Just, Melvin: Just Evil is a 2000 American documentary by James Ronald Whitney about his grandfather, Melvin Just, and the devastating consequences of the sexual abuse Just inflicted on their family.
Whitney, at the time a Wall Street executive, returns to his rural hometown of Carlotta, California, and interviews his family members about his maternal stepgrandfather, Melvin E. Just. Just sexually abused 10 of Whitney’s relatives, including his mother, uncle, aunts and step-aunts, some as young as 2 years old. The abuse resulted in dysfunction spanning three generations of the family. Whitney reveals he was also molested by his uncle, who now spends his days trying to live incestuously with his half-sister. Whitney’s aunts discuss their struggles with alcohol and drug addiction, and bouts of homelessness and prostitution.
In the film, Whitney confronts Just on camera about the accusations. Just, who died at aged 71 shortly after filming was completed, denies all the accusations, although he was convicted in 1979 of 12 counts of child molestation in his family and sentenced to 13 years in prison. He served fewer than nine years.
In addition to the sexual abuse, three of Whitney’s aunts say they witnessed Melvin Just rape and murder retired nurse Josephine Spegel, who was acting as a social worker. Spegel had arrived to check on the children’s welfare only to find Just in bed with his stepdaughter. Just was a suspect in her murder, but was never charged in the case, which remains unsolved.