Secrets and Lies   View more episodes

Aired at 10:00 AM on Saturday, Sep 04, 2010 (9/4/2010)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:00Even parents accused by their own children in chilling detail.
00:00:04>> The kid you looked after when he was a baby.
00:00:06>> Accused me of molesting him.
00:00:08>> Parents paraded into court one by one.
00:00:12>> When you know that nothing happened, then you believe in your system, then you can't believe that you're going to go to prison for it.
00:00:19>> But go to prison they did.
00:00:21>> Not just guilty.
00:00:23As to count one, guilty.
00:00:24As to count two, guilty.
00:00:26As to count three, guilty.
00:00:27And you're going, oh, dear god.
00:00:29>> But years later, stunning revelations would turn this man's case on its head.
00:00:34Did john stoll ever molest you?
00:00:36>> What really happened to these children?
00:00:37>> This was haunting.
00:00:39>> Yeah, it was.
00:00:41>> The testimony of children sent dozens to prison.
00:00:45Could their words as adults set anyone free?
00:00:48In this hour, "secrets and " >>> it was hot the summer it all began.
00:01:00But then, every summer is hot in bakersfield, california.
00:01:05Triple-digit blazing heat, 100 miles and a culture shock up the road from l.a.
00:01:12In the summer of 1984, heat rose in waves around the derricks still pumping a full century after oil was first found pooled under the desert here.
00:01:21But that summer, something that seemed like evil was bubbling up, too.
00:01:27And it was about to engulf this man, john stoll, who had moved to town a few years earlier to start a new life.
00:01:35>> I met ann.
00:01:35She was younger.
00:01:37>> You were married right away?
00:01:40>> Yes, sir, we did.
00:01:41Almost right away.
00:01:41>> It was quick?
00:01:42>> Yeah, too quick.
00:01:43Big mistake.
00:01:46I was looking for something that wasn't there.
00:01:49>> By the summer of '84, john and ann were divorced.
00:01:52He was 40 and feuding with his ex-wife over their 5-year-old son, jed.
00:01:57How did you feel about that boy?
00:01:59>> Really just amazing.
00:02:02He was the most important thing in my life at that point.
00:02:06>> Since the day his son was born, stoll had considered himself the more stable parent.
00:02:10They shared custody.
00:02:12Though jed lived mostly with her.
00:02:15>> I would get him every other weekend, so I would want to have a good time.
00:02:18We went whale watching and went out on a boat.
00:02:20I would take him places and do things with him.
00:02:22>> Father and son, creating memories that would last a lifetime.
00:02:26But then trouble.
00:02:28John's wife accused him of being a bad influence.
00:02:31>> She felt that I was trying to turn jed against her.
00:02:36>> At the time, john stoll was an oil field worker.
00:02:41A foreman in fact, and in an oil town like bakersfield, that was a respected job.
00:02:44He had a steady paycheck, nice house and perhaps most important, a possession that made him immensely popular with his neighbors and friends.
00:02:54He had a swimming pool.
00:02:57In a town where heat wave could describe the weather for the entire summer, stoll's pool became the centerpiece of his social life.
00:03:04Friends and their kids were constantly dropping in.
00:03:08His son jed was encouraged to bring pals over during his weekend visits.
00:03:12Children stoll didn't even know were running in and out of his home half dressed changing into their swimsuits.
00:03:19Then in early june, an officer dropped by.
00:03:22Said he was following up on a complaint filed by stoll's ex-wife.
00:03:29>> They said that she made a report that jed was -- jed and another little boy had a sexual encounter of some kind.
00:03:36>> While they were at your house?
00:03:37>> Yes, sir.
00:03:38>> What would jed have been doing with some other little boy at your house?
00:03:42>> They were in the shower together, okay?
00:03:45>> How old were they?
00:03:46>> 5.
00:03:47Both of them.
00:03:49They were just little kids experimenting, I guess.
00:03:51I didn't even really get into it with them.
00:03:53That was it and I moved on.
00:03:56I figured the more you make out of it, the bigger deal you make out of it, the more they're going to think it's a big deal.
00:04:02>> But it turned out to be a very big deal.
00:04:05Just days after that first visit by police, they came again.
00:04:09And this time it was a raid.
00:04:13>> And they threw the search warrant on the table.
00:04:16>> What are you thinking as the police come in the house?