Daily Mail online - News report - The McMartin Family Trials TV - The Crimes that Changed Us: McMartin Preschool Trial
Uncovered: The McMartin Family Trials reveals 1983 scandal when SEVEN preschool teachers were indicted for child molestation sparking panic – but none were convicted after $15M, seven-year trial amid claims of witchcraft, satanism and coerced testimonies.
Oxygen’s two-hour special, Uncovered: The McMartin Family Trials will air on Saturday July 27, at 7pm ET/PT
The program will seek to shed new light on one of the US’ most expensive and heavily contested criminal cases of all time, the McMartin Preschool scandal.
Mother-of-two Judy Johnson claimed that one of the school’s teachers, Ray Buckley, had sodomized her two-year-old son.
Johnson’s accusations would later go on to spur a moral panic, with more than 360 children coming forward making claims of sexual abuse.
Claims of satanic worship were also made, along with rumors of secret tunnels beneath the school; orgies at carwashes and carparks; and secret abuse rooms.
Seven teachers were charged and two of them stood trial for heinous crimes, ensuing in a seven-year trial that cost $15 million – the most expensive ever.
The new program will seek to show how the claims were unsupported and how many people believed the children’s testimonies were coerced.
A new documentary film will seek to shed fresh light on America’s most expensive criminal case of all time, The McMartin family trials, which rocked a small California community to its core more than three decades ago.
In Manhattan Beach during the 1980s, The McMartin Preschool, which had been founded by matriarch Virginia Martin, was one of the most sought after schools in the district.
Such was the demand for places at the school that officials were forced to put applicants on a waiting list.
However, the McMartin’s reverie came to a shattering halt in the summer of 1983, when mother-of-two Judy Johnson claimed that her two-year-old son had been sodomized by teacher Ray Buckey at the school.
‘My 2-year-old son has been molested at the McMartin Preschool,’ explained Johnson in an audio tape airing on the documentary special Uncovered: The McMartin Family Trials, premiering Saturday, July 27 at 7/6c on Oxygen.
Johnson’s accusations would later go on to spur a media hysteria, with more than 360 children coming forward making claims of sexual abuse – giving birth to one of the most infamous criminal trials in American history.
As its name would suggest, the McMartin Preschool was run by several members of the McMartin family, including founder Virginia, her daughter, Peggy McMartin Buckey, and her grandchildren Raymond ‘Ray’ Buckey and Peggy Ann Buckey …
Due to a lack of evidence he was released the same day. But his freedom was met with a letter from Johnson, addressed to the district attorney, claiming her son had taken part in satanic ritual practices at the school.
Written at the height of America’s ‘Satanic Panic’, Johnson’s letter went on to claim that her son had been taken to a secret church where ‘Ray flew in the air’ and ‘Peggy drilled a child under the arm’.
Johnson also claimed that her son admitted two other children in his class had also been abused by Buckey, as well as a number of people at the daycare enjoying sexual relations with animals.
As a result, the local PD sent a letter to around 200 parents of students at McMartin, stating that they were investigating claims of sexual abuse and asked parents to question their children …
In the letter’s wake, outrage swept through the local community and spilled out across the rest of the country. Town Hall meetings were held. Panic-stricken parents vented to authorities. Rumors of secret tunnels beneath the school; unauthorized field trips away; orgies at carwashes and carparks; and the existence of secret abuse rooms flourished.
By spring 1984, more than 360 children claimed to have been abused at the school and a moral panic took hold.
The majority of those children had been interviewed by Children’s Institute International, a LA-based abuse therapy clinic run by Kee MacFarlane.
The claims later indicted seven employees of the McMartin Preschool on March 22, including members of the McMartin family, along with employees Mary Ann Jackson, Babette Spitler and Betty Raidor.
As a collective, the cohort were first charged with 115 counts of molestation, which rose to 321 charges soon after, involving 48 different children.
After a 20-month preliminary hearing, charges were dropped against Virginia, Peggy Ann, Jackson, Spitler, and Raidor, with prosecutors determining there was insufficient evidence to take the case to trial.
One prosecutor branded the purported evidence ‘incredibly weak’. However, 65 counts of molestation remained against Buckey and Peggy McMartin …
By 1990, after three years of testimony and nine weeks of jury deliberation, Peggy McMartin was acquitted on all counts.
Meanwhile, Buckey was cleared of 52 of 65 counts and was finally released on bail after more than five years in prison.
Buckey was re-tried on the remaining 13 counts, but once again the jury remained deadlocked and a mistrial was declared. He was later cleared of all counts.
Johnson, the woman responsible for the first allegation, would never appear or speak at the hearing. An alcoholic and schizophrenic, she was found dead in her apartment on December 19, 1986 from a ‘metamorphosis of the liver’.
Her mental stability and the subsequent impact it may have had on her perceptions remained a central theme throughout much of the seven year probe which cost the government around $15 million, becoming the longest and most expensive legal case of all time. Daily Mail online article 26 July 2019
McMartin case: Seven people including a 76 grandmother were arraigned on hundreds of counts of molesting children at a Manhattan nursery school. News report
In a small California beach town no-one suspected something was wrong. The allegations: seven teachers were arrested. But some say it never happened. Were the children coached? Did the media rush to judgment? The longest and most expensive trial in American history. The McMartin Family Trials, captions, Sky Crimes 2020
Dr Heger and Kee Macfarlane began reporting their findings to the DA’s office. At that point, details of the case were still unknown to the public. ibid.
With the growing press attention, hundreds more children were taken to be evaluated by Kee Macfarlane. ibid.
The McMartin family claimed their innocence and raised questions about how the children were interviewed. ibid.
We are alleging that approximately 100 children were sexually molested at the school over the last ten years. ibid. district attorney
This is the largest child molestation case in the country. The Crimes that Changed Us: McMartin Preschool Trial, rozzer, DiscoveryPlus 2021
The story at the McMartin Pre-School Centre when a woman by the name of Judy Johnson called the Manhattan Beach police department and said that she believed that her son had been sexually abused. He allegedly told her that Raymond Buckey had taken his temperature. ibid.
The letter is sent out to 200 sets of parents. All of them have children aged two to four years old who are former or current McMartin students. ibid. caption
Kee MacFarlane says she evaluated 145 children who were abused and has never seen children as frightened. ibid. news
The allegations of satanism and slaughtering horses on the altar – you’d think they’d be evidence of that. No. ibid. dude
Authorities now say that the systematic molesting that went on at the McMartin preschool is just the tip of the iceberg. ibid. news
1984: The district attorney secures an indictment for the arrest of all seven teachers, based on the testimony of 18 children and medical evidence from Dr Heger. ibid. caption
Most of the defendants including Ray Buckey are unable to pay bail and are detained until their trial. ibid.
Satanic ritual abuse – the story just grew exponentially. ibid. woman
The case against Ray Buckey and his mother Peggy will go to trial. Charges against the remaining defendants are dropped. ibid.