Mitchell Hamline professor Eric Janus appears in the new award-winning documentary “Untouchable,” showing at this year’s MSP International Film Festival.
The film features the stories of men and women who’ve been branded as sex offenders, while also focusing on the stories of those who’ve suffered sexual abuse. The film won the Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Janus is considered a national expert on policy regarding sex offenders and serves on Minnesota’s Sex Offender Civil Commitment Advisory Task Force. His latest book on the topic is Failure to Protect: America’s Sexual Predator Laws and the Rise of the Preventive State.
Janus said he agreed to participate in the film because he trusted director David Feige’s background as a public service lawyer.
“Participating in the making of the movie “Untouchable” was an eye-opening experience for me,” Janus said. “The film is a masterful piece of storytelling, weaving a coherent and compelling narrative that respects and humanizes victims and their parents, as well as perpetrators and their families. The film steadfastly resists sensationalizing and demonizing, portraying the characters evenhandedly, with humanity and nuance.”
The film also features Patty Wetterling, whose son Jacob who was abducted in 1989 at the age of 11 from his hometown of St. Joseph, Minn. In Sept. 2016, Jacob’s remains were found in a field near Cold Spring, Minn. In the nearly three decades since Jacob was abducted, Wetterling turned her family’s tragedy into an effort to help find missing children through the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center.
Janus and Wetterling, along with director David Feige, will take part in a panel discussion after the film’s 7 pm screening on Tuesday, April 18, at St. Anthony Main Theatre in Minneapolis. The film will be shown again at 10 am on Saturday, April 22. Janus and Wetterling will take part in another panel discussion after the film’s 7 pm screening on Tuesday, April 25.