Name

February 17th, 2013

National Center for Reason and Justice — NCRJ

For immediate release: February 17, 2013

Contact:  Bob Chatelle,

Victim of false conviction and imprisonment,

already exonerated and awarded monetary damges,

still fighting in Massachusetts courts to clear his name

WHEN: 2pm, February 26, 2013

WHERE:  Suffolk Superior Court, Courtroom 1006, before Superior Court Justice Mary         K. Ames

As a teenager, Bernard Baran was falsely convicted of child sexual abuse in Massachusetts. This happened in 1985,  and 21 years later, with support from the National Center for Reason and Justice, he finally gained his freedom. Since then he has successfully fought to be compensated monetarily for the grave injustice he suffered.

Nevertheless, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley still refuses to expunge Baran’s record.

At 2 p.m. on February 26, Bernard Baran, represented by attorney John Swomley, will ask a Massachusetts judge to expunge all records of his arrest and conviction.  Baran wants to go on with his life with a completely clean slate.

Baran was an openly gay 19-year-old working in a day care center when he was sent to Massachusetts prison for a crime he did not commit, for a crime that no one committed, for a crime that adults created in young children’s minds.  Homophobia played a prominent role in the case.  Baran was convicted in 1985, at the height of the national hysteria over alleged sex abuse in day care centers. He was, in fact, the first daycare employee convicted in America during this panic.  Finally, when the videotaped interviews with the children were dragged out of the Berkshire County prosecutor’s office, they showed the incredibly leading questions used on the children.

Interviewer: “Tell me a little more about what Bernie did to you?

Child: “He didn’t do nothing.”

Interviewer (ignoring child’s answer):“Did Bernie touch you while in the bathroom? I know you are scared….Did it hurt you when Bernie touched you?”

Child: “He didn’t.”

Interviewer grabs doll’s penis to demonstrate: “Did he pull it? Did he twist it around?”

Massachusetts activist and writer Bob Chatelle wrote to Baran in prison to offer help.  On March 3, 1999, Baran wrote back:  “I was talking to my mother last night and as we talked I started to cry. I just told her I don’t know how much longer I can hold on for. I have spent 15 years of my life locked away for something I never did and after a while you start to lose all hope. I tell you this because when I see your letter that’s what I start feeling is hope and it scares me.”

In 2002, several writers, human and civil rights advocates, and attorneys, founded the National Center for Reason and Justice (NCRJ) to support Baran and others falsely accused of child abuse.

Finally, thanks in large part to the NCRJ’s work and that of lawyer John Swomley, Baran was released from prison in June 2006, under strict restrictions including a GPS ankle bracelet. In June 2009 he was fully exonerated. In August 2012 he was granted $400,000 in compensation for his wrongful imprisonment.

The State of Massachusetts, however, is inexplicably fighting to keep Baran from expunging the records of his case.  NCRJ calls on the State to serve justice by immediately processing the expungment.

“Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley in the past has had a troubling record with these cases,” says John Swomley, the lawyer for Bernard Baran.  “Now is her chance finally to do something right, something no reasonable person could possibly think unwise.  We were surprised that the State opposed the expungement of Baran’s records.  We are seeking it as the final logical step, and for Bernard Baran’s peace of mind.  On some level, if they want to fight it, it gives him his day in court.  We are looking forward to it.”

Bob Chatelle, founder and executive director of the National Center for Reason and Justice, is available for comment, as are Bernard Baran and his lawyer John Swomley, 617-227-9443,


Bernard Baran Documentary Now Available Through Amazon

July 6th, 2012

Dear Friend of Bernard Baran,

The full-length documentary movie about the Baran case is now available through Amazon Instant Video.

You may rent the movie for $2.99 or purchase it for $9.99.

You must download a special player from Amazon to watch the movie. There is no additional charge. But you can’t copy the movie to a DVD and view it on a standard DVD player.

The doumentary contains some powerful footage, especially of Baran and his family. I’m most interested in hearing your reactions.

-Bob Chatelle

Bernard Baran and his attorney, John Swomley

June 1st, 2012

Dear Friend of Bee,

On April 17, 2012, Bernard Baran and his attorney, John Swomley, visited a criminal justice class at St. Francis College in Brooklyn.

Here is a link to the video.

An unscrupulous prosecutor rode a wave of homophobic hysteria to get his career-advancing conviction. (Disgracefully, he is still a judge in Massachusetts.) Baran, an innocent man arrested when only 19, survived 22 years of rapes, beatings, and degradation. The Berkshire County still refuses to acknowledge the terrible mistakes that they made.

-Bob Chatelle

New England Innocence Project Hosts First Annual Exoneree Picnic

October 29th, 2011

Bee and Me

September 28th, 2011

Yesterday Bernard Baran came by and took Jim and me to lunch. Afterwards, we hung out for a while in the Rose Kennedy Rose Garden, where Jim took this photo.

Bee has had some terrible health problems over the past couple of years. He’s lost too much weight.

Second Baran Judge Nominated to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

April 4th, 2011

Dear Friend of Bernard Baran,

I  just got this from

Barbara Lenk wrote the terrific unanimous appellate decision in the Bernard Baran case. Another of the Appellate Judges, Fernande Duffly, was recently elevated to the Supreme Judicial Court  by Patrick. Lenk just be confirmed by the Governor’s Council. (The Governor’s Council is a holdover from pre-revolutionary Massachusetts, created to appease colonialists who wanted a check on the powers of the Royal Governor.)

Patrick had previously also elevated Francis Fecteau, the judge who threw out Baran’s conviction, to the state Appellate Court.

According to radio station WBUR, Massachusetts Bar Association Chief Counsel, Michael Healy, cited Lenk’s work in the Baran case as particularly distinguished.


Daniel Alexander Interview From the Archives

September 6th, 2010

Dear Friend of Bee,

Some have asked if the interview with the film maker was archived. Here it is:

-Bob Chatelle

Film Maker Interviewed about Freeing Bernie Baran

August 24th, 2010

Dear Friend of Bernard Baran,

Film maker Daniel Alexander will be interviewed about his movie, Freeing Bernie Baran, this evening on Austin Texas radio station KOOP at 6 p.m. Central Daylight Time, 7 p.m. Eastern.

The movie will premier at the Austin Gay/Lesbian film festival on September 11.

I will be listening live. Please join me by clicking here.

-Bob Chatelle

R.I.P. John M. Swomley

August 18th, 2010

Dear Friend of Bernard Baran,

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Reverend John M. Swomley, father of Bernard Baran’s lawyer, John G. Swomley. I never met the elder Swomley, but I know that his values were deeply instilled into his son, who achieved the exoneration of Baran and has fought for justice and civil liberties on so many fronts.

Here is an obituary of a most remarkable man:

-Bob Chatelle