Phase9 Movies 2000-12

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Year: 1999
USA: SomFord Entertainment
Cast: Stephen Matthews, Melvin Matthews
Director: Nonny de la Pena
Country: USA
USA: 90 mins
USA Release Date: 3 March 2000 (Limited Release - New York)


This harrowing documentary chronicles the decade long trials and emotional traumas incurred by a gay Michigan man, Stephen Matthews, and his straight father, Melvin Matthews, who were wrongfully accused by Stephen's ex-girlfriend and her husband of molesting Stephen's son. Despite the fact that there was no physical evidence (although accusations included the torturous use of a machette), both Stephen and Melvin Matthews were sentenced to 35 years in jail.

A chlamydia test which swayed the jury, was later revealed to give false positive results. Both the manufacturer, Abbott Laboratories, and The Center for Disease Control say that it lacks forensic value for use in sexual abuse cases. Eventually released from incarceration on this fact, both men went into the world to find that the prosecution wanted to put them on trial again, despite a total lack of evidence.

Stephen Matthew's story is a horrifying example of justice miscarried in a society of legal labyrinths where science is easily confused about fact, and sexual orientation can provoke prosecutorial vendettas based upon long-held biases.

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