An American Crime Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the An American Crime script is here for all you fans of the Catherine Keener and Ellen Page movie. This puppy is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of the movie to get the dialogue. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and all that jazz, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. At least you'll have some An American Crime quotes (or even a monologue or two) to annoy your coworkers with in the meantime, right?

And swing on back to Drew's Script-O-Rama afterwards -- because reading is good for your noodle. Better than Farmville, anyway.

An American Crime Script

The following is an interpretation
of events based on..

Baniszewski v. The State of Indiana, 1966.

All testimonies comes
from court transcripts.

I used to love the carnival.

Daddy worked all the fairs
selling pretzel’s...

and candy apple.

Always looking for something better.

Sometimes mama would follow him...

sometimes he even take us.

It was always a new adventure...

with a whole new family,
every time.

I figured Jennie and me, were...

the luckiest girls in the world.
with a life like that.

My favorite was the merry-go-round...

Maybe I was a little
old for it, but...

all those other rides
they scared me.

The merry-go-round, just goes
round and round, and up and down.

It don't go anywhere,
but I always felt save.

That's me on the left.


And that's my story.

I'm a Prostitute and proud of it.

Would you please state your name.

Lester Likens.

Are you married to Betty Likens?


Did you and your wife ever separate?


What period of time did that occur?

The last week in June 1965.

She was at Euclid street,
and I was in Lebanon, Indiana.

Where were the children?

Jennie Faye and Silvia Marie
was with her.

Do you think,
we'll make new friends?

Sure we will.

Well, maybe there'll be
some cute boys this time.

They're supposed to be cute.

Come on girls, you don't
wanna be late now for church.



- Hey, Jennie.
- What're you doing here?

Well, I missed you girls.

Hi Betty, can I talk
to for a minute?

You know, I've been talking
to a Horst and he says...

that we could maybe play our own
band at the state-fair this year.

Then maybe we could make
enough money to go on tour.

I told Lester, that I
can't do it anymore...

not with the girls.

Maybe my mother will take them.

I can't move them up there again.

They haven't even had a chance
to make friends down here yet.

Betty, maybe we wouldn't fight
as much, without the kids.


You two, go on ahead and
catch the church bus home.

I've gotta settle things
with your father.

See what love the
father has given us...

and we are called children of god.

And so we are!

But how does a child,
come on to his father?

How does the father,
come on to the child?

Christ said: I am the way.
The truth, the live and love.

Come on to the father, but by me.

Our families,
our fathers, our mothers.

It is only through Christ,
that we find our father.

And it's only through Christ,
that we find each other.

Oh, that's a beautiful dress, Hope.

Oh, thank you, Gertrude.

And huh... I'm feeling much
better, with my new medicine...

and... you know anybody, that
needs ironing to be done...

I'd appreciate the work.

I'll do that.

Thank you.

What happened to your leg?

That's not nice, Shirley!

That's alright, she's used to it.

- So what is it?
- Polio.


Does that hurt?

Our mama is a sick too.

All right girls!

We gotta go.

Can they come with us?

You wanna come? We've got
some friends coming over...

and you can meet our older sister.

- Let's do.
- Sure!

Guess who got stuck with
an extra shift at work?

- Did you get paid?
- Mm'hm.

Got a little extra for dinner.

Here, take the baby.

Where'd they come from?

What's this?

We invited them to stay and play.

We'll be quiet.

All right, make sure of it.

I really like this song.

What's your dad do?

He is cop, they are divorced.

Do you miss him any?

Nah, I just miss his money.

- But, Paula!
- Well, it's true.

Maybe, if he's more
regular with his support...

Mom wouldn't be so sick...

and I wouldn't have to work so hard.

Little Kenny's got a different daddy.

- Who's little Kenny?
- The baby.

But we ain't supposed
to talk about that.



Wow! You should do this for a living.

Yeah, if she was old enough.

You want me to do yours?

Oh, no, thanks.

Yeah, she's the pretty one.

Yeah, she's got nice hair.

- I'm pretty too.
- The hell you are!

Oh, let me see that brush.

I tell you what?
Let's go get a coke.

My boyfriend works over at the
liquor store, get him to buy a couple.


You girls behave!

We're goin' to groceries.

Tell Andy, he owes me
for little Kenny!

And don't be waistin'
time on that bag-boy.

He ain't a bag-boy, Mama!

Sort of wasted space.

- She don't like my boyfriend.
- Yeah, I can see that.

Hey, Johnny, quit it!

Sorry, Mrs. Doyle.


You weren't at church today.

Coy and I headin' over there now.

Yeah, you better be.

Let's get outta here.

That's my sister Stephanie,
she's big help around the house...

when she ain't wasting time
with her boyfriend Coy.

Oh, God.

Hey, Paula.

Mama was asking you for her money.

I bet she was.

Who's your friend?

Sylvia, but she don't talk to trash.

Excuse me.

That's my mama's ex boyfriend.

He's only 6 years older than me.

Just like her mom.

That's him.

That's my Bradley.

He's real cute.

We got both to be real
careful about it.


Because he's married.

I'm not even shittin' you, no!


Don't tell me you never
had a boyfriend.

Ah, well, there was this guy
in California, but...

I guess it was nothing.

Well, at least you did
more than just kiss, huh?

Well, aren't you just so damn pure.

Oh, come on.

Let's go!

This is Pleiku,
250 miles north of Saigon.

The Air Force Base,
that was threatened...

by Communist Guerillas...


I need you to feed little Kenny.

If I don't get this ironing to
Mrs. Duke by four, I wont get a tip.

- We're all out of milk.
- Well, then get some.

They wont give us no more
credit at the store.

They will, if you take the baby.


Oh, hi, I'm sorry.

Huh, somebody said they
saw my girls here.

You got no family here in Indy?

Well, not that I could leave'm with.

'Cause of them or you?

A little of both.

Hi, Mrs. Baniszewski,
is Shirley and Marie here?


Shut the door!

Looks like, you've got kids running
in and outta here, all day long.

Why don't you leave Sylvia
and Jenny, here with me?

No, I... I couldn't do that.

I got six kids, two more
wont make a difference.

Yeah, I guess that's true.

20 dollars a week and
you don't have to worry.

You'd be helping me out too.

I could talk to
my wife about it.

Something to consider.


So, you'd never met Gertrude
Baniszewski before that day?

No, Sir.

But, you were willing to leave your
children, with a complete stranger?

Well, like I said, huh...

we got to talking and...

she openly admitted, that she
would take care of the children...

and treat them like
they were her own.

Okay! Here is 20 now...

and huh... you'll have the next
payment in a week, Thursday.

I'll need that money.

You will have it.

Johnny, bring the box upstairs!

Okay, sweetheart,
that's real nice.

I sure don't want you go.

The circuit will be down and
done, at the end of September.

That's only 2 months.

And I promise, I will be back,
and get you girls then.

Okay, kids.
Goodbye, Jenny, Cookie.

- You be good!
- Okay.



Bye, girls.

You girls make sure you get
everything you need.

Thank you.

Well, come on!

We'll help you unpack.

Wait, I'll help you.

Nothing to be nervous about.

Everyone's really nice here.
I promise.

Hey, Paula, get your cherry
popped, this summer?

You sure didn't, Teddy,
not with a face like that.

Hey, come on Paula,
you know he's just playing.

So, why don't you
play with yourselves?

Coy is okay, but Teddy is
a goddamn delinquent.


Those guys, they're always
messing with somebody.

I'm sure, she will be okay.

- You live with Paula and them?
- Yeah, for a bid, I guess.

Yeah, I saw you the other day.

I live right around the corner,
I'm Ricky Hobbs.


Hey, there's a football game
this weekend...

if you'd be interested in that at all.

Oh, I don't like that much football.

Sylvia, come on!

Good bye!

It's me!

Hope, you brought my money.

Nice to see you too.

Came by to see my baby.



Leave him!

Well, I got my call-up papers.
I have to go to boot-camp soon.

Put him back in.

It took me all day to quiet him.

- Not in front of the baby!
- Why? He don't care.

I do!

Listen, I'll be getting
a paycheck.

So, you'll be getting
payments regularly.

Who's gonna take care of you?

Well, actually I was wondering...

if I could borrow a few dollars...

so I could visit my brother
in Lebanon, before I leave.

If I had the money,
I'd give it to you.

I saw your new boarders.

Don't tell me, you're
doing that for charity.

I had to take them in,
because of you.

I ain't paying for
another man's kids.

You ain't paying for no...

I'm sorry, Gertie.

I'm sorry.

So, how was the
first day at school?

Well, I made
a couple friends.

See, we're not such bad people,
here on the Southside.

Can you, pick up the kids
and bring'm home?

There's something I have
to take care of.

Yeah, is everything alright?

Just tell mama, I picked up
an extra shift at work.


You know, Paula is looking more
and more like you everyday.

Lucky girl.

Should watch her, though.

She's been hanging out
with Bradley again.

I hate to think, what'll happen.

His wife's got a bad temper.

You think, that I can
get that money?

There's a 20 in the top drawer.

Where do you live Mrs. Doyle?

3848 East New York.

You can almost reach out of
your dining room window...

and touch Baniszewski's
kitchen, can't you?

It's not that close.

Because of the experience,
that you saw...

Mrs. Baniszewski having there.

Did you develop any bias, or
prejudice against her?

No, I felt sorry for the lady.

I felt she was a hard working
woman, with all them kids.

Ever entertain any guilt feelings,
or animosity towards her?

Oh, no, I can't judge her.

I beg your pardon?

I can't judge her.

- Would you like to say prayer, Sylvia?
- Sure.

Bless this food we eat,
and release...

us from our sins, amen.


Somebody get out there,
and feed that dog!

Yeah, mama.

Sorry, I'm late.

Where you been?

I took up the shift
for Ellen.

I told you, I didn't want you
to see that boy anymore.

- and I mean it.
- I didn't.

Don't lie to me, Paula.

What? Was he here?
Did Andy say something?

- That's none of your business.
- Yeah, you just don't want...

me to make the same
mistakes, you've made.

I said, feed that dog!

Johnny, feed the dog!

What's wrong, Paula?

I've got problems, Sylvia.

Big problems.

With Bradley?

I went to the doctor, today.

I'm pregnant.

You know the guy is married,

I know, he wouldn't want a baby.

I don't know a
damn thing to do.

Well, you... you gotta tell him.

I can't.

Well, I think you gotta.

You gotta promise me, that you
wont say anything to anybody.

Not a word, until I figure out
what I'm gonna do, okay?

Yeah, I promise.

It's gonna be okay.



I want you all, upstairs!

Come on.

Except for you two!

I want you down in the basement!

Your daddy’s' check
didn't arrive today.

Oh, it's probably just late.

I know my Mama, she wouldn't
let him forget.

You know what I think?

I just took care of you two,
for two weeks... for nothing.

I think your mama and daddy...

left you here for good.

They wouldn't do that.

Keep your mouth shut!

Lean over those.

Go on, lean over.

- No!
- Come on! Come on.

- Oh, no!
- Get up!

- Gertie!
- Come on!

- No, let go of me!
- Let me get hers.


Come on.


I need that money.

Come on, Jennie...

It's not like, we never
had a spanking before.

You know, that check's gonna
come tomorrow, I swear.

- Johnny!
- What? Give me the thing back!

Stop that!

Stop, hurting me!

I'm 15, I should be able to come.

Well, somebody's gotta play
catch with the little ones.

I wonder if Bradley
is gonna be there.

Freedom was in jeopardy...

when the struggling
people had been brought...

almost to their knees,
by aggression.

When William Westmoreland,
was called to urgent duty.

Pay to: Gertrude Baniszewski

His mission was to deny
aggression, it's conquest.

Please give us a call.
Love, Mom and Dad.

It was a mission, simple
enough to stake.

But to execute that mission...

he had to fight the most
complex war...

in all American history.

What're you gonna see tonight,

Well, they ain't gonna
show a movie, Marie.

The only thing she'll be seeing...

is Coys hand, while
she's pushing him away.

I might not be pushing to hard.

Yeah, yeah, princess Grace...

you'd scream, if he
breads on your blouse.

That's not true, Paula,
you know it.

Don't give Sylvia
the wrong idea, now.

Look, I shot his eye out.

Why'd you do that?

Johnny! Get outta here!

You're dead!

That's insane.

Listen, God! This is crap!

There is nothing ever to do,
in this shit-hole town.

It ain't that bad, Teddy.

Yeah, it is.


You know?
Don't know about you...

but, I'm staying up,
all night, tonight.

He's parents ain't
gonna like that.

They don't give a shit.

Do they?

- You like it here?
- Yeah, it's really nice.

He's here.

I'll be right back.

Maybe you shouldn't.



You shouldn't sneak
up on girls like that.

I'm sorry.

Hey, the nursery is
around the corner.

You might wanna get back,
before they miss you.

I brought some favors.

Give me some of that!

What're you doing here?

- I wanted to see you.
- We already talked about this.

I just be right back.


I already told you, my wife is
back from her cousins house.

So that's it. Okay?

Now, be a good girl,
and go play with your friends.

You know, my Mama's
been calling you trash.

I'm starting to believe her.

You should listen to your
mother, Paula, she knows best.

You know, you don't mean that.

Lay off me!

Get off me!

- No!
- Just a kiss.

- Is this what you want, huh?
- Stop it! Stop!

- Hey! Stop!
- Get the hell outta here!

It's private fool, no invitation.

She is pregnant!

Don't try to pull that shit on me!
You know, it ain't true.

There ain't no way.

Stay away.

Paula, I'm so sorry.
I just wanted to...

- You're gonna pay for this!
- I... Paula, I just...

Is everything okay?

Would you quit following me!


Honey, you're crying!

- Mom!
- What's wrong?

I ain't talking to him anymore.

Oh, that's a good girl,
that's a good girl, yes.

You know, we're gonna find
you a good man, Honey.

Not like Andy, or your daddy.

But Sylvia said...


She telling horrible lies,
about me.

What kind of lies?

She's telling everyone,
that I'm a slut.

You should have seen those
boys when they heard...

that I was a slut.

Sylvia said that?.

Don't worry, Baby.

Don't worry.

Did you ever hear Sylvia, use
any vanity or vulgar language?

No, Sir.

Do you know how often Sylvia went
to Sunday school or church?

She'd go every time we went.

- Does Sylvia have a bible?
- yes.

Did she dress up nice and clean?

Yes, Sir.

As Mathew said:
"Enter by the narrow gate".

For the gate is wide and
the way is easy...

that leads to destruction...

and those who enter by it,
are many.

When the gate is narrow
and the way is hard...

that leads to life...

and those who find it, are few.

Jennie, come sit with me!

We gotta go upstairs and change.

I want you all down here.


It's a lesson for all of you.

You need to apologize to Paula.

But Gertie, I... I don't know...

I want you to apologize.

What she'd done, mama?

She's been spreading lies
about your sister.


I'm sorry.

Paula, you have the right,
to get even.

What you wanna do?

I want you to punish her, mama.

You have to learn to fight
your own battles, baby.

- Get over there.
- Johnny, grab her arms.

I said I was sorry.

I don't care what you said.

Go on, she's got it coming.

Let her go!

I'm sure, she
can defend herself.

I am not.

I will not.

- I am not.
- She is not!

Damn it!

Enough, that's okay!

Get up.

Get up! Get up!

She's learned her lesson.

That's what happens
when you tell lies.

Go on!

You too, get!

Are you awake?

You're okay?

Did you say your prayers yet?

How about mamas favorite psalm?

Turn on to me, and be
gracious to me, dear lord.

for I am lonely and affected.

Release the chalice of my heart...

and bring me out
of my distresses!

Consider how many are my foes...

Thank you.

I will put my fate in thee...

make my life in to a better me.

I will not think of the shame.

I take refuge in thee!

and take thee in greatness be sure.


- I hear, your sister's pregnant.
- I see you.

- Who's the guy?
- You know, that's not funny.

I didn't say it.

A lotta people are talking.

Why aren't you in school?

You, huh... doing okay?


It's, huh... Sylvia, right?



I, huh... I've
seen you at church.

Yeah, that's me.

You're going to the, huh...
pick-nick, next Saturday?

Well, huh... I hope so.


Maybe I'll see you there.

Huh... I'm gonna go.


Why was Mama so upset
about the other day?

You haven't heard?

I told everyone,
that Paula was a slut.

That's not true, is it?

There's some worse rumors
going around, about her.

Do you think, she's pregnant?

- What do you think?
- Yeah, she's real easy.


How's your mama?


She still in the hospital?


Who's taking care of you?

I am.

Oh, you don't have a girlfriend?

I don't know.

- You don't know?
- No, I don't.

And, huh... does she know?

You wanna a sip?

I ain't old enough.

You ain't old enough
to smoke, either...

and that's not stopping you.


I think, we should call mom and dad.

How we're supposed to do that?

Here, I found this in the trash.

So, huh... how long's Sylvia
gonna be staying here?

You got a crush on Sylvia?

She is pretty.

When I was in high-school...

I was popular with the boys
too then, they all chased me.

I believe you.

Thank you.

Oh, are you warm.

What're you doing home
from school so early?

I'm not feeling real good.


You better go.

Alright, you first.


- Mama?
- Oh, Honey!

I was afraid, you didn't
get our letter.

Oh, mama, we miss you so much.

Oh, I miss you too, Honey.

I'm gonna pick you up in 2 weeks.

So, how is everything going there?

Oh, Gertrude's awful strict, mama.

We got in a whole
lotta trouble.

What do you mean?
Did she punish you?

What's goin' on? These girls
been getting in trouble again?

- Let me talk to'm.
- She got mad...

because your check's late.

Our check was late?

No, it wasn't.

Let me talk to her.

Oh, we gotta go.



They're coming, mama.

Calling your boyfriend, Sylvia?


Nobody special.

We miss our parents.

Thank you, Jennie.

Where'd you get the money to
make a long-distance call?

I was picking up empty bottles
at the Park, and traded'm in.

Honest, that's all she did.

What she's gonna do?

What she always does, when
she catches you stealin'.

Are you gonna lie to me again?

- No, Gertie, I...
- You gonna steal is this household?

I didn't steal from you, Gertie.

What you'd... call your parents,
and warn them, that...

Gertie doesn't treat you right?

No, ma'am.


I'm sorry!

I'm sorry!

Okay, okay, that's a good girl,
that's a good girl.

You wanna put some ice on that.

Now, I think you stated, Marie,
that your sister Paula...

you'd volunteered, that Paula
was jealous of Sylvia.

Every time she looked at her,
her eyes looked like she hated her.

Do you know, what the
word jealous means?

Angry at someone.

Can you assign a reason...

to, why Paula might shoot Sylvia,
those angry, jealous glances?

I guess, because Sylvia thought...

she was so much more important,
than Paula was.

Do you remember a time, when you
went to Bethany Baptist church...

and had little sandwiches
and something to drink?

I haven't seen you eat
up in a few weeks.

Oh, I'm sorry, Mrs. Orbach,
I've I had to work.

What's with your arm, Paula?

I lost my temper, with Sylvia.

So, what'd you mean,
what happened?

She's been doing some real
terrible things.

I had to be real strict with her.

Come on, its Ok.
It's Ok, come on.

Don't take too much.

Hey, what're you doing here?

Came out, for the free food.

And the women.

I hope you don't want
any money, because...

- So, John Senior has...
- I'm not here for money.

Bradley send me.

About Paula.

- Did you say hi to the baby yet?
- Ah-ah.

- Look, about yesterday...
- It's fine, it's fine.

- Sylvia, I'm really...
- It's alright, don't worry about it.

Mama, be back by the
end of this week.



A couple of my friends, are eating
over there, you wanna join us?

- Sure.
- Okay.


- Just one second.
- No problem.

Ricky, remember what I said
the other day about Paula?

Did you say something?


Because people are talking...

and Stephanie and
Paula, are blaming me.

No, no, I wouldn't do
something like that.

I better go.

I understand she's pregnant?

He says, he's willing to
pay for the abortion.

Be quiet, keep your
voice down, please!

If Paula's willing to go through
with it, anything to keep it quiet.


There's not gonna be an abortion,
because she's not pregnant.

He didn't even know about it.

But, Sylvia is the one saying it.

That girl's been nothing but trouble
since she came in to my house.

If anyone is pregnant,
she is, I'll bet she is.

I gotta go.

Bye, Kenny.


He'll be back, baby.


Coming over to hang out
with the grown-ups?

I've got some advice for you.

I wouldn't come between
Gertie and her kids,

She won't like it much.


You okay, Gertie?

Yeah, I'm fine.

A bunch of us, gonna cruise the
circle, you wanna come with?

Sure, I probably should
ask Gertie first.

You sure?

Come on, let's get outta here!

Looks like Sylvia's going
off with them boys.

You sound surprised,
Ricky Hobbs.

You shouldn't be.

Let me do that!

You can try, Patty.

You sure you can't come,
to the Drive-in with us?

No, I'm... I'm late as it is.

Let's go!

Well, I guess, I'll see you
next Sunday then.

Shut that door.

I dought, I thought you a lesson.

I don't understand.

Apparently, you've been telling
more lies about my daughter.

I haven't told any lies.

- And then you flirt with, Andy.
- I didn't.

I saw you!

No matter what you want,
you just... you just take it.

No, Gertie, we were just talking.

That's all.

Who's in charge here?

You are, mama.

That's right, Baby.

Paula, told me about those
boys in California.

Ricky, did Sylvia tell you, about
all those boys in California?


Well' if you won't listen to me...

maybe I can get you to
listen to your sister.

Keep her from making
those mistakes.


do you wanna be like your sister?

No, ma'am.

That's a good girl.

Patty, then what did
Mrs. Baniszewski do?

She handed her a bottle...

and told her to pull all her skirt.

And then?

And then, she said
to put it up her.

Did Sylvia say anything, when
Mrs. Baniszewski ask her to do this?

All she said was...

I can't.

What did Mrs. Baniszewski say?

She said...

Come on, you can do
better than that!

And what did Sylvia do?

What Gertie told her to.

What the hell is going on?

Somebody, clean up the mess!

Sylvia, get upstairs!

Coy, get her up there!


I will not have her in the
same room with my daughter's.

Take her to the basement!

Please, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!

- Open the door, Johnny!
- I'm sorry, Gertie! I'm sorry!

Get her outta here!

No! Noooo...

It's best to stay
out of there, I think?

Don't worry, Jennie,
Mama's just teaching her.

- She won't go down.
- I don't care! Just push her!

Hey, Marie!



I'm sorry, Sylvia.

But, I'm to scared.

I've tried talking,
with Gertie, but...

She... she said,
you can have your bible.


Mama wants you upstairs.


I'll do what I can.

She said now.

Stop hitting me!

Give me that!

Johnny, get me my medicine, please.

Oh, this area here,
it's not good for my health.

Maybe we can move.

Where would we move to, Shirley?

I don't know.

I don't wanna move.

I had a call with
your parents today.

Are they coming for us?

Well, they picked up the
Florida Labor Day circuit...

so, they wont be here for you,
until the end of November, now.

Their checks are coming
in regular, though.

My ironing slowed down...

quite a bit.

So, we all have to work
together, as a family.

Maybe, I can eat over at Coy's
house, mama, if that'll help.


Mama, wont mind.

She likes Stephanie a lot.

Thank you.


Baby, you gonna have to take
up more shift's at work.

Maybe quit Tech for a while.

What about Stephanie?

- Why she have to go to school?
- Because she's smarter than you.

- Shut up, Johnny!
- I'm smarter than you!

- I'm smarter than the both of you!
- Give me my Teddy!

Stop it!

Stop it!

You all, stop it!

That's another thing we have
to work on around here.

We all have to learn
to get along better.

How long is Sylvia,
down in the basement?

Until she learns her lesson.


She needs to be punished, Paula.

Yes, Mama.

Now, if anybody asks...

Sylvia... had to go to juvenile.

You got that, Jennie?


That's it.

Are you sleeping?

You okay?


It's only gonna be for a little while.

Did you ever hear or see, Sylvia,
talk back to any of those people...

when these things were
being done to her?

No, I never.

When it first started did
she say anything then?

No, except she would say,
I'm sorry, or something like that,

as if she did something wrong, but...

she never did anything wrong.

Did you yourself, on any of these
occasions, do anything to Sylvia?

I just did what I was told.

Now then, in the month of
September did you see she was an influx

anyone else, do anything to Sylvia?

See, I told you so.


What'd she do?

She was real bad.

She's dirty.

Mama said, she was a slut.


Don't worry about it.

She's used to it.

Watch this!

Neat, huh?

You just burn her like that?

Yeah, you can too.

- I don't want to.
- What? You're chicken?.

It's OK.

Mama, said you can.

Did you see Sally, take cigarettes,
and actually burn Sylvia with them?

- Yes.
- How many times?

She would do it, every
time she came over.

How many times did that happened?

Every day.

Did you go to 3850 East New York St...

during the months of
September and October?

Yes, Sir.

We go most days after school.

And did you see Sylvia Likens,
in the basement of that house?

Yes, Sir.

Did you do anything
at all to help her?

No, Sir.

What were the other children,
be doing around the house?

Playing around.

Did you ever tell some of the other
kids that they should come over...

to the house, because everyone
was having fun with Sylvia?

I just thought,
we were punishing her.

Where was John standing,
when he was washing her down.

Right in front of her.

What part of her body
was he spraying?

- All over.
- Who's hose was he using?

It was my hose, Sir.

Sally, did you ever see some of the
other neighborhood kids, hurt Sylvia?


Did you tell anybody,
you saw anything?

Not really.

So, you told no one, what was happening
at the Baniszewski's house?

Well, I told my father...

Gertrude gave Sylvia,
an awful whipping.

But, he just told me, I shouldn't
do whatever she did...

or I get the same.

Shirley, was your mother
ever present...

while some of the other people
were doing these things, to Sylvia?

Yes, she was.

How many times?

She was there, just
about all the time.

And what did she say when people
were doing these things, to Sylvia?


Did anyone order you, to hit Sylvia?

No, Sir.

- Or, tie her up?
- No, Sir.

- Or, wash her down?
- No, Sir.

Then, why did you do it, Teddy?

I don't no, Sir.

I don't no, Sir.

I don't no, Sir.

You two, go upstairs.

Yes, Mama.

Paula Baniszewski.
Pregnancy test, Urinalysis.

Who is it?

You got any cigarettes?

Hear anything from Sylvia?

You really like her, don't you?

She's not good for you, Honey.

You know, when she's gonna be back?

Ricky, I told you, she wont
have anything to do with you.

She's to busy with other boys.

That's why I had to
send her to juve.

Hand me that!

- Get!
- Alright, I'll go.

Here's your money.

Thank you, baby.


Honey! You are a good daughter,
I'm so proud of you.

It don't matter what people say,
you'd be holdin' your head up high.

We're gettin' through this.

What about Sylvia?


I've been praying...

and I think, maybe it's time
to forgive her.

I think, she's learned her lesson.

Their are things in life,
we have to do...

whate'er we like it or not.

Well, I don't want any part of it.



Come down here and talk to me!

Hey, Sylvia? I'm not
gonna hurt you, okay?

I'm not gonna hurt you.

I know what it's like
to be sick, Sylvia.

I've been sick for so long, too.

I can't...

discipline my kids,
the way that I should.

I'm punishing you I known, but...

sometimes, when I take medicine...

it's like, if I don't
know what I'm doing.

And I care for you, so much.

With Paula, the thing is...

Paula is a lot like me.

I had her, when I was,
just about your age.

And then along came, Stephanie...

and then all the others.


then John left.

And here I am, just huh...

doing everything I can,
to keep my Family together.

I want something better for Paula.

There has to be something better.

And I need to protect my children.

Do you understand that?

These kids...

they're all I've got.

Thank you, Sylvia.

Thank you.

Thank you, for understanding, okay?

Thank you.

Oh, lord.


Hello, Reverend.

I've been meaning to
come by and visit...

but, when Paula came to the
church and talk to me...

it just pushed me a little.

Now, what's that girl
been bothering you with?

Well, she's concerned about you
and the whole house.

And, huh... there's something else.

I think, Paula may be pregnant.

Now, I'm prepared to offer
what support I can...

but, I can't speak for
the entire congregation.

Reverend, I'm sorry, thank you...

but, it's a vicious lie and rumor...

spread by that Likens' girl.


Paula, talked to me herself.

Well, Reverend,
I don't understand that.

I'll try to get to the bottom
of that with Paula...

but Sylvia has been a very bad
influence on her...

since she came in to my house.

And I have...

I just can not
discipline that girl.

Well, she did mention,
Sylvia is around...

but wasn't clear, she said
there were some problems...

and I haven't seen Sylvia,
in church in weeks...

so I thought, I just should
sit down and talk with her.

I'm afraid, I had to
send her to juvenile.

I just could not handle that girl.

I caught her stealing from me...

Have you spoken with
her parents about this?

I tried, I, huh... I wrote
them, I've called...

I haven't gotten a responds.

Honestly, now I can understand...

why they just dropped
her with me.

I see.

I just can go by the
juvenile center...

and speak to Sylvia myself.

I'll try to arrange that.

- Hi, uncle Bill.
- Hello, Reverend.

Hey, kids.

Why don't you take
little Kenny, please!

We can continue this
discussion later.

Thank you, Reverend.

I'll see you on Sunday then.

I'm excepting you in my
office before the end of the week.

We need to talk about this.

Sure, Reverend.

Okay, Gertrude.

Don't you have any sense?

- I'm doing this for you!
- Let go off me!

I want everybody in the basement!

You know why you're here.


Ricky, she came back.

She came back from juvenile...

then she started trouble again.

Stop it!

Johnny, hold her!

No, please! Please!

Hold her still!

Sylvia, if you keep moving,
it'll only be messy.

Light that!

No! No! No!

No! No! No!

Please! Please! Please!

- Stop it!
- Is this alright, Mama?

Make sure it's hot.

- I'm sorry! I'm sorry!
- You Liar!

- No! No!
- Hey!

Please no! Please!

You branded my daughter.

Now, I'm gonna brand you.


Come here! Finish it!

Gertie, I can't.

Ricky, she was with every boy,
but you.

You can't let her
get away with this.

Please, help me, Ricky.

Please! Please!

Good boy.


What does it say?

It says: "I'm a Prostitute...

and proud of it".

NO! NO! Stop it! NO!


You've gotta get outta here.

You gotta leave.

You gotta get away
from here, come!

Oh, I can't...



- You gotta get outta here!
- I don't no where to go.

You go find your parents.

And Jennie?

Jennie can take care of herself,
don't worry about her.


No! No!

Go! Just go!

What're doing?

- Just let me go!
- Mama, stop!

- Stop it!
- What's going on?

Let's go in the house.


Please, please don't hurt me!

No, no, no, no,
I'm not gonna hurt.

I swear to God.
I promise, I promise.

Look, I'm sorry.

I didn't know, what the hell
I was doing, alright?

But, you gotta believe me, please!


You wanna get outta here?

You wanna go? Let's go.

Come on.

Come on now, you're alright.

Where're we going?

I don't know.

Police? You wanna go to the Police?
We can tell'm everything.

I just wanna go to my mom.

Where's your mama?

I think, she's in Portage.

We're going to Portage.

Damn it!

- Ricky?
- Oh my God!

We're going! We're going!

I'll come with you.

No, you gotta get back.

You gotta get back to Jennie, and
make sure nothing happens to her.

I wont let her out of my site.

Thank you, Ricky.



What're you doing here?


Oh, my...
What happened to you?

Oh, my God.

Oh, my God.

They did this to you?

I'm so... so sorry.

I'm just so sorry,
I left you there.

We spoke to Jennie,
on the phone last week.

She said everything was fine.

She's scared of her.

We gotta go back.

Let's just talk in the car.

Everything’s gonna be
taking care of, Cookie.

You're with your family now.

Oh, Honey.
Mama's here now.

Hey, Honey! We're here.

You stay here, Cookie.

No, huh...

I gotta do this.

I'm just gonna go in.

She's not breathing, mama.

She'll wake up, okay?
Don't worry, son.

Wake up, please!


- She's not breathing!
- She's faking it.

Somebody, please do something!
Because she's not breathing!

- She's faking it.
- Johnny, bring that water?

- Bring me some water, baby.
- Give me it!

She okay?

Please, somebody,
she's not breathing!

Liar, liar, liar, liar...

Mama, she's not faking it!

She came to my house,
and just told lies.

Stephanie, what's wrong?

Mama, we gotta do something!

Sweetie, mama, she's...

Please, Sylvia, please breath.


Shirley, she'll be okay,
she'll be okay.

Somebody's gotta do something!
She's not breathing!

Shut up, Stephanie! She's lyin'!

She just lays there.

Oh, my god.

Ricky, do something!

Look out!

Here, try this.

Sylvia! Wake up!

- Come on, breath!
- Paula...

you go get Andy, baby,
he'll know what to do, okay?

Wake up, Sylvia!

She'll be okay,
she's just faking it.

Please, Sylvia, breath.

She's cold.

Somebody better call the police!

Don't call the police.

Just go!

She's not dying!

I'll go get more water,
colder this time!

Babies', come here...

She's lying, baby, She's just...

Mama, she's not faking it!

I need the police!

Yeah, there maybe a
death girl in a house.

She's dead.

Jesus Christ, Gertie.

What's the problem?

Get me out of here,
I'll tell you everything.

Jennie, did you ever see...

Sylvia do anything,
to Mrs. Baniszewski?

No. I didn't see anything.

Did you ever see her
do anything, to Paula?


Did you ever see her do anything,
to Johnny Baniszewski?


Jennie, you saw your
sister being hit...

beaten, struck.

Why did you not call the police?

Well, huh... Gertie dreaded me,
that if I told anybody...

I'd get the same treatment,
than Sylvia was getting.

You could have told anyone,
up and down on the street.

I was scared, and I guess,
I just...

did what she told me to do.
I wish, I hadn't.

Did you ever see Sylvia cry?

They said, she didn't
have any feelings...

but... I knew better.

I've seen her cry before.

I imagine, the reason
that she didn't cry, was...

because she didn't
have enough water.

The trial lasted 24 days.

Gertrude was the last
one to take the stand.

What was your physical condition
in July and August of last year?

Pretty run down, physically.

Pretty upset, mentally and emotionally.

What do you mean?

If you got as many children...

around your home,
all the time, as I do...

arguing and carrying on...

you'd be pretty upset,
mentally and emotionally too.

What medicine did you take?

Phenobarbital Sulfate,
and Coricidin.

I was trying to take
care of myself...

because I could not
afford to go to a doctor.

Well, then, getting to
the 1st, week of September.

Was there any change in your
physical condition...

or in the condition of that house?

No, Sir.

What about the 3rd. week
of September...

do you remember that?

You mean anything specific that
might happened in September?

Yes, anything specific.

The kids were fighting a lot.

The kids were fighting a lot?

My children and the
neighbor children...

were coming in,
and fight things over it.

My children fighting with other
children, so on and so fort.

What did you do,
when that was happening?

I did not see this, fighting then.

I was barely able to stay up at all.

I did not even feel
like getting up.

Did you have any knowledge,
of any mistreatment...

going on with Sylvia?

No, Sir.

Did you commit any indignity,
making marks on that girls body?

No, Sir.

Do you know, how those
wounds, got on her body?

No, Sir.

You're telling the Jury,
you don't know who did it?


Did you hear the testimony of Jennie?

Yes, I did.

Did you hear, some of
your children state...

that before Sylvia died,
you started branding this girl?

Yes, I heard that.

Did they all lie?

That is right.

The fact is you're lying, isn't it?

No, Sir.

Did you hear John Baniszewski state...

that you burned her,
with matches and cigarettes?

Yes, I heard that statement.

Did he tell the truth?

He was not telling the truth.


You're saying, you did not do it?

That's right.

You were in bed,
a great deal of the time...

when the children were doing things,
you did not know, they were doing.

I imagine they were doing
a great deal of things...

that I did not know.

Why did Johnny lie?

I imagine, he is a pretty
scared little boy.

Are you scared?

I've been scared by a lot
of things, for a long time.

She sacrificed me,
to protect her children...

and sacrificed them,
to protect herself.

Will the accused, please rise!

We, the Jury, find
Gertrude Baniszewski...

guilty of 1st. degree murder...

sentencing her to life in prison.

The case got a lot of attention...

it even made Time Magazine.

And most people started talking...

about things, they used to ignore.

Thank you.

The others, were tried later.

Paula was found guilty
as an accomplice...

and served a couple of years.

She had that Baby,
and named it, Gertrude.

Johnny was convicted too.

He was the youngest inmate...

in the history, of the
Indiana State Reformatory.

He would later become
a real Minister.

one way of telling
the story, I guess.

Ricky Hobbs, was found
guilty of man-slaughter...

he served time at the reformatory.

He died at age 21,
of lung cancer.

Coy, also served a couple of years...

He went on with a life of crime...

after he got released from prison.

I don't know, what happened,
to any of the rest of them.

Mom und Dad, went back on Tour...

and left Jennie, with the
District Attorney and his Family.

They helped her get back on her feet.

Gertrude served 20 years
of her life sentence.

She was released on parole in 1985.

Before she died 5 years later...

she took responsibility, for
everything that had happened.

I'm so sorry.

And me?

I returned to the carnival.

The only place, I always felt save.

Reverend Bill, used to say:

"For every situation,
God always has a plan".

I guess, I'm still trying
to figure out, what that plan was.

Special thanks to SergeiK.