Winner 1995

20/20: Truth on Trial

ABC News 20/20

For the last two decades, alleged sexual abuse of children in group care settings has risen into the national spotlight. Criminal prosecutions of these alleged acts of abuse have relied almost exclusively on the testimony of small children. This report shed light on the suggestibility of children during pretrial interviews, bringing into question the relationship of their testimony to potentially false charges. Video evidence showed children agreed to statements of abuse only after repeated denials. Young witnesses were subject to leading questions and were rewarded by prosecutors and social workers for delivering positive responses to allegations of sexual abuse. Reporter John Stossel makes a compelling argument for reconsideration of the evidence. For shedding light on questionable practices that may subvert justice and unfairly color public opinion, a Peabody to ABC News 20/20 for Truth on Trial.