Film takes Kern County justice system to task

Film takes Kern County justice system to task
A new documentary movie is taking the justice system in Kern County to task.

"We were forced to say that a gentleman named John Stoll had molested us. I was one of the children that convicted him," said Victor Monge.

Monge says the allegations against Stoll were false. Monge now an adult, says he was coerced by investigators to tell them what they wanted to hear.

The film, "Witch Hunt," had a premier showing Sunday night at the American Film Institute Festival in Los Angeles. It tells the story of a string of child molestation cases during the 1980s in which 34 people from Bakersfield were falsely convicted to hundreds of years in prison.

Filmmakers allege Kern County prosecutors used coercive techniques to get children to testify against their own parents, and the film shows that every conviction was ultimately overturned.

"You have to see it to really understand what went on," said Jackie Cummings during the premier.

Cummings' children were taken by Kern County Child Protective Services during the events documented in "Witch Hunt," though she and her husband were never charged with crimes.

"You just have to see the movie to be able to understand what happens when your justice system goes AWOL," Cummings said.

"Witch Hunt" was made by Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, and actor Sean Penn served as executive producer and narrator.

The film's producers said they are attempting to get the movie shown in Kern County.