Is Accused’s Clyde Ellman Based on a Real Child Molester?

Image Credit: Steve Wilkie/FOX

In every episode, Fox’s ‘Accused’ paints the picture of a terrible crime. It plays with the idea of right and wrong, putting the audience in the shoes of a jury, and making them think about the nature of justice. Its fourth episode, titled ‘Kendall’s Story’, shows how one crime leads to another, underlining the difference between justice and revenge. It all begins with the crime committed by a man named Clyde Ellman. He molests a young girl in a park, which destroys many lives, including his own. If you are wondering whether he is based on a real-life criminal, then here’s what you should know.

Is Clyde Ellman Based on a Real Sexual Offender?

No, Clyde Ellman is not based on a real sexual offender. The stories presented in ‘Accused’ are a work of fiction and are not based on any actual cases. However, the writers do take inspiration from real-life events and use the stories to shine a light on pertinent issues plaguing society today. In ‘Kendall’s Story’, the show focuses on the subject of sexual abuse and how vulnerable children are to it, and further highlights the impact it can have on a family.

Image Credit: Steve Wilkie/FOX

Child abuse is, sadly, a much more common thing that puts a huge question mark around the safety of children. According to Statista, in 2020, 618,399 children were reported to have suffered some form of abuse. In this, 136,600 victims were under the age of two, 150,673 were two to five years old, and 114,410 fell in the age bracket of ten to thirteen. According to the reports, the rate of abuse suffered was highest in Native American children, followed closely by African-American children. It was reported that young girls were at a higher risk of abuse than boys, with 319,230 girls being victims of child abuse from the total number of cases reported in 2020.

In ‘Accused’, Kendall’s daughter is assaulted in a park, when her babysitter loses track of her for five minutes. An incident like this happening in a public area is not an uncommon thing. Several cases where children were attacked by sexual predators near parks and close to their homes, where they would generally feel safe, were reported in the last year. In July 2022, a 15-year-old girl was reported to have been assaulted around 9 to 10 o’clock in the morning in West Rogers Park in Chicago.

In August 2022, an eleven-year-old girl in Indianapolis was sitting on a bench in a park watching Netflix on her phone. Allegedly, she was attacked by a 51-year-old man who “put a black rag in her mouth, then dragged her to a wooded area and raped her”. The park is located in a residential area and is across the street from a church. In October 2022, an eleven-year-old girl was walking home from school, when she was attacked by an unknown man. He “put his hand over her mouth and pulled her into a secluded part of an alley, where he sexually abused her”, according to the police. After some struggle, the girl succeeded in breaking free and ran away.

Many more such cases have been reported over the years, highlighting the necessity to create a safe space for children, where they don’t have live under the fear of being assaulted by anyone. ‘Accused’ creates a fictional scenario to bring this subject to everyone’s attention, along with other themes that it explores through the difficult aftermath of what happens to Kendall’s daughter. We barely get to see Clyde Ellman and no more focus is given to the why and how of his crime. However, it is clear that in creating his character and the crime that he commits, the writers of the show looked toward real cases that have happened to show the audience just how immediate and close to home such things can happen.

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