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did daddy do it?

nearly 20 years later, frontline investigates new evidence that calls into question a seemingly ironclad case against a convicted child molester
Was Frank Fuster a 'Monster?'
A summary of the "Country Walk" case; interviews with Frank Fuster, his wife, and his son; and a look at the questionable word of Ileana Flores.
Lessons from the Day Care Abuse Cases of the 1980s
What meaning can we draw from these investigations? Here are the views of experts, an interview with producer Michael Kirk, and a rundown on the outcomes of high-profile cases of the 1980s.
Interviewing the Children
A look at the controversy over child interviewing techniques and the possibility of tainted testimony, with clips from the videotaped interview sessions of "child experts" involved in the Fuster case.
The 'Miami Method' of Prosecuting Child Abuse Cases
A look at the cases of Grant Snowden and Bobby Fijnje, in which the so-called "Miami Method," first used in the Fuster case, was questioned and discredited.
Join the DiscussionInterviewsVideo Excerpt
tapes and transcriptspress reactioncreditsprivacy policyproducer's chat

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was frank fuster a monster? + interviews + lessons from the abuse cases of the 1980s
interviewing the children + the 'miami method' +  producer chat + introduction + discussion + video
tapes & transcripts + press reaction + credits + privacy policy
FRONTLINE + wgbh + pbsi

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Did Daddy Do It?

In 1984, Cuban immigrant Frank Fuster was living the American dream. He had a new house in the suburbs, a successful landscaping business, and a new wife who was helping him raise his five-year-old son. Then, Fuster's world fell apart, as he and his wife found themselves charged with sexually abusing numerous children at their Miami day care service. His case was groundbreaking because it helped create the methods by which prosecutors would pursue alleged molesters in other well-known cases around the country. The prosecutor in the case, Janet Reno, became famous and would later serve as the nation's Attorney General. In the l980s, hysteria was in the air and the Fuster case had the usual media frenzy that branded him a monster. Then, when Fuster's wife and son testified against him, he was easily convicted and sentenced to 165 years in prison. Case closed. But was Fuster really guilty of those horrific acts? Now, nearly 20 years later, a FRONTLINE investigation finds new evidence that calls into question the ironclad case against Frank Fuster.

published april 2002