Errol Flynn Trial: 1943
"j.b." And "s.q.q."
Now Cochran had Peggy Satterlee describe her voyage to Catalina. She said Flynn called her "J.B." (short for "jail bait") and "S.Q.Q." (short for "San Quentin quail")—evidence that he knew she was a juvenile. Nevertheless, she testified, he came to her cabin and "got into bed with me and completed an act of sexual intercourse"—an act against which, she admitted, she did not struggle. The next night, she said, he took her to his cabin to look at the moon through the porthole and there repeated the offense. This time, she said, she fought.
In cross-examination, Satterlee admitted to lying frequently about her age, then revealed that she had had extramarital relations with another man before the Flynn episode, and had undergone an abortion.
Taking the stand, Flynn denied the "jail bait" and "San Quentin quail" allegations, as well as entering Satterlee's cabin or taking her to his cabin or taking Betty Hansen upstairs after she threw up at the party or having sexual intercourse with either girl. As he finished, women were crying hysterically. Men were yelling obscenities. The bailiff had to quell a near riot.
The prosecution introduced an astronomer to back up Peggy Satterlee's description of the moon through the porthole. Geisler made him admit that, judging by the boat's course, the moon could not have been seen from Flynn's cabin.
The jury argued until the next day and found Errol Flynn not guilty. Said foreman Ruby Anderson afterward:
We felt there had been other men in the girls' lives. Frankly, the cards were on the table and we couldn't believe the girls' stories.
Errol Flynn's career continued, totaling some 60 films before he died in 1959.
—Bernard Ryan, Jr.
Suggestions for Further Reading
Conrad, Earl. Errol Flynn: A Memoir. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1978.
Flynn, Errol. My Wicked, Wicked Ways. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1959.
Higham, Charles. Errol Flynn: The Untold Story. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1980.
Thomas, Tony. Errol Flynn: The Spy Who Never Was. New York: Citadel Press, 1990.
Wiles, Buster with William Donati. My Days with Errol Flynn. Santa Monica, Calif.: Roundtable Publishing, 1988.