The Abuse of Innocence: The Mcmartin Preschool Trial

Overview

On August 12, 1983, Judy Johnson called the police and told them her two-year-old son had been sexually abused at Virginia McMartin's Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California. Mrs. Johnson accused a teacher, Raymond Buckey. After searching the school and the homes of the owners and teachers, police distributed a letter to parents of children attending the McMartin Preschool urging them to ask their children if they have witnessed any acts of sexual molestation by Buckey. The ...

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Overview

On August 12, 1983, Judy Johnson called the police and told them her two-year-old son had been sexually abused at Virginia McMartin's Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California. Mrs. Johnson accused a teacher, Raymond Buckey. After searching the school and the homes of the owners and teachers, police distributed a letter to parents of children attending the McMartin Preschool urging them to ask their children if they have witnessed any acts of sexual molestation by Buckey. The result was mass hysteria.

Although the children denied being molested or witnessing any molestations, the D.A.'s office began sending them to a private clinic to be interviewed by "evaluators" and examined by pediatricians. Parents were then informed that every child who had attended the McMartin Preschool had been sexually abused, which led to charges being filed against Virginia McMartin, Peggy McMartin Buckey, Raymond and Peggy Ann Buckey and three other teachers at the school. During the hearings, children described how teachers had raped them, forced them to engage in satanic rituals, and slaughtered animals before their eyes. The ensuing trial triggered a nationwide epidemic of child sexual abuse cases with allegations of infants being raped by devil worshippers and of blood sacrifices. The McMartin trial itself clogged the courts for over seven years and cost taxpayers over sixteen million dollars.

None of the allegations were true. Investigative journalists Paul and Shirley Eberle witnessed the McMartin Trial and uncovered stunning amounts of prosecutorial misconduct, all revealed in this disturbing book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1983, the family-run McMartin Preschool Nursery in Manhattan Beach, a suburb of Los Angeles, was subjected to a sexual-abuse investigation that lasted six years, cost taxpayers $16 million and initially identified 42 children as victims. Children testified about being sodomized, fondled, forced to drink blood and made to watch teachers hacking up dead bodies and live animals. At the pretrial hearings, there were seven defendants, including school founder Virginia McMartin, her daughter Peggy McMartin Buckey and Peggy's son Raymond. The Buckeys were indicted. There were two trials--only Raymond was charged in the second; both ended in mistrial, the last in 1990. The Eberles ( The Politics of Child Abuse ) show that the prosecution was a witch-hunt complete with suggestible children and hysterical parents as well as sleazy lawyers and ``sex-abuse'' experts whose vested interests perverted justice. Trial testimony, juicy courthouse asides and the authors' keen descriptive powers make the proceedings come alive. 30,000 first printing; $30,000 ad/promo. (Apr.)
Library Journal
In August 1983, the owners and teachers of the McMartin PreSchool in California were accused of sexually abusing one of their students. The accusations quickly mushroomed, until almost all of the children who attended were suspected of having been molested. A six-year trial and re-trial followed, with the McMartins eventually found not guilty. An interesting book, worth reading, could doutbless be written about the McMartin trial. This is not it. The Eberles provide an almost word-for-word transcript of the trial. Although the material is explosive, the authors indicate that the jury was often bored by the repetitive, nonresponsive testimony. Unfortunately, so is the reader. In addition, the Eberles are totally one-sided. They believe that the charges were completely trumped up and that the McMartins are ``innocent victims.'' On the other hand, they argue that the prosecution was incompetent. Yet they provide no real documentation to back up their ``facts.'' Somewhere in this horrible story there lies a kernel of truth. Were children molested? Were the McMartins subjected to a modern-day witch hunt? Does the truth lie somewhere in the middle? To answer these questions, the material in this book would have to be reduced and summarized and cogent analysis applied. Not recommended.-- Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Booknews
The case of the teachers and administrator accused of child abuse at the McMartin Preschool is horrifying--whether the allegations were true or false, some people (children or adults) were terribly wronged. Reporters Eberle and Eberle were at the trial, and they see the accused as the victims. Quoting heavily from the transcripts (with substantial interjection of their own interpretation), they depict gross mishandling of the children's testimony by people trying to build a case where there was none. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591021650
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2003
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.42 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.92 (d)

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