Lisa Friel, the star of Lisa Jackson’s HBO documentary “Sex Crimes Unit” and its leader for the last 10 years, is leaving the department. The film premiered last month at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
Jackson had unprecedented access in making the documentary, which features Friel and her staff in frank discussions about their strategies in prosecuting actual cases. HBO first aired the documentary June 20.According to the New York Post, the documentary shot footage of D.A. investigators Ed Tacchi and Lauren Liebhauser discussing the police rape case of ex-cops Franklin Mata and Kenneth Moreno. That footage was never used, but the judge in the case ruled that the footage should have been turned over to the defense.
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The HBO documentary Sex Crimes Unit premiered this month recounting the history of the Manhattan sex crimes unit. The Manhattan sex crimes unit, the first such unit in the country, was established in 1974 with longtime Manhattan District Attorney Richard Morgenthau at the helm. In 1970, prior to the creation of the sex crimes unit, there were 1000 cases of rape in New York City but as few as 18 rapes actually made it into a court of law. The documentary shows the day-to-day process of the district attorneys as they prepare rape cases and take them to trial.
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Variety reviews Sex Crimes Unit in the June 20 issue:
Comparisons to "Law & Order" and "CSI" will probably be inevitable, but helmer Lisa F. Jackson's "Sex Crimes Unit" is the real thing, a gritty, emotional, up-close-and-procedural look at the actual New York district attorneys dedicated to prosecuting rape and sexual assault.
For pure drama and narrative arc, it might be hard to find something more compelling than the case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who has been charged by the Manhattan district attorney’s office with attempting to rape a housekeeper in a hotel room.
But on June 20 at 9 p.m., a documentary about the people who work in that office’s sex crimes unit will air on HBO, giving greater context to what is happening in the courtrooms of Lower Manhattan. The film, titled “Sex Crimes Unit,” is the director Lisa F. Jackson’s take on the historic investigative body that was established in 1974, by Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney at the time.
Armen Georgian speaks to Lisa F. Jackson, Director of a new documentary on the HBO channel, 'Sex Crimes Unit'. Following the pre-trial hearing of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former chief of the IMF, she analyses the images coming from the courtroom and those of the David-versus-Goliath representation.
TO HELL AND BACK
by Megan Finnegan
Once documentary filmmaker Lisa Jackson gets an idea in her head, she doesn’t back down until it’s translated to the screen. Her latest film, Sex Crimes Unit, has been over 15 years in the making. The documentary premieres on HBO June 20, and is the product of countless hours Jackson spent, with and without her camera crew, hanging around the unit of the District Attorney’s office responsible for prosecuting Manhattan’s sex crimes.
Jackson, who lives and works on the Upper West Side, met Linda Fairstein, then the head of the unit, in the mid ‘90s and began following her cases.
“It just became an obsession of mine to try to do a film about the unit,” Jackson said. “The fact that it was the first unit in the country; it really is the gold standard. I thought, rape is so chronically underreported that if you showed a portrait of the prosecutors who do take on these crimes that maybe survivors would be more likely to come forward.”
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A Manhattan, une cinquantaine de procureurs, dont une moitié de femmes, appartiennent à la Sex Crimes Unit. C'est elle qui mène l'offensive dans l'enquête visant DSK.
Ce hasard décidera peut-être de la carrière de John "Artie" McConnell. Dans la nuit du samedi 14 mai, l'assistant du district attorney, l'un des 500 substituts du procureur de Manhattan, assurait la permanence pour la Sex Crimes Unit, la section du parquet chargée des crimes sexuels, lorsqu'un coup de fil des policiers sur son portable l'a averti qu'ils détenaient un suspect soupçonné de viol, un certain Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Voilà comment "Artie", un beau brun d'une trentaine d'années originaire de Virginie, embauché peu après ses examens au barreau de New York, en 2005, a été saisi de l'accusation dans le dossier le plus médiatisé depuis l'affaire Madoff, face à l'une des équipes d'avocats les plus expérimentées du pays. Le diplômé de la prestigieuse faculté de droit George-Washington fera-t-il le poids?
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When Powerful Men Are Accused of Rape:
Lisa F. Jackson, director of the new HBO documentary, Sex Crimes Unit, talks about the arrest of the IMF chief, the evolution of New York's laws on rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war.
The May 15 arrest in New York City of International Monetary Fund Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on charges of sexual assault was another, brutal reminder of how widespread such acts are and how unlimited by class or culture. Although Strauss-Kahn has yet to stand trial for the accusations, which include the attempted rape of a hotel housekeeper, the event has brought forward a stunning history of sexual misconduct, including accounts that he pressured a subordinate to have an affair and attempted to sexually assault a young journalist.
On June 20, HBO will debut Lisa F. Jackson’s documentary, Sex Crimes Unit, offering an unprecedented look at the workings of New York’s groundbreaking division of prosecutors, the first in the country to be devoted to such acts of violence. The film not only follows the current Sex Crimes team through their cases, but interviews legendary Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau (who founded the Unit with then-A.D.A. Leslie Crocker Snyder) and Linda Fairstein, who led the Unit from 1976 to 2002, prosecuting such high profile cases as the “Preppy Murder” and the “Central Park Jogger.”
It took Jackson over a decade to gain access to the Sex Crimes Unit, whose work she has reason to appreciate on a deeply personal level: In 1976, while working in Washington, D.C., she was kidnapped and raped by three men; they were never apprehended. Here, Jackson, who also directed the award-winning documentary, The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo, talks about the Strauss-Kahn arrest, her new film and the sexual victimization of women around the world.
"This documentary should be required viewing for everyone. Show it to your sisters, cousins, friends, and uncles and aunts."