Friday, September 21, 2012

Mann Act trial, 1944

In February 1944, a federal case was brought against Charlie for violation of the Mann Act, a law which prohibited the transfer of a woman across state lines for sexual intentions (Chaplin had purchased round-trip train tickets from Los Angeles to New York for Joan Barry & her mother). The charges were ridiculous. As Chaplin's lawyer pointed out, Joan would have willingly had sex with Charlie at any time without having to schlep her to New York to do it. Following a humiliating trial, he was eventually cleared of the charges, but his public image in America was severely damaged.


  1. do you know what became of the kid? did he really pay child support for the whole 18 years or was there any remission of the verdict? because just a few years later the real father was named. none of the bios i've read so far mention anything outside the verdict.

    1. Who was named as the real father? At the time it was believed to be J. Paul Getty.

      A couple of years ago, I found an article that that included comments from a telephone interview with Barry's younger son (Carol Ann's half-brother). According to the article, Carol Ann received payments until she was 21. She also attended school under a different name, and seemed to live a productive life as an adult. There are also some brief comments about his childhood years and how Joan just seemed to disappear from his life.
      The comments about Carol Ann are near the end of the article.

    2. ooh, thanks for the link. i can't remember who was named as her father. i only remember having read that after a while it was fairly established that it wasn't charlie. well, duh!, they had the blood test results -- not that counted anything in the california courts in '44, obviously. i was only wondering because a number of biographers seize on the scandal, yet miraculously fail to mention what became of the poor kid and how she dealt with the situation once she was grown up.