Little Bits of History

Preschool Predicament

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 22, 2012

The McMartin Preschool

March 22, 1984: The McMartin Preschool indictments are brought. The preschool was located in Manhattan Beach, California – a small, upscale beach town near Los Angeles. The preschool was established by Virginia McMartin who was in her 70s at the time the accusations were put forth. Judy Johnson first dropped her two-and-a-half year old son, Billy, at the school on May 12, 1983. The first inkling of trouble was when Billy had a painful bowel movement. The cascading effects resulted in the “longest and most expensive case in the history of the US legal system.”

On August 12, 1983 Judy claimed Ray Buckey, Virginia’s 25-year-old grandson, had sexually molested Billy. Judy met with Detective Jane Hoag on August 18 and Billy was interviewed at the police station on August 30. Ray was arrested on September 7 and the next day the police chief sent out 200 letters to McMartin Preschool parents concerning suspected abuse and asking for information. In October, Children’s Institute International was consulted. In November, Kee MacFarlane began interviewing children to find those who were abused.

By March 1984, there were 360 cases of abuse uncovered. The abuse was not only sexual in nature, but bizarre in practice. The children were being used as part of a satanic cult. On this date Ray, his sister, mother, and grandmother, and three other employees were indicted on 115 counts of child sexual abuse. The numbers kept escalating for both the victims and the perpetrators. By August there were an additional 397 charges brought. Investigations continued for three years. Judy Johnson died of alcohol poisoning in December 1986 before she had a chance to testify.

The trial for Ray and his mother began July 14, 1987 (all the other defendants had been freed). The end result was all charges were dropped; there were zero convictions. Ray had spent five years in jail, his mother had been jailed for two years. The children’s testimony was questionable. The method of extracting information proved to be coercive with interviewers using suggestive questioning. The children were giving false memories in answer to questions in order to placate the adults. The case cost $15 million to prosecute. The preschool was destroyed while looking for secret rooms used for satanic rites – in vain. This was only one of many cases of false memories being elicited and victimizing innocent adults. Some of those accused spent decades in prison.

I said a lot of things that didn’t happen. I lied. … Anytime I would give them an answer that they didn’t like, they would ask again and encourage me to give them the answer they were looking for. … I felt uncomfortable and a little ashamed that I was being dishonest. But at the same time, being the type of person I was, whatever my parents wanted me to do, I would do. – a child witness, speaking as an adult

When you once believed something that now strikes you as absurd, even unhinged, it can be almost impossible to summon that feeling of credulity again. Maybe that is why it is easier for most of us to forget, rather than to try and explain, the Satanic-abuse scare that gripped this country in the early 80s. – Margaret Talbot

…the kids involved in this hysteria have indeed suffered, but not at the hands of their teachers. And the abuse perpetrated against them by the child-protection movement gone mad are every bit as awful as the tyranny of incest. – Debbie Nathan

I felt everyone knew I was lying. But my parents said, ‘You’re doing fine. Don’t worry.’ And everyone was saying how proud they were of me. – Kyle Zripolo, a child witness speaking as an adult

Also on this day:

Laser – In 1960, the laser was patented.
Hockey is Rough – In 1989, Clint Malarchuk was hurt during a hockey game.
Flying Wallendas – In 1978, Karl Wallenda died from a fall.

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7 Responses

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  1. Bobby Dias said, on March 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Not hysteria- at least some of the parents of those children that were lying have been sued successfully in court by the McMartins for their making their children lie about the McMartins. Those parents hurt future children by making police and juries suspicious of any alleged sex crime on children. That is what the greed of those parents did, not hysteria.

    • D Thums said, on January 18, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      I think more people need to do their homework….check out some of the defenders of the McMartins including …..Paul and Shirley Eberle…they wrote the book ” The Politics of Abuse” They were good friends and defenders…but check out some of their other works…LA Star….”Finger” all underground papers and SOFT PORN ……GOOGLE IT…look it up…. I was lucky enough to talk to a Manhattan Beach Police officer before he retired about 2 years ago….they were NOT allowed to talk to Reporters, but this officer staked out Ray Buckey and I was shocked to hear certain things he said that he saw while staking them out. The truth is that …yes…some of the kids were NOT molested…but some likely were….it was a terrible event but it cost a great DEAL of money….and with a New DA and all new prosecutors…we ended up with another Great Victory for the Defense…take no ones word…. do the research.

      • Bobby Dias said, on January 18, 2013 at 11:46 pm

        You are one of the airheads that believe anything is on the internet is true. I followed the local newspapers on the McMartin case- where there is a possibility that when somebody that is lying they will have to pay for the lie, with money and/or prison time. That Manhattan Beach Police officer was ordered to not talk to the PRESS so he made $$$$ on the case by selling his imaginary molestation “observations” to people irresponsible to anybody on YOUR Google and other questionable sources.

  2. D Thums said, on January 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    No my Friend…yu would like to attack by saying airhead….sad…I dont read much on the internet…I do it for a good friend of mine who was one of the parents….and I was with her when we talked to the police offifcer…even she was taken back by what he saw. You are such a sad soul

    • Bobby Dias said, on January 22, 2013 at 7:56 am

      You attack by calling me a sad soul- you are a lying hypocrite..

  3. D Thums said, on January 21, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Actually….after reading again what you said….it doesnt make since to talk to you…I lived it….and am good friends with several victims that you say don’t exist…. I don’t think I will reply to you again…because you never Win when you Best a FOOL.

  4. Bobby Dias said, on January 22, 2013 at 8:06 am

    We may be talking of two different peoples. Read carefully- I was speaking of those that the one ex-policeman said existed. He made up those people in his head-you presumed they were what you thought was in your head. You have put yourself into the subject so personally that you could not allow for anything different.


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