Meet the Exonerees

Bernard Baran

State: Massachusetts
Date of Birth:
Incident Date: 1984
Age at Arrest: 19
Conviction Date: 01/30/1985
Age When Exonerated: 35
Exonerated Date: 06/09/2009
Time Served: 21
Conviction: sexual assault of children
False Confession: No
Implicated by Another Youth: Yes

Case Details

Bernard Baran was one of the first people to be prosecuted in the 1980's daycare sex abuse panic. Nineteen-year-old Baran was always very caring and enjoyed helping children, but because he was homosexual, he was quickly accused of molesting several young children. He was convicted on January 30, 1985 of molesting five young children at the Early Childhood Development Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he was a teacher’s aide. He was sentenced to two life sentences based on testimony from children. The police had manipulated the children into testifying that they had been molested by Baran, producing several false accusations, many not even making logical sense. Logistically, the incidents could not have taken place due to the daycare's open door policy, as well as policies restricting teachers from being alone with a child. In his trial, Baran’s attorney was far from competent, and the state withheld evidence from the grand jury that may have helped Baran. In 2006, Baran was finally awarded a new hearing based on this withheld evidence. He was granted bail in 2006, and in 2009 he was finally exonerated when the state dropped all charges against Baran and chose not to re-try him.