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Film explores 'Kids for Cash' scandal in Pa.; teens, disgraced judges tell their stories

FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2009 file photo, Michael Conahan, center, leaves the federal courthouse in Scranton, Pa. The film

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FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2009 file photo, Michael Conahan, center, leaves the federal courthouse in Scranton, Pa. The film "Kids for Cash" set to open explores the scandal that entangled thousands of children in Pennsylvania's juvenile court system and sent two former judges to prison. Mark Ciavarella is serving a 28-year sentence and fellow ex-judge Conahan is serving 17 years for taking $2.6 million from companies looking to build and fill a youth detention center for Luzerne County. (AP Photo/David Kidwell, File)

PHILADELPHIA - A film opening this week explores the scandal that entangled thousands of children in Pennsylvania's juvenile court system and sent two former judges to prison.

"Kids for Cash" premieres Wednesday in Philadelphia before opening in theatres nationwide.

The film offers the first extensive interviews with former Luzerne County judges Mark Ciavarella (SHIV'-uh-rel-uh) and Michael Conahan. They were convicted of taking millions of dollars from people linked to juvenile facilities.

Critics say they took the money in exchange for filling beds at the facilities, but the judges deny any such link.

Filmmaker Robert May also lives in Luzerne County and produced "The Station Agent" and "Fog of War."

His new film asks why so many people stayed silent as petty juvenile offenders were locked up.

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