The Bandy Story on 20/20–join the crusade

January 13, 2007

I hope all crisisblogger readers watched 20/20 last night and saw the story about Matt Bandy. Matt is a 16 year old from Phoenix falsely accused and prosecuted of child porn because a few images of the nasty stuff was found on his computer at home. Despite the compelling evidence to the contrary, the prosecutor continued to push the accusations until the family accepted a plea bargain for a much lower charge–the equivalent of taking a Playboy to school. Still, he was branded a sex offender with the draconian restrictions applied to those who are thus convicted.

This story is of special interest for several reasons. One it is a great example in the extreme of the need sometime of “moving the black hat” as I advocate in extreme cases in Now Is Too Late2. When your reputation is on the line and you are innocent, sometimes you have to be aggressive and make the accusers the bad guys. In this case, the extremely aggressive prosecutor, more interested in his career than in justice, rightfully (in my opinion) has been outed as the real black hat in this story. View the extended interview with ABC and make up your own mind.

Second, is the personal connection. Jonathan Bernstein is the crisis manager who has been helping the family and their attorney every since they made the courageous decision to turn their bad fortune into a crusade. The 20/20 story is one part of the strategy. Creating an engaging and interactive website that helps manage the conversation that inevitably will go on about such an event is also part of the communication effort. Here is Matt’s website:

We were very pleased to respond to Jonathan’s request for help and provide the PIER System’s functionality to support the ongoing media relations and viewer response. This kind of communication activity shows the absolutely necessity of a small team or a single communicator to be able to handle the potentially hyperactive online response to this kind of national story and crusade.

For more comments about this communication effort as well as how you can get involved in this important communication effort, please go to and be sure to use the contact form. (I just did!–and also emailed the governor).


7 Responses to “The Bandy Story on 20/20–join the crusade”

  1. infOpinions? Says:

    Zombie Causes Teenage Boy To Face Prison Time For Viewing Porn?

    Just like my last post, this is about parents attempting crisis management in a story about their child. Zombie, as in zombie computer that has been hacked into by some nefarious character. This is a story about porn, hackers, trojan viruses, zombie …

  2. Jonathan Bernstein Says:

    Gerald, thank you for your help in getting the word out. Update on the Bandys:

    *Almost 140,000 hits on ABC website’s version of the Bandy’s story in four days
    *They’re busy doing print and broadcast media interviews
    *Other similar cases are “coming out of the woodwork”
    *A very senior legislator in AZ is going to lead an effort to modify the law(s) relevent to this case




    Jonathan Bernstein
    President, Bernstein Crisis Management LLC
    Consultant to the Bandy Family

  3. Fima Fimovich Says:

    I send you links to publications about my case.
    I was forced to confess to the
    possession of internet digital pictures of porn in deleted clusters of
    my computer hard drive. My browser was hijacked while I was browsing
    the web. I was redirected to illegal sites against my will. Some
    illegal pictures were found on my hard drive, recovering in
    unallocated clusters, without dates of file creation/download.

    I do not know how courts can widely press these charges on people to
    convict them, while the whole Internet is a mess.

    This is my story in There is all
    information about case written by Irish writer Brian
    Rothery. You can see a lot of violations of law by police

    This is publication in Wired news,1377,63391,00.html

    This is publication in Theregester

    Article in Globe and Mail newspaper

    Article in ZDnet

    This is article in Washington Times, May 22, 2004
    There is information about my case.

    Article in Crime research center:

    Article in Dallas, TX Newspaper

    Child porn law was declared unconstitutional in Hennepin County, Minnesota, USA’

  4. Here’s another scathing story about the Bandy case, published January 25.

    Doubting Thomas
    By Sarah Fenske

    County prosecutors charged a teenager with looking at kiddy porn. Turns out they hadn’t done their homework


    The Bandy Team

  5. Julie Says:

    Please explain to me how a zombie burns a CD full of child porn and names folders “Lolita” and “kidlolitagood ones.”

    Sorry, but you have to address ALL of the facts of the case if you want to convince me and the courts. Crucial facts have been omitted here.

  6. D.W. Miller Says:

    20/20 was right on target! The reason I know it’s on target is because my son is going through the same exact thing! My son is currently being prosecuted by Daniel Strange in Maricopa County. He is currently sitting in jail because he is refusing to accept the same plea that they first offered Matt Bandy. My son also was required to wear an ankle monitor and was order to a strict curfew (house arrest between the hours of 7pm to 7am which we later had changed to 9pm to 6am). My son was 17, he was a junior in high school when he was using his computer and had opened a zip file. He had the file opened 3 days, all it took for this nightmare to begin was 3 days.
    The police waited another year until my son was 18 to come to our door (we believe to charge my son as an adult – why else would they sit on this information an entire year before coming to our door) they questioned him, we were with my son the entire time they questioned him so we know what should be in the police report it probably will not surprise you that we have found several discrepancy in the police report. The audio tapes from that day would be useful to prove that the lies in the police report are exactly that lies. However, to our surprise tape A has never been turned over to my son’s second attorney only Tape B, that has the ending part of the interview. The police on June 8th 2004 took his computer and the two CD’s that he backed his desk top to within that one year period. Nothing was found on his hard drive nor on the two CD’s, we have the forensic report that proves this.
    My son is being charged with evidence that was never in his possession nor in his home nor from his computer. He is being charge because a Detective in New York sent 2 CD’S to Phoenix Police Dept and Phoenix sent these two CD’S to Chandler Police Dept. So, now anyone in the state of Arizona can worry that this detective might send more CD’S to Phoenix stating that they are from random citizens, very scary.
    Also, what I find chilling is my son’s first court appearance was November 4th, 2005. Matt Bandy’s court appearance was 5 days later with the same prosecutor.
    I cannot understand why this is going on – this whole ordeal has completely drained us not only financially but emotionally. Is Arizona so desperate to make a name for them in this war with child pornography that they are victimizing more children to do it? Arizona is forgetting that my son is also a victim – a victim of an overzealous prosecutor Daniel Strange and even more zealous Andrew Thomas.
    Trust me when I say this can easily happen to anyone! ANYONE!

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