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Witch Hunt (2008)

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The story of several families who have their lives destroyed when their hometown is whipped into a frenzy by allegations of child molestation.


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Credited cast:
Jack Cummings ...
Himself - Accused of Child Molestation
Jackie Cummings ...
Herself - Accused of Child Molestation
Allen Grafton ...
Himself - Accuser
Ed Jagels ...
Himself - Kern County District Attorney (archive footage)
Brenda Kniffen ...
Herself - Accused of Child Molestation
Scott Kniffen ...
Himself - Accused of Child Molestation
Carla Modahl ...
Herself - Daughter of Jeffrey Modahl
Jeffrey Modahl ...
Himself - Accused of Child Molestation
Victor Monge ...
Himself - Accuser
Himself - Narrator
Marcella Pitts ...
Herself - Accused of Child Molestation
Rick Pitts ...
Himself - Accused of Child Molestation
Kathleen Ridolfi ...
Herself - Northern California Innocence Project (as Kathleen 'Cookie' Ridolfi)
Ed Sampley ...
Himself - Accuser
Linda Starr ...
Herself - Northern California Innocence Project


Executive Producer Sean Penn presents "Witch Hunt," a gripping indictment of the American justice system told through the lens of one small town. Voters in Bakersfield, California elected a tough on crime district attorney into office for more than 25 years. During his tenure he convicted dozens of innocent working class moms and dads. They went to prison, some for decades, before being exonerated. He remains in office today. This story on a micro level mirrors what the US has experienced over the last eight years. When power is allowed to exist without oversight civil rights are in jeopardy. Written by Dana Nachman

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Some convictions are criminal


Documentary | Crime

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Release Date:

2 November 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

An American Witch Hunt  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

(Dolby 5.1)|



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


[first lines]
title cards: There are more than 2 million people in American prisons today. This film is dedicated to the thousands of them who are actually innocent.
Narrator: [narration] The images of your life, picture them, on your refrigerator, in albums, frames. They capture every stage, change, celebration. Without them, how much do you remember? How much do you rely on these photos to remind you of the journey you've taken in life. Now imagine them gone. This is the first photo John Stoll has of is life. The ...
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User Reviews

Fiddle About
11 June 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

America can only remain a free nation if the judicial process is fair, untainted, and subject to review. During the early 1980's, it seems that the residents of Bakersfield, CA sacrificed their judicial rights for the illusion of Law And Order. WITCH HUNT is a riveting documentary about a group of citizens who became the target of a joint task force of Law Enforcement and Social Services that illegally and immorally usurped their power. The State's position was that this police and social service unit provided an opportunity for sexually abused children to be heard, and allow the law to apprehend and punish their abusers. However, as the the film clearly demonstrates, Child And Family Services, with the aid of an overzealous police force, were able to orchestrate children's testimony, and allowed the local government to create a non-existing threat to the community. Bakersfield became a city under siege by pedophiles-perverted by "Sexual Weapons Of Mass Destruction". WITCH HUNT shows that these 'dedicated and thoughtful public servants' invented a phony threat to the community, and then rode it for all it was worth. This 'Response To Evil' allowed them to parade before the media and appear to be 'Tough On Crime', when really they did nothing but railroad innocent citizens by using Child And Family Services to badger and bully innocent children until they gave them the 'sexual horror' that they craved. In no way should this film be viewed as a fair and balanced treatment of child molesters, but what this documentary shows us is that Law Enforcement and Social Service Agencies are able to foster a climate of hysteria which might allow citizens to give up an unbiased legal system for the illusion of Safety. In the commentary to the film, we find that when Child and Family Service personnel were told by the children that 'nothing happened', the impressionable children were badgered and bullied and told that they were 'in denial'. What is truly alarming is that, given these conditions, this gross travesty of justice could happen to any of us.

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